Anarchists at U.S. Social Forum 2010

By Charlene Obernauer


Amid the thousands of activists who gathered together for the U.S. Social Forum (USSF), hundreds of anarchists established a deliberate presence. The New World from Below anarchist convergence presented a highlighted track of anarchist and anti-authoritarian workshops included in the main USSF schedule: a convergence space that included Food Not Bombs-catered food every morning and evening, facilitated discussions about anarchist tactics and ideologies, and hosted live music!


The New World from Below organizing collectives started working together several months before the convergence. The collectives included members of the Institute for Anarchist Studies, Solidarity and Defense, Midnight Special Law Collective, Team Colors Collective, Manifesta Musicians’ Collective, Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, the Trumbleplex, City from Below, Red Emma’s and AK Press.


The day before the convergence began, a call went out for space volunteers to come to a general meeting. Nearly 50 activists gathered in the back room of a local bar and spoke about what they wanted the convergence space to become. While the Organizing Collectives already knew some of the events that would take place during the week, the facilitated discussions and autonomously organized workshops were up to everyone to create.


The convergence itself included workshops organized by a variety of collectives and organizations from Picture the Homeless to Pittsburgh Organizing Group. After each day of workshops, free food was served at the convergence space and facilitated discussions occurred. On Thursday night, nearly a thousand people packed the convergence space with a hip-hop show and fund-raiser for the Student Farmworker Alliance, a student-led organization that acts in solidarity with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.


The convergence finally concluded with a folk punk show, which celebrated an anarchism that brings people together as organizers, intellectuals, strategists and insurrectionists alike with the same pre-figurative vision: a New World From Below.

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