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Direct Action Jamboree
Melbourne March 1998

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Archbishop Pell, Melbourne's recently appointed Roman Catholic Archbishop, has done all he can to sabotage the Direct Action Jamboree, a Labour Day weekend gathering that was organised by Melbourne community activists to share and discuss direct action as a political and social tool.

Banner at the No Gods No Masters conference, 2001 Although the organisers had booked space 10 weeks before the Jamboree, they were offered space at St.Joseph's Hall in Collingwood. Three weeks before the event it was noted that they had been double booked. The local parishioners agreed that the Direct Action Jamboree could be held in St.Joseph's Hall, although the organisers had explained that they would be discussing topics that were contrary to church teachings. When Archbishop Pell found out that an Anarchist Cabaret would be held as part of the activities, he overruled the local parish and at the last minute withdrew the use of St.Joseph's Hall.

The organisers were at the very last minute able to transfer the event to another venue. Direct Action activists from across Australia meet to discuss ideas and exchange tactics. Over 100 activists sabotaged the Archbishop's attempts to sabotage the Direct Action Jamboree.

The Archbishop's attempt to override the wishes of the local parishioners is a common feature of this man's tactics. Pell, a conservative, is a supporter of John Paul II's attempts to purge the Roman Catholic Church of its radical elements. The Archbishop's attempts to assert his authority over the Melbourne Roman Catholic community, a community that has a long history of being involved in social action, has met significant resistance among priests and local parishes. His authoritarian views and methods are resented by a proportion of priests and the Roman Catholic congregation.

St.Joseph's parishioners are angry about what Archbishop Pell has done and have demanded a meeting with the Archbishop to discuss his authoritarian methods. They don't appreciate being overruled by the Archbishop.

Anarchist Age Weekly Review, Number 290, 9th - 15th March, 1998
Date: Wed, 18 Mar 1998 18:57:29 +0930

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March 6-9, 1998 (Melbourne)

a gathering of grass roots organisations, activists and others to share ideas and skills

Please note that events previously at St Joseph's hall have been relocated to 253 Hoddle St, Collingwood

Friday 6th March

Dinner and Video Night Benefit for Food Not Bombs. Meal by Food Not Bombs.

Videos include- "Mujeres Libres- Free Women Of Spain", "Polytechnic Riots In Greece" and direct action clips and videos from around the world.

Location- "The Gym" 253 Hoddle St, Collingwood.

Entry- $4/2(conc)

Saturday 7th March (day)

All Day
Workshops and Stalls at "The Gym" 253 Hoddles St, Collingwood.

10-30am-12 noon
  1. Animal Rights
  2. Permaculture
  3. Public Transport
  4. Anarchist Infoshops


1-00 - 2-30pm
  1. DIY Unionism
  2. Disability Liberation
  3. Queerism
  4. Starting a self help group.

2-30 - 3-00pm

3-00 - 4-30pm
  1. Dealing with sexism
  2. International Solidarity
  3. Alternative media- zines and newsletters
  4. Recycling

Entry to workshops is free.

Stalls by Melbourne Uni Food Coop, The New International Bookshop, Black Rose Books, Barricade Books and Anarres Books.

Saturday 7th March (evening)

Anarchist Cabaret Night to benefit the SUUWA show (3CR)

Location- "The Gym" 253 Hoddle St, Collingwood. 7pm-11pm.
An evening of song, dance and poetry with Thalia, The Family Singalong Turns To Tragedy, Magic show, Kids performances and much more.

Cost- $6/4 (conc).

Sunday 8th March (day)

Don't forget the International Womens Day march. 1pm at the GPO in the city.

Workshops and stalls all day. Meet at "The Gym", 253 Hoddle St, Collingwood.

10-30am - 12noon
  1. Homeschooling/deschooling
  2. Unemployed action
  3. Indigenous Rights
  4. Forest Actions

12-00 - 1-00pm

1-00 - 2-30pm
  1. Food Not Bombs/Food Coops
  2. Prisoners Solidarity
  3. Anarchist Media
  4. Jabiluka Action Group

2-30 - 3-00pm

3-00pm - 4-30pm
  1. Squatting
  2. Rank 'n File Unionism
  3. Anti-fascism
  4. (Anti) Multilateral Agreement On Investment

Entry to workshops is free.



Sunday 8th March (eve)

Direct Action Benefit Gig
8pm to 11pm at the Public Bar, 238 Victoria St, North Melbourne (across from the Vic Markets).
Bands are: Lazy, S-Bahn and White Goods and entry is $4.



Monday 9th March (day)

All Ages Gig at Sound Vault, 230 Roden St, West Melbourne. Featuring Spirit, Price of Silence and Heads Kicked Off. Entry is $4

Action Against Police Violence - As part of an international protest. Details to be confirmed during the Jamboree.

All events have wheelchair access. Childcare available during workshops on saturday and sunday. Please ring us for bookings before 5/3/98 on 9387-6646. Other events child friendly (although Public Bar requires by law an adult present).

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Direct Action Jamboree - Report by Peter

March 6th - 9th, 1998 * Melbourne, Australia


The Jamboree went okay after much hassles eg we changed venue three times! First we were double booked with an annual tenants garden/cooking event. We opted for the nearby Church hall after a couple days the local priest and community were overruled by the Catholic hierarchy who said no we could not hold it there either. So we ended up in a a gymnasium.

Originally there was an anarchist conference planned to be held in Melbourne but this was a bit stagnant and a new effort to get one happening rubbed a few people the wrong way but the hostile personalities withdrew and a new wave pushed on and involved a wider and more diverse community of trouble-makers.

The decision to not admit political groups Partys was adhered to and although individuals were welcome (if they did not disrupt, push their Party line etc) most of the Left did not attend. Mostly Anarchists, non-aligned socialists and activists also non-aligned in various campaigns showed up.The Labour Day long weekend had several spectacles on it ie the over priced Grand Prix Car farce & the apolitical Moomba Parade & Festival (initiated to replace the 8 Hour Day celebration by the labour movement).

On the last day at the Rank n File Unionism session a complaint was made about our 'sectarianism' but this particular individual is ironically notorious to all groups as a zealot for his own line regardless of the meeting.

The first night video showing started late and a change of program left some dismayed but the time was used to socialise, break the ice. Originally as showing of the Athens Greece, Polytechnic Occupation/Eviction riot was replaced with a compilation made up of excerpts from a lot of docos and films. People over the whole weekend were from as far away as Perth, Darwin, Cairns (all in town for family-friendship obligations anyway) with larger mob from Sydney and of course many from Victoria, especially Melbourne. A large number of women were present, helped organise the weekend, facilitated was mostly men who did the childcare, food was provided by Food Not Bombs, Melb Uni Food Coop and visits to the local area eg residents gardens were cooked up into great Vietnamese/Thai tucker for lunch and a dragon/buddha drum dance livened up the local park as did the constant traffic of people, skateboarders, cyclists, prams, sports and games played on the grass on the play equipment etc.

Many locals passing by stopped to check out the stalls provided by Anarres Distro, Black Rose Sydney infoshop, Barricade Melbin infoshop and the Uni Food Coop.

Some speakers failed to turn up ie for Disabled Activists and Indigenous Activists so people improvised and talked among themselves at the latter two people from the Defenders of Native Title had to defend themselves from much criticism made by Koories and many gubbahs that it is not Land Rights and a lawyers scam; so too no reconciliation without justice. (The escalating Deaths in Custody, higher than in 1988 when the Royal Commission was held and whose recommendations have been ignored..) I did not attend all the workshops but hearing second hand several were very popular ie well attended and people spoke for themselves, learned a lot too: the food coops/Food not Bombs, Infoshops, Squatting, for example.

I caught the end of the Do It Yourself Unionism run by the 'Dishpigs' kitchen hands-dish washers who recently held a picnic & social to launch their DISHRAG magazine. They outlined how it had to be done collectively as nobody else is organising amongst the exploited in this industry. They plan further socials/magazine issues.

There was a cabaret on Saturday night which raised $150 for the Squatters & Unwaged Workers Airwaves show on 3CR 855am which broadcasts every Friday from 11am to midday.Compered by Dennis the poet we heard Iain, Macka (very well received music comedy with audience participation) Jeng, Thalia read poems and folky musician accompanied.

A Benefit gig at the Public Bar North Melbourne with bands Lazy, S-Bahn & White Goods on Sunday night was also good according to those I met who attended.

On Monday an All Ages gig put on by the Emancipate - youth - Collective took place for those who could not go to the pub and preferred fast thrash by bands like Heads Kicked Off.

So despite a few set backs all those who came mixed well and as usual after such events talk of a regular, at least annual gathering was all the go. We will see.

Report by: Peter
Date Sun, 15 Mar 1998 13:44:50 +0000 ( )
Subject: Direct Action Jamboree - Melbourne, Australia - March 6th-9th

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Direct Action Jamboree - Report by Vom

Melbourne, Australia - March 1998

The Direct Action Jamboree was held over the Labour Day Weekend (6-8 March 1998) in Melbourne. It was organised by a group of mainly anarchist individuals, rather than an existing group. Unfortunatly for the organisers the venue was twice changed (not their fault!) before settling on a gym in Hoddle st.

There was a social video night on the Friday, which i didnt go to so can't comment on. On the Saturday around 100 people came and were offered 12 workshops.I would like, here, to thank everyone who did childcare on both days, as i managed to attend 2/3 of the sessions on Sat and Sun, and also note most childcare was done by men. However, there was still heavy reliance on parents (thank you) and those there yet to have children should recognise their freedom to attend anything they want is not shared by parents.....ahhhh youth today, am i showing my age?

I noted that the Queerism, DIY unionism, Food Not Bombs and alt media/zines were all well attended. A couple didn't happen or took their own direction if a speaker didn't turn up., Tho' most of the 24 scheduled did. I can only comment on the ones i went too.

1. DIIY unionism, I introduced this one along with another DishPig. This was the name given to the type of organising done by DishPigs in the catering industry. It was a good discussion as it wasn't dominated by one voice. How do you go about working together in a high turnover, small, individualistic thinking workplace? We touched on class, collective thinking, modern society, trade unions, retail workers....

2.Dealing with sexism, All but 2 at this were women, 2 older women led the discussion, which touched on the 70's, resistance by men to feminism in alt. groups, collective and individual responses, it deteriorated at the end to a debate about christianity in straight edge music. A workshop for next time maybe?

3.Prisoner Support, The Peoples Justice Alliance rep didn't come so Anarchist Black Cross people led the discussion. Discussion was mainly over political prisoners past and present tho' other groups and private prisons were discussed

The caberet on the Saturday night was fairly well attended, particularly by me as it was child friendly

There was a benefit gig on the Sun night at the Public bar and an all ages one on Monday.

Thanks to the lovely grub by FNB and Melb Uni Food Co-op and the stalls by Black Rose, Barricade and Anarres, Which were outside on the Sunday, so local could see what it was all about

The idea was raised to have an annual thing.....but no group was set up to do this.

Report by Vom London
Date: Wed, 18 Mar 1998 16:26:17 +1100 (EST)
Subject: Direct action jamboree - Australia, March 1998 - another report

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