Back from the 2008 London Anarchist bookfair

Poster for British anarchist bookfair talk
Over the weekend I traveled to London for the annual anarchist bookfair to do a talk on the North American Anarchist movement (based on my speaking tour) and staff the WSM stall. The London bookfair is possible the biggest single anarchist events of that kind in the world with a few thousand people passing through the doors each year, around 80 stalls and four or five parallel streams of meetings.

In the past it sufferered a bit from a strong counter cultural association (aka having to push through 100 odd larger drinking punks with dogs on string to get to the entrance) but this has been fading fast and wasn't really present at all this year. Some of the speakers are big names. The journalist John Pilger spoke this year and reportedly declared he was an anarchist, I was doing my own meeting at the same time though so I can't confirm that.

The only other meeting I got to was Wayne Price's one on the Abolition of the State. This was very well attended with up t 60 people packing out a room that was a little too small for that number. I was impressed with both the content and the style of presentation of the talk (its a subject that could easily result in an ideological lecture) and this paid off in a very active discussion with a large number of people participating. Quite a lot of those who spoke up were not anarchists and although one contributor from the floor seemed to see this as a problem most people including myself thought this to be a very positive thing in terms of the development of the bookfair.

One of the other main functions of the bookfair is as a social gathering, you meet up with people you haven't seen since the last one, or one 2,3 or whatever number of years back. As might be expected there is a fair bit of drinking involved as well and I rounded the night off at the Social held in the newly renovated Freedom Press in Angel Alley where I got to catch up on the political gossip of the last couple of years.

For anyone at the talk looking for the audio interviews I mentioned you can find them at http://anarchism.pageabode.com/andrewnflood/interviews-with-anarchists-i...

  


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