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Archive for Saturday, May 25, 2002

Anarchist convention scheduled in Lawrence

May 25, 2002

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About 300 anarchists are expected in Lawrence next month for a national convention called the North American Anarchist Gathering 2002.

Organizers promise there will be no bomb-throwing.

"We have no intention of doing anything illegal," said Nicole Burton, 17, an organizer of the gathering, which will be in Lawrence on June 6-9.

"We want people to feel comfortable," she said. "So we're saying no weapons, no drugs and no authoritarian attitudes. If somebody starts talking about doing something violent, they'll be asked to leave."

In most ways, the gathering sounds like a regular convention. Instead of disruptive street protests, Burton said, there will be workshops and discussion groups. But the anarchist convention won't be at the Holidome or another hotel.

Most of the gathering's activities will be at an undisclosed campsite near Lawrence. Participants are being asked to register first at the Mother Earth Collective, 1305 Tenn.

More than 50 workshops are planned. The topics:

 Anarchism and White Privilege

 Radical Songwriting

 Surviving Sexual Violence

 Women's Anatomy and Self Cervical Exams

 Anarchist Revolutionary Strategy

 Herbal Methods of Birth Control and Abortion

 Bicycle Repair and Maintenance

 Combating Elitism

Practicing anarchists, Burton said, should not be confused with those who promote anarchy, the stereotypical bomb-thrower.

"We've been demonized by that image for 150 years," she said.

Instead, she said, anarchists believe in "pursuing a society where all people are equal" and one that puts cooperation ahead of the "dog-eat-dog, whoever-gets-there-first" tenets of capitalism.

"The only time anarchists get recognized is when there's a demonstration or when something bad happens," said anarchist Lowell Fletcher, 20. "When, really, the other 364 days a year, we're actively pursuing cooperative lifestyles.

"The focus of the gathering is on education, which is one of the main principles of anarchism."

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