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(en) Britain, Freedom* Octoberr 2011 - LONDON ANARCHIST BOOKFAIR 2011

Date Tue, 06 Dec 2011 14:52:47 +0200

The anarchist movement under one roof ---- Since the last London bookfair, the UK’s biggest and one of the world’s best known anarchist gatherings, no one could have really predicted events unfolding the way they have. From the belligerent student protests and occupations to the anti-cuts movement and European-style black bloc erupting across the streets on March 26th followed by the most intense period of inner city unrest the country has seen for 30 years. ---- It’s within that context that this year’s bookfair defines itself, and unsurprisingly there will be a lot of talk and discussion on anarchism’s relationship to the current events. Certainly the expectation is that there will be many more people attending this year eager to discover more about anarchism. Always priding ourselves on being at the forefront of social struggles the atmosphere at this year’s event is set to be electric.

Here are some highlights of this year’s event.

Current events

Four days that shook the world
The riots in August started after the murder of yet another black man killed by the police. Mark Duggan’s death may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, but it wasn’t the main cause for the riots and looting throughout the country for nearly a week. A discussion about why the riots took place, the aftermath and where we go from here.

UK Youth Rebellion

Anarchists have been commenting on the increase in the marginalisation of young people; being young is a crime in itself. Since then youth have been fighting back, demanding respect and to have a voice. But do Millbank, Black Bloc and the recent riots present different faces of youth rebellion? Anarchist Federation explores why and how young people are fighting back, and how anarchists figure within this


Why do we call ourselves Class Struggle Anarchists?
In some anarchist circles the term “class struggle” is seen as outdated and boring. Are they scared of the term, or do they just not understand what is meant by it? Is the reaction a class or cultural thing? Members of Anarchist Federation, IWW and ALARM will explain what we mean by “class struggle”, why it is still important in today’s society.


Mistakes of the Spanish Revolution
Stuart Christie explains why the FAI-CNT committees of the CNT-FAI abandoned all pretence of being popular revolutionary organs, instead constituted a structure that served to apply the brakes to — and reverse — the spontaneous revolutionary activity of the barrio (ward/district) committees and repress the rank-and-file activists who were pressing for social revolution.

The Battle of Cable Street
The 75th anniversary of The Battle of Cable Street took place earlier this year, when at least 100,000 East Enders turned out to physically prevent the British Union of Fascists marching through Stepney. They built barricades, fought the police who had been sent to clear the way and the day became part of left-wing history and mythology.

All London Anarchist Revolutionary Movement (ALARM)
The purpose is to build an organisational structure to give London Anarchism a chance to grow and meet the opportunities coming up. ALARM provides local contacts to act as hubs for anarchist activity in each borough. In addition to area based groups, college, workplaces and campaigning groups are welcomed into the structure as are national anarchist organisations.

Organising in the Workplace
What does radical workplace organisation look like? This talk includes a condensed version of the SolFed’s Organiser Training, focusing on the ‘nuts and bolts’ of workplace organising. SF members will then recap the Office Angels campaign in which nationwide pickets forced the world’s largest employment agency redress a case of wage theft.

Debt & Resistance
As the economy nosedives, more people are turning to high street loan sharks and credit companies to survive, amassing unpayable deficits. Toxic debts still fester on nationalised banks books and could lead to mass homelessness, while in 2012 the new university fee regime kicks in. Debt is becoming an ever more important part of the way capital controls our lives. This session offers some ideas about how to fight back.

Resisting the criminalization of squatting
Once more the government is threatening to destroy squatting, though all they could do would be to make it harder – there will still be thousands of empties and the need to squat. Come and hear what campaigning is already running. Is campaigning enough or should we be preparing to ignore the law, and squat bigger and better (and what would that mean?)

From Casa Pound to Anders Behring Breivik
From black-bloc autonomist nationalists in Germany to ‘third millennium fascist’ squatters in Italy to suit-wearing Nazis in Sweden, the last twenty years has seen huge developments in the Neo-fascist scene. Paul Hull, veteran anti-fascist and trade unionist in Sweden, will discuss the evolution of Neo-Nazi theories and tactics in Northern Europe and how the modern militant anti-fascist movement can adapt to these changes.

Against Austerity: Anarcho-Syndicalism across Europe
This talk will see radicals from across Europe come to London to discuss how anarchists can effectively fight austerity. A great opportunity to learn from each other and build the bridges of solidarity we’ll need to beat back the global wave of austerity!
Organised by: Solidarity Federation

Tenants’ movement in Poland
Since 1990 the housing situation in Poland has deteriorated mainly due to the neo-liberal policies of the state and local authorities. As a response, grassroots tenants’ organisations have emerged in a number of polish cities. They aim to stop these attacks and promote social alternatives. The anarchist movement is involved in many of these groups.
Organised by: “Syndicalist Courier” – polish syndicalist paper in UK

From the Bookfair organisers: Anarchists all over the UK are putting on successful events – bookfairs in Bristol, Manchester, Bradford, Norwich, Oxford, Sheffield and Durham as well as Newcastle’s Projectile festival. No-one can say that anarchists can’t organise. These are great social events and a real opportunity to spread anarchist ideas as well as debating them.

We know anarchist politics aren’t only about organising a bookfair. All of us in the Bookfair collective would choose a big, effective, militant anarchist movement over a successful bookfair. Let’s use these events to take things forward.
Website: http://anarchistbookfair.org.uk/
* Anarchist journal
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