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Anarchy for Life
Anarchist & Autonomist Conference
Brisbane - May 2003

Over the weekend of the 2-4 May more than 100 people attended an anarchist conference in Brisbane. Although several people had travelled from Melbourne, Sydney and northern NSW, most attendees appeared to be local. On Friday afternoon an independent zine fair was also held in association with the conference.

The conference had a variety of workshops, both practical and theoretical. Lunch was provided by the Brisbane Food Not Bombs crew. A display of the history of Australian Anarchism was set up, originally prepared by Dr Bob James for the Australian Centenary Anarchist Celebrations held in Melbourne in 1986.

Anarcho-feminism workshop
Anarcho-feminism workshop

Anarchist History Display
Anarchist History Display in foyer area

Final Plenary Minutes

This is the minutes from the final plenary of the National Anarchist & Autonomist Conference in Brisbane, 2-4 May, 2003.

5] Where is the next conference being held?
1] Evaluation of the Conference.
4] Announcements
3] House Keeping
2] Workshop Feedback

No dissent to the public publishing of these minutes. Minutes taken by Asger. Plenary attended by approximately 45 people.

1] ::: EVALUATION :::
{Note: the following is a roughly condensed transcript of comments made by various individuals discussing the merits of the conference.}

  • The conference went good!!
  • The space was great, it was a good use of public resources by being in Visible Ink, it's a good venue for the conference.
  • The workshops are not the only thing about going to this kind of conference. It is also really important as a social occasion, to get together and meet other anarchist from around the place. This conference provided a very good environment for networking.
  • There was no real difference in the conference just because it wasn't at a university, like the last two conferences were. (Personal note not stated during Plenary: someone stated that they felt the venue was much more cosy and friendly then the universities)
  • It was a bit of a mistake having the big social events on before the conference, because then everyone is tired or hung over for the actual conference. Participation in the conference workshops would have been more energetic otherwise. It is better to have the big social event on the evening of the final day.
  • Great to see everything happen, despite the mistakes, problems and things falling through at the last minute.
  • Confusion over the venue, because it was initially advertised as being at The Pink Palace. It was foolish advertising The Pink Palace, the organisers all knew they were unstable, unreliable. It would have been better to not advertise any venue, until a venue was confirmed beyond doubt.
  • Could have promoted the conference better, as there were still some Brisbane activists who hadn't heard it was on. However the organisers were also afraid that if we promoted it too much, (i.e. too much 'illegal' postering) we could have lost the venue.
  • The facility for child-minding was good, but there were still not many kids there to use it.
  • Disappointed from poor turn-out from people in Melbourne. It wasn't a problem of poor promotion or organisation. Everyone basically knew it was on, they just didn't get up here.
  • One of the problems that meant a low turn-out from people around the country, was the distance to Brisbane and the conflict with Baxter. A lot of people spent their last dollars or holiday time getting to Baxter, and had no time, energy or money to continue to Brisbane so soon after.
  • However if this conference is a national event, it is unfair to expect people from Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and other places around the country to consistently travel to only Melbourne or Sydney. Distance, travel and costs should be shared evenly among the regions.
  • (Personal note that was not stated during the plenary: approximately 100-120 people attended the conference over the week-end, with the majority being local people. No real counting was done of who came from where. Following numbers are unsubstantiated personal estimates- 6> Melbourne, 15> Sydney, 10> Northern NSW, 1 Perth, 1>Darwin)
  • The Indigenous Relationships forum was really good. Thanks for putting it on.
  • Thanks to Food Not Bombs Brisbane for doing some great lunches
  • Thanks to the organisers of the social events.


Initially the group began asking specific individuals to provide reports on each workshop. However it was eventually decided to ask anyone who went to a workshop, to make their reports to the newswire of Brisbane Indymedia, or anarcon e-mailing list. They can then be grouped together as a feature on Brisbane Indymedia.

3] ::: Announcements :::

  • KimK, Linda & Asger are making an audio documentary about this conference. It will be played on 4ZzZfm and posted to Radio Indymedia when it gets done.
  • The 'No Borders, No Nation' workshop created interest in forming a Brisbane 'No one is Illegal' group. Look out for it.
  • There will be a forum hosted by the Turrbal people on the 28 May. Possibly at Queensland College of Arts. Contact Justine, TimA or Belle for details.
  • There will be a party at the Indymedia house after the conference closes. All welcome.
  • TimA wants to start a national contact e-list called "Australiasian Autonomous Rat Bags" to keep in touch with people round the country. Specifically so that when anarchist rat bags are travelling around the country, they can find friends, accommodation, etc in different places. A piece of paper was handed around asking people to put their email address on it for this list.
  • Ruth Rosenhek is putting on a 'Compassionate Action' workshop in Bardon Community Hall on 7-8 June. Based on Deep Ecology
  • A letter of support for the Tent Embassy in Canberra,was handed around and people were asked to send it to:- Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Parks, ACT, 2600

4] ::: HOUSE KEEPING :::

No one has done accurate book keeping at this stage. However the approximate costs stated were $100. None of the fundraising gigs actually made any money. The Anarchist Ball raised $4, while Twisted Crystal didn't cover costs. They were lots of fun though. Tim A's hat was passed around the room, but not counted.

Please help clean-up Visible Ink after the plenary.


Only proposal was Perth. No dissent, so the next National Anarchist Conference will be in Perth.

  • Proposed Date is To Be Announced, after discussion with other anarchists back in Perth. -> Suggestions made for the date include Summer (Jan.), Winter and Spring (Oct.) university holidays. Best to avoid Easter as it will clash with Easter protests at the refugee detention centres. It maybe hard having a conference on during winter holidays as this is when most large student conferences are on. Need to consider people who work, because if the conference is organised on the back of another action (i.e. Easter protests), the length of time away from work will be too long and people face the sack.
  • Travel Issues:
    • Each city should take on the responsibilities of organising their own cheap travel. So it was suggested that each city forms an organising collective to arrange their own travel.
    • Everyone should consider organising an 'Anarchy Train' over to Perth.
    • Barry want his own 'Anarchist Bus Company', selling shares now to raise the capital. (note: shouldn't that be an Anarchist Bus Co-operative Barry?)
  • Suggestion that this conference was too short and the next one should go for 3-4 days.
  • Suggestion that the Perth crew could imitate the fundraisers and ideas for organising the Perth 'Students and Sustainability' Conference.
  • Proposal that techie kids look into webcasting the Perth conference to allow greater accessibility.
  • Also suggested that the single national conference be replaced with a computer networked conference, so that people didn't have to travel to any particular city. However this kind of technology can alienate people who do not have access or skills to use it. Also people like the direct physical social interaction of the conference.
  • Perth crew will investigate setting up thier own discussion list and other techie related issues. Otherwise they were invited to continue using the current anarcon list which can be updated to suit Perth. It is found at


Anarchy For Life
Brisbane Anarchist & Autonomist Conference
2 - 4 May 2003

anarchy for life ...
... is the third annual national anarchist and autonomoust conference in Australia. It follows on from the highly successful ‘No Gods No Masters’ Conference in Melbourne 2001, and ‘From Insurgence to Resurgence’ conference in Sydney, 2002. And this year, Brisbane has the honours.

The organisers of this conference acknowledge that this land where Brisbane now stands, was stolen from the local indigenous peoples during an imperialist conquest. The organisers support the indigenous people’s struggles for sovereignty. We thank the Turrbul people for conducting the ‘Welcome to Country’ ceromony.

The conference will use a mixture of pre-planned and open space workshops.

Open Space workshops are self-organised, where participants shape the agenda. Workshops and the topics will be arranged after the Welcoming Ceromony. Particpants can chose for themselves which workshops to provide, at what times, and where. This is the format used by the Brisbane Social Forum.

The principles of open space are:

  1. Whoever comes are the right people
  2. It starts when its meant to
  3. When its over, its over
  4. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
  5. You are free to do what is of value to you

For more information of Open Space visit or A number of pre-planned workshops will also be held during the day at the same time, in different rooms. On the opposite the page is the conference program with the pre-planned workshops.

The Open Space workshops have not been included in this program because they will be organised on the day, and will be held in workshop rooms 3-5.

Workshop Timetable

Saturday Programmed Workshops

10.00 am - Welcome to Country Ceremony by the Turrbull People
10.30 am - Organise Open Space Workshops ( workshop rooms 3-5)
11.00 am - Varieties of Anarchism by Kimci
11.00 am - Anarcho-Feminism
Noon - Anarchy Q & A by Kimci
Noon - No Borders No Nations by Damian Eccelsley & friends
1.00 pm - Lunch by Food Not Bombs
2.00 pm - Dealing With Dominating Activist Personalities by Beyond Bullying
2.00 pm - Relationships between Anarchists & Indigenous Peoples
3.00 pm - Anarchist Organising and Collective Process by Tim & Kimci
3.00 pm - BioRegionalism by Ral
4.00 pm - Mutualist Economics by Kimci
4.00 pm - Films: Narangba anti-nuclear protest movement; Zapatista Women
5.00 pm - D.I.Y. Social Engineering tools and principles by Kimci
6.00 pm - Closing Time - gettin' ready for the Anarchist Ball!!

Sunday Programmed Workshops

10.00 am - Welcome to Country Ceremony
10.30 am - Organise Open Space Workshops ( workshop rooms 3-5)
11.00 am - Herstory of Australian Anarchism by Takver
11.00 am - Animal Rights by James Hutchings
Noon - Radical Sexuality
Noon - Lock-on: Direct Action Methods by Asger
1.00 pm - Lunch - nicely prepared by Food Not Bombs
2.00 pm - Radical Media Theory & Practise by Barry
2.00 pm - Films: 'The Land, The Square, The Voices of Argentina'; 'Mark Thomas Weapons Inspector'
3.00 pm - Open Source & Intellectual Property by Tao & Dave K
4.00 pm - Closing Plenary
6.00 pm - Closing Time

Associated Events

Thursday 1 May - Reclaim the Streets: Woolloongabba has been taken by the yuppies, so we are taking it back! Meet at 3.30 pm @ Raymond Park, Kangaroo Point. See report

Friday 2 May - Zine & Book Fair + Radical Cinema DIY stalls, bring along your own books, CD's and zines to share, swap and sell. Topics focusing on radical politics are particularly encouraged. No politcal parties or paper-sellers please. At the same time there will be screening a number of alternative and underground political films and videos.

Saturday 3 May - The Anarchist Ball - Details: A lovely dance featuring bands: Alien Escape from toytown; Steve Towson; Existence is; The Feminzais; Anal Cookie; Afterbath plus including poets and whoever else turns up. Put best frock and have some fun. At The Abandoned Warehouse.


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Last modified: 14 May, 2003

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