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May 3rd, 2005

ANARCHY IN CHICAGO, OR " LOUIS LINGG"

Yes, it was the middle years of the 1980s, and word came around - the way it had a habit of doing in anarchist circles in the pre-internet period - that there would be a massive memorial demonstration on the hundredth anniversary of the Haymarket Riot (falsely-so called) when Chicago's finest, or at least best armed, clashed with a peaceful assembly of union activists (unions were oh, so radical in those days--advocating a 40 hour work week, safe working conditions, anti-child labor laws and other unspeakable similar demands), who fought back, anarchists like Louis Lingg (see AC's chapter on him in *his* The Book of Lies) were predictably blamed, sentenced, and, after heroic farewell speeches from the scaffold, duly hanged.

So we decided to try it again, mit der surprizing ending. After an initial planning meeting in Chicago in the Winter, we came home to the Circle A Collective, lined up a couple of buses of merrie pranksters, and Red Ruby, Spider Rainbow, Lacy Rainbow, Ashe Guy and a host of others loaded up for a magical mystery tour into the heart of darkness. (How many titles can one slip in a sentence? ) "Wait!" someone on the bus shouted. Let's find "Kerry Thornley!" It wasn't a rally without Kerry, so buses roamed around Little Five Points, where we hoped we'd find the Prophet of Eris, either panhandling, or distributing copies of his Spare Change newsletter, or whatever, but we gave up after people started looking at our buses, having clashing with Nazi skins at our trip fundraiser when they tried to crash the party and drink our keg. When people started to look at *anything* in L5P in those days, with punx and old hippies and straights from Virginia Highlands gaping at the show, it was time to head out, and we were on the road again.

Rally point, the Some Liberal Church, Scientist, somehow hosting the converged anarchists from all over the universe, and Circle A runs into a bunch of - Thelemic anarchists from various tendencies, and, since most of us were members of the order -- there in totally unofficial capacity -- there's no such thing as an "official anarchist" anything anyway, and we go out to the tasteless memorial to the hapless dead keystone cops to the graves of the Haymarket Martyrs, and I take a pic of Lacy standing next to the grave of hero hero, Emma Goldman, who had been thrown out of America in World War One for being pro birth control, free love and other evils of anarchism, and essentially not allowed back into America again until safely dead, buried next to her beloved Haymarket heroes.

We arrived back at the Church, now filled with all kinds of anarchists old and young, and the predictable Maoist infiltrators and bored FBI agents. So, we go sit at the "Thelemic table" and hobnob about Liber Oz, and freedom and radical social and consciousness transformation.

Until, the anarchist unionists striking the local Armour meat packing plant appealed for support only to be drowned out by a younger bunch of, uhm, anarcho-vegans who staged a little theatre yelling moo and generally facing off with the union workers. The hosts were serving both vegan and meat-based fare for dinner, and that was toward the end of my long vegetarian period, so I was eating tofu, but when one of the anarco-rude vegans handed me a leaflet I jumped up on the table and ripped their leaflet in half. I was immediately surrounded by enraged vegans asking how did I dare disrupt their disruption, and I explained that they had engaged in a little theatre, and I, who wanted us all to work together, was doing a little theater of my own, and by the way, I didn't eat meat either. "Oh." one sheepishly said, and they all vanished.

Next day the cops were out in force and the unofficial official anarchist march down Chicago's Miracle Mile in rush hour went as scheduled. HUGE. Drums, lots of people, past the Trib building (the Chi Trib ran it on page one), while the professional magi and anarchists of the left-handed path stood behind the line of cops, milled around, carried clip boards, asked cops questions in official, but friendly tones and became- invisible, as usual. We counted, noticed the arsenal, and figured the cops would wait till the predictable Maoists and FBI provocateurs started doing property damage (this was the period between Weather and black blok).

Everything went as scheduled, and as the cops took off after the hundred or so window breakers, we started leafleting the ordinary working stiffs of downtown Chicago, taking pictures of atrocities by the quickly foaming at the mouth cops, and then vanished, expected them to also break up into small groups to hunt down demonstrators. We broke up and agreed to meet at a roundevous. We were pros.

Invisibility ends when petitions and leaflets come out and clipboards and press cameras are folded up, so Lacy and I had several berserk keepers of law and order on our tail, so, Art of War style, we suddenly decided we were tourists and had never seen the Ripley Museum in Chicago. We urgently needed to see the guy with a candle in his skull and other edifying displays, so we ducked into the Sanctuary of Robertus Riplius, and rounded a corner smack into what was rumored gone from all the Ripley Museums at the beginning of the "Satan Squad" period - a surviving display of Witch's Mill artifacts, under a six foot blow up of Gerald Gardner and another of the Mill. I couldn't resist. I posed, as above, and we milled around the Mill till the cops moved on to the hapless nonpros and agitator types they banged around with glee, 146 arrested in all. We made our way to the meeting place, found our brethren and sistren at the bus, but the cops pull up and block the exit, waiting for us to do something or try to leave.

We huddled. A few things were disposed of. Other things made snicking sounds. They waited. We beamed thoughts of donuts and coffees, coffee and doughnuts. Too much for weak minds, they drove off. Good work, Obi Wan. Block searched by speedy young bros, and then we were off.

The rest of the weekend was spent bailing our beaten brethren and hapless Maoists and determined if shattered FBI agents out of jail.

Kerry never showed, but was there in spirit.

Still is.

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