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(en) US, Kansas, [smygo] Media: City's Anarchists Discover There Truly Is No Government Like No Government

From Dan Clore <clore@columbia-center.org>
Date Fri, 1 Aug 2003 13:26:49 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

Originally published by The Pitch Jul 31, 2003 From pitch.com -
Authority Question BY ALLIE JOHNSON
Anarchists think government is bad.
And some Kansas City anarchists haven't found any reason to
believe otherwise after dealing with the Jackson County Land Trust.
This past winter, the anarchists formed a committee to raise
at least $15,000 to create a library and community center --
a headquarters for radical politics similar to the
Autonomous Zone in Chicago or CAMP (the Community Arts and
Media Project) in St. Louis. But first they needed a building.

In March, N. H. started the search by calling the
Land Trust -- an agency that is supposed to maintain and
sell all the deserted buildings and empty lots that nobody
buys at tax-foreclosure auctions. A Land Trust employee
answered the phone and told Hoffmann the office had no idea
which buildings it owned.

"They basically told us to drive around and look for
buildings that look like they're abandoned, then write down
the address and they'd look it up for us," H. says.
"They said they had been running on a budget of zero for six
months to a year."

H. and his comrades probably could have given the Land
Trust some pointers on how to be unorganized without a
budget, but apparently nobody there thought to ask. (The
Land Trust's problems might stem from the fact that it's run
by not one but three bureaucracies. It's overseen by a board
of three members -- one appointed by the city of Kansas
City, one by Jackson County and one by the Kansas City
School District.)

Undaunted, the anarchists were determined to get some help
from the government agency. They wanted to end the
oppression of being forced to meet in coffeehouses,
restaurants and basements.

Meanwhile, they decided on a catchy name -- the
Revolutionary Education Community (REC) Center. Once the
center opens (within a year, they hope), people will be able
to come in and kick back with the writings of, say, Howard
Zinn. (Zinn's books aren't in abundance on the shelves of
Kansas City's public libraries, which makes us very, very
suspicious.) The REC Center will also house groups such as
Food Not Bombs, which gives away vegan food made from
restaurant freebies. As they made their plans, committee
members tried to ensure that nobody would be in control of
the project. After the center opens, the committee will
disband. The various groups housed in the center will then
rotate members in and out of a "spokescouncil" that will
make all decisions. If there's a disagreement about an
issue, the spokescouncil will "talk it to death" until it
reaches a solution, says committee member F. F.

After much persistence, the committee finally obtained a
list of properties available from the Land Trust. But it was
confusing, with no zip codes or physical descriptions of the
properties. Last month, they started driving around to check
out spaces; a fund-raiser with music and poetry readings is
tentatively set for late August.

Even though they don't believe anybody should be in charge
of anything, the anarchists were appalled at the disarray of
the Land Trust. At one point, committee member J. W.
went to the agency's office to get some answers.

"Oh, my G. It looked like a tornado had gone through
there. And officially, there's nobody running it," W.
says. "It's just this very odd, sort of defunct program."

Dan Clore

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