Anarcon 2016: Well Worth The Trip

By: Shane Radliff

October 12th, 2016



From Left to Right: Me, Mike Shanklin, Colby Keddington, Jason Paradise, Jake McCauley, Daniel Rothschild, Carl Loser

Freedom festivals are one method of direct action, wherein likeminded individuals gather to unwind and discuss ways to bring about the peaceful philosophy of anarcho-capitalism/voluntaryism. That said, this past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Anarcon in Gore, Virginia, a freedom festival hosted by Liberate RVA.

I left Bloomington/Normal Thursday afternoon to rendezvous with my co-host, Jason Paradise, in Indiana. I loaded my stuff into his car, and we began the journey. Since the event didn’t technically start until 7pm the following day, we decided to stay the night in a fleabag motel in (I think) Zanesville, Ohio—talk about some interesting characters. The following morning, we completed the trip and arrived at The Cove Campground that Friday afternoon.

Soon after our arrival, we met up with Mike Shanklin, the administrator of the Statism is Slavery page; in the past, he has been kind enough to share my content with his large audience, so I began by expressing my appreciation—it’s not easy to grow a website/radio show and the assistance I receive is always humbling.

Kal Molinet then arrived, and I was introduced to some folks that I have corresponded with on Fascistbook in the past. We’ve interviewed Kal on Liberty Under Attack Radio a number of times and I met him previously at the Midwest Peace and Liberty Fest (MPLfest) in 2015, but it’s always a pleasure to be in his company—a true Champion of Liberty.

Friday night was ultimately spent settling in, partying, and meeting others as they arrived. There were no presentations or anything like that.

Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate for most of the day on Saturday, but we adapted and fought through wet tents and and chilly temperatures. That night, Anarcon “officially” kicked off with a presentation by Carl and musical performances by Jordan and Phil. The rest of the evening (and morning) was filled with great discussions and the celebration of voluntary interactions.

Sunday was more-so a day of relaxation. Jason and I spent most of the day at our campsite listening to music, filling our gullets, and chatting with those who came by to chill by the badass fire Jason labored on throughout the day.

The festival concluded on Monday and we began our long journey back home.

Since I have attended two different freedom festivals, I would like to do some comparing/contrasting.

First off, I had a great time at both and would highly recommend individuals make plans to attend next year. Both the MPLfest and Anarcon are made up of true lovers of freedom and the discussions you have there are ones that you can’t have anywhere else—let’s just say, it beats the hell out of the Internet and podcasts.

Both also have agorist marketplaces of sorts. In short, entrepreneurs defying the State and keeping what is rightfully theirs. Not only do they believe in the concept, but they are taking action in exercising their freedom.

There are a couple of differences though.

First off, Anarcon seems to be more spontaneously “organized” than the MPLfest. At the MPLfest, most of the scheduled presentations occurred and relatively on time, if not precisely. On the contrary, Anarcon had, say, 10 presentations scheduled and, to my knowledge, less than a handful were given, which includes my Freedom Umbrella of Direct Action presentation. I would posit that it was mainly due to the engaging conversations and the fact that herding anarchists into a specific area is much like herding cats—it’s a tough thing to do.

The amount of attendees was also drastically different—over 100 people showed up to the MPLfest in Delton, Michigan, but only, say, 30 attended Anarcon. Although, a smaller group does have its benefits. I was able to have in-depth conversations with everybody there.

One final difference is the fact that Anarcon is specifically for those who are anti-political. As is stated on the website:

“Since anarchy is not a political position, advocation for political rulers or their affiliated gang party is not welcome. The non-aggression principle with respect for property rights and self-ownership should be the only rules necessary.”

Since LUA’s focus is primarily on economic means solutions and has a history of calling out folks for their inconsistencies in applying the two aforementioned principles, it was a breath of fresh air to hear no conversation about future political campaigns (i.e. “anarchist politicians”).

Overall, I had a terrific time, as I have at every freedom festival I’ve attended. Conversing with likeminded individuals over the Internet is necessary for keeping “our” sanity, but meeting fellow Champions of Liberty in person is far better.

If you are looking for one potential way to exercise your freedom, consider conducting at least this one method of direct action by attending these events next year—you won’t regret it.

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