The Anarchists (2022) s01e01 Episode Script

Episode One: The Movement

Bro, look at the flame!
- Yeah!
- Oh my God!
- Now, that's a fire!
- That's a fire.
Book burning commence!
Book burning time.
We're gonna have ourselves
a good old-fashioned book burning.
Guys, put it in the fire. Guys!
Okay! Rip the pages, it's getting smaller!
I really wanted to burn this one too.
What is that?
- "Communication Regulation."
how I can speak?
How I can communicate?
How I can teach my children?
What I can say? What I can read?
What I can write?
Fuck off!
Fuck the state!
These tomes represent
the narcissistic control freaks
that want to tell us
what we can and can't do.
The Criminal Law, second edition.
And my son came up and he asked me,
"Daddy, what's in your hand?"
And I held it up,
and he goes, "Oh, garbage."
- Fucking bullshit!
- Get wrecked!
Stay in hell! No one fucking likes this!
When did you ever
feel like you would be happy
to see children burning books?
Let it shrivel up and die!
Gotta give me some!
Fuck you.
This is Free Talk Live,
we're at Anarchapulco 2018
at the beautiful Princess Resort
right on the beach in Acapulco.
This is the biggest
anarchist conference out there.
They're getting started inside
with one of the founders
of the event, Jeff Berwick.
Four years ago we started Anarchapulco.
And 150 disillusioned
And look at us now.
Look at all the people gravitating
from across the world.
There's seven billion really
but they're starting to realize
something's wrong.
The government,
they call us the resistance.
I call them the resistance.
They are the ones resisting
And we're not going away.
This is growing very fast,
and they're trying everything
they can do to stop it,
and they can't. They cannot do it.
We are still here!
Thank you very much,
have a good Anarchapulco.
It's just been an amazing,
incredible conference so far.
I've had so much fun
connecting with people
that want freedom and liberty
and peace for the world.
This is so eye-opening and mind-blowing.
If you've been here once,
you would never not come back.
So, I think if someone's never been
and they're thinking of coming,
to them, I'd say,
get your ass over here,
or you're gonna be sorry.
But if you've bene here already,
I'll see you here next year.
Anarchapulco has taken a word
that's radioactive, right?
- Anarchy.
- Anarchy.
Right? And then, you know,
"Oh, yeah, we're that, and come on,
we're having a fun party, come on!"
From Acapulco, Mexico,
this is Anarchast.
Does the word "anarchy" scare you?
Do you think it means chaos and mayhem?
Would you be surprised to know
that anarchy just means self-ownership
or "against slavery,"
and is the most peaceful
political ideology
in the world.
This is Jeff Berwick.
A self-proclaimed, unashamed anarchist.
This is anarchy.
But not that kind of anarchist.
What's important
is the meaning of the word.
Anarchy, of course, and that's
a Greek word which means
"an," without,
"archy," ruler.
And so, I just believe
that no one should have a ruler
and no one should be a slave.
I don't know why
that's controversial at all.
Most people who identify as anarchists
adhere to a deeper reading
of its definition.
"The organization of society
on the basis of voluntary cooperation,
without political institutions
or government."
I first came across Jeff online,
six years ago,
while exploring my own curiosity
around anarchism.
So, you agree
that Mexico is a failed state,
but that's why you like it!
I actually think it's good
if all states fail.
When you have mafias all across the world,
they're called governments.
Cryptocurrency is the biggest evolution
since the internet,
and that's why the governments
and central banks want
to stop it, but they can't.
When I decided to document this community
that was springing up around Jeff,
I wasn't really sure what to make of him.
Who am I? That's the question?
"What am I" is a better question.
But I quickly found
he'd built a reputation
as one of the most provocative voices
in this movement.
- Freedom
- I will not give you up
It took years of filming
with this community
before I actually got to meet Jeff.
I don't belong to you
And you don't belong to me
Yeah, yeah
And by then,
most of his videos
had been banned from YouTube.
But that didn't slow him down.
And over the entire time
I spent filming with Jeff,
his audience continued to grow.
How you doing today, Lucy?
Pretty good, pretty good.
We're here with Cielo and Polo
and there's a whole, like, film crew here
recording us and stuff.
I don't know what's going on,
it's a little crazy,
but, you know, that's Acapulco.
Yeah, it's a little crazy.
It's like a walk and talk
with a full documentary crew behind me.
They've been working on it for six years,
if you can believe it.
They came to Anarchapulco
like six years ago,
and they're like, "Whoa,
this sounds amazing
like a whole anarchist
sort of movement."
Lots of crazy stuff has happened
in those six years.
Been a crazy few years.
Yeah, I would say
I would not believe a single thing.
Back in 2013, I was teaching.
My husband owned a software company
called Red Pill.
He was a huge geek.
We lived in a suburban community
in Atlanta, Georgia.
We had a big house,
we had a fenced-in backyard.
It was a very uniformed
American lifestyle.
I hated that.
So we had many conversations about logic,
and philosophy, and ethics.
Nathan was reading many books
and listening to many podcasts.
Up first today we have Nathan.
Yes, yes we do.
I had an argument
that I'm hearing a lot lately
that I wanted
to just get your feedback on.
He would come home from work
his headphones in
the whole time he was home,
'cause he was just so excited
about this philosophy
around true freedom,
and questioning the dynamic
and the acceptance of what we exist in.
So we were trying
to push towards that goal
of a pure anarchist life,
and that when we found out
about Jeff Berwick.
I don't hardly do anything anymore.
I don't speak at any conferences,
except for Anarchapulco.
I don't do any interviews.
I just walk with Lucy, it's great.
We got speed?
- Yep.
- All around? Sound speed? Okay.
Could you talk a little bit about
your introduction to
the freedom movement as a whole
and eventually, anarchism.
You know, it was such a whirlwind.
Back in the '90s,
I created a website called,
which became one of the top
financial websites in the world.
It was 1998, 1999.
All of a sudden,
if you had a dotcom company,
people would give you
tens of millions of dollars.
We were worth 240 million dollars
in a couple years.
Wall Street massacred internet stocks.
The internet mania was a giant bubble
destined to burst.
Our company went from
hundreds of millions of dollars
to zero overnight,
and one of my partners
jumped out of an eight-story balcony
and tried to kill himself.
So I was just like,
what is this nightmare, you know?
I gotta sell the company,
I can't do this anymore.
I'm not the kind of guy
who should run a company.
I'm an entrepreneur, I have ideas,
but running a company,
that's a whole different type of person.
So I sell the company,
and then knock on my door
and it's my partner on crutches,
and he's got this big, thick book.
And he goes,
"Read this."
Creature from Jekyll Island
by G. Edward Griffin,
it looks like a phone book.
And I went, "Are you okay?"
He's like, "Read it,"
I'm like, "What the hell
just happened, right?"
But then I started reading it,
One page, "Oh, it's gonna be
about banking
and fiat currencies and economics."
Like, blegh, it's not interesting to me.
Read one page, it's a giant conspiracy.
G. Edward Griffin's 600-page book
on the evolution of central banking
reads more like a thriller
than a discourse on economics.
It's a mixed bag of history
and conspiracy theory,
arguing that the US Federal Reserve
is a centralized scheme
spanning over a century.
And that was like
a big key to me. And I went,
"That's what's going on in this world."
It's unbelievable how much
central banking controls
most of the world.
And right in that moment I went, you know,
"I'm gonna try to sail around the world,
I'm gonna read more stuff like this."
So, here's what happened,
I just went on, like a 100-country party.
I was with every girl at every club
for like five years.
And when I had some free time,
"Let's read some Rothbard.
What's Doug Casey have to say?"
I'm like, "He's right."
Anything about freedom and finance,
I read so much.
And I'm like rolling
this all around in my head.
I should go somewhere to live
for a while, just settle down."
You know, of all the countries,
Mexico, it was just amazing.
And then I went, Acapulco,
there's something about that place.
When you come into Acapulco Bay
at night on a sailboat
and you see the hills and you see the bay,
it looks like a bowl of diamonds.
You can't say no
In Acapulco
Fiesta, Mexico style
with MTV, MTVU Spring Break.
You gotta come. Come on!
Everything was just so anarchist.
Like, the buses are all private,
they all race to get you.
They got the music.
- Everyone's drinking.
- Yeah!
All the girls are saying hi.
And I was like, that place was awesome.
So I said, "You know, I'm gonna go there
and try to just stay there
for a few months
and figure out what I wanna do now."
And I started to coalesce all these ideas.
My whole mindset was,
the governments are the cause
of almost every major problem on Earth.
They don't teach any
of this stuff in school,
and this is the real stuff.
This is the important stuff.
If people understood this,
most people would have
way less problems.
How do we fix this?
I was going to a lot
of freedom conferences,
most of them held in the US,
which is like one of the most
unfree places on Earth.
He's intoxicated,
derisive language, profanity.
Called the gate agent a fucking bitch.
You know what, fuck you.
You go have a good day.
You're gonna be famous as fuck.
I got his property right here.
Welcome to the land of the free,
home of the brave.
Well, I got arrested last night.
It's turned into quite
the police state here.
And I'd be like, why do they have
all these freedom conferences in the US?
And someone just suggested
that we did our own.
And so, I was like, "Okay, well,
I guess we could try."
Like a truly anarchist
freedom conference in Acapulco.
Let's see if anyone comes.
Nathan came to me
and said, "What would you think
about going to a conference
in Mexico
where there would be people
just like you and I,
who question authority,
who want to live differently,
who don't want to be controlled,
and it's in Mexico?"
And we've already talked
about living outside of the US.
I was like, "That'd be great."
In the sand!
In the sand, that's right.
- I play with the sand.
- The fake beach.
We came for Anarchapulco 2015,
the inaugural Anarchapulco conference,
with the specific intent to find out
if this would be a place
where we'd want to live.
Axiom, we're gonna
walk a little bit, buddy.
What were the biggest things
that were drawing you here?
That one's really easy. Our kids.
The state owns children as soon
as they're born in the US,
because you have to ask for permission
not to send 'em to school.
We're anarchist un-schoolers.
You know, our kids don't go to school.
I would sooner send them to a porn set
than I'd send them to a public school.
I don't think that's the first time
I've said that on camera.
I think so.
- Maybe you can warm me up next time.
- Yeah, I will.
For all of human history,
men have sought to communicate,
trade, and produce freely.
A third party cannot come in
and then arbitrate because they feel like,
geographically, they own the area.
We went to the conference,
we met a lot of people.
We networked,
we met people in education,
finance, and then philosophy.
It helped us understand
that we weren't the only ones
questioning these things.
The conference was a fantastic first step
towards exploring freedom and liberty.
Less government, more fun.
But one of the things
we did see is Jeff Berwick,
like many people in the freedom movement,
liked to drink and party.
And unfortunately, that ended up
becoming a problem at the conference.
Take a look around this room.
Everybody in this room
is simply advocating
that everybody leave everybody else alone
to do anything that's peaceful.
And if you're working for the government,
that means that you think
and I see Jeff raising the hand.
See that undercover agent in the back?
The first year, we had no idea
what the fuck we were doing.
I couldn't even get off the floor.
You would struggle to call it a conference
because there was
no organization to it whatsoever.
People, like, everybody gathered
in the room
and one person would be like,
"Well, I'm supposed to speak,
but I haven't been told when."
And somebody would go,
"Well, okay,
let's put together a schedule.
Who here is speaking?"
And everybody wrote down a schedule.
And then, one person said,
"Well, we need an emcee.
Anybody wanna do it?"
And one guy went,
"Yeah, I'll emcee." Okay.
That was the conference.
Nathan and I saw a lot of ways
in which this could be phenomenal.
Nathan was like, "This is bigger
than Berwick.
This is the road to activism.
This is how we get change.
This is how we get people to realize
that they don't have to stay
in their bubble."
Nathan Freeman came up
to me with his nice smile.
He's like, "You can't run this."
I'm like, "I know."
He went, "Let me run it."
And I did.
It just sort of snowballed.
When we made the decision to move,
all my friends were like,
"You're gonna go to live
in Mexico for the rest of your life?"
And we're like, "Yeah."
Once we made
the decision to move,
it was very scary.
First off, the decision to like,
"Let's just sell all of our stuff."
It was like, "What? Are you kidding?"
But it was so liberating.
And that put some coin
in our pocket for the trip,
and we packed up the kids
and we drove five days straight.
Hi from Anarchapulco!
Hey, everybody,
welcome to another edition of Anarchast,
your home for anarchy on the internet.
We're gonna be talking a lot
about expatriation.
I'm here with Nathan Freeman.
Nathan moved down with his entire family
to Acapulco.
The number one thing that we heard
when we would tell people
that we were moving is,
"I wish I could do that."
And of course, we'd respond,
"Well, of course you can.
If we can do it, you can do it."
Everyone was happy,
everyone was on the same page,
and we were really eager
to build the community,
the like-mindedness,
the part where we use
all of our resources,
all of our talents and passions
and interests
a beautiful place to exist.
This guy appears in the store.
"My name is Nathan Freeman.
Anarchapulco, I'm part of the anarchists."
I was trying to connect the dots
because, for me, the word "anarchist"
was like kind of rude in that moment.
And I was like, "No!"
"We don't want anarchist people here."
Because here in Mexico,
it's like they block the streets
and make a mess.
And I was like a little bit afraid.
But they didn't look like that,
they looked like normal people.
It was very interesting,
a kind of a shock.
A lot of people in Mexico
- wants to go to the other side.
- Yes.
Not the other way around.
They were very aggressive on that subject,
like, "We are tired of our country,
like super tired.
Like we don't want to know
anything about the empire."
All right, so we're here at Vegan Verde
in Acapulco, Mexico,
and I'm joined by Nathan Freeman.
You are the operations, sort of,
organizer of Anarchapulco.
Is that right, or what are you up to?
Well, my official title
is Chief Cat Herder.
How's the cat herding operation going?
Hello, everyone, I'm Juan Galt.
I'm a researcher and content creator.
And I'm here
in beautiful Acapulco, Mexico.
I was like guy number three
or four in Acapulco.
Like, I was there
with no intention of leaving for a while.
The intention with Acapulco was,
escape society
and go start a new one
around anarcho-capitalism.
Anarcho-capitalism is a utopian
or idealistic sort of political view
that says that society can be
properly organized
through voluntary trade.
And one of the principles
of anarcho-capitalism is that
people making the decisions
about their own lives
is actually the most efficient
and just and accurate way
of organizing society.
My wife absolutely adores it.
She feels so much safer here
than she ever did in the States.
Which is funny, right?
Because the first question
that most people say, "Well, I'm thinking
about moving to Mexico."
It's like, "Oh, I hear it's dangerous."
It's so ridiculous.
I've ever felt safer anywhere.
And this is supposed to be one
of the most dangerous cities
- in Mexico.
- Well, I suppose
if I was a cartel drug dealer,
I would have something
Yeah, they leave the tourists alone.
What do you think of
this notion within the community
that Acapulco is some sort
of anarchist paradise?
I think it was kind of
very naive from some of them.
Acapulco is famous from the '30s, '40s.
The place that everybody wanted to be.
Suddenly, 2006 came,
Acapulco stopped to be a safe place.
It became a war zone.
This week, the US State Department
issued its top travel warning
usually reserved for war zones
like Iraq or Syria.
It cautioned Americans against traveling
to the famed resort city of Acapulco.
Drug cartels could kill very easily
and drop the heads on the streets.
So a lot of people
they felt town.
As tourists were continuously being warned
against traveling to Acapulco,
Juan Galt posted a self-produced
documentary to his YouTube page.
Since late 2014, libertarians from Canada,
United States,
have been moving to Acapulco,
a coastal city once vacationed
as the beachfront of Hollywood.
Acapulco was getting a bad reputation.
We wanted to get more people to join,
so we needed to sell it to people,
we needed to, like, show it to people.
- Hey, I'm Erika.
- Hello, I'm Juan Gault.
- My name's Dave Robison.
- I'm Nathan Freeman.
And I'm Lisa Freeman.
Like a lot of us down here,
it was Jeff Berwick putting
the word out and saying,
"Hey, this is an opportunity,
an interesting opportunity
for our community."
I'd been observing the broader
anarcho-capitalist movement
for several years.
But Juan's video showcased
the first group of ancaps
I'd seen attempting to build
an intentional community
around this ideology.
So, in 2016,
I flew down to Acapulco
to check it out myself.
Coming this February 19th to 21st
in Acapulco, Mexico,
the most irreverent freedom conference
on Earth returns.
Anarchapulco, the world's first
and largest anarcho-capitalist conference,
is back. And this time,
it is going to be fucking insane.
We are at Anarchapulco,
the first of several days.
They are just getting
the festivities started inside.
So is everybody having a good time?
All of us here are excited about Bitcoin,
even if we're not using it yet,
because we can see the power
that it has to undermine the states
and undermine governments
all over the world.
Creating new paradigms
that make the old ones obsolete
is how we kill the government
without taking out our guns.
We are literally awash in opportunities
that will completely undermine
the social order
that we're all complaining
about, and the reason
why we call this Anarchapulco
and not Statetopia.
Uncover the secrets, expose the lies,
I'm just tired of being bullshitted.
This is what's going to free us.
The whole notion
of a law-abiding taxpayer,
people taking pride in that.
That's taking pride
in the fact that I do whatever
my master tells me
and I give him the fruits of my labor.
That is not something to be proud of,
that's something to be ashamed of.
It's just an amazing experience
to be around that many people
who actually understand what freedom means
and wants it for everybody.
Do you regularly experience
any of the following symptoms?
Headaches as a result
of listening to two sets
of political crooks insisting
that they should rule the world.
Sore throat as a result
of yelling at the TV,
which spews nonstop statist bull crap.
If you experience any combination
of these symptoms,
you may be suffering from something called
Prolonged Intense
Statist Stupidity Exposure Disorder,
or PISSED, for short.
"Statist" sounds like an insult.
And I understand
why people feel like that.
It just literally describes
somebody who advocates
the existence of a state
or a government.
So that's most of the world.
Don't get me wrong, anarchists use it
as an insult all the time.
Larken, what was your story
as a tax protestor?
I'm philosophically opposed to robbery,
no matter what you call it.
And legalizing it and passing
a law, and then telling people
"Hand over money or we hurt you,"
I don't think that's any more
moral than the guy with a gun
just pointing it in your face
and stealing your money.
I publicly went back and forth
with the IRS
and I dared them to come after me.
That whole ridiculous story lasted years.
It ended up with me
in federal prison for 15 months.
This argument that taxation is theft
is actually the core
of this entire freedom movement,
which encompasses a range of subcultures,
including anarcho-capitalism,
but also more moderate
mainstream libertarianism.
Taxation is theft,
when you take money from one group
to give it to another,
when you transfer the wealth.
And if you want to trace
the origins of this philosophy,
all roads will take you back
to one of the most polarizing
writers of the 20th century.
Throughout the United States,
small pockets of intellectuals
have become involved in a new
and unusual philosophy
which would seem to strike
at the very roots of our society.
The fountainhead of this philosophy
is a novelist, Ayn Rand.
"You are out to destroy
almost every edifice
in the contemporary American way of life,
our modified
government-regulated capitalism,
our rule by the majority will."
- Are these accurate criticisms?
- Yes.
Rand was a teenager
during the Russian Civil War,
and she witnessed her family's
business and property
confiscated under Vladimir Lenin's
Bolshevik party.
She eventually fled to the United States
to become a writer,
where she believed
she could freely expose
the childhood trauma she endured
under multiple communist
and socialist regimes.
After decades of modest book sales,
Rand found a window of opportunity
during the McCarthyist Red Scare
of the 1950s,
when she published her
fourth novel, Atlas Shrugged.
The massive 1200-page book
paints a fictional dystopian
picture of the United States,
where the world's leading figures
in art, business, and science go on strike
and retreat to
a hidden capitalist paradise
founded by an enigmatic engineer
named John Galt.
What we would not permit is
the government to initiate force
against people who have hurt no one,
who have not forced anyone.
We would not give the government
or the majority, or any minority
the right to take the life
or the property of others.
"Take the property of others,"
I imagine that you're talking
now about taxes.
Yes, I am.
It is the victims who are giving
what Ayn Rand called
"the sanction of the victim."
They feel guilty if they try
to not get robbed.
Nested in this whole thing
is Ayn Rand's vision
around the collapse of society
and the solution to it,
to build a new, you know,
society, a new city, a new town,
a new civilization, right?
So that's Acapulco.
It was 8,000 years ago
that government as we know it
was invented.
And I'm not sure
that was a good thing.
This is about leadership.
This is about standing up
saying, "I'm gonna do this!
Who's with me?"
How many of you
have been frustrated or angry
or resentful or bitter
towards the government
Anarchy, I really feel,
is our natural state.
The desire to be and to express yourself.
I think that that is just,
you know, any child shows
that that's what, that's the natural urge.
I felt really disempowered as a kid.
Something in me knew
that I was being infringed upon.
And then, I grew into that role
of being a disempowered person.
I was in my mid-forties.
At the peak of the nine-to-five life.
Having to commute to the stupid building,
to have stupid meetings
that don't accomplish anything,
to gather around a water cooler
I mean, like, all of it
just seemed a sham,
like sham, sham, just moving
from one sham to another.
And I feel so melodramatic
as I recount it,
but I did, I had existential angst.
It's the clipping of wings.
It's the silencing of your voice.
It's the encouragement
to dilute yourself and shrink
and all that kind of crap.
Like, those are the things
that pointed me,
you know, to anarchy,
which was to my state of self-rulership.
I just wanted, you know,
less commercial crap.
I wanted more, you know, juicy,
substantive, meaty stuff.
Reading the lineup,
I knew that there was like
a meal being served up
with like all the food groups I needed.
The world is waking up. It's waking up
on so many levels, you know,
evolution is happening,
human evolution, emotionally,
and we know
that something's
One of the things
that Nathan and I were proud of
was a freedom conference
that had Dayna Martin speaking at it.
I'm actually joined by one
of the leading advocates
for unschooling, Dayna Martin.
What do you think
are the most important things
people should know when
it comes to raising their kids?
I'd like people to know that children are
one of the most discriminated
people in our culture today.
It's something not talked about very much,
but bringing into your awareness
that children have rights
and freedoms that are overlooked.
And I'd like to give people the tools
how to do that, how to live
in peace with their kids.
Hey, guys. I'm getting a tour
from my friend, Lisa.
Dayna became my friend and mentor
and somebody that I really respected.
The unschooling philosophy is that,
instead of forced education,
you allow the child
to explore their interests,
and trust that in the exploration
of those interests,
they will find and learn
the tools that they need.
That helps self-esteem,
but it also helps with,
there's no school trauma,
there's no authority trauma.
You're basically creating
open-minded kids.
Hello, everyone,
this is the Dragon Anarchist.
This is our gorgeous hotel room
that you can see behind me,
I have a beautiful view from our balcony.
When there's a need in the world
or there's something going on
and there's problems,
there's gonna be this created market
for how to solve those problems.
Well, it's like Anarchapulco
was the first of its kind
in freedom conference land.
We're resisting and disrupting,
and it's pretty incredible.
I feel like a champagne glass.
Get rid of that limiting belief. Be free.
This is now a pillar
of the global community
of freedom activists.
I was shown that the things I craved for
so deeply, that they
were actually accessible,
they were real.
It almost just felt like
we all were just like giddy
in some kind of honeymoon, just like, ooh!
It's very important
to delegitimize the system
of mass democracy because that's really
the intellectual and cultural
and moral foundation
of modern states. If that goes,
the state is done.
I think homosexuals
are natural libertarians,
if not anarchists. I mean,
we have no stake
in this sort of progressive
statist establishment.
I don't want to subsidize your pregnancy.
Sorry, ladies.
When we took over the conference,
it grew so quickly.
We made it more professional,
we got some better speakers,
we got better equipment.
We made it amazing, in my opinion.
I'm sure there's others that would concur.
A big part of what
we try to express to people
at the conference is,
"How can you live your own life more free?
How can you live your life
away from the state?"
And whether that means
expatriation, whether that means
renouncing your citizenship,
whether that means
finding ways to undermine the tax system.
You can achieve personal freedom,
even if we can't free
the other seven billion people.
You personally as an individual
can achieve freedom.
You, as your family, can find freedom,
and here are the tools to do it.
The anarchists were always
coming to the store.
But I didn't see a lot of effort
trying to learn the language.
It took them a while to get along
with more locals, I would say.
And then one day a couple
came to the store.
When they came to pay,
"La cuenta, por favor."
"Oh, you talk Spanish." "Yes."
And I'm very talkative.
"What's your story? Why you are here?"
They told us that they have to
move out from United States
because they got
into trouble with authorities.
They moved very close to us
in a neighborhood up in the hills.
When they told me
that they were living there,
You have to be careful."
I caught wind
of this young fugitive couple
who had just arrived
and heard rumors that their story
was unbelievable.
Do you think you could tell us
where we are right now?
We're in Vista Hermosa, above Acapulco,
which means "beautiful view."
People coming here, they say, "Stay away
from the hills,"
supposedly they're dangerous.
It's been a blast living up here.
Look over there, we've been terracing.
There's like a line of tomato plants,
beans and tomato.
So where would you say
your story begins?
Which story?
So, I've actually been
struggling with this interview,
going back and forth
in my head about,
like, where to start
with your story.
I'm having the same problem,
where do I start?
What do I include?
Yeah, I got you.
You've been there
for a lot of intense shit.
What about your names?
- John and Lily.
- Yep.
- All right.
- Those aren't real names,
like, you understand that, right?
If we could backtrack a little bit.
Let's talk about how you met John.
Well, that's just really simple,
I met John at Kent State University.
I was president
of Students for Sensible Drug Policy.
I was just leading one of my meetings,
and I look over and I see
this dude in a Ron Paul hat.
I just kept staring at him
the entire time.
I considered myself a supporter
of Ron Paul and everything
before I met him.
So I stopped mid-sentence
and I was like, "Nice hat."
Found him on Facebook
and I messaged him that night.
Within two days
we were basically together.
And then two weeks
after we started dating,
rollerblading on my birthday.
I landed with all of my weight on my jaw
and I shattered it into four pieces.
He stayed with me, he made me smoothies,
like for months he essentially
took care of my weed needs,
'cause that's when I started
using cannabis
because of jaw pain and jaw tension.
I was like hiding in the corners
of the campus to self-medicate,
you know. It was like, how do I make this
so we all can have access
to it without guilt?
There wasn't really a system in place
to protect people like us.
I got real woken up
to the state of the world,
I got real depressed and angry.
So I started reading everything I could.
I found Rothbard and Spooner
and people like that.
And then I found Konkin,
which is Samuel Konkin,
who's known as the father of agorism.
And I was like,
"Oh, so this is a solution."
You just kind of avoid paying taxes,
and live off your skills,
existing outside of the regular culture
and doing person-to-person
voluntary actions, you know,
and just keeping
the counter-economy going.
The plan was to try agorism and off-grid.
If you watch videos
about Detroit on YouTube,
there's a community there
called Fireweed Universe City.
This is Fireweed Universe City,
an artistic community of anarchists
squatting in a block of abandoned houses.
They have gardens, murals,
bicycles. Even electricity.
People were reclaiming the city
after it had fallen apart.
It's based upon survival.
When the inhibitions in the regular market
become so great,
people have to find alternative methods.
Move together and create
a counter-economy.
Basically, operate outside
of the city's government.
We're like, let's go
and live with these people,
where weed was more or less legal.
We could just, like ride out
the apocalypse here.
When you say,
"Ride out the apocalypse,"
what did that mean to you at the time?
We saw societal turmoil coming,
we just didn't know exactly why or when.
And honestly, I thought
the turmoil was Trump.
There were a lot of people
that were talking about freedom,
and then Trump came about,
and they were like, "He's gonna bring it."
"Trump's gonna protect our guns
and Trump's gonna lower our taxes."
It was sad, mindless bullshit.
that's not anarchy.
What lead to you
ending up in Acapulco?
We were pretty close to leaving in 2012,
but we essentially convinced
ourselves we weren't prepared,
didn't have enough money.
So what was it that inspired you
to make that big move?
It essentially wasn't a choice anymore.
Like, we were stupid
and waited until the choice
was made for us.
We were still in the process
of moving to Detroit.
We had a puppy and a car full of shit,
so we were like, we're gonna go
somewhere off the beaten path
to let him out.
And while we were there,
the cops showed up.
They took one look
at John, and they were like,
"We want to search your car."
And he was like, "I'm sorry,
I don't consent to a search."
And they were like,
"Oh, somebody knows his rights."
And so, they bring the drug dogs.
The dog scratched at the car,
they searched the car.
My car was like the Mary Poppins of weed,
but instead of the bag, it was the car,
and they just kept pulling out
thing after thing.
My bongs and my pipes, a case of butane,
and some weed that had already been blown,
we were just trying to take it to Detroit
to compost it.
It had no value left.
We were trying to explain,
like, "Look, we're moving to Detroit
where this is okay,"
like, "Just let us go."
He's like, "You're going to jail."
They started calling us a flight risk.
It's like, all right,
we're playing hardball here,
these people aren't, you know,
fucking around.
They could've probably thrown
about 25 to 27 years at us,
like really pushing the issue.
As soon as they arrested me
and I found out it was a felony,
I'm like, I'm probably
just gonna run for the border.
I had to retain this lawyer
and that's all he managed to do,
was get us bail for several grand.
When we decided Mexico,
part of it was we were
watching Berwick's videos.
Mexico, who are more freedom-oriented
than in the US,
where so many people
just love government in the US,
He was talking about Anarchapulco
that was happening,
and he had the view behind.
And we were just like,
"Okay, we'll go to Acapulco,
we'll see what the community's about
and if we don't like it, we'll move on."
We found a bright yellow
Chevy 1982 S-10 on Craigslist.
We got money wired to us from family,
we bought the truck,
and we headed straight to the border.
We had emailed Berwick.
She's like, "We're wanted
for like 25 years in jail
in the US for marijuana stuff,
and we have no money and no passports,
but we're coming to Anarchapulco."
Jeff was like, "If you cross
on Friday night at Tijuana,
they'll just let you through."
"All right."
It was the scariest moment
of my life in a lot of ways.
And then they waved us aside.
"Is this your truck?"
And we're like, "Yeah."
And they're like, "Where are you going?"
And we lied, we told them
we were going to Rocky Point,
which was like a five-hour drive away.
"How long for?"
Like, "Just a couple of days."
And they're like,
"What's in the back?"
"Just our stuff."
I was freaking out, like
I was trying not to get sick.
And then like the lady looks behind us
and sees a bunch of cars
"Just go, just go."
"Holy shit, we made it,
we're in Mexico now.
We're free."
Once the conference happened,
a lot of people stayed.
A month, three months, six months,
some people just never left. They're like,
"I don't have anything to go back to.
This is great, it's cheaper.
There's people here that understand me."
It became like a hot spot
for people to migrate to.
And finally, our community of friends
started to be like-minded people.
I was thrilled by what I was discovering,
and to not feel alone.
It was the first time
for an extended amount of time
that I was free of my story,
I was free of my narrative.
Like, I was very aware. I was like,
"I feel much more at home here
than I ever did in the States."
It's crazy, it's still hard
to put in words
The great relief that came from Acapulco
is that you get to be with people
that already have
all your cultural references.
There's a sort of shared sense
of the world,
and so you don't have to go
back to basics, you can build.
There was this feeling that this
is an important moment,
and we wanted to see where we can take it.
If this beautiful paradise
can be a beacon of freedom,
it's gonna be unstoppable.
How would you describe the people
who have moved here?
Way above average intelligence.
Yeah, yeah, they all are intelligent.
They're all smart.
And there's common ground,
like real common ground
to establish friendship.
We don't have to justify
to anybody in this community
- why our kids can say "fuck."
- Yeah.
I mean, there have been people
in the community
who have been less than honest,
or not great communicators.
But it's very clear
when somebody's not being
wholeheartedly honest or is out
to take care of themselves,
they're weeded out pretty quickly.
Not all anarchists are going to
like each other and get along.
And there's always gonna be problems.
Yeah, like, we don't think
of everybody in the community
as our friend. Some are acquaintances,
some of them we don't really like.
But at the end of the day,
we'd rather break bread
with the people we don't like
in this community
than 99 percent of the people
where we came from.
I don't think so.
I'm gonna write an article.
One of the conversations
we kept having on the way was,
John kept saying,
"We're gonna be in Anarchapulco
with real anarchists
that are living the lifestyle.
Are you gonna be able to hang with them?
Are you anarchist enough for them?"
That's literally what he asked me.
And then we get there, and we were like
some of the most anarchist people there.
I expected most of the speakers
to be people that had been involved
in the movement for many years.
Half of the speakers that year were like,
first sentence or two,
"Okay, so I'm new
to this anarchy thing, right?
I was just like,
what you guys call a statist,
yeah, a statist?
Yeah, I was a statist,
"Why are you on the stage?"
There was just nothing
that you couldn't find on YouTube.
Where's the groundbreaking content?
I didn't find any.
Nathan read an exchange on Facebook,
talking terrible about the conference,
like publicly.
There was no, "Thank you
for helping us get in for free."
"Can we offer you some advice?"
"No, we're just gonna publicly
shame your conference."
It just seemed like everything
we did was wrong
and we didn't understand why.
So Nathan was like, "What the fuck?
You can't fucking do this shit."
Unfortunately, that tainted
a lot of things rapidly for us.
Over the next five years,
Acapulco started to become
this haven for crazy people.
Fuck you, Ben Bernanke.
No, no, no, no, no, no, no!
Everyone thinks anarchy is,
"Do whatever you want."
Be careful about this place.
If you come here
and you got some problems,
there's so much energy here,
whatever you put out there
will come back to you tenfold.
If you don't ask
yourselves the right questions,
you can end up dead.
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