June 15, 2019


Anarchists from the Melbourne Anarchist Club are providing enough material for at least 20 Monty Python reunion shows.

According to The Age, the anti-capitalist collective who abhor hierarchical power structures is engaged in a struggle for control of their Melbourne flophouse.

The tumbledown building, which is squashed incongruously between two multimillion-dollar apartment blocks, is facing certain demolition. Yet, despite its funky condition, the Northcote premises are advertised for sale with a price tag of $750,000, which would buy oodles of instant noodles.

The estranged groups could be described as the Floggers VS the Campers. A representative speaking to The Age on behalf of the Campers said an open meeting was held and a vote cast as to who wished to be “involved with the space”. In a vague explanation of events this same person is quoted as saying, “The split that occurred meant that people who wanted to have the space open to the community, to keep doing workshops and keep it from being owned and run by this one arsehole.”

We are wondering if she means Leigh Kendall? Then again, it’s such an unwieldy sentence we’re not sure what she means.

However, those outcasts who want to flog the squat claim to be the longer-term occupants and hence the ‘legitimate’ Melbourne Anarchists Club. They counter that the larger group is unlawfully occupying the building. The Floggers took the very anarchistic decision to initiate legal proceedings.

To a certain extent, it’s all a moot point since the Campers accuse the Floggers of entering the building and rendering it uninhabitable by removing doors and all the utilities such as water and electricity. This meant the Campers had to sling their hook and find somewhere else from which to avoid gainful employment.

Quoth a “mediator” for the Floggers, “These people have come in within the last two years. They took issues with some of the personalities and have decided to just occupy the space.”

Sounding like someone’s dad, he added, “I think that any registered community group has to follow rules. It’s not a question of what ideological ideals are driving them it’s a question of law.”

Law? Really? Yes, we suppose anarchists must learn to follow ‘the law’, it’s an essential part of their code.

“It’s all very well to say we will allow people to cook in our premises, but then who is liable if someone gets food poisoning?”

In the ensuing catfight, the two groups attempted to change the name of the registered public officers. The New Australian Bulletin has obtained an extract of the clubhouse’s Incorporated Association Details which has it listed as deregistered. No current secretary is recorded but the former listee was active from 2012. Registration ceased on September 1 2014. The same person served as office bearer from 2007 up to its renewal date and, presumably, its deregistration.  

Of course, who gets the money is the $750,000 question. The Campers are promising to start anew and establish another important clubhouse for misfits and degenerates. Although, their new incarnation may involve a few more rules, and the overseeing by a qualified lawyer. After all, without rules, it would all descend into anarchy.

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