The anarchist movement in the US

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AndrewF
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Jul 12 2006 12:23
The anarchist movement in the US

I recently has an exchange of emails with Chuck0 of infoshop about the state of the anarchist movement in North America in the context of him claiming that the anarchist FAQ fails to represent many trends within anarchism. His estimate of the state of anarchism there differers markedly with mine but my exposure is pretty limited. So I thought I'd ask here how accurate you consider this to be

JoeBlack wrote:
Your basically assuming US anarchism is representative of anarchism in the rest of the world and it really isn't. There is value in US anarchism but there have also been many odd off shoots which although seeming to be locally big and often believing they represent the 'real' anarchism have little or no influence outside of North America. Anarcho-capitalism was a case in point, today that space seems to be filled by primitivism and whatever the hell post leftism/anarchism actually is. Where these exist outside the US they are tiny currents.

Measured in terms of population the US has pretty much the weakest anarchist movement in the Americas and Europe. As far as I can tell for instance the circulation of our paper - produced for a country of 5 million - is as big (and much more frequent) as the circulation of any of the US anarchist publications - produced for a county of 300 million. And Ireland is hardly a strong point of anarchism in Europe, the first groups were only formed here in the 70's.

...The FAQ is pretty representative of modern anarchism on the global level even if some countries, the US included, deviate significantly from that average.

Am I way off here?

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OliverTwister
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Jul 12 2006 12:31

Not only are you not way off, that's very, very accurate.

embarrassed embarrassed embarrassed cry cry cry cry cry

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AndrewF
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Jul 12 2006 16:03

Version 5

Probably useful to starting putting version numbers on this. I'm also going to start splitting the categories some more so I can inlcude the more marginal stuff in a manner than makes clear its marginal.

A rough outline of the anarchist movement in the USA under the following sections

Anarchist organisations and number of people in them

Libertarian networks and organisations

Publishing collectives

Circulation and frequency of publications.

Size and frequency of events like book fairs.

Number and size of infoshop, social centres etc

Number of people who march as anarchists in protests.

After several edits we are at

1. Anarchist organisations and number of people in them

North East Federation of Anarchist Communists (NEFAC) - 12 locals, maybe 100 people, half in Canada

http://www.nefac.net/

Northwest Anarchist Federation (NAF) - 4 locals, maybe 20 people, half in Canada. Not clear if they are really functioning still

http://www.nafederation.org/

Capital Terminus Collective (CTC) - part of NEFAC so already counted even though located in Atlanta. Just over 10 members.

South California Anarchist Federation (SACF)- don't know a lot about them but have the impression it was very loose and has fallen apart. Has/had 3 chapters. I'd guess up to 50 but very loose

http://www.mediadissent.com/scaf/

Furious 5/? - I know there was some sort of attempt to get something going last year involving them and others but I've not heard anything about this. Might have involved 20 or so people

http://www.furiousfive.50megs.com/furiousfive.htm

Workers Solidarity Alliance - anarcho-syndicalist, ec IWA. Around 20?

http://www.workersolidarity.org/

IWA-Minesota - the split from the WSA which has IWA status, not sure of exact name or membership.

Anarchist and libertarian networks and libertarian organisations

Obviously libertarian is being used here in the traditional anarchist sense to include other anti-state leftists rather than then modern US utopian capitalist thing.

Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) - Lists 51 locals and branches these have to have a minimum of 5 members. Claims 1400 members of which 1200 may be in the US. It has been claimed this figure is inflated by a failure to remove lapsed members from the roles.

http://www.iww.org/

Anarchist People Of Color (APOC) - not clear if APOC has formal membership, holds annual meeting

http://www.illegalvoices.org/

Anarchist Black Cross Network

Anarchist Black Cross Federation

We need a guess at numbers involved and also an explanation of the split which I think we over the question of support for authoratarian prisoners

Red & Anarchist Action Network (RAAN) - libertarian/anti-leninist and somewhat platformist. No idea of structure or numbers.

Web site down at moment but the Philly site is at http://www.phillyraan.net/

Great Plains Anarchist Network (GPAN). Not clear if this is any more than an occasional get together, claimed up to 50 attend semi-annual meetings.

Food Not Bombs - dozens of local groups but little or no co-ordination between them

http://www.foodnotbombs.net/

http://www.infoshop.org/wiki/index.php/Anarchist_Neighborhood lists provides a useful if very broad listing of libertarian stuff in many cities

Publishing/distribution collectives

AK Press – Oakland, Ca ( 8+ people)

Crimethinc - publish occasional but large print runs of glossy dropout youth culture orientated propaganda. Up to 20 members

http://www.crimethinc.com/

C.A.L. Press - Publishes Anarchy magazine, Alternative Press Review, and books. Less than a dozen members.

Autonomedia – New York

See Sharp - Arizona

2. Circulation and frequency of publications

North Eastern Anarchist - Annual, 2000 copies(?)

AJODA - twice a year(?), 6,200 copies of Winter 2006

Industrial Worker - 11? a year, 5500 copies

Murder of Crows - one issue so far, insurrectionist mag from Seattle, 1500 copies (?)

Anarcho-Syndicalist Review - quarterly?, 1350 in 1999

Various Crimethinc stuff, some very big print runs claimed, as high as 500,000

Fifth Estate, 4000

Slingshot - http://slingshot.tao.ca/about.php

Green Anarchy - OK really scraping the bottom of the barrel here as this is more of a primtiivist fanzine then anything else. 1,500 copies (?) from Eugene

Earth First! Journal, 3000?

Local and specialist publications and zines

Perspectives on Anarchist Theory - last published 'Institute of Anarchist Studies' in 2004

http://www.anarchist-studies.org/

The Match - one man individualist publication out of Tucson, Arizona

Social Anarcism

http://www.socialanarchism.org/

Practical Anarchy

http://www.practicalanarchy.org/

3. Size and frequency of events like book fairs

San Fran seems biggest, annual, 3000 attendes

Mid-atlantic - no idea how many attended

Mid-west - 100's

New England - ?

Providence - ?

4. Number and size of infoshop, social centres etc

Note - for version 5 I've taken Chuck0's list in its entirety. I'm not sure all of these are anarchist so would appreciate corrections and additions.

New ones in Springfield, Mo., Kansas City. Atlanta is developing an infoshop.

Midwest: Arise (Minneapolis), Crossroads (Kansas City), Radish Infoshop (Springfield, Mo), Boxcar Books (Bloomington, Indiana), Brighter Days infoshop, Broad Vocabulary, Idle Kids, Infoshopnow.com (Toledo), Madison Infoshop, New World Resource Center (Chicago), Paper Match, Rustbelt Infoshop, S.P.A.C.E. (Suburban Project for Autonomy, Community, and Equality), Solidarity! Revolutionary Center & Radical Library (Lawrence), The Planet, The Wire: A Community Resource Collective, Cream City infoshop (Milwaukee), Rainbow Bookstore (Madison) and more

Northeast: Brian MacKenzie Center (D.C.), Red Emma's (Baltimore), Lucy Parsons (Boston), Bluestockings (NYC), Behind the Rocks Infoshop (New Haven?), Wooden Shoe (Philadelphia), A Space (Philadelphia), Big Idea Infoshop, Black Sheep Books (Vermont), Ironweed Infoshop (Albany), Mad Hatter's Tea Room + Infoshop, May Day Books (NYC), New Jersey Infoshop, Social Justice Center Infoshop (Albany, NY), Better than Television (Charlottesville, VA), Paper Street Infoshop (Richmond, VA), Rebel Books, Rocktown (Harrisonburg, Virginia) and more...

Southeast: All People's United Infoshop (Fayetteville, Arkansas) , El Kilombo Intergalactico (Durham, North Carolina), Internationalist Books (Chapel Hill, North Carolina), Iron Rail (New Orleans), MadRatz! Infoshop (Atlanta), The Firebrand

California: Bound Together (San Francisco), Gaian Mind (Los Angeles), Long Haul (Berkeley)

Northwest: Left Bank Books (Seattle)

5. Number of people who march as anarchists in protests.

Hard to call but sometimes anarchist blocs seem to get to a couple of thousand for events for which there are national mobilisations

--

Post corrections and additions as comments and I'll add them into this post from time to time.

violencia.prole...
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Jul 12 2006 20:29

I think there are some flaws with your above post Joe.

First of all the IWW (this is information I gathered from a member) has about 1,400 memebers in America. The paper is published 10 times a year.

Secondly, I thought NEFAC was much larger than 100 people. If I'm not mistaken (I'll ask a member to make sure) their collective in Montreal had at least edit, way off haha people alone. Is the 100 your counting the American members or the total organization?

And finally I don't think measuring black blocs is useful for gathering the number of anarchists. Many of those people are lifestylists who I personally wouldn't consider anarchists.

Chuck0
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Jul 12 2006 21:22

I'm working on a long response to this thread which I will hopefully post on Thursday.

A core NEFAC member told me yesterday that NEFAC is down to several dozen members.

The 1,400 for the IWW sounds about right, but I'll check the recent GOBs for more info. The Industrial Worker has a larger print run than the membership size.

Chuck

Infoshop.org

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Jul 12 2006 22:40

CTC has a little over 10.

Also you forgot WSA w/ about 20.

IW's print run is something like 4000, no?

Anarchosyndicalist review is also a non-negligible mag, 3-4 times a year but i dont know their print run.

NEFAC <100 and IWW ~1400 sound right.

What's murder of crows?

gentle revolutionary
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Jul 13 2006 00:19

The figure of 51 IWW locals in America deals with official branches - i.e. at least 5 active members per local

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Jul 13 2006 04:31

I'm inclined to agree that there is a strong tendency in much of the American press to project their own peculiarities onto the rest of the world. The treatment of primitivism as a large part (or even a part worth mentioning) is just one example. There is also the tendency to act like 'Platformism' is largely the result of recent developments and not a tendency that has been around for a long time and has a definite tradition.

The IWW numbers near as I know are correct, I'll ask Jeanette our GEB person at the branch meeting tomorow and see if she has anything different.

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Jul 13 2006 10:36

Thanks for the corrections and pointing out of oversights - I've added this into the text and I've added a couple of other organisations I realised I'd missed. I've also expanded the organisation names out from initals to the full names. If I have time I'll start to get links to web sites and put those in as well as I think this could be quite a useful resource as well as a survey.

A couple of reponses to comments

violencia.proletariat wrote:
I don't think measuring black blocs is useful for gathering the number of anarchists. Many of those people are lifestylists who I personally wouldn't consider anarchists.

I've broken the list into 5 different areas to reflect level of involvement in the anarchist movement. Obviously the lowest level of involvement is those who only turn up for demonstrations, gigs and bookfairs. I don't want to try and get into the life stylist thing as I don't think you can break down the divide within this general label into 'those who look funny but do stuff' and 'those who just look funny' except on a very local level.

BTW in terms of demonstrations I'm not just thinking of black blocs either but any sort of anarchist formation. Or is it the case that every time you get a distinct anarchist bloc it calls itself a black bloc in the US - over here tht label tends to be reserved for when BB style tactics are intended.

Murder of Crows is a new insurrectionist publication.

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Steven.
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Jul 13 2006 11:03

This thread looks like it could be very interesting, cheers for starting it Joe.

Chuck0
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Jul 13 2006 15:26

Before Joe Black edits the first post again, I suggest he wait until I post my overview of American anarchism.

The inaccuracies being posted in this thread make me cringe.

RAAN is a group if skinheads? WTF?

The black bloc is comprised of lifestylists? Whoever posted that must be smoking crack, because it is so wrong for many reasons. First of all, there is no such thing as "lifestylist" in that nobody identifies with this stupid label. More importantly, black blocs are comprised of anarchists involved in the anti-globalization movement, community organizing, ARA, and other campaigns. I think NEFAC would be annoyed to find out that they are "lifestylist" given the role they've played in organizing many black blocs.

Chuck0

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AndrewF
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Jul 13 2006 15:29
Chuck0 wrote:
RAAN is a group if skinheads? WTF?

Yeah I spotted and corrected this once I found their Philly page (BTW things I marked ? are maked ? to indicate uncertainty). I had them confused with RASH probably because of the skinhead references in the excellent Venezula article they are circulating. Amusingly I beat you to the correction by around 1 minute.

I'll keep updating as I find web pages and other info so keep posting corrections folks.

violencia.prole...
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Jul 13 2006 16:44
Quote:
First of all, there is no such thing as "lifestylist" in that nobody identifies with this stupid label.

Of course they dont call themselves that, its a derrogatory term.

Quote:
More importantly, black blocs are comprised of anarchists involved in the anti-globalization movement, community organizing, ARA, and other campaigns.

You forgot crimethinc wink I'm not going to derail this thread in a debate over politics.

Chuck0
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Jul 13 2006 16:53
violencia.proletariat wrote:
Of course they dont call themselves that, its a derrogatory term.

Right, so it's of no use when discussing serious issues.

violencia.proletariat wrote:
You forgot crimethinc wink I'm not going to derail this thread in a debate over politics.

Crimethinc has been involved with black blocs, as well as people from more mainstream anti-globalization groups.

violencia.prole...
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Jul 13 2006 16:55
Quote:
Crimethinc has been involved with black blocs, as well as people from more mainstream anti-globalization groups.

My point exactly, why do you think I was using the term "lifestylist"?

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Jul 13 2006 17:00
Quote:
Right, so it's of no use when discussing serious issues.

So its kind of like workerist or leftist then?

The Edmonton Anarchist Bookfair usually gets a couple hundred people through. Also our IWW branch probably has about 20 or so people who would describe themselves as anarchists out of about 40 active members.

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Jul 13 2006 17:30
Chuck0 wrote:
violencia.proletariat wrote:
Of course they dont call themselves that, its a derrogatory term.

Right, so it's of no use when discussing serious issues.

That's not an argument - racists might not identify with or like being called racists, doesn't mean they're not, nor does it not make it a useful term. "Lifestylist" is a real term for people who believe in making lifestyle changes instead of building collective class power. The US scene is riddled with them.

rebelworker
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Jul 13 2006 17:35

I know your discussing the US but nefac has a couple dozen active members in the Province of Quebec and a by monthly press run of 3000 (population 7 million, still a long way to go).

Mabey the person you were talking to was only refering to US members.

RAAN is like the Crimethinc of leftists. They have no formal membership and some of their activities involve organising parcoure workshops (aparently its a sport based on running and jumping over things in an urban environ).

Other than that I think all your numbers are pretty correct.

rebelworker
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Jul 13 2006 17:42

Also from pictures Ive seen and what Ive heard, if there are 4000 people at the san Fransico bookfair (which might be acurate) then about 2-3000 of them are people most of us would want having nothing to do with anything we were involved in.

I litterally saw a picture of two body painted old men, naked, inflating their ball sacks with salein.

If they felt comfortable doing this there, Im sure there is a huge level of support for this sort of behavior being publicly associated with anarchism there aswell. MOst of the good Anti authoritarian organisers I have know who have spent time in the Bay area have dropped the label anarchist and now use libertarian communists because they wanted nothing to do with the people there.

We have had a slight problem with people in nefac feeling the same way, a few dont work with the group at all anymore because of the stigma anarchism carries in many parts of the US.

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Jul 13 2006 18:45

Oh, I thought of another one...

The tendency of much of the Anarchist movement in the USA to claim that consensus is the decision making process of anarchism. Even though it is largely the product of the anti nuclear movement in the USA and the quakers, and many of the larger libertarian groups around the world still use directly democratic majoritarian voting.

Chuck0
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Jul 13 2006 19:02

(1.0 First edition, July 13, 2006)

from Chuck0

The original e-mail exchange between Joe Black, myself and several other people revolved around my criticism of An Anarchist FAQ that—while it is an excellent overview of anarchism it really doesn't cover the full spectrum of contemporary anarchism. One response to my criticism was that American anarchism is not representative of anarchism around the world, which is something I never said. I think that even if you look at anarchism around the world, you will see interests, tendencies and practices that match, or are similar to anarchism in the U.S.

This exchange concerned what is being left out of An Anarchist FAQ. The FAQ can't cover everything, but you would think that a lengthy document that has been in the works for ten years would more fully represent contemporary anarchism.

It is worthwhile to find out how American anarchists self-identify in terms of political labels. One can compare that information to the content of the FAQ. Fortunately, we do have some data on how American anarchists self identify. Infoshop News has run polls about political labels (http://www.infoshop.org/inews/pollbooth.php) and we conducted an extensive survey in 2002 of (mostly) American anarchists (http://www.infoshop.org/survey2002_results.html).

As an American anarchist organizer, based in Kansas City, and as the webmaster for the most popular anarchist website in North America, let me flesh out the full picture that is U.S. anarchism.

1. Organisations and number of people in them

First of all, it has to be understood that most American anarchists are not part of specifically anarchist organizations. Many are involved in anarchist-oriented groups and projects, while others are involved in coalition and community groups, and others aren't active, either out of a dislike for groups or because they are busy with their personal lives. I suspect that this picture holds true for anarchists around the world, with more anarchists outside the U.S. belonging to anarchist organizations than in the U.S.

**Mostly anarchist**

Anarchist People of Color Network (APOC) – Network with dozens or hundreds. Has an annual meeting.

NEFAC - Several locals. Several dozen members (according to an email I got yesterday from a member).

NAF - Don't know anything about NAF

CTC - Atlanta people, don't know size

SCAF - Based in Los Angeles and southern California. Several dozen people

IWW - Over 1200 members.

GPAN - Great Plains Anarchist Network. Several dozen people in towns from Wyoming to Illinois. Semi-annual meetings usually have at least 50 people.

Institute for Anarchist Studies

Crimethinc Network – unknown, core members probably add up to 20 people.

Food Not Bombs - Dozens of chapters in cities and towns across the U.S. Usually the first part of a local anarchist scene that develops in small towns. Thousands of anarchists. (http://www.infoshop.org/wiki/index.php/Food_Not_Bombs_USA)

Alternative Media Project - Runs Infoshop.org and other projects. Nonprofit run by a seven member collective.

C.A.L. Press - Nonprofit that publishes Anarchy magazine, Alternative Press Review, and books. Less than a dozen members.

RAAN – Network with small collectives in several cities. Dozen or more members?

Anarchist Black Cross Network

Anarchist Black Cross Federation

Small anarchist collectives - unknown number of people, these include ones with names and without. Throw in some affinity groups in this category.

Collectives that run infoshops - see below

**Local anarchist scenes**

New York City - NYMAA (New York Metro Alliance of Anarchists) has meetings with more than a hundred participants. Also see here for full list of projects.

Infoshop's AnarchoHood section is a good place to get an overview of anarchism in U.S. Cities and towns: http://www.infoshop.org/wiki/index.php/Anarchist_Neighborhood

Also see: http://www.infoshop.org/forums/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=2 and http://www.infoshop.org/forums/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=37

**Anarchists in other groups**

ARA Anti-Racist Action

RASH – Anti-racist skinheads

SDS - new student anti-war movement with a presence on many campuses. Dominated by anarchist and anti-authoritarian students.

Earth First - Not sure how big this network is these days. Numbers would be hard to determine given ongoing Green Scare repression.

Indymedia - many anarchists involved in local IMCs. There are anarchists involved with other independent media, including pirate radio and community radio.

Local unions - Includes organizers and anarchists who are active in their trade union or similar.

Community groups and coalitions - Some anarchists who work as community organizers.

Animal rights - Lots of anarchists involved in this movement.

Book Through Bars and similar groups

Mutualaid, Riseup,net and similar radical ISPs.

Critical Mass - Still a significant movement around the U.S. Rides in S.F. and NYC still get hundreds of riders.

Food co-ops and housing co-ops - Widespread.

Bands and record distros - Still big. MaximumRocknRoll has anarchist columnists.

Znet, Clamor, etc. - Anarchists involved with large progressive magazines.

**Other movements with anarchist members**

Pagans - Starhawk and friends

Catholic Worker - Local houses and groups

Rainbow family - The movement that does the annual Rainbow Gathering.

Artists

Anarchist librarians - I run a list with several hundred members, many of which are not anarchists.

Anarchist lawyers, doctors and other professionals.

**Other places to find anarchists**

Universities (faculty, staff and students) - Several anarchist student groups exist. Anarchist faculty.

2. Circulation and frequency of publications

**Publications**

Anarchy - quarterly, 6,200 print run (Winter 2006)

Alternative Press Review – semi-annual, 4,500##

Anarcho-syndicalist Review – 1,350##

Crimethinc publications: Fighting for Our Lives (500,000 copies) , Rolling Thunder magazine (3000 copies, two issues), Harbinger newspaper (100,000 copies each for five issues), Hunter/Gatherer and others. More on the extensive Crimethinc project at: http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=20060403151117469

By the way, Crimethinc publications have been translated in Hebrew and Italian, and probably other languages, thus demonstrating an international interest in their politics and works.

Fifth Estate: 4,100##

Industrial Worker – 11 times a year, 5,500 copies (November 2005 circ statement printed in newspaper); 5,258 in 1999##

Perspectives on Anarchist Theory – Published by IAS.

The Match! - Once or twice yearly, several thousand copies

Murder of Crows - one issue so far, insurrectionist mag from Seattle, 1500 copies (?)

Northeastern Anarchist - Annual, 2000 copies(?)

Social Anarchism – journal published in Baltimore, 900#

Green Anarchy - Thousands

Practical Anarchy – irregular, 500-1000 copies (name change with next issue)

Slingshot – 15,000 circulation

Arsenal – Out of Chicago, probably a 1000 copies

Earth First! Journal – 3,500##

Profane Existence – New version of magazine, still sells thousand of records and other materials

MaximumRocknRoll - ??

The Shadow – New York City newspaper

Anarchist zines: Dozens of titles: Black Badger, Communicating Vessels, Free Voices...

Anarchist blogs: Tens of thousands of readers

## From the 1999 edition of “Annotations: a guide to the independent critical press” published by the Alternative Press Center. Most anarchist publications have increased circulation since 1999.

**Websites**

Infoshop.org – 200,000 unique monthly visitors

Flag.blackened.net (all sites but Infoshop) – 100,000 unique monthly visitors

Altpr.org – As popular as Infoshop on some days, 100k+ unique monthly visitors

Crimethinc websites

Anti-politics.net

APOC website

AK press website

3. Size and frequency of events like book fairs

**Bookfairs

San Francisco – Annual, 2500-4000 attendees

Mid-Atlantic -

Midwest bookfairs – several hundred

New England - ?

Providence – part of larger bookfair

**Conferences

NCOR – Annual conference in D.C., run by anarchists. 1500 people.

BASTARD – Bay Area conference during SF Bookfair, hundreds

Renewing the Anarchist Tradition (RAT) – Annual, Vermont.

Anarchists and Academics – Held in L.A. in April, 50-75 people

Anarchism and Christianity – put on by the Jesus Radicals

Rainbow Gathering

Earth First conferences

Crimethinc convergences and tours

IWW annual conference and regional conferences

Burningman

Anarchist librarians and Radical Reference (dozens)

Born in Flames

**Other events (speaking tours, etc.)

Anarchy magazine tour (ongoing)

Feral Visions

4. Number and size of infoshop, social centres etc

Around 50 in the U.S. and Canada. Infoshop collectives usually have at least a dozen members.

New ones in Springfield, Mo., Kansas City. Atlanta is developing an infoshop.

Midwest: Arise (Minneapolis), Crossroads (Kansas City), Radish Infoshop (Springfield, Mo), Boxcar Books (Bloomington, Indiana), Brighter Days infoshop, Broad Vocabulary, Idle Kids, Infoshopnow.com (Toledo), Madison Infoshop, New World Resource Center (Chicago), Paper Match, Rustbelt Infoshop, S.P.A.C.E. (Suburban Project for Autonomy, Community, and Equality), Solidarity! Revolutionary Center & Radical Library (Lawrence), The Planet, The Wire: A Community Resource Collective, Cream City infoshop (Milwaukee), Rainbow Bookstore (Madison) and more

Northeast: Brian MacKenzie Center (D.C.), Red Emma's (Baltimore), Lucy Parsons (Boston), Bluestockings (NYC), Behind the Rocks Infoshop (New Haven?), Wooden Shoe (Philadelphia), A Space (Philadelphia), Big Idea Infoshop, Black Sheep Books (Vermont), Ironweed Infoshop (Albany), Mad Hatter's Tea Room + Infoshop, May Day Books (NYC), New Jersey Infoshop, Social Justice Center Infoshop (Albany, NY), Better than Television (Charlottesville, VA), Paper Street Infoshop (Richmond, VA), Rebel Books, Rocktown (Harrisonburg, Virginia) and more...

Southeast: All People's United Infoshop (Fayetteville, Arkansas) , El Kilombo Intergalactico (Durham, North Carolina), Internationalist Books (Chapel Hill, North Carolina), Iron Rail (New Orleans), MadRatz! Infoshop (Atlanta), The Firebrand

California: Bound Together (San Francisco), Gaian Mind (Los Angeles), Long Haul (Berkeley)

Northwest: Left Bank Books (Seattle)

5.Number of people who march as anarchists in protests.

Anarchist participation numbers in the thousands for large national protests. Hard to tell because not all anarchists dress the same way. wink

See Infoshop News for reports and account by anarchists on their protests.

6. Presses and libraries

Anarchy Archives – Cambridge, Mass.

Kate Sharpley Library – Berkeley, Ca.

Emma Goldman Papers – Berkeley, Ca.

Labadie Collection – University of Michigan

AK Press – Oakland, Ca (collective has at least 8 people)

Autonomedia – New York

See Sharp - Arizona

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EdmontonWobbly
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Jul 13 2006 19:15

For infoshops in Canada there is Haymarket Books out of Calgary Alberta Canada, Turning the Tide in Saskatoon, and the Mondragon Cafe in Winnipeg. As well I know there are a few in the Toronto area, and Spartacus Books in Vancouver.

Also for book publishing there is Black Books (very small and I'm a member of said collective) as well as Black Rose Books in Montreal.

Also what is anarchist about the Rainbow familly?

What is anarchist about burning man?

Chuck0
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Jul 13 2006 19:16
EdmontonWobbly wrote:
Oh, I thought of another one...

The tendency of much of the Anarchist movement in the USA to claim that consensus is the decision making process of anarchism. Even though it is largely the product of the anti nuclear movement in the USA and the quakers, and many of the larger libertarian groups around the world still use directly democratic majoritarian voting.

I may be guilty of arguing that consensus decision-making is the decision making process of anarchism, but I'm only one anarchist. The U.S. anarchist movement does not argue this position, if it were capable of having some kind of common voice. Many anarchist groups use consensus process because it IS an anarchist process. It's not the only anarchist way to make decisions, but it is a process that works well for many groups and situations.

The biggest opposition to consensus within the anarchist movement comes from workerists and anarcho-leftists. I don't understand this, but it is interesting to find these anarchists in the same camp with the ISO and authoritarian leftists on this issue. I think some of this has to do with ignorance about consensus and outright disinformation that is passed around, like your false comment that consensus is largely the product of the anti-nuclear movement. In fact, consensus is used by thousands of anarchist and other groups and projects around the world. It is the most common decision-making method within co-operatives. The anti-nuclear movement did use consensus, but the use of consensus is cross-cultural and predates recorded history. Most of what I learned about consensus came from a college class on West African history.

Chuck

Chuck0
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Jul 13 2006 19:18
EdmontonWobbly wrote:
Also what is anarchist about the Rainbow familly?

What is anarchist about burning man?

There are anarchists involved in both movements. Rainbow is where you can find a bunch of middle-aged hippy anarchists.

Chuck0
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Jul 13 2006 19:30
rebelworker wrote:
Also from pictures Ive seen and what Ive heard, if there are 4000 people at the san Fransico bookfair (which might be acurate) then about 2-3000 of them are people most of us would want having nothing to do with anything we were involved in.

Heaven forbid that normal people should show an interest in anarchist books, magazines, speeches and art! Anarchism should be for a select in group of people who know the lingo and who will lead the world to global revolution. Oh wait, that sounds like a bunch of Maoists stuck in the anarchist ghetto.

rebelworker wrote:
I litterally saw a picture of two body painted old men, naked, inflating their ball sacks with salein.

Really? Does this frighten you?

rebelworker wrote:
If they felt comfortable doing this there, Im sure there is a huge level of support for this sort of behavior being publicly associated with anarchism there aswell. MOst of the good Anti authoritarian organisers I have know who have spent time in the Bay area have dropped the label anarchist and now use libertarian communists because they wanted nothing to do with the people there.

Good for them! I wouldn't want to work with any dipshit who changed political labels because some people came to the bookfair and expressed their political freedom in a way that upsets the "serious organizer." This is hilarious, given the sheer number of young people who sport tattoos and piercings. That stuff makes this middle-aged anarchist uncomfortable, but you don't see me changing my political label because some of my comrades have lip piercings.

These people aren't just uptight dipshits, they are very likely to become suburban reactionaries someday. To think that ANY RADICAL PERSON LIVING IN THE BAY AREA would change their label because some dudes display their weirdness at a FUCKING ANARCHIST BOOKFAIR IN SAN FRANCISCO. Jesus Christ, San Francisco is the World Capital of Weirdness! Did these "good" anti-authoritarian organizers miss the anarchist history workshop? Anarchism has a long history of embracing weird people. It's not unusual to see nudists at anarchist conferences, esp. older anarchists. Anarchism has always been about freedom and liberty for the individual, so it's hard to take anybody seriously who stopped calling themselves anarchists because of some weird people in the anarchist movement.

rebelworker wrote:
We have had a slight problem with people in nefac feeling the same way, a few dont work with the group at all anymore because of the stigma anarchism carries in many parts of the US.

Hey, maybe they should become lawyers, librarians, used car salesmen or Maoists. It's silly to run away from a label because of what you perceive as a stigma. What you do is organize and change things so that the stigma goes away.

Smash Rich Bastards
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Jul 13 2006 19:33
violencia.proletariat wrote:
Secondly, I thought NEFAC was much larger than 100 people. If I'm not mistaken (I'll ask a member to make sure) their collective in Montreal had at least edit, way off haha people alone. Is the 100 your counting the American members or the total organization?

Don't believe the hype.

Honestly, I'd say these days 100 people would be a very generous estimate. Our formal membership is significantly less. But yeah, we have a number of supporters, members who have moved out of the region, ex-members who are still sympathetic, etc. which probably pushes us somewhere around a hundred within the general sphere of NEFAC.

Even if I think he is a bit rosey in his outlook of the contemporary anarchist milieu in the US, I think Chuck gives a pretty good over-view of currently active groups and projects. How relevant some of these are groups and projects are, and the overall merit of their politics is another discussion...

violencia.prole...
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Jul 13 2006 19:47

First of all. I think this would be a good list if it focused on class struggle anarchists and anarchist groups. Crimethinc is a pile of shit who's only value is their ability to mass produce phamplets/etc.

Quote:
I don't understand this, but it is interesting to find these anarchists in the same camp with the ISO and authoritarian leftists on this issue. I think some of this has to do with ignorance about consensus and outright disinformation that is passed around, like your false comment that consensus is largely the product of the anti-nuclear movement.

I don't think we're ignorant of consensus, we just realize how unpractical it is. One it is time consuming. Secondly it allows for people with strong overbearing personalities to bullshit until people accept their opinion.

What is wrong with majority voting?

Quote:
In fact, consensus is used by thousands of anarchist and other groups and projects around the world.

Proof?

Quote:
It is the most common decision-making method within co-operatives.

So? We aren't trying to establish cooperatives, we are trying to overthrow capitalism.

Smash Rich Bastards
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Jul 13 2006 19:53
Chuck0 wrote:
The biggest opposition to consensus within the anarchist movement comes from workerists and anarcho-leftists. I don't understand this, but it is interesting to find these anarchists in the same camp with the ISO and authoritarian leftists on this issue.

I have always said that the two most destructive contributions the Quakers have left society is the modern prison system and consensus decision-making. Haha...

Really though, I have worked extensively with consensus-based groups over the years (Food Not Bombs, Homes Not Jails, etc.), and, though I may adhere to the politics of "workerism" and "anarcho-leftism" in Chuck's eyes, it is through my own direct personal experiences led me to be highly critical of this method of decision-making.

I have seen too many projects and initiatives lost to inertia and indecision... too many strong personalities dominate meetings without any mechanism to keep them in check... activity proposals and political discourse watered down to appease everyone... etc.

I would argue that the confused liberalism that permeates the contemporary anarchist milieu in the United States is a direct by-product of the culture of consensus.

Though I have many differences with alot of Murry Bookchin's politics, I'd say his critical writings (based on his own experiences in concensus-led groups) are spot on and should be required reading for anarchists everywhere...

<a href="http://www.geocities.com/collectivebook/bookchin.html">Boochin on Consensus</a>:

Smash Rich Bastards
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Jul 13 2006 19:54

Ooops...

http://www.geocities.com/collectivebook/bookchin.html

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EdmontonWobbly
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Jul 13 2006 20:02

It is easy for the argument from here going on to whether or not freaks are welcome in the movement. Frankly that isn't a question, people involved in politics are oddballs, and I don't just mean anarchists radicals or even lefties. The libertarians I used to run into on my university campus were just as strange as the people from the NDP who were just as odd as the anarchists. Political people are freaks, and that includes a small town anarchist that smokes far too much reefer like myself.

But there is a big difference between accepting people for all their personality quirks and making them feel comfortable, and building a movement based on freakieness. The problem with much of the anarchist movement in north america is that it is solipsistic. Much of the leading anarchist periodicals and its main website put forward a similar point of view (and by this I mean infoshop, AJODA, Fifth Estate etc), and then tar anyone who is closer to the anarchist movement outside of North America as 'workerists' implying we are closer to Maoists than any sort of anarchism.

The truth is that anywhere outside of North America Rainbows (bless their souls) and the Burningman festival would not be considered anarchist. Many freaks may be anarchists, but just because a freak happens to be an anarchist doesn't make everything they are involved in anarchist by extension.

Chuck0
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Jul 13 2006 20:08

That Bookchin essay on consensus is full of shit, coming from a guy who was constantly promoting New England town meetings as some kind of model style.

Consensus works. There is no getting around that fact. Of course, groups using consensus have their problems and the process can sometimes exacerbate those group problems. Another reason why people are turned off of consensus is that many of us bring baggage from a hierarchical, capitalist society into these groups. Consensus works best when it is used in a group full of people who take an ACTIVE role in the process. It doesn't work so well in groups full of people who just want to show up and have other people make proposals and do the dirty work of group process.

Sure, there are sometimes strong people who dominate consensus-based groups. This is also the case in groups that use other methods. But in consensus, other group members can use the process to restrain any strong leaders.

Why can't anarchists use majority rule process? Because majority rule process ISN'T ANARCHIST! Do I need to provide links to the wealth of anarchist writing on the tyranny of the majority and similar critiques of majoritarian decision-making? The rule of a majority in a group over the minority is the opposite of what anarchists want. We want a non-hierarchical, egalitarian society and consensus-based process is one way of practicing what we preach.

A common criticism of consensus process is that it is time-consuming. It can be time-consuming, but any real democratic process is going to be time-consuming. Meetings of any kind can be time-consuming. If you want meetings to go faster, you should get involved with the process. If you don't like long meetings, then perhaps you should just skip meetings. The other option is to join the SWP or the fascists. I'm sure that their meeting are short and efficient.

I can tell plenty of anecdotes about dysfunctional ways that consensus is abused by anarchists. It's not the only way that anarchists can make decisions, but it is anti-anarchist to reject consensus totally in favor of an anti-anarchist process like majoritarianism.