The organising committee of the Anarchist Book Fair get us riled up and ready to read.
What are the origins of the book fair?
We wanted to create an event where people wondering what anarchism was about could just turn up, join in discussions and meet lots of anarchists. And one where anarchists who had worked together in the past could renew acquaintances. In particular, as people had children it was harder for them to stay in touch with lots of people around Ireland. A number of us had been to the long running anarchist bookfair in London so we decided doing something similar would fill our needs.
What can people expect there? Any unexpected finds or discoveries at previous ones?
Books, obviously, but the bookfair is very much about the dozen or so meetings and workshops that take place during the day and the informal chats before and after them. The meetings look at issues of the day, both in Ireland and internationally as well as providing a space to discuss anarchist ideas.
How does the anarchist of 2018 differ from their counterpart in 1968?
Feminism and the range of modern anti-oppression politics have a larger formal influence than might have been the case in 1968, but otherwise the movement today would be quite recognisable to an anarchist who dropped in from 1968, 1936 or even 1886.
The core opposition to capitalism and the state remains, as does an avoidance of any unnecessary hierarchy or authority – to avoid the corruption of movements into personality cults that has been all too common in political movements.
Is it true to say the ideals of anarchism are far from being realised?
Clearly we don’t live in a society of bosses and rulers but it would be very hard to look back to the birth of the anarchist movement in the 1880s and conclude there has been little or no progress since. The Italian anarchist Errico Malatesta wrote in the 1920’s that what was important was not whether we achieved anarchism today or tomorrow but that we continued to make progress towards a free society. However, unlike him, we are aware that a clock is ticking down as capitalism continues on the path of global and potentially catastrophic climate change. And while he lived in the time of fascism, today we face rulers who hold in their hands the power of nuclear armageddon to destroy almost all life on the planet in minutes. We’d better speed up the rate of progress towards a free society before one or the other of those threats destroys us!
Top three books for people looking to discover more about anarchism?
Anarchism: From Theory to Practice by Daniel Guérin
Free Women of Spain. Anarchism and the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women by Martha A. Ackelsberg.
Two very good youtube channels are:
Favourite anarchist of all time?
No more heroes anymore, as the Stranglers would sing. Of course there are inspirational people like Emma Goldman, Louise Michelle, Joe Hill, Kropotkin, Bakunin, Durruti, Zinn and Chomsky, but anarchism is about people realising their collective power to change the world in which we live.
We say that we have a new world in our hearts, and the people who stopped the water charges, the people who worked for marriage equality, and the thousands who brought an end to the hideous 8th amendment are all favourites in our eyes. We have a social movement in this republic now, so let us work for more of the changes we want to see, like homes for all, care for the sick, and opportunities for people to live rather than survive. We work to take the power back from those in charge for all our sakes, and for the sake of the planet.
Dublin Anarchist Bookfair 11 am – 5.30 pm Saturday September the 15th 2018
The Teachers Club
More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/222567321836860/