Anarchists Take Break From Chaos for Week of Order

BOSTON.  Bike messenger Tyler Oberg and his friends are models of disaffected youth, with tattoos that will be impossible to conceal as they grow older and numerous body piercings that cause their net worths to fluctuate wildly in tandem with precious metal prices.

“I don’t want to do anything you want to do.”


“I just don’t give a crap about anything,” Oberg says, and his friends nod in agreement.  “Who cares whether their parents care about whether they care about anything?” echoes Matt Wiermer.

But the group is showing some faint signs of enthusiasm today as they peruse a flyer for the American Anarchists Association, whose annual convention begins here Friday night with a meet-and-greet cocktail reception, followed by a plenary session Saturday morning and break-out groups the remainder of the day, and a black-tie gala dinner-dance that night to wrap things up.

“Seriously, dude–I care less about stuff than you do.”


“Anarchists are cool,” says Chuck E., who rejected his parents’ surname as a “patriarchal vestige” in high school but has yet to choose another.  “They’ve really got their thing together.”

And indeed the schedule laid out in the brochure is a model of efficiency that makes the pocket-size train timetables at nearby South Station seem slipshod by comparison.  “We’ve got a seminar on ‘Organizing Your Local Anarchy Chapter’ bright and early at 10:18 Saturday morning,” says Northeast Regional Coordinator Todd Helfwig.  “At precisely 11:30 I need that room for ‘Drafting Bylaws for Anarchists: Precedents and Pitfalls.’”

“Hey–no cutting in line!”


The term “anarchy” refers to a social state in which there is no governing group or person, according to incoming President Maurice “Tom” Slacter.  “Our creed is ‘No rulership or enforced authority,’” he notes in clipped, precise diction.  “We came up with that after a member referendum on a motto that had been first approved by the national Board of Directors, based on a draft worked up by the Subcommittee on Strategic Initiatives.”

“Everyone who’s in disagreement with the resolution, please say ‘Aye.’”


If all that seems a bit organized for a group that rejects heirarchy, Slacter is unapologetic.  “What kids have to learn is that there’s got to be a firm structure underneath any dysfunctional mass of people with no consistent point of view.  Otherwise things could descend into order.”

Anarchy symbol:  Show you’re part of the group by wearing it proudly!


For their part, the twenty-somethings see in the anarchists group an alternative road map towards adulthood that would steer clear of the suburban upbringings most of them had.  “The Anarchists’ symbol is cool,” says Oberg, referring to the circled A that the group has registered as its trademark.  “And I like the fact that they got together and agreed on it, so there’s like a uniform.”

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