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Building an effective anarchist movement in Australia - discussion after anarchist bookfair

Building an effective anarchist movement in Australia - discussion after anarchist bookfair

This post- Melbourne Anarchist bookfair conversation took place in the Melbourne Anarchist Club (MAC) which has a history stretching back to the 1890s. While visiting the premises which contains a library, meeting space and infoshop I caught up with Brendan and Ben two active members of the collective and Kieran from Anarchist Affinity which is seeking to build a similar organisation to the WSM, based on theoretical and tactical unity and collective responsibility. Topics discussed included the history of MAC, opinions on the third Melbourne bookfair, struggles engaged in by anarchists, and the potential for building a viable anarchist movement in Australia.

Comments

mc_bren
mc_bren

Not a lot to say...? I guess it's hard, you know. The weight of history versus the misinformed opinion of one. Not wholly surprised really.

Lugius Commilito

Thanks.

Lugius Commilito

I'm pleased that you find it amusing, it's nice to know that one can still bring joy. May I assume by your otherwise silence that the more salient points have been acknowledged?

Lugius Commilito

Your remark about the 'unhelpful polarisations of positions/approaches' is predicated on the entirely erroneous assumption that we occupy the same space or are heading in the same directions simply because we share an identification as anarchists. One can certainly point to political philosophies and principles going as far back as Diagoras, Epicurus, Lao Tse, etc. But 'Anarchism' has a particular historical location and if it describes anything, it describes a particular working-class practice informed by the ideas as expounded by the very same 'bunch of dead white men' as you so disparingingly put it. You see only the intellectual labour of 'dead white men' while making invisible the actual practice millions of working-class men and women of many different cultures over some considerable period of time. This view is instantly recognisable as the view of the privileged classes whose eyes see only what pleases them. This is the basis of their argument for 'purity'. For the privileged classes can not help but see anarchism through the filter of their own privilege. Any (working-class) impurities are filtered out and anarchism is presented as something of the mind (philosophy, principle) only while ignoring the body (practice). As the privileged classes imagine anarchism as nothing more than the adoption of philosophies, principles, positions, texts, images, T-shirts, jewellery, tattoos and hairstyles, they see no obligation to actually practice such in a socially meaningful sense. i.e. actually be part of an anarchist group, the only real social space where their anarchism can be tested and verified as praxis. Your initial comment reveals you as educated, white and middle-class. But this does not make you at fault for you had no control over the circumstances into which you are born. But if you wish to refer to youself as an anarchist, you must first earn it, you are not entitled to it. Anyone with a working-class sensibility understands this implicitly. The eyes of the privileged classes covet anarchism's cachet and working-class authenticity and they reach out and grasp with both hands and then purify it until it pleases their own sensibilities. Then they have the unmitigated gall to pass it off as a commitment to 'inclusivity' and 'diversity' when it is precisely the opposite.

EvelynEnduatta

" This view is instantly recognisable as the view of the privileged classes whose eyes see only what pleases them." LOL

EvelynEnduatta

Even more LOLOLOL!

EvelynEnduatta

" Your initial comment reveals you as educated, white and middle-class. But this does not make you at fault for you had no control over the circumstances into which you are born. But if you wish to refer to youself as an anarchist, you must first earn it, you are not entitled to it." ROFLOL

sabcat
sabcat

Stop picking on the children of wealthy miners, they can't help it if they were born white, middle class and thinking they know everything.

Lugius Commilito

What is *grossly* problematic is imagining that anarchism is what any individual says it is to the point of making it utterly meaningless. Completely ignoring the working-class history of anarchism is more than a little enraging. Radical sexuality, by itself, will not lead to a free and equal society. Anarchism is merely a catalogue of correct lifestyle and consumer choices? Fuck off bourgeois.

EvelynEnduatta

I think that is an unhelpful polarisation of positions/approaches. Anarchist political philosophy and anarchist principles can and do exists outside a the narrow history suggested by some. Having said that, I don't know anyone who calls themself an anarchist who is completely ignorant of the history of anarchist thought.

EvelynEnduatta

And I'm not sure about the 'facts' about refugees there. Will check facts and get back to you.

EvelynEnduatta

The very new 888 investment visas are ultra exclusive - 5million dollars in this case - http://www.brw.com.au/p/business/australia_first_visa_investor_gets_h4yBaQxYLSb1unHXPFxVBP

EvelynEnduatta

Policing other people's anarchism and arguing for a 'pure' lineage of anarchism from a bunch of dead white men is *slightly* problematic and more than a little infuriating. And what? Radical sexuality isn't a part of anarchism? Fuck off man.

Kieran Bennett

Hey hey, I was just listening to the track, a couple of cringeworthy moments, especially speaking without notes (I like notes). Obviously I'm wrong in that section when I list radical sexuality as not anarchist, heck, Emma Goldman anyone? I apologize. As for "policing other peoples anarchism", I do think there is actually an anarchist tradition with a coherant political content worth defending, as a political tradition it does emerge in Europe, its early theorists are dead, and unfortunately it is the works of men more than women (but certainly not exclusively) that have survived. Lucy Parsons papers were siezed and destroyed by the state upon her death, the likes of Kropotkin were carefully preserved. I know who I would rather read more of (Parsons incidentally). - Kieran.

EvelynEnduatta

Thanks Kieran. Interviews can be difficult at the best of times - I didn't mean to sound entirely critical but the gender/Eurocentric bias of anarchist circles in Oz are pretty out of control and thus I'm slightly sensitive to both. Thanks for you reponse and I look forward to dicussing this stuff with you some time in person.

EvelynEnduatta

*your

Lugius Commilito

"but the gender/Eurocentric bias of anarchist circles in Oz are pretty out of control and thus I'm slightly sensitive to both."

Lugius Commilito

This is reflective of the wholly middle-class privilege bias of the anarchist scene in Australia which is precisely why it is peopled mainly by white men. That you can be sensitive to bias based on gender and ethnicity but not class reflects this bias towards the privileged classes. This bias is seriously out of control and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. A liberalist interpretation of freedom that places its emphasis on individual identity and then presenting it as anarchism while at the same time ignoring its class struggle history forms part of the propaganda against anarchism and it should be viewed by anarchism as such.