At least twice a week, a young man stands in the Compass plaza next to a sign. He often dresses in a black waistcoat-vest, tie with a small silver bar pin, boots and black pants. He also wears a black bandana with a red circle and red letter “A” at its center. The sign next to him, which he has used for years, reads “Ask Me Why Voting Is Immoral.”
Kal Molinet, a senior criminal justice major and self-proclaimed peaceful anarchist and humanist, spends his time in the Compass encouraging students to reconsider and reevaluate most of what they know about their status in society and the purpose of government authorities.
“We live in a society where many of us don’t question a lot of things or a lot of ideas that are basically obsolete and usually detrimental simply because it is all we know and what we were born into,” Molinet said.
According to Molinet, one of the ideas we rarely question is the purpose of the government. Molinet said the purpose of government is not only obsolete, it is also harmful to our society.
“The state or our government is and has always been an advocate (of) violence in one form or another,” he said. “The entire thing is hypocritical.”
Molinet’s biggest influence to his philosophies and beliefs was the time he has spent in Richmond and VCU. But before he arrived in Richmond, Molinet was a self-described misanthrope who distrusted everyone and preferred his own company.
“I thought everyone was inherently evil and selfish and untrustworthy … and that without some higher political power we would figuratively eat each other alive,” he said.
Molinet’s says these beliefs started during his childhood. As the eldest of three children, Molinet helped take care of his siblings and his mother after they moved to the U.S. from Bolivia when Molinet was 7 years old.
“I thought that being suspicious of everyone would keep me and my family safe,” he said.
After high school Molinet enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, a time he said really cemented his misanthropic point of view.
“Back in Bolivia, it was mandatory for every citizen to serve in the army. … If you did not serve, you were a coward,” Molinet said. “I realize now that this was a bad decision … if our heroes want to protect our freedoms, they need to protect it here, not denying the freedoms of others in someone else’s country. … I was no hero.”
After he arrived in Richmond, Molinet’s entire belief system, philosophy and demeanor took a turn. Molinet said the people he met in Richmond and at VCU influenced his new peaceful anarchy and humanist beliefs and inspired him to found his organization.
“The people I met in Richmond made me realize that at least we are capable of governing ourselves without some government using violence to extort us and violate our rights,” he said. “Now I’m out there in the Compass sharing my philosophies. … I’m not forcing my beliefs on anyone. … I’m just requesting them to think about it.”
Molinet started his peaceful anarchist group, Liberate RVA, last May to build a place to discuss philosophies of anarchism, libertarianism and similar political ideologies.
Molinet covers everything from evaluating authority to questioning the use of violence in his lectures. Despite his anti-statist beliefs, Molinet does not support protests or revolts. Instead he believes in peacefully informing the community about alternative ways to change the status quo.
“When the government sees people sitting on the city hall steps or marching in the streets, they are okay with that because they can handle it. … They are prepared for it,” Molinet said. “But what they can’t handle or control are philosophy discussions at coffee shops or houses, internet blogs and classrooms. True revolutions don’t start in hypocritical big white concrete buildings; they start at home and our communities where we ostracize our hypocrites.”
Jared Lewis, a senior English major and member of Liberate RVA, has been in the organization for a year and agrees with Molinet’s views on anarchism and humanism.
“I agree with his views on human autonomy and that we have the morality to govern ourselves without government or corporate interference,” he said.
John Howard, a senior majoring
in sociology, also agrees with Molinet’s philosophies.
“I agree with Kal in regards to the government coming into things and violating our rights whilst telling us not to violate each other’s rights,” Howard said. “Increasing bureaucracy and rationalization has made our government’s existence irrational.”
When Molinet finishes college, he hopes to dedicate his life to Liberate RVA full time and share his philosophies and movement to those who are willing to listen. In the meantime, Molinet’s ideology and the Liberate name are going global.
“All I did was talk in the Compass about my philosophies; people would just come to talk to me and then suddenly I get an email by some person who talked to me at the plaza, went home and is planning a Liberate group in Missouri or England,” he said.
There are now five other Liberate organizations at universities around the
U. S. such as Liberate Rochester (New York), Liberate Oz (Missouri) and Liberate Bemidji (Minnesota). Molinet has also inspired two Liberate movements outside the U. S., specifically, Liberate Bristol (United Kingdom) and Liberate Adelaide (Australia).