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On the 10th of August we held out first organisation meeting in the heart of London. It was attended by a number of Anarchists from diverse backgrounds with various fields of interest. The majority of whom had decided to help organise the bookfair after reading our launch statement. Our primary order a business was to discuss the nature of the bookfair, tho we have fourteen months to go we wanted to make it clear the foundations on which everything else would be built upon, these are;[] We want bookfair to be diverse and inclusive; we will make a point of inviting black and minority ethic networks as well as those with a focus on queer identity, sex work and other issues which sometimes take a back foot at these events.

[] We want bookfair to be accessible; we aim to ensure that the venue is a positive space for people, not only with mobility issues but also sensory and mental health issues etc. This will also include provision for parents in the form of crèche space and the like.

[]This is an Anarchist bookfair; Anarchism is at the core of our organising and politics. There will also be stalls, talks and workshops from Anarchist friendly networks and fellow travellers in general. How “broad” a scope this is will vary as we intend to directly involve local community networks around London who otherwise may not attend an Anarchist bookfair.

[] We expect and will plan to for conflict. On a personal and political level. While Bookfair 2020 will not engage in pettifoggery and micro managing the sometimes difficult discussions between comrades, we have an established no bigotry policy and will be taking every step to secure the safety of stalls and attendees. No violence or abuse will be tolerated and the response will be swift.

[] Fringe events are to be encourage and promoted; taking from the success of The Anarchist Festival we will embrace associated events which other collectives/individuals wish to organise alongside Bookfair 2020 and add them as appropriate to our listings. Some of these may be on the day, the run up or after.

Current suggestions for this include;

  • An International Antifa boxing Tournament
  • The Peoples Comedy
  • Reel News Cinema
  • We Shall Overcome After Party
  • Anarchist Poetry event
  • Anarchist Gaming Tournament.
  • Network Conference

We also agreed upon some core methods of organisation and started to develop our internal democracy to ensure a healthy and productive working space for all members of the collective. There was also some discussion on the look and feel of the event we have in mind. We decided to create a colourful and open atmosphere in our branding; Stepping away from the more traditional red and black aesthetic.

Other things that were discussed were the nature of our support for International comrades, the invite policy (which we agreed to work on as a collective prior to sending out formal invitations) and discussed being open to a second day which perhaps could talk a more down tempo approach with a lighter schedule. This will depend on interest.
Finally we established a loose timeline. We intend to have all the “chickens in a row” for January 2019 with a campaign starting in earnest in late February / Early April. Our next face to face meeting is to be held on Oct 12th, Which will once again be a closed event, so if you wish to attend, get in contact and get involved.

We’re a long way down the road and energy is high, the team is quite keen on putting together a rocking Bookfair. Response to the announcement that an Anarchist bookfair was returning to London has been pretty positive (despite the expected reactionary troll campaign due to decision to provide a safer space for our comrades) and we’ve had lots of interest in stalls already as well as suggestions for talks and workshops.

Keep them coming 😉 and if you want to get involved say hello and we’ll sort you out with the details of the next meeting.


Peter Ó’Máille