The 9th NEAN Assembly: A Report

By Dyconoclast

O.K., so it happened to coincide with Philadelphia’s second-most severe snowfall on record. Nevertheless, anarchists from Boston, Pittsburgh, Hartford, New Haven, Syracuse, Philadelphia, Albany, Binghamton and beyond made the trip to the Lava Space in West Philadelphia this past December, where but few of us could resist singing the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song.

The Wooden Shoe infoshop in Philadelphia organized and graciously hosted the Ninth Assembly of the Northeast Anarchist Network, where 30 or 40 of us congregated. The first day was dedicated to meetings, and workshops were slated for the second day. Saturday, as we noshed on dumpstered fruit, we discussed the following items (and more):

After a difficult but mostly respectful discussion about the last item, we drafted a statement that we hope to broaden with action: We will not tolerate sexual assault. NEAN demands accountability from assaulters, in accordance with the wishes of the survivors, whom we are committed to supporting.

The local Food Not Bombs brought glorious relief to the discussion with a delicious veg-heavy meal. We largely spent Saturday evening digging our vehicles and ourselves out of the foot-and-a-half of snow that had accumulated, and then digging our way into parking spots – only to dig ourselves back out again the following morning.

Back at the Lava Space, we learned that all of the workshop presenters were too bombarded with snow to be present. Undeterred, we launched into the planned G-20 reportback from organizers of the Pittsburgh G-20 Resistance Project. Though the presenters feared uninformed negativity from the crowd, most people in the room had not only been G-20 participants, but they also had positive reflections on the events and their the impact on Pittsburgh residents, Pitt students, anarchist participants and the broader U.S. anarchist movement.

When the assembly proceedings concluded, we still continued to reap what I consider the greatest reward of this Network: networking. In fact, if I were to criticize the planning of the assembly, it would only be that it did not include enough opportunities to network. As social anarchists, social connections are our strongest weapon against every form of oppression and repression. It is precisely these pleasant conversations over plates of food that strengthen our friendships and connections with like-minded folks from distant cities, giving us fresh ideas, energy and inspiration to keep loving and keep fighting.

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