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Anarchists to converge at UNM for 'Social'

An altercation with police at an early age and exposure to communal living prompted former political prisoner Chris Plummer to explore and later advocate for an anarchist society.

Plummer is one of many speakers and UNM community members who will converge on the campus this weekend for the Southwest Anarchist Social. The event, which is being sponsored by the UNM student group Rebel Alliance and Radical Albuquerque Dissidents, includes workshops and caucuses.

Plummer will participate in a panel discussion and plans to share his views on anarchism based on his years in prison and life experiences. He said that in 1993, he and a group of friends broke into a neo-Nazi house in Houston and burned anti-Semetic material. Plummer said that when it became apparent that he would not receive a fair trial and his lawyers were resigned to defeat, he agreed to plead guilty to burglary and a 14-year jail sentence. He added that he served eight and a half years in maximum-security prisons, with four of the years in solitary confinement, which he attributes to activist work he did while behind bars.

"We formed lending libraries and passed around revolutionary materials," he said. "I organized a push for prison reform and several hunger strikes and protests."

Plummer was released in January and said he is grateful for his freedom, but has spent every day of his freedom working to protect the rights of prisoners, many of which he believes are being unjustly incarcerated.

Plummer's earliest brush with the law came when he was 13 years old. He says that he was into punk music and stood out while feeding the poor in a park when a police officer told him he was violating food distribution laws. When Plummer and his friends refused to leave, the officer kicked over the soup pot the group was using and Plummer hit the officer.

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"That landed me in a holding cell, hog-tied while officers laughed at me," he said.

Having witnessed the alternative to violence while visiting tribes in Tanzania when he grew up, Plummer dedicated his life to moving away from a culture based on a small ruling majority.

"My feeling is that everyone is born an anarchist, and all the authoritarian crap is just learned behavior," he said.

UNM student Robert McGoey, who is one of the event's organizers and a Rebel Alliance member, echoed Plummer's sentiments about anarchy.

"What I see anarchism as is a rejection of hierarchy," he said. "All systems of domination, including the state, white supremacy, patriarchy and so many others are all forms of authoritarian rule. I see anarchism as a pure democracy where people work together. To quote a famous anarchist slogan, 'neither slave nor master."

Plummer said that the main goal of this weekend's event is to strengthen the bonds among anarchists in the southwest and present an open forum for new ideas.

In addition to Plummer, the panel discussion will feature activist and gubernatorial candidate Russell Means, UNM instructor Bob Anderson and Committee on Prison Responsibility representative Tilda Sosaya.

Aside from the panel discussion, which is today in the Kiva Lecture Hall at 6 p.m., the event boasts an eclectic lineup of workshops covering topics such as dumpster diving, puppet making, street medic training, health and healing, religion and sexual assault prevention.

In true anarchist fashion, organizers are allowing participants to run their own workshops on the topic of their choice at the event.

For more information about the Southwest Anarchist Social, which begins today and ends Sunday in the Kiva Lecture Hall and Mitchell Hall, call 550-1153.

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