> Woo hoo! We should see if these kids want to join the new anarchist
> youth network, Anarchist Youth Action/Network of Anarchist Youth. So
> far, AYA-NAY has chapters in two places, Etiwanda, California and
> Bainbridge Island, Washington.
> The AYA/NAY page is located online at:
> Members lobby for human, animal rights
> Irvington students form `anarchist' club
> BY DANA HULL
> Mercury News Staff Writer
> Irvington High School has a chess club, a ski club and the Little Saigon
> Vietnamese club. But a group of sophomores have recently formed the school's
> first real political club and call themselves the Anarchist Student Union.
> The club's goal is to bring issues such as sweatshop labor and the
> controversial decisions of the Fremont school board to the forefront of
> campus discussions. The students gather every Wednesday during their lunch
> period and have a faculty adviser.
> "We're surprised that we got the club approved," said club
> president Anna Propas, 15. "We're the misfits of Irvington. We don't
> conform to what society thinks is normal."
> Anarchy technically means an absence of government and lack of order.
> However, it has taken on different meanings and attracts adherents from
> across the political spectrum. There are eco-anarchists, communist
> anarchists, radical anarchists and libertarian anarchists. And not all
> people who call themselves anarchists agree on the movement's terminology or
> various schools of thought.
> Anarchy has a long political history, both in the United States and
> abroad, from the reform efforts of Emma Goldman during World War I and
> afterward to the trial and execution of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo
> Vanzetti in the 1920s. The explosive word often engenders images of pipe
> bombs and Molotov cocktails, or black-clad young people in Seattle smashing
> Starbucks windows during the recent World Trade Organization riots.
> "When a lot of people think of anarchy, they think of violence,"
> said Ian Morris, 15. "It's really a form of self-governance and
> self-rule. But most people don't realize that."
> The universal symbol for anarchy -- an "A" in a circle -- appears
> spray-painted at youth hangouts all over the Bay Area. And Bound
> Together Books, an anarchist bookstore in San Francisco's Haight
> neighborhood, has become a mecca for young people interested in learning
> more about the issue.
> At Irvington, the small club is made up primarily of Anna and a dozen of
> her friends, many of them vegans and vegetarians who care deeply about
> animal rights. Several expressed frustration that their peers seem consumed
> by shopping and buying the latest trendy consumer goods. But the students
> also agreed that their immediate challenge is explaining to other students
> what anarchy means.
> Proponents say anarchy has become increasingly attractive to young
> people in part because much of their behavior -- skateboarding, smoking,
> being late to school, punk-rock fashion -- has been criminalized. The spate
> of school shootings last year has inspired school districts across the
> country to crack down with stringent dress codes, metal detectors and tough
> truancy laws, leaving little room for the teenage rebellion once seen as a
> normal rite of passage.
> Irvington's students do not advocate total chaos, and in fact appear
> willing to work within "the system." Many anarchy club members regularly
> attend Fremont Unified school board meetings, and have eloquently spoken to
> trustees about the need to improve Irvington's honors program.
> Irvington's administration also has been supportive of the club's
> efforts to politicize the high school campus.
> "Initially, the name anarchist sort of caught our attention," said
> Irvington Principal Pete Murchison. "But I'm a former social studies
> teacher, and as a learning institution I think it's important that we give
> kids a number of opportunities to connect with each other. They are very
> politically active students, and they have a lot of insight as to what is
> going on."
> This spring, the club plans to investigate whether the company that
> manufactures graduation caps and gowns uses sweatshop labor and to push
> school officials to find an alternative manufacturer.
> Members say they hope to raise political awareness about global
> issues and are articulate in expressing their point of view.
> "Even the U.S. government has fallen into a lull on many important
> free-trade issues concerning human rights and economic development in
> Third World countries," said Anna Propas. "It's not so much that they
> ignore the issues but chose half solutions rather than facing the
> underlying issue or the cause of the problem."
> Members of the Anarchist Student Union also hope to shake their
> fellow students out of what they call political apathy.
> "At Irvington everybody has their clique and they just like to
> follow along with the crowd," said Ariel Schwitalla, 15. "We're the
> salmon running against the stream."
> Mid-Atlantic Infoshop
> Leonard Peltier Freedom Month
> Executive Clemency For Peltier!
> Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Now!