imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

The Sierra Madre Anarchist Picnic (From an Organizer's Perspective)

by Los Angeles Anarchists Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010 at 12:52 PM

From the LA Anarchist Weekly Blog:

The Sierra Madre Ana...
17844_1269795957610_1611206163_674450_2880918_n.jpgmid.jpgmro4sf.jpg, image/jpeg, 463x600

On Saturday February 13th 2010, some friends and I organized an Anarchist Picnic at Memorial Park in Sierra Madre. We scheduled the event to be from Noon to 5 PM and organized it as a potluck with a few workshops/discussions and acoustic performances.

We organized the event for a number of reasons. First, we wanted to initiate monthly anarchist events in the town where the majority of us, the organizers, live. Second, we wanted to see how many local anarchists we could bring out and discover. Third, we wanted to start building an anarchist movement in the area. And fourth, we wanted to find people that we could develop tight affinities with so we could pursue bigger and greater projects and activities. It was for all these reasons that we decided to choose the medium of an Anarchist Picnic and promote it as an event to bring together local and not-so-local anarchists and the anarcho-curious.

We (the organizers) showed up a little before noon and secured a spot in the park. We set up a table for food and a table for literature and brought some large comfortable bed sheets to lay on. We put out anarchist literature and attached a sign reading "Welcome to the Anarchist Picnic" to one of the tables . After we set up, it wasn't until 12:30 - 12:45 that a few people showed up and by the time the first workshop started, there were about seven people total.

Around 1 PM Sean, an organizer of the event, facilitated the first workshop and discussion titled "So You Think You're NOT An Anarchist?". He had designed the workshop particularly as an introduction to anarchism and for the anarcho-curious. He started the workshop by asking the attendants what their impression of anarchism was and what some of the popular stereotypes of anarchism were. One person said "When I think of anarchism I think of disorder and chaos". Another said, "To me anarchism is living a healthy sane life and seizing complete freedom while taking up full responsibility and accountability,". Participants remarked that the stereotypes and images portrayed in the media were of bomb-throwers and terrorists and Sean talked about how these images are created to make anarchism a taboo and breed ignorance.

Sean then asked participants if they identified as an anarchist and why or why not. (At this point in the discussion the number of people at the event doubled to more than a dozen.) A majority of folks identified as an anarchist saying similar statements of how, in essence, they believe in the cause of anarchism and want to see it through to fruition. However, there were a couple people who didn't. One person said, "I believe in anarchism but I won't be an anarchist until I live in a world without money or government". Another said they didn't because their impression of anarchism was of "disorder and violence". And another person declined to identify as an anarchist but affirmed that they had "anarchist tendencies".

The facilitator then asked people what they felt most bothered and coerced by in society. One person replied that they hated how, in a capitalist society, the majority of things we actually enjoy doing have no value. Someone else talked about how they felt oppressed growing up in a family embedded with capitalist values and how oppression starts at home where you learn to (mis)communicate and relate to people and the world around you. Another person commented on how they disliked the fact that boxes of food go to waste for not meeting food appearance standards like having a scratch or mark and that we have to pay for necessities like food.

After a round of answers, Sean then asked what people would like to see in their ideal society. During this question the conversation expanded onto other somewhat related topics but one participant at the beginning said they'd like to see a world where education is de-institutionalized and we learn by doing or seeing what other people are doing. Someone else said they would like to start living in their ideal society by living with close friends that are like-minded and share ideals of anarchism and from there move forward. Another talked about looking at traditional societies in the past and learning from their ways of organizing society so we can make a difference now. From here the conversation spread and went somewhat off topic with people talking about traditional societies and different examples of the ways they lived and organized. Eventually the conversation was reigned in when someone reminded everyone that many traditional societies had some form of tribal council and that a majority of them were run by males. Sean took this opportunity to conclude the conversation, announcing a 15 minute break before Bella gave her workshop/class on Female Fertility for Men & Women. At this point in time there were about twenty people engaged in the event, taking literature, sharing food, and mingling.

After the break, Bella brought out a drawing board with a sample fertility chart drawn enlarged on the board. Bella, also an organizer of the event, began her class on Female Fertility using the zine "Fertility Awareness for Non-Invasive Birth Control". Unfortunately, as she began between five to ten people left, a majority of them female, though a few people simultaneously arrived. Despite this change up, Bella went forward teaching everyone how to use a female fertility chart. She taught everything from the symbols, to what each column and table represented as well as how to check your cervical fluid, take your temperature, and check the position of your cervix. She also taught how to see where your pre-ovulatory, fertile, and post-ovulatory phase are, when your most likely to get pregnant and the four rules to guide you in your quest to get or not get pregnant.

Admittedly, the majority of people attending her class were males and while half seemed interested, the other half were fighting to stay attentive. However, the females that were present were very attentive and asked questions to clarify certain topics and learn more on the subject. As she wrapped up she let everyone know she had a box full of the "Fertility Awareness" zines for free and that the zine explained more deeply and thoroughly everything she discussed. After a couple more clarifying questions, another 15 minute break was announced and there was an exchange of some more people leaving and others coming in. At this point there were about twenty people present.

After the break, Bella and I facilitated a workshop/discussion titled "Towards a Fresh Revolution". The idea behind the workshop was to engage all the participants and brainstorm about different projects happening now in Los Angeles and that we wanted to see happen in relation to making another world possible. While doing so we would analyze the obstacles that were stopping us from making these things possible in a way to provide some type of concrete solutions so we could move forward with a "fresh" perspective. In the past we had facilitated this discussion at an Anarchist Cafe at Windchime House and the outcome was amazing.

I started by being open about the intentions and goals of the workshop and first asked the question, "What projects are happening now in LA that people feel are contributing towards making another world possible?". Food Not Bombs, Catholic Worker, Anarchy Archives, Copwatch LA, and the Hyde Park 1/2 were a couple projects and activities mentioned. In all about a dozen different projects were named. Then Bella asked "What are projects or activities you would like to see in your ideal world?". From here the discussion got a little tense as people named all sorts of different things, some of which through my own misunderstanding I felt uncomfortable putting up on the board because I didn't feel they represented my ideal world or some of the participants'. Some of the projects/activities mentioned were apprenticeships, community gardens, de-institutionalized health care, no cars, animal liberation, free public transportation, and no wifi.

After numerous activities/projects were mentioned, the next question we asked was "What are obstacles to making those projects and activities a reality?". Some of the obstacles mentioned were social stigmas, patriarchy, law enforcement, 40 hour work weeks, Obama and the spectacle of democracy, money or lack of, capitalism, institutionalized education and rent. After we came up with a whole display board full of obstacles, Bella analyzed all three of the question and answer sequences by focusing on the lack of communication between anarchists, anti-authoritarians and radicals in LA, as well as our own personal internal dynamics that have stopped us from making our wildest dreams a reality. She talked about the unspoken dress code policy, the ageism and generational gaps, and the tendencies to communicate only with those you have strong affinities with. She stressed that there's nothing wrong with having a bias towards people who agree with you but that we need to learn how to work and communicate with those who don't agree with us 100 percent and to view them as allies. After she finished speaking, a discussion was sparked where participants shared their own experiences in the anarchist movement not just in LA but all over California.

After the discussion died down, we ended the workshop with another 15 minute break followed by musical performances. There were now about twenty to twenty-five people present. The first musician to play was Jim Ramirez. He played classical guitar and had an experimental folk indie style to his music. He played four songs of resistance and revolution, the first about his struggle to find his own unique identity and culture aside from the Western American one sold to us and the last one about a fallen friend who died young but believed in revolution.

The next performer was MSelasco. He also played classical guitar but had a Spanish/Latin American folk style to his music. Almost every song he played and sang was in Spanish and related to anarchism or freedom. Some of the songs were Argentine anarchist folk songs or poems he turned into songs. For a couple of his last songs a friend of his (lover?) joined him in playing second guitar and singing, particularly for the classic songs "Bandera Negra" and "Bella Ciao".

The last performer was Dustin or The Galen Gun. He played a steel resonator guitar and his music style was of a folk blues variety. He played numerous songs, some folk and some his own all in a laid back blues style. Once he finished the event was over and folks mingled for about thirty minutes, exchanging contact information, their opinions of the event and their excitement for the next Anarchist Picnic. As people took off we packed our things and called it a day.


Overall I think the event was a great start towards accomplishing the goals we set out for ourselves. I'm actually surprised there was no police interference not only because the park is in downtown Sierra Madre and RIGHT next to City Hall and the Police Department, but because Sierra Madre Police has a reputation for having almost nothing to do and instigating incidents. I'm also pleasantly surprised about the amount of local anarchists and anarcho-curious who showed up. I'm also really happy about distributing nearly one hundred pieces of anarchist literature.

To me, Sean's workshop had the most interesting dialogue going on between participants and was well suited to engage people in talking about basic anarchist topics. Bella's class was great and well-presented but I don't think it was much appreciated. I wish there would've been more females present for her class but perhaps, in hindsight, she should've saved the class for a later Anarchist Picnic. I'm glad though that people took about twenty copies of the zine she based her class off.

Regarding the "Towards a Fresh Revolution" discussion, initially I was pretty disappointed about the outcome. Compared to the way the discussion went in the past, it was pretty dull, slow, and awkward. When we facilitated the discussion at Windchime it was very fucking explosive with a whole room of people actually transforming like a vortex and talking seriously about squatting, occupying, and amazing anarchist projects. Upon further reflection, I forgot a crucial but small question to throw in and misworded the second question, while in turn relaying Bella to ask that miscommunicated question. By miswording the question, I set up a "versus" situation and tension between people's ideal worlds whereas the question should've focused on intermediate steps, projects, and activities people would like to take towards making that other world possible. Instead of a "versus" situation it would've set up an "and" situation where activities could work together. Perhaps too, like Bella's class, we should've saved this discussion for a later Anarchist Picnic when people would've known each other better and felt more comfortable to scheme about activities.

Other than that, it was pretty amazing. For putting a lot of time and energy into promoting it all over Sierra Madre, online, and in local newspapers it was well worth the effort.

On an ending note, there was some drama between us and the Pasadena Weekly and we will be having a friend write a full expose on what went down so be on the look out for that.

Till next month's Anarchist Picnic,


(For comments, criticism, suggestions, or article submissions go to or e-mail
Report this post as:

Local News

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 1:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 12:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 12:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 4:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J10 11:58PM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M30 10:20PM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 12:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 1:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 2:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 3:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 2:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 1:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 1:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 4:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 1:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A26 10:37PM


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Fbi fears this post J22 9:21PM

Disabled Folks among the extreme poorest in US counts J22 7:03PM

Banks Enriched By Trump Deficit Increase Of 4 to 5 Trillion $ J22 5:48PM

Illegal Russians Receiving Land and Homes in West Bank 2018 J22 11:24AM

Un monde de pauvreté J22 12:54AM

14 Disturbing Facts About Scott Gottlieb, Trump's FDA Head J20 10:47PM

Behind the scenes at fbi National Academy J20 2:47PM

Treasury Takes Aim at Shell Companies J20 11:18AM

Paraphysique de l'intelligence J20 9:08AM

Oklahoma GOP Senator Jim Inhofe's Bloody Record J20 4:01AM

Globalization: hope on the horizon despite Fake Liberals. J20 3:41AM

Sorry President Trump,Ted Cruz Texas Judicial System,is Worse Than Many Shithole Countries J19 4:49PM

The Shortwave Report 07/20/18 Listen Globally! J19 4:33PM

The System Question as a Survival Question J18 8:54PM

Nation's Largest Voting Machine Co., ESS, Admits Lying Re Having Installed Remote Control J18 11:55AM

Du pain et des jeux J18 9:53AM

Paraphysique de martyrologie J17 8:00AM

Children Incorporated Earns 4-Star Rating on Charity Navigator J16 11:24AM

Democratic Socialists of America J14 4:57PM

Leonard Peltier Non Violent Native American Political Prisoner since 1970's J14 4:18PM

Paraphysique miscellanées de l'aggiornamento J14 12:54AM

FBI Investigated LA County Sheriff Baca,Why Not Hank Skinner's Persecution? J13 3:52PM

Updated Partial List Of Famous Vegetarians, Vegans, & Fruitarians J13 2:59PM

The Shortwave Report 07136/18 Listen Globally! J12 4:36PM

Social Policy as Social Infrastructure J12 3:38AM

Vol I: 84 Varieties Of GOP Election Fraud J12 1:50AM

Texas Can Call it An Execution,But It is A State Sponsored Murder of Hank Skinner.. J11 6:48PM

June 2018 Honduras coup update J11 3:35PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy