GLOBAL FIRE – South African author Michael Schmidt on the global impact of revolutionary anarchism


GLOBAL FIRE – South African author Michael Schmidt on the global impact of revolutionary anarchism

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Join us for an exploration of the global history and impact of anarchist and syndicalist ideas and strategies with international author Michael Schmidt!

Michael Schmidt is an investigative journalist, an anarchist theorist and a radical historian based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has been an active participant in the international anarchist milieu, including the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front ( His major works include ‘Cartography of Revolutionary Anarchism (2013, AK Press) and, with Lucien van der Walt, ‘Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism’ (2009, AK Press). The sequel to Black Flame, ‘Global Fire: 150 Fighting Years of International Anarchism and Syndicalism’, will be released by AK Press in 2015.

LOCATION: Meeting Room 1, Victorian Trades Hall, 54 Victoria St, Carlton, Melbourne.

An intro to the talk:

‘Revolutionary anarchism gained a foothold in the daily lives of the popular classes 15 decades ago in the heart of the industrialised world – but also, crucially, in the colonial and post-colonial worlds where it offered the oppressed a practical set of tools with which they could challenge the tiny, heavily armed, parasitic elites. Anarchism provided the most devastating and comprehensive critique of capitalism, landlordism, the state, and power relations in general, whether based on gender, race, or other forms of oppression and exploitation. But it went far beyond that: African historian Michael Schmidt examines the anarchist practice of running cities in Spain during the Cantonalist Revolt of 1873-1874, their control of the city of Guangzhou in China over 1921-1923, of the two-million-strong Shinmin free zone in Manchuria of 1929-1931, the anarchist-influenced free zone in Nicaragua in 1927-1933, the better-known territorial control exercised in parts of Mexico, Ukraine, and Spain, and their involvement in the Iranian Revolution of 1978. These and other examples show that far from eschewing the exercise of power, anarchists actively decentralised power into the hands of the popular classes, a “counter-power” enlivened by working class counter-culture.’

There will be a Q&A and facilitated discussion after the talk.

This event is a joint initiative of Anarchist Affinity and the Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group.

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