This year’s bookfair will be at The Trinity Centre for the first time. In general the response to this change has been positively received. There have however been a very few comments made online that are critical of the fact that Trinity is close to a police station and cctv, and that it rents its carparking spaces to the police. For the avoidance of doubt we state here our view on Trinity.
The Trinity Centre rents out carparking space to a number of organisations, including as far as we know civilian employees of the local police force (maybe officers too?). As a community association and registered charity, they like many similar projects are strapped for cash in the current climate, and need to get as much income as they can to survive. Their large carpark is an obvious source of revenue to keep them up and running.
Of course it would be great if places like Trinity were completely independent and self-sufficient, and were not reliant on either state grants or having to rent space out, but currently if they didnt they’d almost certainly close, as they have nearly done on numerous occassions in the past. No doubt they’d love it if loads of people with time on their hands got involved in the place and helped keep it alive and active without having to resort to such revenues. Why not check through their website to see what you can offer to this community-based initiative?
The Bookfair collective have rented Trinity for the day because it was the best option available on the dates we wanted, and remains a fairly central location with good local public transport links. That means it has the sort of spaces we wanted, was the cheapest, has placed no restrictions on us beyond obvious health & safety and building requirements, and includes a large outdoor area which has been lacking at previous venues. In our dealings with their staff they have been very accommodating and appear happy to have us there.
The local anarchist movement does not have secure self-managed spaces that will cater for potentially 1000+ Bristolians and friends over the course of the day. We have considered on numerous occasions the potentiality of taking and holding a space for a bookfair, but have never been confident we have the resources to do this for an event like the bookfair, which has quite a long run-in. We want the bookfair to be an accessible and safe space for all those who wish to come, and see it as an opportunity to make the wide variety of anarchist & radical ideas available to as many people as possible, and in part that means being able to advertise widely the location far in advance.
If you cant handle the reality of Trinity’s situation, or feel unsafe so close to a police station, then dont come. It’s a sad fact that cops, cctv, and indeed other state surveillance apparatus are never far away, and we have to live and deal with that fact as we see fit. The alternative would be to operate in a clandestine existence, but if we did that we wouldnt be putting on a public event would we. If you can come up with a secure, safe, accessible venue, guaranteed free from any form of state surveillance, for future bookfairs – then do please let us know. We’d love to hear from you!
We have made it clear at successive bookfair’s that neither the corporate media nor the police are welcome inside the bookfair. Nor is there any reason for them to enter, it’s a bookfair not a crime scene nor a celebrity kiss & tell. We have never had any trouble within the bookfair, and are confident that any issues that did arise would be dealt with swiftly and collectively by the assembled anarchists. As the organising collective and hirers of the venue, we reserve the right to refuse entry to the bookfair – as we have done in the past; and to eject with due warning any undesirable & disruptive elements – as we have also done in the past.
If you are a potential bookfair visitor and you have any further questions, please get in touch with us by email, or come to the bookfair infopoint on the day.
- If you are interested in the subject of the secret state, you may want to come to this event on 13 April at 3pm, at Hydra Bookshop: ‘Secrets and spies – a talk by author Eveline Lubbers about her book Secret Manoeuvres in the Dark‘.
- At the bookfair itself there will no doubt be much literature about the role of the state, the police, cctv & surveillance generally. Amongst other related meetings, there will also be a meeting run by the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign: “Our campaign is seeking to overturn the unjust prosecution of 24 building workers who were charged following the first ever national building workers strike in 1972. They picketed building sites in Shrewsbury during the dispute and were prosecuted in Shrewsbury Crown Court in 1973. They became known as the “Shrewsbury 24”.