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(en) US, Milwaukee Anarchist Year in Review for 2006

Date Sun, 24 Dec 2006 10:32:44 +0200

A year end summary on the activities of area groups The Cream City Collectives (CCC), The Milwaukee Anarchist Black Cross (MKE ABC), Milwaukee Anti-Racist Action (MKE ARA), The Burnt Bookmobile Collective (BBMC), as well as other projects from Milwaukee anarchists. ----The Cream City Collectives (CCC) ---- The CCC has been open since early September and had been meeting for more than a year before it got a space. The collectives involved so far are the matilde anneke infoshop collective, the printmaking collective, a loose association of individuals who organize gallery showings, and the umbrella collective which is everyone coming together and working out the details of how the space runs and stays open. The space offers free films (now twice per month), free information in the form of literature, art galleries, events, books and things like books, clothes, patches, pins and other things to pay for rent and expand the overall project. The opening and existence of this space (with all of it’s shortcomings) is a good indicator of a growing and more mature and organized radical community.

The objective is to be a resource rather than a business. It’s hard to get used the idea of paying rent and thinking about money in an anti-capitalist project. Until people will no longer have to worry about rent and the constant fundraising through keggers (a problem in itself for a number of reasons), bake sales and so on, they will hardly have time to do as much of what the space exists for. It would be easier to not worry about money if there were more people coming in and seeing value in the space enough to support it financially, but people may not see value in the space if it does not offer the resources and empowering sense of community that it purports to. It needs to depend on a radical community to be sustainable, but that community does not exist (yet).

It should be seen as much as an experiment in an attempt at living our politics, by creating a space to relate to one another non-hierarchically. We cannot break all our conditioning or escape our socio economic context just by changing our worldview. Images, labels and words are not enough to destroy this society and make way for a new one. We must live the politics of the society (or the lack thereof) we esteem to. To fail at this is to accept defeat and prevent more than the dream of a worthwhile future from existing.

Nothing like this space has existed in Milwaukee since the Italian anarchist run “Dramatic Lovers Social drama Study Group” before the 1910s. There is the Peace Action Center, which is still run by the old guard of authoritarian 1960s activism, but unlike them we must esteem not to be limited to identity, ideology or a paternalistic and expert division of an activist outlook.

The CCC could use a lot more help and more involvement from those who are already loosely involved. The more people that can be involved in collective decision making the easier it will be on people who are taking a lot of the load of keeping the space open. The more decentralized decision-making becomes the better as well.

The Milwaukee Anarchist Black Cross (MKE ABC)

There was a table at the Crimethinc. convergence this summer in Winona Minnesota that had information about political prisoners and prison abolition with materials available to write letters to prisoners. People realized how easy it was to offer the minimal amount of support and combat the isolation that prison imposes on people through a lack of connection to the outside by spending a bunch of time writing letters at the table. The least we could do would be to set up an ABC in Milwaukee to support people who live our ideals most intensely and are caught doing it. The most we could do would be to destroy prisons and the societies that produce them (being the end goal of ABC).

The Milwaukee ABC met about every Thursday at 7pm with potlucks and a number of people showing up. Starting in 2007 the ABC will start meeting at the Cream City Collectives at the same time and day, but every other week instead of every week. This will hopefully allow for the space of more people and will be more open to the public in general (compared to being in someone’s home) and it should go well with the “burn all prisons” banner that is hanging on the wall.

We run the risk of doing the states work of pacifying opposition if we only of react to repression by making people aware of it, rather than combating it. It’s up to us to decide what that means for our given situation. Cultures that not only support the repressed but ones that resist and end the existence of what represses need to be fostered (insurrectionary cultures of resistance).

Milwaukee Anti-Racist Action (MKE ARA)

The ARA in Milwaukee formed this summer in response to and climaxed with National Socialist Movement (NSM) rally in Madison. Other things that it has done are; the Labor Day march with the IWW, anti-retaliator skins organizing, and distributing information.

There is plenty or racism that needs combating in a number of different ways, but MKE ARA has been primarily focused on Anti-fascist organizing and information gathering. Being that radicals and anti-racists are targets of fascist attacks organizing is as much about our own physical safety as it is about fighting fascism out of principle alone. The seriousness of this kind of organizing has had a sobering effect on a number of the people involved and has allowed people to learn better security culture, more intelligent tactics/planning and for some much needed networking between different cities and states in the Midwest (mainly Madison and Chicago).

The Burnt Bookmobile Collective (BBMC)

The bookmobile has now existed for about three years now and could be argued to be a significant contributing factor in furthering the growth of an anti-authoritarian and anarchist radical community in Milwaukee. It has brought many angry and bored individuals out or isolation from one another and helped people articulate that anger. The bookmobile has distributed 1000 plus books, and given out thousands of free pamphlets, all at shows, bloc parties, at universities, radical events and sometimes on the side of street.

Other events and projects of 2006
-May Day
-March 18th anti-war protest
-Oaxaca Solidarity
-Anti Green scare organizing (solidarity organizing)
-Tons of fundraising (CCC, ARA and ABC)
-Road trip to the national conference on organized resistance and the Crimethinc convergence
-Anarchist soccer
-Discussion groups
-Vegan potlucks
-Direct action trainings
-Depression counseling
-Immigrant solidarity
-Anti-police/police brutality organizing (in response to Jude verdict)
-Milwaukee’s Indymedia Collective

Planned and prospective projects
-Legal aid defense
-Milwaukee anarchist zine

All of these projects could use a lot more help. People are more than welcome to participate in whatever ways they’re comfortable with and are encouraged not to limit themselves to these projects or in general.

If you’re interested in hearing more about upcoming events or getting involved join this listserve;

mkeanarchy@lists.riseup.net <http://www.infoshop.org/inews/mkeanarchy@lists.riseup.net>
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