Jim Campbell was an anarchist and publisher, primarily devoted to prison activism. Campbell was born on November 20, 1949 in Shelburn, Ontario, and grew up on the family farm near Orangeville. In the 1960s Campbell studied mathematics at the University of Waterloo before becoming active in various projects and issues such as food- and housing-cooperatives. In the late 1970s Campbell helped establish one of several hippie communes “Dragonfly farm” in the Bancroft, Ontario, which still operates; he left the commune in 1981. Campbell supported his activist activities through his work as a City of Toronto municipal worker.
Campbell was a significant figure through his involvement in the formation of the Bulldozer collective in Toronto in 1980 and the creation of the Bulldozer/Prison News Service (PNS) newsletter, which began publishing the same year. Bulldozer/PNS was modeled on the anarchist journal Open Road, which began in 1976 in Vancouver, and for which Campbell worked in 1977 and where he became more involved in activist oriented politics and prison issues. Regarding Bulldozer/PNS Campbell stated that “We never wrote long essays telling prisoners what they should think. Rather we tried to provide a forum in which prisoners, individually and collectively, could articulate and develop their politics.”
Through Bulldozer collective activities Campbell contributed to raising awareness regarding the treatment of indigenous peoples, the Black Panther movement, violence against women and pornography, and to the activities of the Direct Action group. To bring attention to environmental degradation and the military-industrial complex, Direct Action (also known as the “Squamish Five,” and the “Vancouver Five”) bombed a BC Hydro substation on Vancouver Island in May 1982, and a Litton Industries factory in Toronto in October 1982; Litton Industries produced components for American cruise missiles. Bulldozer collective support the distribution of Direct Action support leaflets, and as a result the office of Bulldozer was raided by police in 1983. After a hiatus in publishing, Campbell continued to assist in the publication of the prison newsletter the Marionette, which then became Prison News Service.
Campbell continued to be engaged in the changing anarchist movement in Canada until his death September 17, 2007 in Maynooth Ontario, at age 57. He worked with Dr. Allan Antliff on Only A Beginning: An Anarchist Anthology, contributing pieces “Bulldozer/PNS” and “Racism.” Campbell is survived by his partner Julie Thiers.