Wow! It was an exhausting week for Alties (people who like alternatives to the mainstream) and ALLies! I’m (once again) a little behind my friend and comrade Julia who has already written this great piece on the goings on. But I’ll be sure to give a bit of a different (and perhaps a little longer) perspective on things.
Before I start however I’d really like to thank anyone and everyone who showed up to AltExpo X and at the ALL related-events (such as the left-libertarian introductory panel which had both members of ALL-oNE, NJ-ALL which should have video in the coming months!) and the ALL table. You guys really made it possible to keep going and keep our chins up through any of the nonsense that might’ve happened and the general stress of trying to set these things up and doing it right.
Thanks a lot!
Thursday 2/23/11 (TekArts Open House, AltExpo X)
The event for that night was a presentation by David Rosco on the viability of a peer-to-peer alternative to the internet itself! The alternative to the internet is called the Infogora and relies on P2P networkings and open-source software to keep things new, creative and of course free. You can just watch the presentation if you want to hear Dave give his own descriptions of it so I’ll just leave it at that. The event was well attended with well over 10 or so people if memory serves. Discussion continued for a few hours after the event stretching into the late night based on the talk and other common interests. Music was playing, discussions and clarifications were held and made, it was a great time for all who went and AltExpo X was off to a great start!
Friday 2/24/12 (AltExpo X in Manchester, Liberty Forum 2012 in Nashua)
AltExpo X in Manchester
Due to some logistical errors and mistakes (such as staying up too late the night before!) AltExpo X was off to a bit of a rocky start. We managed to get to the Quill in Manchester around 10 (instead of 9) but those who had arrived were relieved to see that most people hadn’t arrived yet. I then began my own talk on Voltairine de Cleyre (and I’ll do my own two hour full-length on Youtube or maybe make it an event and do it somewhere else like a live-streaming site such as justin.tv!) which ended up going past an hour before I even knew it! I meant to hand out this before/after the talk was over and throughout the talk I had to ask a friend to scroll down…so it was a bit disorganized. By the time I started talking we had a little over a handful in attendence and throughout the day the numbers of AltExpo X would fluctuate between 15-20 people in attendance. Even though all of that was the case however I was well received and a few people were even pretty impressed with both my knowledge and passion so that definitely boosted my morale.
Next up we had Darian Worden of C4SS.org as well as NJ-ALL who was speaking on left-libertarianism and its aims and ends. He did a fantastic job summing up what left-libertarianism was all about. Something that particularly stood out to me was Darian’s elaboration on the principles of power and how left-libertarians see it. They see power as not something that’s bad in of itself but only when such power is unequal among others. Unequal power among people means that people can more easily exploit and dominate others and since libertarians are against that we should support equality of authority among all people.
This goes back to some of Darian’s articles on C4SS most of ALL might be this article on building counter-power to create authority vacuums. Darian continued on to list some basic principles and demands that a left-libertarian may give (he stressed that this was a elaboration on possible left-libertarian values and not the defining presentation for it) and listed such things as removal of police brutality, foreign bases and more. Darian finished up with plenty of time to spare so a heart discussion over certain situations and which class (capital or labor) holds the most power or who would be our first target if we wanted to radically change the way we live. Darian summed up the left-libertarian position succulency on this matter as wanting to build up from below and wanting to cut down from the top. I think that position myself (naturally) has some credibility to it. If Darian ends up releasing his talk in text form or doing another video of it in the meantime then hopefully we can give access to it sooner rather than later.
Jack gave a talk on “New Libertarians” and summed them up as people who follow the New Libertarian Manifesto and want to help build the counter-economy and so on. I was running back and forth checking on the ALL-oNE table (of which, that’s only one side, I might add) and trying to get some lunch. So I ended up coming in and out of the talk but luckily hanging out with Jack for quite a while now I had heard a lot of what he was saying before. But it was important for him to get this message out even if he’s done it before and I’m of course glad that he did.
By the time it was Jack’s talk (which I forgot to get some pictures of due to my hunger and running around) the audience had gotten around to its peak of nearly 20 people in attendance (as in sitting in the talk area, this isn’t counting the other people hanging out in general). Considering the venue that the Quill was and the amount of people that the room could hold this was actually a decent amount of people. Especially considering that AltExpo had so much organizing to do and not enough time to really advertise it as much as possible we got a good crowd all things considered.
Up next we had Rocco Fama from the NYC Division of the Vote For Nobody Campaign who talked about how Nobody won the general election in NH and beyond. We also had Davi Barker and Matthew Cropp talk about their experiences in #OccupyWallSt. which led to a fascinating mix of a call for less electoral politics and more alliances with the people who come from the left. It was also a nice break from the Ron Paul fest that things usually are at these events so to see Rocco talk specifically against the Ron Paul campaign was a refreshing thing in of itself.
Moving on we had Teresa from Fr33 Aid (who wrote her own short summary of the events at LF 2012 and AltExpo X here) talk about non-profits and Fr33 Aid and their relation to the libertarian movement. Unfortunately once again due to my running around and trying to get the plans in order to head over to the Crown Plaza Hotel for Liberty Forum 2012 led me to miss good portions of Teresa’s presentation. Nevertheless Davi Barker (who I just mentioned) managed to get video not only of Teresa’s talk but also of Rocco’s talk. I know Teresa’s talk can be found on that short summary and hopefully Rocco’s talk will be uploaded soon because I know it was recorded as well.
Finally Kevin Innes did a talk on “Fearless Yoga”. I was off and on with this event as well, still trying to get some odds and ends organized but this was the summary of the event posted on the AltExpo X event:
“The Revolution begins within. So, is it possible to increase our courage, confidence and inner poise to be an effective and joyful activist for positive change? Meditation and yoga have been an acknowledged form of self-development that have been used for thousands of years to create a revolution in personal life. Kevin Innes has designed a series of exercises that are specifically designed to create a powerful synergistic effect to propel your life forward, and inward, thereby creating the Revolution within you, and around you, that you have come to this planet to experience. Are you ready?
He received advanced training in Sweden in 1979 and in India in 1981 and has taught in Germany, Austria, Greece, Yugoslavia, Nepal and Canada. These techniques he also incorporates into his teaching of music. His practices served him well during the two years he recently spent in jail as a political prisoner.”
If you’re interested in that then hopefully the video of that will be released soon!
Liberty Forum 2012 in Nashua
After some hectic last-minute organizing Jack managed to make it for a panel he’d be on about the agora in NH at Liberty Forum in the ampitheater. Unfortunately due to the time it took to get there I missed Jack but the video should be up soon with decent quality both in sound and video. For now there’s this short clip of Jack speaking in so-so quality (both video and audio wise).
Once I got there it was time to check out the ALL table and what a table it was! See some of the things we sold here, here and here. The table would be later re-organized but this was the way it stayed for a while. When I got there it was early in the evening, around 5 PM and I rushed around to copy and print handouts for AltExpo, my presentation on Voltairine and of course ALL-oNE. I managed to handout quite a few copies of the ALL-oNE fliers (with a little over or less than half of what I originally had which was 25) and a few Voltairine handouts as well! I managed to meet up with ALL of my ALLies including Bile and Tennyson from NJ-ALL, Patrick Coleman of statistsanyonymous.com, supporters of ALL like Steven J. Howard and others! It was a great time and there was hardly anyone who had negative things to say. Most importantly plenty of things were sold including multiple copies of Markets Not Capitalism. On the subject of that book, ALL-oNE’s own copies of MNC didn’t arrive until the next day and so we decided to save it for future events. I’ll talk more about future events a bit later though.
Once all of the catching up to do was done, dinner among ALLies was held at the nearby bar and restaurant t that was in the hotel itself. Mid-way through Jack and I had to see what we could do for the remaining AltExpo X speakers in the Free For All that was taking place downstairs in the ampitheater. We managed to not only get in all of the speakers we wanted but also an ALL introductory panel. More on that later but in summation the day portion (and early evening portion) was a big success overall!
After a bit of riding to pick up Julia (who made the blog post that I referenced in the beginning of this post) we returned to TekArts to listen to Matthew Cropp give a presentation on Credit Unions and their appeals to anti-statists. It was chock full of useful information and even sparked a few ideas in my head as well as the last of my reserve energy. By then most people were exhausted but amazingly most people managed stay awake and not only then but pay attention rather intently. Afterwards there were some questions and comments from me, Julia, Jack and more. Once the talk was through discussions lasted a few more hours before most people started turning in.
Saturday 2/25/12 (AltExpo X in Nashua, Liberty Forum 2012 in Nashua)
Saturday was hectic but a bit more under control. First off, although most people slept in a bit more AltExpo X talks didn’t start until 10:30 AM (or around that time) so we ended up making it to Liberty Forum by around 12 PM. The day before during the planning process of the Free for All in the ampitheater we decided to have an ALL based panel to help introduce the people who were attending about the ideas of left-libertarianism from 4-5 PM. We also had Sharon Presley talk about how to stand up to authority which is a talk you can also find here, here and here.
Meanwhile Julia joined, Darian, myself, Tennyson, Bile, Patrick Coleman and others at the ALL table switching off and on. Eventually we switched up the organization of pamphlets to accomadate for some books from Liberty Books like these, these, these and these in a better location then the back. So we ended up doing this, this (which was Darian’s awesome idea!), this and finally this. The ALL/C4SS table ended up making probably over $100 while ALL-oNE didn’t make that much due to having to share space, poor logistics and so on. Nevertheless a few copies of NLM were sold (which is pretty important of itself) and ALL-oNE overall learned how to organize a lot better for future events. So it was very much a useful learning experience for ALL-oNE members.
The crowd at the Liberty Forum was surprisingly mostly receptive of us but we of course had a few people that were pretty hostile. One person who in particular who was fiery about the concept of “left-libertarianism” is described by Julia. I’ll quote her at length:
“”I don’t understand this,” he said. I could feel the contention just waiting to come out. “What’s up with all this ‘class struggle’, anti-bosses stuff? It sounds like marxism. Are you marxists?”
I thought to myself, no, words like “exploitation” and “struggle” are not just the words of marxism; they’re the words of our current reality.
Darian, Nick, and I tried reasoning with this guy. We explained how, as anarchists, we are against economic authority like bosses and landlords for the same reason we’re against the state. The propertarian, of course, tried to argue that bosses and landlords have every right to have power over others because those dominated by them have the ability to leave, which, apparently, can’t be said of the state.
I told him, “Being able to leave your boss doesn’t legitimize the boss’s power. If we lived in a society where there were stateless territories people could escape to, would that legitimize the state?”
He used the same old arguments we’re heard propertarians use to legitimize capitalism and delegitimize libertarian socialism. He asked us again to explain left-libertarianism to him in the same condescending manner he had when he first approached us. We handed him a copy of the introduction to Markets Not Capitalism (which we had been giving out for free), but he quickly put it back on the table. Nick explained that left-libertarian is an umbrella term. He pointed out that my views on private property are very much the mutualist and social anarchist notion of occupancy and use. He instantly became fired up. Once again, I told him that the reason for my views rests on anti-authoritarian principles, that private property and absentee landlordism create extremely authoritarian relationships and systems which I seek to abolish. Again, he used the whole, “it’s not really authoritarian because you can leave,” excuse, and again I told him that being able to leave does not legitimize anything. I decided to ask him how he would maintain his ownership of any land he didn’t actively use if we lived in a stateless society. He made some remarks about “mob justice” and then openly admitted that he’d shoot squatters on-sight. Not surprising. He also admitted that he’s a “minarchist” who doesn’t support a stateless society for a few reasons.
I decided to take a different approach. “As an anarchist, I don’t see why anyone would want to own more than they use,” I said. “I know we live in a society where who we are as a person is based on what we own instead of what we do, and of course, we’re always going to own stuff – possession is just a fact of life – but we should focus more on what we do and our relations with others instead of what we own. I know I wouldn’t care about owning that much stuff if I knew I was valued for who I am as a person.”
He didn’t seem to understand me, and soon enough he left.”
Aside from that however, most of our interactions were pleasant. This includes the ALL panel in the ampitheater. Darian, Tennyson, myself, Jack and Rocco all tried to do our best to introduce people to the ideas of left-libertarianism. We started off talking about what LLism meant to us and then what essays and books we recommend in relation to LLism and then took some questions. We ended up starting at 4:20 due to someone else wanting to talk and going on till a little bit over 5:20. It was a productive sessions that resulted in a bit of clarification in my own ideas as well as others and hopefully gave the crowd that we had at the time some things to think about.
To sum up ALL’s success I quote Julia again. This time it was a post she made on the Mutualism group on Facebook:
“Three hour sitting at the ALL table at LF and only one right-libertarian has tried to strawman us so far. I feel that’s a huge success”
The stragglers by this point for AltExpo X took off to TeArts for Julia’s talk which can be found here and was a very small but informative and informal session between friends and comrades. The ride up to TekArts was an…interesting one, but I won’t get into that and besides Julia’s post says more than I could possibly want to waste on it so check her blog out on the subject if you so desire.
There’s not much to say about Sunday, it was mostly filled with packing and getting organized for future events.
Concluding Remarks and Future Events!
Well, it was quite a wild ride for AltExpo X and ALL-oNE! Lots of excitement and a few more networks were extended via the events as well as hopefully some new alternatives brought to attention for some people. Overall AltExpo X and ALL-oNE definitely did a great job despite the snags here and there. We’ll make sure next time around we’re more organized and prepared for what’s to come.
Speaking of that there’s an anti-war conference in late March that ALL-oNE is already gearing up to make if possible. So we hope to see you there if we make it! Plans are being made for an ALL contingency in Chicago for the G8 and NATO protests as well as to make the NYC Anarchist BookFair in mid-April! Lots of events coming up and soon we’ll start using the calender more as well as creating an archives page so people can access tons of left-libertarian related sites, essays, books, videos and more!
Catch ya later!