New Connections

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(Dis) Connection was “a networking journal for radical collectives and infoshops.” (Emphasis in the original.) The second issue was written by Chicagoans, and was largely about the A-Zone. The words “Left Bank donated $50.00 to assist in our goal of one Uzi per A-Zone member” on the inside cover of the November ’94 issue instantly sparked my interest.  I’d only discovered this journal when my comrade, ex-A-Zoner Rachel A., lent me two copies to help with my research for the A-Zone Essay Project.

Articles in this issue such as “Against Half-Assed Race and Class Theory and Practice” by Ken Wong, “Gentrifuckation and White Frontier Collectives” and “On Boys In Collectives” were somewhat painful reminders about how many current Leftist activists in general, and participants in the Infoshop Movement in particular are pretty good at re-inventing faulty wheels. Bringing back these past discussions and insights is a large part of the point of that project.

When asked to be on a panel about “Zines & Libraries” at Chicago ‘Zine Fest in 2010 when I was doing the research, I made a point in inviting Ken Wong and bringing the two copies of (Dis) Connection with me, and talking about how Wicker Park was still 70% Latin@ at the time the A-Zone was there according to the journal. I brought this up while talking about the current gentrification of Pilsen, for anyone there who still might not be taking it seriously.

In the other issue of the journal I was able to check out, #3, Winter 95, one particular article stood out to me, “A-ZONE!? WHAT THE fuck?!?”  “Recently we decided to have an ‘Existentialist Blues’ discussion at the Azone. We decided to do this because we REALLY needed to, because we hadn’t had one in a long time, cuz we though it’d be fun (ahem), and because we were (possibly) moving to a new space.”

The article is mostly an analysis of the discussion, and its follow up, and a larger one was produced as a pamphlet, Existentialist Blues. I would Love to see a copy, and possibly include it as an appendix to a future edition of the project, or a new one.  In an era of so-called “social networking” websites, these journals were a real charge to get a hold of, and I’m sure I would have read, and re-read them if they were new.

The networking that came formally out of the journal culminated in Active Resistance, a series of events that were held in Chicago in opposition to the Democratic National Convention that met there in 1996. We had an Active Resistance banner hanging on the wall in the main room of the Bucktown space the whole time I was in the Collective, and the events were the stuff of local legend to me.

I would Love to help try to organize a New Connections journal for Punk and/or Collective Houses, Infoshops, and other radical spaces.  I would like to use a similar format where cities take turns publishing issues to share about the trials and tribulations in the Anti-State of their local movements, without airing too much dirty laundry.  Maybe we can have a list serve for that!  I would also greatly appreciate input from people who were involved with (Dis) Connection.

I can be reached at alextheweaver at gmail dot com.

Posted on POCO!  An updated version was posted on libcom.org.

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