The CrimethInc. convergence in Athens, OH is only three weeks away! Here we offer assistance for those traveling to it, a preview of some scheduled workshops, a detailed review of the policies announced by the organizers, and some resources we still need help acquiring. If you have any questions, email email@example.com. See you soon!
In response to the several requests we’ve received for a ride board, we can now direct those looking for rides to the convergence or looking to share space in their vehicles to http://www.crimethinc.net/board/. To post there, you have to register. You could also register and post requests and offers as comments right here on this blog entry.
Call out for Displays
In addition to the other “stations”—prisoner support, free literature, child care, and so on—there will be a “display” station, something like an anarchist version of a middle school science fair. Some of the displays already prepared include:
- a multi-panel geographic analysis of the Seattle WTO protests of 1999
- a memorial for Brad Will (a longtime anarchist and independent media cameraman who was murdered by representatives of the Mexican government in Oaxaca shortly after attending last summer’s convergence)
- a “How Did You Become an Anarchist?” display inviting participants to share their stories
…please brainstorm what you could add to this, and bring something exciting!
Workshops and Discussions
Traditionally, the workshop schedule is finalized at the beginning of each convergence, to enable maximum participation. Please put together workshops, performances, and discussions of your own to bring, even and especially if you’ve never done anything like that before! This is just a sneak preview of some of the workshops organized for this year:
“Direct Action Fast Track” Workshops
Earlier this year, at the National Conference on Organized Resistance, the Institute for Anarchist Studies presented “fast track” workshops dealing with anarchist theory. Accordingly, this year’s CrimethInc. convergence features at least two “fast track” workshops on direct action tactics for those already familiar with the basics of safe, responsible direct action. These focus on honing the skills necessary to play specific roles in affinity group action:
Direct Action Fast Track I: Communications Systems and Technology
With an eye toward upcoming mass demonstrations, this workshop provides participants with a working understanding of communications technology and tactical applications thereof. The class begins with a cursory overview and explanation of different technologies available to activists, before progressing to a discussion of which tactics might be most appropriate for a comms team to utilize. The workshop concludes with a fun, hands-on exercise in which participants can practice some of the things we’ve discussed.
Direct Action Fast Track II: Scouting and Tactical Planning
Complementing the communications technology workshop, this workshop focuses on scouting, planning carefully, stealth, achieving surprise, moving into and out of an area quickly, and thinking on your feet. It concludes with a fun exercise pitting participants against the comms workshop to utilize their skills.
…And More Workshops:
Stealing Your Education: Going To College For Free And Building A Network Of Education Thieves
What if education were free? Wait, it is! This workshop offers a hands-on skillshare on taking classes for free from universities that would normally charge you serious Benjamins. From picking interesting classes to approaching incredulous professors to starting an autonomous study group, this workshop covers all the bases and prepares you to learn without all the bullshit of actually enrolling. Anyone who has done this already is strongly encouraged to attend and share knowledge and experiences. If folks are so inclined, we will also discuss building a network or resource of some kind for people stealing classes, so that techniques and insider info on specific universities can be easily shared—hopefully leading to the creation of a giant, unstoppable hobo army of education thieves decommodifying education while they decolonize their minds.
Talking In Circles: Recollective and Improvisational Anarchist Storytelling from Beginner to Advanced
Discuss the history of oral traditions like Judeo-mythology and the epic of Gilgamesh, and the collective memories and myths of prison work songs like that of Casey Jones and John Henry. Learn to develop characters that listeners can relate to and effectively draw captivating story arcs. We’ll conclude by exploring the mechanics of a memorable story and the art of documenting events and actions within legendary storytelling.
Pessimism, Consciousness, Activism
Beginning a pessimistic dialog about morality, from a recovering activist.
The Outsourcing Of Coercion: Private Security Contractors And Their Implications For Anarchist Organizing
Outsourcing is nothing new. But what if instead of outsourcing call centers and textile manufacturing, you could outsource coercion? We’ve actually seen that before; corporations have used Pinkertons and paramilitaries to bust up unions for over a century. But now governments are getting in on the fun and hiring private security contractors to do their dirty work all around the world. Since 9/11, the market for private security contractors has boomed. Governments (as well as corporations) can now hire private armies that operate outside of the typical rules of engagement and are loyal only to those willing to pick up the tab. Corporate armies such as Blackwater International and Triple Canopy have been deployed in New Orleans, Afghanistan, Iraq, and many other conflict zones, and anyone organizing against war, the state, corporations, or in disaster areas will have to deal with them in the future. This workshop will consist of an explanation of the private security industry followed by a discussion/brainstorming session dealing with the practical implications of the outsourcing of coercion.
…covering tinctures, oils, salves, teas, and basic theory and use of herbal medicines within a bioregional framework.
Anarchy and Magic Tricks
A short lecture on what magic and anarchy have in common—and why it’s just so damn fun!—followed by lessons on how to perform a few magic tricks, some sleight of hand, and basic technique. Presented by a part-time professional magician and full-time anarchist.
How to Throw Your Own Really Really Free Market
Pick it up by the heels, spin it around, increasing momentum gradually until you can’t hold it any longer, then let it fly in the general direction of the windows of the nearest Town Hall building! No, seriously, the Really Really Free Market model is one of the most successful demonstrations of gift economics in recent North American history. This workshop will cover the successes and challenges faced by some of the Really Really Free Markets around the US over the past four years, to equip participants to organize their own.
Presentation from Unconventional Action on the Democratic National Convention, 2008
No offense to animal liberationists, but it’s time to kick the donkey in the ass! By 2008 the Democratic Party will have failed to stop the huge disaster of the Iraq war, making the Democratic National Convention the perfect time and place to disrupt their political machinations and popularize radical ideas among an increasingly disillusioned American public. Thus Unconventional Action brings to you this information-sharing presentation and strategy session on anarchists’ role in the ’08 DNC in Denver, CO. This presentation will cover all the basics including a brief radical history of Denver police brutality, news and plans from local organizers in Denver, extensive city maps, strategy updates from folks around the country, and time for our own strategy and logistics discussions.
…And Yet More Workshops:
Presentation from the RNC Welcoming Committee in the Twin Cities_
- Security Culture
- Buddhist Meditation
- Sexual Abuse Survivor Discussion Group
- How To Support a Sexual Abuse Survivor Workshop
…and plenty more to be announced.
The organizers of this year’s convergence have some requests to make of everyone who participates. Please respect the wishes of those who have worked to make this event happen. If you don’t like these policies, use this event as a chance to find others with whom to organize your own convergence according to your own desires.
Respect — We ask for your respect for the campsite and the town of Athens. We aim to leave as minimal a trace as possible on the land we have selected for this year’s convergence. This means disposing of your trash in a manageable fashion and shitting in the designated areas. While in town we ask you use great discretion while interacting with Athens and the local community. Please no aimless graffiti or otherwise destructive behaviors.
Consent — Any interaction you have with others here, whether sexual or otherwise, should be consensual. Silence and passivity do not count as consent. If someone says no to something or is unsure and you badger them until they say yes, that’s not consent; if someone is intoxicated they may not be in a position to give you consent. If someone says you violated their wishes, that counts as breach of consent, whatever a court of law would say. By the same token, don’t define others’ experiences for them: the person who has an experience gets to decide whether or not their wishes were respected in it, and also what, if anything, the community should do about it.
Security — Security is a consent issue just as much as sex is. Don’t say or do anything that puts others at risk without their express permission: don’t speak about their involvement in illegal activity, don’t endanger them by your own actions. Be aware that you may be under observation by your enemies at all times. Don’t alienate others by speculating about whether they are informants or ostracizing them based on suspicions; at the same time, don’t put yourself at risk by trusting people just because they’re here. Also, please don’t break the law in Athens, as that will cause trouble for all of us; there will plenty of time after this week to hone your criminal skills. Food, shelter, and everything else you might want are already provided here.
Drinking and Drugs — There is a strict policy of no alcohol or drug use on the campsite. This is for several reasons, but the most important are to comply with the express wishes of our host and to avoid giving the authorities a pretext for harassing us. If you do wish to drink or use intoxicants, please do so elsewhere, perhaps in a home to which you’ve been invited. There is no judgment or morality attached to this policy; the last thing we want is an obvious division between people who drink and people who don’t.
Photographs — Don’t photograph anyone or anything without permission. This is also an issue of consent and respect.
Fires — Another request from our host: all fires should be kept inside fire rings; Athens is suffering one of the worst droughts in recent years.
Exclusion — Because we need this convergence to be a safe space for everyone, people who violate these policies may be asked to leave. In cases of breach of consent, both sexual and security, we will 1) trust the survivor and 2) abide by the survivor’s wishes. For example, if you gave information to the police about someone without their permission and they don’t want you in this space, we will ask you to leave; likewise, if you have sexually assaulted someone and they are comfortable with you being here as long as you participate in a mediated discussion about their boundaries during this event, we will ask you to do so, or else to leave1.
Some Resources We Still Need
If you can provide any of the following, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
- Propane tanks
- Single burner stoves
- 5-gallon buckets
- Money and/or foodstamps valid in OH
- Free photocopying
- Tents and tarps and rope!
- Tremendous quantities of free radical literature
This is not a matter of permanently excluding “undesirables” from the anarchist movement, but simply of making things work in a limited space for a limited time. People can be asked to leave the campsite without being exiled from our communities. If anything, this simply provides an incentive for individuals and communities to work out their conflicts in advance of events like this, so we won’t all have to deal with unresolved conflicts here. ↩