At the Anarchist Bookfair – Toronto 2015

July 31, 2015 at 1:15 am (Uncategorized)

July was super-busy. Many things that should have been written weren’t. This is the start of the catch up.

A few weeks back, I was sitting with some friends at the conclusion of the Toronto anarchist bookfair. “How many anarchists do you think are in Toronto?” I was asked.

“Define anarchist,” I replied.

“That’s enough from you,” said another friend.

It’s a good question. What defines an anarchist, a communist, a radical? If one looks at the pro-party Leninist organizations, there’s a number. The cadre and the supporters (admittedly, the latter is looser and more fluid, but still, there’s a sense of numbers). Anarchism is a little different.

To begin with, there is not a generally consistent opinion of what anarchism means. Some will say, it’s a rejection of the state , and in classical terms, that’s right, but many of today’s anarchists support a Palestinian state or the state of other “oppressed peoples.” Maybe a better definition would be someone who loves freedom, whatever that might be.

At the bookfair this year, all sorts, from radical anti-poverty activists and prison abolitionists to anarchist-communists and everything affiliated with the idea were present. I’ve tabled a few events over the years, and like Montreal I know now a few of the players. After the disappointment of last year’s event , I was a little nervous about turnout, but as soon as the day began it was clear that this was going to be a lot bigger.

And it was. Some great conversations about anarchism, Marxism and radical politics, and I was persuaded into giving a workshop. I talked about libertarian and radical fiction, and will likely post a revised version of the handout in the near future. A friend suggested I help at the kids area next year making duct table wallets and crafts (a minor obsession). I was supposed to table both days, but work commitments made Sunday impossible.

Despite being dwarfed by the Montreal, this years’ bookfair was a step forward from last.

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