The 4th Belfast Anarchist Bookfair took place on Saturday in the Warzone centre in Little Victoria Street. Set up late last year the centre is a neutral space in the heart of the city including a coffee space which promotes alternative gigs and music. There was a steady stream of people throughout the day event which began at 12pm with many new people coming across anarchist ideas and the wider movement for the very first time.
The day event organised by Just Books/Organise! ended with a benefit in the evening followed by a picnic the next day in Ormeau Park to finish up. There were stalls from the Independent Workers Union and the wider co-operative movement including the WSM with many new contacts being made.
The first talk began at around 1pm on the topic of radical co-operatives, collectives and ‘free space.’ Speakers ranged from Just Books, Creative Workers Co-op, to Na Croisbhealai cafe touching on the strengths and weaknesses of co-operatives and what role they can play within the larger popular movement in terms of building a better society for all. The next edition of Irish anarchist review, which will be released for the Dublin anarchist Bookfair on the 28th May, will also contain an article on workers co-operatives, their history and a critical examination of their role and function.
Around 20 people took part in the second talk and discussion on women’s right to choose and the co-ordination of opposition to the Belfast leg of the ‘pro-life’ all Ireland walk for life in July.
While the Belfast anarchist Bookfair remains an important and worthwhile event to promote our ideas and ‘movement’ beyond the sectarian divide. Lessons need to learnt from the bookfair in London and Dublin in terms of organisation and promotion such speakers that will actually draw a good crowd if we are to move from the margins to the mainstream.