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Union Square Diary: Sharing Zines, a Typical Day

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Since court for Cecily let out earlier than expected Monday I made copies of about 600 zines, and at 2:30pm set up the free literature table in Union Sq. Park. I was a bit nervous about doing so since I didn’t know if I’d have any back-up at all, which becomes an uncomfortable and serious issue when urination becomes necessary. Fortunately it all worked out. I little after 3pm, a friend joined me for a few hours. We enjoyed the sun and some complimentary ice cream from a supportive nearby business!
Shortly after they left I met a math teacher who told me he was part of a red and black anarchist – socialist distro in CA about 8 years ago. He said he was interested in helping out so I offered him a chair and he got to folding right away. It was very appreciated since we were pretty low on zines ready to give out. Shortly after he left around 7:30pm an activist friend who regularly helps out with IOH efforts came by and assisted until we packed up at 9:30pm.

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Early on our Occupy friends Justin Stone-Diaz and Chaos Kitty stopped by, later I met some Swedes, one of whom had been active syndicalists in the past. They said they would come to court for Cecily on Wednesday. I also met a middle aged South Asian man from Toronto who told me he thought he might be an anarchist or at least something “close to it.” A white middle aged libertarian who scoffed at anarchy but opened up when I told him I also identified as a libertarian in the classical sense (in response to his question) and then we talked about how post Occupy some Tea Party and OWS people had been working together in Staten Island to preserve a local green space which we both find heartening. I later met a younger guy who was very glad to know we weren’t a socialist group and thought OWS should have targeted the IRS. I tried to remind him that both were worthy targets and that anarchists did inherit some positive things from our left-wing history.

There was a South Asian family (middle age parents and tween son) visiting from South Florida who were very excited to get some anarchist pamphlets. I also met a Saudi man who was interested and lives in NYC now, and a black woman, Columbia student from Ditmas Park who is studying social work, and who wants to help us with printing. There were two women from Turkey: a young student who was active in the struggle around Gezi Park and who identifies with anarchist ideas. The other was a little older Kurdish-Armenian woman who spoke less English, but was happy to take some pamphlets even though she told me she is a Trotskyist.

We also had a visit from a friend who works with the Catholic Worker. He was glad to get a copy of an original zine we recently published about why Christians should shun government as was another Christian guy who was giving out granola bars and tickets to some Easter thing. There were plenty of regulars, someone looking for Bakunin writings, which unfortunately we were out of. One regular who appreciates our zines it turns out is a somewhat famous actor.

Very few if any annoying wingnuts or hostile types bothered us. We generally get a wingnut or two who often want to talk about some nutty conspiracy. Matthew Silver performed nearby and encouraged all to “LOV[E]” one another, and I broke up a fight between skate boarders just as someone was about to get whacked with a long board. Shortly before we packed up we met two nice 19-year-old community college students who knew our zines from Zuccotti ParkĀ  when we were there during the occupation. They both expressed an are interest in anarchism. We filled up nearly an entire page with email addresses including many from people who want to help out or get involved! In all we gave out approximately as many zines as were printed that day (nearly 600.)

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We hope to be outdoors sharing anarchist zines and ideas in public more now that the weather is starting to warm. If more people are available and interested in helping with that effort then we can do it more. Please get in touch with us via inourhearts[at]gmail[dot]com and if possible give us your number.

In the future we may start sharing relevant zines in the mornings outside the Criminal Court House at 100 Centre Street. On Thursday we will have zines at the RESONANCE: The Thoughts Before Thought art show in Long Island City, Queens. Friday will be another Brooklyn Free Store (weather permitting) in BedStuy, and on Sunday we are hosting a Grub: Community Dinner near the Brooklyn Navy Yard. As always there will be free zine tables at both events.

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