"We used to have it at the New Yorker Hotel before the Korean and his Jesus children moved in. You see them on the streets peddling flowers, big smiles, cheeks glowing like Hitler Youth. High on the Opiate of the People. Used to be the New Yorker had its dopers, its musicians, its sad sacks and marginal types. We felt at home there." ['The Anarchists' Convention' by John Sayles]
The second annual NYC Anarchist Bookfair is happening this weekend. Should be an interesting event. It's being held in the same venue as last year, and it was jam packed then. I'm guessing that there will be an even bigger turn out this year. I mean, anarchism is still in fashion the last time I looked. Better remember to bring a water bottle and to wear some light clothing 'cos it was bastard roasting in the main hall last year.
Surprising to think that it took NYC this long to have an Anarchist Bookfair, when you think that the daddy of them all, the London Anarchist Bookfair, kickstarted it all off in the early eighties. I'm guessing that there must have been similar type events in the past in the NYC, but even the international anarchist movement isn't immune to such things as franchising and I guess when you've got a successful product like the London Anarchist Bookfair, then you should run with it. And it is a product. The AK Press stall will be raking it in. How else can they print that glossy catalogue every year listing all those books that they don't currently have in stock?
Interesting to note that amongst 'the tablers' will be the Anarchist Federation. Not a moment too soon. If I'm not missing Marmite on toast and Sunday morning repeats of Grange Hill (the Gripper Stebson years), it's the AF's magazine, 'Organise'.*
Varied collection of *cough* 'tablers' setting up for the event, but the one listed that has really caught my eye is 'Carl Slienger- Recovering Printed Expression of the Working-Class'. You can't find bugger all about Carl Slienger on the internet, but s/he or it - who knows, hopefully I can find out on Saturday - was the person or persons who reprinted Martov's State and the Socialist Revolution in the mid-seventies, amongst other pamphlets. I'm trying to rack my brains but I think 'Carl Slienger' also reprinted a pamphlet by Rosa Luxemburg and, maybe, Max Nettlau at the same time. Bugger the light clothing, I'll have my leftist anorak zipped up to my nose when salivating over that particular table.
There's also an interesting selection of meetings and workshops taking place during the course of the weekend . . . not somehing you could always say about the London Anarchist Bookfair. The meetings that have caught my eye are 'Anarchism Is The Only Hope: Lessons from the Durriti Column of The Spanish Civil War', where the speaker is George Sossenko, "an 88-year old veteran of the Spanish Civil War"; 'Anarchy in the USA: The Love-Hate Relationship with Presidential Elections'; and 'Building a Movement Against Capitalism through Thinking of Its Alternatives'.
The last meeting is another one of those 'synthesising anarchism and marxism' meetings. I attended one at the recent Left Forum as well. Not sure if it's the same personnel behind both meetings, but it's interesting to note that there are people out there who are carrying on in the spirit of the 'Mancunian Subvertists'. Expect fireworks and snottiness in equal measure if a stray New York Leninist strays into the meeting and makes an 'intervention'. The short odds says it will be an ICCer but, feeling a bit adventurous, I'll predict that it'll be an IBTer who makes a contribution from the floor before he's put on the floor.
I would promise to write up the notes of any meeting I attend, but I never did get round to writing up the notes of the meetings I attended at the Left Forum, so I won't bullshit you this time.
And finally, first things last: 2008 NYC Anarchist Film Festival takes place today. The piccie below is the poster for the event. The film on Sacco and Vanzetti looks interesting. I need to be mug up in the history of US radicalism, so I'll probably pop along. And on that note, this is when I usually write: 'Gone Fishing'.
* Turns out that the latest issue of 'Organise' has a wee reprise of an AF'er attending last year's NYC Anarchist Bookfair. Call me a cynical armchair abstract propaganist, but I bet the 'latest issue' of Organise was published just in time for last year's London Anarchist Bookfair. Maybe I'll be able to read the AF's report of this year's NYC Anarchist Bookfair in the forthcoming issue of Organise which will be published . . . . when's this year's London Anarchist Bookfair?