Sparks bulletin

Sparks newspaper cover
Sparks newspaper cover

A partial archive of the Sparks bulletin of the Public Transport Workers Association, published by the Melbourne group of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation between 1986 and 1991. At its peak its circulation reached 5000 copies.

Submitted by Steven. on November 24, 2012

If anyone has any spare copies of Sparks they would like to donate to us to add to the archive we would really appreciate it! Please contact us or let us know in the comments below

Lugius

9 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ASF Melbourne commenced publishing 'Sparks' in May 1986. The Public Transport Workers Association which was admitted to the ASF at 1st ASF Congress held in Melbourne in January 1987, took over responsibility for publishing 'Sparks' until they dissolved in January 1991. After that there was one more issue published by ASF Melbourne in 1991. There was a 'Sparks' column in the paper "Burning Issue' also published by ASF Melbourne until 1993.

Not to be confused with NSW version.

syndicalist

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well worth the read

Steven.

4 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Bump, because one of our lovely users has scanned and added loads more issues

Sparks #01

The first issue of 'Sparks', a rank-and-file public transport workers' paper, published by the Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation Melbourne in May 1986.

Submitted by Lugius on December 3, 2012

This first issue was published by ASF Melbourne in May 1986. At the time there were two railways workers and one tramways worker member. The first issue was eight pages long. The aim of this activity by ASF Melbourne was to increase the awareness of anarcho-syndicalism and anarchism in the public transport industry in Victoria as a first step towards creating an ASF-affiliated public transport workers union. The focus of the paper was to be mainly on issues current in the industry but also other contemporary issue relevant to workers in Australia.

Sparks #02

Sparks #2 published and distributed by ASF Melbourne in July 1986

Submitted by Lugius on December 10, 2012

This was the second issue of 'Sparks' to be published. The number of pages were increased to 12. It was significant for the fact that an article about the tramways in Barcelona during the Spanish Revolution piqued the interest of a clerk working for Victorian Railways in the internal mailroom enough to attend the event 'Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Spanish Revolution' organised by ASF Melbourne held at the Foresters Hall in Johnston St., Fitzroy on Saturday afternoon, 19 July 1986.

At this very well-attended event were no less than 15 veterans of the Spanish Revolution from both the CNT and the FAI, two of whom gave talks on their experiences. Soon after, the mailroom clerk got in contact with one of the ASF Melbourne members working at Electric Running Depot and arranged to have 'Sparks' distributed to every station, depot, workshop, storage facility and office of Victorian Railways through their own internal postal system.

This effectively meant that the entire railways system in Victoria was covered and we could concentrate on distribution in the tram and bus depots. For issue #3 the print run was increased from 500 to 800.

Sparks #03

Issue 3 of Sparks from August 1986.

Submitted by Aunty Jack on January 18, 2018

Sparks #05

Issue 5 of Sparks from December 1986, covering the 50-day Victorian nurses' strike, as well as action by tram workers against victimisation.

Submitted by Aunty Jack on January 18, 2018

Sparks #07

Issue 7 of Sparks from June-July 1987, with info on union amalgamations, strikes by train staff against the repression of anti-light rail protests, and the undermining of several campaigns by union officials.

Submitted by Aunty Jack on January 18, 2018

Sparks #08

Issue 8 of Sparks from August-September 1987.

Submitted by Steven. on March 11, 2013

Sparks #10

Issue 10 of Sparks, bulletin of the Melbourne anarcho-syndicalist Public Transport Workers Association from October-November 1987.

Submitted by Steven. on March 11, 2013

Sparks #11

Issue 11 of Sparks from December 1987, with material on train guards' strikes and shopfloor action at South Dynon locomotive workshops.

Submitted by Aunty Jack on January 22, 2018

Sparks #12

Issue 12 of Sparks from January-February 1988.

Submitted by Steven. on March 11, 2013
Sparks-12.pdf (1.66 MB)

Steven.

9 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Many thanks to Lugius for posting a bunch of additional issues all the way from Australia! A few more will be going online shortly…

Sparks #13

Sparks 13 front page
Sparks 13 cover

Issue 13 of Sparks, the paper of the anarcho-syndicalist Public Transport Workers Association in Melbourne, from March-April 1988. Containing interesting articles on disputes over health and safety, and the sacking of train guards.

Submitted by Steven. on November 24, 2012
Sparks 13 A5 PDF (1.42 MB)

Steven.

9 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just to say this is a really great little publication. Would highly recommend reading it, and I hope that we can get hold of more copies, or someone else can scan more copies into this archive! So if you have any do let us know!

Lugius

9 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well, I can help you there as I have a copy of all issues bar one. I was involved with the publication of Sparks from beginning to end. I also founded the NSW edition which is still published today albeit by the ASN.

Steven.

9 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lugius

Well, I can help you there as I have a copy of all issues bar one. I was involved with the publication of Sparks from beginning to end. I also founded the NSW edition which is still published today albeit by the ASN.

hi, thanks for letting us know. Do you have access to a scanner, and maybe time to scan some of them?

Lugius

9 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I do have a scanner. But not a lot of time. How about I scan and send one at a time complete with translation of cultural references? Where exactly would I send said complete file(s)?

Steven.

9 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lugius

I do have a scanner. But not a lot of time. How about I scan and send one at a time complete with translation of cultural references? Where exactly would I send said complete file(s)?

that would be absolutely brilliant!

You could either e-mail a PDF to admin at libcom.org, although ideally you could just add them here yourself. So just go to the "Sparks bulletin" page, and click "add child page". Call the child page "Sparks #01" (or whatever number it is) and add the PDF file to the File attachments section.

Adding one at a time whenever you had a chance would be great!

Lugius

9 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Child page? Sounds a bit perverted and creepy but I'll take you at your word.

Sparks #14

Issue 14 of Sparks from May-June 1988, with articles covering successful stop-works and work bans at Brunswick and Preston tram depots, public transport news from Sydney, union elections, and the ongoing campaign against light rail.

Submitted by Aunty Jack on February 15, 2018

Sparks #15

Sparks no 15 from July-August 1988, with coverage of industrial action by train guards over staff cuts and safety issues, union elections, and the mid-1988 statewide strike in Victoria.

Submitted by Aunty Jack on January 22, 2018

Sparks #16

Issue 16 of Sparks from September-October 1988, with coverage of the South Melbourne depot taking on the Metshop, a discrimination case taken up by a disabled passenger and more.

Submitted by Steven. on April 9, 2013

Sparks #17

Issue of the Sparks bulletin from November-December 1988 with news about graffiti, train drivers getting $4000 pay cuts, cuts to station staff at Flinders and more.

Submitted by Steven. on April 9, 2013

Sparks #18

Issue 18 of Sparks from winter 1989, covering the ongoing campaign against the closure of the Upfield railway line, and successful snap industrial action by train guards.

Submitted by Aunty Jack on January 24, 2018

Sparks #19

Issue 19 of the Sparks bulletin from Spring 1989, with news on the Upfield line campaign, struggles by train guards, the 1989 Victorian state budget, and moves to disaffiliate ATMOEA (the tram and bus workers' union) from the Labor Party.

Submitted by Aunty Jack on January 24, 2018

Sparks #21

Issue of anarcho-syndicalist public transport workers' bulletin Sparks from January 1990. Importantly this was a special issue produced during the Melbourne tram lockout, where anarcho-syndicalist-influenced workers took over the tram system before bosses cut the power.

Submitted by Steven. on April 9, 2013

Sparks #22

Issue 22 of the Sparks bulletin from 24 January 1990, while the Melbourne tram dispute was still ongoing when workers who took over the trams fighting the abolition of conductors were locked out.

Submitted by Steven. on April 9, 2013

Sparks #25

Issue of Sparks from November 1990 with news about Tramway union elections, stress index wage rises, a pull-out poster slagging off the transport Minister by the Brunswick Passenger Support Group and more.

Submitted by Steven. on April 9, 2013

Sparks #26

Sparks issue 26 from April 1991, with coverage of the Gulf War, successful direct action over tram safety issues, and campaigning against cuts to tram routes.

Submitted by Aunty Jack on January 24, 2018

Sparks #27

Issue 27 of Sparks, featuring coverage of union amalgamations, direct action by bus drivers, and taxi industry news.

Submitted by Aunty Jack on January 24, 2018