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Read like an anarchist

By AK Press | September 12, 2008

By Adam Reese

What: The third annual Anarchist Bookfair Where:the Victoria Cool Aid Society (755 Pandora St.) When: Sept. 13 – 14

Looking for a little controversial fun? The third annual Anarchist Bookfair opens this Saturday, and promises a jam-packed slate of entertainment.

Workshops begin at 11:30 a.m. and run until 5:30 p.m., with discussion topics ranging from “Founding and Maintaining Co-ops” to “Anarchy is for Lovers: Applying anarchist principles to interpersonal relationships.”

The happenings continue on Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Among topics up for discussion are “Fermenting Revolution With Pickles” and “Indigenous Resistance: The anti-Olympics struggle.”

Two members of the Victoria anarchist collective have strong connections to UVic. Allan Antliff holds a Canada Research Chair in art history at the university, and in 2006 founded an anarchist archive that resides in special collections at the McPherson Library.

“[The bookfair] addresses contemporary concerns, such as ecology, gender, arts and political theory,” said Allan.

UVic student Jessica Ziakin is a member of the anarchist collective and the official spokesperson of the bookfair.

Ziakin described what she felt to be a lack of radical intellectual community at UVic, and stressed that the bookfair and collective are an opportunity to foster such relationships.

The event is also an opportunity to meet producers of radical culture from all over North America. Independent publishers, writers and artists will bring their wares from as far away as San Fransisco and Halifax.

Much of the work these vendors have to offer represents the leading edge of anarchist thought, and aside from those titles that are carried in the Camas bookstore (at the corner of Quadra Street and Kings Road), are unavailable to even the curious or devoted anarchist.

But the Victoria Anarchist Bookfair is a free event both for vendors and patrons.

“The bookfair gives people an opportunity to see the positive aspects of the philosophy,” said Allan. “It runs on volunteers and co-operation.”

Ziakin added that many think of anarchy as gloomy at best.

“It’s not chaos, it’s actually about social justice, mutual aid, community, self-governance and ecological sustainability,” she said.

Volunteers are appreciated throughout the event and will be accepted spontaneously at the organizing table. Help is needed particularly for the clean-up after the bookfair.

If hunting for literary treasure isn’t your thing, special gatherings are planned for after the bookfair on Saturday and Sunday nights. On Saturday, participants have the opportunity to eat at the Camas Books Anniversary Dinner at the Blanshard Community Centre, then attend the Camas Bookstore for their first Birthday Bash. The fun is at the Folk Music Night at the Solstice Cafe from 6 to 11 p.m on Sunday night.

The bookfair represents the culmination of the week-long Festival of Anarchy involving art installations, poetry readings, lectures and workshops. On Friday, Sept. 12 the festival hosts a Do-It-Yourself fair that features workshops on using the Linux operating system, stencilling, beatboxing and more. That fair starts at 11 a.m. at the Victoria Events Centre. By 6:30 p.m. the fair will stop, and a punk show will begin.

For more detailed information about the bookfair, visit their website at

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[Editor's note: this article first appeared in Martlet: The University of Victoria's Independent Newspaper. We repost it with permission.]

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Topics: Happenings | 1 Comment »

One Response to “Read like an anarchist”

  1. josetheredfox Says:
    September 15th, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    check out these pictures from the Victoria Anarchist Bookfair ’08.


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