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News ::
interview from FDP w/critiques
08 May 2002
Modified: 10 May 2002
interview from 3rd night FDP and reflection from interviewer
I did this interview outside the Berwick on the 3rd night of Festival del Pueblo. It was done in the back of Matt's van with the aid of a maglight and all of us shivered through it. From my notes and memory I've reconstructed it as best I can; DIY journalism, right? Any mistakes or misquotes are my fault and unintentional.
I wasn't involved in organizing for FDP at all but I talked to some of the people who were at various points throughout the week. I know yall worked super hard and did the best you could. It seems like a lot of FDP's shortcomings point out failures of the anarchist movement in the US in a larger sense. I wrote a commentary/reflection at the end too if you want to read it. So here's the interview...

*by the way, at some point when I'm in Boston I'd like to get some audio interviews from FDP organizers if possible to supplement video footage, my email is posted if youre interested

Josh-interviewer for IMC
Quinn-folk guitarist/singer from North Carolina
John-folk guitarist/singer from NY and Penn.
Matt-helped to organize some of FDP, from Boston, plays guitar in Dance Emma Dance

Josh: So how did yall get involved in Festival del Pueblo?

John: You have to ask Quinn about that.
Quinn: One of my best friends was an organizer for FDP.

Josh: So, I know one of the things emphasized for the Festival was an attempt to promote diversity, and to include cultures other than just anarcho-punk. What do you think about diversity here so far?

Quinn: There was supposedly an emphasis put on cultural diversity, but there isn't any diversity here. It's almost all white punk kids. There havn't been that many attempts to reach out to other communities. Look at soccer today; instead of having it in a public park, it was in the middle of a private college campus. And tonight the punk show was prioritized. There was supposed to be jazz here, but it was sent somewhere else. We were supposed to play with the other bands, but the folk performers essentially got moved to the lobby. I think its' great that people can see us play for free, but we wound being booked as additional. Plus it was pretty much white punk males, and I heard a few homophobic slurs. This has turned out to be a punk festival.
John: The energy was totally diverted to the punk bands.

Josh: Do you think there have been any successes where there has been diversity?

Quinn: Not really. When there have been other types of music its' been oppressed people entertaining privileged people. Last night Insight knew what has happening, he told the kids "I know that yall aren't here to see me, you're to see the bands coming on after me". I have yet to see any real diversity.
Matt: I'm very disappointed, the intent was for this not to just be an anarcho-punk festival. Its really only one kind of punk two, dreadlock Carhartt crusty kids. Hopefully Wake Up the Earth tomorrow will be better. It was really tough to organize, if we do it next year it will be better. There just haven't been any connections with other communities.
Quinn: The show tonight was segregated and no organized the folk show. Also child care was promised and it didn't happen at all. It's really fucked up for parents to show up and expect them to put small children in a room with a bunch of drunk punks. Several people showed up tonight with infants and toddlers and there was nothing for them. And where are all the women performers? Last night there was not a single female musician. The sexes should be equal in performance, even if you have to cut some bands out. I was asked to perform by organizers who said they were trying to get more female artists. I feel really pissed off and insulted now.
Matt: I'm in complete agreeance with what you just said.

Josh: John, do you have anything you want to add?

John: I think we can leave it at that.
Quinn: There are a lot of critiques, like the lack of women, and the lack of people who aren't punks. These kids rent out a venue in a black neighborhood, and it's a bunch of white males in their community being sexist and homophobic.
Matt: This is pretty much the DIY venue in Boston. Tonight has been the most problematic show I've ever been to at the Berwick, shows here are usually really good.
Quinn: I feel duped.
Matt: Like I said, this is not what was hoped for. It looked a lot different on paper.
Quinn (to John): How do you feel about being excluded?
John: Well there's a community of space (Roxbury) vs. a community of interest (punk). Community organizing needs to be taking place every day. You can't just put it off on a festival. There needs to be more of an alliance being priveleged and non-priveleged peoples, which is a huge problem in anarchist circles the lack of racial diversity. I'll tell you a story about a demo I was at in Texas. A Latino man stood up and said "minorities have been struggling for 500 years, where have you been?" I think we need to recognize that.
Matt: We need to have more humility.
John: I don't ever think disempowerment is ever a good thing, but we need to recognize and attack our privilege.
Quinn: When you have 3 or 4 punk shows at a 5 day festival what do you expect? There should have only been 1 punk show. I know the FDP organizers cut out a lot of punk bands...
Matt: We turned away many, many bands.
Quinn:...but they didn't go nearly far enough. There was an effort to have other cultures, but not enough effort. Other types of people have still been ignored.
John: Even the folk performers have punk roots.
Matt: Yeah, Eric Petersson (from Philly, other folk performer that night) is a punk kid too.

Josh: What has been good about FDP so far?

John: I'm not really aware of a lot of the organizing, I know they've been working really hard. A lot of stuff has been going wrong I know.
Matt: It's really frustrating because people have been working hard for so long. I think that in many aways anarchism has become a cultural movement, not a political movement. An aesthetic, not an ethic. It's really good to see people from all over the country here and see my friends, but basically a big anarcho-punk party is happening and that's not what we wanted.
Quinn: It's still largely white straight punk males, but a couple of inspiring things have happened that really have nothing to do with organizing. There was a spontaneous discussion on anarchist parenting yesterday between 30 or 40 people that was great kind of because it was impromptu. Also, watching Etta get up a couple hours ago and do spoken word, raps, and a capella. It came out of the folk show that was falling apart, and she's a revolutionary poet, she just got up and got people stoked.
John: I couldn't do that, so I'm glad she did.
Quinn: She wasn't on the bill, that's part of why it was inspiring, because it was spontaneous.
John: People organize can only do so much, somtimes the people who show up just have to be spontaneous.
Quinn:But an environment for that needs to be set up. It doesn't just happen. Tonight was set up to be a very played-out scenario, the anarcho-punk show.
Matt: It's been done before many times.
Quinn: I don't think this was the intention of Festival del Pueblo.
Matt: I'm disappointed also because this looked so different on paper. The May Day march wasn't diverse either. I looked around and it was almost all white kids walking around and chanting.
Quinn: Hopefully tomorrow will be a lot better.
John: As an anarchist punk festival it's been great, but it should have been much more inclusive. it should have been a community event.
Matt: Wake Up the Earth is going to be really good, and we had nothing to do with organizing it. We just went to their committee asked if we could be involved.

I had a really good time at FDP but I agree with a;most all of what was said in the interview. It was like 90% disenfranchised middle class white kids with some kind of punk rock background, like myself. There's nothing at all wrong with those people being anarchists or showing up these things. However there's huge problems when that's the only group represented.
I know that a lot of anarchist/radicals do political work outside the anarchist scene/movement. But why can't we attract a diverse crowd to anarchist meetings/gatherings/forums/etc.? It seems like real community organizing (not just within the punk/hardcore community of your city or area) should be way more prevalent. After all, shouldn't folks from Roxbury and JP be out there with us united against the police state?
They're not because we don't make enough attempts to work with them. Like John said, you can't just expect to make connections and alliances around a festival, it should be happening every day. That's also why I think that Wake Up the Earth was great, and the best day of FDP.
It was people from all kinds of communities having fun together and interacting. That 's the kind of thing that shows another world is possible! I hope all of us learned from it.
As a kind of related issue, the march on Sunday was kind of mixed to me. No one got arrested, which is both unusual and great. We did some symbolic stuff at the building in Roxbury and on Newbury St. But what if anything was really accomplished?
A lot of the people I saw in Roxbury were pretty much like "what the fuck? who are all these angry white kids with black and red flags? why are they here?" (flyers and literature to pass out would have been great, I know that there were supposed to be some, oh well). If no one knows why we're there what the fuck is the point of being out on the street?
Maybe the last day should been a huge militant Reclaim the Streets. I'm not criticizing the organizers here (who did a good job with nuts and bolts stuff like routs/equipment/etc.), just trying to toss out creative ideas that might work better. If you wanna smash stuff, great, but make sure people know why youre doing it. Breaking windows and graffing are both symbolic.
I'm gonna stop writing now before my temples burst, but hope this stimulated some thought...
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piss and moan
08 May 2002
Yah know im tired of the huge amount of critisism here, its great that we are being critical and trying to learn from things that went wrong , but seriously cant we (sorry if this is overly positive or naive) look at the good things that came out of this festival. I think the organizers deserve that, as the supposed failures of the festival rest more as was said allready with the movement and not them.
yes, piss and moan
08 May 2002
Actually, I think the failures rest explicitly with the organizers, and only with the movement insofar as the organizers are a product of that movement. I can't say I was heavily involved in the organizing of FDP, but I was watching the progression from the wings for a while, and I am not at all surprised at how it turned out. I don't think the organizers went in with a commitment to, or the experience and ideas for, how to build something that was diverse and inclusive of other groups. They organized in an exclusive fashion and made few efforts to reach out to other communities beyond the anarcho-punk scene (and affiliates).

I realize I didn't do squat to change this, but I think we have to call a spade a spade. The organizers organized for an anarcho-punk festival. They didn't think clearly and plan and work hard to build a diverse festival, to deal with gender or race issues, and so on. This was partly because they were overextended (because people like me didn't participate, maybe), but also because they were willing to let things drop by the wayside in order to push ahead with the festival. And so they got what they planned for, an anarcho-punk music festival. Which is fine, maybe, except it's not "el Pueblo", certainly.
solidarity
08 May 2002
Hey-
yes i agree w/ much of what's been said, BUT:

as (I'm pretty sure) the only fdp participant attending w/ multiple children, I thought it was a grand thing that childcare was brought up to begin with, when none of the organizers (to my knowledge) are parents...I thought it was wonderful that there was an anti-authoritarian parenting workshop which overflowed, when only half a dozen of us had kids...my girls came to the tournament on friday, & ran across the field mid-game more than once...each time, a "children on the field" cry went up, & the game stopped, with no nasty looks or attitude...yay! for anarchist soccer!!

...of course it would have been even better had there been more fdp participants volunteering within the Wake Up the Earth festival (which is 24 years old, in case anyone isn't aware)...the woman we stayed with has been a participant & organizer of it for years, and she only found out about fdp a short time before.

The only way we will be able to change the way of the world is through COMMUNITY, and we cannot come to community without communication. I know I personally did not contribute all I could have to fdp. That is mainly because there was a new kids on the black bloc (on the Black block) secret handshake society atmosphere enveloping it, & so I backed off a bit rather than intrude. (my own mistake to some degree...I heard Errol Maitland say, "we had to Insinuate ourselves," a while ago, and that phrase is becoming more dear to me each day)

I am aware of security culture, but there are many, many people ready to ditch their apathy & fear, and actively join in the struggle, and many more who are already allies...

Monday morning I was wandering around Boston, and hung out for awhile with someone who was sweeping up butts on the sidewalk. He'd been in the Hunger Walk, & had seen the march. We had a really connective conversation...it had seemed on Sunday that we came very close to joining up w/ them...maybe next time...

& then a guy came over & offered me his last strawberry. It was the first thing I'd eaten that morning, and was glorious...we'd barely started talking when he started saying that capitalism is just wrong...he drives bus tours around for a living, & is prob'ly mid 50's.

It is long past time for a change, & there aren't many who don't know that, on some level at least!

I told fdp childcare directly, but want to say it louder: events are damn difficult to organize, & at least the effort was made to pull it together...


I'm volunteering now to help w/ next year.
oh yeah, &
08 May 2002
the late night bluegrass in Allston was a fucking Blast!
Hey Blah, Fuck Off!
08 May 2002
Thanks for yet even more criticisms. It means so much to people like me who put hours upon hours of work into the FDP to hear the opinions of useless movement parasites such as yourself.

For what it is worth, we tried very hard to make this more than an anarcho-punk fest... not that a sideline sitter such as yourself would know anything about how people went door-to-door in Roxbury flyering months in advance, spent hours each week flyer bus stops and train stations during rush hour, met with a number of local community organizations (Vida Urbana, Jobs With Justice, Dudley Street Initiative, etc.) to build links before hand, spent hundreds of dollars to pay for hip-hop and jazz acts when we could have easily got more punk for free, and went to meeting after meeting to ensure that the carnival aspect of the FDP took place during Wake Up The Earth (the cops repeatedly tried to pressure them to not allow us to participate and we continually had to mediate with the organizers).

Don't worry, there won't be another FDP for assholes like you to not get involved with and then criticize the organizers after the fact. In the meantime, fuck off.
props to josh and barricada
09 May 2002
josh, way to go on the interviews, parts of it encoumpassed a lot of the discussion going on during the week. i also appreciate the comments, like bringing RTS to the east coast is worth a try. with that said i think the actions on the fifth went really well (with the amount of folks who showed up), and props to the organizers for all the sweat they put into that, and accomidating for various modes of involvement.

just coming back from europe it is great to see autonomous resistance taking roots in the northeast, as opposed to militant anarchists being a minority faction in a mass mobilization. I think the organizers deserve endless porps for taking the initiative they did, in what i believe is heading our movement in the right direction.

having an understanding of the months barricada spent doing community outreach for the FDP, i see much of the criticism in that area as naive and scapegoatist. the lack of community involvement in our struggles is a problem of the whole US anarchist movement/scene, and we should not be blaming barricada for these collective shortfalls. Barricada should actually be applauded for their effort and insight.

I am glad to see so much discussion and review around the festival, at least we are awake. For me, the most frustrating aspect of the festival was the lack of turnout from boston activists. how can we seek involvement of immigrant, black and poor white communities in the struggle if we can't even find support amid bostons anarchist sub-culture.

let us keep on organizing and talking, but be wary of the conclusions arrived at as a spectator considering asctetics, as opposed to an active revolutionary sharing insight from their own experience in anarchist and autonomist struggles.
more than just Barricada were involved!
09 May 2002
Although members of Barricada did alot for FDP, they are a small collective and were only one element involved with the organizing.

There were a variety of anarchist groups involved with the FDP (Barricada, Sofia Perovskaya, Sabate, and BAAM), as well as a number individual anarchists from the city. The planning meetings had upwards of 25-30 people consistently involved, with a core organizing group of at least 15.
No FDP next year!?!?!?!
09 May 2002
I have heard from a couple of places that there will probably not be another FDP next year, one of the organizers mentioned maybe in two years, and only a two day event. But I feel that this ought to be an annual event. This was a first attempt, think of it as the Alpha-version. I hope that the criticism the organizers have been getting doesn't discourage them too much because this has a lot of potential.

Maybe they were overextended, with too much work for too few people. I'll volunteer right now to help out with next year's. I just hope that all the effort that was put into this year's FDP doesn't get wasted by not building on it.

Maybe if all the people that came and saw things they feel could have been done better would volunteer to help fix those problems, the next FDP will be everything people hoped for.

-fdp fan
See also:
http://lunaticfringe.gomakross.org/
respect to organizers build off of positive
09 May 2002
realizing a lot of people are frustrated I want to kind of clarify why I posted this interview. I know that I didn't participate in the organizing of FDP, and although I've done political organizing in the past nothing on that scale. also, it's obvious that a lot of people put an amazing amount of effort into it.

*Once again, if you are an FDP organizer and you want to give an interview, please email me. it can be audio, and anonymous, that's the way I'd prefer to do it anyhow. That would probably be a really good place to speak your mind about what went right/wrong in your eyes and to relate experiences w/organizing autonomously and together. Ill also post something on the Lucy Parsons bulletin board. I'd really like to get more interviews to supplement the video footage from FDP.

I feel like the interview speaks to some valid critiques though, I'm not sure how I would have phrased some of the things in there had I been just writing a personal reflection. Despite the fact that yall spent many many hours going door to door in Roxbury, trying to work with Wake Up the Earth, getting non-punk bands etc. there was a still a lack of anything but white punk rock kids. Instead of just harping on organizers (who of course can only do so much), I just wanted to bounce this off people to get ideas going about how to work on that problem.
Same thing goes for all the critiques. many props to BAAM, Sabate, Sofoa Petrovskaya, Barricada, and anyone else who helped out. Im not trying to just complain, I want to see what options there could be to overcoming lack of racial diversity, community interaction, etc.
oh, about FDP being yearly. another idea; maybe another city could host it next year? if you wanna keep it in the Northeast or East Coast or whatever, great. but to maybe alleviate y'know and share responsibility it could be held somewhere else. I had a really good time, I just want things in the future to be way better.
like I said, anyone who really has a problem, or an idea, or whatever can email me. love rage and solidarity, lemme know when and/or where the next one's at way in advance.
interview?
09 May 2002
You might find someone from FDP who would want to do an interview, but most of us just want to forget about the whole ordeal and move onto other projects.
diversity does not happen overnight
09 May 2002
Yes friday downstairs at the berwick was all punk music. Upstairs was folk and theatre..., at MIT was Jazz. Intially it was wanted to mix them up (just like the first two concerts), but it was ONLY possible to have punk in the basement. The best concert, in terms of diversity, was the on wednsday. Not many people came, and more people were outside the club pissing and moaning that the show was at a club and they had to pay 8 bucks. (8 bucks for 12 bands, oh what a rip off!!) That show featured 4 radical hip-hop bands, two folk bands, and only 3 punk bands. But most people missed that, and just sat on the street complaining. Though no one thought about how these bands needed money to cover travel costs. I have, since the FDP, meet two of the hip hop acts, who both had positive things to say about the FDP.
About community outreach. DO you all honestly expect that people are going to pour out into the streets to support anarchism after only a few months of intensive out reach? You are out of your minds. And anyone who suggests that no outreach, or not enough outreach was done is a fool. It was. Just because you think anarchism is a wonderful thing, does not mean other people do. Just because we know how safe we can be at a festival, does not mean the rest of the public does.
Although most of the music and speakers and workshops were white male, I think if you look back, you will realize there was far more diversity in those who were invited to play music, give a workshop, or a speech than the diversity of those who attended. That would suggest that FDP organizers WERE trying their damnest to have diversity.
If you get your head out of your ass, and move in circles outside of an anrchist clique, talk to other people, you will know that people are a bit scared, a bit apathetic, or they disagree, or just too tired to attend anarchist festivals and demonstrations.
For anyone who came to the FDP, how many non white, non middle-class, non-student, non-punk people did you bring with you? With that said, I am not trying to start a fight (though I am sure my tone may suggest that), but lets share some responsibility here.
re: disgruntled fdp organizer
09 May 2002
Thanks for labelling me a "useless movement parasite" because I didn't get involved in the FDP, as if that's all that's going on in Boston, and all I should be involved in. I didn't get involved in FDP because I didn't like the tone set at the very beginning and didn't want to involve myself in something that would turn into an anarcho-punk fest, to the detriment of other activism I was doing. Not to mention that people have other things to do with their lives sometimes, like work.

Be that as it may, I don't want to start a flame-war here. I think my criticisms are valid. I think that the FDP was a good effort, and your work deserves to be commended, and you did a lot of positive things. But I don't think that you achieved what you set out to achieve, and I think that there were clear failings in the way you organized that brought this about. Maybe you tried very hard to avoid these, but if so then your failure to produce results should be even more alarming to you, because it means you're deep within the anarcho-punk ghetto and don't know how to communicate with people outside this circle effectively. Maybe you don't want to hear this from someone who didn't want to work with a bunch of white punk kids for several months. Maybe only the other white punk kids are entitled to criticize you. But there it is, that's what I thought. Take it or leave it. Sorry if this offends you.
What are you?
10 May 2002
I just have a question for all of the people who are attacking FDP for being full of white punk kids. My question is are you a white punk kid? Personally I am white, but not punk, but it seems strange to me for so many white punk kids to be attacking something for being too white and punk.

While I too wish that our movement was full of every type of person imaginable, the truth of the matter is that in many ways being an anarchist activist is a priviledge that comes with white skin. We are less likely to be abused in jail. We generally, even if we try and reject them, have family members who could bail us out if we really needed them to. The list goes on, but it doesn't suprise me one bit that a march billed as a direct confrontation march would be mosly white kids, we have the least to lose.
Those of you who were at Wake Up the Earth saw an amazing event. Hopefully many of you white punk complainers took time that day to talk with people of color from the area about what FDP was and what the anarchist movement is all about. As someone said earlier, these bonds are not built overnight, but they take time and hopefully you helped.

During the bookfair on the first day, I was talking with an FDP organizer and three people who were local activists, but chose not to organize with FDP for some of the reasons that were brought up above. The FDP organizer pointed out that there were a few tables organized by organizations founded and run by people of color that dealt with poverty and minority issues. This is a big step for us. Hopefully we can build on it.

I was however dissapointed by the fact that the three local activists who had chosen not to organize for FDP were women, one of whom I had met before and no to be a talented organizer. I think that it is important for our movement to be successful that we not (and I am not claiming that FDP did because I did not organize for FDP and I have no idea) recreate the same social hierarchies found in our corrupt society. In this vain, i think it is important for white people, strait people, rich kids and men to think long and hard about how accessible and welcoming an environment is to those who are usually left out.

From talking with FDP kids, this seems to be something that they were very concerned with. The FDP organizing group itself had many women on it and there was also some people of color. This isn't tokenism, it is a sign that FDP, as a group, was willing to and tried to reach out to communities that are often left out and I applaud them for this. It is clear, however, that next year, we need to build and do more. I voluteer to help organize for next year and do all that I can to make the festival a success. Hopefully those who worked so hard this year and those who have simply criticized will do the same.
whats wrong with punk
10 May 2002
Maybe in Boston the punks are all white, but in other parts
of the contry (and world) it is not all white, nor is it
middle-class.
And listen to all you anarchists crying about all the
punks at your events. If weren't for the punks, where
would your anarchist movement be now? We are the majority in your demonstrations, we are on the streets, we work shit jobs with other poor people, we set up squats, record stores, book stores, zines, social events (concerts).
If it weren't for the punks the anarchist movement would be a bunch of rich college kids and boring old intelligentsia sitting around smoking pipes talking about the old days.
UP THE PUNX!
off topic
10 May 2002
i don't think anyone is attacking punks, but rather trying to find ways to bring more people into the movement. Relax.
Yargh.
10 May 2002

Im so relieved im not there anymore. You mostly sound like the most depressing lot of whiners ive ever heard.
If you didnt like the way things turned out, maybe someday you'll figure out its your OWN damn fault because you probably didnt help out in the first place.
If you feel guilty for being white and/or male, perhaps you should get a sex change and get your whole body tattooed brown. It might be tedious, but that way you can insure you get the most opression in life.
If you dress like a punk, you should get fashion advice from people concerned that your fashion might be a concern to those concerned about being unconcerned with fashion. This is concerning; how fashionable.
but have we learned anything?
10 May 2002
I think we all agree that more could have been done to include the community, get more diverse participants, etc, etc, etc.

But instead of arguing about it and trying to place blame, why aren't we talking about what lessons we've learned from this? Why aren't we talking about specific things we can do next year, or at the next protest, or in our own communities?

Of course the movement isn't perfect, nothing we do is perfect, but as long as we continue to learn from our mistakes and not repeat them, we can only move forward. I'm not from Boston, but I know I can look at the good and bad things about FDP and use those ideas in my own community.