Arts & Culture News

Anarchists Are Gathering in Denton This Weekend to Debunk Stigmas

Anarchy in the U.S. Well, at least in Denton.
Anarchy in the U.S. Well, at least in Denton. Matt Cardy/Getty
Organizers of a Denton event hope to see anarchists flock to their city this weekend. Their goal isn't to protest, but to invite others to learn about their cause.

“We want to bring the radical community in North Texas, and/or regionally, closer together. And (with) the local community, we want to introduce people to the philosophy that has a lot of stigma attached to it and maybe debunk some of the propaganda that has been going around,” says Cien of the Trinity River Lookout, which hosts the North Texas Anarchist Book Fair.

Cien, who says he just goes by that one name, believes this offers an opportunity for people to go beyond anything they might think about the extreme left. There are few but louder voices in the community. Take the most recent mayoral campaign, when candidate Alyson Kennedy, a self-proclaimed socialist, talked about workers’ rights followed by inviting audiences to join her in Cuba.

“I think a lot of people think that socialism, libertarian socialism and any sort of leftist ideas, that it's going to be a new world order, that 1984 big brother-type thing.” — Cien

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“I think a lot of people think that socialism, libertarian socialism and any sort of leftist ideas, that it's going to be a new world order, that 1984 big brother-type thing,” Cien says, “when what anarchism specifically is about is maximizing human liberty.”

The event will feature speakers like "political prisoner" and former Anonymous member Barrett Brown and activist Niecee X, vendors and punk bands, all sharing not an agenda, but an ideology Cien believes can resonate. Vermin Supreme for president — yes, you read that correctly — is also a headliner. Vermin Supreme is a performance artist and activist who wears a boot as a hat and has campaigned in the past for zombie apocalypse awareness.

“The biggest cure for ignorance is seeing for yourself,” Cien says. “It's free, and so if you want to keep your preconceived notions, you can stay at home and watch TV. If you want to learn what it's really about from the people who live it day-in and day-out, you can come and get some free stuff, learn some things and hear some great music.”

The North Texas Anarchist Book Fair will be from noon to midnight Saturday, July 27, at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, 411 E. Sycamore St. in Denton.
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Taylor Adams has written about the restaurant industry for the Dallas Observer since 2016. She attended Southern Methodist University before covering local news at The Dallas Morning News.

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