THE ARCHIVE: if we want to know what this will have meant, we will only know tomorrow. Maybe. DERRIDA Mal D'Archive
56a Infoshop @n @rchive
to our 56a ARCHIVE worknights:
You can now check out the titles of most of the books we have in the archive (1,044 and counting!) by going to our LibraryThing page here
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!)
We have been archiving material since 1991. @n @rchive now contains an estimated 10,000+ items. The collection is mainly from the 1980's, 1990's and 2000's. Special sections within @n @rchive 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.
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.
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.
Collections at @n @rchive
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)
us at @n @rchive
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!
at @n @rchive
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.
KEEP ON FILING!!
NEWS: DECEMBER 2007
We have finally begun to have monthly Archive work days. Our goal for the near future is to have completed filing into the archive all the unsorted boxes of stuff we have accumulated over the last 2 years. Then we begin some sort of cataloguing work to order and create a small list of what we have and where it is. (No mean feat!!). GET INVOLVED if you like admin type nerdyness. Mail 56a for details of work days.
one more link
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
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: 7th December 2007 at 8.30pm by Septimus Musty, an Angel of History