For the third year, I attended the conference/bookfair/event thing in LA. I guess this wasn't a bookfair persay, which in some ways was kind of cool. There actually was no tabling the day of the conference, which meant a lack of anarchist literature (most of which isn't anarchist - which is largely I feel more comfortable calling myself an insurrectionary communist, or autonomist communist these days) but some cool workshops. I attended two put on my members of the Insane Dialectical Posse, which is a collection of cool left communists.
I love the stuff that people put on in LA, because there's a lot of diverse people. When I mean diverse, I don't mean, like one person that's non-white out of 10, I mean, pretty much the opposite. Caught up with old friends, and also met a new one. This one person from the ICC, and also snapped up two of their papers, one from the US, and the other from the UK. Despite the US one being pretty poorly edited (learn to use a "." comrades!), still better than 97% of the 'anarchist stuff out there.' Hung out with the good comrades from Phoenix Class War Council, as well as the fantastic people from Anarchist Black Cross Federation LA.
I'm really liking a lot of the ICC stuff, I'm going to try and get it distributed out here on West Coast, outside of lefty bookstores. The comrade that I met was from Turkey, which was really interesting to talk to him about, everything from his reflections of nationalism there to how cheap it was to go to school. Guess it's only $100, but as they stated, "It's still too much. Anything is too much!" Communist as fuck!
RAC, once again held it down. If you don't know about the Revolutionary Autonomous Communities group in LA, check them out. I saw their food program in action, it was pretty amazing. If you want an example of a program that has the potential to break out of the problems of FNB and become something, check out the LA folks.
Three things though. Every year at the the LA conferences and bookfairs, they've had both the Black Riders Liberation Party and also old Panthers speak. While I think it's cool that they're inviting the riders since a lot of anarchists work with them, as well as the older Panthers to talk about their history and such, I find it interesting that people that have views contrary to anarchism are better situated to articulate their ideas than anarchists. I've heard more of a game plan from Leninists and Black nationalists at these events than from anarchists themselves often. When are we going to start really articulating our ideas to people?
Second, where is the action? These events, as nice as they are, always leave so many people feeling kind of like, "Well, okay, now what?" During the conference there was talk on various local struggles going on, why can't we mobilize ourselves during these times to take action during these gatherings? It's happened in other places, let's have it happen here.
Lastily, I noticed that with the amount of less white people, there was less "white people shit." Aka, punk stuff, patches, etc. Now there's a bunch of stuff with Zapatista stuff all over it, and some booths with jewelry and earrings made in various styles. Are we trading something for another? I'm glad the makeup of anarchism is changing, but I'm still interested in getting more proles within anarchism from all colors, not just replacing the white vegan punk crustie for those that identify more so with other styles and tastes, but who still create that identity out of buying and consuming various items.
Anyway, hats off to you LA! Thanks to everyone who gave me a smoke, the homies who hooked it up for the room, the organizers, people who came by the MAC table, and everyone I'm forgetting.