I went to the second annual Melbourne Anarchist Bookfair on Saturday. It was noice, but not much different from last year (other than in size — bigger) and not really unusual in other respects.
Of the stalls, there were something like 40, about a third of which could be described as anarchist. The presence of the Communist League (a local satellite of the US-based Socialist Workers Party, a Trotskyist organisation) was exciting from a spotters perspective, but very odd given their political antagonism.
I dunno how many people attended the Fair but it was certainly many hundreds, and my impression was more folks attended this year than did last — I wouldn’t be at all surprised if next year’s attracted an even larger audience; there’s obviously a desire for gatherings such as this to discuss anarchy, organisation and social change. Speaking of which, the decision by the organisers to book several additional rooms to hold workshops was a good one and also indicative of the project’s broadening appeal, both in Melbourne/Australia but also across the many other territories in which bookfairs take place.
I didn’t attend the workshops as I was busy doing other things. You can read some of Kieran’s thoughts on a handful of the workshops here. Kieran’s comments have not been appreciated by all, some displeasure being expressed inre his reaction to Robbie Thorpe‘s presentation (see also : Anarchism and Aboriginal sovereignty, July 16, 2008). Be that as it may, I dunno if anybody else has written any other critical or semi-critical reflections on the event but I may post links to these if/when I find them.
After the Bookfair I went to The Retreat, ‘a warm and friendly pub with old world charm where they filmed The Sullivans‘. The pub was not the MCG, but news outta the MCG only added to the warmth, and was a fitting end to a good day out:
My thanks to the organisers, stallholders and other attendees. If I’m not dead or otherwise indisposed, I’ll probably see you again next year.
Coming up in November : Latin American Grassroots Movements Solidarity Conference / Conferencia en Solidaridad con los Movimientos de Base en America Latina: November 9–11, 2012 @ Latrobe University City Campus / Victorian Trades Hall [LASNET].
On both accounts I will see you there next year, then (next year’s book fair will be my first).
Thoughts on Robbie’s talk in the Indigenous Activism workshop coming up…
Sandra’s alternate review of the indigenous workshop…
An Indigenous Activism workshop was held in the old Bishop’s office. Originally, Gary Foley was going to be presenting here, but was unable to attend. In his place, Indigenous activists Viv Moore, Robbie Thorpe and Rodney Augustine kindly gave their time to share their thoughts. In my opinion, these 3 guest speakers provided a good balance of opinions, stories and ways of presenting them. One can forgive Robbie for being somewhat confrontational – he is a veteran fighter for Indigenous rights and has suffered a life time of racism and injustice. Straight to the point about the history of invasion, continued colonisation and the issues that continue to beset our First Nations people today, he gave the audience plenty to think about. Viv provided a perspective on activism from her experience of it as an Indigenous woman, and Rodney spoke on the issue of rampant mining; it’s devastating impact on his country and the community as a whole, and what the land and protection of it means to him personally. There were some members of the audience who showed great respect and knowledge of the situation for the original inhabitants of our country and provided further valuable insight with their intelligent and thoughtful questions. All in all, this was a very provocative and informative event.
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