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'Sewing Freedom': forthcoming book on early anarchism in New Zealand


A new book on the little-known movement that was early New Zealand anarchism is set to hit the shelves in April 2013.

'Sewing Freedom: Philip Josephs, Transnationalism & Early New Zealand Anarchism' is an insightful account of anarchism in New Zealand during the turbulent years of the early 20th century—a time of wildcat strikes, industrial warfare and a radical working class counter-culture. Interweaving an array of archival sources with a biographical/transnational approach, author Jared Davidson pieces together the life of Philip Josephs; a Latvian-born Jewish tailor, anti-militarist and founder of the Wellington Freedom Group. Anarchists like Josephs not only existed in the ‘Workingman’s Paradise’ that was New Zealand, but were a lively part of its labour movement and the class struggle that swept through the country, imparting uncredited influence and ideas.

"There's been little research published on anarchism in New Zealand, and what has tends to concentrate on more recent times," notes Davidson, who spent a number of years meticulously researching the book. "Instead, Sewing Freedom looks at the rise of anarchism withing the New Zealand Socialist Party, the part played by anarchists during the era of the 'Red' Federation of Labor, and the treatment they received during the First World War. They were a minority group of radicals, but a vocal one," adds Davidson, "thanks to their cultural influence through pamphlets and public speaking." It is hoped the book will help put those anarchists previously neglected by much historiography back into the picture.

Published by US publishers AK Press and featuring the vibrant illustrations of American printmaker Alec 'Icky' Dunn, 'Sewing Freedom' will be available online or through independent bookstores.

To follow the progress of the book and for more information on stockists, check out: