Las Vegas, NV (TFC) ~ After more than 15 years of proclaiming, “Anarchist” when asked about my own political views. I finally decided to attend the event AnarchoVegas, which was held the 3rd weekend of July just passed. This article will help you see what I’ve seen, and offer some perspectives after attending said event.
Being fair, I wasn’t as enthusiastic about AnarchoVegas (AV) in the months leading up, as much as I was actually pretty blown away by the end of the whole thing. I reflect on thinking the entire thing was going to be one big echo chamber. While that still could be a takeaway from this event, I’m not so sure that my prediction was correct. People that I do know, or have been friends with online for some years, I’ve gotten to know a little bit better. And I feel like I put myself out there further. In fact, I was asked for an interview, (of which I was not at all expecting) and I was asked to be on stage in case of a late show during the events “Media Panel” portion. Which was actually quite flattering and even though I was nervously agreeing… Luckily, a last-minute text came in that the original panel member would be there on schedule.
I’ve built the beginning of this story, not to impress, or encourage, nor discourage attendance, not even to create any theme. The idea behind this testimonial is to show how a group of those with which society labels as unorganized, and violent, are quite far from those labels. Instead, to put security into perspective for you… There was really very little security despite a pretty significantly bigger venue than I had expected. The organizers and their volunteers were mostly strangers to me with a few exceptions. And in a nutshell, the entire event went off without any real hitch.
In the interest of being upfront, I went into this a little under-prepared for the Sunday event, and a little carefree for the Free Ross party Saturday evening. I missed some stuff, and some interviews I wanted to conduct, and was out of battery on my camera. All images, and most of the footage here was by myself.
The Free Ross party was really my favorite attraction of the event. The thought of having a few drinks with some of the people involved. And giving some much needed time, thought, and support to the family of Ross Ulbricht, really restored some of my faith in humanity.
In fact, here’s a snap of the auction that took place, along with some words from Lyn Ulbricht.
A brief background for Ross Ulbricht was simply described officially by the AV team as, “The guy that got a double life sentence for building a website.” While I cannot disagree with that sentiment. The website called ‘Silk Road’ was more than just a website, it was more like a giant community forum. While it was everything that could undermine state and federal entities, and also simply be a place to buy mushrooms. It was universally understood at the party that Ross got way too harsh a sentencing. I’ve been told that save for a couple of fees, almost all of the proceeds from the entire event went to the family and legal fund for Ross.
The relevant list of speakers and panelists on stage included;
- Benny Willis
- G. Edward Griffin
- Beau of The Fifth Column
- Larken Rose
- Jeff Berwick
- Avens O’Brien
- Carey Wedler
- Ford Fischer
- Dan Dicks
- Amanda Rachwitz
- Josh Sigurdson
And a few others.
These speakers did not appear in exactly that order, and the idea of capturing the entirety of the event was not remotely in my interest or capability. Some things are better left up to suspense. I am, however, going to share a few takes and links that you as the reader can follow to get some ideas of what this event was like. I had questions for almost every speaker above prepared. With that said, and remembering that organizing anarchists is like herding cats… Please know that I had way more planned than had ever panned out during my visit to Vegas. And if you’re reading this and on that list please contact me if you’d like an official interview conducted still? You may contact me, here.
Note, give yourself another hour to follow the links below in their entirety.
Without further ado, Here’s some of G. Edward Griffin speaking:
And here’s a News2Share clip of Beau’s speech, and Q/A from the audience filmed by Ford Fisher:
The Independent Media Panel:
It’s now been one month since the unfolding of this event, and I’ve thought a great deal about how to structure this. But if you’ve spent the time above, and gotten yourself back here to continue listening to my take on this? I really don’t feel that a whole lot more description is necessary. However, I have a section for that to help wrap this article up.
Beau of The Fifth Column:
“A solid 80 to 90% of the “ancaps” I met in Vegas aren’t ancaps, including some of the biggest names in that community. They’re mutualists.
If you don’t ever mention the “S word” and simply let them describe what they want, it’s mutualism.
Before the self identified yellow and black crowd attempts to Pinochet me out of a helicopter:
- Do you believe in the use of a free market to create an equitable society in which the effects of the free market create better conditions for all workers?
- Do you believe disused property is up for homesteading?
- Would it make sense for a wildly successful economic venture to put money back into the community it serves?
- Do you believe a wildly successful economic venture would do this automatically simply by virtue of the trade it creates?
- Do you believe in creating parallel power structures to drain the state economically while enriching the average person?
About the only part there might be disagreement is how loans should be conducted. I’d point out that in the hours of speeches I heard and conversations that took place, I heard the phrase “responsibility to the shareholders” precisely zero times. I heard about the positive effects of the market on society and the lives of average people in literally every single one.
As long as the black on the flag is more important than the other color, we’re so much closer together than you might think.
I want to add after that take away from Beau. I thought very that surely this could be a meeting with a group of nationalists. I could not have been more surprised by the turnout of people that were very opposite that stance. I overheard this sentence from a few people; “Socialism is not so horrible, it’s the oversight from the state that I’m concerned with.”
I missed a lot of the speakers because we were conducting interviews for most of the event. So my biggest takeaways weren’t new ideas, so much as they were relationships. I went there with 2 goals; One was to meet like minded locals looking to get involved, and the other was just to network. I accomplished both of these goals. For me the event was a huge success. I met a few locals and one person is willing to start getting involved in organizing and homeless outreach. All (the locals) expressed an interest in starting the A-Cafe (Las Vegas Anarchist Cafe, a regular meeting for Vegas Anarchists) back up.
We were able to record 7 interviews with commitments from all to come on ACAB radio at a later date. NV Cop Block (Kelly Pattterson and I) were also interviewed for a pilot episode of Battle Born: Liberty in Vegas.
I met some new people that until then I had only known online. I talked with more than a handful of people, that, I’m an actual fan of their work. I had some great interactions, discussions, and made some great new relationships… I didn’t learn anything entirely new, only slightly different. For example, in a discussion about knowing your Rights and not talking to police. I said, I like, and use; “I don’t answer questions” and I was told to use; “I’m not discussing my day.” I learned something I was already saying, (with) a better way to say it.
Larkin’s speech (in a way) I know the ideas behind it, while, he gave advice on how to better hold discussions with Statists. I also had a great conversation about Agorism.
I sharpened myself in the process. I really did like the event… I do wish it were more accessible. I firmly believe that something is neither radical or revolutionary, if it is not accessible to the poor.
Last but certainly not least, the promoter of the event; Erin Nakamoto
So, before I start this, let me begin by putting out the disclaimer that I have never thrown a conference before. I host the Las Vegas Bitcoin Meetup monthly and have hosted meetups with 100 people and wanted to challenge myself by stepping outside of my comfort zone and boy…did I.
When my friends and I met and made the decision to throw AnarchoVegas, we had exactly 90 days to find a venue, sell tickets, pay for that venue, confirm speakers who would captivate an audience and plan multiple social events over that weekend. At the 60 day mark, we had lost our original venue and we had to make a quick decision on whether we wanted to cancel the 2019 event altogether and focus on planning out 2020 or search for an alternative venue and try our best to put on a great event.
While we hit a few roadblocks while planning AnarchoVegas, never once did we hear a complaint from any of our speakers, any of our sponsors or any attendees and that made all the difference. The feedback that we received was all positive and constructive. Now that’s not to say that the event went off without a hitch. For me personally, when I plan an event, I aim for perfection and during the conference, I learned that expectation that I set for myself and for our conference was not realistic and to just handle things as they come.
We created AnarchoVegas for two reasons, really:
- To provide value and inspire our audience to go out and build private solutions for public problems.
- To encourage our audience to implement anarchy in action, whether that be helping a neighbor, fixing a road, growing food, providing meals, or clothes, or a place to sleep (for) those who need those things, homeschooling or un-schooling, volunteering in your community. However you can implement anarchy in daily life, do it!
I’ve seen things over the last (month) from people who attended our conference who feel more confident talking about anarchy and who have started projects because they felt empowered and that feels really good. I’m very grateful to be involved in this community and only want to see it grow.
I pretty well have the same takeaways from attending this as the ones you’ve just read above. Again, I was pretty blown away by it, I expected much less than went down, and I had a guest that was less enthused as I regarding this whole thing. I’m happy to report that we both had a good time, and I appreciate having been able to attend.
Thanks for reading, and don’t be afraid to discuss anarchism among your peers. It’s sometimes very rewarding.