We’re excited about a project that we saw announced the other day on AnarchistNews.org: a zine focused on the difficulties of being an anarchist in a small town. Hopefully it will help to spur an increase in conversation about what it means to be an anarchist in a small town or even in larger towns where there are few anarchists:
“Small Town” Anarchists zine: call for submissions
Anarchists nowadays are transient people, usually looking to move to the next cool place: Oakland, Seattle, Montreal, etc. Many of us want to be somewhere where ‘shit’s going down’, or at least where there’s a large pool of fellow weirdos to befriend, date, and develop ideas with. While this is understandable, and we are not trying to lay some kind of moral judgment on people who move to the Bay, there is an obvious effect to this: small towns and cities without active scenes become deserts of anarchist activity.
Just to be clear: by ‘small town’ we mean anywhere with a small anarchist population. If Dallas, Texas has no other anarchists and you live in Dallas, we want to hear from you. (we sincerely have no idea if it does, sorry potential Dallas anarchists!)
Not all of us have moved to the next big thing. There are plenty of anarchists living in cities where they went to school, raising families in small hometowns, or moving to wherever they find work. While not hotbeds to radical activity, we believe that there is interesting potential to living in small towns, or starting to build something in a city ‘from scratch.’ Furthermore, longstanding presence in one area builds relationships, allows us to stumble into resources, and increases the chances of our ideas spreading throughout the populace. You can’t have a social center if everyone’s just going to move in a year.
This project is meant to bring to the table small town potential for anarchists, discuss the pros and cons to longevity, as well as provide room for sharing experiences, running ideas by each other, and even simply coping with being amongst almost zero other like-minded people. We also hope to challenge the narrative that in order to be doing something one must move to ‘the next cool place.’ This is meant to be an ongoing project, one where a person makes suggestion in one issue and someone else tries it out and writes about it in the next. Ideally we’d publish this bi-annually, but we’ll see how it goes.
Some potential topics to write about:
-If there’s no scene in our town, do we try to make one? Is it worth the baggage of ideological/social splits and drama? If so, can we learn from recent drama in established scenes and avoid those situations?
-Does being immersed with lots of anarchists, and forming our own weirdo-culture, disconnect us from the experiences and thoughts of non-rad people, making us less likely to intervene in resonating or relevant ways?
-What potential lies in small towns for creating autonomous spaces?
-What are some of the challenges of raising children as an anarchist? What about when there few to no other anarchists, let alone ones with children, in our lives?
-If we do want to make a scene, do we look externally at struggles to intervene in despite our small numbers or do we work on converting the anti-establishment liberals? Is there something inherently un-anarchist about looking at people with the intent of ‘converting’ them?
-What do anarchists do when nobody at their school is similarly-minded? Is tumblr really a healthy place to connect to others, especially due to how easy it is to be harsh to each other over the internet? Does this reliance on tumblr to appease loneliness shape us and how we think IRL?
-Punk scenes: yay or nay?
-Do small towns just act as receptacles to receive ideas and currents developed in areas with established, long-running scenes? Can we challenge this?
-If possible, when do you call it quits and move to somewhere bigger?
Submissions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submission deadline for the first issue is September 1st. Feel free to contact with any questions.
Small Town Organizing for Anarchists: https://www.sproutdistro.com/uploads/2012/02/zine-small_town_organizing.pdf