Saturday the 29th of May saw the return of the Dublin Anarchist Bookfair to Liberty Hall. It is the 5th Bookfair to be held in the city and what started out as a small event in a community hall in the Liberties is now one of the landmark events in the calendar of the Irish left, organised by the Workers Solidarity Movement.
This year’s Bookfair was jam-packed full of talks and workshops on a wide variety of subjects. One of our headliners was a table discussion on the topic of “The Successes and Failures of the Workers Party”, with Brian Hanley and Scott Millar, the authors of the book “The Lost Revolution”, who were joined by Alan MacSimoin, a WSM activist who was a member of the Workers Party during the 70’s. Another highlight of the day was Anne McShane from the group Hands off the People of Iran (HOPI) and an Iranian-American anarchist from the WSM speaking on women’s rights and struggles in Iran today. Both talks were well attended, with around 100 at both.
Other events during the day included a union organiser from the anarcho-syndicalist CNT union from Spain speaking about his experiences, a workshop on mental health, history professor Conor Kostick spoke about revolutionary experiments in Ireland from 1917 to 1923 such as the Limerick Soviet, and talks on the Shell to Sea struggle in Mayo and pro-choice issues in Ireland today.
And of course, there were books! Lots and lots of books. We had bookstalls from a wide variety of organisations and campaigns, such as the WSM, Solidarity Books (Cork’s Radical Bookshop), Rebel County Books, Anti-Fascist Action, Shell to Sea, Irish Socialist Network, the Anarchist Federation (UK), Organise!, Just Books, HOPI, the Justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal Campaign, Choice Ireland and many more.
During the day itself around 1000 people passed through our doors. Plenty of books, pamphlets and merchandise were sold, and leaflets, newspapers and magazines given away for free. That night, a great time was had by all at the official Post-Bookfair party held in Seomra Spraoi, Dublin’s radical autonomous social centre, with music being provided by DJ Jay Carax of Punky Reggae Party fame. To round off the weekend, a Radical Walking Tour of Dublin took place on Sunday, covering topics such as strikes, occupations and rebellions in the city, kindly organised by the lads from the “Come Here to Me” blog on Dublin life & culture.
Over the coming weeks, audio, video and images from the bookfair weekend will be uploaded onto our site at www.wsm.ie/bookfair (as well as a full list of the events that happened over the weekend). At the time of writing, we have the audio recording from the talk “Israeli Apartheid, BDS and Grassroots Resistance in Palestine”, given by Freda Hughes from the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign uploaded, and we urge you to have a listen as the issue is currently quite relevant due to the Israeli attack on the aid flotilla to Gaza.
We all had a great time at the bookfair this year, and we can’t wait for next year already!