On Active Service | J.A.Andrews | SA1210

On Active Service | J.A.Andrews | SA1210

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On Active Service: Items in the History of the People’s Movement in Australia
5.5x8.5", 44 pages, saddle-stitched

Eccentric Australian anarchist J.A.Andrews writes about his experience with the labor activist groups, including the Active Service Brigade, where he worked side-by-side with Arthur Desmond, popularly known by his pen name Ragnar Redbeard. The last chapters are his experiences in prison. This memoir was published over eleven installments in the Australian newspaper The Tocsin, between May and July 1900.

"This tale of action has it all: street fighting, vandalism, agent provocateurs, subversive underground papers, jail time. These are the tales of the Active Service Brigade, a Theosophy inspired, direct action oriented, radical labor union from 1890s Australia. The contents of this pamphlet were originally published as serialized essays in the Australian newspaper Tocsin, in 1900. Intrinsically this would be interesting enough, but as an added bonus one of the major players in this tale was Arthur Desmond, who later achieved infamy under the pseudonym Ragnar Redbeard, author of the bombastic social Darwinist screed Might Is Right. This account further problematizes the standard narrative of Redbeard, who is usually portrayed as a terrible proto-fascist. In actuality he was a street fighting leftist, who went toe to toe with the Australian state." -Asymmetrical Anti-Media Issue 17

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