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Some 140 years after anarchists held a founding congress in Saint-Imier, their modern day cousins are back in the Swiss mountain town, to put the world to rights.

Hundreds of alternative thinkers from across the globe have gathered to share ideas and offer their solutions, with debt and discontent rife in Europe.

“We can see that capitalism has one crisis after another,” said Michel Nemitz, one of those attending. “Inequalities are deepening and the environment is deteriorating. It is time for us to change the way we operate.”

“Emancipation is also about freedom,” said fellow participant Dominique Lestrat. “It is not a question of seizing power. Anarchists are clear about this – they fight against those in power to put in place an organisation, a collective at the service of all individuals.”

Anarchists who had broken with the workers’ movement dominated by Karl Marx held their first congress in Saint-Imier in 1872.

In 2012, as their ideological descendents debate everything from the Arab Spring to the Spanish Civil War, they are clear that violence is not the answer to today’s problems. But young and not so young, they remain anti-authoritarian through and through.

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