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(en) Britain, London's anarchist bookfair: the aftermath

Date Sat, 25 Nov 2006 13:54:00 +0200

The London anarchist bookfair is the biggest annual event for libertarians in
the UK. This year October 21st saw the London anarchist Bookfair take over
Holloway Road for the first time since the resignation of one of its most
experienced organisers. Freedom interviewed Alex, one of the bookfair
collective’s new members, who is cautiously optimistic about how it went, with
decent turnouts and enough funds raised to cover costs:
“We have some people who are new to the collective and are still finding our
way. The collective are quite pleased that it worked. It’s the first year since
the main organiser quit. He was very efficient at doing it and we think we have
done pretty well.

“There weren’t any problems. The meetings were of a better quality, partly
because we decided on a few we wanted and chased up people to do them. People
also came to us with some good stuff.”

Comments on the day have been encouraging so far, Alex has found, despite anger
over the intrusion of members of ‘anarcho-capitalist’ group the Libertarian
Alliance, whose politics significantly clash with the Bookfair’s ethos by
promoting the retention of private property and business in an otherwise lawless

“It has been pretty good so far most people who have made comments have been
very positive, and it was good day, apart from the usual complaints about other
groups being allowed in.

“I have no idea how long the Libertarian Alliance were there but they got thrown
out at around 1.30pm. The stallholder next door to them said they claimed they’d
been here three years running! They took over a stall from someone who didn’t
show up, but they were a sideshow really.”

One recurring complaint was overheating in the main anteroom, particularly later
in the day when large crowds had gathered.

“We think that number may have been slightly down on last year, two or three
thousand, but it followed the usual pattern of getting busy at around 1pm.

“There’s air conditioning, but the problem with that room is that if you have
all the doors open it tries to cool the entire building and goes wrong.
Unfortunately they only had a couple of fans in the building. It’s something
we’ll have to talk about for next time.” Alex explained.

“I think there are problems with the venue and it’s not an ideal position.
There’s no communal free space and we are looking at hiring another part of the
building to possibly have just open for people – it hasn’t had that the last
couple of years.”

However the venue organisers have been very helpful, according to Alex, and
there are no plans to move just yet: “They seem quite cool, they aren’t freaked
out by us or the fight last year.”

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