MEETINGS FOR PEOPLE WHO HATE MEETINGS: The International Anarchism Gathering got underway Wednesday at the movement's spiritual birthplace in Switzerland's western Jura mountains. Anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 people were expected to attend the gathering, which marked the 140th anniversary of the first anarchist worker congress in Saint-Imier in 1872.
RECRUITING GROUND: At a time when millions are living under harsh austerity programs, job losses and cutbacks in social safety nets in Europe, the anarchist congress drew participants from anarchist movements around the world to celebrate a radically different vision for the future. "Capitalism goes from crisis to crisis, so this is an opportunity for us," said Aristides Pedraza, part of a Lausanne-based movement and one of the main organizers.
ROLLING UP SLEEVES: Organizers opened the meeting with a call for demonstrations, worker strikes and other acts of defiance. They rejected the idea that workers should have to shoulder any of the debt or losses amassed by governments, banks and other capitalist enterprises.