Two cheers for Anarchism


The stereotype of anarchists through the media are black clad, stone throwing youths who attack the police and/or buildings during demonstrations. As a result the annual London Anarchist Book fair might have been a bit of a daunting prospect for anyone wanting to spend a quiet Saturday afternoon in October. So for those put off by the media image, here is what it was like.ID-100175255

Firstly it’s important to say that the book fair is much more than just a book fair, there are meetings, debates, refreshments, a youth space and other stuff too. There were dozens of stalls and hundreds of people and yes they were wearing black and there wasn’t a stone throw in sight. Although admittedly there were some stalls (a small minority) that had literature celebrating the media image of anarchist violence but many more were distributing pamphlets on a vast range of less energetic pursuits such as identifying edible plants or how to set up a housing co-op.

One major thing to understand about anarchism, as illustrated by the book fair is its diversity. It can (almost) mean anything to anyone but with one golden rule; the belief that society can and should function without a state (meaning no government, no police and no authority).

Having been to the VegFest only a couple of weeks before, I was struck by how many stalls from there reappeared at the Anarchist Book fair; it seems that there is a big overlap between vegan-ism and anarchism.

There was no official ‘theme’ to the event (the concept of there being a theme would not follow in how anarchism sees itself) but something I noticed which was reoccurring throughout the stalls, was feminism. It seems to be undergoing a significant revival at the moment and this was reflected at the event with posters, badges, patches, stickers, and books on the subject.

Finally, I think I should say that I am not an anarchist and never have been, but I spotted one book which summed up the day for me and possibly my view of anarchism in general; it was called ‘Two Cheers for Anarchism’.

Words by Emily May

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