Report from Anarchy Summer Camp


The Self Described Anarchist Collective (SDAC) organized an Anarchy Summer Camp this year from July 17 to 19 in Northern Virginia to prepare for the upcoming G-20 protests. I traveled there with some of my friends and comrades from North Carolina. We arrived almost an hour after the camp began and were startled to see a very active and merry Police Tactics workshop in the large open area between the four cabins. This workshop included discussion on police tactics and formations, and incorporated role-playing exercises, which allowed individuals to actually see what these formations looked like and react to them.

There was an area set up as a free market, which included many zines, ranging in topic from insurrectionism to class struggle, biocentrism, the G-20 and more. There was also a kitchen with lots of vegan friendly food available throughout the weekend.

The camp held two days of workshops, including one on how to run a successful boycott (from Isaac in NEFAC), more tactical trainings, a discussion of anarchist legacy, security culture and many others. These workshops allowed for all of us to interact and share our perspectives and ideas, and with any luck, it helped to create stronger understandings of many issues.

My favorite workshop of the weekend was on car maintenance, facilitated by a member of SDAC. Because so many of us were huddled around the open hood of the car in the parking lot for this workshop, we were able to spot two suspicious-looking, fat middle-aged white men get out of their gold truck (Pennsylvania plates), take pictures of everyone's license plates and then film us. For the most part, everyone stayed relaxed, and we simply censored our workshops until they left.

The main event was a presentation from members of the Pittsburgh Organizing Group (POG) and the Greater Pittsburgh Anarchist Collective (GPAC). Their PowerPoint presentation can be downloaded from the Pittsburgh G-20 Resistance Project's Web site ( The presenters discussed a wide variety of issues, including the geography and history of Pittsburgh, potential tactics and other organizing groups' efforts around the G-20.

Inspired by this discussion and presentation, many of us have been discussing our tactical options in Pittsburgh, considering how to be most effective both during that weekend and long term. It seems very likely that almost everything the delegates do - including sleep - over the course of the weekend will happen inside a security perimeter downtown. Disruption will prove difficult. With this in mind, and in an effort to constantly evolve our tactics, a good amount of discussion has been generated about the effectiveness of depending solely on disruption-style tactics. How do such tactics build our movement? Many are coming to the conclusion that other tactics are potentially stronger, including "fix shit up"-style community support. It is the hope that open dialogue and critical thought can be put into tactical decisions, and the mobilization in Pittsburgh can leave not just some broken windows, but a stronger anti-authoritarian and anti-capitalist movement in Pittsburgh, as well as new models and motivation for the movement as a whole.

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