ANZAC Day event for 2008

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Joined: 6-03-07
Feb 6 2008 02:25
ANZAC Day event for 2008

So ANZAC Day is coming up again, and again I will be involved in organizing an event to celebrate the Industrial Workers of the World and their role in defeating concription in World War One. It would be great if Anarchists around Australia could organise a similar event for Anzac Day. Comrades in NZ do not have a NZ victory against conscription to remember but they do have heroic war resistors to remember and celebrate; Archibald Baxter springs to mind because he wrote a gripping book (We Shall Not Cease) but there are others....

Because the action is an important one I take the liberty of reposting the following description of it from last year. Especially to Anarchists talking of a federation.....please see that solidarity comes from common action not from paper declarations. Please discuss this matter at your easter meeting .

This action may seem trivial but it is not. It is part of grabbing hold of the cultural inititative. It will take time to bite but bite it will, with a little patience and persistence.

Last year I reported:

The following has become a yearly event. My opinion is that protesting against the yearly march is just, in Australia now, another form of "taking part" in it. The activity described below is an alternative strategy. "Strikelets" are red-dyed pikelets or pancakes. More information/discussion can be found by following the links.

Anzac IWW Report [first posted on Melbourne Indymedia]

The real heroes of WW1 remembered.

A dozen-odd people turned up on April 25 outside the old HQ of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or "Wobblies") in Lt Bourke St. We were there to celebrate and remember the defeat of conscription in World War One. Of all the fighting countries Australia alone had no conscription, and without disrespect to the other opponents of conscription this was due to the IWW above all. Nearly 60,000 Australians were killed in WW1 and conscription was intended to raise a force equal in size to the volunteer force. As conscripts in WW1 were freely used in the frontline we can estimate that the defeat of conscription saved about 60,000 Austrlian lives and this is not considering the wounded and maimed.

So we remembered the IWW of WW1. Members of the continuing IWW were present amongst others. We sang songs, displayed placards, handed out leaflets (well, people from the Melbourne Anarchist Communist group did that) discussed anti-militarism and revolutionary unionism in Australia...and destroyed a War Tree.

The War Tree has fruits of pain and death, and roots of profits as symbolized in this particular case by chocolate coated nuts. After destruction of the tree we were of course able to expropriate the profits.

No-one got around to organizing the strikelets this year, so I brought a durian instead which sadly was spurned by all participants. Next year someone had better organize the strikelets.

There were many passers-by, frequently going to or from a military march nearby. Mostly they either ignored us or read our placards from a distance. Some took leaflets, I think only one stopped to talk briefly. A few eyed the durian hungrily. This is broadly, leaving aside the durian, in line with our experience in previous years.

Last year we were informed off the record by a reliable source that ASIO was interested in our activities. This may have been why a young woman (in I swear to god a long overcoat with turned up collar) was photographing us but fled in confusion as soon as noticed. If you are reading this, young lady with an endearing resemblance to Veronica Mars, you should have stayed. We may well have posed a group photo for you. And there was lovely fresh durian going for free, it really tastes delicious once your palate adjusts.

Then there were the "tourists" who got their friend to photograph them with us as the colourful background. Us or the photogenic Seven Eleven which is now the ground floor of the old Wobbly HQ. While the location of this event is historically apt it is not particularly convenient or attractive and perhaps next year we will choose another spot.

To some this yearly IWW remembrance may seem insignificant, even possibly a little strange like the vitamin rich durian. But at present, on April 25, any sign of community sanity in this country is of import. and I hope there will be more involved next year.

For background and previous events follow the links beginning here:

Joined: 17-03-06
Feb 17 2008 02:54

So what's your plan for this year?

Joined: 6-03-07
Feb 17 2008 06:31

Well, so far I was thinking pretty much the same except better publicized. Last year I was sort of depressed and did the minimum necessary. I'd like it if more people brought war trees; destroying the war trees makes a focus and climax for the event, its better than speeches.

This will be the fifth year, I'm thinking maybe do it at the same place this year and rethink the venue for next time.

But am open to suggestion. I wouldn't mind if a steering group got together and/or if others did completely separate events. My own opinion remains that directly tangling with the March is counter-productive, it is equivalent to volunteering to participate in the March as the clowns. That is not a personal criticism of people who do so tangle or who have in the past, just an assessment of the effectiveness of that type of action in the present.

Joined: 7-04-06
Feb 17 2008 08:25
jeremytrewindixon wrote:
Comrades in NZ do not have a NZ victory against conscription to remember but they do have heroic war resistors to remember and celebrate; Archibald Baxter springs to mind because he wrote a gripping book (We Shall Not Cease) but there are others....

One victory in NZ was that Compulsory Military Training was stopped in 1972 by the anti-Vietnam War movement and in particular the Organisation to Halt Military Service (OHMS). There was a fear that young men drafted into CMT would be sent to Vietnam, but luckily this never eventuated. Unlike Australia, NZ did not have conscription for the Vietnam War.