(en) The Tragedy of Australian Labour History

Anarres Books (anarres@anarki.net)
Fri, 21 Nov 1997 22:53:12 +1100

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The following are the details of two talks by Bob James, author and historian:

1. Thursday 27 November 7.30pm - Anarchist Media Institute. At Ross House, in Flinders Lane Melbourne. The topic title is:

‘A personal journey Through Anarchism in Australia’.

The summary is: "Bob James, anarchist and labour historian, has written extensively on the anarchist tradition in Australia and on Australian labour history. He has also been active in many anarchist and progressive movements. During the early 1980’s he provided the stimulus for self-management villages at the Victorian Down To Earth Confests. He was a key organiser and participant of the Australian Anarchist Centenary Celebrations Conference held in Melbourne during May 1986.

He now resides in Newcastle where he continues to research anarchist and labour history. In this visit to Melbourne he wishes to:

1. pay his respect to those who have kept the faith 2. warn against past mistakes being repeated 3. attempt, once more, to stimulate discussion around, as he sees it, key issues; and 4. show where his study of Anarchism in Australia / mutual aid in Australia / labour history in Australia, have led him. He believes that the decline of political activism must continue unless the false history that we have all built our ideas on is replaced with a more accurate view."

2. Sunday 30 November 2.00pm - New International Bookshop Co-operative. At the New International Bookshop, Cafe and meeting room located at Trades Hall. The topic title is:

‘The Tragedy of Australian Labour History’.

The summary is:

"Dr Bob James has done extensive research on Australian labour history of the late Nineteenth Century.

He was a key organiser and participant of the Australian Anarchist Centenary Celebrations Conference held in Melbourne during May 1986.

His more recent research work has focused on an area seldom studied by other labour historians - the importance of mutual benefit and friendly societies and their contribution to the labour movement.

In his talk - The Tragedy of Australian Labour History - he will argue that: · the labour movement is in terminal decline because it has been built on false history · until the history is corrected, the labour movement will never be able to rebuild itself. · an important part of labour history are the contributions of the various workers mutual aid societies: ‘sick’ societies, mutual societies, friendly societies and various lodges such as the Oddfellows and Freemasons

He will argue that what is required in labour history is a recognition of the important role these organisations played. The talk will be followed with discussion on his arguments and lessons for the present day labour movement."

These two talks have been organised by Anarres Books, an anarchist mail order and bookstall collective in Melbourne. Visit our website at http://www.anarki.net/anarres/ email: anarres@anarki.net or write to us at P.O. Box 150, Brunswick East, Vic 3057.

The following Books and pamphlets by Bob James will be available at his talks, or can be ordered direct from Anarres Books:

· Anarchism & State Violence in Sydney & Melbourne 1886-1896, 269pp, RRP $7.10 · Chummy Flemming: A Brief Biography, 20pp, RRP $2.00 · J.A. Andrews: A Brief Biography, 16pp, RRP $2.00 · W.R. Winspear - Anarchist or Socialist?, 17pp, RRP $1.50 · Handbook of Anarchy by J.A. Andrews (Edited by Bob James), 19pp, RRP $2.00 · What is Communism? and other Anarchist Essays by J.A. Andrews on Melbourne 1889 (Edited by Bob James), 190pp, RRP $6.70

Titles out of print include:

· A Reader of Australian Anarchism 1886-1896, Canberra 1979. · Anarchism in Australia An Anthology (Limited edition - 100 copies), Melbourne 1986.

Our thanks to the Anarchist Media Institute and New International Bookshop Co-operative for kindly providing the venues and assisting with publicity.

John Englart for Anarres Books Collective -------------------------------------------------------

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