Sunday, December 11, 2016

aargh issue 7 online now

aargh issue 7 is now online and can be downloaded here

When we picked the theme What is anarchism and how do we get there we thought this would be a positive, uplifting collection of articles. We should have known better. A look at the world around us should have been enough: millions fleeing from war and terror, and more terror being inflicted on those who thought that they had escaped, children being tortured in the hell hole of Nauru as part of a policy of deterrence, homelessness and poverty becoming rampant even in a relatively rich country like NZ.


So what are we supposed to think of a world where you get into trouble for eating food instead of throwing it away? What do you do if the act of dreaming seems to be too concrete, but you don’t want to give up hope? How do you escape the daily urge to waste your energy fighting against yet another neo-liberal austerity measure? 

A common thread of angst, frustration and anger runs through  this edition of aargh!, but there is also a thread of determination and willingness. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

New Tee-shirts at the FreedomShop


We've got new tee-shirts
 at the Shop 
- including 

Riots Not Diets, 

Migration is Not a Crime, 

and John Key

Sunday, October 2, 2016

aargh! issue 7 is out

The latest aargh! is available in the Shop - the theme this time is What is anarchism and how do we get there. 

The issue opens with a letter written in 1934 by American anarchist Lucy Parsons. It’s a bleak letter - Lucy writes ‘Anarchism is a dead issue in American life today. Radicalism has been blotted off the map of Europe. … Radicalism is at a low ebb today. We are living in strange times. Despotism is on horseback, riding at high speed. The worker is helpless; he has no voice in his mode or method of life – he just floats along on the tides of ill times.

Most of the articles in this edition of aargh! are also bleak, but it is worthwhile remembering that just two years after Lucy wrote in her letter that 'radicalism has been blotted off the map of Europe', revolution burgeoned in Spain. So read this issue and ponder - what is lying around the corner for us?

Come to the Shop to get your copy, or if you're not in Wellington, get in contact with us via email or normal post and we'll send you one. They cost $2 each.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Wars Without End – the land wars in nineteenth century New Zealand by Danny Keenan

The following is a book review that originally appeared in issue 6 of aargh! (available online here)

A wonderful ease
Wars Without End – the land wars in nineteenth century New Zealand by Danny Keenan - Penguin 2009
Reviewed by Peppertree
BY CHOOSING the title Wars Without End, Danny Keenan puts an important conclusion of his book on the land wars right up front. While the gun fighting mainly took place between 1843 and 1872, the battle over land has continued endlessly in the courts, in parliament and in tribunal hearings. In the age of neoliberalism, the armed force have been replaced by hordes of property developers who continue to dispossess people of a place to live.

Every chapter of the very detailed book clearly shows how utterly incompatible the British concept of individual property titles and the collective ownership model of Māori society are. The British system with its clearly defined, surveyed and permanently owned plots was imposed on a society where land had always been collectively owned, borders were forever shifting and claims to ownership were changing and contested. According to Keenan, Māori had an “integrated, legitimate and culturally specific system of rights, checks and balances encompassing the land” that was diametrically opposed to the rigid European system of individual, permanent land titles.

What Keenan doesn’t mention (and it’s beyond the scope of a book about the land wars) is that it was only 100 years earlier that the British system was not all that different. Up until the beginning of the Inclosures Acts of the 18th century, the Commons existed as communal spaces for the landless peasants. The demand by the British settlers for land could be seen as reaction to their own loss of land. The emerging economic system, capitalism, demanded security in land ownership and that was easier to be had in New Zealand where settlers were being supported by the British government, than in Britain where the fight would have been against the government. The book also shows how the colonial settler state avoided any attempt to understand the Maori concept of land ownership, let alone acknowledge it. In as early as 1841, land claims commissioner William Spain, who investigated the legality of William Wakefield’s early land acquisitions, was “struggling to comprehend the interconnectedness of customary issues before him” and simply gave up. Instead of deciding to return land that was clearly illegally taken – even by 19th century colonial standards – Spain turned to compensating iwi for the permanent loss of land.

This early decision not to bother understanding the Māori land ownership system and to compensate for land loss instead of returning land to the original owners (because that would have been too hard to do without ever understanding who the rightful owners were) became the defining theme of settler state Māori relationships. More than 20 years after Spain, the judges of the Compensation Court came to the conclusion that “our [the English] language supplies no words which fitly express the ideas of a Māori holding” and that “the idea of [a sole proprietary title] is contrary to the truth of Māori ownership.”

It seems remarkable that this insight is simply noted after two decades of relentless war that cost thousands of lives. But the concept worked well for the state. So much so that in 1867 the chief judge at the Compensation Court, Francis Fenton, was surprised that the system of ignoring Māori ownership “would have worked with the wonderful ease which has marked its operation.”

Keenan’s book also shows why Māori never had a chance of winning the wars, despite winning many battles. One reason is that Māori were not accustomed to ongoing warfare. But the main reason is that, despite initially being outnumbered, the British government had plenty more options. While it was clearly visible what resources Māori had (it was known how many people lived where and what type and number of weapons they had), the colonial government had access to resources that were invisible to Māori. They could simply double their numbers by bringing in reinforcements from Australia and Britain if needed. They could import new technology which Māori had never seen.

If one wanted to, one could read the book as a textbook for government tactics. It outlines how the colonial government used any strategy and tactic available: from the traditional divide and conquer of governor Gore Brown to the ‘pacification through legal processes’ by land commissioner William Spain to the full on scorched earth policy of governor George Grey and his general Trevor Chute from1865 onwards.

The central dogma of colonialism has always been the assumed superiority of everything European over everything Māori. This included from early on the economic system. Māori were told that if they did not see the benefits of ‘free trade’, they would be “ground to dust” (the Daily Southern Cross in 1865). And integral to free trade is individual property ownership. So everything comes back to the question of land: Te pūtake o te riri, the root of all trouble. This is how chief Te Rauparaha described the role of land disputes at the so called (by Pākeha settlers) Wairau massacre in 1843.

For more about the New Zealand Wars, visit http://newzealandwars.co.nz, a site operated by Danny Keenan.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Bookstall at the Counterfutures Conference at Vic Uni

The Freedom Shop will be having a stall at the 

Counterfutures: Left Thought and Practice Aotearoa gathering 

Thursday and Friday, 1 & 2 Sept.


We'll be setting up the stall midday Thursday - so if you are on campus, come along on check it out. Some of the books we will be selling include:


  

We also have numerous pamphlets and zines by a range of authors including: Michael Albert, Bakunin, Alexander Berkman, Boff, Murray Bookchin, Toby Boraman, Willamette Brown, Noam Chomsky, Voltairine de Cleyre, Sam Dolgoff, Leslie Feinberg, Kropotkin, Malatesta, Lucy Parsons, Rudolf Rocker & many more. 
Have a look at our catalogue here: 2016 Zine Catalogue

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Spanish Revolution


We celebrated and remembered the Spanish Revolution and the people involved as it gave so many people a world of enablement and empowerment. A world not ruled by class and capitalism, but a world based on collectivism and humanity.

If you would like more information about the Revolution, at the Freedom Shop there are a range of books, pamphlets and zines on the Spanish Revolution, including: Ready for Revolution: The CNT Defense Committees in Barcelona, 1933–1938 by Agustín Guillamón; Anarchism and Workers’ Self-Management in Revolutionary Spain by Frank Mintz; We The Anarchists! A Study Of The Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI) 1927–1937 by Stuart Christie; Durruti in the Spanish Revolution by Abel Paz; Anarchism in Galicia: Organisation, Resistance and Women in the Underground by Eliseo Fernández, Antón Briallos, and Carmen Blanco, and Free Society: A German Exile in Revolutionary Spain by Werner Drescher.

Three of the film shown at the exhibition are on-line:

Vivir la Utopia (Living Utopia)
Described as a 'jewel amongst historians and rebel hearts', Living Utopia is a 1997 documentary that features testimony from 30 anarchist survivors of the Spanish revolution. On the evening we showed it, people applauded.

De toda la vida (All Our Lives).
De toda la vida (Lisa Berger y Carol Mazer, 1986) is a documentary about the organisation Mujeres Libres; a group formed in 1936 with the aims to end the 'triple enslavement of women, to ignorance, to capital, and to men.'

Land and Freedom
Ken Loach's film about an unemployed worker and member of the British communist party who goes to join the revolution in Spain and ends up fighting in a POUM militia unit. The film captures the betrayal of the revolution.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Sunday - Spanish Revolution - 80 Years

Sunday, 10 July


Open all day from 10am


The final day of the Spanish Revolution exhibition at 17 Tory Street, Wellington, concludes with a talk by Mark Derby at 4pm followed by a screening of Ken Loach's 'Land and Freedom'.


  • 4pm: Mark Derby will talk about New Zealanders who went to Spain. Mark’s the author of ‘Kiwi Compañeros: New Zealand and the Spanish Civil War’ and ‘Petals and Bullets. Dorothy Morris: New Zealand Nurse in the Spanish Civil War.’

  • Mark’s talk will be followed by a screening of Ken Loach’s ‘Land and Freedom’.

Saturday, 9 July
 - Two Films & Exhibition

Join us for the third day of the Spanish Revolution exhibition

Saturday 9 July 

Open from 10am -


  • 1-2pm: Mujeres Libres - film screening ‘Toda la Vida’ followed by discussion
. 

Toda la Vida' (All our Lives) is a film about Mujeres Libres. Angered by the sexism of their male comrades and by their marginalisation within a revolution that was supposed to offer liberty to all - women organised themselves. Mujeres Libres, formed in 1936 with a membership of over 30,000,  fought for both female emancipation and social revolution, arguing that the two had to be realised side by side. As well as fighting and dying at the front alongside men they set up schools, shut down brothels and engaged in popular education in both urban and rural communities. 

  • 7pm: movie screening ‘La Lengua de las Mariposas (Tongue of the Butterfly)
Described as a movie that makes you think, 'Tongue of the Butterfly' captures the relationship between state and church in mid-1930s Spain and the time when the revolution becomes devoured by the civil war.

Sunday's programme is:

Sunday, 10 July


Open all day from 10am
  • 4pm: Mark Derby will talk about New Zealanders who went to Spain. Mark’s the author of ‘Kiwi Compañeros: New Zealand and the Spanish Civil War’ and ‘Petals and Bullets. Dorothy Morris: New Zealand Nurse in the Spanish Civil War.’

  • Mark’s talk will be followed by a screening of Ken Loach’s ‘Land and Freedom’.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Friday - Spanish Revolution - 80 years

Friday 8 July
What is Anarchism?

Wander in to 17 Tory St at lunchtime:
12.30pm 
join a discussion about what anarchism is or come in at after work for the film 'Living Utopia'. 



6.30pm - film screening: Living Utopia


Be inspired by people who lived and worked and showed a different world possible not dominated by capitalism. Living Utopia is a documentary consisting of interviews and talks with 30 anarchist survivors of the Spanish revolution. It includes workers involved in the collectives and members of Free Women of Spain - a truly up-lifting and inspiring way to spend a cold Friday night.



The full programme for the Spanish Revolution Exhibition is:

Friday, 8 July


-Open all day
  • 12.30 - 1.30pm: lunchtime discussion ‘What is Anarchism?'
  • 6.30pm: film screening ‘Living Utopia’, followed by cerveza y patatas



Saturday, 9 July


-Open from 10am-

  • 1-2pm: Mujeres Libres - film screening ‘Toda la Vida’ followed by discussion

  • 7pm: movie screening ‘La Lengua de las Mariposas (Tongue of the Butterfly)’



Sunday, 10 July


Open all day from 10am
  • 4pm: Mark Derby will talk about New Zealanders who went to Spain. Mark’s the author of ‘Kiwi Compañeros: New Zealand and the Spanish Civil War’ and ‘Petals and Bullets. Dorothy Morris: New Zealand Nurse in the Spanish Civil War.’

  • Mark’s talk will be followed by a screening of Ken Loach’s ‘Land and Freedom’.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Thursday opening - Spanish Revolution - 80 Years




- 6pm - 

Thursday, 7 July






The Spanish Revolution exhibition at 17 Tory St, Wellington central, opens this Thursday, 7 July.

At 6pm we have two speakers: Lynn will briefly talk about why the Spanish Revolution still enthuses and inspires her; Lyn is a local anarchist who put together an exhibition for the 75th Anniversary five years ago in Wellington. It's time now to celebrate the 80th Anniversary.

Barry Pateman will also speak. Barry has worked with and known many people who were involved with the Spanish Revolution. He spoke 30 years ago at the 50th Anniversary in London and now that he's living in this part of the world, will join us and share 'Some thoughts about why the Spanish Revolution is important to us today'.

Barry has done a lot of work over the years on 'clearing the rubble from the garden of history to find the patterns beneath'. Barry is involved with the Kate Sharpley Library (KSL) - a wonderful resource of anarchist literature and he is also an editor at The Emma Goldman papers.

Come along Thursday - 6pm - 17 Tory St


Pan y vino incluido




The full schedule is here:

Thursday, 7 July

-Open from 5pm
  • 6pm: Barry Pateman - "Some thoughts about why the Spanish Revolution is important to us today". Barry is from the Kate Sharpley Library (KSL) and editor at The Emma Goldman papers. KSL has published many pamphlets by participants in the Spanish Revolution as well as a number of books including “The Friends of Durruti” and "Ready for Revolution”.
 Pan y vino incluido

.

Friday, 8 July


-Open all day
  • 12.30 - 1.30pm: lunchtime discussion ‘What is Anarchism?'
  • 6.30pm: film screening ‘Living Utopia’, followed by cerveza y patatas



Saturday, 9 July


-Open from 10am-

  • 1-2pm: Mujeres Libres - film screening ‘Toda la Vida’ followed by discussion

  • 7pm: movie screening ‘La Lengua de las Mariposas (Tongue of the Butterfly)’



Sunday, 10 July


Open all day from 10am
  • 4pm: Mark Derby will talk about New Zealanders who went to Spain. Mark’s the author of ‘Kiwi Compañeros: New Zealand and the Spanish Civil War’ and ‘Petals and Bullets. Dorothy Morris: New Zealand Nurse in the Spanish Civil War.’

  • Mark’s talk will be followed by a screening of Ken Loach’s ‘Land and Freedom’.

As Noam Chomsky put it, the Spanish Revolution is "a glimpse of a future that differs by orders of magnitude from the tendencies inherent in the state capitalist and state socialist societies that exist today."

Saturday, July 2, 2016

aargh! issue 6 now online


Issue 6 of aargh! - with the theme Colonisation - is now online can be downloaded here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Spanish Revolution - 80 years

Escape the cold Wellington winter and remember one of the great moments of working class history, the sunny days of 80 years ago when ordinary Spaniards seized control of their lives, fought fascism and showed how pleasant life could be when capitalism and the state are consigned to the dustbin.

Come along to 17 Tory St from Thursday 7th July to Sunday 10th July and view the exhibition or join us for a variety of events including film screenings, discussions & more...


Schedule:

Thursday, 7 July

-Open from 5pm
  • 6pm: Barry Pateman - "Some thoughts about why the Spanish Revolution is important to us today". Barry is from the Kate Sharpley Library (KSL) and editor at The Emma Goldman papers. KSL has published many pamphlets by participants in the Spanish Revolution as well as a number of books including “The Friends of Durruti” and "Ready for Revolution”.
Pan y vino incluido

.

Friday, 8 July


-Open all day
  • 12.30 - 1.30pm: lunchtime discussion ‘What is Anarchism?'
  • 6.30pm: film screening ‘Living Utopia’, followed by cerveza y patatas



Saturday, 9 July


-Open from 10am-

  • 1-2pm: Mujeres Libres - film screening ‘Toda la Vida’ followed by discussion

  • 7pm: movie screening ‘La Lengua de las Mariposas (Tongue of the Butterfly)’



Sunday, 10 July


Open all day from 10am
  • 4pm: Mark Derby will talk about New Zealanders who went to Spain. Mark’s the author of ‘Kiwi Compañeros: New Zealand and the Spanish Civil War’ and ‘Petals and Bullets. Dorothy Morris: New Zealand Nurse in the Spanish Civil War.’

  • Mark’s talk will be followed by a screening of Ken Loach’s ‘Land and Freedom’.

As Noam Chomsky put it, the Spanish Revolution is "a glimpse of a future that differs by orders of magnitude from the tendencies inherent in the state capitalist and state socialist societies that exist today."

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Spanish Revolution - 80 Years

Join us for a celebration of what Noam Chomsky called "a glimpse of a future that differs by orders of magnitude from the tendencies inherent in the state capitalist and state socialist societies that exist today."

From Thursday, 7 July to Sunday, 10 July, the Freedom Shop will be holding a series of events at 17 Tory St, Te Aro, including: exhibition, film screenings, talks and discussions, books and pamphlets, and more...


More details coming soon!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Wellington Winter Zine Market

The awesome Wellington Winter Zine Market is back on this weekend:

 Saturday June 4th
at Thistle Hall

starting at 12 and finishing at 5 pm

The Freedom Shop will have a stall there with a range of zines from this country and abroad. We've got zines put out by Peace Action Wellington after the last Weapons Conference in Wellington, a zine from NoPrideInPrisons and many more, including the zine we put together just this month by the Freedom Shop about border militarisation.

Details about the Winter Zine Market can be found here: http://wellingtonzinefest.blogspot.co.nz/

Monday, May 16, 2016

Film evening: Border Militarisation

The Freedom shop invites you to:

An evening of short films and discussion
on borders, refugees and militarisation.


Donald Trump is talking about it, NATO is sending its frigates and the Dutch want to copy Australia's 'turn back the boats' policy - border enforcement is back with a vengeance and anyone who challenges the legitimacy of barbed wire and armed border guards is getting criminalised. 



Come and join us on 
Thursday, 26 May 2016, 7pm 
at 17 Tory St, Te Aro 

Join a discussion on who makes money from the refugee crisis, see what happens when you take food supplies to refugees in France and find out what it looks like when 15,000 refugees are stuck between two borders. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

New t-shirt designs

Check out our new t-shirt designs, including 'Refugees Welcome' and '100% Fat Free Riots not Diets'.


All t-shirts are pre-loved and cost $10.

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
Ramona
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: www.kersplebedeb.com/revolutionarywomen/

 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: FreedomShopAotearoa@gmail.com


Saturday, January 9, 2016

Book review - 'Dear Neil Roberts' by Airini Beautrais

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