Tuesday, January 25, 2000

Organized Anarchy

In Fremont, California, the battle is over and the anarchists have won. In the local high school, at least.

Now, alongside the chess club, the key club, the Vietnamese club, and the debate club, the school also has an anarchists club.

Excuse me? Aren’t anarchists supposed to be opposed to any sense of order or government? Then how did they get together long enough to decide they needed an official club? This makes about as much sense as the promoters of a psychics convention having to alert attendees when and where they will meet. If they’re really psychic, shouldn’t they know without having to be told?

The Anarchists Student Union is not a huge group, only about a dozen members. Yet it’s interesting that they were able to get themselves organized long enough to go to the school board and get their group classified as an official school club.

Don’t get overly concerned. These kids aren’t advocating total chaos. They’re bright kids -- mostly honor students -- who want to raise political awareness of the causes they espouse.

Still, I doubt that their meetings will be regular in any sense. First of all, you can throw Roberts Rules Of Order right out the door. They’d be better off consulting the newly re-released version of Abbie Hoffman’s “Steal This Book.” Everyone’s an officer and there’s no need for a parliamentarian, either. In a group of anarchists, does the majority rule?

It could be worse. This could be real-life politics, which are even odder.

Monday evening as I was flicking around the channels looking for something to watch, I came upon C-SPAN’s live coverage of the Iowa caucuses -- on two separate channels, one for the Democrats and one for the Republicans.

Now, go ahead and try to name one thing that’s more exciting than seeing a bunch of people sitting around a school cafeteria debating which one of them would replace the interim deputy precinct captain, and whether such an important decision could be decided by a voice vote or not. Thankfully, C-SPAN was there to capture this thrilling event live!!

As the camera scanned the crowd -- paid attendance: well over 60 people, not counting the kids running the bake sale -- I was reminded of the one and only time I attended my neighborhood homeowners association meeting. You know, the folks who want to put a lien on your house because your gutter downspout is over the neighborhood limit for wet leaves or you accidentally put your trash can out at the curb before dusk had fully settled.

These were basically those same people. The kind of people who, at some point in their life, have stood up proudly and with a straight face said, “I nominate Arlene Barfarkle to be our recording secretary! She’s the only one who can do justice to the minutes of our meetings!” Do I hear a second to the motion?

I’m glad that C-SPAN aired these meetings, but I wish more Americans would have seen them. Then they could have laughed as the importance of these caucuses was overemphasized by the rest of the media as the launching pad for our next President.

Please.

All they really did in Iowa was convince Orrin Hatch of the one thing that everyone else already knew: that he had absolutely no chance of becoming President. He made his withdrawal announcement today and was immediately greeted by the deafening silence of several million Americans asking, “You were running for President? We had no idea!” C’mon, this guy got fewer votes than None Of The Above!

On the other hand, this does give him the political opportunity of a lifetime. If he acts quickly, maybe he can lock up the nomination for recording secretary of the anarchists’ club!

All in favor, say aye.