Academic journal article Anarchist Studies

About This Issue's Cover

Academic journal article Anarchist Studies

About This Issue's Cover

Article excerpt

In the summer of 2008, having just arrived in London, I encountered Matthew Butcher s red and black Model for A Monument: The AnarchoSyndicalist Town Hall in the south east corner of Russell Square, adjacent to the British Museum. A write-up affixed to the model informed me that the imposing 5.5 metre-high lattice wood structure had been commissioned by Camden Council as part of that year's London Festival of Architecture. Originally, Butcher imagined his model might occupy the site of a former communist cinema and propaganda distribution centre at 84 Grays Inn Road, but the Russell Square location was equally meaningful and appropriate, as it memorialized a squat in one of the adjacent buildings that had been closed by police in 2002. Butcher's préfiguration of anarchism in the form of a model town hall where the local community could garJier to organize the social transformation of society pointed toward moments of radicalism that crop up again and again in the history of the square and its environs. Butcher's metaphor for radicalism's historic transience was an anarchist-syndicalist flag painted on the model's red rotatable roof. When the roof was set in motion the flag periodically came into view, but only thanks to human agency. …

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