contact with australian anarchists

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mikabill
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Jan 28 2007 09:11
contact with australian anarchists

hi im looking for contact with australian anarchists
bill

knightrose
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Jan 28 2007 09:53

there's a group of anarchist communists in Melbourne. Where are you?

mikabill
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Jan 28 2007 10:04

hi adelaide

anna x
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Jan 28 2007 10:23

Hey Bill, just checked out your intro on the libcommunity forum. Adelaide huh... Bet the place looks lush after the recent rains hey? I thought that this link may help you http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_archives/index.html
Let us know what you think. The library here on libcom is pretty good too. Not sure if I mentioned this earlier but despite the cringe factor, a wikipedia search for anarchism is actually pretty good http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchism
All of the links throughout the text and the ones at the bottom have their own links but like everything else you have to sift through the shit to get to the good stuff - which is why I guess you are checking out anarchist-communist stuff hey? anyway, all the best. grrregg :rbstar:

mikabill
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Jan 28 2007 10:36

Thanks gregg this sites very good although i find email groups better than message boards
bill

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Anarchia
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Jan 29 2007 01:25

I met an anarchist from Adelaide while doing some forest blockading in Gippsland late last year - she mentioned an anarchist bookshop (and possibly cafe? I can't remember) in Adelaide. Can't remember the name unfortunately (sorry!) but I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to find. That'd be a good place to meet some local crew.

asn
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Jan 29 2007 08:19

mikabill - I don't know what you mean by "australian anarchists" - however you are welcome to check our web page we are looking for distributors for rw and our transport paper in south australia www.rebelworker.org

mark

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jason
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Jan 30 2007 01:42
Quote:
mikabill - I don't know what you mean by "australian anarchists" - however you are welcome to check our web page we are looking for distributors for rw and our transport paper in south australia www.rebelworker.org

mark

Hi Mark,

I didn't realise Rebelworker was still around. Nice one. What sort of places do you distribute Rebelworker? And how would you say the ASN differs from the IWW? Is it mainly organisational differences?

asn
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Jan 30 2007 12:23

I don't know where it is also all distributed -some places I'm aware of are bookshops, community centres, educational institutions, rallies, various communities, various odd shops, etc.
The differences between the iww and the asn in australia - relate to the fact that the iww has strong sect tendencies - focus on its "internal life" - meetings and associated "ceremonies" as an end in itself - its formal existence/structure - and related to that orientation is the production of abstract propaganda -propaganda/literature which doesn't relate to long range programs of work informed by an overall strategy (activity in some strategic industry) - and a scientific climate which would encourage processes of research which would stimulate strategic development eg the study of various historical precedents.
I have observed in Sydney re the IWW ( I can't speak of all states but from what I have gleaned there are strong similarities, I have heard that in Melbourne there has been lately some serious discussion re strategy, but I don't know much about it and whether it will get anywhere) - the above formalism and a sort of anti-intellectual climate encouraged by some of its members adhering to identity politics and its "theologies" which are "beyond debate and discussion" eg so called "women's" appression and some coming from middle class backgrounds and the student milieux -with little experience of the class struggle but a very elitest orientation-
- apart from the production of "abstract propaganda" is also the "existential organising" - organising as end in itself (not as it should relate to the overthrow of the capitalist mode of production and the workers control project) - such as in various peripheral marginal sectors eg Big Issue sellers in Melbourne, starbucks cafes in New York, "parliamentary workers" in Scotland,etc - which don't have the role in the capitalist economy to slow down the employer offensive and turn the tide and create the basis for building mass syndicalist unionism
- when the iww first formed in australia in the early 20th century there were two IWW's - the Detroit aligned and the Chicago aligned - the detroit did have strong sect tendencies as above - but did have a strong self education orientation - focusing on marxist study groups - radically different from the "anti-intellectual" orientation I have observed in the contemporary IWW particularly in sydney.
- re the asn - its focus is on strategic organising particularly on the transport front - but also having "spin offs in other" less strategic sectors" and encourages processes of research and debate see relevant articles on our webpage, back issues of rw and informality but focusing on practical work re strategic organising.
- on the local level in various states there is quite a bit of working together between some iww and asn members and cross membership - its certainly the case in sydney since 2002- the problem of the contemporary iww in australia and elsewhere in the world I think relates very much to the predominance on the left in many countries of mass stalinism for many decades, the associated loss of a core of highly experienced veteran syndicalist militants, the role of students in the resurgence of the iww in the us in the 1960's - just to name a few.
mark

-

dublin dave
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Jan 30 2007 14:24

Hi Mark,
Cheers for the info about the asn and rebelworker. I've downloaded the current edition and I'm looking forward to reading it. I like your orientation to transport as a strategic industry (perhaps because i used to drive trains). Does the asn encourage it's members to get jobs in transport or have you primarily recruited existing transport workers?
I notice that the International Workers Association lists a group called the Anarcho Syndicalist Federation in it's directory as it's Australian contact. What are the relations between the ASN and the ASF?
On the question of the IWW I sympathise with your opposition to concentrating on peripheral workers such as Big Issue sellers and parliamentary workers but perhaps yopu are being a bit harsh about starbucks workers? Consumerism and shopping malls are a major part of modern capitalism. if the IWW is succesfull in organising Starbucks it could open the door to the organising of other retail and catering workers.
Respect,
Dave.

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jason
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Jan 31 2007 01:18
Quote:
- re the asn - its focus is on strategic organising particularly on the transport front - but also having "spin offs in other" less strategic sectors" and encourages processes of research and debate see relevant articles on our webpage, back issues of rw and informality but focusing on practical work re strategic organising.

Thanks Mike. Can you elaborate a bit on the relationship to less strategic sectors. Like what role do you see them on a strategic level, and what about individuals in these sectors?

Quote:
On the question of the IWW I sympathise with your opposition to concentrating on peripheral workers such as Big Issue sellers and parliamentary workers but perhaps yopu are being a bit harsh about starbucks workers? Consumerism and shopping malls are a major part of modern capitalism. if the IWW is succesfull in organising Starbucks it could open the door to the organising of other retail and catering workers.

Sort of agree with Dave here.

asn
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Jan 31 2007 10:55

The points you have raised are interesting - re the relationship betwee the strategic and less strategic industries/ sectors -
Fundamental to the asn approach is the whole issue of having limited personel and resources and how best to deploy them (I have some decades of organising experience and I know full well how hopeless and unreliable many syndicalists are re longterm or even short work - I'm sure its the same story in many other countries today) - in much of the world today serious syndicalists are few and sectors which can change the situation must be focused upon - and also there is the issue in syndicalist activity of the interaction of outside and on the job organisation - in the transport industries which we are focusing - major victories which workers could win there would play a major in raising the morale of workers in other industries and also outside the job organisation can helpout a lot on the job organisation there re distributing of workplace papers due to its transportation nature, avoiding the targeting of militants by management,also you don't have the problem of black listing, etc in contrast to other industries eg chemicals, building,
It would have a major radiation impact (workers in other sectors would become more optimistic, energised and ready to stick their necks out etc) and the role of syndicalist transport workers (this a fair way down the track) eg truckies could play a key role in helping out syndicalist organising drives in less strategic sectors eg cafes, retail,etc via cutting off supplies at busy times like at Xmas helping syndicalist retail workers unions to win recognition, in most cases it would be a walk over - avoiding long drawn out organising drives in these sectors which are likely to end in disaster eg IWW organising at Borders in the 1990's. (the CNT in Spain in its heday had as a major base just such retail sectors in Barcelona - because of the critical role of CNT truckies controlling supplies and in the pamphlet Wilf McCartney "Dare to be DanieL" there is a discussion the emergence of a syndicalist catering workers union in london before WWI - the emergence of this union must be seen in the context of the radiation impact of the massive syndicalist direct action upsurge in such strategic sectors as mining and transport in the UK (see Bob Holton's "British Syndicalism").
The effect of this dynamic transport based syndicalist organing drive would be the emergence of an "expanding movement" - which via the above approach would wipe out much of bureaucratic unionism and turn the tide against the employer offensive - avoiding the phenomena of "syndicalist minority movements" like the IWW in the early 1950's in the US and the SAC (Swedish Workers Centre) in the late 1920's which were surrounded by bureaucratic unionism cemented in place by contracts and facing ferocious state attacks ie the IWW - leading to its major base in the Cleveland shops to split off and be drawn into the business unions -
In regard to the SAC - ferocious competition from the social democratic LO (Union Confederation) aided by the employers leading the SAC to take on aspects of social democratic unionism, see essays in Revolutionary Syndicalism: An International Perspective ed by Marcel Van Der Linden and another guy.
This "strategic organising" approach can only develop in a "scientific" context where the kind intellectual stimulation occurs encouraging series research particularly re the above historical precedents and reading relevant books, articles. The syndicalist "chapel or sect" is of course normally devoid of such an atmosphere - gatherings being an excuse for social occasions and reaffirming orthodoxies and exotic "political correctness".
Re asn organising in transport - it's mainly people in the sector hearing about and seeing the publication there and wanting to get involved to fight the bosses -they would have heard on the grape vine we are "Okay - useful people" and aware they need help in the fight against the bosses - they also have control over the content of their contributions (workers' control) , get linked up with other militants and raise issues they are concerned about etc - they normally have a very anti-bureaucratic approach due to their experience of bureaucratic unionism and the syndicalist style principles on the back of our paper are well recieved on the job - obviously a "vetting procedure" is conducted re new contacts and during major campaigns eg enterprise bargain agreements/contracts negotiations - contacts have been made via literature and voice mail/email- there has been little "salting"
mark

knightrose
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Jan 31 2007 18:28

I've found the address for the Melbourne group. A couple of them came over to England in 2005 and stayed with us. They are Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group, PO Box 2120 Lygon St North
East Brunswick 3057 macg1984[at]yahoo.com.au.

Some distance from Adelaide, I'm afraid ....

Anway, they are a smallish group, but worth an email as they have inetersting views, eben though I disagree fundamentally withg them on the unions issue.

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jason
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Jan 31 2007 23:45

Admin: maybe Mark's comments RE: strategic organising should be split to the organise forum? It might get more viewings from interested people.

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Bubbles
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Feb 1 2007 02:14
asn wrote:
- re the asn - its focus is on strategic organising particularly on the transport front - but also having "spin offs in other" less strategic sectors" and encourages processes of research and debate see relevant articles on our webpage, back issues of rw and informality but focusing on practical work re strategic organising.

jason wrote:
Thanks Mike. Can you elaborate a bit on the relationship to less strategic sectors. Like what role do you see them on a strategic level, and what about individuals in these sectors?

You know we have truckers, taxicab drivers, and messengers, right?

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Bubbles
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Feb 1 2007 02:33
asn wrote:
The differences between the iww and the asn in australia -

Are you critqueing IWW Autralia or the entire IWW? You keep switching back and forth on here.

asn wrote:
relate to the fact that the iww has strong sect tendencies - focus on its "internal life" - meetings and associated "ceremonies" as an end in itself - its formal existence/structure - and related to that orientation is the production of abstract propaganda -propaganda/literature

Are you suggesting we are /too/ organized? Why are regular meetings bad? What cerimonies? Abstract, is a bit far fethced.

asn wrote:
which doesn't relate to long range programs of work informed by an overall strategy (activity in some strategic industry) - and a scientific climate which would encourage processes of research which would stimulate strategic development eg the study of various historical precedents.

Are you saying that we are pissing in the wind and hoping to get something out of it? Are you saying we dont stratagize enough about campaigns? Again, witch section of the IWW are you talking about? Are you saying that the stratagies we have/do impliment are bad?

asn wrote:
I have observed in Sydney re the IWW ( I can't speak of all states but from what I have gleaned there are strong similarities, I have heard that in Melbourne there has been lately some serious discussion re strategy, but I don't know much about it and whether it will get anywhere) -

Australia IWW is just starting out. They only recently set up their ROC. They are getting all the wobs who used to be wobs back on dues and active, they are reqruiting and realy cant handle any big campaigns yet. They are however growing.

asn wrote:
the above formalism and a sort of anti-intellectual climate encouraged by some of its members adhering to identity politics and its "theologies" which are "beyond debate and discussion" eg so called "women's" appression and some coming from middle class backgrounds and the student milieux -with little experience of the class struggle but a very elitest orientation-

Students have and always will play a large role in modern capitalist societies in any struggle. Have young people in any organization is good. They will become better millitants when they are older. I've never been to Australia so I can not speak for any sort of intellectual climate they are creating, but as I said above ausie IWW is just starting out, education committees and departments will probably com straight after they feel comfterblle with the stabilities of branches and shops.

asn wrote:
- apart from the production of "abstract propaganda" is also the "existential organising" - organising as end in itself (not as it should relate to the overthrow of the capitalist mode of production and the workers control project) - such as in various peripheral marginal sectors eg Big Issue sellers in Melbourne, starbucks cafes in New York, "parliamentary workers" in Scotland,etc - which don't have the role in the capitalist economy to slow down the employer offensive and turn the tide and create the basis for building mass syndicalist unionism

The IWW will organize everyone and anyone. Alot of these workers contacted us. Do you want us to discard their horrible conditions because they arnt important? They are workers joining a directly democratic anti-capitalist fighting union, why are you complaining? Scotland and Aussie IWW are JUST STARTING OUT, this is a economic dues base of supporters, capitalism doesnt just get overthrown overnight.

asn wrote:
- when the iww first formed in australia in the early 20th century there were two IWW's - the Detroit aligned and the Chicago aligned - the detroit did have strong sect tendencies as above - but did have a strong self education orientation - focusing on marxist study groups - radically different from the "anti-intellectual" orientation I have observed in the contemporary IWW particularly in sydney.

Right, well, sound like the Sydney branch needs to get their shit together and hold form an education committe, a lit department, start tabling at events with books, etc.

asn wrote:
- re the asn - its focus is on strategic organising particularly on the transport front - but also having "spin offs in other" less strategic sectors" and encourages processes of research and debate see relevant articles on our webpage, back issues of rw and informality but focusing on practical work re strategic organising.

We do the same thing....

asn wrote:
- on the local level in various states there is quite a bit of working together between some iww and asn members and cross membership - its certainly the case in sydney since 2002- the problem of the contemporary iww in australia and elsewhere in the world I think relates very much to the predominance on the left in many countries of mass stalinism for many decades, the associated loss of a core of highly experienced veteran syndicalist militants, the role of students in the resurgence of the iww in the us in the 1960's - just to name a few.
mark

Its great to hear that revolutionary unionists can and are working together for common goals.

I think very few people look at the 60's IWW in a good light.

asn
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Feb 1 2007 12:57

"The Wobbly Peter Pans"
I want to just make a few comments re X357997 points -
a significant problem affecting IWW groupings like in Australia - which are in their early stages - is the problem of "scale of organisation" - the locals are relatively small and with a significant proportion of left subculturals and those looking for a pseudo church to join - would contribute to the sect like - anti-intellectual climate I have outlined which certainly abounded in the Sydney Local and affects others in australia - the "Big Issue" organising drive in melb - is an obvious expression of serious internal problems - the lack of strategic debate and criticism going on -
-re - the students and the middle class elitests I have mentioned - a more likely trajectory is for them "after their radical phase" to rise up in the capitalist set up - and probably become part of the enemy, particularly given the low level of class struggle in australia today and elsewhere
- in a large movement of thousands consisting of militant workers engaged in the harsh realities of the class struggle (as was the case in the IWW in various countries in the early 20th Century) - these left subcultural elements with their nefarious baggage of political correctness, Stalinist practices, "formalism" etc would not present such a serious problem but in the current small size of IWW locals they represent a signficant slice of the membership and would ensure an "unscientific climate" and everything which goes with it, in particular strong sect tendencies.
- currently today in the US - the IWW is not engaging in the strategic organising I have outlined - it is involved in all manner of organising drives in sectors many of which are definitely of little strategic importance - given the limited number of militants - an organising drive which I have outlined - nationally co-ordinated would be the way to go - and its successes unlike in Australia would significantly influence the global class struggle - eg the big action by New York Transit workers a while back- there was massive reportage of it in the media throughout the world.(For a critique of IWW organising in the US from 1970s to 1990's see the relevant book review in the archive section of our webpage)
- there is a big difference to the tiny IWW of today - and that of tomorrow if it ever happens- entailing a mass movement with 100,000's if not millions of members with strong bases in the strategic transport industries - as I outlined with strength in the transport sector - organising small shops in marginal areas won't be wasting much resources and would be relatively easy to tackle -but in today's IWW its quite a different story - and the IWW activists must be very selective - just focusing say on transport for example.
- some mentioned about another group in Australia - the ASF - its a more extreme version of the IWW in the sect spectrum - very much focusing on "existential organising" and formalism - see on our webpage www.rebelworker.org
in the archive section report on a conference held in wollongong for a critique of the ASF
mark

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@ndy
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Feb 13 2007 08:05

Oceania / South/East Asia Directory of Groups:

http://anarchy.org.au/?page_id=4

Generally speaking, there are anarchists everywhere: the problem is finding them.

There is no anarchist infoshop in Adelaide.

Speaking of salt, please read all of Mark's commentary with a great big bucket of the stuff.

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Feb 13 2007 10:59

@ndy - There is, I know two people there who do stuff with it. I think its mostly a cafe now that I think about it more, but it has books, patches and your usual infoshop crap too, from memory...

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@ndy
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Feb 14 2007 07:37

Hey Ash,

Can you send me deets? Via PM?

Cheers bro,

@ndy.

mikabill
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Feb 15 2007 07:33

can you send me details too Ash

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Anarchia
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Feb 15 2007 10:38

I dont have the details, but will try to find something, like a name, and get back to you mikabill.

mikabill
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Mar 3 2007 07:44

this is exciting to see something grow from nothing
bill

jeremytrewindixon
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Mar 6 2007 04:26

Hi people, I'm a Melbourne Anarchist belonging to both IWW and asn.

No doubt this is comparatively easy because I am currently barely active in either, as a middle-aged single father most of my "organizing'" for a few years past has focussed on keeping my children washed and fed and out of the long grass; (although now my youngest is at school I'm in loin-girding mode.)

But I've been around a while and can make some useful comments about asn/iww; at least Mark seemed to think so as he pointed out this thread to me.

Firstly, to answer Dublin Dave's question "what is the relationship between asn and the ASF?" or words to that effect; the answer is basically "not good, but no longer of enough significance to be very bad". There was an IWA affilliate called the ASF back in 1992 which split, roughly between Melbourne and Sydney, both sides claiming to be the ongoing entity. I featured in these events as did Mark. Mark was in Sydney, I was in Melbourne but sided when push came to shove with Sydney. The Melbourne group faded out of existence and then back in, although it was hard to see what it did except claim IWA membership. The Sydney group continued to exist as a network of likeminded activists but dropped the formal apparatus. An IWA investigator eventually came out and reported favourably to Melbourne. He was in my view very wrong to do this but we "Sydney ASF" took this, with I think some relief, as our licence to depart the IWA and changed our name to the asn. The "Melbourne ASF" has continued to fade in and out of existence, and has continued in my view to be almost entirely pointless. There was at one stage even a Perth and Sydney group, and there is something going on now I think because just the other week I ran into a young woman who said she belonged to "the ASF". But the days of practical hostility are I think pretty much over.

One thing I have kept going over the last few years is a small event celebrating the great victory of the IWW in world war one. Australia, alone of all the belligerents in world war one had no conscription and this is thanks above all to the Australian IWW which won a famous victory against the war machine. Australians celebrate the war machine on April 25, ANZAC Day, and a few of us celebrate the real heroes of the war on that day. (It is a significant action in the Australian context, I don't have time right now to explain why, must pick up kids from school!) Through organizing this got in touch with Melbourne IWW, some of whom I knew in pre-split ASF. The Melbourne IWW is indeed very small, but we are indeed taking serious stock of the way forward. Some of its members are very active indeed in broader "defend the unions stuff", not so much yet in under our own flag
IWW stuff.

Must run.; solidarity to all, J

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ann_ominous
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Mar 6 2007 10:13

<~ perth. belong to nothing.

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Mar 6 2007 10:22
jeremytrewindixon wrote:
Hi people, I'm a Melbourne Anarchist belonging to both IWW and asn.

No doubt this is comparatively easy because I am currently barely active in either, as a middle-aged single father most of my "organizing'" for a few years past has focussed on keeping my children washed and fed and out of the long grass; (although now my youngest is at school I'm in loin-girding mode.)

But I've been around a while and can make some useful comments about asn/iww; at least Mark seemed to think so as he pointed out this thread to me.

Firstly, to answer Dublin Dave's question "what is the relationship between asn and the ASF?" or words to that effect; the answer is basically "not good, but no longer of enough significance to be very bad". There was an IWA affilliate called the ASF back in 1992 which split, roughly between Melbourne and Sydney, both sides claiming to be the ongoing entity. I featured in these events as did Mark. Mark was in Sydney, I was in Melbourne but sided when push came to shove with Sydney. The Melbourne group faded out of existence and then back in, although it was hard to see what it did except claim IWA membership. The Sydney group continued to exist as a network of likeminded activists but dropped the formal apparatus. An IWA investigator eventually came out and reported favourably to Melbourne. He was in my view very wrong to do this but we "Sydney ASF" took this, with I think some relief, as our licence to depart the IWA and changed our name to the asn. The "Melbourne ASF" has continued to fade in and out of existence, and has continued in my view to be almost entirely pointless. There was at one stage even a Perth and Sydney group, and there is something going on now I think because just the other week I ran into a young woman who said she belonged to "the ASF". But the days of practical hostility are I think pretty much over.

One thing I have kept going over the last few years is a small event celebrating the great victory of the IWW in world war one. Australia, alone of all the belligerents in world war one had no conscription and this is thanks above all to the Australian IWW which won a famous victory against the war machine. Australians celebrate the war machine on April 25, ANZAC Day, and a few of us celebrate the real heroes of the war on that day. (It is a significant action in the Australian context, I don't have time right now to explain why, must pick up kids from school!) Through organizing this got in touch with Melbourne IWW, some of whom I knew in pre-split ASF. The Melbourne IWW is indeed very small, but we are indeed taking serious stock of the way forward. Some of its members are very active indeed in broader "defend the unions stuff", not so much yet in under our own flag
IWW stuff.

Must run.; solidarity to all, J

glad to see you here.

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jason
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Mar 6 2007 23:21

Thanks Jeremy for that little bit of recent history on anarcho-syndicalist organisiations. These types of groups seem to be growing around the world. Hopefully the Aussie groups will be injected with new blood that dosn't know or care about all these past spiffs.