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History of NZ anarchism launched in Auckland

Anarchist book launch at site of terror raid on 25th anniversary of protest suicide

Sunday, November 18 2007

History of NZ anarchism launched at Auckland site of terror raids on 25th anniversary of anarchist protest suicide

A book on the history of Anarchism in New Zealand will be launched tonight at 6pm at the Auckland anarchist social centre where one of last months Urewera 17 was arrested, says author Toby Boraman.

Rabble Rousers and Merry Pranksters: A History of Anarchism in Aotearoa/New Zealand from the mid-1950s to the early 1980s is being launched at A Space Inside anarchist social centre at 193a Symonds St, Newton.

Today is also the 25th anniversary of the death of anarchist punk rocker Neil Roberts who died while placing a bomb outside the Wanganui Police Computer on 18 Nov, 1982 in a protest against the creeping fascism and police state of Muldoon.

But Boraman says that the launch is not a celebration of Roberts' protest act - which harmed no-one else - and that the book clearly argues that Roberts' act of property destruction was completely ineffective in challenging the system.

Anarchists are not terrorists, but instead aim for a society organised without coercion, he says. Anarchists in New Zealand have never purposely maimed, injured and killed people to create a climate of fear and far from the mythology of the mad bomber, anarchists have played constructive roles in a number of protest movements.

Boraman says Anarchists were prominent in the anti-nuclear, anti-Vietnam War, anti-US military bases, commune, unemployed and peace movement in the 1960s and 1970s. The book captures some of the imagination, audacity, laughs and wildness that animated many of the social movements at the time, he says.

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During this time, particularly from the late sixties to the early seventies, an astonishingly broad-based revolt occurred throughout the country. Thousands of workers, Maori, Pacific people, women, youth, lesbians, gays, students, environmentalists and others rebelled against authority. Innovative new styles and anarchistic methods of political dissent became popular.

Boraman says that it will interest not only anarchists and richly-details a much neglected anti-authoritarian leftist current in New Zealand history.


* Paperback, 154 pages, RRP $30-$35, ISBN 978-0473-122-997. Illustrated with historical photographs, posters and leaflets.

* To read the introduction of the book, go to and click on excerpt.

* A percentage of book sales will go to the defence fund for those arrested in the anti-terror raids.

* A short film about anarchist punk rocker Neil Roberts called The Maintenance of Silence will be shown during the launch to mark (but not to celebrate) the 25th anniversary of his death.

* A few anarchist veterans from the sixties and seventies will speak about their experiences during those decades.

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