Allan Burnett

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Allan Burnett Jan. 12, 1925 - Oct.10, 2007.

Allan Burnett was born on the 12th of January 1925 and grew up in Glasgow. He was politically active from an early age and as a youth, became a member of the Glasgow Anarchist Federation. As a young man he worked at various jobs, among them a shipwright and and an insurance clerk. His views soon had him in conflict with the state, and as a conscientious objector. in 1943 he was sent to Barlinnie prison in Glasgow, and also served time in Saughton prison in Edinburgh. At his trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court, he made an impassioned statement from the dock, saying, “I refuse to be pitchforked or led into slaughter, like so much human manure, or to be duped into the lunatic butchery of my comrades and fellow workers of other geographical spheres who are like-wise enslaved in a system of organised misery imposed on them by their respective ruling classes.” After his release he moved to London and for some time lived in various communes. It was during this time that he started to travel, living in youth hostels in France and Italy. During this period Allan married and shortly after his marriage moved to New Zealand. He lived out the rest of his life in New Zealand, never returning to Scotland. In New Zealand he initially worked as a shipping clerk and a bank officer before eventually becoming self employed and running his own business in the building trade. In the 1970s Auckland City Council employed him as a housing inspector. Allan was also very active the the Workers Educational Association and had the honour of holding the association’s public speaking trophy in the mid 1970s. Allan throughout his life was a keen writer and poet and had several of his poems published in The New Zealand Writers Workshop regular publication, “Inksheds”, a book he helped to publish over a number of years. His poems cover a range of subjects from politics, in particular his libertarianism, to his love of the outdoors, a passion which is evident from his youthful diary. Allan died on the 10th of October 2007.

The Spirit of Revolt holds a collection of Allan Burnett’s writing, including his poems, diary and fragmentary reflections, and correspondence sent by Allan Burnett to his family, including letters sent by Allan to his mother while imprisoned in Barlinnie Prison, Glasgow. The collection also includes photographs of Allan and his family and friends, employment references and school reports, job applications, and a number of issues of "Inkshed", a journal of poetry and short stories published by Burnett and his friends in the New Zealand Writers Workshop. Throughout the collection are explanatory notes written by Anne Oliver, his partner, providing contextual information on the material. This collection can be viewed on line at spirit of Revolt

Posted By John Couzin.

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