Friday, February 19, 2010

Pasadena Area Anarchists Condemn the Pasadena Weekly & Commend the Sierra Madre Weekly

In the days leading up to the recent Sierra Madre Anarchist Picnic (February 13th, 2010), Pasadena area anarchists were both frustrated and surprised to see a variety of newspaper-published announcements of the event. Of particular interest were the published announcements included in the Pasadena Weekly (Feb. 11 2010, Vol. 30, No. 6 issue) and the Sierra Madre Weekly (Thursday Feb. 11 - 17, Vol. XV, No. VII issue) shown below:

(Pasadena Weekly, Pg. 29,  front page of the Arts Section under the "Get Your Own" Column)

(Pasadena Weekly, Pg. 33, under the Calendar listing section for Saturday)

(Sierra Madre Weekly, Pg. 3, top-left of the right-hand page)

According to organizers of the Anarchist Picnic who informed me of the issue, they had originally e-mailed every local newspaper outlet to publish their event as a normal event listing complete with the event details and description. "About a week or two before the event we decided to promote this locally as much as possible. Not only did we try and put up a lot of fliers but we also contacted the local press", said Isabella, one of the main organizers. They received no response except from the Pasadena Weekly who asked for pictures of similar events so they could run a spotlight of the event, in addition to the calendar listing. "We were really happy when we found out about that. Skeptical, of course, but pretty ecstatic."

They submit a couple pictures from the recent Los Angeles Anarchist Bookfair and waited for the next issue of the Pasadena Weekly to come out. When it did, the misrepresentation of anarchism and the rewording of the event description infuriated them. "It wasn't too surprising, but come on...A calendar listing!? That pissed us off! We looked at every other spotlight on that same page and every event listing in the calendar section, and yeah, you could tell they had fun with some of the descriptions but they didn't mess with the message. They basically played us as fools."

In response, Isabella called up the Pasadena Weekly and tried to find out who was responsible for the editing. "I wanted to find out who exactly was responsible for what happened and they wouldn't really tell me. I got into a heated discussion, chewed them out a bit, but in the end they wouldn't really tell me. I find out who the editors in charge of those sections were and I talked to some of them but all they would basically say was 'we don't know how this happened. write us a letter and we'll print it.'"

And that's exactly what they did. As a response they contacted anarchists in Pasadena to write a letter on behalf of Pasadena Anarchists, explaining to them the whole situation and the organizers themselves decided to write one of gratitude to the Sierra Madre Weekly.

"As soon as we dealt with the Pasadena Weekly issue, we found a copy of the Sierra Madre Weekly a few days before the Picnic. We were really excited to see that the paper, one in our town, decided to print the event as a very short article without touching the message."

The letters have yet to be printed as they have just been sent out. Updates will be provided as they come.

Below is a transcript of both letters:

" An Open Letter to the Pasadena Weekly & Its Readership

This letter is directed particularly to Carl Kozlowski & any other staff responsible for the obnoxiously ignorant & rude editing & comments added to the Anarchist Picnic event listing for the February 11th, 2010, Volume 30, Number 6 issue of the Pasadena Weekly.

For those unaware, this event was submitted to be published in the Calendar section by anarchists organizing the event. It was published on page 33, albeit edited to include a snarky comment. Furthermore, the anarchists were e-mailed to submit pictures so the event could be
spotlighted in the Arts section under the "Get Your Own" column on page 29. The pictures were provided yet when the spotlight was published, the description of the event was mangled & barfed on.

In all seriousness, who does that? Who takes a CALENDAR EVENT listing & twists the message of the event, defecating on the description? Why, if they had done a simple Google search of Anarchism, they might have discovered that anarchism is merely a set of ideas for the complete social, political, economic & spiritual emancipation of humanity - NOT "disorder & chaos". Perhaps then, they might have withheld their grossly barbaric comments. But maybe we're being too optimistic.

Regardless, prior to this dilemma we respected the Pasadena Weekly & were gravely disappointed when we discovered the debacle.

Carl, we want you & your colleagues to have fun with the paper, but please don't embarrass yourselves. Maybe you should take a tip from the Sierra Madre Weekly. They proudly posted the event without meddling the message, taking a bold stand to publish such "dangerous" "chaotic" ideas of freedom.

Pasadena Anarchists"

"An Open Letter to the Sierra Madre Weekly and its Readership

We would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude for the Sierra Madre Weekly publishing the Sierra Madre Anarchist Picnic in the Thursday, February 11th - 17th 2010, Vol XV, No VII issue.

We have to admit, we were unsure whether you would take such a bold move publishing an event that stands for such subversive ideas of freedom, liberty and autonomy. We submit the same event to be published in the Pasadena Weekly and though it was included twice in a copy (February 11th 2010, Vol 30, No 6), they made a complete mockery of the event.

Nevertheless, we were surprised and ecstatic to see the event published and hope you will publish other Sierra Madre anarchist events in the future.

Many thanks,
Sierra Madre Anarchists"

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Anarcha-LA Meeting This Sunday (February 21st)

Please come out for the next Anarcha LA meeting on Sunday, February 21st at 1pm. It will be held at the Eco-Village in the back yard: 117 Bimini Place, Los Angeles CA 90004.

Here's a link for directions:

From 1-2pm we will conduct a study group and from 2-3pm we are planning the Anarcha contingent at the upcoming anti-war march on March 20th. Please come out and participate for the full two-hours of the meeting.

in love and rage,

Anarcha Los Angeles

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Sierra Madre Anarchist Picnic (From an Organizer's Perspective)

(Editors' Note: We've received a few criticisms of the content of the articles posted on this blog as well as of the quality of the articles. We'd like to remind our dear readers that, yes, this is a blog for anarchist propaganda and will contain heavy biases toward anarchism and anarchist principles. We'd also like to suggest that if they believe the quality of the articles should be of a higher caliber, then by all means, up the bar and submit an article or nag a friend with a talent for writing to submit something. Thanks for reading!)

On Saturday February 13th 2010, some friends and I organized an Anarchist Picnic at Memorial Park in Sierra Madre. We scheduled the event to be from Noon to 5 PM and organized it as a potluck with a few workshops/discussions and acoustic performances.

We organized the event for a number of reasons. First, we wanted to initiate monthly anarchist events in the town where the majority of us, the organizers, live. Second, we wanted to see how many local anarchists we could bring out and discover. Third, we wanted to start building an anarchist movement in the area. And fourth, we wanted to find people that we could develop tight affinities with so we could pursue bigger and greater projects and activities. It was for all these reasons that we decided to choose the medium of an Anarchist Picnic and promote it as an event to bring together local and not-so-local anarchists and the anarcho-curious.

We (the organizers) showed up a little before noon and secured a spot in the park. We set up a table for food and a table for literature and brought some large comfortable bed sheets to lay on. We put out anarchist literature and attached a sign reading "Welcome to the Anarchist Picnic" to one of the tables . After we set up, it wasn't until 12:30 - 12:45 that a few people showed up and by the time the first workshop started, there were about seven people total.

Around 1 PM Sean, an organizer of the event, facilitated the first workshop and discussion titled "So You Think You're NOT An Anarchist?". He had designed the workshop particularly as an introduction to anarchism and for the anarcho-curious. He started the workshop by asking the attendants what their impression of anarchism was and what some of the popular stereotypes of anarchism were. One person said "When I think of anarchism I think of disorder and chaos". Another said, "To me anarchism is living a healthy sane life and seizing complete freedom while taking up full responsibility and accountability,". Participants remarked that the stereotypes and images portrayed in the media were of bomb-throwers and terrorists and Sean talked about how these images are created to make anarchism a taboo and breed ignorance.

Sean then asked participants if they identified as an anarchist and why or why not. (At this point in the discussion the number of people at the event doubled to more than a dozen.) A majority of folks identified as an anarchist saying similar statements of how, in essence, they believe in the cause of anarchism and want to see it through to fruition. However, there were a couple people who didn't. One person said, "I believe in anarchism but I won't be an anarchist until I live in a world without money or government". Another said they didn't because their impression of anarchism was of "disorder and violence". And another person declined to identify as an anarchist but affirmed that they had "anarchist tendencies".

The facilitator then asked people what they felt most bothered and coerced by in society. One person replied that they hated how, in a capitalist society, the majority of things we actually enjoy doing have no value. Someone else talked about how they felt oppressed growing up in a family embedded with capitalist values and how oppression starts at home where you learn to (mis)communicate and relate to people and the world around you. Another person commented on how they disliked the fact that boxes of food go to waste for not meeting food appearance standards like having a scratch or mark and that we have to pay for necessities like food.

After a round of answers, Sean then asked what people would like to see in their ideal society. During this question the conversation expanded onto other somewhat related topics but one participant at the beginning said they'd like to see a world where education is de-institutionalized and we learn by doing or seeing what other people are doing. Someone else said they would like to start living in their ideal society by living with close friends that are like-minded and share ideals of anarchism and from there move forward. Another talked about looking at traditional societies in the past and learning from their ways of organizing society so we can make a difference now. From here the conversation spread and went somewhat off topic with people talking about traditional societies and different examples of the ways they lived and organized. Eventually the conversation was reigned in when someone reminded everyone that many traditional societies had some form of tribal council and that a majority of them were run by males. Sean took this opportunity to conclude the conversation, announcing a 15 minute break before Bella gave her workshop/class on Female Fertility for Men & Women. At this point in time there were about twenty people engaged in the event, taking literature, sharing food, and mingling.

After the break, Bella brought out a drawing board with a sample fertility chart drawn enlarged on the board. Bella, also an organizer of the event, began her class on Female Fertility using the zine "Fertility Awareness for Non-Invasive Birth Control". Unfortunately, as she began between five to ten people left, a majority of them female, though a few people simultaneously arrived. Despite this change up, Bella went forward teaching everyone how to use a female fertility chart. She taught everything from the symbols, to what each column and table represented as well as how to check your cervical fluid, take your temperature, and check the position of your cervix. She also taught how to see where your pre-ovulatory, fertile, and post-ovulatory phase are, when your most likely to get pregnant and the four rules to guide you in your quest to get or not get pregnant.

Admittedly, the majority of people attending her class were males and while half seemed interested, the other half were fighting to stay attentive. However, the females that were present were very attentive and asked questions to clarify certain topics and learn more on the subject. As she wrapped up she let everyone know she had a box full of the "Fertility Awareness" zines for free and that the zine explained more deeply and thoroughly everything she discussed. After a couple more clarifying questions, another 15 minute break was announced and there was an exchange of some more people leaving and others coming in. At this point there were about twenty people present.

After the break, Bella and I facilitated a workshop/discussion titled "Towards a Fresh Revolution". The idea behind the workshop was to engage all the participants and brainstorm about different projects happening now in Los Angeles and that we wanted to see happen in relation to making another world possible. While doing so we would analyze the obstacles that were stopping us from making these things possible in a way to provide some type of concrete solutions so we could move forward with a "fresh" perspective. In the past we had facilitated this discussion at an Anarchist Cafe at Windchime House and the outcome was amazing.

I started by being open about the intentions and goals of the workshop and first asked the question, "What projects are happening now in LA that people feel are contributing towards making another world possible?". Food Not Bombs, Catholic Worker, Anarchy Archives, Copwatch LA, and the Hyde Park 1/2 were a couple projects and activities mentioned. In all about a dozen different projects were named. Then Bella asked "What are projects or activities you would like to see in your ideal world?". From here the discussion got a little tense as people named all sorts of different things, some of which through my own misunderstanding I felt uncomfortable putting up on the board because I didn't feel they represented my ideal world or some of the participants'. Some of the projects/activities mentioned were apprenticeships, community gardens, de-institutionalized health care, no cars, animal liberation, free public transportation, and no wifi.

After numerous activities/projects were mentioned, the next question we asked was "What are obstacles to making those projects and activities a reality?". Some of the obstacles mentioned were social stigmas, patriarchy, law enforcement, 40 hour work weeks, Obama and the spectacle of democracy, money or lack of, capitalism, institutionalized education and rent. After we came up with a whole display board full of obstacles, Bella analyzed all three of the question and answer sequences by focusing on the lack of communication between anarchists, anti-authoritarians and radicals in LA, as well as our own personal internal dynamics that have stopped us from making our wildest dreams a reality. She talked about the unspoken dress code policy, the ageism and generational gaps, and the tendencies to communicate only with those you have strong affinities with. She stressed that there's nothing wrong with having a bias towards people who agree with you but that we need to learn how to work and communicate with those who don't agree with us 100 percent and to view them as allies. After she finished speaking, a discussion was sparked where participants shared their own experiences in the anarchist movement not just in LA but all over California.

After the discussion died down, we ended the workshop with another 15 minute break followed by musical performances. There were now about twenty to twenty-five people present. The first musician to play was Jim Ramirez. He played classical guitar and had an experimental folk indie style to his music. He played four songs of resistance and revolution, the first about his struggle to find his own unique identity and culture aside from the Western American one sold to us and the last one about a fallen friend who died young but believed in revolution.

The next performer was MSelasco. He also played classical guitar but had a Spanish/Latin American folk style to his music. Almost every song he played and sang was in Spanish and related to anarchism or freedom. Some of the songs were Argentine anarchist folk songs or poems he turned into songs. For a couple of his last songs a friend of his (lover?) joined him in playing second guitar and singing, particularly for the classic songs "Bandera Negra" and "Bella Ciao".

The last performer was Dustin or The Galen Gun. He played a steel resonator guitar and his music style was of a folk blues variety. He played numerous songs, some folk and some his own all in a laid back blues style. Once he finished the event was over and folks mingled for about thirty minutes, exchanging contact information, their opinions of the event and their excitement for the next Anarchist Picnic. As people took off we packed our things and called it a day.


Overall I think the event was a great start towards accomplishing the goals we set out for ourselves. I'm actually surprised there was no police interference not only because the park is in downtown Sierra Madre and RIGHT next to City Hall and the Police Department, but because Sierra Madre Police has a reputation for having almost nothing to do and instigating incidents. I'm also pleasantly surprised about the amount of local anarchists and anarcho-curious who showed up. I'm also really happy about distributing nearly one hundred pieces of anarchist literature.

To me, Sean's workshop had the most interesting dialogue going on between participants and was well suited to engage people in talking about basic anarchist topics. Bella's class was great and well-presented but I don't think it was much appreciated. I wish there would've been more females present for her class but perhaps, in hindsight, she should've saved the class for a later Anarchist Picnic. I'm glad though that people took about twenty copies of the zine she based her class off.

Regarding the "Towards a Fresh Revolution" discussion, initially I was pretty disappointed about the outcome. Compared to the way the discussion went in the past, it was pretty dull, slow, and awkward. When we facilitated the discussion at Windchime it was very fucking explosive with a whole room of people actually transforming like a vortex and talking seriously about squatting, occupying, and amazing anarchist projects. Upon further reflection, I forgot a crucial but small question to throw in and misworded the second question, while in turn relaying Bella to ask that miscommunicated question. By miswording the question, I set up a "versus" situation and tension between people's ideal worlds whereas the question should've focused on intermediate steps, projects, and activities people would like to take towards making that other world possible. Instead of a "versus" situation it would've set up an "and" situation where activities could work together. Perhaps too, like Bella's class, we should've saved this discussion for a later Anarchist Picnic when people would've known each other better and felt more comfortable to scheme about activities.

Other than that, it was pretty amazing. For putting a lot of time and energy into promoting it all over Sierra Madre, online, and in local newspapers it was well worth the effort.

On an ending note, there was some drama between us and the Pasadena Weekly and we will be having a friend write a full expose on what went down so be on the look out for that.

Till next month's Anarchist Picnic,

Friday, February 12, 2010

Another Report of 'Anarchy in Riverside' (Republished from LA Indymedia)

by Rockero

February 6, 2010
RIVERSIDE, California - Riverside-area anarchists hosted a day-long event that included a series of presentations, a group discussion, and musical performances.

While lacking the variety of last year's Anarchist Fun Faire, the event allowed local anarchists, sympathizers, and activists, most of whom were about college-aged, to convene and share ideas in the basement of the independent coffee shop Back to the Grind.

The day began with a series of talks, the first of which was given by Gloria from the Inland Empire Feminist Collective. She began with definitions of feminism, patriarchy, and gender, providing an example of patriarchy. "Feminism is the belief in the social, political, economic equality of the sexes. It is the revolutionary movement that includes those who wish the world to be equal." Or, for the less academically-inclined, she provided the definition, "Feminists are just women who don't want to be treated like shit." She then went through the various theories of feminism: liberal feminism, Marxist feminism, socialist feminism, radical feminism, multicultural/multiracial feminism (including Black feminism and Chicana feminism, to name a few), and finally, anarcha-feminism, detailing the principal tenets and focuses of each. She then handed out a worksheet for participants to fill out, with questions such as "What is Feminism to YOU?" and "How can YOU apply feminism in your life?" While we were busy pondering the questions, a young man descended the staircase, and, oblivious to what was going on, began asking questions about some literature that was on display. We explained to him that there was a workshop going on, and that he was welcome to stay and participate as long as he showed respect for the process already in progress. When he found out that the topic of discussion was feminism, he became vociferous in his opposition to the principle. He spoke loudly and interrupted others, leading some of us to suspect that he was drunk. We asked him to leave. Once attendees had finished filling out the questionnaires, a discussion was held on each of the questions posed by the worksheet. Some of the ideas brought up included the idea that the socially-constructed gender binary was just as oppressive as men as it is of women, and that people should be free to decide on their own who to perform their own gender identity. Reproductive freedom and access to womens' health services were also brought up, while some male feminists asked for advice as to how they could avoid reinforcing patriarchy when interacting with younger relatives. One man argued that the sexes are much more similar than they are different, and asked what we thought of the idea of essentialism. Following the discussion, Gloria invited us to take some flyers for upcoming events and zines on feminism.

In between talks, I spoke with one member of Riverside Food Not Bombs! who told me about recent repressive actions against anarchists by members of the Riverside Police Department. They had shut down one of the community's preferred venues, the Pharaoh's Den, and made it very difficult to reopen. They had also ticketed him for being a minor in possession of alcohol despite his not being in possession of any contraband whatsoever, and harassed other members of the collective as they attempted to do their weekly serving.

The next talk was led by Doug from Modesto Anarcho Crew, who began with an overview of the location, economy, and demographics of the Central Valley city. He continued with a description of the crew's organization and tactics. In addition to operating freeboxes, maintaining an autonomous space, and creating propaganda, they participate "in ongoing class and community struggles." "Where the fire is, we bring the gasoline," he summarized. The talk centered on what the speaker characterized as the "tension between activism and intervention." He defined "activism" as "petitioning the government or the powers that be so they can change certain things." "Intervention," "in social struggles and social tensions," on the other hand, is "trying to make those things into wider ruptures against capitalism." This tension, according to the speaker, is exemplified by the dichotomy between the "scene" that seems to exist among anarchists and the "movement" that is necessary to create a "free, non-hierarchical, autonomous society." He discussed some examples of his crew's use of "interventionist" tactics in his area, including support for a rent strike against an absentee landlord, a non-government-sanctioned needle exchange program, for which some are currently facing prosecution, and the interjection of radical strategies and ideas into the student movement. The final part of the talk centered on suggestions as to how to seek out and create allies. He talked about forming alliances with local indigenous tribes, the impoverished, and the LGBT community.

The final talk was on "anarchist infrastructure," and was given by Dana Ward from the Anarchy Archives. Before beginning, he gave an overview of the archives, and then asked us what we wanted to learn about. "I can cover everything from Godwin to the contemporary period, movements, individuals, things like that. [...] I'm a resource. Suck me as dry as you can. I'll get all the information I got in me out if I can. Just tell me what you need to know." Various requests were made: "Bonnot gang!" "Worker's cooperatives." "The origins of anarchism, especially the Paris Commune," "How to raise an anarchist army, Makhnovisti-style." "I'd like to know about the anarchist version of dual power."

He began with the Paris Commune, since the topic also touched on workers' cooperatives and expropriation. That topic led into a lengthy discussion of cooperatives, both in theory, as discussed by the anarchocommunists Kropotkin and Réclus, and in practice, such as the Spanish co-op Mondragón. A few attendees were on the edge of their seats. Others seemed bored out of their minds. Most were somewhere in between. In a brief deviation from the topic of workers' collectives, he touched on the "subculture vs. movement-building" issue. "It's not really an either/or question. [...] It's really a question of creating your scene so that you're able to sustain yourselves, where you practice mutual aid, where you engage in horizontal organization and so forth, so that when the rest of the society collapses, you already have the alternative functioning and ready to stand in its place." He then returned to the central topic, emphasizing that when both ownership and labor are collectivized, production increases and becomes more safe and efficient, before opening up for questions.

The first questioner asked if collectivization created advancements in the way industries affect the environment, women's equality, and social justice in the same way that they increased efficiency and output. Ward responded that the Argentine example provided the best answer to this question in that when factories were occupied, "the community was brought in." The next question concerned accumulation of power in the absence of government regulation. Ward's response focused on the concept of mutual aid. The next question was about horizontality and collectivization in fields outside of economics, and Ward cited the example of the Modern School.

At this point, we faced yet another interruption by a sexist asshole. "Is this some feminist bullshit? This is gay. Gay, gay, gay," he commented aloud, while Ward was attempting to answer the question. Like the previous guy, he was asked to leave. The recurrence of these types of episodes would seem to indicate one way in which we are either failing to engage potential revolutionaries or failing to prepare for probable contingencies. However, it is probably more likely a comment on the state of our society and issues such as rampant substance abuse, even among our own peers. Further questions were on law enforcement and how to deal with predators among radical communities. (He suggested shunning.)

One of the members of Modesto Anarcho challenged that idea freedom could be had simply by collectivizing the workplace. I took his challenge to mean that liberty is too large to fit only within the economic sphere, and that co-ops do not threaten capitalism per se, but it seemed that Ward interpreted the question in terms of a post-Left critique of work itself. He suggested that such critiques of "work" were rooted in the class backgrounds of the critics. "I come from a working-class background [...] To me, there's no alternative to work!" While it was framed in such a way that it was not worded as a direct attack, I could see how it could have been interpreted as such. A member of the circle broke up the debate before it threatened to consume the basement by suggesting that the topic be discussed later in smaller groups to allow everyone to participate in the conversation at hand. This intervention was fortunate, because it broke up the lecturer-questioner dichotomy to which professors, due to their professional backgrounds, are overly accustomed, whereas the comrade from Modesto was interjecting an idea in a manner meant to challenge everyone, not just the lecturer.

Following that discussion, many small conversations were had among the participants before we reconvened to discuss where to go from there. One man suggested community organizing as a tactic for movement-building. Others proposed ways to apply Modesto's "interventionist" tactic to local issues.

While I was not present for the rest of the event, the LA Anarchist Weekly reported that the Riverside Police Department refused to allow the concert to proceed as scheduled due to a 'blasphemous' representation of Christ on the event's flyer. The flyer depicted Jesus playing an accordion.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Surprise, Surprise? 11 Arrested at UC Irvine for Protesting Israeli Ambassador

Why are we still surprised when something like this happens?

Why are we surprised when students get arrested for protesting representatives of murderous government? Are we still naive enough to believe in civil government? Do we still believe in their so-called democracy?

We know all about the atrocities of the United States Government, about the suffering, murder and torture perpetrated at home and around the globe each day. Then why? Why are we still surprised when something like this happens? Why?

Last fall, we saw a burdening of consciousness in the universities along the West Coast of California, abroad in Europe and other parts of the world. Knowledge of the function of universities in our societies and their role in social hierarchy and domination met power - the collective power of students! Those in training to be next year's workers and managers of society.

Yes, sadly there were many hoping and praying for reforms. Begging with their bodies for demands to be met. For a chance at having their piece of the pie - the American Dream.

But there were those who looked further and saw an absent future after graduation. Who made no demands and stepped forward and occupied to find each other. To begin scheming to build another world. This is what we need right now! This is what we must do!

Already there are those hoping that by making a hundred phone calls or writing a thousand letters that the eleven brave students will released of their charges. Perhaps they'll get off with a suspension - a mere slap on the wrist. If only we plead and pray...No!

What we need now is direct action not only to show our collective power but also to build a movement towards another world. Let us occupy and blockade to Stand with the UC Irvine Eleven, so that we may all be free!

(For more information on the arrests, see

Report-back & Analysis of 'Anarchy in Riverside' & Some Thoughts on 'Building the Party'

This past Saturday, February 6th, there was an anarchist event in Riverside titled "Anarchy in Riverside".

It was held in the basement of Back to the Grind in downtown Riverside & organized into two parts. The first part, the meeting/conference portion of the event, was scheduled to be from 12 PM to 5 PM & the fun/entertainment portion to be from 7 PM - 10 PM.

During the meeting portion, the Inland Empire Feminist Collective, Modesto Anarcho, & Dana Ward were to hold workshops & at the end there was to be a round-table discussion on "what to do next" in Riverside. During the entertainment portion, the notorious homeless jug band from Santa Cruz, Blackbird Raum, was to play as well as Corona legends, Acoustic Destroyer & some other musicians.

I arrived halfway into the workshops, catching the tail end of Modesto Anarcho & staying for Dana Ward's lecture & the round-table discussion.

While Dana Ward was preparing to speak, I remember thinking the lecture was going to be exhausting & heavily academic, but to my surprise when he began his talk on anarchist infrastructure & worker cooperatives, I warmed up to him & thoroughly enjoyed his lecture.

His lecture was not only thorough in his explanation of the history of anarchist theory on infrastructure, but he was able to drop big name anarchists in a way that was tangible & easy to understand. He also comprehensively explained anarchist & non-anarchist worker cooperatives while keeping the attention span of the room.

Towards the end of the lecture,  a debate broke out between a member of Modesto Anarcho & Dana Ward. The issue seemed to be that a member of Modesto Anarcho was concerned that anarchist worker cooperatives would create a "self-managed prison" & Dana Ward argued against that concern, claiming that wouldn't occur given everyone involved in the business would decide what happens and create an entirely different concept of what a business is. (For analysis from the Modesto Anarcho member's perspective & the ensuing debate in the comments section see: Vengeance) The ironic ending of the debate was, because of what I perceive as the Modesto Anarcho member's lack of clarity in his concern, that Dana Ward ended up questioning the class of his debater in a way that pondered whether he was from a middle class background and arguing against work itself. For those not in the know, Modesto Anarcho unabashedly represents themselves as a working class anarchist crew.

After a short break, a somewhat awkward round-table discussion was initiated in which it seemed that the facilitator of the discussion was unprepared to guide the discussion. Due to the lack of direction, the discussion never took off as participants vaguely talked about doing projects or combating local struggles. Perhaps the outcome was partly due to the lack of facilitation & direction with the discussion & also because it appeared many of the participants were strangers or acquaintances to each other. Either way it was an awkward solemn discussion.

In regards to the first two workshops, people I conversed with who were at the workshops told me Inland Empire Feminist Collective's meeting was dull & under-attended and a majority of people I talked to about the Modesto Anarcho workshop enjoyed what they brought to the table. Modesto Anarcho is well-known for critiquing anarchist projects that end up becoming another form of charity & strategizing around finding & takings sides in tensions in the community as well as using direct action & solidarity to build alliances around these tensions. (For a more detailed expose of these two workshops, once again see: Vengeance)

Though the show was planned to be at Back to the Grind, Riverside police shut down the show on the basis that the image on the flier of the accordion player from Blackbird Raum was sacrilegious in relation to Jesus.

The show was moved to a house down the street from Back to the Grind & though I didn't attend the show, a friend who did reported that the show was fun but disappointing. Disappointing because the majority of the crowd didn't attend the conference portion & appeared to be of that social clique merely following the trends of punk rock through the years without seriously involving themselves in the movement. Go figure.

Overall the event was alright. At the event I heard talk of building off this event & having continual local Riverside County anarchist events & I hope that does happen.  If so, in hindsight this event will have been a nice start to build momentum but if not, then a depressing example of an anarchist movement never begun.

We need continuous monthly or periodic anarchist serious & fun social events so that we can help build the movement. It is essential we find each other & create tight affinities so we can struggle together at school, in the workplace, & in the streets. Alienated, alone & compromising our beliefs & actions amongst people who don't & may never share our beliefs will get us nowhere. "All friendship is political".

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

To a Los Angeles Anarchist

(Editors' Note: This is a Call that was posted on LA Indymedia last year. It was sent to us to be posted on this blog and we have decided to post it because we  feel it is still very much relevant to the current situation of the anarchist movement in Greater Los Angeles) 

To an LA anarchist
and to those in LA who still dream and scheme.
May we continue to stay afloat in this concrete sea...

Disconnected and disembodied
gridlocked in a social prison.

For years we've aged and lived here, forged in the fires pushed around and tossed about in the blazing heat of Southern California. Waiting, watching and hoping for something to change, for something to happen. Before us and in us we felt isolation and alienation - where were our comrades? Where were the anarchists?

It seemed in the US they only existed in rumors on the evening news or elsewhere - Santa Cruz, San Francisco, the Pacific Northwest, or New England.

Once a rumor and invisible
slowly growing inmpenetrable
The Coming Anarchy, The Coming Community,
The Coming Insurrection.

As the years passed and whatever tattered remnants of anarchism in LA lay to rot, far and wide it bloomed. Anarchism seemingly on the upsurge. Yet here for what seemed forever, yearly anarchist gatherings rehashed the same perspectives, the same tactics, the same workshops. Round and round in circles we went to gatherings designed to create converts rather than meet, greet and scheme.

Disfigured, we must grow
we must take shape and form
How is to be done?
How to find one another?

We cannot wait any longer. There is and will be no Messiah. There is no use in trying to convert as missionaries. We exist and we are of all ages and backgrounds. We must find each other. We must create events, spaces for us to meet monthly, bi-monthly. To meet, greet and scheme. To find commune. To break the lack of age diversity and the dress code. In spaces of neutrality, spaces of comfortability, spaces where we can come out and find each other. From there, all else begins and can begin.

One step at a time... Forward we wade... Towards a new direction.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Introducing the LA Anarchist Weekly

This blog exists for the purpose of disseminating Greater Los Angeles Area news, analyses & opinions on events happening in & around the Greater Los Angeles Area written from an anarchist perspective.

We aim to help build an anarchist movement in the Greater LA through providing a medium to showcase such writings & hope to transition from using a blog to publishing a monthly newspaper with many more features.

If you have any articles on events that are happening or have happened near you, thoughts or analysis on any topic written from an anarchist perspective pertaining to the Greater LA Area, feel free to e-mail

Comments, questions, & suggestions are also welcome.