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Anarchy in the UK

A | 20.09.2005 15:37 | Free Spaces | London

Seen by many as the most important regular gathering of Anarchists in the world, the Anarchist Boofair reflects the full range of Anarchist groups, publishers and activity. Grab a stall, organise a meeting, or just turn up on the day with around three thousand other people.

Alongside the day length Bookfair, where you can get the latest books, pamphlets, magazines and all the other stuff, there are continual meetings and discussions on all aspects of anarchist activity....

The first Anarchist Bookfair was held at the ill-fated autonomy centre in Wapping. On the coldest day of the year, half a dozen anarchist publishers spread out their wares but hardly anyone turned up. Nether-the-less those who took part had a good time, playing a pool tournament. Everyone said "do it again next year", so they did.

Strangly, the idea for the Anarchist Bookfair came from the Socialist Workers Party (or International Socialists as they were then). They used to hold a Socialist Bookfair at the Camden Centre which lots of anarchists attended. Many found it a really boring event, expensive and mainstream so they decided to hold our own version - smaller, but more fun. Ironically, the Socialist Bookfair died years ago while the Anarchist Bootfair is getting bigger each year and has spawned many more anarchist book fairs around the world.

The Bay Area Bookfair (San Francisco) has just had its eighth, New England its fifth and Montreal its fourth. There have also been bookfairs in Belgium (Ghent), Edmonton (Australia), Toronto, Poland (Poznan), Marseilles, Slovenia, Manchester and even Norwich!

The London bookfair started in 1983 and the one this October will be the 24th Bookfair. The maths doesn’t work out because for a couple of years they had two each year.

Each year it's grown. More stallholders, more meetings and more people turning up on the day. It's increasing popularity has meant it has repeatedly outgrown its venues and been forced to move to a bigger place.

This year it's taking place at the London Voluntary Sector Resource Centre on the Holloway Road in North London. It's just a couple of hundred metres from the Holloway Road tube station so should prove to be a fairly convenient location.

This year the organiser have restricted the number of stalls to eighty which will be allocated on a first come, first served basis so book now if you want one. Likewise, now is the time to book a meeting room for a workshop or discussion.

Even if you don't buy any books, the anarchist bookfair has established itself as an essential event on the activist calender. It provides many of us with a chance to meet old friends from around the country, even if it's just a few brief words and a hug in the stair well.

* You might like to check out the following audio files from
1. Bookfair promo - 9 mins
2. What does the bookfair mean to you - 50 mins
3. Anarchy discussed - 50 mins



Display the following 3 comments

  1. sounds great but... — Book Chin
  2. Saturday 22nd October — oi polloi
  3. Spellin — Dic