Anarchists Cook up Convention
- News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
The Daily News Record
Friday, September 30, 2005
Anarchists Cook Up Convention
Event To Feature Workshops In Harrisonburg
By Lee Zion
The anarchists are coming to town.
Harrisonburg's Rising Up Collective will host the first
Virginia Anarchist Gathering, a conference and networking
opportunity for Virginia-area anarchists.
The weekend event, from Oct. 20-23, will take place at
various locations in Harrisonburg and is expected to bring
about 100 anarchists to the city.
Harrisonburg resident Peter Gelderloos, 23, one of the event
organizers, said that the event would pull people from
throughout the state, as well as North Carolina, West
Virginia and the District of Columbia. Harrisonburg was the
ideal location, he said.
Laura von Dohlen, 20, and also from Harrisonburg, echoed
"We thought Harrisonburg would be a great location to host
such an event. There are numerous anarchists around
downtown, and we thought it would be a good time to hold
something like this," she said.
A preliminary schedule put out by the group promises "a
weekend of skill-sharing, workshops, passion groups,
networking, friend-making, strategizing, community
activities, music and good food." Other events include film
screenings and hiking, along with a "mutual aid" component
where people will unite to work on a community aid project
locally, von Dohlen said.
"We're bringing a lot of people into town. Why not bring
these people together to do something good for the town that
is hosting them?" she said.
Why Anarchy? Why Now?
Gelderloos cautions that the anarchist political philosophy
is not what people assume it is. For example, during the
coverage of Hurricane Katrina, the media reported tales of
chaos and hooliganism, calling this "anarchy."
But as it later turned out, the reports of violence in New
Orleans were greatly exaggerated -- and where it did happen,
it was in areas where the authorities existed, such as the
Superdome, he said.
The true story of Hurricane Katrina was that people were
quick to help each other in the face of adversity. More
importantly, they did it when there were no leaders stepping
up to the plate. That's the lesson of the past few months,
"In Virginia specifically, and in the country at large,
there is a growing amount of disappointment with government
over the war in Iraq. And Katrina has shown people they
don't need government, that they can manage their own lives
better without government," he said.
Meanwhile, a recent Supreme Court decision has made it
easier for the government to take away the property of
law-abiding citizens. Kelo vs. City New London, which
expanded eminent domain, has angered most business owners
and homeowners, Gelderloos said.
"The vast majority of the public say that government has
become such a centralized power that they can take homes and
businesses away. The government has gone too far when it
dominates an entire aspect of peoples lives," he said.
Anarchists, by contrast, believe in less government. They
are not a political party, but a gathering of like-minded
people, Gelderloos said.
Gelderloos invited anyone to come to the event.
"Don't be afraid. Anarchy isn't chaos, just because it's
been presented that way dozens of times," he said.
For information on the event, e-mail
Contact Lee Zion at 574-6274 or
Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
Lord Weÿrdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in
any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in
itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or
tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never
entered into any war, or act of hostility against any
Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no
pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce
an interruption of the harmony existing between the two
-- The Treaty of Tripoli, entered into by the USA under