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Feb 19, 18

Update on the Hamilton, Ontario Anarchist Bookfair, March 3-4th

The following is an update on the Hamilton Anarchist Bookfair, which is taking places in so-called southern Ontario.

The Hamilton Anarchist Bookfair is taking place March 3-4th and aims to be a space for convergence and discussion among anarchists and anti-authoritarians from across Southern Ontario. Our hope with this weekend is to contribute to rebuilding a sense of regional cohesion among various anarchist tendencies, to meet each other, share information about our contexts and projects, and find ways to work together to push back the smothering blanket of Canadian progressive democracy to lay bare the antagonisms that contained in capitalism and the State here and everywhere.

We just published the final list of workshop descriptions and tablers and thought we’d take a minute to summarize a bit of what to expect at the bookfair. We got a lot of workshop submissions, and our hope in choosing the ones we did was to highlight the various approaches to the struggle against systems of domination in the region, in order to both emphasize what we have in common and to create productive spaces for engaging with differences.

Saturday morning, we start with “Food Sovereignty on Stolen Land” about building practical, land-based autonomy in Indigenous communities, and “Taking over your workplace” engaging with various approaches to starting to get your workplace organized. The intro to anarchy workshop, “Against Politicians, Even the Nice Ones” focuses on what distinguishes anarchism from various forms of socialism or progressivism, namely our opposition to the state and to political representation. At the same time “Not Your Founding Fathers’ Anarchism” presents a narrative of anarchist history that emphasizes the participation of women. We’ll close the day with back-to-back workshops about prison resistance, starting with “Anti-Prison Struggle in Ontario and Quebec” and followed by “Working in Solidarity with Prisoners,” sharing practical ideas for how to show solidarity to incarcerated people in struggle. At the same time as these, Taking Sides: Revolutionary Solidarity and the Poverty of Liberalism presents an idea of anarchist struggle based in solidarity and that rejects the recuperation of the institutional Left, and the North American launch of the English translation of the book Revolution without Delay, a biography of anarchist Maria Nikiforove and her participation in the Russian revolution.

On Sunday, we’ll be running three simultaneous streams, starting with a look at organizing in small, rural towns, anti-capitalist Mapuche struggle in so-called Chile, and a conversation with IWW Montreal about revolution and anti-fascism. Afterwards, “Fight or Flight: Anarchist [Dis]Engagement with the Left” puts forward another possible path of abandoning the trappings of the left – one that leads towards more deeply involving ourselves in the daily lives of members of the working class as they struggle to survive under an increasingly aggressive white supremacist, hetero-patriarchal capitalist regime. “Imminent collapse: accelerations and preparations” explores experiences of land defense across North America and Europe as a response to ecological catastrophe, and “Anarchism in India” will trace the role of anarchists from the Indian independence movement to to the present day. Finally, we’re excited to host “Stories from the Syrian Revolution,” where a comrade from Damascus will describe various liberatory practices from the first years of the Syrian uprising. At the same time, “Anarchism and Tenant Organizing” with the Hamilton Tenants Solidarity Network offers practical advice for how to organize against landlords and “Gentrification, LGBTQ2S1+ Communities and Modes of Resistance,” will explore dominant discourses about neighborhoods and gentrification, and how processes of gentrification and displacement relate to LGBTQ2SI+ communities.

For the full descriptions and the detailed workshop schedule, go here.

We’ll also have over thirty tablers present, representing a huge range of publishers, distros, and local projects. They range from the big publishers like AK & PM presses and Kersplebedeb, to distro projects like The Tower InPrint, Black Banner Distro, underHILL, and Semo Distro, and to various infoshops, like Diggers from Prince Edward County and Blue Heron from Kingston.

For a full list of tablers and descriptions, go here.

Bookfairs have a long history as anarchist gathering spaces it’s been over two years since we last had one in Southern Ontario. We share this text in hopes that people in the region will talk about it with their comrades and help spread the word, and also to make our activity and reflections in this area visible to the wider anarchist space.

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