Just a quick update to say that we’ve just got back following yesterday’s (Saturday 7th December) Manchester & Saltford Anarchist Bookfair, which took place at the People’s History Museum in Manchester centre. We were there doing pretty much the same thing we were doing in Dorchester this September, hosting a stall to promote and educate about the Radical Routes network. As well as ourselves, there was a room full of interesting stalls, including (fellow Bristolians) Active Distribution, AK Press from Edinburgh, the Anarchist Federation, the Anarchist Studies Network, Cheshire Hunt Saboteurs (FB page), Footprint from Leeds (another Radical Routes co-op), London’s Freedom Press, the Green Anti-Capitalist Front, and Solidarity Federation, amongst others.

stacks of Manchester & Saltford Anarchist Bookfair posters

As well as the stalls, there was also a series of talks and workshops in the adjoining Education Space: these included Anarchism & Education; a discussion about the Anarchist Party; a book launch for PM Press’s ‘Marie Louise Berneri: Journey Through Utopia’; and discussions on another two books: ‘The Government of No One’ by Ruth Kinna, and ‘Chav Solidarity’ by D Hunter. Incidentally, the latter author will be present at BASE Social Centre in Bristol on Sunday 15th December, talking about his follow-up book, alongside other writers from ‘Lumpen’ journal; see https://www.chavsolidarity.com/shop-1.

Anarchist and radical bookfairs serve an important role for our movements. They don’t just flog books and zines to raise campaigning funds; as well as education from the print media on offer, they also create a great opportunity to introduce the curious to the important collective social change work ahead of us all, and help renew connections with friends and comrades, both old and new – in a similar way to the quarterly Radical Routes Gatherings (the next of which is in Liverpool, 14th-16th February). In the context of modern life, considering how easy it is for the bulk of our conversations and encounters to take place via digital media (like this blog!), it’s vital for both our individual and communities’ mental wellbeing that we meet face-to-face, particularly in spaces free from commercial or authoritarian pressures; the fact that these bookfairs are free entry (and volunteer-run) helps this happen.

Anyway, that’s about it. Despite the one awkward moment when anti-trans activists came in to distribute their brand of hate-speech (the atmosphere in the hall dropped about ten degrees, before they left!), it was a proper nice day out and a good crowd, featuring several good discussions with punters and stall-holders alike. Topping the day off with a visit to the pub (and a round of incompetent pool) made it even better.

P.S. There are still other events that Radical Routes are looking for people to do stalls for in 2020, on our behalf! If you’re interested, they are as follows:

  • Anarchist & Radical Bookfairs throughout the year (look out for Belfast, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Dublin, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, etc.)
  • Ctrl-Shift Emergency Summit for Change
  • Earth First! Winter Moot, 22nd-to 23rd February
  • Ecology Building Society AGM, April
  • Triodos Public Meeting, April
  • Co-operatives UK’s 150th anniversary ‘Festival of Co-operation’ in Rochdale, late June
  • Fast Forward Festival, July, Derbyshire (unconfirmed)
  • Tolpuddle Martyrs Fest, July, Dorset
  • Buddhafield, 15th to 19th July, Somerset
  • Green Gathering, Chepstow, early August
  • Common Ground Woodcraft Folk Camp, Kent, 1st to 11th August
  • Wigan Diggers Festival, 12th September

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