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Anarchists convene for mass meeting in Jura

Published: 09 Aug 2012 11:04 GMT+02:00
Updated: 09 Aug 2012 11:04 GMT+02:00

Some 3,000 anarchists are attending a conference in Saint-Imier, a small town in the Jura, which is credited with being the birthplace of the anarchist movement.

A programme of anarchistic panel discussions, films and concerts has been organised across five days, attracting people from around the world, newspaper Tribune de Genève reported.

The town in Switzerland was chosen as a location because of its anarchistic past. A meeting held in 1872 in the town, credited by many as marking the founding of the anarchism movement, marked a formal break with Karl Marx and his ideas, who was accused at the time of authoritarianism.

Mikhail Baukunin, a Russian philosopher and renowned anarchist, also once lived in these mountains, and is now buried elsewhere in Switzerland.

People attending the meetings have come from around the globe to “share and socialize with people who share the same values,” one girl from Mexico told the paper. A crèche with helpers that speak five languages has also been established for the event, news agency SDA reported.

One young Frenchman, Milan, described how he had realized during a religious service that anarchy was his way.

“[The service]was a concentration of all the hierarchy and power that I fight against,” he said.

Despite his views, Milan admitted he could see himself working for the state, perhaps as a teacher.

“But if I had no choice, I would even work in a private company. You’ve got to eat,” he said.

Milan’s friend, Peter, said he could in no way imagine working for the state. He maintained that the police are an unnecessary force, more concerned with protecting the state than the people. He thinks the police force should be replaced with a rota of members of the public, with some permanent appointments to catch killers.

The meeting has also attracted significant international media attention, with an estimated 70 journalists in attendance.

Lyssandra Sears (news@thelocal.ch)

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