The Anarchist Cookbook

anarchist book fair melbourne august 2015

Late and bedraggled as is always the case on a Saturday afternoon I flung my two wheeled devil steed through the horrid city traffic and finally found myself outside Abbotsford Convent. I was gripped with memories of my last visit, with whom I cannot recall, yet Oscar was certainly present. ’twas a beautiful summer’s day, couples canoodling on the grass, children offering hay to the horses, the sheep bleating in leisurely debate, studious types taking the opportunity to bask in the glow of our nearest and dearest star whilst reclining upon a bed of soil and natural greenery. Such serenity. Until Oscar caught sight of the horses and the sheep and launched an aural assault on all present, never-ending were his snarls, which seemed particularly aimed at the horses. What issue he took with their existence I remain unsure to this very day, yet they had clearly irked him. His growls and frenzied desire for combat against beasts 50 times his size became shameful, as my fellow patrons of the natural retreat from the concrete extending in every direction outside the gates glanced at me with scorn, attempted to move me from the sanctuary with sighs and crooked grimaces…

Upon entering the grounds I was struck by the contrast between the steady stream of grimy earthy types and the seemingly very middle class toffs reading the broadsheets under their glasses as their wives scoffed scones and told ‘little billy’ to stop collecting sticks. Both crowds were distinctive in their dress and manner. Both adhering to a tribal sense of behaviour and station. Were they really so different? Mere metres separated their scones and familial endeavour from the hotbed of gritty action in the ground floor and lecture rooms beyond.

I was glad as always to find Lindy Spindles appear, both of us dressed somehow between the styles of the two tribes in attendance. Neither of us easily attachable to any group but ourselves. We dived into the humdrum of the book fair, quickly found Pope Fred, engaged as was expected in revolutionary zeal, behind a table upon which sat a plethora of his solid poetry and works of his kinfolk. I was keen to attend the ‘Another World is Possible  – But How Can We Get There’ workshop, but understood from my comrade in boiler suit that these were not lectures but heavily involved, tight knit discussion groups. Best to wait for the next wave to approach.

We hustled and bustled our way through the crowd of encouraging numbers, both surprised to note an unexpected – and somehow incongruous to our uneducated minds – showing of beatnik chaps with dreadlocks and piercings wearing skirts and stockings. Still, with feminism and other isms in strong flow through the current of the thing it made sense to conclude that the anarchist crowd were open and fairly lacking in judgement. So if the core beliefs were in order, why show any regard to a skirt here or lipstick and blusher there! Each to their own as long as we all agree that Something Must Be Done and There Is A Better way.

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Briefly, I found myself standing at the urinal, a goblin man next to me, who – from the corner of my right eye – I could see peeking at me. What the devil was he glaring at? My member? What of it eh? Had he never seen such a shape before? I was about to confront him on this very issue, when he zipped up and fled the scene, out of the corner of now my left eye I saw him yet again gaze at me…How rude! I demanded the Gods to answer…then looked down to see I had been pissing on my shoes…Why didn’t he warn me! Perhaps he was trying to, yet didn’t know how to phrase the advice?

Books were purchased, oddities were ogled, and it was time for the workshop; Getting To Revolutionary Change. A small circle was formed, with a lady named Theo who evoked suspicion of a human-badger hybrid, to be the speaker, at least at first. Lindy appeared less than enthusiastic, as she whispered that she must leave shortly. A few new faces appeared and we were off!

The Resisting the TPP crowd next door were making a damn racket, so Badger drew us closer and raised her own volume. I listened earnestly, as she began to outline the problems of the world, with a definite focus on our own society yet her ideas expanded loosely globally. She then went on to explain her blueprint for revolution which she hoped would come to fruition in the next 2-3 years.

I found everything of great interest and thrust myself into discussion at the first opportunity. At first questioning the ideal of meeting everyone’s need beyond the basics of shelter and sustenance and safety, moving on much later to launch a passionate outcry of what such a movement will face as its Enemy…

I am greatly enthusiastic about every single suggestion raised. However, what I feel is lacking in this discussion is the mention of not just the state but the mechanisms and groups who own them. The system presently in place, is not in place by chance, it is carefully designed and maintained…by powers much greater than our governments…for example, the idea of ethical loans is brilliant. Who in their right mind wouldn’t jump at the chance to borrow money at a fixed rate of return, regardless of the repayment period, for the return to be paid when business is good, and for the loanee not to be punished financially when business is poor. There is enough money in the world to do this, of course. Yet what would the major banks think, their CEOs, whose job is to make money – and these banks are more important to the system and powerful than our governments – if they saw ethical banks offering loans, with terms amazingly more comfortable for the customers? Would they alter their own practices to compete? Not in the slightest. they would legislate against the ethical banks, firstly. If that didn’t work, they would take more drastic measures…That is a small example. They need us more than we need them, but so few of us understand this, and as we are all here to discuss, those who do know this seek direction. Now above the smaller scale, are the ultra powerful international financiers, IMF, World Bank, military industrial complex, pharmaceutical industry, mass propaganda machine and it is these crowds who run and rule the world. They will have a problem with masses disengaging, conjuring their own currencies, bypassing the work and consume model which lines their pockets and fuels their flames of war around the globe. They are the most carefully structured system of evil and suffering the world has ever known…Evil…Faceless scum land sharks, who care only for profit, they kill for profit and will kill anything which threatens their profit….so I cant see revolution in 2-3 years. I cant see anything changing without facing this mega evil machine, on a global scale, for it exists on a global scale…the masses here are not suffering, maybe in soul and spirit, but not in the measures of life they have been taught. They need to suffer much more horror, find their backs against the wall, before mass movements can be achieved…it is through mass suffering that mass movements of a revolutionary nature and substance are born’.

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Undoubtedly my delivery was far removed from such eloquence and calm, for my crimson rivers were ablaze with passion. I was well received. Clearly the most cynical and…and indeed. This is a report of others of like mind and like heart, so it is upon them where my virtual ink must flow.

We spoke of ethical loans, of community engagement, of a gift economy replacing capitalism, of zero emissions, of climate change, of bringing us all together, even those who presently must be considered at odds with our shared pursuit of a better world…We spoke of schooling, of mass movement, of revolution. How to bring it about, where to begin, what is already afoot to lead us into the brave new dawn of a society based not on the isolation and separation of the individual, but the coming together of resources, of thought, of passion, of talent. We spoke of spirituality, of the absence of value placed on our differences, the power of collective pursuit, hundreds, thousands, even millions of minds, all combining their zeal to foment affirmative action, to benefit not just a circle of well meaning anarchists and a cynical socialist, but everyone, all creatures great and small who strive for liberty, for love, for safety and to follow their dreams with encouragement and belief in the magic which is there, within our grasp, we just need to reach out and grab it, take back what has been taken, beaten down into submission, relaunched as capitalism. If we can do that, we can do anything…for the power is in the people, not the guns, not the banks, not the IMF, not the governments. Their power is US, it is you and me.

The badger woman exuded calm warmth and intelligence throughout. Her way was one of tenderness, one of hope and encouragement. A posh english chap with a head which seemed as if it had been stretched, maintained steady focus on the problem of ego, yet appeared to have problems with his own, for when he wanted to speak he kept butting in, quietly, but slightly louder with each line…

his hand raised like a child in the classroom…

‘a quick point’

‘a quick point if I may?’ finding no purchase…

‘a very quick point?’

the very quickest of points?’ with now rapidly increasing urgency.

a very very very quick point’ and with that he gained the required audience and traction.

I couldn’t help but laugh at the atavistic gentry charm of his efforts and failures.

Another prominent member of the circle of revolution wore bushy beard, smiled as he intervened in every discussion, which I didn’t take kindly to…’sorry, but’ pointing with his frowned brow to the next speaker, then adding his own thoughts, almost mock apologetically, with smiles, and beard…he meant well, as did all involved.

The most wonderful of which, other than the badger (of whom it was hard to discern where her autumnal threads were separated from her body, for she was clearly one of Nature), was a chap directly to my left, adorned with leather jacket and hoodie. He was quiet for an hour, then spoke, like an arch angel. Maybe he was called Gabriel. If not, he should be…Regarding every single point expressed with a nod and calm smile of appreciation for the input, in what he expressed was by far the most remarkable of workshops he had attended, showing respect to every view, whether opposed or in tune with the mutual idealism centerstage of all present, before taking deep breath and explaining his own stance, which was nothing short of beautiful and crystalline and realistic and so close to focusing on a world filled with hate and shining love, yet retreated when he felt he had stepped close to too far. His words resonated with me. I would very much like to know him more.

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What I found was a motley crew who caused fleeting trifles of bother with their intellectual jokes about Lenin…references to Kropotkin with an air of esoteric bullshit. Exactly the kind of drivel which would turn any potential comrades away not towards our Cause. Yet despite their adherence to a set way of behaving, of dressing, of speaking, their hearts and souls and minds were of fine calibre, and deep down, their cause was very much in line with my own. I felt comfortable, attuned, in the company of kinfolk. For we all wanted a better world, and all were keen to discuss how to get there.

I was inspired. And remain so. Will surely attend more of such congregations, for I realised today that whilst Australia is full of mongs, there ARE wonderful souls scattered, who are slowly collecting, slowly planning, matching eagerness to make the world a better place and working out, constructively how to get there. I want to be part of that movement.

Not just inspiration was found, but solidarity of spirit and idealism. A most precious of things playing second fiddle only ever to true love, true devotion to another. To focus on combining the two ideals, of loving the world and working fang and claw to improve it, and believing in the magic of true love, when found, revelling in it, giving my all to it, allowing myself to become as one with both, is the path I wish to direct myself towards and hit LAUNCH….

( the Theo badger… http://shift-magazine.org/magazine/economy-plan-b-building-an-efficient-resilient-solidarity-economy/ )

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