London Anarchist bookfair 19th Oct

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slothjabber
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Oct 25 2013 13:52

That's true, but for people to police the 'shared framework' relies on the organisers making it clear what that shared framework is (yes I know that it sounds oxymoronic). If everyone at the bookfair knows that photography is right out and no dogs are to be allowed off leads, that makes it easier to grab the phone/dog with the knowledge that other people are going to back you up rather than having a go at you.

If there's no 'community safety policy' that's widely known and no 'stewards' ('Anarcho-police'?) then people I figure aren't as confident about being pro-active.

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Chilli Sauce
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Oct 29 2013 13:06

Webby, did you end up getting to the bookfair? I wanted to ask your impressions as a first-timer?

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Noah Fence
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Oct 29 2013 14:27

No, unfortunately not - scuppered on the day by family problems which probably won't surprise you.

radicalgraffiti
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Oct 31 2013 02:30
Oranj wrote:
Enjoyed the Bookfair, and I didn't see or hear anything untoward until after it was over, and what I did see was a few people scuffling, but it seemed under control so i didn't approach, hard to tell because there was a lot of people around them.
....
The only people who can "police" such a space is everyone in that space. The responsibility is collective. It doesn't fall on the organisers who have enough responsibility without everyone seeking to add to it, without assuming any themselves.

you saw an incident happening, but did nothing, yet somehow you think that "all the people they should deal with it" with out any guidelines of what is and isn't ok or of how to deal with issues that arise is adequate?

Also when i say the book fair collective are responsible, i mean they caused the situation where this was likely to happen by inviting everyone who calls them selfs an anarchist, they created the situation where this harassment etc was likely to happen, and they refuse to say its not ok, to back up the people who they, and you, claim should deal with it.
And this alternative, for the people there to deal with any issues that arise? even ignoring how people are socialized to ignore things in this society and how most people even anarchists are totally unprepared to confront people to analyses things and com up with solutions on the spot, even ignoring this, its asking people to go around imposing there own morality on everyone else, the vary thing the people engaged in the misogyny and rape apologistm were doing.

Oranj wrote:
I was more worried about the dogs roaming unleashed with little kids around. An example of people ignoring rules set out by the organisers. Which is what would happen if they adopted a safe space policy - everyone would abide by it - except the people its really aimed at - who will ignore it.

oh right a policy never publicized totally invalidates making public statements on what is ok, and guidelines on what to do when its not, and making sure all publicity for the event had a copy or like so everyone know and could make an informed decision right?

Jason Cortez
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Nov 1 2013 00:24
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when i say the book fair collective are responsible, i mean they caused the situation where this was likely to happen by inviting everyone who calls them selfs an anarchist, they created the situation where this harassment etc was likely to happen,

Yeah bastards fancy organising a public event like a bookfair.

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Nov 1 2013 01:03
Serge Forward wrote:
... Had a chat with the SPGB people outside. I can never understand why they don't have a stall inside the bookfair, especially when you think of some of the bourgeois riff raff who do get stalls, and anyroad, the SPGB are a zillion times more anarchist than them...

This might have changed over the years, but I think members of SPGB are still not allowed (by their own party) to have a table inside or go inside the bookfair. Afaik, I don't think this request has been put to the bookfair organisers.

slothjabber
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Nov 1 2013 09:53

From a Facebook post by someone who claims to be a member of the SPGB (and i see no reason to doubt it):

"Seven SPGB members were there at various times to maintain a stall from 11am to 5pm -- outside, because as a "party" we are banned from having one inside, even though much more "authoritarian" groups from an anarchist point of view are admitted, e.g. CWO and the Marxist-Humanists..."

Later this became "We didn't apply because on previous occasions we've been told "no". It's not clear whether this is because we are a "political party" or because we contest elections..."

So, no, this year they didn't aply. But in previous years they apparently have, so no banning from their end.

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Nov 1 2013 10:32

Thanks, slothjabber.

SPGB members are formally not allowed to attend demonstrations - and in relation to anarchism there are also specific restictions to control its membership to keep a distance from "direct action" deviations. I know former members who have been expelled for this.

So unless if an SPGB member copies us in (which they can probably easily do) with clarification (such as correspondence of an SPGB application for a stall, and a refusal) I will continue to believe that they have never applied.

slothjabber
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Nov 1 2013 14:48

So, what you're saying is, that in your understanding, the SPGB's excuses on FB are completely bogus?

Interesting. I'll see that this point is raised on FB, in the 'World Libertarian Socialist Network', where the claim that the SPGB were 'banned' was made.

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Nov 1 2013 15:00

I would prefer not to interpret broad unclear comments on fb. If there is a genuine concern about the SPGB not having a stall at the anarchist bookfair, then facts can be made available about details of application and refusal (if that has happened). My personal experience with SPGB members is that their organisation itself restricts their participation at demonstrations, or formal stalls at anarchist bookfairs. Maybe this is changing, I'm open minded.

slothjabber
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Nov 1 2013 15:17

What about Witchfinder's comment, in this thread, post number 7?

whichfinder wrote:
The SPGB is not allowed to have a stall inside so it'll be outside instead...

Seems to me that the most straightforward implication of this is 'The Anarchist Bookfair hasn't allowed us to have a stall inside', not 'The SPGB's rules won't allow us to have a stall inside'.

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Nov 1 2013 16:22

Thanks for that. Of course I have challeged the comment made by whichfinder to be untrue/mistaken, so I welcome factual details of when they were refused a stall. Please correct me if I am wrong. I'm not a bookfair organiser, so it's also possible that a request for a stall has never been made.

Again, my understanding from discussion with SPGB members is that the SPGB restricts its members from formal involvement in the London anarchist bookfair (and direct involvement in demonstrations in general)

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Nov 2 2013 08:22
AES wrote:

Again, my understanding from discussion with SPGB members is that the SPGB restricts its members from formal involvement in the London anarchist bookfair (and direct involvement in demonstrations in general)

Your informants are, I regret, misinformed. The SPGB places no such restriction on its members from formal (or informal) involvement in the London Anarchist bookfair or anywhere else for that matter.

We didn't apply this year (or in recent years) because on previous occasions we had been turned down and we're not prepared to grovel. It was decided to set up our own stall outside instead.

Refusals to allow the party a stall are not confined to London. See this about a refusal to allow a stall at the Anarchist bookfair in Manchester in 2005:

http://dir.groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/spintcom/conversations/topics/438...

See also this conversation from another party list in 2011:

http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/spopen/conversations/topics/14204

We are of course always prepared to have a stall at such fairs when allowed as in the case of the Working Class Bookfair in Sunderland where we even figure in the official notice:

http://workingclassbookfair.vpweb.com/

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Nov 2 2013 11:01

You say the SPGB does not place restrictions on its members, however I have never seen even one member on a demonstration. In discussion over the years with members I cannot accept that your comments are correct, you are withholding facts. See recent discussion on a similar theme -

AES wrote:
Am I correct that SPGB members are still not even allowed to attend demonstrations because that would taint you with reformism?

ajjohnstone wrote:
On most demos you will find the SPGB handing out leaflets on the sidelines or with a lit stall. But you are on the right track that we do not march with a party banner on demonstrations, fearing being associated with other parties on the march who we would consider anti-socialist and anti-worker. I believe this was all up for debate at our conference last week but the outcome is not presently known by myself.

Obviously anarchist bookfair organisers anywhere will want stalls either advocating anarchism, or beyond that advocacy stalls of interest but not opposed to anarchism would be considered. Understandably many anarchists will personally know many other socialists and communists - including those that do not share our opposition to social partnership with capitalism (via trade union reformism) and our opposition to social partnership with the state apparatus (via parliamentary reformism).

Comment from a SPGB member here:

gaitensdance wrote:
I've long since reached the opinion that they're well within their rights to give us the knockback whether it be London, Manchester or New York. It's an Anarchist Bookfair, after all.

But rather than be honest, that there was no application to have a stall (which you now admit) you have chosen to exploit a manipulitive angle for sympathies -

whichfinder wrote:
The SPGB is not allowed to have a stall inside so it'll be outside instead... grin http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/event/literature-stall-anarchist-book...

slothjabber
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Nov 2 2013 10:58

Maybe then you shoud a) apply, and b) make sure your members know that if you don't have a stall it's because you haven't applied, and not because you've been 'prevented'. Because members are claiming in various fora that you've been 'prevented', which isn't true, is it?

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Nov 2 2013 11:28

SPGB probably have been refused a stall at 'anarchist' bookfairs (at some stage for their parliamentary party politics, but exact details of the discussion including where, when, why - has not been forthcoming), which one a their leading members admits is what he expected. However the SPGB do have stalls at the 'working class bookfair' in Sunderland (on the basis it is not specifically for 'anarchism', and advocacy groups not contrary to anarchism).

Jason Cortez
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Nov 2 2013 13:26

Look, it is simple really, the folks who organise the bookfairs get to decide who to accept or not. Whilst the reasons for doing so may not always be clear or indeed not satisfactory. It is their party and they get to decide, simple. If SPGB and friends want to oraganise a bookfair and don't let various anarchist groups have stalls, that would be their prerogative. Folks seem to forget (or don't know or realise) .how much time and energy it takes to put on a bookfair. It is fucking hard work and I am grateful all those who bother to the graft. I am personally tired of the bitching, when a bookfair isn't exactly how it 'apparently' should be!

Put one on yourself!

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Nov 2 2013 13:54

That's a fair point, Jason, but given some of the crap that do get a stall at bookfair (for example, the non-anarchist, anti-civilisationist Deep Green Resistance among others with zero connection to anarchism), the SPGB is a historic libertarian offshoot of the old Social Democratic Federation and (much as they might quibble about terminology) is basically anarcho-marxist or, if you like, the parliamentary wing of the anarchist movement wink So you can understand why their absence might be questioned in Libcom circles.

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Nov 2 2013 14:22

Anarchist bookfairs are about anarchism and its various areas of interest, if the central criteria was specifically socialism, then it would be the 'socialist' bookfair.

Concerning other forms of advocacy (such as anti-racism, anti-sexist, anti-militarism, ecology, miscarriages of justice, health and safety, community centres, etc) it's not necessary that these should conform to 'anarchism', but at least it can be expected that they are not contrary to anarchism.

We wouldn't have the TUC or any of it's affiliated unions at the anarchist bookfair because of their role in social partnership as trade union reformists, neither should we have the solicialist or communist parties present at the anarchist bookfair because of their role in social partnership as parliamentary reformists.

Unless, of course if it was intended that these organisations were present as being invited to take part in a debate.

Cleishbotham
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Nov 2 2013 16:01
AES wrote:

We wouldn't have the TUC or any of it's affiliated unions at the anarchist bookfair because of their role in social partnership as trade union reformists, neither should we have the solicialist or communist parties present at the anarchist bookfair because of their role in social partnership as parliamentary reformists..

I suppose that was what to CWO's meeting in the bookfair was all about.We tried to argue that anarchism and marxism had a common goal at the beginning but that over time most Marxists have forgotten this and become increasingly statist. In fact the Trots Stalinists Maoists etc seem more concerned about how to manage capitalism or insert themselves into its apparatus rather than destroying it. In that sense I think the organisers were quite imaginative to let groups like the CWO, Mouvement Communiste/KPK and the Marxist-Humanists to be present. I am sure they would consider SPGB and ICC applications if made early enough. All they asked us was to make a statement on how we related to anarchism and accepted it. Some of our sympathisers thought we would be torn to shreds (ideologically I think they meant!) in the very well-attended meeting but it was nothing like that. As we were able to say at the end there was a sensible recognition that we shared the same goal even if we did not share the way to achieve it. The behaviour of everyone (one drunk, who Nick of the AF kept sorting out, excepted) was a testimony to the kind of society we believe we can make. The meeting was too short to hear the opinions of more people on such a wide topic but I think the way it worked was a vindication of the organisers' decision to include it. And the stimulus our members got in other meetings from radical history on the First world war to the actions of Foxconn in CZ republic has given us new things to look at. Thanks.

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Nov 2 2013 17:29

In the context of this discussion it's probably fair to say that the more consistent forms of Marxism will gain an audience at least for debate, from some anarchists, anarcho-syndicalists and revolutionary industrial unionists (those against social partnership by party and trade union reformism) - but bearing in mind that we are talking here of the communist left (of Marxism) not anarchism, so I would say there's no required expectation for the bookfair to make spaces available.

From what I've seen most left communist websites attack anarchism, anarcho-syndicalism and revolutionary industrial unionism by misrepresenting it's historic record (for example our role in the International Workingmens' Association, falsely denying our opposition to the militarist capitalist world wars, etc) to mention only a couple and then there's also the use of the commonly held Marxist dogmas - centralised organisation, preference to party or party-like structures and behaviours (in-formation or sometimes not so explicit), as well as areas without much of an anarchist equivalent counterpart theory such as decadence theory etc.

The SPGB are only one of many, many socialist and communist parties which have had an intensive history with anarchism, not to even mention the social partnership trade unions which were founded by anarchists.

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Nov 2 2013 19:07
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Anarchist bookfairs are about anarchism and its various areas of interest, if the central criteria was specifically socialism, then it would be the 'socialist' bookfair.

Whatchoo talkin' about, Willis??? Anarchism is socialism, libertarian socialism. Anything else that calls itself anarchism is a pile of cack. What the fuck has the TUC got to do with the anarchist movement or the SPGB? And the SPGB has never been a 'partnership' organisation. Far from it. As for other 'advocacies' like anti-racism, anti-sexism, ecology, etc, being not counter anarchist, you take things too much for granted. That Deep Green Resistance is closer to Pol fucking Pot than anarchism. You need to seriously read up a bit on those you're commenting on fella.

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Nov 2 2013 19:59

SPGB is not an anarchist organisation - it never has been or will be. I don't agree to accepting a "parliamentary wing of the anarchist movement" even as a joke. Parliamentary is the principle political institution of social partnership.

For example, after the syndicalist revolt in Liverpool in about 1911 which Tom Mann (amongst others closely associated with anarchism) including the former Workers Committees led to the creation of what is now called the CPGB. As for the "other" socialists like the Trots, their organisation was meant to have come from the "Workers Control" movement out of the 60s and 70s - from a basis which they have completely departed from. In most other countries similar patterns exist, such as in South Africa, the Stalinist CP was built off a foundation of the former IWW, which they politically dominated and exploited following leninist pressure for auxillary communist parties - and they made sure its member-driven structure was entirely crushed...

Should the anarchist bookfair be a platform for parliamentary socialist and communist parties - no fucking way!

Then again, at the end of the day, those who organise the bookfair will decide.

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Nov 2 2013 20:00
Serge Forward wrote:
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Anarchist bookfairs are about anarchism and its various areas of interest, if the central criteria was specifically socialism, then it would be the 'socialist' bookfair.

Whatchoo talkin' about, Willis??? Anarchism is socialism, libertarian socialism. Anything else that calls itself anarchism is a pile of cack. What the fuck has the TUC got to do with the anarchist movement or the SPGB? And the SPGB has never been a 'partnership' organisation. Far from it. As for other 'advocacies' like anti-racism, anti-sexism, ecology, etc, being not counter anarchist, you take things too much for granted. That Deep Green Resistance is closer to Pol fucking Pot than anarchism. You need to seriously read up a bit on those you're commenting on fella.

Yep, completely agree. Non negotiable.

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Nov 3 2013 00:32

AES, I'm no fan of the SPGB and think their impossibilist parliamentarism is daft but no way is it social partnership and it's not even parliamentary socialism. They are tons more anarchist than some of the wacky shite who had stalls at the bookfair. And why you wish to equate the SPGB with the CPGB is completely beyond me. You sure you're not thinking of the Socialist Party of England and Wales?

alb
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Nov 3 2013 09:00
AES wrote:
SPGB probably have been refused a stall at 'anarchist' bookfairs (at some stage for their parliamentary party politics, but exact details of the discussion including where, when, why - has not been forthcoming),

How about this?

Quote:
Anarchist Bookfair - The Campaigns Dept applied for a stall at the Bookfair this year, not using the 'anarcho-socialist' line, but just pointing out that there were stalls already booked by groups who wouldn't describe themselves as anarchists but as marxists. The organisers returned our cheque, saying that the could not allow a 'Party' to have a stall.

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Nov 3 2013 09:13

Alb, that link doesn't work.

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Nov 3 2013 09:19

If you want you can continue to try provide an anarchist platform for "impossibilist parliamentarism" as "socialism" or for an "anarcho-marxist" presence of "the parliamentary wing of the anarchist movement" - I don't agree.

I have not argued in favour of "Deep Green Resistance" - which is not what I said "Concerning other forms of advocacy (such as anti-racism, anti-sexist, anti-militarism, ecology, miscarriages of justice, health and safety, community centres, etc) it's not necessary that these should conform to 'anarchism', but at least it can be expected that they are not contrary to anarchism." Which is not to say that there will be no problems with and from these organisations.

alb
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Nov 3 2013 09:26
Serge Forward wrote:
Alb, that link doesn't work.

Sorry, try this:

http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/spintcom/conversations/topics/522

alb
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Nov 3 2013 09:37

Those who organise the Anarchist Bookfair are free to decide who can have a stall there. It's your party, so you can invite who you want.

What is criticisable is the inconsistency. It's billed as an "anarchist" fair but actually it's wider than this. Fair enough, but what are the criteria for being allowed a stall? Organisations such as the CWO and the Marxist-Humanists, which are not anarchist and are even critical of anarchism and syndicalism, are allowed in. It's just odd that organisations like them in the Leninist tradition are allowed but not the SPGB. Why? Why are they not as "bad" as the SPGB?