The Anarchist Bookfair used to be held at the Camden Centre, but it outgrew this venue and moved to the London University Student Union. By common consent this venue was a disaster. Last year it was held at the Resource Centre on Holloway Road, just up from Holloway Road Tube Station, and that is where it was held again this year.
Outside in the street, Veggies were selling their excellent food. I arrived late and by the time I got there all that was left was some very scrummy looking cakes and cups of tea.
I sometimes wonder is the Bookfair worth attending, overcrowded, 90% of what is on offer is crap, but then you find something worth having, meet old friends and new, and you are glad you went.
Notes from the Borderland were peddling their usual disinformation, fairy tales for the gullible, fiction masquerading as fact. Maybe it is good therapy. This year they were running a smear campaign against critics of 911. To any casual observer, it easy to see that a number of questions have yet to be answered as to what really happened on that fateful day, but what's a few facts when they get in the way of a good smear campaign. I guess it makes a change from running a smear campaign against David Shayler and Annie Machon.
But enough of the negative.
Indymedia had a good selection of DVDs. I was spoilt for choice. I decided to go back later. A big mistake, I ended up with nothing as they packed up early.
SchMOVIES, DVD Collection 2005, off the SchNEWS stall, was worth having. As was the 17 minute DVD The Case for Solidarity off the No Sweat stall.
The Case for Solidarity complements the cartoon booklet about worker solidarity at a third world sweatshop. There is though a serious problem with the No Sweat DVD, it don't play, and it don't get more serious than that! Copying the DVD did not solve the problem. I found if you force it to play chapter 1, it plays.
Kate Evans, a few years back produced an excellent cartoon booklet on global warming. This she has revamped and updated, and I was pleased to find it on sale on the Rising Tide stall. Early November Kate is publishing as a book. If it is half as good as the booklet, then it is well worth having.
We have just experienced the warmest September on record, and a few days ago, we passed the longest extended summer on record. On my way to the Bookfair I passed a demo in Covent Garden against an Institution in the pay of the big carbon producers who are still claiming that Global Warming and Climate Instability is a myth!
From a personal perspective on the weather. I have been to the Bookfair in the past wearing a thick heavy coat. All I was wearing on Saturday was a light jacket, and most of the day I was in a short-sleeved shirt carrying my jacket. And this at the end of October!
I had hoped to find Zapatista Coffee, this excellent Aribica coffee is grown by the Zapatistas in Chiapas. I first came across it at the London Social Forum housing and land rights conference held a couple of weeks ago. I was pleased to say I found it. I am not a great fan of coffee, I prefer good tea, but I don't mind good coffee, and this is very good coffee. And it is fair trade and organic.
Zapatista Coffee is roasted in Germany by Cafe Libertad and distributed in the UK by Active Distribution. If your local fair trade shop lacks this coffee, ask them why, suggest they get it, you won't be disappointed.
I had an interesting chat with Corporate Watch on the government's Pathfinder programme, and a similar conversation with a guy from Liverpool on the SchNEWS stall.
Copies of The Generation Game by Mike Lane were freely distributed. Anyone who recieved a copy of this DVD please arrange public showing and feel free to run off copies and pass them around
I was disappointed that Undercurrents lacked a stall, or if they did, it was well hidden and I failed to find it.
Two years ago Indymedia arranged an excellent party. If there was anything happening this year, it was a well kept secret.
Last year the Bookfair ended in a full blown riot. This year the police kept a very low profile.
The local Wetherspoons, the origins of last year's riot, had ugly bouncers on the door. It was made clear people from the Bookfair were not welcome.
Days before the Bookfair, the official website went down due to overload.
Like last year, there seemed to be too few bookstalls. There needs to be more radical groups with stalls. The absence of Undercurrents has been noted, but where are the Colombian, Bolivian, Palestinian solidarity groups, and many other groups I can think of?
The Anarchist Bookfair is not just stalls, there are also lots of meetings taking place. I looked in on one, but it was standing room only, so I did not bother.
I was hoping to go to the talk by John Pilger but he was rushed to hospital and could not attend. I am sure we all wish him a speedy recovery. We need more journalists of the calibre of John Pilger who are prepared to stand up and tell the truth.
The usual hanging around whilst people make up their mind what they want to do, then off for a meal with a few friends.
Next weekend, Saturday 28 October 2006, there will be a big demonstration against property developer St Modwen. St Modwen, the developer from hell, has a well deserved reputation for trashing town centres, destroying local communities, driving local retailers out of business. Farnborough town centre has been trashed, local businesses destroyed. St Modwen now wish to destroy Queen's Market at Upton Park in East London, one of the few surviving traditional East End markets, now a thriving multi-ethnic market. Procession starts from Plashet Park at 11am, to Queen's Market via Green Street. Nearest Tube Stations: Upton Park or East Ham.
Anarchist Bookfair 2004
Anarchist Bookfair 2005