Wobbly Tested, Wobbly Approved

There are all kinds of interesting tidbits in Alessandro Ludovico's Post-Digital Print.  For example in the section on the mimeograph, he writes, "After a slow start, this revolutionary technology was appropriated in the 1930s by left-wing radical groups (not without some ideological controversy, as this effectively meant replacing unionized print workers with a cheap, lightweight machine.).  Significantly, the radical trade unionists of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) embraced the mimeo stencil, declaring it to be the IWW's unionized printing facility.  So even more than artists, it was political activists and dissidents (such as the exiled Trotsky, who printed his political 'zine' Byulleten Oppositzii, in this way) who found in the mimeograph the ideal medium for fostering freedom of expression and ideas, particularly during the years before and immediately after the Second World War."

In light of this observation, the handbill for the Wobbly Hall Readings I posted earlier becomes even more interesting and substantial.  The handbill and its manner of production represent the banding together of the aims and practices of the worker and the artist, which was precisely what the Minna Street readings and their venue attempted to put into play.  This seemingly insignificant piece of ephemera opens up an entire line of inquiry relating to the Mimeograph Revolution in terms of production and labor that might be most fully and fruitfully explored by turning away from the highspots of the Secret Location, such as C, Fuck You, Floating Bear, or J, and delving into lesser documented scenes, such as that emanating from the Berkeley streets or that of the Meat School surrounding publications like Douglas Blazek's Ole.  In examining mimeography in this manner, there is clearly plenty of work to be done.



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