Spring is shaping up to be a busy season: Washington DC will host their 10th-annual National Conference on Organized Resistance (March 9-11), the Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair in San Francisco (March 16-17), Minnesota will host a networking convergence (March 29-April Fools, see below), the Great Lakes Anarchist Gathering is being organized in Ohio (April 13-15), and of course, the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair scheduled for May 20th.
There are plenty of projects to keep everyone busy this season—if you haven’t already, now would be a good time to begin laying plans for this summer!
Midwest Anarchist Networking Convergence
March 29th – April 1st, 2007
This spring, we’d like to invite you into our community for a networking event. If all goes well, our networks will allow us to be ready for anything; tours, prisoner support, actions, collaboration on projects and much more.
This event has its’ eyes on 2008, the year a well-known and widely despised event will occur in our state. The idea behind the convergence is primarily to meet face-to-face and exchange ideas and information. Besides networking, workshops relevant to the issues at stake will be presented.
As stated, we are welcoming you into our community. We hope that you would treat it as such. We hope you will give our community the same respect you’d give your own. You should expect us to respect you as well. We have a few requests to those who will be coming to our town.
The organizers of this convergence have some requests to make of everyone who participates. Sure, it’s not “democratic” to make up a bunch of rules before most people arrive—but laying basic guidelines for how people take advantage of locals’ organizing is a necessary condition of that organizing. Please respect the wishes of those who have worked to make this event happen. If you don’t like these policies, make use of this time to find others with whom to organize your own convergence according to your own desires.
Any interaction you have with others here, whether sexual or otherwise, should be consensual. Silence and passivity do not count as consent. If someone says no to something or is unsure and you badger them until they say yes, that’s not consent; if someone is intoxicated they may not be in a position to give you consent. If someone says you violated their wishes, that counts as breach of consent, whatever a court of law would say. By the same token, don’t define others’ experiences for them: the person who has an experience gets to decide whether or not their wishes were respected in it, and also what, if anything, the community should do about it.
Security is a consent issue just as much as sex is. Don’t say or do anything that puts others at risk without their express permission: don’t speak about their involvement in illegal activity, don’t endanger them by your own actions. Be aware that you may be under observation by your enemies at all times. Don’t alienate others by speculating about whether they are informants or ostracizing them based on suspicions; at the same time, don’t put yourself at risk by trusting people just because they’re here.
Drinking and Drugs
There is a strict policy of no alcohol or drug use on the campsite. This is for several reasons, but the most important are to comply with the express wishes of our host and to avoid giving the authorities a pretext for harassing us. If you do wish to drink or use intoxicants, please do so elsewhere, perhaps in a home to which you’ve been invited. There is no judgment or morality attached to this policy; the last thing we want is an obvious division between people who drink and people who don’t.
Don’t photograph anyone or anything without permission. This should be common courtesy, but some people have picked up bad habits from the corporate media.
Because we need this convergence to be a safe space for everyone, people who violate these policies may be asked to leave. In cases of breach of consent, both sexual and security, we will 1) trust the survivor and 2) abide by the survivor’s wishes. For example, if you gave information to the police about someone without their permission and they doesn’t want you in this space, we will ask you to leave; likewise, if you have sexually assaulted someone and they are comfortable with you being here as long as you participate in a mediated discussion about their boundaries during this event, we will ask you to do so, or else to leave. This is not a matter of permanently excluding “undesirables” from the anarchist movement, but simply of making things work in a limited space for a limited time. People can be asked to leave the campsite without being exiled from our communities. If anything, this simply provides an incentive for individuals and communities to work out their conflicts in advance of events like this, so we won’t all have to deal with unresolved conflicts here.
To state the obvious, known informants, snitches, and law enforcement officials will not be welcome.
We want this event to be all inclusive. Whether you are young or old, trans-bodied or non-trans bodied, queer or straight, parent or child (we will provide childcare); however you identify you are welcome in our community!
We are in need of people willing to do workshops and skill shares themed around RNC 2008 issues (i.e.: First Aid, Prisoner Support, Direct Action, etc.). Do you have something you’d like to share? Contact us.
Be prepared for the possibility of camping in Minnesota during the spring. This means varied weather; one day it could be 72 degrees and sunny, the next 23 degrees and rainy. We are working on housing, but please be prepared for this possibility. Also, if you could bring food for yourself and to share, we would appreciate the help. We are also working on food issues, but could use some help.
A redirect point has been established at the junction of Highway 61 and Huff Street (Winona Visitors Center). We will meet you there with open arms, as well as information about this event and our town. Hope to see ya soon!
Please RSVP with organizers via email.
Follow along with planning and developments of both the Midwest Anarchist Networking Convergence, and the Great Lakes Anarchist Gathering at Midwest Action Network.