More than books

IssueMarch 2008
Feature by Declan McCormick

In Britain and especially in Glas- gow there are fewer and fewer outlets for independent and radi- cal materials.

Corporate bookshops rule the roost and offer little in the way of counter culture, radical voices or local independent materials. The Radical Independent Book fair project (RIB) has come about to help redress this imbalance.

Launched in October 2006, RIB has been an attempt to make available not just books, but jour- nals, DVDs, CDs, T-shirts and a plethora of radical materials that are not easy to come by in the West of Scotland.

The absence of an independent radical bookshop in Glasgow has been felt for some years. The ini- tiative began as a collaboration between Angry Artworks, AK Dis- tribution and the newspaper Var2iant and has become a regu- lar event both in its guise as a full- blown bookfair and as a presence at other political events in the city.

The project is self-financing, independent of any political party or union and doesn't take money from any corporate or public body.

A diverse collection of publish- ers and distributors have their materials available at the book- fairs, which have moved around a number of venues, its hosts have included Camcorder Guerillas, City Strolls, Faslane 365, Jam 74, Unity ­ the union of asylum seek- ers, New Social Art School and many others.

RIB events aim not to encour- age passive consumerism with a radical tinge, but to engage, inform and inspire the people who attend to take things further.

Recent Bookfairs have included roundtable discussions on educa- tion and neo-liberalism, film showings (including Standing with the Students, a documentary about students at the University of Buea in the Cameroon and their struggles for basic rights and amenities), and book launches, as well as talks about specifically local campaigns.

It would be great to think that something like the RIB could be launched in other parts of Britain and be a focus for the coming together of like minds who otherwise might not meet up.

Topics: Media