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(en) US, Seattle, The Mourning Commute Collective** + media: "Preaching Anarchy Amid Affluence Can Be Daunting"

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 2 Jan 2003 07:34:08 -0500 (EST)

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

> Snapshot / Eastside people and places
> Preaching anarchy amid affluence can be daunting 
> Who: The Mourning Commute Collective: http://mourningcommute.tripod.com/ 
> What: Activist group for Eastside social anarchists. 

Origin: About two years ago, Aaron Kuller and Andrew Hedden
started the group after months of discussing politics at a
Redmond cafe. "We wanted to do more than just talk about
radical ideas," said Kuller, 19. The group now has seven
active members, ages 15 to 23. 

Actions: Since they united, Mourning Commute members have
dressed as striking elves to inform shoppers at local malls
about sweatshops, published an eight-page newsletter and
organized two Redmond teach-ins, both focused on U.S. policy
and the Middle East. 

Anarchy defined: Anarchy means "without authority." Mourning
Commute's vision derives from that definition  and from the
philosophy that power corrupts and people should be free to
act according to their own conscience. "Whether it is
possible for society to exist without any rules is not the
question - it is how we can help the system improve," Hedden
said. "We are about empowering people and raising

Fighting stereotypes: Members know the word "anarchy" often
evokes images of leather-clad punk rockers, broken glass or
hooded teens setting cars on fire. Mourning Commute says it
differs from others in the movement who seem bent on
destruction - like some based in Eugene, Ore., whose hostile
antics often get them ink. True anarchy, they say, is not
about disorder and chaos but a world without domination. The
group believes true democracy can only exist through true

How to build community: Members believe community-oriented
alternatives - gardens, block clubs, housing cooperatives,
barter networks, alternative schools, small theaters, study
groups, neighborhood newspapers and public-access television
- will help meet neglected community needs. "When people
become less dependent on capitalism, they become more
socially responsible, dependent on each other and skilled at
discussing social issues," Hedden says. "People are capable
of rational thought and in turn can be in control of their
own communities." 

Eastside roots: Kuller and Hedden say they sought to avoid a
life defined by SUVs and lattes. The teens immersed
themselves in study and relied on the international press
for U.S. news, which, they say, is less biased. They read
lots of books, including some by Noam Chomsky. "We learned
that society must start thinking beyond today's immediate
needs," Kuller said. 

The future: Mourning Commute says it's determined to make
change. The group promoted its latest event, a teach-in
featuring Seattle activist Bert Sacks, standing in the rain
in front of supermarkets. Members say they have been spat on
more often than congratulated. "The Eastside is not an
altogether friendly place for activism," Kuller said.
"That's why we want to confront the issues here, so people
can look at themselves and how they align with the rest of
the world." 

- Leslie Fulbright 
** mourning commute collective http://mourningcommute.tripod.com/

"concrete breeds apathy."

history of the collective

This statement, a constant work in progress, is the result 
of a combined effort to address the common ideology of 
each member of the collective. The following are the 
results of this exercise, and are composed of the 
collective's common ground, which we plan to use as a 
foundation for our future ventures.


Mourning Commute is concerned with our society's lack 
of empowerment and participation, both individually and 
communally. If there ever was a place that truly ached for 
a strong community with increased citizen participation, it 
is the suburban sprawl of East King County. We believes 
that many of our problems can be solved though the 
implementation of Social Anarchist ideals.


Social Anarchism embodies the belief that power should 
rest in the hands of the people, without the existence of 
hierarchies or centralized government. All people deserve 
the freedom to democratically determine their own 
methods of social, political, and economic practice within 
their own community. The absence of hierarchy is 
necessary for true equality and democracy to exist. 
However, hierarchy is ever present in our current 
institutions, ideologies, and social relations: it is the very 
foundation which allows discrimination and exploitation 
to permeate our society.


The gap between the rich and the poor continues to 
widen dramatically on both local and global levels. 
Multinational corporate conglomerates possess vast 
amounts of power through the wealth they have gained 
from the exploitation of workers and the environment. 
These corporations control most aspects of our lives, 
from the food we eat and the clothes we wear, to the 
products we buy: even the way we perceive the world, via 
their domination of the media. With the aid of 
organizations like the WTO, multinational corporations 
have the power to overturn any democratically instituted 
environmental, health, or labor law which threatens their 
exploitative methods for profit. These organizations are 
not comprised of democratically elected individuals, 
chosen by the people most effected by their decisions, but 
rather, of officials who are on the payrolls of the very 
corporations they are supposed to monitor. It is becoming 
increasingly evident that power must be returned to the 
grassroots level, before exploitation and total 
environmental collapse spreads to every corner of the 


The hierarchy of human over human, and the domination 
of human over biosphere, are directly related. The 
commodification and exploitation of the environment are 
just as important to address as the commodification and 
exploitation of humans and cultures. The Earth's 
biosphere is a closed system with finite resources, which 
means that growth cannot be unlimited. Our present 
economic system and population growth trends both 
attempt to defy the inherent limits on growth. Regardless 
of technological advancements (many of these are 
insustainable in and of themselves), a goal of unlimited 
growth cannot persist and will inevitably result in global 
collapse. Something which grows unchecked is cancerous 
and will eventually cause it's own destruction.
An interdependent diversity of species and an abundance 
of natural resources are necessary for a stable ecosystem 
and, therefore, a stable society. Mourning Commute 
encourages a course of action that runs counter to the 
present trend of our political and economic systems: i.e., 
to be concerned only with short term goals, without 
assessing their long term effects, at a great expense to 
future generations. Instead, we hope to improve the 
quality of life not only for ourselves, but for the entire 
community of life, and to insure that our descendents will 
be able to maintain and enjoy the fruits of our efforts.


Instead of putting our political energy into electoral 
campaigns for either of the corporate owned parties, we 
should be asserting our power and revolutionary potential 
to govern ourselves. We should not sit idly by and expect 
the wealthy elite, or the government who bends to their 
will, to save us from economic and ecological hardship. 
We aspire to a world where ecological disaster, worker 
exploitation, mass depression, warfare, disillusionment, 
prejudice, and the other problems of a hierarchical 
society, are the sad memories of a tortured past.

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