WELCH, Diana. "Anarchist Soccer Rules"

Let’s get one thing straight about anarchism: Though there is little

doubt that those who call themselves anarchists want to drastically

change the way the world is run, they’re not a bunch of black-clad

nihilists plotting their way toward chaos. At the most basic, anarchism

(derived from the Greek "without ruler") is the belief that an

anti-authoritarian society based on mutual aid and self-governance is

not only preferable to what we’ve got now, but also a viable

alternative. Not surprisingly, the folks in charge of "what we’ve got

now" don’t exactly cotton to that idea, and anarchism has long been

given a bad rap. Recently, local groups associated with anarchism got a

scare when it was revealed to a UT law class that Food Not Bombs and

Austin Indymedia – two examples of everyday folks creating parallel

structures outside of state-sponsored society – were considered worthy

of inclusion the FBI’s Central Texas "Terrorist Watch List."

(Immediately following the incident, spokespeople for the FBI, both

local and national, claimed they weren’t aware of any such list, though

UT student Elizabeth Waggoner wrote a detailed recounting of Special

Agent Charles Rasner’s presentation to her class on … Austin

Indymedia!)

With that sort of heat, one wouldn’t necessarily expect local

anarchists to gather in public parks thrice weekly for a friendly game

of soccer. But, in an attempt to bridge the gap between alternative and

mainstream social groups, gather they do. According to a 33-year-old

anarcho-athlete named Simon, the Sunday games at the Rosewood

Recreation Center are best for newcomers to attend, regularly

attracting anywhere from 45 to 70 folks of varying ages, genders,

ethnicities, and skill levels. "Everyone compliments everyone else,

even if it’s someone on the opposing team who has made a great play,"

Simon says of the anarchist model of competitive sportsmanship. "And,

it’s not like people are running around with the ball in their hands.

On the field, there are rules. Just no rulers."

It is from this weekly phenomenon of people playing friendlylike that

Austin’s anarchist soccer team, the Texas Anti-Border(s) Patrol,

formed.

Play anarchist soccer Sundays, 1-4pm, Rosewood Rec Center, 1182 N.

Pleasant Valley Rd., Austin, TEXAS (USA)