The Golden Barley School

an anarchist, a communist & a feminist walk into a bar…


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Film Screening – United in Anger: A History of ACT UP

United in Anger: A History of ACT UP is an inspiring documentary about the birth and life of the AIDS activist movement from the perspective of the people in the trenches fighting the epidemic. Utilizing oral histories of members of ACT UP, as well as rare archival footage, the film depicts the efforts of ACT UP as it battles corporate greed, social indifference, and government neglect.

Saturday February 22, 8pm for 8.30 start. Free screening.

Junior Gazette, 91 Railway Parade, Marrickville NSW 2204 (just near Sydnenham Station)

A note on (in)accessibility: Junior Gazette is up a split level stair case and has no lift.


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An open letter to anarchists (and others) in Melbourne (and other places) who feel under attention from the state; or, “Please Don’t Talk To The Cops”

Dear comrades,

First of all: you have our solidarity. We know that feeling surveilled and monitored can be a very real trauma, and we know that those feelings don’t just disappear though the ‘correct’ political analysis or through macho bravado.

We have no interest in singling out anyone or any group for condemnation. However, these recent events, and the conversations around them, have emphasised to us the importance of creating a strong collective culture in which we refuse to speak with ASIO or the cops: not matter how innocent the circumstances might seem. Even when we’re under pressure – and we’re always under pressure – we need to be able to deal with debates and conflicts without creating unnecessary divisions between ourselves.

It’s precisely because things don’t seem to have gone too badly on this occasion when people chose to speak with ASIO that it’s important to raise a critique of ever talking to them and to point out the dangers of becoming complacent around this. It seems necessary to re-iterate why ‘don’t talk’ should be a general political principle.

We gain nothing; they gain something

There’s no information we could gain from talking to the cops that is useful to us. In the first place, it is clear that we should not an cannot trust anything they say. Beyond this, what actual good does it do us to ‘know’ that they’re monitoring this group or the other? Without being paranoid, we should always assume that they could be monitoring us, and this shouldn’t change our behaviour. Whether or not we have particular signs of attention from the state, we should organise and communicate openly in the same ways, and we should be cautious in the same ways. From this perspective, getting confirmation or information from the state does not inform our practice in any useful way.

On the other hand, the cops could always gain something from any conversation with us. They are trained to question and to gather information. The information that’s useful to them isn’t just the details of (non existent) secret plots: anything inadvertently disclosed about our relationships could be useful to them.

Collective refusal gives us more power and control

Ultimately we need to resist creating a situation in which it could be seem as normal, harmless or acceptable for individuals to talk to the police. Continue reading