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(en) US, Media, Anarchist People of Color to gather in New Orleans

Date Sat, 14 Jul 2012 10:18:07 +0300

Beginning this week, a group of Black anarchists will gather to strategize alternative solutions to what they say are oppressive constructs that plague people of color. The Anarchist People of Color (APOC), an enigmatic group of subversives, will be hosting “The APOCalypse,” a national convergence that will be a social incubator for those concerned with a range of societal and economic issues. ---- APOC is a group created to address race, anti-authoritarianism and the political struggle of people of color within the context of anarchism. The group, which insists it is not an organization of any kind, does not believe in any form of dominance and questions the role of governance in the lives of Americans, specifically Black Americans. The group held its first national conference in 2003 on the campus of Wayne State University in Detroit.

APOC adamantly contends for a simple structure of horizontal order, meaning it has no leader. Instead, the group argues, they work consensually to address the needs they believe are neglected by government and political organizations.
The convergence, which takes place in New Orleans from July 12-15, has been coordinated by a group of APOC members who have met over the years. The cadre of zealots assert that while the focus will be through the prism of anarchist people of color, any and all people of color, anarchists or not, are welcome to attend and engage in the event’s open dialogue on topics relating to racialization, capitalism, justice and solidarity.
“If you have an interest in changing the way people interact with each other, if you feel like the system in this country is not working in your favor, perhaps you might want to have a different kind of conversation,” said APOC representative Mayaba Liebenthal about nonanarchists who may be intrigued by or even skeptical of the group’s mission. “This is a space to do it and be open to other ideas.”

Liebenthal said that despite an African-American president in office, people of color remain suppressed by government and capitalism, among other things. It is for this reason, Liebenthal said, that members do not discuss elections nor did she reveal whether they, as a group, engage in voting for elected officials.

In fact, much about the group remains a mystery, something that seems to be done on purpose.

Instead of discussing politics, APOC members will gather to discuss alternatives to such things as the current justice system, which Liebenthal denigrates for its many cases of police brutality, and state government, which they are concerned may lead to dictatorship.
Liebenthal, however, said that a main focus of the convergence will be the healing of people of color from modern-day oppression.

APOC coordinators expect about 200 people to attend this week’s convergence. In New York, Liebenthal said, coordinators are rallying caravans to drive to New Orleans.
Liebenthal said she hopes the “space” will not only facilitate healthy and legitimate dialogue, but bring about sustainable ways to keep their mission alive.

“People enter into movements and then they get stressed out, get hurt and leave,” Liebenthal said. “That’s a question of longevity. If we want to fight all of these systems, we can’t just get hotheaded in our 20s and then phase out in our 30s.”
For more information about the APOC convergence in New Orleans, visit www.apocconvergence.info.
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