Review: Dublin Anarchist Bookfair 2011


Wind and rain, a city in lockdown due to the upcoming royal visit and the best efforts of An Garda Siochana (who, despite the WSM gaining the correct permit to advertise the event on lamp-posts around Dublin, removed approximately 100 of our posters), the sixth annual Dublin Anarchist Bookfair continued the trend set by its predecessors in being one of the largest annual events on the calendar of Dublin’s Left.

While numbers were down slightly on last year, approximately 700 people passed through the front doors of Liberty Hall to play their part in a day of talk, discussion and celebration of not just anarchist ideas, but those of the broader left too.

Throughout the day, hundreds, if not thousands of books changed hands. This years Bookfair had the largest number of stalls yet (26), with the Bookfair committee receiving a couple of last minute requests for space that we couldn’t turn down. Stalls varied from PM Press to AK Press and children’s literature to one selling patches of various figureheads from the history of Socialism.

One stall, sadly for all concerned, was missing; that of Bob Miller and Sally Hyman of the Manchester Anarchist Federation. They have been almost ever-present at the last few Bookfairs, but we were worried to hear that Bob had taken ill and couldn’t come over. He has since passed away, a great loss to Sally and their friends and the anarchist movement as a whole. He was an absolute gentleman and a pleasure to converse with; he will be greatly missed.

Attendance at the various talks held on the day was arguably up on previous years. Conor McCabe’s talk on the “Sins of our Fathers” was one of the highlights of the day, attracting 60 or so people despite being early in the bill. The “Peripheral Visions” talk, where anarchists from Portugal, Ireland, Greece & Spain discussed alternatives to Frankfurt/ECB-rule and the bailout blues drew over 80 people in a meeting where to say “standing room only” would be an under-exaggeration. The quality of political discussion at these meetings was among the best we’ve seen in recent years and were it not for strict chairing, discussions could have continued for hours.

Other highlights of the day included José Antonio Gutiérrez Danton’s reflections on the ongoing Arab Spring, which again packed out the meeting room, Gabriel Kuhn’s “Soccer versus the State” talk, where he went through the political side of what is seen by many as a non-political sport, and a discussion between Andrew Flood and Wayne Price on “Anarchism & Socialism.” Audio from the “Arab Spring” and “Soccer versus the State” meetings are available at and we hope to have recordings of the other meetings available soon.

The day, as always, passed off in high spirits, with plenty of bargains as well as new friends made. The socialising afterwards took place in O’Byrne’s of North King Street, where local heroes Krossphader and Dr. Groove took to the decks in celebration of a great day had by all. Roll on the Anarchist Bookfair 2012!


This article is from Workers Solidarity 122 July 2011
Read more articles online

Download the PDF file