Ubi Dwyer

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Bill 'Ubi' Dwyer or William Ubique Dwyer (21 January 1933 – 13 October 2001) was an anarchist activist in New Zealand, Australia, England and his native Ireland best known as the originator and principal organiser of the Windsor Free Festival.

Early Activism[edit]

In the mid-1950s, Bill Dwyer moved to Aotearoa/NZ from Ireland. Whilst there he was introduced to anarchism by an English expat' and became very active in politics. He lived in NZ from the mid-1950s to 1966, and left behind him a series of legendary events. Dwyer did things like pass no confidence motions in the leadership of the Wellington Watersiders Union and the Victoria University Students Union, and was convicted for calling the Queen a bludger whilst speaking in Auckland in 1966.[1]

Dwyer moved to Sydney in 1966, selling cheap LSD in Sydney to finance anarchist activities. He became an exponent of psychedelic anarchism, believing acid to be a liberating substance. He was sent to prison in 1968 for selling LSD, and with the Australian government seeing him as a dangerous criminal, he was deported to Ireland in 1969.[2]

He was said to have been asked by John Lennon to help set up a commune on an island which may have been related to the Island Commune that he ran on Merrion Road in Dublin in 1970. A commune did exist on Dorinish, set up by friend Sid Rawle, between 1970 and 72.

In London he was involved with the Freedom Press news group and their associated Anarchy magazine, particularly the "Acid Issue", and organised an 'Acid Symposium' at Conway Hall in 1971.[3]

Windsor and Free Festivals[edit]

His experiences in the "liberation" of the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 (by tearing down the fences between the paid event and free gathering outside) inspired the idea of a truly "free" festival. An acid trip in Windsor Great Park led to the notion of squatting the former common land that had been in Crown ownership since being reserved for royal hunting by William the Conqueror, and he began to organise what was to become the People's Free Festival.[4] Windsor Free Festival was the forerunner and inspiration for the Free Festival Movement and directly the Stonehenge Free Festival and the later Glastonbury Festivals. Following the violent suppression of the '74 event he was imprisoned along with Sid Rawle to prevent the organising of a 1975 festival.[5] He was imprisoned again attempting to organise another Windsor Free Festival in 1978 which did take place at Caesar's Camp nearby.[6]

Later life[edit]

Sometime around '76 he returned to Dublin, continuing for some years to organise a People's Free Festival in Phoenix Park, campaigning for legalisation of Cannabis[7] and H-Blocks prisoner rights.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Boraman, Toby (2007) "Rabble rousers and merry pranksters: a history of anarchism in Aotearoa/New Zealand from the mid-1950s to the early 1980s" pp. 8–25
  2. ^ Coombs, Anne (1996) "Sex and Anarchy: the Life and Death of the Sydney Push" (Viking), pp.182–186.
  3. ^ Bill Dwyer's 'Acid Symposium' at the Conway Hall
  4. ^ Beam, Alan (1976) "Rehearsal for the year 2000: (drugs, religions, madness, crime, communes, love, visions, festivals and lunar energy) : the rebirth of Albion Free State (known in the Dark Ages as England) : memoirs of a male midwife (1966–1976)"
  5. ^ Clarke, Michael (1982) "The Politics of Pop Festivals", chapter four 'The Development of Free Festivals, 1973–1976'
  6. ^ Rex v Regina – Ubi's arrest and Caesar's Camp Free Festival – IT 1978
  7. ^ Ubi Dwyer is organising a "Legalise It" campaign in Ireland and 1980 People's Festival in Phoenix Park – IT 1980

Bibliography[edit]

  • Boraman, Toby (2007) "Rabble rousers and merry pranksters: a history of anarchism in Aotearoa/New Zealand from the mid-1950s to the early 1980s" pp. 8–25
  • Coombs, Anne (1996) "Sex and Anarchy: the Life and Death of the Sydney Push" (Viking), pp. 182–186.
  • Beam, Alan (1976) "Rehearsal for the year 2000: (drugs, religions, madness, crime, communes, love, visions, festivals and lunar energy) : the rebirth of Albion Free State (known in the Dark Ages as England) : memoirs of a male midwife (1966–1976)"
  • Clarke, Michael (1982) "The Politics of Pop Festivals", chapter four 'The Development of Free Festivals, 1973–1976'
  • McKay, George (1996) Senseless Acts of Beauty: Cultures of Resistance since the Sixties, chapter one 'The free festivals and fairs of Albion'
  • Cloonan, Martin (1996) "Banned!: censorship of popular music in Britain, 1967–92"

External links[edit]