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What role did the anarchists play in the Spanish Revolution during 1936?

By Oliver, Sydney, guest contributor.

I wrote the following essay for my HSC History Extension Major Work in 2012. The History Extension course in New South Wales allows students to devise their own question, do all their own research and their answer the question in 2500 words. Already identifying as an Anarchist for about a year and reading of its theory from the likes of Kropotkin, Chomsky, Goldman and Berkman, I decided that exploring the practical side to Anarchism would be a good way to approach my Major Work. This essay, a research logbook and annotated bibliography contributed 40% to my overall HSC mark in History Extension, all of which I received full marks for.

Anarchist Christmas comes to Australia

Class War’s Iain Bone once described the London Anarchist Bookfair as the anarchists' Christmas - where people come together, meet up with old friends and enemies, and buy presents for ourselves and others.

It's true that anarchist bookfairs are a peculiar phenomenon, a strange cross of radical, anti-capitalist politics and blatant consumerism, but as an ever-proliferating event they are not easily dismissed.

Anarchist bookfairs have become a firmly established feature of radical diaries across the world. From humble beginnings in London some thirty odd years ago the bookfair idea has spread to cities across the globe, on almost every continent, including Australia, with Sydney holding its first in March 2014 while Melbourne plans its fourth for later in 2014.

The London Anarchist Bookfair now boasts 5,000 visitors, 100 stalls and 50 meetings in a single day, and other cities aren't far behind. The success of the idea is tangible. But why do so many people come to the bookfairs, while so few attend anarchist conferences and meetings?

How I became an anarchist - by Stuart

People ask you sometimes why you are an anarchist. I wonder how anyone can not be an anarchist! Anyone who looks around and really thinks about things will be likely to reach the same conclusion.

The system we currently live under, of capitalism and hierarchical government, so often seems to bring out the worst in people, the ignorance, laziness, fear, hate and violence that we are all capable of. These negative human attributes can be promoted, manipulated and exploited by cynical politicians and others looking to give their careers a boost. The words of a Dead Kennedys song, When Ya Get Drafted, come to mind, '...Fan the fires of racist hatred, war is coming back in style, especially when you build the bombs that blow big cities off the map. Guess who profits when we build 'em back up. Big business gets what big business wants. Call the army, call the navy, stocked with kids from slums. If you can't afford a slick attorney we might make you a spy...' 

How I became an anarchist - by Jay

As a twelve year old wannabe punk who had just discovered The Sex Pistols I asked my father, ‘Dad, what is anarchy?’ after hearing Anarchy in the UK. ‘It means no government’ he replied, ‘but that’s impossible. You can’t have a world without any government, there has to be something’. ‘Oh’, I said, and fell silent, pondering his answer, feeling unconvinced that this could be the case, that what Jonny Rotten was singing about was impossible, there had to be more to it than that.

Simon Hunt, AKA Pauline Pantsdown, on politics and cultural intervention

This guest contribution to the Jura blog comes from Simon Hunt, AKA Pauline Pantsdown, who gave the following short speech at the Sydney launch of How to Make Trouble and Influence People, at Jura Books on 26 September 2013. In it, Simon talks about his politicisation, his cultural intervention as Pauline Pantsdown in 1997-1998, and how to use humour to confront the dark policies of racism and cultural bigotry in Australia. We encourage you to follow Pauline Pantsdown's great organising and amazing exploits at facebook.com/paulinepantsdown666

The revolutionary art of conversation

We anarchists are often terrible at real conversations. The more introverted of us prefer reading quietly, while the more extroverted of us spend our time ranting at friends who already agree with us (online or in person). When we meet someone who is actually interested in anarchism, some of us will direct them to a book, others will bore them with a lecture, and others will ignore them - sure that they must be a cop. We hope people will spontaneously develop anarchist ideas, rise up and create a better society. But how is that strategy working out for us?

Organising in Australia

Making social change in Australia isn't easy.

The Australian system of capitalism and government offers a range of comforts and opportunities to the exploited in order to keep us docile. At the same time, vast resources are channeled into an all-pervasive and self-sustaining system of thought control, disseminated through schools, universities, workplaces and mass media. The persistent message is that life in Australia is as good as it gets – or will be as long as we keep shopping. The whole edifice is underwritten by a ferocious exploitation of the planet and its people, and by the brute force of the State when necessary, with its administrative, surveillance, policing, and military apparatuses.

Intersectionality: Implications for Anarcha-Feminism

Credited to Kimberle Crenshaw in the late 1980s, intersectionality is the current buzzword of the mainstream feminist movement. It quite rightly recognises that all oppressions – from sexism and racism to classism and ableism – are merely categorisations of human identities, ranked against each other through social constructs that serve only to create layers of oppressions within society. Anarchists have long recognised the need to fight oppressions on all fronts, yet we have been ineffective in linking our discourses with mainstream feminist dialogue.

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