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Anarchists come to the Pendleton arts center

Antonio Sierra

East Oregonian

Published on September 30, 2015 7:52PM

Last changed on September 30, 2015 7:56PM

Anarchy is coming to Pendleton — not literally — but in the form of a discussion panel.

The panel, which brings together anarchist organizers from Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Balkans and North America, will discuss modern anarchist ideas and tactics at the Pendleton Center for the Arts Oct. 7 at 7 p.m.

“The participants will compare experiences from the wave of protests and uprisings that has swept the world since 2010 — exploring the role of demand-based politics in both catalyzing and limiting movements, examining a variety of forms of repression, and critically evaluating experiments with direct democracy,” a press release states. “They will conclude by assessing the prospects of contemporary struggles for self-determination in an era of globalized capitalism and state control.”

The panel’s 25-state, 50-stop, two-month tour will also promote “To Change Everything,” an anarchist manifesto written by CrimethInc., a self-described “decentralized anarchist collective.”

The local event is being organized by Chris Garrigues, a Pendleton resident and a math teacher at Pilot Rock Junior/Senior High School.

Originally from the East Coast, Garrigues became familiar with CrimethInc. when he worked at The Wooden Shoe, an anarchist book store in Philadelphia.

Garrigues kept in touch, and when he learned that the panel was going to tour the country and was looking for new venues and cities to host them, he formed a group called D’School Pendleton and volunteered to host one.

While the panel is mostly presents in major metro areas and college towns on its tours, Pendleton won’t be the only unconventional stop.

In between stops like Portland, San Francisco and New Orleans, the tour will stop at Grass Valley, Calif., a city of roughly 12,000 between Sacramento and Reno, Nev., and Durango, a town of nearly 17,000 in southwestern Colorado.

Having grown up in a military town in Virginia, Garrigues understands that many Pendletonians might consider themselves law-and-order types.

But he’s hopeful that panel attendees will come to the event with an open mind and be willing to challenge themselves. Garrigues said anarchy’s philosophy of self-determination should appeal to both liberals and conservatives.

Although the panel will attempt to clarify anarchy, the panelists themselves are shrouded in mystery — Garrigues said he hasn’t been told the identity of the panelists, a move he thinks might be a way for attendees to focus on the ideas instead of the individuals.

If the event is a success, Garrigues said he would like to use D’School Pendleton to host future educational events, although they’ll probably be less provocative than anarchy.


Contact Antonio Sierra at asierra@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0836.


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