After Being Part Of The First 5; I Won't Be Going To Anarchapulco This Year, Or In The Future

in #anarchapulcolast year (edited)

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Since 2015, I've made an annual trip down to Mexico for the Anarchapulco conference, sometimes staying in the area for many months. I've met some of my best friends at/around the conference, had great opportunities to grow as a speaker, and generally had a good time. I've brought many friends down for the event, sometimes paying for their plane tickets and other times getting friends set up as the musical acts (Alais Clay & Truniversal). Needless to say, this event has been a huge part of my life since for the last 5 years.

Last year, things were very different, for a number of reasons, and I don't think I can justify being part of the event anymore. I already had a handful of reservations about the conference, and managed to rationalize my way out of them because of the things I just mentioned. Things went from being a little screwy here and there, with concerns of my own and second-hand stories into full-blown, completely obvious violations of morality, sovereignty, and the manifesto of the event itself.

I made a video at the end of my time in Acapulco last year, called Anarchapulco: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. In that video, I really just talked about experiences from 2019 that I had and that I witnessed, and mentioned that I likely wasn't going back. Since then, even more has crept up, and since more people have recently been asking me if I'll be going to Anarchapulco 2020, it seems like the right time to explain why I won't be.

This is going to be a somewhat long one, broken into a few sections, so that you can really get a sense of where I'm coming from.


The last 5 years

2015 - The first year of the conference was very much a case study in spontaneous order. Jeff Berwick basically decided he wanted to have a freedom conference in Acapulco, my friend Bruce B named it, jeff booked a conference room at the Copacabana, and asked a bunch of folks to come speak. At the beginning of the event, there was no MC, someone stepped in, and a little after that Ernest Hancock took over. Video was done by someone who just jumped in, some merch got created, and the event was a good time. All of it just sort of unfolded on its own, with people stepping up where needed. After meeting so many amazing humans and realizing that gatherings like this were happening all around the planet all the time, I quit my job and began living on the road just a couple months after the conference.

2016 - The second year of the conference had much more organization, being mostly put together by Nathan Freeman (who also organized 2017 & 2018). I reached out to Nathan & Jeff in the months prior and got Alais on as the musical headliner, connected with some locals, and spent a lot of time that year cooking food for myself and many others at the conference. This was the first year I rented a place (unfortunately a small apartment at that point), and had about 8 of us staying there. The event went off quite well, I connected with lots of great people, and the only thing that seemed screwy (to me) was this guy named Ken Cousins, who was clearly a scam artist trying to convince people to pay his organization thousands of dollars to break away from their strawman. Ryan (one of the long-time volunteers for Anarchapulco) did tons of research on the guy, and it was quite obvious he had super shady ties, and realistically shouldn't have been on stage.

2017 - The third year of the conference things got really big, both for the event, and for me personally. In '17 there were two stages, we moved to a HUGE resort hotel (called the "imperial world", which was a bit sketchy), a massive stage was built, and things were just so much more than they had been. I rented a house (la casa creativa), and we had about two dozen people stay there over the month, I got to give a speech, and was part of the veganism panel. You can see my whole breakdown here. Between having an epic house full of my friends, getting to be on stage, and cooking for the Freemans for many weeks, it was a grand time. I think all together I was in Acapulco for about 3 months.

2018 - The fourth year of Anarchapulco things got even better & bigger! We moved to La Princesa (definitely the most beautiful hotel in Aca), Nathan brought a bunch of friends and I to L.A. to record a commercial for the event, we had the first Anarchaforko, I got to give the very first presentation of the event, we rented the Casa Creativa again, I recorded a 40-part interview series, and certainly had an amazing time. This year, the big thing that many of us found quite sketchy was the fact that BitClub was one of the big sponsors, and probably took attendees for a LOT of money.

2019 - My personal issues were mostly just a bit frustrating, largely having to due with terrible communication from Jessica, but I still gave 5 talks and did a workshop, gave away 1000 booklets of my writing, and enjoyed visiting with my friends from around the globe. Unfortunately, the fifth year of Anarchapulco is where things really went sideways. Nathan stepped out for personal reasons, and Jeff brought in someone named Jessica Kill, whose history in Hollywood & D.C. "Public Relations" and event planning to run things. For the very first time, people were required to have their event badges at all times (every previous year, if you showed up you were allowed to come in), and more than once I saw speakers stuck outside the venue because it was actually impossible to get those badges except during certain times. Vendors and speakers were told that they couldn't sell their products, and many other things gave the appearance that this event had finally gone fully corporate, using anarchy only as the marketing pitch. I'll go into further details down below, because there are a LOT.


2019, what went wrong?

There were SO many things that went wrong with 2019, it's really hard to break it all down. Let's just look at it piece by piece.

  • Multiple speakers and vendors who had been part of the event for years were told that they couldn't vend this year (most at the last minute), with the excuse being that the "venue wouldn't allow it". We know for a fact that this isn't true, as the event bought out the whole venue, and at the end of 2018 Nathan made it clear that the event was allowed to do literally whatever we wanted. The guys from State of Anarchy ended up finding a table, setting it up with @dbroze & @elamental, and just vending anyway. Hotel security was called on them multiple times, sent by Jessica, and the only thing that kept them from being kicked out was an email from Jeff Berwick saying they could basically do what they wanted (because they talked Mark Passio into coming). @Elamental did a whole video about this experience.
  • At the event, Jeff of the LivingOutsideTheBox YouTube channel was recording many of the great talks, to put online. This is something that has been done every year, by dozens of people, and no official policy change was made by the event. Shortly after the event, every one of his videos was pulled by YouTube due to copyright claims from jessica@anarchapulco.com. @dbroze put together a video breaking down this whole ordeal. Even if there had been an announcement that they didn't want people filming (there wasn't), and/or they had asked him to stop (they didn't, and he wasn't hiding it), using the violence of the state is literally the exact opposite of what this event is supposed to be about.
  • Macey Tomlin was running an event called AnarchAwakening just before Anarchapulco, and after that event was announced with tons of healers, shamans, etc. from around the world, Anarchapulco decided to call their health & wellness stage "Anarchawaken", in a clear attempt to confuse potential attendees of both events.
  • Derrick Broze had a HUGE amount of difficulty with the event, being uninvited and told to "go f&$k himself" at one point. He broke down everything in this video.

These are just some of the highlights of how this event was so very different from previous years; the ones for which I have personal experience and/or evidence.


Who is Jeff Berwick?

The main reason that I was always a little skeptical of the event, despite my amazingly positive experiences there, was the fact that it is run by Jeff Berwick. I've had very few personal experiences with Jeff, but there are a LOT of people who have shared their extremely negative experiences, and even more who haven't gone public. I am all about forgiveness, and giving people second chances, but fifth, sixth, and seventh chances? At what point is the anarchist "community" actually giving our permission and consent to this kind of behavior?

Does Jeff call out the state, the banks, and (some) corporations? Sure. Does he promote alternative currencies like metals & crypto? Yeah, totally. But is he actually living by the principles of anarchism? Is he practicing honesty, transparency, or taking responsibility for his actions? No, definitely not.

Like I said earlier, I don't really know the guy all that well. I've met him a handful of times for events, done 2 interviews (1 for Anarchast and one for my series), and taught his personal chef some vegan recipes a couple years back, during which time we had a couple of conversations. I'm grateful for the good things that have come from his channel and his event, but that doesn't justify turning a blind eye to the way he violates & takes advantage of others.


The Wrap Up, The Important Lesson

I started going to Anarchapulco because it was the only anarchist event I had ever heard of. I've had so many life-changing experiences at the event over the years, but there was always this nagging issue of supporting someone who seems to be a con man without respect for individual sovereignty. Sure, I only paid for the first year (being a speaker, volunteer, chef for the following years), but I did promote the heck out of the event, and I actively brought people down to it. I just kept justifying it because so many great people were there, it was such a great opportunity for me, maybe Jeff had changed, etc etc.

Last year, with Nathan no longer at the helm, it became quite clear that this event is just a business venture, a way to make money off well-to-do anarchists (and people who are only interested in crypto). Remember, "Anarchapulco" is a corporation, registered with the US government, owned by Jeff Berwick.

The response to my and many other peoples' issues were threats (as in Derrick's case), completely discounting the concerns (saying things like "It's like some egotistical bitches got butthurt"), and total ignorance. The beautiful thing about screwing up is the opportunity to own it and move forward. Attacking those who bring those screw ups to light is not a mature way to handle them.

I can totally understand why some people are continuing to be part of the event, either as a platform, to get paid, or simply because they like getting to the sunny beaches in the winter and being around other anarchists. I'm not going to give anyone a hard time for going, and just like I haven't mentioned the event since last year when I made my recap video, you won't be hearing about it from me again. That said, I couldn't just hold my tongue completely, because most folks don't know about any of these issues. I want it to be clear that I'm not making this decision lightly, and that my own difficulties last year are not why I'm avoiding this event, and anything else Jeff is involved in, moving forward.

There are literally hundreds of anarchist/libertarian/freedom-loving/self improvement events every year, all around the world. Anarchapulco isn't the biggest, wasn't the first, and while I will miss many of you, I won't miss the event itself. If you really want to experience the ultimate anarchist event, come to the Rainbow Gathering. Running for almost 50 years, with over 100 separate events each year, no centralization of any kind, no money exchanging hands, and no speaker/attendee divide, there is literally no event that better aligns with these principles.



KCK



If you enjoyed this, you may enjoy some of these highlights of my blog:

"Greatest Hits/Table of Contents" of my first 2 years on Steemit

You've Created Your Steemit Account and You're Ready to Get Started... What Now? [New Steemians Start-Up Guide]

The Status, Vision, and Needs of Real Life: The Role-Playing Game

The 8 Pillars of TribeSteemUp



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Thanks for sharing and I always had the feeling that this anarchy conference was just a money making racket and now it has been confirmed. All talk and no action gets us nowhere. I believe our only hope for freedom out of this mess it to follow the Indigenous Nations and give us back our land and allow us to create a society which benefits us all. Our Nations have been living successfully on this land since time immemorial and it only went downhill since the colonizers arrived with greed in their minds and they are not as spiritually developed as the Indigenous Nations, because they are too focussed on collecting things and not focussing on things that matter like health, love and freedom.

There's definitely been plenty of great talks, workshops, and gatherings at & around the conference. There are so many amazing humans looking for ways to connect with like-minded people, and Anarchapulco definitely has some of the best marketing of ANY of the events even remotely similar. Even though many of those events have been around far longer; but I guess that's what "business" is best at: marketing

I definitely think that the key to creating the most peaceful, free, loving, and thriving version of humanity revolves largely around the synthesis of the old (pre-empire/pre-"religion"/pre-capitalism) ways of living and the new technology we have available to us (communication, 3D printing, etc)

Free Talk Live will also not be there. Ms. Kill dropped the ball on our broadcast deal. But we are going to Forkfest 2020, which is a decentralized liberty camping festival with NO organizer. In fact you were there for Jay's wedding! Hope to see you again in 2020. http://forkfest.party

I've been quite surprised with how many folks won't be there this year that I didn't know about (including a few still listed as speakers on the website)

Won't make it to FF unfortunately, I'll be in Idaho at the National Rainbow Gathering from about June 16 - July 7. However, I can attest to ForkFest being a great time, filled with great people! If you're closer to NH than ID, or closer to a cowboy than a hippie, definitely head for ForkFest!

don't know who most of these people mentioned in your post, never attended the event myself but know many who have, im sorry to here it got so degraded for you and that things escalated to that point for the vendors? that is surprising , as well as the copyright strikes, apprec you sharing this post it is interesting to hear about what it has turned into, as far as i know he has prev denied those allegations of fraud and theft etc, 🤷i also haven't heard about any sex harassment allegations prev? also surprising given that he is a family man isn't he? or maybe that took place before he was married? sure hope that aint true

LOL yes i remember Super Shemitah very well! hope you are doing well wherever you are rn ✌️

Ya, a lot of them are folks that you wouldn't know if you weren't there, or even if you weren't there for longer times than just the conference (I generally stayed in Aca for 1-3 months each year)

as far as i know he has prev denied those allegations of fraud and theft etc

That's been the normal response, and as people dig up more and more or provide evidence of his connection & knowledge, if not intent & responsibility, the issues are quickly ignored and the folks researching are generally threatened and quieted as much as possible (I saw this personally when he was on STEEM in the early days, and there were folks here calling him out.)

i also haven't heard about any sex harassment allegations prev

Ya, unfortunately none of the women ever really go "public." Everyone who lives in Acapulco, has been part of the conference team, etc. knows about it, but his money + influence seems to keep everyone looking the other way.

also surprising given that he is a family man isn't he? or maybe that took place before he was married?

It's still happening, most recently I know of was at Anarchadelphia back in September, and I have heard at least an account or two a year since I first went to Anarchapulco in 2015.

wasnt' saying i believe the denials, just that I was aware, and i sure remember what happened here on steem very clearly😉

Haha, for sure. I'm interested to see how the BitClub thing unfolds. His first response was to defend it pretty vaguely when the DOJ stuff came out, but there are definitely a LOT of folks at Anarchapulco who got tricked into that scam by JB and through the platform he gave Joby both online and at the event itself.

luckily there is decent competition as far as freedom fests go!

Whenever I've stumbled upon Jeff, something always seemed off to me... Now I get the clearer point.
Super disappointing to know that multiple scammers used the event to promote their fake businesses, I'm pretty sure Jeff took tons of $ himself from the people
Oh well, its a good thing you shared it here in this format.
And that Jessica you mentioned, sounds super fucking annoying... Agent Smith? 🤔😂😂🙈

Be greeted Ken

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Thanks for dropping in brother! I wrote this over a week ago, and honestly wasn't even planning on posting it, until my YT feed yesterday started with one of a speaker who's been there for years, knows all of this, and was still pushing people to come to the event, making it sound like the reason people don't is simply disagreements/difference of opinion... rather than downright fraud and other forms of violation. I've been pleasantly surprised by the response, especially from the many former speakers who haven't wanted to make a big public thing about their own choices to leave.

There were definitely quite a few of us last year questioning whether or not Ms. Kill is controlled opposition; and the way things played out certainly didn't point towards a "no"

Anyway, we just keep moving forward, and I'm excited to see what 2020 holds.

Blessings brother!

Your post has been upvoted because of similarities to the #informationwar project (by @wakeupnd)

  • Our purpose is to encourage posts discussing Information War, Propaganda, Disinformation, and Liberty. We are a peaceful and non-violent movement that sees information as being held back by corrupt forces in the private sector and government. Our Mission.
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Delegate to the @informationwar! project and get rewarded

What personality type is Jeff Berwick?

@JeffBerwick is alive. But he's getting old. Jeff, who's gonna be taking care of you in your old age, you can't eat crypto.

@superfluousman I'm not sure, I haven't looked too much into any of the personality typing systems.

Hi @kennyskitchen!

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You just earned 100 ANARCHY!

Yay! I love anarchy :-)

The similarities to organised religion are frightening.

Thanks for sharing this Kenny. I will resteem so more are aware of the issues. Hope to see you sometime, perhaps at the first #Peaceolution event :-)

It never feels good to have to do a post like this, but it sure feels good to get lots of supportive feedback.

I'm all for more events to promote peace, freedom, and the new paradigm! I'm in the process of updating my BIG spreadsheet with 2020 dates, feel free to let me know any you're aware of that I may not be.

Following you now, great intro post!

Sincere thanks for this particular post on the dodgy Jeff, I see him on Youtube and didn't know until now what a sociopath he is. A sociopath is someone who has lost his conscience so can abuse women, scam people of their money, lie, cheat and steal, with no feeling of remorse. Fake poser.

And that Kill switch he brought in is his perfect partner in his crime. Low class types posing as helpful, lack of insight, introspection, self-reflection, lack of proper education on consciousness from a bona fide source (Vedanta or Buddhist or other for example).

You get sociopaths in all walks of life, even consciousness-raising platforms. They can't help it, so we have to help them by BDS (boycott, divest, sanctions).

Great to be connected to the Tribe and to you @kennyskitchen. Will the real anarchists please stand up and decry this other fake.

Highly rEsteemed!

Let's organize a variance of the Event in Colorado! I've been predicting that Walsenberg would make a good location for long, organized festivals built around the principles of Anarchy, Cryptocurrency and Cannabis with regenerative Agriculture. Put a lot of effort in just to get the Bong-A-Thon there back in 2017... LET'S DO THIS!

Screen Shot 2020-01-04 at 10.28.49 AM.png

I'm definitely down for something in Colorado. My own conference/retreat/festival (@be-empowered) was going to be in Loveland, but I ended up having to cancel it because when it came time to pay the venue we had only sold 2 tickets and gotten no sponsorships.

Part of me wants to just focus more on promoting the Rainbow Gatherings, getting more philosophical anarchists/libertarians out to Gatherings, etc.

Whatever you have in store... it's going to be Right Bruv!

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Last year, with Nathan no longer at the helm, it became quite clear that this event is just a business venture, a way to make money off well-to-do anarchists (and people who are only interested in crypto). Remember, "Anarchapulco" is a corporation, registered with the US government, owned by Jeff Berwick.

Ugh! this sounds like some sort of Deja Vu.

I guess there are still many who go through life cultivating the mindset & certainty that: "There's a sucker born every minute and the first one who catches them will make them his" Isn't it?

"There's a sucker born every minute and the first one who catches them will make them his"

Ya, that certainly seems to be quite prevalent in this day & age, especially among the kind of people who start financial newsletters...

Should we start a few financial newsletters too?

I mean, just to avoid these sharks hoard all the suckers around? };)