To the relief of many, the Anarchist Bookfair had moved from the disastrous University of London Student Union. This year it was held at the Resource Cente on Holloway Road, just up the road from Holloway Road Tube Station.
You knew when you had arrived from the number of people hanging about outside and the large number of cycles chained to the railings.
At the Anarchist Bookfair, one is spoiled for choice.
Two recently published books well worth reading:
Ian Henshall and Rowland Morgan, 911 Revealed, Robinson, 2005
Annie Machon, Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers: MI5, MI6 and the Shayler Affair, Book Guild, 2005
Annie Machon and David Shaylor (both ex MI5 spooks) gave a talk, but this did not go down too well. One prat asked them to hand over the names of all the agents at MI5. Get real!
Worse though was to come.
The following day, the Resource Centre Centre hosted a conference entitled The Freedom to Protest. Dave and Annie were barred from speaking and it was made clear to them that they were not wanted. Obviously the freedom to protest only goes so far. Whoever chose to bar them ended up discrediting the conference. A massive own goal.
A minor criticism of the Anarchist Bookfair was that there were too many bookstalls. We need a better mix, with more stalls like SchNews, Corporate Watch and Indymedia UK.
Indymedia had a very good selection of DVDs and VCDs, which they were busily copying off for everyone.
The end of the day was marred by a riot!
A prat or prats, decided to meddle with a sound system in a neighbouring pub. The bar staff got annoyed, as did many of those who wanted to have a quiet drink and chat and mull over the day's proceedings.
The police were called, and what until then had been a minor incident escalated and got completely out of hand.
A handful of anarchists decided to take on the police. The police called for back up.
The police then over-reacted. As far as the eye could see down Holloway Road, flashing blue lights. Along came the riot squad and started to seal off the area.
Not wishing to be detained for several hours in the wind and rain, or be clubbed on the head by over-zealous cops, a few of us had the sense to go back into the building and out the back way.
There is now the very real risk that the incident will be used as an excuse to ban future Anarchist Bookfairs.
Unlike last year, when the Anarchist Bookfair was followed by the Indymedia Party, there was no party, or if there was, news of it was kept very quiet.
More comments and pictures:
Anarchist Bookfair 2004