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(en) US, FAIRFIELD, California, Media: Different high schools, different reactions to student anarchist clubs

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 1 May 2003 16:16:50 +0200 (CEST)

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

> School wary of proposed club: Sophomore wants anarchist society at Rodriguez High School
FAIRFIELD -- Alicia Brown and her friends want to
start a decentralized, grass-roots organization at
Rodriguez High School where students can
exchange political views and engage in activism.

But school administrators were leery of the
proposed group's name - the Anarchist Club. They
said the name implied a violent group and anarchist
philosophy didn't agree with the school's policy.

On Friday, John Stockton, director of secondary
education, told Brown that although some are
disturbed by the club name, she still has the right to
go through the process to make the club official.

The student government and principal must
approve the club to make it a legitimate school club,
Stockton said.

"I reviewed the material submitted regarding the
purpose of the club," he said. "In reality it doesn't
truly match what most people think of the word. The
concept behind the club is fine. The biggest problem
is the name."

The club won't fulfill the anarchist stereotype of
terrorists who want chaos and blow up buildings, the
16-year-old sophomore said.

"Anarchism is based on individual freedom and
voluntary cooperation," she told the School Board
Thursday when she before the board seeking
support because school administrators told her they
wouldn't approve the club.

Principal Kevin French opposed anarchist groups,
he said in a memo. He thinks the group's concept is
positive but the name may encourage groups that do
want to disrupt school activities, he added later.

Brown thought of the anarchist club last year when
she and her friends were discussing which clubs
looked good on their college application. She found
an adviser, English teacher Jason Morace, and
wrote club guidelines.

Anarchists don't want disorder - they strive for a
society where everyone is equal and individuals and
groups practice self-management, she wrote to the
School Board. Because of that, they oppose all forms
of hierarchical control from either the state or
capitalists because it harms individual freedom. An
anarchist society is against using violence or threats
to coerce people.

The club would welcome people who don't agree
with them so they could learn each other's politics,
Brown said. Members would participate in events
promoting civil rights and other causes. The club
would produce a newspaper and organize benefit
concerts to raise money for groups such as
Greenpeace, she said.

The proposed club has rules stipulating that
members who are suspended for violent or
destructive acts will be ejected from the club until
the beginning of the following school year. Members
can also vote to revoke the membership of someone
who does something damaging to the club.

Brown faces difficulty meeting a high school club
qualification - officers. Because it's opposed to
hierarchy, the club wouldn't have officers so Brown
is figuring out how to work with that.

Webster's New World Dictionary has two definitions
for anarchism. The first reads that anarchism "is the
theory that all forms of government interfere
unjustly with individual liberty and should be
replaced by the voluntary association of cooperative
groups." The other definition is "resistance,
sometimes by terrorism, to organized government."
By Audrey Wong

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