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(en) US, 2007: Anarchist Activity and Projects in Modesto

Date Sat, 29 Dec 2007 12:32:33 +0200





In late December 2006, the Direct Action Anti-Authoritarians (DAAA) Collective
broke up after 3 ½ years of intense organizing and projects. Many of the ongoing
projects that anarchists had been doing at the time like Food Not Bombs and
Really Really Free Markets stopped, however new anarchist projects and
activities came out into the open. This short run down is simply to let people
know what has been going on this past year in our fair city and to give some
idea to outsiders what anarchists have been up to in the past year. ---
Anarchist Events: --- Anarchists in Modesto continued to be active and put on
events that were open to the public and were involving. In January, anarchists
in Modesto helped organize the first Central Valley Anti-Authoritarian
Gathering, which took place at the Fresno CAFÉ Infoshop. In February, an
Anarchist Café was organized that included free food, a workshop on gender roles
and resisting them, free literature tables, and a live band performed. The event
happened outside in a park and various painted slogans were reported to have
been left behind at the scene. In April, a tour spot for Root Force
(rootforce.org) was organized and a crowd of about 35 people gathered to hear
the presentation and rock out to various musical acts. Also in April, the
Wingnuts Liberation Project (WLP), a radical mental health/radical addiction
recovery project organized a film showing and discussion around radical group
therapy and collective living at the CAFÉ Infoshop. In June, anarchists
organized an “Everything For Free Workshop”, which was presented at a local
Brown Berets meeting. This featured mainly information about getting food for
free, workplace and community organizing, and squatting. In August, another
Anarchist Café was organized, this time featuring a performance from the Santa
Cruz Trash Orchestra. Large tables of free food and literature were set up and
hundreds in Modesto’s downtown checked out the music, picked up anarchist
literature, chatted, and munched on free pizza and snacks. Performance and
interviews with the crowd were recorded and ran again and again locally on
public access station. Not everyone was happy, police commented to the Trash
Orchestra that, “We know who you are and we are not impressed.” In October,
anarchists organized a benefit show for Modesto Anarcho, which featured local
punk bands performing at the CAFÉ Infoshop in Fresno. Also in October, another
Anarchist Café was organized, although sadly this event largely was a bust
because the musicians performing were unable to make it due to car trouble. In
November, anarchists helped organize against the Fee Hikes at the CSU Stanislaus
campus, in an ongoing campaign against the Board of Trustees. In December,
anarchists in Modesto showed solidarity with their comrades in the nearby town
of Sonora, as about 20 radicals to the streets of Sonora to protest the police
breakup of a Sonora squatter encampment.

Ongoing Projects:

Critical Mass and Radical Mental Health Meetings were two ongoing projects that
were in part organized by anarchists in Modesto. Critical Mass bike rides were
started up again in July and continued at least until the end of this year,
although with the cold we are unaware if they will begin again. The size of the
rides grew upwards of 30 or so people (sometimes more or less) and generally
were organized through word of mouth, flyers in stores, and primarily through
myspace. The Radical Mental Health Meetings so far have only managed to attract
upwards of about 12 people or so, who come in and out. Meetings have gone on for
about 6 months now, and take place monthly. More information can be found at:
cvradicalmentalhealth@yahoo.com

Modesto Anarcho:

While not a group per say, Modesto Anarcho became an affinity group that
published not only the publication Modesto Anarcho which in 2007 celebrated it’s
1st year anniversary, but also has a large distro that does mailorder and
prisoner support. The ’group’ also publishes flyers on events and happenings in
the Modesto area.

Modesto Anarcho as a publication grew in 2007. The first issue was about the
actions and happenings of the DAAA Collective, but with the 2nd issue that was
no longer a reality. For the next couple of issues, the journal focused on some
local topics but generally published articles that were all over the place in
terms of theory, analysis, and opinion. With the publishing of issue #5, we feel
that the magazine has really come into its own and become something that we want
to share with all exploited and oppressed people in Modesto, regardless of if
they are ‘anarchists’ or ‘radicals’. In order to get the publication out to as
many people as possible, Modesto Anarcho is given away for free while tabling at
shows, protests, gatherings, and events that Modesto Anarcho Distro tables out.
Distributed free to prisoners throughout CA who request a copy and also in a
variety of free locations around the city. These locations include the local
library, coffee shops, and at the community college and local university.
Several free boxes are also located throughout the city where you can pick one
up, but some of these free boxes have been vandalized and destroyed so
anarchists were forced to stop using them. Various young people also take copies
to give out at school or to their friends. One way of describing the level of
saturating that the publications gets, is that instance in which people with MA
were tabling at an event at the junior college and MA was offered to someone.
They declined by saying, “I’ve already read that. I picked it up ….” More could
obviously be done for the publication and those involved of course want to
expand its distribution. MA also received a general audience among other
anarchists and has received feedback from far away places such as Europe and New
Orleans. Articles in Modesto Anarcho have gone far and wide across the internet
and have in some cases been translated into other languages. The publication has
had the opportunity not only to touch on local issues (which have been reposted
and used by other people in our area) but also to interview others such as John
Zerzan, Derrick Jensen, and the anarchist journal, A Murder of Crows (ba-caw!)
Anarchists have also made an attempt to get the publication into local places
such as the Long Haul Infoshop in Berkeley, the CAFÉ Infoshop in Fresno, and the
Bound Together Bookstore in SF.

Modesto Anarcho Distro appeared at a huge amount of places throughout 2007,
making us realize why Quiver Distro of Santa Cruz put in the towel in 2006 by
writing, “Your mailorder slaves' eyes are quivering from cathode-ray
overexposure and we need to put our energy in other creative directions for
awhile.” MA appeared at various musical, social, and political events throughout
2007 and met many people and expanded our network of friends and readership for
the publication. The distro also is a mail order project, although orders are
always a small trickle. Modesto Anarcho also started doing prisoner order (for
free in CA) during 2007 and has since developed a relationship with various
incarcerated prisoners in the California area. The distro is still looking for
prisoners in CA and in the Central Valley especially to send stuff to. If you
know anyone locked up, email at: anarcho209@yahoo.com. Modesto Anarcho also
appeared at various conferences and gatherings, giving workshops and talks.

Community Involvement:

Throughout 2007 anarchists were involved in community struggles to the degree
that we knew about them. In January, anarchists showed solidarity with those on
rent strike in Ceres by helping out at a demonstration called by rent strikers.
Copies of a flyer were distributed along with free stickers, posters, and a
banner was made as well that was hung and later given away. Large amounts of
free food and medical supplies were also given away. In March, flyers were
distributed at CSU Stanislaus by the group that were in solidarity with the
faculty strike (that didn’t happen). In May, anarchists participated in the May
Day marches, which again marched without a permit from Crows Landing road to
Downtown Modesto, although this year much more contained by the police. Also in
May, anarchists attended demonstrations put on by Hershey’s workers against job
lay offs; distributing copies of a flyer calling for sabotage and strike action.
These were all well received.

2008:

We hope that the future for anarchists in Modesto is one filled with tighter
connections between our projects and the rest of the working and exploited class
within this city and local area. We hope that the publication Modesto Anarcho
continues to reach other to those who can draw, learn, and find use in its
critique and call to action against the systems of domination and exploitation.
For now, the best way people can show solidarity with what we are doing is to
get in contact with us at:
anarcho209@yahoo.com

Or visit us on the web at:
www.geocities.com/anarcho209
www.myspace.com/modanarcho

We strongly urge all to download and copy Modesto Anarcho, which can be
downloaded for free via PDF wonder magic at either website listed above.

You can also view some upcoming events we have planned at:
http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=20071217150955501

Interested parties may also find this interview between the CSU Stanislaus
Newspaper, The Signal, and MA, quite interesting:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/11/09/18459629.php
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