So you wanna be an Anarch...
The Anarch Free States. What are we but a collective of Kindred, free from the shackles of Prince and Archbishop? We are a utopia of Meritocracy. We exist without elder dominance. We are free.
Yeah, so there’s all that bullshit. Let me give you a view from the inside. Now that you’ve taken a walk down Santa Monica Blvd, gazed at the shit show of West Hollywood and seen Mark Walberg for the first time, we can cut to the quick with a healthy dose of reality. What the Free State looks like from the inside is a whole lot different than you thought it was, when you decided to travel here from Portland, Madison, Atlanta or whatever shit hole you came from.
The Free States were free, in the general sense, up until about 1992. Unless you were born after that time, (which, by looking at you, isn’t totally unbelievable) you probably remember the LA riots. I won’t give you the Wikipedia breakdown here, but shit boiled over. Fire and looting was rampant, and LA burned to the ground.
Since the riots, things have changed, dramatically. In the 80’s and the early 90’s, crime was at an all-time high. Gang violence, drugs, racism, and an especially heavy-handed police force drove the city to the brink. An angry public saw the beating of Rodney King and the subsequent acquittal of the LAPD officers responsible for the violence as the last push it needed to take to the streets. When it was all said and done, LA had to rebuild, both from the mortal and kindred perspective.
Violence still exists in LA, especially in the life of the Anarch. Where once we had a collective of “Baronies” lorded over by the most powerful kindred in the territory, now we have something much less official and much more nuanced.
Anarchs are the youth, and as such, the way we govern changes from block to block. Let’s talk about some of the varied domains you’ll find in the City of Angels.
The politics of Revolution
If you’ve got a sire worth a shit, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the “classic” form of governance in the Anarch Free States. A Barony might as well be a Camarilla domain, from the eyes of any outsider. Take a geographic location, add a score or two of fledgling anarchs, toss in one bad ass elder Anarch (and a bunch of his bad ass buddies from the revolution) who makes and enforces the rules of his “barony” – and there you have it. Most of the veterans to the movement see Baronies as a slap in the face to the movement, even if, we’d avoid saying it to the Baron. The legendary Jeremy MacNeal – boogeyman and all around thorn in the side of the Camarilla – is lovingly and derisively referred to as the Baron of LA. If LA were the USA, MacNeal would be El Presidente. No votes tallied. No election offered. To be fair, I’ve heard he doesn’t much care for the title or role anyways. If you see him show his face, shit’s gotten dire.
Where a Barony has central leadership, almost like that of the Camarilla, a commune has no central leadership. All who dwell within the “commune” have equal stake and equal rights within the domain. Often, these rights are extended to any who enter the domain, even visitors. Communes work best with a smaller population. Long Beach, for instance, is controlled by a notorious surfer commune. They welcome any to come and feed, take in the waves and then roll out when the fun ends. Anyone abusing their turf, harassing the locals or claiming stake without petitioning the commune finds out just how savage the commune can be.
If Anarchy is the process, the Anocracy is the result. Most of Central LA consists of Anarch Gangs, Biker Charters, Cliques, Sets and the like. There’s no central authority here, but dozens of smaller “fiefdoms”. Typically, older, more powerful Anarchs run the gangs, filled in with younger licks and their mortal counterparts. They constantly via for dominance over the other gangs; battling for geography and for profit. This is Utopia in action.
Do we call what happened this summer the fall of the Anarch Movement? The old guard don't have much to say about it. The ones that might be willing to shout the loudest have either gotten in line with the Camarilla, or they aren't around to be asked. The Camarilla now controls the largest territory in Southern California, and most of the Barons aren't looking to leave their fiefdom to fight over it. MacNeal is dead, Crispus sits to the left of Prince LaCroix and the rest of the coterie have become ghosts. The Camarilla respects its own rules, and in LA, Elysium has continued to be respected. This isn’t just a war of bullets and fangs, it’s also a battle for hearts and minds. Tread lightly, but don’t hesitate to take advantage of an Elysium when things get heated.
Some places you just want to avoid. If you’re not from South Central, stay out of South Central. In what many consider a great betrayal, the elusive leader of the Crypt’s Sons revealed his true colors right around the time this city was ablaze. South Central remains a Sabbat territory to this day, even if there seems to be a tentative truce between the two sects. My advice, unless you wanna join the black and blue nation and drink the Sword of Caine Kool-Aid, I’d stay out of Watts and Compton.
Oh, and here's news: Shortly after the Camarilla took over the Barony of Angels, Mohammad started calling his Sabbat, "The First," and showing up at Camarilla functions. Rumor on the street is, that didn't last too long and Mohammad hasn't been seen in awhile. I don't know what that means for the Sabbat, but no news is good news for us.
The gangs are all here. First, the corpse banging Giovanni have had a hell of a good time capitalizing on our general lack of leadership. I guess they say war is bad for business, but you couldn’t tell it by looking at the Giovanni in LA. Nobody trusts them, but everyone depends on them in some way. While the Anarch cause doesn’t officially regard any Tradition, we still respect and uphold the Masquerade. Hell, for all their pomp and circumstance, even the Sabbat try to avoid shitting where they eat. Need a corpse removed? Call a Giovanni. Need some guns shipped? Call a Giovanni. Ghost of Christmas past haunting your loft? You get the point. They offer many services, don’t give one half a fuck about your politics and are more than willing to murder punch you if you step up. Tread lightly, my friend.
Second, the Setites are a thing. Rumor has it, there’s a secret temple hidden in the Hollywood hills. What’s a Setite? Supposedly, a clan of snake bangers that worship an old Egyptian god. Little “g”. If you’re into mummies and circle jerks, I’d say check it out. Otherwise, yeah, stay clear of the pimps and pushers.
Third, I’ve met a Ravnos or two in my time. I don’t want to be too disparaging, but maybe don’t get in too deep with any you find. They’ve always got a scheme or a plan, or a way to “get rich quick”. Fuck all that. Hell, I’m not your sire. You’ll figure it out or you won’t.
Even with all that chaos and anarchy, you’ll still have to worry about all the other hairy (pun intended) shit stalking the night. We are a community, and as such, we still must worry about the furious death machines that call themselves “Gurus” (and trust me, they’ll learn you some wisdom and but quick). stay out of Malibu, Lebowski.
I once heard a story about this dude who could do “Magic” and alter reality from a guy who called himself Pipe Wrench. He said that this underground cult of magicians called themselves “Mages”, which seemed pretty on the nose to me. I mean, was Wizard taken already? Anyways, I talked to a set in East LA who had knowledge of a similar group of humans. Supposedly, they could alter reality with a thought, wielding “The very power of creation.” If there are people like that, I’ve never met them. I’ll let you figure that all out.