Australian Anarchist History – Sydney Anarchist Group – 1973

Uploaded as part of the Anarchism in Australia project.

Author: Joe Toscano
Originally Published: Anarchist Age Weekly Review, No. 40, 12 June 2000
Retrieved from: A-Infos archive.


In 1973 there was not a functioning anarchist group working in Sydney. The anarchist movement consisted of a number of people who were friends and who worked together on particular projects. The Sydney anarchists in 1973 acted as a Libertarian tendency within mass action groups. The “push” Libertarians who had been functioning since the late 1950’s were active in the Victoria St. (Kings Cross) resident¹s action group. They attempted to stop high rise development destroying their local community. The Resident Action Group and the Builders Labourers Federation joined forces to physically overpower karate experts who had been hired by developers to illegally harass and evict the tenants.

Anarchists were also active in the Sydney Centre for Worker¹s Control. They supported Women Liberationists associated with the Centre who wanted to run the Centre through a monthly general assembly. The anarchists and women liberationists consistently won out in their struggle against people who wanted to establish a hierarchical organisation to run the Worker’s Control Centre.

A Worker’s Control Conference was organised by them for August 1973. The proposed topics for discussion were

1. What is Workers Control?
2. Workers control of prices.
3. The nature and role of shop floor organisation.

It didn’t take long for the Sydney anarchists to abandon the ad hoc approach they had in 1973. Within a few years, JURA Books was established to act as a focus for anarchist activity in Sydney. The tactics used by the Sydney anarchists in 1973 of organising as a specific anarchist tendency within mass organisations is one which is still being debated about in the Australian anarchist movement in the year 2001.

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