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(en) US, Media, The New York Times - HEARTLAND RADICAL Anarchy Explained By RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD Published: August 29, 2004

From Dan Clore <clore@columbia-center.org>
Date Mon, 30 Aug 2004 22:45:58 +0200 (CEST)


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Chuck Munson, 39, an anarchist, runs infoshop.org, a
Web-based clearinghouse for information on anarchism. A
veteran protester, he took part in several recent antiwar
rallies in Washington, where he lived until moving back to
Kansas, his home state, earlier this year. A librarian by
trade, he wants to open a radical-oriented bookstore in
Kansas City, Mo. He arrived in New York on Friday to protest
the Republican National Convention.

Q. Do anarchists differ from other radicals?

A. We are a lot different from other political entities in
that we are a lot more anti-government, anti-state. We say
that because we think people should have control of their
lives at the individual and community level, a sort of
radical participatory democracy.

Q. If there is no government or state, how would order be
maintained?

A. That's a question anarchists get asked a lot. People
think that you have to have a state to organize a life. But
I have a lot of examples of what people do in cooperation
everyday to organize their lives. There is a whole
Alcoholics Anonymous movement around the country and the
world. There are cooperative businesses. Most people are
familiar with the natural-foods co-ops. They are not ideal
because they have to function in a capitalist society.

Q. How would we get goods and services?

A. In an anarchist model, people would be working in a
cooperative workplace, worker-owned. We would be producing
things and people would do things voluntarily. We would
exchange goods and services, but the focus would be on basic
essentials, not on having 18 varieties of soap.

Q. Do you disavow violence?

A. I subscribe to a diversity of tactics, so I don't disavow
violence. But I like to see nonviolence as much as possible.
I think anarchists are all for a world that is a lot less
violent than the current one.

But I see some political uses of violence, and I understand
there are conditions and circumstances where people in the
streets -- activists -- will use violence either proactively
or most of the time in response to being attacked by the police.

Q. Why isn't anarchism more widespread?

A. I think what happened was in the early 20th century,
anarchism was pretty popular and was competing with
socialism and communism, and anarchists were not interested
in taking over the state, so they kind of suffered from
their attitude about the state.

So you had Communists taking over the Soviet Union and they
would persecute the anarchists. In the United States there
was a lot of hostility toward radicals and there were a lot
of active efforts, an active campaign to suppress anarchists.

Q. How did anarchism evolve?

A. Certainly, the protest movements of the 1960's had some
anarchist influence to them. In the 80's you had more people
becoming active because of Reagan. People were talking about
radical environmentalism more. . . . The punk movement was
pretty important. It has the philosophy of do it yourself, a
very anarchist idea. There was a lot of anarchist ideas in punk.

Q. Are there a lot of anarchists in Kansas?

A. Anarchism has some potential in Kansas. Kansas has a long
populism tradition, too. I think in '96, Perot actually won
several counties in southern Kansas.

Q. How do you think the convention in New York will play out?

A. The antiwar and antiglobalization movements have been
kind of down in the dumps since 9/11. There is a lot of
hostility towards dissent. People feel the need to police
themselves, police what they say. I think this will be a
pick-me-up for activists.

Q. What do your friends and family say when you tell them
you are an anarchist?

A. My friends understand my politics pretty well. I think my
family understands it. They are mostly Republicans right
now. They are active Republicans. They ask me why I didn't
protest in Boston. Well, I didn't have the money to go to
Boston. The anarchists organized demonstrations against the
Democrats, too. We're being fair. But everybody wants to
protest the Republicans. They are the party in power.

Q. How are you getting to New York?

A. I'm flying. American Airlines screwed up my flight to
Orlando back in June so I got a travel voucher. That was the
tipping point for me to go to New York. I was at a library
convention in Orlando, and I was there for too many extra days.


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