[Sat 28th Oct 2017] London Anarchist Bookfair (London)

Discussion in 'protest, direct action and demos' started by Kate Sharpley, May 30, 2017.

London Anarchist Bookfair
Start Date: Sat 28th Oct 2017 10:00 AM
End Date: Sat 28th Oct 2017 07:00 PM
Time Zone: Europe/London +01:00 BST

Park View School
West Green Road,
London N15 3QR

Posted By: Kate Sharpley

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  1. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom

    Ta-ra then
  2. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    As i hinted at the other week in my now deleted post (think only pickman's model may have seen it) a group of people have left the AF over the extended fall out from this - including all surviving founder members - so pretty much any big hitters - and are in the process of forming a new group closer to the original and historical spirit of the the ACF/AF and it's commitment to a class struggle politics. This was always going to happen regardless of the precipitating event i feel. Sad but welcome.

    Resignations from the Anarchist Federation

    We are a significant number of Anarchist Federation members, including all surviving founding members, who resigned from that organisation on 17/12/17.

    This was due to disagreements over the recent political direction of the AF. These disagreements came to a head over the differences in responses to events at the London Anarchist Bookfair in October.

    We disagreed with the statements put out by Edinburgh AF and the ‘Trans Action Faction’. We put forward an alternative statement for discussion which was received with extreme hostility and uncomradely behaviour from a vocal minority. We were no longer able to work in that environment.

    Those of us who have left the AF are re-grouping and re-organising in early 2018. We will focus less on what is essentially a small, vague anarchist sub-culture, but instead, will re-orient towards an outward looking, wider working class politics.
    Nigel, Sunset Tree, Wilf and 17 others like this.
  3. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom

    I wish the new group every success
  4. Every cloud etc.
  5. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

  6. DJWrongspeed

    DJWrongspeed radio eros

    As a side issue this video is the most compelling life experience I've heard from a woman regarding harassment in light of the all the main stream media's bubble of Hollywood stories. It's a really tough watch. Respect to Helen that she was able to share her experience so honestly.
  7. Tom A

    Tom A Goat among sheep

    To start with, I have little sympathy with those handing out those leaflets other than their right to not have venomous and hypocritical abuse hurled at them. Had those leaflets been distributed at a Labour Party or trade union event I would have hoped the people behind them would have told to cease and desist on pain of being barred from the event, at the very least. They were full of scaremongering about trans issues and were designed to deliberately provoke, and boy did they do just that. In a way having a set framework to deal with breaches of Equality rules actually makes everyone's job a lot easier, as in theory at least, the TERFs would then be swiftly and easily dealt with. Likewise, said framework should in theory also protect people from being dogpiled on for having misguided sympathies with the leafleters (and the appropriate action would have prevented the initial nastiness that led to those misguided sympathies), and all can be dealt with as rationally as possible, and there are higher bodies one has recourse to should things go as pear-shaped as they did at the bookfair. Okay, it may not be straightforward as that in real life, and bureaucracies rarely act on issues raised unless you continuously needle them, but there are procedures in place to ensure things should work out alright in the end, even if it takes a lot of pressure from below to ensure that. For these reasons, I wonder this is why the TERFs targeted the Bookfair in such a manner, because they know they would create much greater outrage rather than just be told to move on. Certainly it has done nothing but to polarise debate and create a "with us or against us" mentality on both sides, which will just further this toxic climate that has been allowed to develop.

    As for the Bookfair, while I respect their stance on allowing diverging opinions, I really do not see how allowing people stirring up shit like this is conducive to anything progressive, and this has not been the first time there has been a huge squabble at the bookfair over some issue that had been allowed to spin out of control, and I shudder at how a society run according to the principles of those attending (and fighting at) the bookfair would work in practice. I have certainly never heard of any of the bunfights that decend into farcical chaos which take frequently take place at the bookfair take place at the Labour Party conference, nor even at some of the larger left parties, even if debate can get extremely heated there. IMO the Bookfair could have taken two choices had it not decided to wash its hands of the whole affair. Firstly it could have moved more towards a "safer spaces" way of handling those wishing to cause problems, the drawbacks of which had been discussed ad nauseum in this thread, and looks like this will be the approach that the successors to the Bookfair Collective will take. Secondly it could come out in a more absolutist freedom of speech for all (bar actual fascists) stance, whereas they make loud disclaimers that people at the bookfair do not have the right to not be offended. However, this kind of free-for-all would be almost certainly be abused, even if it espouses a more "pure" anarchism.

    Finally, I'll respond to what was said back up thread said about the how identity politics seemed to have supplanted class struggle, and how older generations of anarchists struggled to relate to younger ones. At the 2004 Anarchist Bookfair (the only one I ever went to, and to my knowledge, one of the few where there was no bunfights, maybe the usual suspects were all worn out after the London ESF which took place earlier that year), I heard Alice Nutter (who's name would be considered verboten by todays IDpol crowd due to "disablism") of Chumbawamba fame talk about the internal struggle within anarchism (and individual anarchists) in the early 1980s. She explained that up till Thatcher, most anarchists were generally self contained, building their own little communities a la Dial House and Crass. Then Thatcher decided to attack the post-war consensus, the miner's strike happened, and a schism developed between the "lifestyle" anarchists and the "class struggle" anarchists who observed the attacks on the working class and realised that they had to do more than just hide in their communes and pretend this didn't affect them. This in retrospect was a welcome development, however nowadays identity politics is in danger of paralysing any kind of class struggle, inside and outside of anarchism, and in my opinion, anarchism is going to struggle even more to stay relevant to wider working class politics as long as it is mostly associated with latching onto the latest trend in identity politics with scant regard to anyone outside of their echo chamber.
    mather likes this.
  8. Wilf

    Wilf Dances like a Christian

    I'm clearly a bit out of it as far as anarchism is concerned and am only just starting on this thread - what pleasures await! However, I have a feeling the above will get to the heart of it. :(
    Nigel and Tom A like this.
  9. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom

    I remember hurling venomous abuse at the queen in bristol and prince charles and camilla in hoxton

    Not to mention assorted other people over the years. And although I can't immediately think of an occasion, I'm sure other people have hurled venomous abuse at me

    There is no right not to have venomous abuse hurled at you. I stopped reading at the point you made up this 'right'
    Nigel likes this.
  10. Tom A

    Tom A Goat among sheep

    Do you not think that people have a right to be treated with decency and respect? Also even if not, do you not think that in this, and many other similar instances, hurling abuse is just counter-productive?
  11. smokedout

    smokedout criminal

    I do wonder what would have happened if a couple of intrepid trots had marched into the bookfair and started trying to sell Socialist Worker in one of the main rooms. I suspect it might have provoked a similar response.
    Nigel likes this.
  12. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom

    If you had read the thread you'd already know what I think about this incident.
  13. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom

    Harsher, far harsher
  14. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom

    No, I don't think people have a *right* to be treated with decency and respect. Respect, it is a commonplace, is earned, for a start. To take your claim there is this right a bit further, you'd object to people being rude to Nigel Farage or the EDL etc if you're at all consistent. Or tories. People who hand out political leaflets should expect to be challenged. The people who challenge them should think about tailoring their methods to their objectives. You should think about whether you've a clue: and read the thread before posting again
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
    Nigel and krink like this.
  15. Tom A

    Tom A Goat among sheep

    Challenged, yes. But hypocritically hurling misogynist abuse as was noted here? A polite "please stop doing that", following by "please leave the building", and yes, getting security or even the police to get them to move on if they refuse to acknowledge they are not wanted would have dealt with the matter much more effectively, but unfortunately anarchists are somewhat allergic to having a centralised body enforcing the rules. Oh and I actually don't have that many qualms about saying unpleasant things about equally unpleasant people, though personally I find shouting and screaming obscenities at people to be usually a complete waste of energy and if not counterproductive then usually pretty unproductive.

    I have actually read the thread, and have taken my time to reply. Now maybe people can discuss the rest of my response rather than have another boring debate regarding the rights and wrongs of saying nasty things to your enemies.
  16. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom

    i don't believe you have read the thread or you'd have seen my post on 1 december about people shouting ugly terf cunt etc. and i don't believe someone who in one post declares there's a right to be treated with respect and decency and in almost the next online breath says er this is limited and restricted to people i find pleasant has anything to add to any political debate. not to mention that anyone, regardless of anarchist sensibilities, who thinks that calling the police to a political event might be a good idea hasn't really thought matters through, no matter whether it's the anarchist bookfair, a labour party do or whatnot.
  17. I don’t recall there being much beef between anarchists and swappies on all the demos they find themselves on together; or either of them picketing each other’s meetings etc.
    Tom A likes this.
  18. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom

    Yeh. You don't. Having been assaulted by swappies I can speak to a certain level of beef
    Nigel, Magnus McGinty and chilango like this.
  19. chilango

    chilango Neither Westminster nor Brussels....

    There's been aggro at times over the years tbf.

    From the anarchist side there's been mutterings at one point of of an "intervention" at Marxism, the occasional Trot meeting disrupted, refusal to let Swaps on @ booked coaches etc. Some demos got a bit tense, but I don't recall it ever coming to blows.

    I regret that now. I would like to apologise. :D
    Nigel, emanymton, Wilf and 1 other person like this.
  20. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom

    I don't and wouldn't
    Nigel and chilango like this.
  21. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    What's happened to the good old get the smallest mouthiest swp woman-member to aggressively prod people in the chest then shout assault followed by a mass surrounding of the opponent manoeuvre?

    The beelyites and anti-imp red-brown crowd still at it. I suppose this is what a lot of this twitter stuff effectively is anyway.
  22. Tom A

    Tom A Goat among sheep

    Pre-2013 and Comrade Delta there would have been a couple of "piss offs" from some people, but mostly bemusement. Now they calls of "rape apologists" etc would be there (and I can fully understand why) but generally TERFs are seen in a much harsher light still. Still, the question of whether to whip up a baying mob is the best solution, or one that considered a legitimate way of dealing with you enemies is a valid one.

    It was already a long thread by the time I got to it, so one can be forgiven for skimming over some parts of it, but I went back to all the posts you made on Dec 1 and cannot see anything you said pertaining to "ugly TERF cunt". Also I have this thing called a life which means I often have other things to do than read every single post (many of which are pointless circular debates) on a thread that is now 45 pages long at the time of posting.

    You took one bit of my initial post and decided to attack me purely on that. I then decided to elaborate a bit further, and again you put words in my mouth. Oh and yes, I do believe that unless they have proven to have done something beyond the pale, that people do have a right to treated with respect and decency, treat people as you would like to be treated yourself, do unto others and all that. A society where everyone was given carte blanche to be as rude and obnoxious as they liked to whoever they pleased, just for the hell of it would be a pretty miserable one.

    Unfortunately when the situation is dire, and there seems to be an imminent threat of physical violence, or physical violence is actually occurring, then calling the police is the solution of last resort. I actually remember a case at a squatted social centre some years ago where the police were called after an incident involving a group of drunken people. I am all too aware that it would reflect negatively on whatever it is, and been involved in organisations where we have needed to be proactive to avoid creating situations which would result in the police being called. Anyway, how else can you get rid of people who refuse to budge no matter who unwelcome they are, other than sending in vigilantes to do the deed (and taking the law into one's own hands is not something I am keen on either)?
  23. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Without music, life would be a mistake.

    Very much so.
  24. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom

    yeh. you have never heard. right. why haven't you heard? most likely because you haven't been listening or privy to the right conversations. why should we have 'more absolutist freedom of speech for all (bar actual fascists)'? are the views of conspiraloons more acceptable than fascists? as we've seen you don't have to shout 'sieg heil' to cause disruption. and is the freedom of speech of the 'terfs' to be privileged over the freedom of speech of the trans activists? and as for your pure anarchism, let's see you say what you mean. you're all over the place, tom, and not in a good way.
  25. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom

    either you're lying or your sight's deficient: in the latter case, go to specsavers.
  26. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom

    Tom A
    Nigel likes this.
  27. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom

    so i've put words in your mouth. it's strange how people can never point to those words i've thrust into their gobs. it's a staple when someone's been caught out and doesn't like it.

    no, people do not have the *right* to be treated with respect and decency. it's what people ought to do, but that doesn't make it a right. people ought to leave toilets the way they would like to find them, for example, but it's not a right to find a clean lav. you just don't know what a right is.

    in the post here quoted ^ you say that you believe calling the police justified 'when the situation is dire, and there seems to be an imminent threat of physical violence, or physical violence is actually occurring'. above, in post 1335, you say
    which is a rather lower bar. which of these two do you actually believe?
  28. Tom A

    Tom A Goat among sheep

    I was not providing any solutions, this was just an observation about the two potential paths the movement could take. I am not a "pure" anarchist, or indeed an anarchist of any stripe, and incidents like what happened at the Bookfair are part of the reason why I have long turned my back on it. I acknowledge how a free speech free-for-all would end in chaos, and not suggesting that solution be taken, even if we shouldn't shirk from debating controversial topics.. However any attempt to try and regulate the actions of certain people leads to complaints about introducing the dreaded concept of "safe spaces", so you cannot win.

    Was there any need for that petty insult? In my haste I happened to overlook the comment in comment in question whilst skimming through, I would apologise but you seem to be taking great pleasure in trying to portray me as being mentally deficient, so will save my breath. But having said that...

    ...I actually agree with this statement, even if it comes from someone who takes pleasure at making condescending remarks towards people who dare to have an opinion incompatible with theirs, or worse still have opinions on the matter that are developing over time. I would go further by saying that shouting "ugly TERF cunt" plays right into their hands, as they can come across as "misogynists". But the TERFs knew what they were doing when they targeted the Bookfair, and they knew the response it would elicit, how some trans rights activists would score an own goal for their cause, and how the TERFs would get a load of free publicity into the bargain.
  29. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom

    i don't think you're mentally deficient, nor have i said, suggested, implied or in any other way made you out to be mentally deficient. it's an outright lie.
  30. Tom A

    Tom A Goat among sheep

    Well "refusal to move on" implies that all attempts of nicely persuading them to leave have been exhausted, so the chances are that things will have escalated to a situation where physical violence (or at least a precieved threat of it) is imminent.

    Also you do like to tell me what I do and don't know.

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