Super exciting! Melbourne’s only anarchist infoshop will be launching this Saturday evening from 7pm until late!
The Melbourne Anarchist Bookfair has come and gone. There were many improvements on last year’s inaugural event; more space for workshops and talks, more talks. Below are links to some of the reviews, some of which have generated much discussion.
The main controversies, if the pub talk was anything to go by, were the inclusion of the Communist League and Polyester Books as stall holders.
The Facebook event also has a lot of discussion.
The next major event for the discussion of anarchist ideas looks to be the Anarchist Summer School up in Queensland in 2013.
There has been much in the Mexican press about an Australian anarchist apparently sought in connection with bombings/attempted bombings. The statement below from Felicity Ryder appeared on Liberacion Total, and there’s no reason to believe it is not genuine.
I would have liked to have written earlier, but for various circumstances I haven´t had the chance to yet. I want to send a warm greeting and say thanks to everyone who has worried about me and my situation, to those who have shown solidarity with Mario and I. In these difficult moments it means a lot to have people standing in solidarity from near or from far, even without ever having met me. I sent a revolutionary hug to all of you.
I want to clarify that despite all of the lies of the Mexico City police forces and the mass media, I was never arrested and they never had me detained in any of their prisons. I have tried to understand why they would have said that and spread such false information throughout Mexico as well as Australia, but at the end of the day, as a free person I don´t think like a police officer, and I won´t be able to understand. If it was to try in vain to break or manipulate Mario, to manipulate my family, or to try to appear half competent in doing their jobs, I don´t know.
What I do know is that I am proud of being an Anarchist, and proud to be an enemy of authority and the State.
To my brother Mario, I send him a giant hug and much strength and health. I know that he will always maintain his convictions strong, as well as his desire to achieve Total Liberation. I will always be by your side, compañero. Remember, always face to face with the enemy!
I also send a warm greeting to the fugitive comrades Diego Rios and Gabriela Curilem in Chile. A warm hug to the comrades from the CCF and Revolutionary Struggle in Greece, to the anarchist comrades in prison in Italy, to Braulio Duran, Luciano Pitronello, Gabriel Pombo da Silva, and to all of the anarchist prisoners and fugitives all over the world.
Que viva la Anarquia!
Mario López Hernández was injured when an explosive device he was carrying went off prematurely. According to statements by the Mexican police via media reports and Mario’s statement below, Felicity Ryder’s passport was found in his backpack at the scene. We have reprinted his statement, denying Felicity’s involvement, in full, after the break.
We’ve made a big update to our directory, with more current information on goings on anarchy in Queensland, deleted some dead/inactive/resting groups and more.
Sydney’s Black Rose Books has closed down after six years at Enmore Road in Newtown. In a post on their website, the collective announced:
After 6 years at 22 Enmore Rd in Newtown, Black Rose Books has once again been moved into storage awaiting it’s next reincarnation. We expect this web address will disappear sometime later this year.
Refer to Jura Books for Anarchist Literature
Peoples’ Kitchen is starting up again on Wednesdays at Dustmonster
Thanks to all those who have been involved over the past 6 years (and the past 30 years!!). There is no collective to be contacted anymore so please direct any questions to Jura books.
Love & Rage
And there you have it.
In other news, Loophole in Melbourne looks set to lose its venue. The fate of Barricade Books, housed at Loophole since they left the Melbourne Anarchist Club, is unknown. The “non-denominational, intergenerational, non-hierarchical, not-for-profit, wheelchair accessible” venue must be vacated by June 11, 2012.
This leaves Jura Books and the Melbourne Anarchist Club as the only permanent anarchist spaces in Australia. Correct us if we’re wrong in the comments.
Join with the Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation and show solidarity to our members and other Domino’s Pizza workers who have lost 19% of their wage on Monday 14th of May, 4pm outside their offices at Level 8, 240 Sandgate Rd, Albion in Brisbane, Queensland.
The majority of unionised workers who work for Domino’s franchisees fall under Australia’s worst excuse for a union, the SDA. The SDA’s national leader Joe de Bruyn is known for using his position in pushing a pro-Catholic, anti-sex agenda over the interests of its workers, leading to former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam to famously quip that “Joe de Bruyn is a Dutchman who hates dykes”.
What Mr De Bruyn is good at, by all reports, is establishing a cosy relationship with the captains of the retail industry. Hopefully he can find a way to use these powers to the benefit of the workers. Other retail workers might be better off joining a fighting union, like the ASF-IWA, than depending on the whims and machinations of a rightwing union like the SDA.
Organise!, a small anarcho-communist orientated group in Adelaide, have announced they are on indefinite hiatus due to members moving away (and who can blame anyone for moving away from Adelaide?) and lack of energy to keep it going. Members continue to be active in existing campaigns and coalitions, and have expressed some interest in joining the IWW.
It seems as though Adelaide is now bereft of an explicitly anarchist group. If you’re from Adelaide and interested in anarchism, you might consider posting to the Libcom Oceania forums to talk to other Australian/NZ anarchists. Also, check out our directory of anarchist groups in-and-nearby Australia.
Today is a sad day.
It is probably a good thing that the hundreds of old men, who used to line the pub walls on ANZAC day as an act of both remembrance and to forget, are mostly dead. Many of them like Alec Campbell, the last ANZAC still alive in 2002, were incredibly uncomfortable being lauded by toffy conservatives looking for votes. Whatever Australian-ness was during his time, and it was many awful things, flag-waving haughtiness was not one of them.
Campbell was the secretary of the Tasmanian branch of the Australian Workers Union. In his latter life, he knew all too well what Howard was trying to do by encouraging a rabid nationalism, using the ANZAC story to promote a right-wing agenda.
Speak to somebody over 35, and they will fill you in on how the expensive fanfare now put on by the government every ANZAC day, is only a relatively recent phenomenon. The coming ANZAC centenary celebrations starting in 2014, will cost something in the order of ninety million dollars, complete with USSR-style military re-enactments.
Back when the ANZACs were still alive, a commemoration for the dead turned into a celebration of nationalism and war, always ran the risk that an old “digger” or two might speak up about the hypocrisy of it all. Of course governments have always used war-stories to further their conservative agenda, but it is telling that the operatic explosion of ANZAC day did not take off until most of the actual participants were long gone.
As we get further from the past, the better it can function as a mythology written by governments, with nobody left to contradict them. As Orwell said, who controls the present controls the past. I’m sure that in fifty years, we’ll be hearing about how the whole nation was united in support for our diggers in Vietnam.
No story better encapsulates the blatant lie of nationalist unity promoted during the annual ANZAC day celebration, than the story of Simpson and his Donkey. Kilpatrick (Simpson) was a revolutionary and anti-militarist, who only signed up to the army in order to get a free ride back to England. Hence using his middle name Simpson. He intended for ‘Simpson’ to disappear when the ship got to England where they were headed for further training. He got a nasty shock when they were diverted to Gallipoli, where he refused to do the dangerous job of being a stretcher-bearer… hence the donkey.
The vast expense of historical cover-up and myth-making, is in order to encourage more young people to sign up to die, just as they did 100 years ago. While the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have little in common militarily with WWI, there is this striking similarity: these wars have absolutely nothing to do with protecting our freedoms or making the world a better place. They have everything to do with the geopolitical significance of the countries that we have invaded. And, just like Gallipoli, which was promised to the Russian Tsar by the British should the Australian and New Zealand invasion have been successful, Australia holds Uruzgan Province in Afghanistan for the benefits of a foreign power (foreign to us, and Afghanis), the United States.
The sad thing about ANZAC day is how the state uses the legitimate emotions of people who have been through the traumatic experience of war, to create a celebration designed solely to win recruits for the next useless war. I have an uncle who was drafted for the Vietnam War. He is quite progressive, in his way, and has said as much that the Vietnam War was an imperialistic crusade Australia should never have been a part of. But he still participates in ANZAC day, as a way to commemorate his dead friends. People like this shrug off the politicians, while those who point out the futility of war before, during and after the useless conflicts are fought, such as the draft resisters, are barred from any participation. An anti-Vietnam activist giving a talk about the immorality of the war and why they resisted it, would be cast as “too political”, while an army officer invading schools to tell children what an honourable thing it is to join the army, is said to be neutral.
As the ANZAC centenary approaches it may be pertinent for us to turn our minds to creating an alternative to ANZAC day, some kind of Anti-War ANZAC Day. It has been tried before, but perhaps we should try harder. An attempt to do this should actively seek out and include anti-war activists from past conflicts, as well as people who have been to war and know how shit it is first hand. It should be an event that achieves in reality what ANZAC day pretends to do, by providing a truthful account of war, remembering the dead, the immorality of war, as well as the futility. In other words remembrance and reflection without promoting the next war. Anti-militarism makes up a large part of the history of anarchist struggle, especially during WWI when the broad anarchist tradition was one of the few socialist variants to remain committed to its internationalism. It is also a good way for us to reach out to a wider audience. I think there are plenty of people out there who are tired of seeing their grandparents’ memory being used as an expensive recruitment strategy for the armed forces. While seeking to broadly appeal, we should insist that the organisation of such an event remain fiercely independent of both the state and capitalist interests, whose only interest is to promote war.