Bank Street Arts, Bank Street, Sheffield S1
10:00 – 18:00
In April of this year it was announced that the UK had entered a “double-dip” recession. This cannot be disconnected from a much wider global crisis for capitalism, but in an immediate sense this means more cuts in pay, more unemployment, more repossessions, ever higher living costs – even greater austerity. This austerity, however, has a double-standard. While the government tells us that we must sacrifice our public services, financial security and access to education – putting the most vulnerable at ever greater risk – they are pursuing tax cuts for big business and handing over institutions like the NHS to private companies at huge expense. As always it is the needs of elites that come before those of working people.
It is no accident that this has happened. The government is reacting to the demands of a global marketplace that operates by one simple rule – the pursuit of profit. Profit that comes at the expense of jobs, well-being, the environment, and, all too often, peoples’ lives.
It has been the position of both politicians and political commentators that there is no alternative to austerity; that the best we can do is try and all “pull together”, tighten our belts and struggle through. Yet while life for the majority is made even harder, many at the top are clearly benefitting from austerity programmes. Britain’s rich are getting richer – now worth more than £400billion – benefitting from low taxation, declining wages, easy access to tax havens and a country fuelled by debt.
Anarchists argue that there is an alternative to a world ruled by profit. We argue that it is possible to organise society based on systems of mutual solidarity, from the bottom-up and controlled directly and democratically. This is not a utopian dream but builds on the concrete experiments of people in struggle – from the Diggers of 1649 on St. George’s Hill, to the Peasant and Workers’ Councils of the Ukranian revolution of 1917, self-managed and collectivised industries in Spain in 1936, right up to contemporary experiments in self-management such as the “recovered” co-operative factories of Argentina in the early 00s.
Anarchist book fairs have run for years in cities from San Francisco to Zagreb. They’re a great starting point into the ideas, activism, ethics, creativity and history of the contemporary anarchist movement, with publishers, comics, zines, film, art, food and fun stuff. If you are a seasoned activist or just a little anarcho-curious come and find out what it’s all about!