Most kiwi anarchists should have a copy of this already. Those further afield should be interested in this account of anarchism’s changing fortunes in changing times (not to mention the links it shows between Aotearoa/New Zealand and the movement in Australia, Wales, Scotland and England).
Boraman has done lots of research: the book is full of photos and reproductions of posters and publications. It takes a broad brush approach, giving the context of everyone who was claiming to be anarchist or was influenced by anarchist attitudes (parts of the feminist movement among others). Communes, bookshops, printing, pranks and protests all get a look-in, as familiar debates on organisation and tactics. Thankfully, Boraman is willing to give his own opinion:
‘Capitalism, and authoritarian society in general, produces antagonistic relationships – people are compelled to resist capitalism, authority and the state in some minor way just to get by day to day. This hidden resistance became more open and widespread from the late 1960s to the early 1970s. The inventive rebellion of this period proved that events can swing in a more anti-authoritarian and anti-capitalist direction quite rapidly, and so there is no need to be permanently pessimistic about the chances for radical transformation. I believe this is a crucial lesson to be learnt from the period. During a period of mass working class unrest, people can quite quickly discover new practices and adopt new ideas in the process of their collective struggles.’ (p139).
This won’t (I hope) be the final word on Aotearoa/New Zealand anarchism, but it’s a great addition to the work of Frank Prebble. It’s recommended for anarchists (wherever they are) who want to look at their history to ask ‘What do we want? How do we get it?’ or who are thinking of writing more history from below. Bookunin
Rabble rousers and merry pranksters : a history of anarchism in Aotearoa/New Zealand from the mid-1950s to the early 1980s by Toby Boraman.
Katipo Books and Irrecuperable Press, 2007. 9780473122997 AK in Edinburgh have copies or see http://www.rebelpress.org.nz/publications/rabble-rousers-merry-pranksters