Antonio Jimenez at a Jura Books Celebration, August 1981
The golden lemon is not made
..And men are men who till the land
(adapted from "A Song For The Spanish Anarchists,"
You ask yourself sometimes why it is that we pursue this dream of a free society. One of the reasons must surely be meeting people along the way who, like a breath of fresh air, make it all seem worthwhile.
Antonio Jimenez (Tony to all of us), who died suddenly last month in Sydney, was one such person. A very dear friend and respected comrade, he was an inspiration to many of us; to his beloved Vicki and his sons, Glen and Alan go our solidarity and love, and even if Tony would not have wanted us to mourn, our shared sorrow. We will miss him greatly.
Tony was both a fighter and dreamer. He came to Australia as a migrant in 1960 seeking, as so many do, a better life. Going first up to Queensland to cut sugar cane and then south to Wollongong and its steelworks for a few months, he ended up in the Snowy Mountains project where he worked till 1966. It was during this latter period that he was first introduced to the ideas of anarchism by Spanish workmates and he became an enthusiastic advocate of the cause. He travelled regularly to Sydney and eventually settled here, marrying Vicki and becoming involved with a myriad of workplace and community struggles. For nearly 7 years he worked at Botany Bay on the airport extensions project, and as an AWU union delegate played a major role in a continuing series of confrontations with the project bosses.
He was involved throughout the late 60's and early 70's with the Spanish Democratic Centre in Sydney, which campaigned vigorously against the Franco dictatorship in Spain. At the same time they supported the growing antiVietnam War Movement, the struggle against the Greek Junta and many other social struggles of the day. Tony seldom missed an opportunity to spread the word, distributing large numbers of papers and pamphlets, printing and fundraising wherever he could and writing constantly to comrades and papers overseas.
In 1977 he became involved with the project to found an anarchist bookshop in Sydney, and he became part of the Jura Books collective when it set up shop in September that year, working hard to do up the premises and becoming a backbone of the regular shop volunteers for the next 13 years. Through the crises and good times he was always there giving a hand when it was needed most. What we at Jura owe to him just cannot be expressed in words. Tony was a founding member of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation in Australia and a passionate defender of anarcho-syndicalist ideas and action. The Spanish CNT-AIT was a particular favourite of his and a subject he would debate for hours. He always loved a good argument and even if you disagreed with him, it was his conviction that you could not ignore, and it ended up being a quality that endeared him to you. There were many others; perhaps the most important his singular warmth as a human being. The memory will long remain. Farewell old friend ....
Jura Books Collective/Sydney
so my dear friend you have left us
liberty in our time
but you won't see it
maybe none of us will
but i can still see you
and i know what you're saying
you were so consistent
you can hardly surprise me now
you are part of the new world
the new world in our hearts
Antonio Jimenez born June 13, 1935 in Madrid, arrived in Australia, June 1960 where he lived, loved, worked, and struggled. The existence of a section of the International Workers Association in Australia has more to do with Antonio than any other individual. For 25 years he worked toward it, talked about it, built bridges between Australia and far places where others too kept the flame alive that freedom is possible. It was natural then that in 1986 he should continue that work as the International Secretary of the newly-formed Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation. Others are more able than I to talk of his part in providing solid foundations for anarchist ideas in this part of the world.
I also remember him in the garden, In the kitchen, in the street, in the bookshop, on the train. A person of great passion and vision, ever generous and oh so many stories from so many jobs: anarcho-syndicalism in practice - solidarity and direct action get the goods.
For me, Antonio was a person who, if I was feeling overwhelmed, fed-up or disillusioned, I could think about and feel strong again. His death doesn't change that.
SALUD companero - hasta siempre!
Susi Russell July 27 1990.