Anarchist Philosophy on Education • Salt Lake Magazine


Idealism is unleashed in the anarchist Free Skool.

A A small but serious group of anarchists from Salt Lake City have made their home in Boing House. Near 600 South and 500 East, the door is generally open – anarchists are the friendly kind coming and going. Despite what you may have heard, they don’t live in chaos: Scratched on the front door is a warning that “racism, sexism, homophobia, capitalism, fascism, bullying and other bullshit ”is prohibited. A sign above the kitchen sink welcomes everyone, but you have to clean up after yourself. Freedom has its limits.

Anarchist philosophy promotes communities based on self-government without hierarchies, trusting humans to run their own affairs through cooperation and respect. From this freewheeling environment comes out the Free Skool, a space where everyone can learn new skills, participate in stimulating discussions or give lessons on subjects that fascinate them. Group discussions focus on privilege and gender. The “PolyAmory Pocket” is a workshop on alternative sex. Other nights the Free Skoolers go on group bike rides, line up in an alley for Punk Cutz (as described: punk haircuts), take walks to identify trees, or learn bike maintenance.

It’s an open program, says Mel Martinez, an organizer of Free Skool, but “it would be really surprising if someone taught a course on How to Become a CEO of a Business. But at the same time, I’m not sure anyone would say “No, this can’t be on the Free Skool calendar”.

Haeree Kim, a social work student at the University of Utah, uses the Free Skool as a community relations lab. “There is so much you can learn from reading books and blogs. It really makes a difference to come and meet like-minded people. “

Anarchy at large probably wouldn’t keep trains on time or potholes full, but a monthly potluck to plan future classes is doable and it is socially consistent. The menu is something you might imagine in a preschool: watermelon slices, roasted vegetables, gluten-free chocolate chip cookies. Everyone brings something to the table and everyone is welcome.

While the Free Skool crowd is overwhelmingly millennial, tattooed and marked by the idealism of youth, Sa-Eda Sadeghi, 64, is welcome.

Sadeghi says the anarchist community is genuine because his fellow Free Skool people teach and learn for the right reasons. “They are not looking for financial reward or anything like that,” Sadeghi says. “They do it just because they feel it is important to pass on what they have learned.”

written by: Eric Peterson


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