Community members and students coming together for the National Conference on Organized Resistance were on campus over the weekend to convene on their mutual platform of activism.
The conference has taken place on the AU campus every winter since 1998 when it was founded by AU students Nisha Anand, Amanda Moeckel, Leila Spears and Kadd Stephens. NCOR was originally affiliated with AU Animal Rights Effort until an individual NCOR club was formed in 2003.
“[NCOR] aims to provide a space for activists to meet each other, have in-depth discussions, analyze our strategies, tactics, beliefs, learn a few new skills and give everyone a lot to think about after an inspiring weekend,” said NCOR’s Web site.
Part of the NCOR programming was its numerous booths, mostly on the first floor of the Mary Graydon Center. Organizations from all over the country came together to share their ideas and the purpose behind these booths ranged from “Better than Television” to the “Federation of Egalitarian Communities.” Many booths provided information and reading material on their respective causes that participants could take with them.
Several groups were political in nature, such as an organization entitled “9/11 Truth.” When asked what the group’s purpose was, spokesman David Slesinger replied, “I can prove to you in 15 seconds that one of the World Trade Centers collapsed without being hit by a single plane.” Slesinger said he was attempting to organize concerned citizens as well as family members affected by the attacks to investigate Sept. 11 in more detail.
Another campaign for a “Cat Free D.C.” spoke out against human rights violations from the Caterpillar bulldozer corporation in Palestine. According to group spokesman Mike Daly, Amnesty International has reported crimes from the killing of civilians to destroying building settlements. Former American University student Joshua Stephens encouraged AU students to sign up and said they will support the organization’s cause.
Students were also encouraged to go to one of the myriad workshops if they were interested in any of NCOR’s shared ideas or causes. For example, the “No War on Cuba” movement hopes to prevent a war with Cuba after 45 years of a quieter, covert war with the country, according to spokesman Bamboge Shango. Shango asked interested students to attend a workshop Sunday evening and another in March.
At the conference, students could pick up a variety of free leaflets, such as “Waiting in Exile for Babylon’s Fall: An Excellent Portable Resource Guide for the Impassive Modern Nihilist.” There was also merchandise available for NCOR participants to purchase from a variety of groups, such as T-shirts and buttons decorated with radical messages.
Many AU students participated in the idea sharing and workshops that NCOR provided. However, some students were not impressed with the conference’s display. The conference’s presence in Mary Graydon Center was not well-received by some AU students unused to the influx of the estimated 2,000 participants.
“I am not interested in what these people are selling ... and I could barely get to TDR,” said an anonymous sophomore in SIS. “It’s fine if people want to express themselves, but this feels oppressive,” he said. Sunday marked the end of the 3-day conference. Students who attended are encouraged to fill out a survey giving feedback on the event at the organization’s Web site, http://www.organizedresistance.org.