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:
LENIN ON TRIALA 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.
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:
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..?
|The Anarcho-syndicalist Federation stall on Sunday morning.|
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