Category Archives: Anarchism

DC interviews the Comité Organizador de la 3ra Conferencia Anual de la NAASN, Puerto Rico

The Comité Organizador de la 3ra Conferencia Anual de la NAASN, Puerto Rico accepted the heavy mantle of organizing the third annual North American Anarchist Studies Network Conference in Puerto Rico this year, which is scheduled for January 7-8th, 2012 in San Juan. The organizational committee includes two teachers, a farmer, an artist, a student, and a poet. In this interview they provide an in-depth introduction to the history of organizing the conference, the state of anarchism in America and Puerto Rico specifically, and the past, present, and future of anarchist studies.
For more background on the Committee and the Conference, see their mission statement.

Q Interest in having Puerto Rico host this conference began a long time ago – I know that in Toronto last year the idea was certainly floated around, and people on the listserv began suggesting it immediately afterwards.
What was the initial reaction to the idea among Puerto Rican anarchists?
Who picked up and ran with the idea in the early stages?

A We cannot speak of a concerted reaction among Puerto Rican anarchists because although there’s an always evolving non-written history of organizing, there isn’t that much of an anarchist milieu going on from where to draw any explicit opinion. Nevertheless, there are certainly some moderately small groups with different agendas, in addition to anarchists in other socialist organizations as well as individualists, who have nodded their heads in agreement, recognizing the importance of opening spaces for the discussion of such thinking on a bigger scale. At first, members of the ad hoc NAASNPR committee presented the project of housing the third NAASN conference to other groups akin to anarchist thought, but since they were mostly focused on other projects it was put on hold. The first formation of the organizational committee structured the foundations of what would be the conference itself (booking the first venue, the call for papers, the announcing of the event, etc.) and eventually other comrades got in touch to help volunteer with issues such as food, artwork, planning, logistics, writing, and transportation, among others.

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Obama Won, What Next?

My first chance to vote came four years ago. Going against some of my then-burgeoning anti- establishment sentiments, I supported John Kerry, thinking that a Democrat in the White House could halt some the mistakes done by George W. Bush and perhaps even make some improvements in the world. I was more hopeful about the system then, optimistic that Americans could unite and take back the power from the right wing…. I was a little disappointed when this didn’t happen that year, though I recovered from Kerry’s loss quickly (deep down I knew he was a dud). I realized that there wouldn’t have been any significant difference between the two candidates.

Now, in the second election I’ve been able to vote in, I abstain and there is a Democratic victory. It’s an irony that forces me to reflect on America’s changing political landscapes and new horizons. Election results like this are precisely what I had hoped for in 2004, but since then I’ve become a vote-avoiding anarchist and radical. And while most Americans are generally still beholden to the political beliefs that gripped them for the last 8 years (as evidenced in the popular vote), I have jumped ship just as Obama’s election seems to have provided legitimacy to the Democrats and so-called “progressive” political stances. There seems to have been a symbolic defeat of political cynicism, which since the 60’s (at least) has been the one golden thread connecting all Americans together. All we hear is a patriotic chorus of “Yes, We Can!”


A vision for SDS II

The following by was coauthored by DC and presented at the inaugural convention of SDS II

In the broadest sense we understand Students for a Democratic Society to be an organization working to promote democracy through creative organization, discussion, and engaged political activism. Past this broad statement of purpose we want to communicate our thoughts on the particulars of how this is all done.

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