The Gathering

The 1st Green Anarchist Gathering took place July 10–13, despite the FBI. The first site was a private campground at the intersection of the Appalachians and Alleghenies. The Feds thought it too close to one of the largest underground natural gas storage facilities in the US, a facility on the Homeland Security watch list, so we got a call from the campground owner: “Your event is being canceled. We’ve had several visits from the FBI and other law enforcement. You lied to us. You didn’t tell us you were terrorists.”

The FBI under Mike Hudak of the Scranton / Wilkes-Barre office had not only visited the campground but sent Pennsylvania state troopers to the township meeting to inform citizens of this redneck idyll of the vipers poised to descend on their community. “Just look at their web site,” they urged, giving them the URL to the Black and Green pages. Helicopters and black sedans then showed up. With help from a State Park official, we were back on track within a week at a new location only 60 miles away.

The Gathering

There were 100+ pre-registered via the web site and we were hoping for even more, so I opted for communal catering, like the Anarchist Teapot at EF!UK Gatherings. It was a younger crowd; out of the 80 there, only 10 of us were over 30. Most were from eastern and southern states. The downside of larger workshops was that organizers spoke too much and newbies too little.

A real highlight of the gathering was the two full days of primitive skill share with Tim, a ‘professional’ from the Teaching Drum School, who instructed the future primitives in tracking, shelter building, wild plant identification skills, and answered lots of questions in an informative and good-natured way.

There was a conflict resolution workshop where many of us found we faced the same issues with regards to finding alternative ways of dealing with conflict without making appeals to authorities. Many had been involved in conflicts with individuals who could be clinically categorised as ‘mentally disturbed’. We discussed how we all are misfits, but those who’d really lost all grasp of reality are drawn to activist communities whose tolerance and openness to society’s oppressed may be well known. Those with truly anti-social, if not violent, tendencies can cause real problems in terms of the emotional health of those around them.

Ted Kaczynski’s ‘Hit ‘Em Where It Hurts’ article (Green Anarchy #8) led to lively and most interesting discussion, especially to Fed infiltrators. Some of us tried clarifying arguments for economic and infra-structural sabotage.

There was a civ and patriarchy session that I found boring, with men in attendance professing their genuine open-mindedness and unconditional support of women in general and the women bringing up anecdotal evidence to the contrary.

I find this inevitably veers into the issue of rape, and then tends to be discussed in the same hypersensitive terms liberals use. As a woman and anarchist I find this discouraging. I can’t help but feel that elevating that particular violation to the status of most heinous just an ideology of women’s victimization beyond remedy. Too bad that the state has the monopoly on violence, our communities could sort out that issue amongst ourselves with much more success.

One goal of the Gathering was to exchange info, facilitated by the presence of the ‘A-Hole’, the Coalition Against Civilization’s tent full of Anarcho-primitivist scholarship and agit prop. The only security issue was potential confrontation with ‘Young Marines’ in the adjacent camping area, whose cries of “Yes Sir!” we had to endure each day, all day long, but nothing happened except their complaint that they saw someone from our group naked next to a car, changing clothes. Hope to see you there next year!