So that’s us done with the 7th Bristol Anarchist Bookfair! Massive thanks to all who came, all who helped, and all who donated at the Bookfair and/or After-Party. Will there be an 8th Bookfair? Well that’s down to you! There’ll be a callout in the autumn to see if there are enough of those willing to put one on next year…
As this year’s Bookfair happened to coincide with the 2015 electoral farce, we took a principled position of opposition & critique towards British representative democracy. As anarchists we have no desire to be governed and ruled over by anyone, be they left or right wing, so we don’t support any political party seeking such a position. To that end we worked hard to keep the Bookfair free from party political politics, and rejected a very few stall applications from those who seek to govern us, as well as a couple of others who we did not consider to have anything in common with anarchist aims & principles.
We were also keen to accentuate our desire that the Bookfair be a safe and respectful place for all those who wished to attend and join in positively with the debates and events. To that end we issued a clearer & better promoted ‘Respect & Equality‘ statement, and we are pleased to report that we received no complaints about discriminatory or abusive behaviour. Thanks to all for that.
The 2015 Bookfair was once again promoted solely by the Bookfair collective and by supporters & stallholders, via posters, flyers, stickers and online via websites and social media. Unsurprisingly, given our rejection of the electoral farce & unrepresentative democracy, mainstream media showed little or no interest that we are aware of. Two Bookfair collective members were interviewed by BBC radio Bristol, but we don’t know if it was broadcast, and don’t really care. We don’t welcome cops nor mainstream journalists to the Bookfair, and we didn’t spot any! We did receive one complaint about the presence of people linked to the Bristol Cable newspaper, but we don’t regard them as mainstream, and some of them are involved in other more anarchist-related projects. Then again given the appalling content of much of their pre-Election Special, with it’s 2-page arse-licking piece on the local Green party candidate, we can see why some may object to it.
Attendance at the Bookfair seemed pretty similar to the last two at the same venue. We don’t count people in/out, but base our estimates on programmes not handed out and donations at the door. So again we’d put the figures at somewhere between 800-1000 people visiting over the course of the day. Which does make it pretty much the largest explicitly radical event in Bristol each year.
As ever the Bookfair is self-funded and self-sufficient. It costs around £1900 to put on and income pretty much covers that amount – from stall fees, donations on the gate & beforehand, from the cafe, and from benefits. This years After-Party turned out to be crammed and raised over £1000, and as it tuns out the Bookfair doesn’t need any of that. So as advertised most has gone to Bristol Defendant Solidarity to support their ongoing work.
The Bookfair collective would like to thank the following: the venues at Trinity Centre & Hydra Bookshop & Red Lion pub; Kebele Social Centre for being our base of operations; Men Against Patriarchy-Bristol for improving the kids space; Bristol Radical History Group for running the Radical History Zone; Counselling for Social Change for co-ordinating the Quiet/Support room; Kebele Kafe for the vegan cafe; Cosmo, Mike & Emma for having a go at the Soap Box; the Divergence crew for the After-Party and Bristol Anti-Fascists & friends for keeping an eye out for fascist threats; the Stallholders & Meeting organisers/speakers for their efforts & committment; the many individuals who helped before, during & after the Bookfair; and of course all who came along on the day.
Onwards and upwards – in anarchy we trust!