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No Gods No Masters
Anarchist and Autonomist Conference
Melbourne April 2001

Old Arts Building, University of Melbourne:
28th - 29th April, 2001

In early 2001, some Melbourne members of the Anarcho Syndicalist Federation and other anarchists started planning a conference in the leadup to the celebration of May Day in Melbourne.

The organising collective aimed:

to create a space in which everyone - regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, ability, religion or sexual orientation - feels free to participate equally. To ensure that this is the case, please be aware of the individual values and beliefs of others and respect other people's right to be different and to disagree. Individuals who are continuously disruptive will be asked to leave.

About 250 people attended the conference, with a reasonable number from interstate. Seven rooms were used during the conference: the Red Emma Room (Lecture Theatre A); Kropotkin's Lounge (108); Makhno's Meeting Room (204); Reclus' Refuge (262); Chomper's Chat Room (263); Vigo's Videodrome (239) and 205 is the Kid's Activities and Recreation Room. `Lenin on Trial' will take place in The Mausoleum (aka the Public Lecture Theatre).

Lunch on both days of the conference was being provided for donation by Food Not Bombs and Melbourne University Food Co-operative. Tea and coffee was also available at any time by donation.

On Saturday night there was a benefit gig at the Pink Palace in Northcote featuring poetry and music. On Monday night there was an end-of-conference party at the Retreat Hotel, Sydney Rd., Brunswick.

The NGNM organising collective acknowledged that the conference was taking place on land stolen from the Wurundjeri people.

The following workshops were held to give some idea of the breadth of discussions:

  • S11 and the Left
  • What is the Anarchist Black Cross?
  • The Anarchist Radio Alliance
  • Revolution in Action: Growing up Anarchist
  • A History of the Makhnovist Movement
  • Is God a Celestial Fascist?!
  • Squatting as Autonomous Organising
  • Anarchy and Ecology
  • Globalisation: An Anarchist Perspective
  • Land Identity
  • Facilitation
  • What is FNB? Food Production and Autonomy
  • Psyops: Libertarian Approaches to Free Your Mind
  • Anarchy, Vision and Censorship
  • A History of Anarchism in Greece
  • Health, Lifestyle and Anarchism
  • Writing an Anarchist Zine
  • Anarcho-Health: Beyond Globalised Health Systems or How a World Without Hospitals Can Keep People Healthier
  • Recycling, Jobs and the Environment
  • Complete Emancipation, or Virtual Global Prison?
  • Why Greens Should Be Anarchist and Anarchism Green
  • Women and Prisons
  • Ningala Ningala - Hungry for Land: Aboriginal Embassy in Spain
  • Anarcha-Feminism (Open forum)
  • The First International
  • Towards an Anarchist Federation
  • If I Cant Fist, Then Its Not My Revolution: Queer Sex from Bakunin to Emma Goldman to Today
  • Green Anarchy and the US Anarchist Movement
  • Infoshops (Open forum)
  • No Gods, No Masters & Anarchism: The Ideological Function of Language
  • Grassroots Organising in Community Health: How to Take On the Bureaucrats and Win
  • "The first thing we do" (Anarchy and Law)
  • Individualism through Collectivity
  • Grassroots Strategic Planning
  • Punk and Anarchy (Open forum)
  • Dont Hate the Media, Be the Media!
  • Anarcho-syndicalism. What the Hell is that?!


A mock trial of Lenin on the Sunday evening provided the most controversial aspect to the conference. Unfortunately scheduling this event meant there was no final plenary for the conference. The trial failed to attract the hordes of people to defend Lenin, but a good time was had by all.

Condemned by History, Who Dares Defend Him?

Presented by 'NO GODS, NO MASTERS', the Melbourne Anarchist and Autonomist Conference.

Bureacrats Banner


    * Counter-revolution * Tyranny * Treason * Terror *

V.I. Lenin: Revolutionary Genius or Social Frankenstein?

The collapse of the Soviet Union has read the verdict of history on Lenin's megalomaniac adventurism, but the Red Left has yet to learn the lessons. Old slogans reappear in new catchphrases, and old tactics are repainted as the urgent and necessary goals of the moment. Anarchists are putting Lenin on trial, and challenge the Red Left to defend him. Four charges will be heard:

  1. That Lenin was a *counter-revolutionary*, who attacked the revolutionary movement to build his own power.

    Prosecutor: Leigh Kendall
    Offences: The suppression and massacre of the Kronstadt garrison.

  2. That Lenin was a *terrorist*, who enslaved the people with all the instruments of military and civil repression.

    Prosecutor: Rob Dolchek
    Offences: The supression of the Maknovschyna, and the wars against autonomous revolutionary collectives throughout Russia.

  3. That Lenin was a *tyrant*, who enslaved the people under state capitalism, deceitfully proclaiming it to be the dawn of Marx's utopia.

    Prosecutor: Owen Gager
    Offences: Lenin's butchery of Marxist theory of the state and socialist economy.

  4. That Lenin was a *traitor*, who continually undermined his own party and betrayed his own revolutionary colleagues.

    Prosecutor: Leigh Riley
    Offences: Lenin's subversion of Party democracy, manipulation of the Party program, and selective and opportunistic betrayal of his rivals and of dissidents generally.


Each charge will be heard in turn, with a prosecution and a defence each speaking for 12 minutes. All speakers will then be allowed a short response. Questions and contributions will be taken from the floor. The assembly will vote on Lenin's guilt.

We invite the Red Left to nominate speakers for the defence.


One of the outstanding patterns is a focus on Melbourne and Sydney! I think it is time we started thinking about conferences outside Sydney and Melbourne occasionally to boost interest in anarchist ideas outside the two cities. How about Adelaide next year..?

From  takver  
Date  Wednesday, May 30, 2001 2:30 pm 
Subject  [april_anarchy] Re: JT: importance and role of Conferences 

The NGNM conference, for the most part, was a talk fest. There were quite a few people there new to anarchism who went to learn more about the ideas and practices. So, the conference provided an educative function.

For those already involved it provided a chance to informally network with comrades that we sometimes don't meet face to face for months or years.

My primary participation was through the Anarres Book stall. We sold a lot of introductory texts on anarchism as well as a broad spectrum of material from our range. I attended one workshop - the one on Infoshops. This workshop primarily discussed the history of anarchist bookshops/infoshops in Australia over the last 26 years. (Actually I mentioned David Andrades Newsagency, which stocked socialist and anarchist tracts, in Brunswick in the 1880s). I have been involved in info shops for most of the last 26 years. Even so, I learnt some more about what happened in various collectives over this period. It would have been good to try and pull together some direction or summation for the workshop, but this just didn't happen in the time available. My own reason for concentrating effort in infoshops, is that the libertarian movement in Australia needs to do a lot of educative outreach work, and making available the ideas through book/info shops is a first step in making libertarian ideas and practices easily available. We have come leaps and bounds since my initial involvement in 1974.

I also visited the childcare room several times in regards to an infant in my care. I thought Fiona did a great job organising the room and facilities, and it was good to hear that quite a few people (esp. the young men) dropped in and helped out. I went to the N11 one day conference last year (to analyse S11 and provide future directions) and no childcare was provided, nor any option when registering to provide childcare. So, I think our inclusiveness is bounds ahead of the traditional left! The way we organise is as important as the goals we seek.

I would have loved to have gone to a final plenary where brief summations of all the workshops could have been given, plus some formal feedback from conference participants to the organisers and future organisers about what worked and what didn't. I can appreciate the Lenin on Trial was an event reaching out to the Red Left, but the strategy for bringing people to the event didn't really work (Although it may have caused some internal debate between younger cadres and their party bosses). It was an interesting, bold and creative experiment, but I think a final plenary would have been more useful.

I don't know if anybody prepared written papers or notes for workshops. Perhaps, if they are not too private, they can be either posted here or loaded to a website and a URL sent to this list? I'd at least like to hear brief summations of other workshops on this list.

What I feel came out of the conference is a respect for a diversity of anarchist strategies, and a sense of solidarity. Yes, I'm sure there were arguments, but in the main people listened and debated and discussed.

I think the role of future conferences could be: * educative to both newcomers and old hands * informal networking between organised collectives/ anarchist organisations. * develop personal and social change strategies with an emphasis on practical examples * build a sense of community - e.g. where children can be raised in a libertarian culture - what Fiona spoke about in a former post.

I am sure there are other functions future conferences could provide.

Divider: anarchist regional flag colours


The Anarcho-syndicalist Federation stall on Sunday morning. Anarcho-syndicalist stall

No Gods No Masters No Nukes Banner
No Gods No Masters No Nukes Banner.
Painted 1983 for a Palm Sunday Rally for Peace in Sydney.

Anarres Books Banner
Anarres Books Banner.

Barricade Books Banner
Barricade Books Banner.

Zapatista Banner
Zapatista Banner.

Melbourne Anarcho-syndicalist Banner
Melbourne Anarcho-syndicalist Banner.

Send Pell to Hell Banner
Send Pell to Hell Banner.
A comment on new Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell.

McGarbage Banner. McGarbage Banner

Autonomous Web of Liberation Banner
AWOL is the coordination of autonomous affinity groups for s11, May Day and other activities.
Autonomous Web of Liberation Banner

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