“More than Concrete and Steel: A history of urban activism in South Brisbane”

Hey folks!

We’ve got a stellar week lined up for the Brisbane Free University with two talks scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday evening.

6.30pm, Tuesday 31st May, 2016

BFU presents:
“More than Concrete and Steel: A history of urban activism in South Brisbane”
Bearded Lady, Boundary Street West End

A historian, an indigenous activist and an urban designer walk into a bar, to talk about community organising in South Brisbane….

“More than Concrete and Steel” is the first in a series of talks organised by Brisbane Free University for the Right to the City Campaign. The series will aim to explore the meaning of the “right to the city” by contextualising it within anti-colonial, feminist, anti-capitalist and anarchist movements. This set of 6 talks will span a diverse range of topics that intersect with and give meaning to the idea of the right to the city, exploring everything from decolonisation and the urban environment to feminist theories of the public realm; anarchist spatial politics and the aesthetics of urban resistance.

This first session will set the scene for our critical examinations of the “right to the city” by looking at some histories of urban activism in South Brisbane. The idea that as inhabitants of Brisbane we deserve the right to have a say in how the city evolves has long been part of political organising on the West End peninsular.

6.30pm, Wednesday 1st June, 2016

BFU presents:
“Beyond the Factory Floor: Opportunities for collective organising on the fringes of the union movement”
Carpark under Westpac Bank, 89-91 Boundary Street, West End

Brisbane Free University continues our series of discussions on the social and political context of contemporary work and labour with a discussion about collective organising beyond the “factory floor”.

The speakers:

PJ Holtum is a PhD candidate from the University of Queensland. He has spent most of a decade studying philosophy, anarchism, political science, and sociology, and he currently lectures and tutors at the UQ in both Social Science and Human development. His current research project (and PhD thesis) is an examination of the role that resistance plays in organising political responsibility(s) in workers at various sites across Brisbane. He is also a long-time fan of the Brisbane Free University.

PJ will talk about the transformation of “work” and its impacts on opportunities for collective organising.

Carmen Ansaldo
Come and hear an overview and report back from an Australian member of the Berlin Foreigners Section of the Freie Arbeiterinnen und Arbeiter Union, Germany’s historic anarcho-syndicalist base union. The Foreigners Section of the FAU is a modern development of the FAU Berlin syndicate which organises and represents the rights of working migrants across industries, nationalities and activist experiences. This presentation will touch on some of these struggles, the structure of the Foreigners Section specifically and the history of the FAU more generally, as well as welcoming any comments and questions you might have.

Come along to hear how workers can and have organised themselves without mainstream unions, within precarious industries and without the crutch of legal representation in order to demand the workplaces that we all deserve!

You don’t need to have a background or knowledge of anarcho-syndicalism, Germany or union struggles more generally to get something out of the presentation. Especially welcome are people who feel like the traditional organisational structures of workers struggle has been made inaccessible to them due to prevailing ideas of unions being for and of white dudes in factories hitting bricks with more bricks – it can be different, it is becoming different.


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