Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Know your local anarchist... Will the KMA create riots in the streets of KC?


According to Tony Botello, a potentially dangerous alliance of local anarchists is poised to co-opt legitimate protest of the upcoming convention of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps conference in Kansas City.

TonysKansasCity expresses significant concerns about Kansas Mutual Aid, a nefarious collection of anti-capitalists, and their plans to plunge KC into mayhem and bloodshed:

...if local Latinos don't watch out they'll be used as cover and human shields for a radical political agenda that doesn't represent anything concerning the Latino Community in Kansas City.


But that won't stop other anonymous faces in the crowd or not so easily identifiable forces from making their presence felt. In the past, that's how some anarchists have been able to start riots - By hiding among legitimate, peaceful protesters.

Considering the serious nature of these concerns, I thought it might be a good idea to let everyone know exactly who makes up the Lawrence-based KMA. Knowing and recognizing these potentially disruptive forces could save countless lives.

Like Mother Like Daughter?

ANARCHIST: Kalila Dalton
ACTIVITIES: Resurrecting a local library and traveling to the Gulf Coast in hopes of helping those suffering in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Kalila Dalton's mother was a fixture at the Arlington National Cemetery. Her activities there certainly make one wonder if the proverbial apple has fallen far from the tree. Kalila's mommy, a member of the U.S. armed services, was selected to guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier while on active duty.

Kalila has engaged in equally suspicious behavior. She won 4-H Youth Leadership awards and additional recognition for her efforts to resurrect the then-defunct McLouth, Kansas, public library. After losing her own rural home in a fire and benefiting from community kindness, Dalton decided to repay the favor by bringing a dead library back to life, creating a community asset.

Additional investigation reveals that Dalton supports feeding the homeless and rebuilding the homes of the less affluent destroyed in natural disasters.

Not Your Average Joe

ACTIVITIES: Offering non-violent protest training, doing puppet shows, recording political folk/hip-hop fusion protest music.

Joe Carr, a Catholic boy from Kansas City, is a veteran of community theater. He drives an old Mercedes that is converted to run on vegetable oil and lives in a communal home in Lawrence. He's been involved in the organization of an anti-patriarchy group and is ready, willing and able to put on puppet shows about the need and value of peace.

An anarchist jack-of-all-trades, he's working on his third album, though it doesn't seem he has major label support.

Code Name Scritch

ANARCHIST: Jordan Ferrand-Sapsis
ACTIVITIES: Gardening, eating cookies, helping out

Jordan's interest in questionable activities began at the age of 15. The then-New York high schooler spent four weeks studying natural ecosystems near a canal. She commented, "I didn't realize how much stuff was here. It's becoming a nursery for snappers, baby bluefish - a complete ecosystem." Her suspicious interest in all things environmental has led her to engage in the maintenance of a community garden in Lawrence. When she's not watering plants, she's helping with other KMA offensives, including giving free vegan food to the hungry.

Jordan also has a strong interest in subversive art. Sometimes known by the code name "Scritch", she's been involved in a gallery showing of so-called street art.

If these brief bios aren't enough to make you fear for the future of Kansas City, you might want to consider the laundry list of provocative activities in which the KMA has engaged.

  • Food Not Banks. A few times every month, KMA members hand out free food to hungry people. No questions asked.
  • Community Garden. A patch of otherwise unused property on Vermont Street in Lawrence is now a community garden thanks to the anarchists of the KMA.
  • Burger King March. The KMA was instrumental in a protest march regarding farmworker wages that ended in front of Lawrence Burger Kings. They handed out free, healthy food.
  • Mexican Repression Protest. KMA members met with the Mexican consulate over concerns regarding the Mexican governments repression of internal protest groups.
  • Benefit Concerts. The KMA is often linked to benefit concerts designed to line the pockets of community project participants and non-profit organizations.

All of these activities share common characteristics. They have not incited violence, mayhem or bloodshed.

Okay, you're probably getting it by now. The KMA is probably less dangerous than that asshole kid with the Camaro who lives on the corner. I don't want to pretend like Kansas Mutual Aid has never ever done anything questionable or consequential, but they certainly don't have a track record of inciting violence.

It's true. The kind of street art Scritch loves sounds a bit like graffiti. Kalila Dalton probably goofed when she signed up and then ditched a particular hurricane recovery job. There are legitimate questions about Joe Carr's pro-Palestinian peace stance.

KMA members have been arrested when protesting dinners for Bob Dole and Rudy9-11. They've been investigated by the cops and the big boys from the FBI. The cops may have considered them personas non gratis in Greensburg because they have a track record of annoying traditional governmental operations. Some people would argue that they've stepped over the line with some of their military "counter recruitment" efforts.

But hey, they are anarchists. They're bound to get in a little trouble here and there.

They do not, however, appear to be street thugs who would plan to co-opt a Latino protest at a Minuteman Convention in order to fill the streets with blood. I think they'd rather "talk it out" over veggie-stuffed pitas than duke it out with xenophobes.

I don't want to denigrate the activities of the KMA as useless or silly. That isn't my real point here. I think some of their positions are outlandish. I think some of their efforts deserve a huge round of applause. They are what they are. So are those who speak out against anything that doesn't conform with political norms.

They're a relatively young group of people who want to create a better world. You can dismiss them as Utopian. You can argue that they're not effectuating change in the best possible manner. You can even degree with their underlying philosophies and perspectives. There are legitimate arguments and if you feel like picking a verbal fight with their membership, I'm sure you could strike up a dialog. It might even be interesting.

However, they are not (based on anything I've seen, heard or read) a dangerous cabal of would-be domestic terrorists. I sort of like this description:

"Kansas Mutual Aid (KMA), however, isn’t exactly a Molotov-hurling band of latter day Guy (and Gal) Fawkes bent on destroying society. A group of collective Lawrence anarchists founded in 2003, KMA prefers community gardening to burning down churches."

They're idealistic kids in a college town who are trying to do their thing and who hope that thing is Good.

Of course, I could be wrong. Keep an eye on your local anarchists. Just in case. Approach them with care. Otherwise they might want to help you start a library or feed you something that contains all-organic hummus.


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  1. You're misrepresenting my blog post in much the same way that the KMA has misrepresented their affiliates.

    Are you saying that the press release that the KMA put out was falsified by another anarchist? Because I've seen it in quite a few different places as it has the correct contact info.

    I've stated before that the KMA is probably peaceful but that doesn't speak for all anarchists who are known to cause violence and the language used in an internet notice is indicative of that fact. Also, the KMA didn't share with other protest organizers that they were sending out this online promotion. On this they're undoubtedly being duplicitous and I think I have every right to note that I don't believe that KMA has the best interests of the Latino Community in Kansas City at heart - We're the ones with the most at stake in this issue.

    Still thanks for the link and reading my blog.

  2. I'm not saying their statements were falsified. I just think you're reading a wee bit too much into their comments.

    I can't tell you whether the KMA lines up with the best interests of Latinos across the board, but I'm willing to bet their intentions don't involve spurring massive riots.

    Love your blog even when I think you stink. That's a joke.

  3. John,

    Great post. As someone with a whole buttload full of anarchist friends, I also think it is very important to have some perspective on who you are generally dealing with. Depending on the folks, anarchists can be decent folks and some can be something of a dysfunctional lot. But they're generally good people, in my experience. Most anarchists are not from the violent days of anarchists past. And even Emma Goldman had quite a bit that people should read and listen to and take seriously.

    I'll have to come back and read this more thoroughly when I get a chance, John. I'm exhausted and it's been a long day. And I have thoughts on what I think is a move of mixed virtues and vices in Hillary Clinton's embrace of MLK and LBJ - though I'm pretty clear and I hope most right thinking folks are that MLK was the real hero of that day, having been the more genuinely committed of the two to civil rights and the needs of the poor and having died for his cause, and all (Do 60's radicals have no shame in how much credit that will take for themselves and away from the legacy of Dr. King for civil rights and poverty efforts? That, alone, makes me think twice about voting for someone who wraps herself in this cloak.).

    But I really should get to bed before I turn into a real asshole with the kids in the morning, in which case I've got nothing to bitch about with Hillary Clinton treating such a disposition as her birthright.

    I'll be back.

  4. One thing for everyone to remember is that protests almost always turn violent due to the tactics of law enforcement when offiers are at best ill-trained and at worst, acting out of hate and prejudice.

  5. To check out our interview with the Minuteman Project’s founder Jim Gilchrist tonight Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 8pm EST go to http://thirdrailradio.com Feel free to call in and speak with him on-air.

  6. Out of curiosity why has no one contacted us about this stuff? We are not hard to get a hold of, Tony even said here that he has seen our contact info. So why is it that no one has asked our opinion? email us or somethin'. Thank you for defending us but we are a bigger group than three people and we are willing to talk if people want.

  7. Anonymous KMA-er...

    Point well-taken. All one needs to do is pick up a phone or walk down Mass to discuss this stuff.

    I guess I didn't bother (though maybe I should have) because my post was more of a one-off response to Tony's hyperbole than anything else.

    It took me about five minutes to gather some basic info about the KMA (on top of what I knew from connections in Lawrence, etc.) and was more interested in quickly showing a bit of the human side of anarchy than I was on doing serious investigative journalism.

    Thanks for reading and please don't fill our streets with blood.

    That last part is a joke.

    John Brown of Kansas

    1. Paul Ryan as Wilbur, Jamie Moyer as Mr. Ed and Pamela Lee as Wilbur's wife. World premier in Texas and Arizona.

    2. Brian from Brampton (maybe Vaughan)June 6, 2015 at 7:37 AM

      Just in case you are reading this, Dave, people are trying to get you mad. I do not know if you are reading any of this. I just want you to know I will always consider you one of the nicest, sincerest, and thoughtful hermaphrodite witches I have ever met in my life.

    3. Just hope your ok & always remember-never settle for a branch, always reach for the stars. Your too brilliant (and kind) to let it all slip away.