Anarchism Gathering 1 – inclusiveness

13 Aug

On Saturday I went to St-Imier in the Swiss Jura to take part in the first international anarchism gathering in almost 30 years, which took place in the region where the very first Internationale was hosted by Bakounine in 1872. I wanted to see the principles of anarchism in practice, test some of my ideas on reality, and observe where the movement is heading. The crowd was varied in terms of age, gender, race, and nationality, the small town was quiet and the weather beautiful. It was fun to see anarchists everywhere on the streets, more numerous than the inhabitants venturing outside. I walked around town, saw an arts exhibition, bought zines at the book fair, read outside by the river, listened to traditional anarchist songs, went to a workshop on civil disobedience, participated in an anarcha-feminist assembly, attended a lecture on non-violent action, and chatted with an Austrian who has recently discovered anarchist politics.

Like other alternative gatherings I have been to (such as BiCon), it was both extremely stimulating and a little overwhelming. You get to see an alternative world in action: free prices, vegan food, cooperation, creativity and plans for a revolution become the norm. For a short time, society follows a different set of principles and organises itself around other values according to self-management. Instead of wondering if I’m competent, I found myself volunteering. Instead of asking someone for permission or confirmation, I realized I could enact what I wish to see. I forgot to wonder whether I fit in and started taking an active part in the event. Personal boundaries and assumptions were thus questioned and sometimes directly challenged. I hope that the experience will inform my daily life in the future so I can keep this alive. If you have been to the gathering, I would love to hear from you!


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