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(en) US, Brunswick, Fix Shit Up: Anarchism in Action - Another take on the G8 activities

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Mon, 14 Jun 2004 09:31:18 +0200 (CEST)

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Deprived of the opportunity of writing about masked anarchist
hordes pillaging Georgia's coastal communities, both local and
national media have been forced to cast about for new angles on
the G-8 summit story. Still committed to searching out the
dreaded Anarchist Peril they have found themselves drawn to the
Fix Shit Up project (FSU), the most high profile anarchist
initiative taking place in Brunswick, GA during the summit.
Those looking for the bang-bang of militant posturing were likely
disappointed. Rather than the brick and slingshot wielding
stereotypes that they and their colleagues in the corporate media
have done so much to promote, they found a crew armed with
hammers, crowsbars and other tools busily engaged in cleaning
and repairing decayed housing in the African-American section of
old Brunswick. Just how they will spin this story remains to be
seen. One thing is certain, the usual frame of the "violent"
anarchists versus the "non-violent" protestors is out the window.

So what exactly is this FSU project that has re-written the media
script on Anarchism at G-8? According to released statements,
FSU is a project associated with the Southeast Anarchist Network
(SEANET), which links up various individuals and groups
throughout the south. FSU member Caitlin Childs described the
project as an initiative by members of SEANET who believed it
was necessary for activist to accept leadership from the local
community in Brunswick.

The initiative was originally brought forward by Anarchists in the
Atlanta vincinity and was discussed in detail at a convergence
held earlier this year in North Carolina. Afterwards, activists
contacted local Brunswick civil rights leader and Green Party
Activist Rev. Zack Lyde. "Rather than coming in and doing
something without knowing what the community wanted, we
wanted to make contact with the community and let them lead
us." said Childs. "We heard that the Lyde family owned these
homes and were thinking about using them as housing for young
mothers or for homeless folks in the community. We thought that
sounded good so we got in touch."

Members of FSU followed up by making the long trip down to
Brunswick, meeting with the Lydes and checking out the
proposed work sites. They then took responsibility for providing
tools and logistical support for the volunteers who would be
arriving in Brunswick to help with the project. This was no small
task since the project encompassed repairing no less than four
separate residences. Caitlin estimates that around a hundred
volunteers have participated in the project, most of whom were
from around the southeast but including folks from as far away as
the west coast and Vermont.

Not surprisingly, local authorities threw a few obstacles in the
way of the FSU. Police came by the most prominent work site
located on Martin Luther King St. and demanded a building
permit. Later, housing code inspectors arrived. This in an area
where it was clear that some rental properties would not have
passed even the most superficial code inspection. Failing to find
any violations that would have allowed them to halt the work,
officials claimed that all trash and rubbish taken from the house
could not be left on the curb but had to be removed immediately.
Childs says that the volunteers rose to the challenge,clearing the
house and the property of all the rubbish in about thirty minutes.
"It was very obvious that there was nothing they could get us on
so they were just going to nit-pick and find some way to make our
job more difficult but they actually motivated us."

In some ways the media swarm that descended on the FSU
volunteers was ironic, considering some of the criticism the
Anarchists had received from within their own ranks. Says
Childs,"In the anarchist movement there was some criticism.
People who had no idea what our motivations were tried to say
we wanted to look good for the media, that we were just catering
to the media when in fact we were exactly the opposite."
According to Caitlin the FSU was very clear about their stance
towards the media, "We knew there would be media here, so we
were prepared but our goal was not to have a story about the
activists. We wanted the media to focus on Brunswick. To focus
on the community. To focus on the specific project rather than
the 'anarchists coming down'." Indeed, printed statements from
the FSU make it plain that their project was conceived from the
perspective of giving direct aid to a community already victimized
by corporate globalization.

In Childs' view, FSU has succeeded in its primary goals of aiding
the Brunswick community and demonstrating "anarchy in

"We've had amazing support from the community. Amazing
leadership from the community, things have come together and
we have been really successful in what we wanted to do."

As for FSU's impact on the public perception of anarchism,
Caitlin smiles and has the following to say.

"Some members of the Lyde family have said that if the media
ask them they'll say that we've done more for the community
than the US government has ever done."

Link: http://atlanta.indymedia.org/newswire/update/index.php
Copied from infoshop.org

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