The Other America - MP3 Tales from the NE Anarchist Movement

New Jersey I spent the last month Greyhounding around the USA speaking about anarchism in Ireland. Fourteen cities, 20+ meetings in thirty days in cities with populations from thirty thousand to over eight million. On my travels I used the opportunity to record interviews with many of the local anarchists who were organizing the meetings which I edited on the bus and posted to once I hit my next wi-fi signal. I've collated these interviews below, over two hours of audio in all.

All those interviewed are anarchists but apart from that they represent a section of the population of the North East ranging in age from perhaps 20 to nearly 70. Together they give an impression of 'the other America', that is the vast majority of the US population that is not visible in the election coverage or as characters on 'Friends' or 'Sex & the City'. These interviews are a fragment of a picture, a selection of the hundred plus people I had conversations with, the ones where there was enough time and enough quiet to allow me to flip open a five year old laptop and hit record. I couldn't always do that so there are many fascinating conversations that are missing including one from a visit to one of the 100+ political prisoners still incarcerated in the US.

I spent four days in NYC but the shortage of both time and quiet spots in that city where many work three jobs just to pay the rent means no recording from there. And then there were also the overheard conversations, on the train to Providence I listened to two recently returned Iraq vets compare their terror of camel spiders, in the Greyhound station in Springfield, Mass another vet screamed at a Bush broadcast on the TV.

So for ease of access here are the six recordings with some 11 people already published to and short summaries of each.

Interview 1: Providence, Rhode island Providence was the second stop on my tour. Senia and Mark talked to me about (the new) Students for Democratic Society (SDS), the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), anarcho-feminism in Puerto Rico and the US primaries. The interview opens with ten seconds of chanting from an SDS demonstration that happened to be taking place when I was in town. 50 minutes. original post: The Morman Worker

Interview 2: Boston An interview with four members of the Boston union of the North Eastern Anarchist Communist Federation (NEFAC). NEFAC were the organisers of the NE tour which is why quite a few of the interviews are with NEFAC members. We talk about NEFAC, the Boston Irish, housing organization around the foreclosure crisis, unemployed workers organising and political prisoner support in the USA today. 27 minutes Original post

Dyer Lum Interview 3: North Hampton, Western Massachusetts This was recorded on the morning after the Amherst meeting just after a visit to the local graveyard where the anarchist Dyer Lum is buried. Anne Marie tells me how she became an anarchist through reading her sons activist emails, the local anti-war movement and class struggle politics in a small town. We also talk about Dyer Lim. 27 minutes
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Interview 4: Washington DC This was actually recorded in a parked car in Virginia but Alex talks about the Washington DC specific problem of building a popular anarchism in a city where there are several protests every day. 8 minutes
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Interview 5: Richmond, Virginia Recorded on a sunny day in the park mentioned in the interview, hence the occasional wind noise. Sean tells me about the Richmond slave insurrection of 1800, anarchism in Richmond since 1995, homeless activism. 23 minutes
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Interview 6: Syracuse This was the second last stop and found me once more in the snow and ice after my brief Virginia spring two days travel to the south. Sara and Stephen, two members of the Syracuse Solidarity Network, talk about anarchist organising, local anti war and feminist movements and activism in a rust belt town. The second half is Stephen talking about how the experience of working with Common Ground in New Orleans after Kathrina radicalised him and in many ways is the most interesting segment of the six interviews.
original post: First published (and featurized) on

Note added 2009 - after this tour I went on to tour a load of the rest of the US and conducted another 11 interviews while doing so.  You can listen to them at interviews with individuals and groups of anarchists in 17 cities I visited, they are listed at

WORDS: Andrew Flood (Follow Andrew on Twitter )


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