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Jura Books: Forty Years and Now

Robert P. Barbagallo wrote this piece as part of an oral history project he worked on as a student at the University of Sydney. It is based on a series of interviews with Jura Collective members.


 

This piece will tell the story of the Jura Books anarchist collective as it was told to me through a series of five interviews I had conducted throughout May 2017. Five different members, both present and past, told me about their personal arrival to Jura, what they had experienced along the way, as well as their views on the Australian anarchist movement and their interpretation of anarchist ideas in general.

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Amongst the busy lunch time sprawl at a Sydney University café, between the noisy chatter of students crammed at tables, I spoke to PS about Jura Books. PS had been a member of Jura Books during the 70s through to the early to mid-80s, a time he describes as “effervescently” active—just like the noise around us. We had been speaking for an hour or so. The lunch time sprawl had dulled. We maybe spoke for too long. “My car’s about to be booked, if it hasn’t been booked already.” (I’m deeply sorry if it was) But before he left he told me:

“One of the great things about Jura over the years is that it has been an opportunity for people to learn about anarchism, to learn about how to organise autonomously and work together in a collaborative way with rules, but with rules that are collectively decided and that are changed when they don’t work. They are not just rules for the sake of rules. Where [there are] people form very different backgrounds and generations…Sid, whose now one of the ‘old guys’ was one of the ‘young guys’. LM started when she was at university as an undergraduate. I started when I was an undergrad, now I’m an ‘old guy’ there. People learned to work in an anarchist way which in our society is not—maybe now is more available in kind of networked organisations.—But it’s also a way where people give without expecting material returns. There’s something very attractive about that kind of volunteer work.”

Slag Queens show

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Sydney Anarchist Fair @Jura

Sunday, December 11, 2016 -
11:00am to 5:00pm

Jura is pleased to be hosting a day of stalls, music, food, drinks, zines, books, films and more! Come to the anarchist fair day to learn about how local community groups are organising for a better world, and how you can get involved!

Also, it's that time of year when lots of people buy presents for family and friends. If you follow this tradition (whether joyfully or begrudgingly), why not buy a radical book, DVD, poster or t-shirt from Jura? Get great gifts and support your local anarchist space at the same time!

Stalls at the fair day will include:

  • Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation Sydney
  • Friends of the Earth Sydney (newly re-formed!)
  • Jura Books (new books, specials and more)
  • Refugee Art Project
  • Sex Worker Info
  • Students Supporting Aboriginal Communities
  • Sydney Solidarity Network
  • Take Care zine distro
  • and more…

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Fair

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Decolonizing Solidarity: Book chat with Clare Land

Saturday, December 3, 2016 -
3:00pm to 5:00pm

Come and hear an introduction to this important book, followed by discussion with the author Clare Land. Based in Melbourne, Clare is a non-Koori activist and researcher who wrote Decolonizing Solidarity based on interviews with Aboriginal people in the southeast of Australia who have pursued land rights, black power and sovereignty, and their supporters. The book draws insights from a wide range of anti-colonial and anti-racist writings and is also grounded in Clare’s own sense of the politics of solidarity developed through her work alongside with Gary Foley (Gumbainggir) and Robbie Thorpe (Gunai/Maar) over the last 15-20 years. The book aims to inspire, support, trouble and give direction to the work of non-Aboriginal people who support Aboriginal struggles. It also speaks to Aboriginal community members who are grappling with the work of nurturing and challenging their supporter base. The book was published by Zed Books (London) and first distributed at the 2015 Anarchist Book Fair in Melbourne. It has found a wide readership amongst anarchists, greenies, teachers, social workers and beyond.

Film: Durruti in the Spanish Revolution

Saturday, November 19, 2016 -
5:00pm to 7:00pm

Jura is pleased to be screening "Durruti in the Spanish Revolution" - the first screening in Australia as far as we know. It's a 60 minute film by Fundacion de Estudios Libertarios Anselmo Lorenzo via Pacific Street Films, based on the book by Abel Paz. Sid will give a brief introduction to the events depicted for those who may not be familiar with them. More importantly, the film has archival footage from the time of Durruti and the working classes of Spain.

Durruti was a major figure in the anarchist movement, from his teenage years, the formation of the affinity groups and on to the greatest revolutionary event in human history – the Spanish Revolution. He always fought for the poor and downtrodden, and against the State, whether of the social democratic, fascist or marxist varieties. In the film you can hear the voice of his wife, and some of his companions.

Jura's Red and Black Forum is showing this film in this, the 80th anniversary of the Spanish Revolution, and also of Durruti's death on the battle front. The questions that these events present us, remain: social revolution or reformism, a world free that develops all human potential or authoritarian domination of all and the destruction of the planet?

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Indigenous Land Defence on Turtle Island

Thursday, October 13, 2016 -
7:00pm to 9:30pm

Film and discussion! We’ll screen a few short docos from anti-pipeline resistance at Unist’ot’en and Lelu Island. Followed by discussion hosted by a (non-Indigenous) comrade who was recently in Canada. All welcome! Food and drinks by donation.

 

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