London Anarchist Bookfair Saturday 18th October 2014

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Caiman del Barrio
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Oct 22 2014 10:53

I don't shop in those sorts of places. wink I don't usually take the Tube either, apart from on weekends. I certainly did witness a fair

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amount of entitled and oblivious 'me first'

factvalue
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Oct 22 2014 10:55
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What are you doing shopping there in the first place?

It was an experiment in upward mobility (and Waitrose do some fucking great organic chicken - why should THEY have all the best chicken eh?!)

Burgers
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Oct 22 2014 10:58

Maybe free deodorant should be handed out at the entrance, as the smell doesn't get any better as the years go by.

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AndrewF
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Oct 22 2014 11:47

I never get the 'too cool for school' moaning about the bookfair that always seems to prevail here. I travel over from Dublin for it most years and find it worthwhile, I'm also involved in the organising of the Dublin one so have a reasonable idea of the workload involved. Given the resources at their disposal I think the organisers do a remarkably good job

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Cooked
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Oct 22 2014 12:53
Battlescarred wrote:
The Poor Doors policy is being introduced into several areas of London now and it is my perception that the housing crisis, social cleansing and gentrification will be flashpoints for social unrest in the future, if not now.

Apologies in advance for being offtopic but i reccon it's an important issue. Poor doors have been going on for a long while. I remember the following from Ken Livingstone days.

1. Council demands "pepperpotting" of social housing in all development.
2. Developer proposes poor doors where social housing tenants have to enter through separata en trance and stair/lift core.
3. Developer splits building into two recognisable parts to further strengthen the divide. Builds social housing part using even more substandard materials. ("Luxury housing" is also crap)
4. Social housing building is moved to Essex so that all of the London Flats can be sold off at absurd prices.

Or perhaps you are reffering to something else and I'm off on the wrong tangent.

factvalue
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Oct 23 2014 22:03

Andrew F - I hope I didn't give the impressions that I was having a go at the organisers. My comments were strictly about my own reactions to the meetings I was at and therefore are not restricted by the need to advance only the positive agendas of larger institutional packs of political animals dominated by self-serving groupthink. And anyway it's only a bookfair.

boomerang
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Oct 24 2014 00:56

Here's a true happy story about an anarchist bookfair that happened I think five years ago: I went into it as somewhat of a Trotskyist (though uncomfortable with the authoritarianism thing) and knowing almost nothing about anarchism, and I listened to an intro talk about anarchism, and I was like THIS IS FUCKING IT! grin

If it weren't for that today I might be selling papers for some wackjob Trotskyist group or maybe knocking on doors for the social democratic candidate.

factvalue
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Oct 24 2014 16:10

It must have been a fairly decent talk then eh?

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Ed
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Oct 27 2014 09:32

I know this must sound crazy but I don't suppose anyone has written a report about what happened for the other six-odd hours of the AFem conference? Just for those of us interested in more than the five minute dreadlock discussion..

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the button
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Oct 27 2014 10:01

http://glasgowanarchists.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/a-look-back-at-afem201...

Tarquin
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Oct 27 2014 11:48

Write up of the accountability processes session

http://afem2014.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/accountability-processes/

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GBF23
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Oct 27 2014 21:27
AES wrote:
Most that I have known with dreadlocks (regardless of skin shade) see this as a token of identity with Haile Selassie the reactionary 'messiah' who brought terror on Ethiopian worker organisations.

Bob Marley and ganja more like.

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AES
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Oct 27 2014 22:06

No. I'm from Africa, so I actually mean Haile Selassie

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Ramona
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Oct 28 2014 12:48
Ed wrote:
I know this must sound crazy but I don't suppose anyone has written a report about what happened for the other six-odd hours of the AFem conference? Just for those of us interested in more than the five minute dreadlock discussion..

This was posted by one of the organisers on facebook. Really gutted I couldn't go but I'm hoping to get involved in organising next year's conference. Pretty impressive that they managed to get 300 people through the doors to an explicitly class struggle anarchist conference, not sure I can think of anything similar that well attended recently in the UK. Sounds like it went brilliantly to me.

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AFem, the inaugural UK based conference organised by a group of 35 anarchafeminists in Solfed, AFed and international anarchist organisations, as well as unaffiliated anarchafeminists, took place this weekend on Sunday 19th October. The conference was very popular, with just under 300 people through the door from 19 countries and counting, including Argentina, the Philippines, Brazil, Japan, Iran, the US and Canada. The conference was funded by a mix of donations, a fundrazr for £2k, and smaller fundraising events in 3 UK cities. Food Not Bombs also held a fundraiser so we could afford to feed those on low or nil income, and many in kind donations were made, from printing to translation to childcare to signing.

The conference was largely well organised with few technical glitches: there were not enough programmes, we had issues with the technology and as we had not put a numbers limit on sessions, some of the rooms were overcrowded. We had not given enough thought to accessibility - no large print programme was available and we did not have dedicated helpers for accessibility needs. However with those exceptions the day ran fairly smoothly from a practical point of view. Facilities at the conference were good, with a creche, a quiet space, free food for those on low or nil incomes, listeners and emotional first aid all available. In addition there was a team of 18 'safer spaces' people who sat in sessions, at the front desk and in the quiet room to resolve issues or questions relating to the day's safer spaces agreement, or help people who felt triggered or unsafe.

The conference offered 23 workshops and 2 plenary sessions. Workshops were broad, ranging from "what is gender?" to prison abolition to workplace organising around gender to middle eastern feminism to survivor-led accountability, with dedicated strands for disabled people, trans people, people of colour and sex workers. The timetable is attached as an image.

The workshops were by and large received very well at the conference. The comments book on the day was overwhelmingly positive and the atmosphere was excellent - many remarked on the new organising connections they were making and on the unusually anti-oppressive politics of the organising group and the conference itself.

However the day was not without difficulty. A small group of trans exclusionary radical feminists attended the conference, misgendering and insulting trans people and demanding space for cis women only. Exclusion of trans women from women's space is direct transphobic discrimination and managing this issue became the bulk of the work done by the safer spaces team. As a result, several trans people at conference encountered transphobic abuse and some were extremely upset by this. Efforts were made on the day to repair this damage, both interpersonally and politically, and care was taken to help those who had these experiences stay safely at conference, but nevertheless the TERFs should have been excluded.

Working with the organising group to develop and carry through the politics of AFem - anarchocommunist, feminist, multigender, anti-oppressive, accountable, democratic and transparent - has been one of the best organising experiences I've had in a long time, but also one of the most difficult, because we're currently at a moment of backlash against prefigurative political forms. In the run-up to AFem, as we made our politics clear on our website, blogs and social media, an increasing number of critiques were posted online. This made the run-up to conference extremely tense - we weren't sure whether there might be opposition or even disruption on the day. For those who haven't seen them, our gender inclusion policy and safer spaces agreement can be found on the AFem website.

There's clearly some anxiety in our milieu about whether accountable organising spaces are overly authoritarian. My feeling is that this conference was a good initial response: it was a popular and much-needed event with minimal difficulty and an atmosphere of solidarity, and I'm really happy solfed supported it and supported me and other comrades to help organise it. The organising group will respond to criticisms on the AFem website, once we've got the post-conference tasks done and all the feedback collated. We plan on organising further AFem events, and will recruit new organisers shortly.

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Ed
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Oct 28 2014 14:28

Hey Ramona, that's prob the best report I've read so far.. are there any reports on some of the individual meetings? I'm thinking particularly the workplace organising one but any of the less theoretical/less about process ones would be good..

Also, anti-trans feminists? I didn't realise that was a proper thing (thought it was just that Guardian journalist)..

boomerang
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Oct 30 2014 06:29
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In the run-up to AFem, as we made our politics clear on our website, blogs and social media, an increasing number of critiques were posted online. This made the run-up to conference extremely tense - we weren't sure whether there might be opposition or even disruption on the day.

Anyone know what was the controversy about?

satawal
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Oct 30 2014 21:15

Dear Boomerang,

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Anyone know what was the controversy about?

The report posted by Ramona says:

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There's clearly some anxiety in our milieu about whether accountable organising spaces are overly authoritarian.

For example this open letter to AFEM 2014 organisers "from some anarchist feminists"

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2014/10/518461.html

boomerang
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Oct 30 2014 22:19

Thanks, Satawal. There's good points on both sides of this debate. It's hard to know what the right balance is.

Fleur
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Jun 13 2015 20:00
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These cockroaches are the most common type of headpiece available. They use feathers, but instead use a hard indian headdress to create a beautiful colored stripe down the head if they are worn.

What the fuck.