Thursday, April 21, 2016

aargh! issue 6 is out

The latest issue of the Aotearoa Anarchist Review is available at the shop now.
Arguably, colonisation has shaped the world we live in today more than anything else. We hope this issue will spark debate, and that anarchists will give this subject the attention it deserves.

For $2 you can pick up a copy at the shop or, if you're not in Wellington, email us and we'll send you one.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

New Badges

A batch of new badges will be available at the store from Friday 1st April for $2 each. They include classic designs like 'ACAB', 'Riots not Diets', 'Dump Him', Queer, Trans and Anarcho flags, John Key with a gun to his head *~and more~*

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Cutting Out the Missing Heroes

Revolutionary Women:
A Book of Stencils by the Queen of the Neighbourhood Collective

Leila Khaled

“A RADICAL feminist history and street art resource for inspired readers!”

When we look at the ‘heroes’ of radical and revolutionary history, we see a bunch of dudes. Che Guevara, Mao, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela – the poster boys of any first­year’s revolutionary dorm aesthetic. This book was prompted by the question: “Where are the women?” – and the follow up: “Where are the glamorous, Che­esque stencils of their high­contrast faces?” Well here they are.
This project was originally a zine (made in New Zealand at Cherry Bomb Comics in Auckland, 2005). It’s now a book but one produced with heavy awareness of what it means to be a zine project – with focus on anti­copyright, swappability, ease of reproduction and propagation. Though creating a book limits some of these functions, the Queen of the Neighbourhood Collective are transparent in their reasoning – making a book has allowed them to reach wider audiences and, more excitingly, to include a wider range of stencils and revolutionary histories. Readers are invited to cut and paint.

Qiu Jin
This isn’t a coffee­table book; it’s a “street­level resource.”
Each stencil comes with a short history of the woman’s revolutionary life. The classics – Emma Goldman, Angela Davis and Harriet Tubman are there, alongside women from all parts of the world and all parts of history.

The concept is solid. The original zine was reproduced and utilised all over the place. These simple stencils and concise histories are clearly effective as tools for spreading our history and changing the way we consider (or dismiss) women’s participation in the revolutionary past.

The concept is simple and it’s interesting that the book’s 8­page introduction focuses almost entirely on formative questions behind the project. How is a revolutionary defined? Which women and nationalities have been favoured and why? What is the purpose of idolising heroic images, when “the most successful of women’s struggles come about from leaderless anarchist collectives”? These are legit and important questions and it’s great to see not only that the QN Collective has considered them – but that they’re inviting readers to consider them as well.
Emma Goldman

The Freedom Shop Collective has made a batch of patches and t­shirts using these stencils. Come grab some from the shop. We also have copies of the book for $16.00.

Electronic versions of many of the stencils are available here:

 The book is published by PM Press 2010

- Reviewed by Kathleen, originally published in aargh!, # 5, October 2015

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Raft Race and Newtown Fair

Two long running annual events are happening in Wellington this coming weekend:

On Saturday, 5 March, we have the 8th Anarchist Raft Race, this year at Hataitai Beach / Evans Bay instead of the usual location at Oriental Beach (to avoid clashes with the dragon boat race there). Start is about 1pm. Bring life jackets, drinks, food etc. We had a collective of orca turn up for it once!

Then on Sunday, 6 March there is of course the Newtown Festival. We won't have a stall but we will have the shop open from about 10am onwards.

See you then!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

New Shop Hours

We are now open four times a week:

  • Tuesday: 2 - 5pm
  • Thursday: 12 - 3pm
  • Friday: 2 - 5pm
  • Saturday: 1 - 4pm

If you can't get to the shop when it's open, send us an email and let us know what you want:

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Dear Neil Roberts by Airini Beautrais - A Review

Maintaining a memory

Dear Neil Roberts by Airini Beautrais

VUP Press, 2014, ISBN 9780864739735

Reviewed by Ann R Key - review originally published in AARGH! issue 3
I’M NOT from New Zealand, and I'm also not much of a sophisticate when it comes to poetry. I read what I like, skim, or ignore the rest, I can’t really tell you why I like what I do or what is good about it, just that for whatever reason a particular line or idea, mood or thought spoke to me and that was enough. But don’t ask me about structure or form, or poetic traditions because I don’t know. So I might not be the best person to review Airini Beautrais’ new book of poetry, Dear Neil Roberts (Victoria Press, 2014). But I am an anarchist and I have been here in New Zealand long enough that I had been told the story of Neil Roberts before.

In case you haven’t, the short version is that on 18 November 1982 anarchist and punk Neil Roberts blew himself up with a bomb he exploded outside the Wanganui Computer Centre. The Computer Centre held a large computer which held the National Law Enforcement Data Base. That database and the computer’s ability to record, store, and analyse personal information was seen as dangerous to civil libertarians. Sound familiar? Maybe this was the beginning of New Zealand’s obsession with surveillance? Anyway, Neil Roberts was 22 at the time and shortly before he exploded the bomb he left spray-­painted “We have maintained a silence closely resembling stupidity” on the wall of a public toilet near the computer centre.

Dear Neil Roberts is a collection of interconnected poems that seeks to makes sense of not just who Neil Roberts was and why he did what he did, but what that time period was; just after the 1981 Springbok tour, Muldoon still in power, and that feeling of alienation and disenfranchisement strong. The poems try to understand of all this. The author is searching for what it means for her, what it means for New Zealand, for her children, and for young anarchists who might not be so young nor so militant anymore.

I’m not a Kiwi, and I’m not a poet, but like I said I am an anarchist and I do know about history. I think a lot about anarchist history, how important or not important it is to other anarchists and what that means; to me and more importantly for anarchism. I think a lot about history in general, about what Neil Roberts history means for the present, about how we create and consume history, and how, sometimes no matter how hard we try, we get it wrong when we try to write about history, when we try to create a historical narrative to make sense of the past. Anarchists and anarchist history are as guilty of this as anyone else. We have our martyrs, our heroes and heroines, and all too often people are more interested in the slogans and the easily digestible and self re­affirming stories, then they are in the more complicated realities and contradictory facts.

Maybe we need poetry to help us understand history. To help us understand that my three ­sentence summary of who Neil Roberts was and what he did will never be enough, not enough to understand all the multiple and contradictory ideas and thoughts he may have had in his head at the time, nor is it enough to read the news headlines to understand what kind of impact his words and his actions had on the people of New Zealand, from the police, to the anarchists, to a poet and young mother in
Whanganui 32 years later trying to understand how it all fits together.

Dear Neil Roberts did that for me. The poems give the reader a fuller and broader understanding of Neil Roberts and what happened, and what it may have meant, than my paragraph or paragraphs could. And they reminded me of Emma Goldman’s essay The Tragedy at Buffalo written following the 1901 assasination of US President William McKinley by Leon Czolgozs, a self­described anarchist. In the essay Goldman tries to make sense of what kind of sensitive person would be so outraged by the world around him, by its inequalities, injustices, lies, and uglinesses, that he would lash out, strike a blow against that world, even if it meant destroying oneself in the process. This history, these people, they are as much a part of our anarchist history, of our movement, as marches against war and fights against police surveillance and it behooves us and our movement to try to understand that a little bit better.

Airini Beautrais has done this with Dear Neil Roberts and it’s worth all our time to read these poems.

Dear Neil Roberts is available for sale in the Freedom Shop. 

Price - $18.00

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Shop hours

We're trying to keep the shop open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (21. - 23.12.) this coming week to cater for any emergency Xmas present needs.

We still have a few of the tee-shirts left that we screenprinted ourselves  - images of revolutionary women. 

We even have a few Slingshot and Bottled Wasp diaries left!

The shop will then be closed until after New Year.

Happy holidays to everyone!