As my good friends John and Lily recently posted, we're forking Anarchapulco. In this post, I want to discuss what that means to me, as well as give some insight into why I am taking part in this effort, and what I hope to see as a result.
They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, and in this instance, I think it holds true: I love Anarchapulco, and I don't want to see it go away. I want the opposite. To make clear what that means, though, I must first explain what Anarchapulco is to me.
My experience of Anarchapulcos past
I first attended the conference in its second year, 2016, at the Acapulco Grand Hotel, located in the main bay of Acapulco. That event holds the record, to this day, as the best conference experience I've ever had. The atmosphere and the energy at that conference was incredible.
I remember being consistently shocked at how easy it was to meet people, skip past the fluff, and connect at a deeper level. The conference attendees I met while riding the elevators, wandering the hotel, and exploring the city, were open and friendly, and the conversations were substantive and engaging. The people at that conference were largely familiar with the philosophical foundations of anarchocapitalist thought, such as rational morality, the non-aggression principle, self-ownership, property rights, etc. In a room of people who hold those concepts as common ground, the range and quality of conversations possible vastly outstrips the possibilities when those concepts are not yet understood or accepted. These were the people I encountered at Anarchapulco 2016, and the conversations and experiences were effortlessly valuable.
Then came Anarchapulco 2017. The conference was moved from the Acapulco bay to the Diamante suburb, hosted in the Resort Mundo Imperial hotel and conference center. It was a luxury hotel/resort experience, the conference center was modern and pristine, the resort grounds were expansive and beautifully decorated. The conference proceedings themselves were passable; everything went fairly smoothly, but the second stage wasn't being recorded, so those talks were lost unless the presenter brought his own recording equipment, and the concert was held in a subpar acoustic environment that didn't do justice to the artists' talents. I had a great time, and enjoyed many conversations with interesting people, but I didn't find those effortless connections like I did the first year. Overall, Anarchapulco 2017 was good, but it wasn't as good.
Sorting it all out
So what went awry? Was it the move from Acapulco to Diamante? Was it the sprawling Mundo Imperial conference ballrooms as opposed to the densely populated Acapulco Grand? Was it just that there were more people there, making for a less dense concentration of deeply philosophically rooted anarchists?
The switch from the city to the suburb was a stark contrast. While the city was lively and dynamic, with people commuting between various hotels and exploring Acapulco, which is a surprisingly anarchic city on its own; the suburb was sparsely populated, with an ostentatious shopping mall next door, but otherwise relatively little to see or do. This made for a more controlled environment, which is great for a centrally planned conference, but not quite what I'm looking for in an anarchy gathering.
The difference in feel between the Acapulco Grand hotel and the Resort Mundo Imperial was also dramatic. Whereas the Grand was basically just a hotel with some auditorium space, reliant on the city packed in around it and the beach behind it to keep guests entertained, the Resort Mundo Imperial was an all-inclusive experience, with pools, walking paths, gyms, fancy bars and restaurants (with fancy prices, too) all on-grounds, but nothing else to see or do except go to an American-style shopping mall.
So Anarchapulco 2017 was a more pre-planned, shrink-wrapped experience. It may have actually been a better conference than Anarchapulco 2016, by typical conference standards, but I think it was a worse experience as a result, because Anarchapulco isn't really about a conference, it's about anarchy, and anarchy is about real people in real life, not people on vacation at a resort in an empty suburb.
On the essence of anarchy
Anarchy literally means "without rulers." In anarchy, there are no man-made rules that can't be questioned, and no man-made leader who can't be challenged. Anarchic theory attempts to explain why these conditions lead to a better world, but regardless of exactly how that proof is derived, the common thread is that simply letting people do their thing is a good strategy long term.
Anarchy, therefore, is about people, in real life, sharing ideas, growing, loving, and learning by experiencing each other as we are, rather than as we want each other to be. When schedules and systems and structures arise organically from people who are allowed and encouraged to be authentically themselves, those things are worthwhile and beautiful, but if we get the cart before the horse and make an event about the schedules, presentations, and structure, those things instead become mundane and hollow.
So now, at last, I can explain that, for me, forking Anarchapulco is about creating an environment that attracts anarchic people, and then empowering those people to do amazing things together. I don't want to deliver a shrink-wrapped conference experience, I want to facilitate the unique and personal experiences that allow people to learn and grow and share and love, then I want to join in those experiences with them.
I don't know what those experiences will look like, but isn't that the point? If I already know, what room is there to learn? Perhaps my role could be to teach, but one thing I've learned is that there is no order quite so beautiful or intricate as spontaneous order.
I believe that Acapulco is an excellent site to create that space. Anarchapulco 2016 already demonstrated that, and my time living here has only reinforced that certainty. Acapulco is a beautifully anarchic city to begin with; it's bustling with activity and life, it's young and dynamic, constantly evolving. There's a vast array of resources at our disposal here, the locals are accustomed to tourists, the prices are incredible, the food is wonderful, and there's a plethora of options for fun and entertainment on land and sea.
Wrapping it up
I love the Anarchapulco conference, and I want to help magnify the best parts of it, and to continue the journey it began. The conference now represents one particular vision, and I think Anarchapulco could be much bigger than that. Anarchy abhors one-size-fits-all solutions, and while I don't claim to have other solutions yet, I want to be part of finding them.
There is room here to create, and here are the tools to do it. We can make anything we can imagine, and I'm excited to see what we create. For my part, I'll be cooking up some ideas for blockchain and cryptocurrency oriented activities and opportunities, among other things. I welcome others to join us, adding more visions, directions, ideas, and content. I welcome more still to just come along for the ride. I don't know what exactly it will be, but it's gonna be good. I can't wait to see you here.
With a background in software development and a passion for security, Nathan has identified blockchain technology as his niche. He is dedicated to creating applications which empower individuals to shape a better world for themselves and others.
Fork Photo Source (CC0)