Rant: What is an anarchist bookfair?

What’s this nonsense I hear about an anarchist bookfair?

Aren’t there more important matters than anarchists and their bloody books? Abbott and his cronies are now making decisions on behalf of millions; with cuts in social welfare, a hard line on immigration and an erosion of workers’ rights – their choices affect everyone from Newtown’s King Street to the Manus Island Detention Centre.

Good cops to some, bad cops to many, but cops nonetheless; they are in authority, they are the powers that be, and their dominant views will shape all our lives. For Australians it’s simply a case of ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire.’ That is, until another election rolls round and they hand over the reins to another bunch of smarmy politicians claiming to have the foresight it takes to make all the big decisions on our behalf. Then we’re back in the frying pan once more. Who’s got time to read books?

It seems people complain about government year in, year out. The never-ending cycle of elections bringing these people to power is like watching a dog owner replacing one dog that bites with another, only to get bitten again, never learning that they probably shouldn’t have a dog.

Some will dare to say we’d be better off if we did away with the lot of them, and many will agree, but few will take it further than that.

Except the anarchists. Bookfairs aside, the anarchists hold governments and politicians of all stripes to account and declare them all to be as useless and corrupt as each other and demand instead a real change in society. They call for the people to sack the politicians and take control of their own lives, deal with the affairs of their own neighbourhoods, their own workplaces, together, for the mutual benefit of all.

That said, such a grand change in society can’t happen overnight and, to be fair, the anarchists know this. They expect a long period of education to precede any great change in society and would rather focus on the development of self-thinking individuals than play at politics.

So maybe there is more to this bookfair idea than I first thought. Sydney’s anarchists have been involved in this process of education for decades, with Jura Books in Petersham spreading the idea of a society without government for over 30 years and The Black Rose Social Centre in Newtown promoting radical social change for almost as long. Now they’ve joined forces to bring Sydney its first Anarchist Bookfair. God help the politicians if people actually go along and read some of these books and listen to what these people have got to say. It’ll be them that’s in the fire next time.

Words: N. Neven. Sydney Anarchist Bookfair is on Saturday 22nd March from 10am at Marrickville’s Addison Road Community Centre. Find out more at www.sydneyanarchistbookfair.com.

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