Occupied Territory Anarchist Gathering Gets Underway
By Mike Rhodes
June 18, 2004
Anarchists from as far away as the East Coast of the United States, Europe, and Australia descended on Fresno California today for the historical first Occupied Territory gathering. In a press release distributed at the gathering, local organizers said "the conference is designed to be a celebration of all forms of life and a chance to come together to create a temporary community free from hierarchical oppression such as classism, racism, and sexism in a beautiful area that needs our protection.
After initially meeting at a park in Central Fresno participants were given a map to a remote location 2 hours East of Fresno - high in the Sierra mountains. There the group will set up camp and organize the gathering. The conference is not focused on protest but rather on community building, communal education, and for one weekend, building the type of community we all would like to live in. Together the participants in the conference will shape the events and come together to cook vegan meals and produce a positive event.
There were both young and old participants attending the gathering. Not everyone, however, was given a map to the gathering. One person that came to the park was Stuart Weil, who organizers identified as a member of the far right group - The Free Republic. Security kept their eye on Weil who told this reporter "I just wanted to see what a bunch of anarchists looked like."
Apparently the Fresno Police Department also wanted to see what "a bunch of anarchists look like" because they cruised back and forth repeatedly during the gathering at the park. Participants will (hopefully) leave the Freepers and police far behind as they head to the hills for several days of workshops and skills sharing.
For details about the Occupied Territory conference see: http://www.occupiedterritory.net/
. A report back from the conference will be posted in a few days.