The 6th annual Bristol Anarchist Bookfair will take place on Saturday 26th April at the Trinity Centre from 11:00AM. Bristol Anarchist Federation will once again have a presence at this year’s bookfair.
As well as our usual stall, where we will have copies of the latest issue of Organise! along with a selection of our pamphlets and other propaganda (hopefully including the new edition of Role of the Revolutionary Organisation hot off the press!), we will be involved in two workshops throughout the day.
The first workshop starting at 12:30PM in the Bookfair Assembly Room on the first floor is called: “Is Bart Simpson an Anarchist?” and hopes to answer some important questions raised by this year’s poster design:
We felt some of Bart Simpson’s calculations on this year’s bookfair poster were at best debatable and at worst problematic. Does Work minus Bosses, or Money minus Bankers really equal anarchy? What do we mean by the term “Work” anyway? And can money really have a role in an Anarchist society?
We’ll also be taking part in the “Solidarity in Bristol” workshop directly after that at 2:00PM with Bristol Solidarity Network, Acorn Bristol, IWW, Bristol SolFed, and Bristol Refugee Rights:
Solidarity is a central idea which we organise round but how does it work in practice – especially across social and political differences? People actively showing solidarity with workers, migrants, claimants, and local and international struggles discuss what has been productive and challenging in their solidarity work.
Members of Bristol Anarchist Federation will be stationed at our stall throughout the day so if you have any questions or just want a chat come and say Hello!
Don’t forget the Bookfair Afterparty this year taking place at The Red Lion in St. George. Confirmed acts so far include Hazel Winter, Public Order Act, MC Amalgam, QELD and Ash Victim. The festivities start at 8:00PM and all proceeds go towards the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair Collective to help them do the same thing again next year!
We hope to see you all there!
The following is a report from one of the Bristol AFed members at UWE, originally written at the end of November:
The University of the West of England (UWE) goes to great lengths to profit from death. They have close links to the MOD base situated next to it, working together in designing and sponsoring new technologies for use in weapons. Over the last couple of weeks staff, students and local activists have been raising awareness of an Arms Fair taking place on campus, or as the university called it “a procurement of defence projects conference”.
On the eve of the arms fair several dozen students marched through campus to the building holding the arms fair. They were able to disrupt people from setting up exhibitions by shutting the main doors and blocking the others. Many flustered business men dropped their precious supplies, or quickly rushed back out the car-park. Despite it being the coldest night of the year so far they managed to disrupt the setting up for several hours.
At 8am on the morning of the Arms Fair, even more students and other anti arms trade activists arrived. Angry with the idea of the conference still going ahead, Quickly they decided to stop cars coming into the university grounds. People holding banners took up position on the road, blocking the entrance, which caused tailbacks all the way into the centre!
The one flustered cop, who apparently hadn’t been expecting anything, tried pushing people off the road. As he was feeling brave he came up behind the smallest person on the demo and pushed them in the back. When the protester put their arms up to balance themselves, and refused to budge an inch the copper flipped and decided that the protester had assaulted him. 20 people jumped to their comrades defence, causing a scuffle sending the rozzer’s hat flying and knocked the radio out of his hand when he tried to call for back up. The 5 minute tug of war held up the traffic for longer and meant more people joined in on blocking the road. Shortly afterwards the gates were shut, with protesters sitting on top.
The protest was a massive success with over 60 people opposing the Arms fair… oops “defence project procurement conference”. The conference was delayed by 4 hours, with many displays and attendees failing to arrive at all. Peering through the glass windows the building looked like a ghost town, few stalls had been set up, and those few suits inside were just wandering about aimlessly. A small group of activists managed to get inside the conference building, making lots of noise, staging a die in and disrupting those few talks that were still taking place. A Video of that action was posted onto facebook.
At this point the Vice Chancellor Steve ‘its not an arms fair’ West decided to harass the students that pay his £250,000 pay packet by calling in scores of riot police.
Students were harassed everywhere they went with police ‘evidence gathers’ following them with cameras and making threats. By 1pm, about 20 riot vans had arrived , and the students decided to call it a day, agreeing that their aim of effectively disrupting the Arms Fair had been achieved..
During the Vice Chancellors time at the Uni, staff pay has been cut, jobs lost, modules, courses and contact time with lecturers reduced, all whilst the Uni has continued to turn a massive profit. There is plenty of money for huge conference buildings that benefit businesses more than students , shiny new stadiums and arms research projects. Everyone is fucked off that the top management at the university has become cosy with the MOD, without even asking the staff and students what they think.
Meanwhile Vice Chancellor Steve West, creams off the top, enjoying a pay rise and bonuses, along with his own on site mansion “cottage” including a gym and walled garden. UWE is just one example of how universities are being turned from institutions of learning into just another business. They no longer focus on education but instead on making money for those at the top. This weeks protest has shown that we are not ready to give up and roll over just yet!
The 4th annual Sheffield Anarchist Bookfair took place last Saturday 11th May at the Showroom Workstation. A member of Bristol AFed went to the Bookfair as part of the Kebele Social Centre/Infoshop Collective. This is their personal account of the day:
After a slow start to the day – waking up at 4am and being stuck on the side of the motorway until 9am – we finally arrived at the Sheffield Anarchist Bookfair at around midday. We set up our stall next to Bristol Against Arms Trade (BAAT) and were happy to find ourselves nestled between comrades from Collective Action and The Commune with The Cowley Club Social Centre (from Brighton) and Sheffield IWW opposite us.
Once we’d finished setting up I took some time to look around the other stalls. There were at least 28 stalls at this year’s Anarchist Bookfair. Despite this the Bookfair gave off the impression of a bustling and active movement with lots of people walking between stalls and talking to eachother. This really felt like a local Bookfair and I loved it.