THE ARCHIVE: if we want to know what this will have meant, we will only know tomorrow. Maybe. DERRIDA Mal D'Archive

56a Infoshop Archive

Come to our next 56a ARCHIVE worknight:
3rd TUESDAY of the MONTH 7 - 9pm

No experience needed. Just willingness to shuffle papers and sort leaflets. Get to know the archive!! Meet the nerds at 56a. Be a nerd yourself! Drink tea, file and destroy capitalism (slowly)!! See you there

You can now check out the titles of most of the books we have in the archive (1,275 and counting!) by going to our LibraryThing page here

What is 56a Archive?
It's an open-access, almost sorted out reading and research library. We archive radical and anarchist magazines, pamphlets, books, posters and leaflets. We hope that people will come by to read it or to use it to research radical writing (towards action!)

Why is 56a Archive?
We have been archiving material since 1991
. The archive now contains an estimated 70,000+ items. The collection is mainly from the 1980's, 1990's and 2000's. Special sections within the archive go back further. Alongside regular magazines and pamphlets, have maintained an amazing mass of leaflets and ephemeral papers from different anarchist and social movements. We are not sure if anyone else has a collection of this stuff. We keep all this stuff as a valuable part of the movement's social history. It probably functions as a useful educational tool as well.

How is 56a Archive?
It simply divided up in three ways:
UNITED KINGDOM and INTERNATIONAL anarchist and radical magazines (eg. from Malta, Israel, Venezuela to London, Derby, Brighton etc)
SUBJECT ARCHIVE (material filed by topic (eg. Prison, Palestine, Bikes, Permaculture, Peace, Anti-Fascism etc). Follow this link for an extensive A - Z Listing that we are in the process of updating
Within this section we have so far covered 300+ topics. Some subject boxes contain a little, some contain a lot. We have Special Collections where we have a lot of material (see below).
BOOKS (some books are mixed into the subject files due to lack of space but most are stored on bookshelves)

We have a Reading Rack where everything new in is filed for immediate access to visitors. We have a small (less than perfect) reading space where people can read or research from the archive.

Who is 56a Archive?
Okay, here's the nub. It's a mammoth work-in-progress that really needs dedicated archive volunteers to keep it in some sort of useable order. So far, the work has fallen on one or two people who like archiving. We figure that there must be others out there who like filing, sorting, acquiring etc and who would like to work collectively to keep
@n @rchive up-to-date and growing. If this sounds like you, and preferably you live in London, then come down and see the archive and talk to us. Or mail us at the 56a Infoshop email address.

Special Collections at 56a Archive
These are subjects that we are particularly keen on maintaining and acquiring new and old stuff for. They include:
ANARCHISM (all the 57 varieties! Including history of, theory of, practice of, culture of etc. 27 box files)
SITUATIONIST (history, theory, critique, practice. Mainly French, UK and USA. 10 boxes)
LEFT COMMUNIST (council communist, ultra-left, autonomist marxist etc 10 boxes)
QUEER (many zines and leaflets, mainly 90/00's. 10 boxes)
WOMENS (feminist mags and zines by women. Subjects (eg. health, theory etc. 18 boxes)

CRITICAL MASS (flyers from the early 90's USA and UK rides. 1 folder)
• SQUATTING (uk history, practical, international. 100's of flyers from London Squat Centres 1981 - Now. 14 boxes)
ZINES (we have a big library of self-published zines on all topics from mainly UK and USA. 50 boxes)
ANTI-CAPITALIST MOVEMENTS (Material from the recent social movements from Zapatistas to G8 2005. 20 boxes)
PRACTICAL (How-to info on cooking, self-publishing, pirate radio, radical organising etc. 10 boxes)

Help us at 56a Archive
Doing a zine, anarchist mag, pamphlet? We need donations of your published efforts. In fact, we rely on them as we don't have much money to subscribe or buy stuff for the collection. All we can promise is that after your publication has done it's month as a 'Just In' item, it will be lovingly archived and then be available to anyone who comes looking for it. We appreciate all donations. If you have a collection of stuff under your bed that you don't know what to do with, give it to us.
• We are particularly interested in Situationist stuff. If you can't part with it, we can arrange photocopying and return the stuff to you. Cool!

Networking at 56a Archive
We are keen to start working with other radical archives in the world. We will probably begin to approach other archives later in the year. We will also begin a UK list of archives on this page. Get in touch if you work in something like this.

Duplicates at 56a Archive
We have loads of duplicate mags and newsletters and papers. We want to give them to other archives. Contact us for details or pop-by and look through the duplicates boxes.



one more link


During the last dictatorship, when many people were impelled to get rid of their books and emptied there libraries, buried documents or burned papers, Carlos and I still kept the documents that constitute the history of the group, which was truly significant for me, it marked me in a very particular way. For what I am, what I think, it all has to do with that moving experience which made me grow up and perceive reality in another way, which allowed me to find people I care about and with those with whom I sympathise, people who are very dear to me and close friends...
...We felt a paralysing fear as the search closed in. We were anxious about not compromising or exposing others, even at the moment when the group no longer existed and, under certain circumstances, that the situation forced me to adopt a different criteria of preservation to protect people even if this meant destroying documents. The criteria I finally adopted meant I would only keep the material which had already been made public. I kep this and destroyed, amongst other things, the notebooks with minutes of our meetings - where you would very often find the voices of the protagonists - and information about the debates and discussions that had taken place within the group or though correspondence..
From 'A Small History' by Graciela Carnevale

i wasn't worried about the search because i knew there was nothing incriminating in the house the only thing that could interest them was in the cellar my records of the movement all the newspapers the magazines the leaflets of these past years i was jealous of my archive i'd spent hours organising it but it was all perfectly legal..and so they started the gradual removal from the cupboard to the boots of cars I was wretched I knew i'd never see it again it would rot in the cellars of some police station or court house it would vanish just as in years to come all the comrades' archives would vanish deliberately destroyed by them all the newspapers all the magazines all the leaflets all the documents all the posters all the publications of the movement destroyed vanished all bundled in cardboard boxes and plastic rubbish bags and burned or thrown on rubbish tips tons of printed matter the written history of the movement its memory dumped among refuse consigned to the flames through a fear of repression a fear well justified because all it took then was a leaflet found in a search to put you in prison for a year or two NANNI BALLESTRINI: The Unseen

Last updated: 27th Oct 2013 at 8.30pm by Septimus Musty Jnr, an Angel of History