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].