Submitted by John Smith on Mon, 08/09/2014 - 3:28pm
The Melbourne Anarchist - ROADTRIP!!! Was on just under a – ROADTRIP!!! Ago. Okay, let me get this off my chest. At the Jura collective meeting a few months ago, there was mention of the Melbourne Anarchist Bookfair, and my first reaction was: ROADTRIP!!!
Clearly I'm a fan of ROADTRIPS!!! There's something about long, casual drives across vast stretches of land that appeal to me, and when three interesting, engaging people from the Sydney anarchist community are added to the mix, we have a recipe for awesomeness. And that's what Melbourne Anarchist ROADTRIP!!! Bookfair was – awesome.
The Bookfair was held on Saturday, 9th of August from 10am till about 6pm at Abbotsford Convent. According to the convent website, it was built on the land of the Wurundjeri people (respect to the original custodians) in the late 1900s. It went from being a nunnery/orphanage, to a university faculty, to a potential development site, to a site of community resistance. The end result of the resistance was the formation of Abbotsford Convent Foundation, in 2004. It owns and manages the complex as a community asset with a focus on arts, culture, and learning. How appropriate then, that The Bookfair found this home to house it's education in resistance.
Education is extremely important, especially when many people are ignorant of what anarchism actually is, and blindly propagate lamestream media myths. This was another reason why I looked forward to the road-trip. Although I'm not new to the 'lefty' scene, and have been involved in organising protests, I'm relatively new to anarchism as a politic and the Sydney anarchist community as a whole. So, the idea of road-tripping with people – a member from Jura, a member from Black Rose, and an unaffiliated active activist – who had greater understanding of it's principles and practices, felt to be a ripe educational opportunity.
Thanks to my comrades, on the drive to Melbourne I learnt about the platformist tendency within the anarchist movement, and at The Bookfair after party I learnt about Jura’s association with anarcho-syndicalism (not to mention the conflict between these two schools of thought/practice). Finally, through my own observations at The Bookfair I learnt that a broad, diverse, and passionate bunch of people wave the anarchist flag.
The people that I met impressed me with their enthusiasm and dedication. I met a couple of people part of an informal collective, whom had recently set up a community centre; a zine and card maker, from whom I bought a hilarious “dance dance revolution” card, with a dancing communist cat on it; a few people from the Melbourne Street Medic Collective doing great work to educate the activist scene on self-care and first aid; a bunch from Anarchist Affinity; a hard worker women from MADGE, whom I'd be in contact with in the past for the March Against Monsanto campaign; and a bunch of other dedicated, inspiring people.
In mid 2014, Jura Books coordinated a fundraising appeal for Nigerian anarchist Sam Mbah. Together with the gobal anarchist community we successfully raised over $3,800 (US$3,500) for Sam, which Jura transferred to him via international bank transfer.
We have been in touch with Sam as he travelled to India in order to undergo the medical procedure, and returned to Nigeria to recover. We’re pleased to report that the procedure seems to have gone well and Sam is recovering, although slowly.
Sam has asked us to send his thanks and best wishes to all comrades who contributed to the fundraising appeal.
At the start of the appeal, Sam wrote:
“I continue to lose weight and experience general body weakness as a consequence of my heart condition. In the past three months, I have been working to raise funds from friends and family, to be able to undertake a trip to India where I am billed to undergo heart surgery to replace the defective valves. So far, I have been able to raise US$15,000 out of the US$25,000 required for the trip, expected at the beginning of July this year. The amount covers my medical expenses as well as the round trip. I am still working to raise the outstanding balance and I wish to appeal to you and fellow comrades to assist me in raising part of it. No amount will be too big or too small. My appreciation goes to all our comrades around the world. Thank you all.”
Half way through the fundraising appeal, just before he went to get the operation, Sam wrote:
“My morale is boosted by the realisation that there are comrades and friends in distant places who are willing to contribute to arresting the situation before it deteriorates further. My family and I are gratified indeed.”
After returning from the operation, Sam wrote:
“So glad to be able to get in touch with you again. I have been back to Nigeria since 15th August after spending four weeks plus in Mumbai India. Since my return, I can say thus far from the position of a medical layman that the procedure is holding, although at a very high cost indeed. But you must understand that the road to my full recovery is bound to be a slow and painful process. Kindly bring this to the attention of our friends and comrades who would otherwise want to enter into active correspondence with me. I hope to be fit enough by the end of September and then I can maintain regular communication with friends and comrades. Thank you so much.”
Thanks and congrats to all donors
Jura would like to extend special thanks to AK Press (who publicised the fundraising appeal), and to See Sharp Press for their effort in bringing Sam’s book royalties forward and continuing to negotiate publishing projects on his behalf.
Also well done to Brisbane Solidarity Network, and to the musicians who played at the Jura fundraising party: Clinic 13, Phil Linrage, Camilla Hill and Hence Therefore. Also to those who baked, came and donated at the party.
And thanks to all donors all over the world! (Amounts below are in US$ and in some cases have been slightly reduced by Paypal fees):
- Australia: Jura Books ($349), Brisbane Solidarity Network ($322), CP ($460), JK ($110), WT ($110), MV ($90), BL ($92), JK ($90), RS ($46), NA ($37), TOC ($22), SC ($22), PS ($9).
- Austria: SB ($44).
- Brazil: BPA ($13).
- Canada: JB ($89), MT ($22), KPB ($4).
- Germany: SB ($17), TM ($11).
- New Zealand Aotearoa: KM ($44).
- Poland: TB ($44).
- Sweden: MN ($13)
- UK: AD ($162), UG ($89), ST ($26), GC ($17), AS ($9).
- USA: See Sharp Press ($575), JK ($145), AK ($100), JJ ($96), Workers Solidarity Alliance ($72), BC ($52), EH ($50), AG ($50), LA ($34), MK ($24), SD ($24), AA ($19), LW ($19), MM ($19), ZZH ($10), JM ($9), JM ($5).
Who is Sam Mbah?
Sam Mbah is an anarchist author and activist from Nigeria. Jura has been in contact with Sam for some years. Jeremy, from the Jura Collective, spent time with him in 2012, interviewing him and setting up his blog.
Jeremy writes, "When I was in Nigeria in 2012, I sought out Sam Mbah and spent a couple of weeks getting to know him. Since then I’ve been in regular phone and email contact with him. He is an amazingly inspiring person. A veteran activist who was part of a (successful) movement against a dictatorship and who helped to build a 1,000-member anarchist organisation. Sam is also an anthropologist whose research on traditional African societies and their anarchistic elements is of great importance. His book ‘African Anarchism’ is excellent, and he hopes to publish more in the future. He is a beacon for anarchism in West Africa - a significant part of the world where anarchism could and should grow significantly."
Sam is now one of a small number of prominent anarchists in Nigeria - the third most populous English-speaking country in the world. He is of great significance to our global community.
Jura still needs donations
Although we are no longer collecting donations for Sam Mbah, you can continue to make a big difference to Jura by donating even a small amount. Everything we do at Jura is funded by donations and volunteer labour-power. Please make whatever contribution you can.
Jura Books is doing a lot of great things. We sell anarchist and other radical political books at minimal mark-up. We don't make money from selling the books - just enough to pay some of the bills. Many of these books aren't available anywhere else in Australia. We also put on films, talks and other events for and about different political movements. We also maintain a unique archive of political posters, and we occasionally publish books and pamphlets.
All of us are volunteers. Please help us to keep doing this useful work.
How to donate:
- Transfer your donation into our bank account using your own internet banking - email us for details;
- Come in to Jura to donate in person;
- Post a cheque or money order made out to Jura Books;
- Use your credit card or paypal account - click on the button below;
- Send us an email telling us you can help. We will get back to you and discuss the best way to contribute.
Thanks for all your support in the past, and your help in the future!