Anarchist Book Fair showcases alternative views
By Meredith Taylor
Special to the Post
Anarchists and non-anarchists alike united at the Kitchener-Waterloo Anarchist Book Fair, Feb. 16 at the Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work on Duke Street in downtown Kitchener.
The book fair is the first of what organizers hope will be an annual event. Adam Lewis, one of the organziers, hopes the book fair will give the community a sense of what anarchism is all about.
“The purpose [of the book fair] is to allow an atmosphere to educate people on what anarchism is, different alternative political projects, different types of politics, as well as a place to distribute different types of materials [like] books, zines, patches, t-shirts [and] a lot of stuff that’s not typically found in a Chapters bookstore,” he said.
“A lot of either do-it-yourself or self-published or independently published [work] by a variety of different people,” he said.
The book fair featured booths, presentations, film screenings and a quiet room.
One of the exhibitors was YU Free Press, which is an alternative publication printed by volunteer graduate and undergraduate students from York University.
Another exhibitor was Justice for Levi, a group seeking justice in the case of Levi Schaeffer, who was killed by an OPP officer in 2009.
Other booths included Rebel Time Records, Black Cat Press and the Grand River Indigenous Solidarity.
One major aspect of the book fair was workshops, activities and info sessions.
“We have [workshops] ranging from disability and queer politics, to workplace organizing, to a primer on what is this thing called anarchism that we’re talking about,” Lewis said. “We have one on indigenous peoples’ movements. . . There’s a whole spectrum.”
Lewis hopes the event will raise awareness in the community.
“I think one of the things we’re trying to do with the book fair is break the stigma around anarchism. A lot of people think of anarchism as violence, chaos, disorder, all these different very negative, almost often violent, imagery. Just because it may have happened in different parts of anarchist history, it’s not what anarchism is about.
“It’s not about violence, chaos and disorder. It’s fundamentally about changing the way we relate to each other . . . and promoting individual and group freedom,” he said.
The book fair was sponsored by a variety of groups including the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, the Laurier Public Interest Research Group and Common Cause, a southern Ontario Anarchist network.
Lewis was pleased with the turnout and is hopeful the book fair will be held again next year.
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Meredith Taylor attends the
Conestoga College journalism
program and is an intern with
the Kitchener Post.