I have always wondered of ways that I could directly remove myself from the consumer trap. Every time I would head to any type of store I would cringe at the thought of putting money back into a system that is out to destroy the human spirit. That system I talk of is Capitalism. This system breeds racism, sexism and class oppression. I was determined to shut it out. I began sewing my own clothes, baking my own bread, salvaging food, clothes whatever I could find. So when I heard of an Anarchists Knitting Collective forming here in Portland, I was ecstatic. Knitting is a skill I always wanted to learn, but had not been able to teach myself.
The first meeting I brought my yarn and crochet needle, luckily there was someone there who taught me my first stitch, and I haven't put them down since! The feeling in the room was joyful and creative, so many people sitting down together learning and teaching each other new skills. The sense of community was exhilarating. Since joining this collective I have really began to understand the importance of collectives. They are key in building a community outside of the consumer/capitalist culture. I love the feeling I get knowing that I am learning a skill that will make me self-sufficient, and that I can teach it to others is even more rewarding. I asked some of the others in the collective why they knitted and these are some of the responses I got.
"I'd just say perhaps that knitting is a relaxing activity and can be compactly carried around and busted out just about anywhere."
"For my part, I am interested in learning to knit and any other DIY skills that will wean me from dependence on the capitalist system. I am also interested in the community
Building aspect and I really enjoy just getting together with people and talking while we knit."
"For me it's a great way to meet with other radicals in my community. It's nice to know I'm not alone. Also it's empowering to learn skills that can wean me off of the capitalist system. I think if we want a revolution, we have to make it possible to live without the system. Moreover we have to show each other and society that it CAN be done. Collectives show us our own strength and independence while at the same time
Strengthening our sense of community and healthy dependence on one another (as co-ops are fundamental to implementing Anarchy. I think through these we may be able to eventually phase out capitalism without bloodshed."
Although I know that I can't just turn my back on something as oppressive as capitalism and expect it to disappear. I know we are building a network of people dedicated to bringing down the forces that be, and creating our own self-reliant communities. Plus, did I mention how damn fun it is to hang out and knit!!! So grab that ball of yarn and needles and knit for peace, knit for relaxation, knit for our revolution!!
~~~The Anarchist Knitting Collective meets every Friday~~~
~~ At 7pm at the CFA office on 16th and Clinton in SE Portland.
Two Blocks south of Division. Take the #4 division bus to 17th and walk two blks south and one blk west.~~~
contact me via emial if you have any questions