Student group advocates alternatives to hierarchy

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James Hoopes, a junior Latin American Studies and Math major, hands out lists of chants to people watching the Pit Preacher on Thursday.

Students interested in rushing this semester might find something outside Fraternity Court — anarchy.

The UNControllables, one of UNC’s newest student organizations, will host its first Radical Rush Week, a series of events to foster student support for anarchist ideas, the first week of September.

While the political club only has between eight and 10 members, UNC junior James Hoopes said the group’s presence at FallFest and in the Pit this week has gained them 200-plus names to their listserv.

The UNControllables formed after last spring’s vandalism of UNC’s Chi Psi fraternity house was attributed to an anarchist group. Hoopes, one of UNControllables’ founders, said he felt it was important to educate the student body about what he sees as the positive aspects of anarchist ideology.

Tammy Lambert, UNC’s assistant director for student organizations, said the Student Union does not have any past anarchist groups on file, likely making the UNControllables the first recognized group of their kind at the University.

Hoopes said Radical Rush Week events will be held nightly on campus or in the community during the week to stimulate discussion and mobilize potential members.

Tony Perucci, a UNC communications professor and the group’s faculty adviser, said he was approached by Hoopes early on because of his teachings on radical politics.

Perucci said the UNControllables bring a new perspective to the table that is often misunderstood as chaos-making.

“I think the really exciting part of this program is that it shows students all the different networks of (anarchist) political action that already exist on campus and in the local community,” he said.

Hoopes said the group’s mission is to educate people about ways to organize without hierarchy, power or competition but rather on a basis of cooperation and mutual respect.

He said the UNControllables have no president or majority rule and decisions are made collectively because they want to allow members to have autonomy.

UNC Young Democrats President Peter Vogel said he speaks to people every semester who do not believe in the two-party system and perceive themselves as anarchists.

“My view is that social change and progress happens at the community and institutional level,” he said. “We’re two sides of the same coin, really.”

Hoopes said the group plans to meet with Student Congress about funding its speaker events. He said they hope to bring in a web security expert to talk about the NSA surveillance controversy and participants from the June uprising in Brazil.

Even though the UNControllables are becoming an established campus group, Hoopes said they are not looking for passive supporters.

“We’re looking for active supporters who are looking to be active agents of change.”

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