For our featured zine this time around, we’ve chosen “The A-Zone & A Decade Of Anarchy In Chicago.” The new zine is published by the Anarchist History Nerd Brigade and is one of several titles by that project aimed at uncovering more recent anarchist history.
In anarchist circles, there is often a tendency to for any discussion of history to go back to the early 1900s or the Spanish Civil War at the latest. While there may be good reasons for exploring the events of those periods and the actions of anarchists at those times, it’s also important to try to understand the not-so-distant past.
In “The A-Zone & A Decade Of Anarchy In Chicago,” editor Alex Iwasa provides an overview of the decade long history of The Autonomous Zone (or “The A-Zone”) an infoshop and anarchist space that existed in Chicago from the early 1990s into the early 2000s. The A-Zone’s history is typical of many infoshops undertaken in the 1990s in the United States. During the 1990s, anarchists organized a number of different infoshops as part of a wide period of experimentation in counter-institutions. Chicago’s A-Zone was an important to this history, with the A-Zone playing a role in facilitating conversations and networking amongst the different projects that made up the Network of Anarchist Collectives and published the journal (Dis)Connections. In the zine, the various contributions reflect on the political work done by the A-Zone, the day-to-day operations of the space, the different events organized, and perhaps most importantly, how the A-Zone affected the contributors.
Here’s an example of one contributor’s experience:
I got a hold of a copy of The Match! and could immediately identify with the pure anarchism Fred Woodworth and his collaborators were dishing. I sought any and every “underground” publication I could find. I sent my material to many of them, wrote letters and sent copies of Race Traitor, too. At a meeting, where the U. of C. writers were brainstorming up the next issue, I told them I was an anarchist and I asked them, “Where should I go to connect with other committed anarchists?” Almost in unison they said: “The A-Zone.”
So, to the A-Zone I went and found a world of wonder. Magazines, books, newspapers and ‘zines and flesh and blood anarchists greeted me.
I would periodically check in at the A-Zone, go to meetings, speaking events and shows. I’d bring literature from my distro and STAND and bring home what they had.
You can download “The A-Zone & A Decade Of Anarchy In Chicago” from us either in a printable or screen readable version. We’re also happy to send out printed copies, you can order them online from us at Storenvy.com.