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(en) US, Harrisonburg, Virginia: Media, The anarchists are coming to town and Up Convention

Date Sat, 01 Oct 2005 10:56:15 +0200

Harrisonburg’s Rising Up Collective will host the first Virginia
Anarchist Gathering, a conference and networking opportunity for
Virginia-area anarchists. Event To Feature Workshops In Harrisonburg
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 that point.

"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, Gelderloos said.

"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.

Court Decision

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 vagathering@yahoo.com.

Contact Lee Zion at 574-6274 or lzion@dnronline.com.

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