Queer anarchists – convention day 1

There were about 30 people in the park by 10am. Waited an extra 15 minutes for more to come and there was a contingent already at the venue.
We’d heard the building had been squatted before for a New Year’s Eve party, and the owner had been pleased about parties being held there cos they wanted to reopen it as a nightclub. The Building Group had heard Development Application searches had been done on it, and there had been nothing mentioned in the council meetings for the past four years.
The entrance was strewn with broken bottles, dust and stank of urine. Went in and all the dust blew in. The two-storey building was dark, huge and glamorous – it had been a former S&M club with many nooks and crannies.

Three bikers had been executed in the building seven years before. There had also been a fire and there were smoke-stained walls and burnt light fittings. It felt spooky.

A Legal/Security person was listening to a police scanner, checking out if the cops were onto us. “They’re mainly talking about domestics and car accidents.”
– “You’re a town planner and I’m a white collar professional. Most of us are accepted in mainstream society – we can afford to hire venues. What are we doing in an airless derelict building with only two flushing toilets and partial electricity?”
“But isn’t it exciting?”
– “What would your Mum say – she thinks you’re on a round-the-world trip?”
“Oh, stop being divisive!”

Four of us were cleaning the bathrooms and were overpowered by ammonia fumes and had to rush out. The floors were flooded in the men’s and ladies. Half the toilets wouldn’t flush.

Someone had accidentally spilt quite a bit of rice upstairs in the food area.

MEETING: The publican next door doesn’t mind us being here, so long as we buy drinx from him. We can hang around and smoke outside his pub.

There aren’t many neighbours – mainly empty buildings. The place next door is a shooting gallery for addicts and is riddled with sharps; the other building is still being broken into so we can use it for accommodation.
Between our building and next door is an upstairs shared door with some aggro neighbours, but locks have been put on it so they can’t get in and hassle us.

Everything was cleaned up and all seemed fine. l went home to sleep.
Logged on to my email a couple of hours later and everyone had been evicted!

MEETING: 9pm Newtown Hotel for a debriefing.
The drama had begun when “a bloke pulled up in a car outside and walked into the building. He walked straight by me – I didn’t know who he was. We didn’t have the front door locked cos we were still taking things in and out. And the door was far too difficult to close – it took about four minutes to ever get it open again.
“He stood in the middle of the room, yelling `Get out, get out, get out!’ I was shaking when I spoke to him – told him what we were about and that we’d only be there a short time, then I offered him money – but he wouldn’t listen. So I yelled: `Everybody come down here now!’ They did. Then I said: `We have to get him out!’
“Then he grabbed a mop and broke it in two and was wielding it like a weapon while he called the police on his mobile.
“Four cops turned up and they watched as we took everything out.
“Then a security guard came and was posted there 24/7. He was nice and took our details so he could pass them on to other people who turned up later, wondering where QR was being held.
“That was it!
“I was pissed off, cos we could have held the building if we hadn’t been so fluffy – we have to be more militant. If the door had of been closed, he couldn’t have got in, and the police wouldn’t have bashed the door down if they’d thought we’d had hundreds of people in there. They would have gone away.”

Resolution: to meet tomorrow at 9am, Belmore Park, to break into a former squat in Homebush that has no electricity or water.
“It’s really difficult when a place doesn’t have water.”

Had a conversation with some interstate younglings who kept asking me to “point out the organisers”.
“There aren’t any – it’s a collective.”
-“I’d love to be arrested. Wouldn’t it be exciting?”
“But you’re s’posed to be squatting for the principles.”
-“But there’s nothing wrong with doing stuff cos it’s exciting. I want to be a renegade!”

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Queer anarchists – convention day 2

“About 50 people arrived at Homebush train station. The ticket collector was rude cos of how we were dressed and told us to leave the station, so we congregated at the nearby busstop.
“Got in under a mesh fence. Barricaded and secured a beautiful two-storey building in Homebush on Parramatta Road.
“Moved stuff in. Our truck was next to the fence. In a stroke of bad luck, a bloke quickly arrived who works in the pub across the road, claiming to represent the owner. [There was a rumour that last time the building had been squatted two years ago, the owner had been in jail, so there had been no problems]. He shouted “Get out” and called the police. Two cops arrived.
“Then he got a saw and started sawing through the door. The cops had to restrain him. Then he said he’d bring dogs and set them on us.
“The cops arrested three QR guys who were standing next to the van and got the QR7 phone number off them and rang us, saying: “Get out.”
– “Is that a directive?”
“What’s a directive?” It took the cops about 15 minutes to figure out what a directive was, then they said: “Yes!”
“So most of the people with foreign passports left along with a couple of activists who were on good behaviour bonds and only 15 people were left behind in the dark with no lights or water.”
A few foreign visitors later said: “We regretted leaving cos the cops had been mostly bluffing. They used lots of mind games on us and we fell for it.”
The people inside decided that if the foreign visitors couldn’t feel safe to attend QR then they’d have to find another venue. “So we came out. The arrested guys were then `unarrested’.
“We went back to the train station and the ticket collector hassled us, saying: “Where are your fucking tickets?” which pissed everyone off.”

MEETING: 7pm, Alpha House. There was a huge chart on the wall that outlined about eight venue options.

G offered to donate $$$ towards renting a warehouse, but there was a lot of reluctance to pay to rent a place when it was preferable to squat.
We decided to check out the Nunnery as an interim measure.

AFTERTHOUGHTS:
“I wish the meetings were held like the communists do them – v efficient. Unlike the socialists – they discuss stuff for ages – it all goes in circles.”

– “I liked how you fell asleep during the meeting.”

Queer anarchists – convention day 3

“We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional owners of this land where we are holding this gathering…”
– “I don’t believe anyone can own land – I’m an anarchist. We’re all parasites on this planet. Noone is a land owner.”
“Instead of ‘owners’, how about ‘traditional custodians’?”
– “OK.”

Set a meeting time limit of 90 mins and stuck to it.

“Triple J wants to do an interview about the Sex Party. But that’s all – just the Sex Party.”
“We’re not just about sex parties – that’ll give the wrong idea.”
“They want to find out more about that. Maybe come along. They don’t want to cover the other stuff.”
“Typical!”

Bite magazine workshop:
How did the Melbourne crowd raise money to publish their independent, queer, sexy 16-page newspaper?
“We held parties and made moonshine – even vodka and cocktails!”
“For the pink party, punters walked through a large vagina.”
“It only costs $1000 to print a 16-page paper. The hardest bit is finding good content – we asked everyone but most can’t write in a journalistic way.”
– “At one party we didn’t know all the DJs. One of them played such bad music when I was peaking that I had to throw him off after 10 minutes!”

Band night: The Nancys were brilliant, screaming something about “lay bys “ and “price checks”. Another band just seemed to scream “Raaah! Raah!”.
Partying went til 5.30am and the neighbours didn’t complain.

Queer anarchists – convention day 4

Got to Nunnery at 12 for a meeting scheduled for 11am, but only four people were there.
There was a big notice on the whiteboard that had been written last nite – “K wants to pick up.” “Did she?”
“Yeah, she did.”
MEETING: 1pm
Had a discussion about whether to hold the “Mother-of-All Dance Parties” tonite. We had “all of Sydney” on standby to come along, though the word had earlier spread that there had been a major setback cos the squatted venues had fallen through.
2pm: No venue and no energy after partying every nite. Decide to reschedule the Mother-of-All-Dance Parties to Tuesday nite.
Sitting-on-the-blanket chit chat: Had a discussion about whether some of us are “anarchism latte” and others are more hard core.

Games were played – Twister and Trouble – and there was lots of gender-bending fashion happening in the dress-up room.

ARVO: Downpour began. Rain continued for days.
Tents were put up and trenches dug for drainage.
Tap dancing workshop: held by Macquarie K and mathematician N.
Hair straightening workshop: Did three bloke’s hair, though T’s stayed half curly.

EVENING: INFORMAL DISCUSSIONS AND HANGING ABOUT:
In the main tent people were working on the Cunt Quilt and Rubbergrrl created a green ribbon artwork around the tent poles. N poured hot wax over Pt’s chest and pinched his nipples while I held Pt’s arms back so he couldn’t protect himself. There was a make-out tent, with candles, that attracted lots of cuddling action.

About 8pm there was a debate upstairs over the definitions of “feral” and whether “nunnery” was a real word. M said he’s not feral – “The only time I experience nature is when I drive past a median strip.” B went downstairs to get the huge dictionary: Nunnishness – means “nun-like”. Nunnish: Of, pertaining to, or resembling a nun; characteristic of a nun.

-Dinner, vegan thai served at 10.30pm – cooking took ages due to the outside downpour, so huge pots were brought inside and heated up on a small domestic stove.

Cuddling and discussion continued until late…

Queer anarchists – Day 5

Converged about 50 metres in front of the stage to prepare to do an Action. A couple of QRers took their tops off and painted the Anarchy symbol on their breasts and slogans such as “My sexuality cannot be sponsored”. Painted a red and black banner with the words: “Community, not commodity”.
+E gave us an outline of how to do the Action – at 3pm, we walked single file up to the stage and danced to the performer’s music while waiting for a break between songs. Had leaflets to distribute that explained how it “costs $5000 to give out flyers at Fair Day” and “No War protesters were not allowed to hand out flyers last year”. E had the wheelie bin stereo sound system and PA, and was ready to give a speech.

Unexpectedly, the Fair Day organisers experienced a huge technical hitch and the singer’s music cut out. E thought we shouldn’t race up then cos we’d be blamed for pulling the plug, but the rest of us wanted to go and charged ahead. Gave out 500 leaflets to a receptive audience. L and German N proudly held the banner up at the front of the stage while two Security blokes on either side of the stage took ages to figure out this wasn’t an official part of the program. The banner was pulled off the QRupters, but was soon given back.

A cameraman started taking footage of QR hula hoopers and we asked him to stop: “We don’t want to be used for commercial TV interests.” “But our producer is gay!” he argued. Then one of the QRer’s said: “I want to be on TV!” So she was filmed and we asked for the rest of the vid to be erased.
Fair Day rained out about 5pm and the place emptied.

FILM NITE: (didn’t attend – had chronic illness.)

Queer anarchists – convention days 6&7

Day 6
+ Several workshops.
+Sex Party. Was held at the Gallery and hugely successful. Cuddle puddle.

+++++++++++++

DAY 7 – TUES
MEETING: 2pm, Nunnery:
Mother-of-All Dance Parties had previously been scheduled for tonite, but everyone was too trashed after the Sex Party last nite.
Rang Nt (“I’m trashed”) and P (“I’m feeling a bit fragile”), so I guessed it wouldn’t be on (yes, I know it’s a collective, but there are still key people!) About 12 of us went over to KR Gallery to clean up after Sex Party. N drove the van like a crazy madman and [behind his back] we agreed he’d earnt the “Most Anarchistic Driver” title, though R from Redfern was a close contender.
It was obvious from the aftermath that everyone had had a great time. The owner wouldn’t let us come back tonight cos he’d had another big party there on Sat nite and was exhausted, but said we could come back another time. Was only one police complaint about noise. D cleaned the bathroom up and V mopped the huge floor – it all looked cleaner than it did before the party.
+ Me and V cleaned out the “biohazard” bathtub that had been used for pissing on a bloke in the S&M space (though later the bloke said: “Nah, we couldn’t piss on command – we used water mixed with paint”).
At 6pm, V was still getting calls on the QR phone: “Where’s the party?”
“Call us later this arvo,” he said.
I pointed out: “V, it’s 6pm now!”

Several of us went to the vegan Green Gourmet.
N said he’s never slept with his flatmate Nt, who was with us.
Why not? “He’s trouble.”
Asked if N is in the Furries, cos he’s super hairy. “No. They appear to be accepting of various body types but ultimately are like every other group – lots of rules.”
Nt: “I went to a Furries party wearing all pink and they rejected me.”
N: “See? He’s trouble.”

Gender/queer sexualities Workshop: held by San Fran E and Redfern S. How do we self-ID? A person had been asked at the Sex Party how they self-IDed cos they were in the Womyn’s Space. What pronouns do we like to use? Should we use any?
“In Chinese there’s no male or female pronouns.”
– “Yeah, but their society is still fucked.”
– Decided we should use “they” instead of “he” or “she”.

Art Show: Lots of great art.

Talent Show: Four easily bribed judges touted a “BMX bike” as the big prize and encouraged us to “dob in your friends”. Violet sang “Thank You for Queeruption”; Norrie sang a “Freedom “ song a capella; Sarah did a tummy trick – can’t remember if she also did “Moo” noises, but someone did; Mayhem did a Skippy impersonation; Sam did handstands; Raf did a “flexible shoulders” trick; Catherine D did topless hula hooping and got Bri to join in; F did wrestling with someone. Bunning did an act of terrorism by taking someone hostage and as ransom he wanted (and won!) the BMX (which was pink and girl-size).

Queer Anarchists’ convention – Day 8

Nunnery, 3pm:
Lots of stuff had been sorted and was in piles everywhere waiting for people to come and claim what’s theirs.
Beach Workshop – “I love the beach, but not the sun and the sand.”
“You need a rocky beach on a cloudy day.”
Took A and T and Nt to Bondi. The beach was packed with families and Nt swam in his white undies that showed everything as soon as he got wet. Everyone could still clearly read the world “SLUT” that had been cut into his back at the Lost Panties S&M party held two months ago.

Walking back to the car, along the main street, a little old lady was standing next to us at the crossing as Nt said loudly: “The Sex Party was great. I’d wanted to get ‘FAGGOT’ carved in my chest but didn’t get round to it.” (the lady jumped further away!).

Got back to the Nunnery and cleared out more rubbish. Threw out a toy that, as it bounced, said: “I love you! I love you!” Crtf and I nearly cried and took the toy along to the Erko pub that evening, where we were brusquely told that ideas of romantic love were completely silly.

Erko Pub socialising: N said he’d got a phone message saying: “I know who your dark-skinned, well-groomed leader is. He’s trying to close down my deep house dance party at Marrickville Bowlo Club.”
-“He’s got his wires crossed – I’m not interested in deep house music,” N said.

Several people wanted to go skinny dipping at Bronte pool. “I got scabies from sharing towels,” F said. “I had huge scabs and scars on my back from communal living.” “There’s sea lice in Bronte pool,” E said. “And sharks.” [Asked S a few days later how it went: “Yeah, we all stripped off and swam in the pool while a sleazy bloke watched us.”]

Gave Crtf and Nr and V and lifts home.
Nr has been barefoot for five years.
“Don’t your feet get dirty?”
“As dirty as shoes.”

Chatted to L at the Black Rose stall, who was featured in the SMH “Protesters refuse to rule out violence” APEC story and she’s p*ssed off with the writer cos “the headline was a beat up”. She felt the writer had seemed friendly and reasonable and apart from the headline and intro the article had turned out OK. The Tele had given them at least two front pages. She said APEC week had been terrible for everyone and her photo was on the hit list.