New Zine on the History of Chicago's A-Zone Infoshop

  • Posted on: 23 March 2015
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)

We’re excited to announce the completion of our latest project, an updated version of the zine The A-Zone & A Decade Of Anarchy In Chicago. The Autonomous Zone was an anarchist organizing hub and infoshop that operated in Chicago for about a decade, hosting numerous events, political initiatives, and serving as a physical entry point for anarchist ideas in Chicago.

In this new edition, editor Alex Iwasa expands on their previously published history of The Autonomous Zone (The A-Zone) in Chicago and shares new research that provides additional information about both the A-Zone and the larger context of the U.S. anarchist space in the 1990s and early 2000s. A new contribution in this edition adds additional reflections on the A-Zone, joining an interview and two reflective essays that appeared in the original edition of the zine.

The history of the Autonomous Zone has a relevance for those outside of Chicago, as the A-Zone was typical of anarchist experiments in counter-institutions and infoshops undertaken by anarchists in the 1990s and as such the writings within cover an important aspect of recent anarchist history. It gives an interesting snapshot of the infoshops of the 1990s and the related anarchist milieu. Beyond the A-Zone, the zine talks about the Love & Rage anarchist federation, the anarchist networking project (Dis)Connections and the related Network of Anarchist Collectives, as well as the Chicago-based projects Baklava Collective and Wind Chill Factor. Also covered are Food Not Bombs, Anarchist Black Cross, and Anti-Racist Action.

You can get the zine in PDF format for both screen reading and printing at:

http://anarchisthistory.noblogs.org/post/2015/03/18/new-zine-the-a-zone-...

Physical copies can be ordered through Sprout Distro at:

http://www.sproutdistro.com

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Comments

Thanks for putting this together, I remember reading about the A-Zone when I first got introduced to anarchist in the 90's. Always sort of wondered what happened to it. Will read

Any history of anarchist activity in Chicago would be incomplete without mentioning the loosely-structured, but very active,group called Some Chicago Anarchists, which ran an anarchist bookstore, Impossible Books, in the 1980s, and was also responsible for organizing the Haymarket Anarchist Gathering in May of 1986, subsequent annual May Day anarchist picnics at the Haymarket Martyrs' Monument (as well as more frequent picnics in Lincoln Park), and numerous public anarchist forums during the period of the first American invasion of Iraq. We also made appearances at other public events with literature and the black flag.

I first became acquainted with the group when I met two of the core members at a 1989 discussion at De Paul University about the recent Tiennamen Square protests and crackdown, sponsored by the Open University of the Left. They were the first real anarchists I had ever met; prior to that time, I had identified myself, rather confusedly, as an anarcho-capitalist. Through them, I was introduced to magazines like Anarchy and Fifth Estate, as well as alot of other stuff left over from the Impossible Books stock.

The founder of Some Chicago Anarchists was always deeply suspicious of organizationalist groups such as the Love & Rage Federation, which began as a co-project between Trotskyist remnants of the Revolutionary Socialist League (under Wayne Price) and Chris Gunderson, who later abandoned anarchism and publicly declared his Maoist sympathies, which had long been suspected. I came to share that hostility, and still do. The group behind Baklava and the Wind Chill Factor had close affinities with the organizationalists, so we, or I, at any rate, had mixed feelings about the A-Zone project. However, I visited the space(s) a number of times, and participated in a few activities. Despite the muddled political perspective in that milieu, I was glad that the A-Zone existed and lasted as long as it did.

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