Activism and... the Anarchist Bookfair

IssueNovember 2009

When I go, I feel revitalised, and reawoken, and really stimulated. I used to think maybe it was a bit lifestylist, and fetishist, but actually the level of debate and discourse I reconnect with when I go is really inspiring.
It’s actually more inspiring than any other forum I go into. I learn a lot. It could be more focused, but ultimately I feel I’m back with “my gang” and my mates. It helps keep things real and radical.
It reminds me to not make compromises, to keep believing and be part of this exciting creative community.
Woman, 20s

The bookfair keeps opening my eyes. When you look at the spectrum of people there in the big hall, from the Lib Ed stall with David Gribble to…. It shows anarchism is a wide spectrum.
There was one huge banner at the entrance which said: “Religion is stupid”. And then there was a priest who was an anarchist! He had a stall next to Peace News.
The amount of literature at the bookfair…. I could spend from now to the end of my life, 10 or 15 years, reading – and trying to implement some of the ideas. When I take early retirement….
I went to two lectures, Milan Rai’s talk on “Chomsky, revolution and nonviolence”, and the Parecon one. The feeling was very good.
I should have gone early in the morning. I should have taken more money to buy more books!
Man, 50s

It’s the ritual once-a-year-seeing-people-you-don’t-see-in-between-and-gathering-lots-of-bits-of-paper. It was the usual crowd of lovely people.
I hadn’t been to the Mile End venue before. It’s a bit spread out.
I never did find where the meetings were. Trying to track down a particular stall was also very confusing.
When it was in Conway Hall, it was a bit riotous, but it was nice because it was all contained in one place. With talks in the inaccessible Tower Rooms.
Then the bookfair was in the Camden Centre, a bit drear, not quite the right place for it. Then it was in the Resource Centre in Holloway Road, a bit too well resourced.
It’s basically got bigger and bigger, but not changed in essence: a lot of people dressed in their best anarcho-punk gear (well, not me actually), with bits of paper. When you finally get the reading matter out of your bag afterwards there is alot of good stuff to act on.
Woman, 70s

I can’t ever afford all the lovely books! I go really to meet people and see what’s happening. This year it was much more diverse and much friendlier than in the Camden Centre.
It was nice because I also met a lot of people who I’d met in other places but who I didn’t realise would be there – as well as the very old comrades.
I come back with very good thoughts and a bit of optimism.
Man, 60s

Topics: Anarchism, Activism
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