Last weekend, March 25-27, radical people of color from across the nation gathered in Asheville, North Carolina. There, at the Southeastern Regional Conference of Anarchist People of Color, we breathed a collective sigh of relief and turned that shared breath into shared struggle: personal, social, and organizational relationships; histories, hopes, and plans for social change.
One of the very first questions asked in the opening discussion of the Southeast Regional was “What is anarchism?” Over the course of an hour, almost everyone present threw out their own definition, idea, or perspective on anarchism. The list of definitions began with “working to end all systems of domination” followed by “complete and total freedom, with a sense of responsibility, respect and collective effort.” Some said anarchism is simply no single, central doctrine; or simply the act of organizing outside of any institutions or system. A reoccurring definition that persisted throughout the conference was that of anarchism as self-definition and self-determination. This perspective seemed pressingly salient to the attending people of color, with the idea voiced repeatedly in many different ways, such as autonomia, zapatismo, hybridity, and recognizing/recreating who we are.
In all of these definitions, many emphasized that anarchism is very importantly something we do; the actions of our lives individually and collectively.