So this blog post has been delayed for two months now as things keep on happening, so my apologies about that and in all honesty I’m going to be ignoring all the other minutia details of bookfair organising to talk about the big issue right now ie. Covid 19.
The international pandemic is upon us and along with the doom, gloom, and self isolation we’ve also seen a cessation of large events. This of course has meant that several bookfairs have been understandably called off or postponed. I’m sure those were difficult and disappointing decisions and the entire crew here have nothing but solidarity and affection for our fellow organisers, especially those from Dundee and Liverpool whose events were just round the corner.
We’ve had a bit of chat and decided that we’ll be reaching out to other organisers and talking about a collaborative effort down the line. The regional events are even more vital during times such as these and if we’ll be looking into solutions that work for everyone and keep the candle lit. Personally, this would be a weekend of anarchist bookfairs spread across Britain and Éire.
Now obviously our October date is still very distant, however we’ve already been talking about the situation and are in firm agreement that we will be taking the possibility of cancellation or postponement very seriously. It will remain on the cards over the next few months and we’ll probably making a final decision based on the current advice of the specialists and scientists various who know about this stuff come the summer. We might find that the virus as mutated into a less infectious strain and the threat minimised or perhaps we’ll be dealing with a second wave, no one knows, so we’re not going to be making any rash decisions or promises.
We’ve also decided to suspend our fundraising efforts for the duration of the crisis, our communities have much more important issues to focus on, chiefly the fantastic community level mutual aid and solidarity groups that have sprang into action. Some of our members have pivoted their time and energy towards supporting these efforts and we’ve endorsed the efforts to fundraiser via a T-shirt competition (Details here) lead by Punx UK and the Anarchist Federation.
It is truly beautiful to see such widespread anarchism as the mutual aid networks and we hope many of them carry on the good work after the pandemic subsides. I’m sure we’ll see a wealth of articles and information on doing just that on Libcom and Freedom over the coming weeks (nudge nudge). In the meantime if you’re looking to get involved with these efforts here is Freedom’s fantastic list of groups.
Just to wrap it up with some other news we’ve extended our bookfair poster design contest deadline to the end July (Details here) and we’ll be continuing to hold regular (online) meetings and organising stuff where we can. We’ve also made the decision to rebrand as Bookfair 2020: Anarchist Bookfair in London to further mitigate confusion as from Anarchists and none Anarchists alike. Seems there is a more regular bookfair with a similar name.
Anyhow, now is a time for community, family and catching up with all those errands and jobs you’ve been putting off for a while, go sort out that 40 gb folder of photos, pull out the vacuum and put it to work and finish the damn painting!
Whatever you get up to during isolation I hope you stay safe and I look forward to seeing you later in the year at Bookfair. Solidarity with you all.
Peter Ó Máille