Monday, 18 February 2008

Belfast Anarchist Bookfair 2008

The second annual Belfast Anarchist Bookfair will take place on Saturday 6th September 11 noon until 6.00 pm. Hosted by Just Books Collective in the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre we hope to build on the success of last years event.
More details to follow, if anyone has any suggestions for meetings or wants to book a stall let us know early because space is limited.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Successful First Belfast Anarchist Bookfair

The first Belfast Anarchist Bookfair took place last weekend, Friday 31st of August and Saturday 1st of September, this report will be followed by more indepth reports from individual meetings and from people who attended the bookfair.Many thanks from the Just Books Collective and Organise! to all involved in making this the success that it was.

The first Belfast Anarchist Bookfair last weekend was a great success. Its estimated that over 150 people attended the bookfair and film showing over the evening of the Friday 31st of August and throughout the day on Saturday 1st of September.The Friday evening kicked events off with a showing of Libertarias, a film that tels the story of a group of women fighting as part of the Mujeres Libres in the milita's during the Spanish Revolution. Militarisation of the militia's, sexism and the removal of women from the frontline in the fight against fascism are all dealt with in this 1996 film directed by Vicente Aranda. A few anarchist 'icons' are toppled along the way with the focus of the story being on the bravery and idealism of the women and men who make up the 'rank and file' of the anarchist militia.
There was an early start on Saturday morning (perhaps a wee bit too early for some) with the first meeting, giving the low down on developments within Just Books, kicking off at 11.30 am to a rather small, but interested, gathering of around half a dozen. Attendance at the rest of the days meetings was much higher, reports on each meting should follow this article.The meetings throughout the rest of the day were on:Belfast AnarchismIreland, still fighting for the right to chooseNorthern Ireland - New Era? Anothert future is possibleJustice for DockersWorkplace Organising, Workplace ResistanceInternational Anarcho-SyndicalismResisting Water Charges.There were stalls from AIT-IWA, Back2front magazine, Barracka Books (Cork), Belfast Anarchist Black Cross, Just Books, Organise!, Revolutionary Anarcha-Feminist Group, Solidarity Federation, We Won't Pay Campaign, Workers Esperanto Association, Workers Solidarity Movement.Thanks also to the organisers and bands that made the Saturday night benefit for Just Books such a success, ta very much to Jonny, Runnin' Riot, 1000 Drunken Nights, the Lobotomies the Troubles and Stillbirth. Thanks to everyone who did stalls, gave talks, made food, helped publicise the event, housed waifs and strays over the weekend, cleaned up, contributed to discussion, got a drink in... Particular thanks to the Unemployed Resource Centre in Belfast, Albert from Justice for Dockers, Heather from the fpa, RAG and Choice Ireland,It was great to see so many people over the weekend, new and old, from all over. Reports on specific meetings will follow, hopefully with some photos.
The organisers, Just Books Collective and Organise!, would like to thank everyone who helped ensure this was such a successful event, and to take this opportunity to let everyone know that we plan to make this an annual event.

Around 25 people attended the meeting on Justice for Dockers.On July 2006, a group of dockers set up a committee to fight for justice for dockers suffering from asbestosis or asbestos related diseases got while working unloading asbestos at Belfast Docks from 1960 to 1980. The group aims to seek compensation from the British government, their employers and also their union - SIPTU. All who knew about the danger of abestos but never told the dockers.Authur Millar who worked in the docks himself spoke passoniately about the betrayel of the union leadership and the employers and their exhaustion of all the legal avenues including the courts and lobbying the leadership of SIPTU in the struggle for justice but to no avail. So far only NIPSA have given their support to the campaign.The discussion afterwards centered on the need to build support amongst the trade union rank and file and broaden out the campaign to include all those affected from asbestos such as the current campaign by residents in Crumlin to prevent a asbestos dump being built in their area.Most importantly Justice for Dockers will be on the streets in the next couple of weeks to expose and embarrass the British Government, SIPTU and employers and they are asking for our support.

The first such Belfast Anarchist Book fair has taken place. Hundreds of books, a variety of meetings and healthy debate and discussion were had by all. I had noticed quite a few ‘activists that I had not seen in a while there, and I had got to meet others from around the country and further afield. Many others who attended I had not known including a guy who had been in Seattle and for years had been doing his own small pamphlets and publications to get the message out. I have since read an article he did on Christianity, which was interesting, and will be in contact. For him, living out in the sticks he thought the event was brill! And with his stall by the door in the first room, he estimated between 120 – 150 came throughout the day, some to browse most to partake. The event itself I thought was excellent, the debate was good and solidarity was forthcoming for a number of workers in struggle and campaigns. It also showed that there is a growing thirst for such ideas and ways of organising local. Indeed Anarchism and Libertarian Socialism has put down its mark in Belfast at the first such event - which will only grow in the time ahead.
Davy Carlin

Chair: Conor (Organise!)Speakers: Garth (Organise!), Eoin (IWU), Jacques (SolFed)

This meeting was well-attended with approximately 25-30 present for most of the session. Garth began with a short talk on his experiences as both a conductor and train-driver in the railways and in particular his experience as a union health & safety rep. Garth summarised Organise's position on the unions and workplace activity - highlighting that while Organise does not think the unions can be reformed, individual members have taken positions such as shop-steward or health & safety rep, but are opposed to taking full-time paid positions that take the individual away from the shopfloor. Garth also discussed the problem of sectionalism in the workplace, instead suggesting that workplace organising should be industry-based instead of craft-based.Eoin then spoke about the current campaigns of the IWU in the Rep. of Ireland. Eoin discussed some of the pros and cons of the group and some criticisms they have come under. Eoin highlighted that the involvement of some republicans in the group may create a stigma that would be a barrier to a section starting in Northern Ireland.Jacques (SolFed) discussed the meaning of anarcho-syndicalism and it's direct relation to workplace organising. Members of the Socialist Party commented that they could not see a difference between what Jaqcues described as anarcho-syndicalism and what they understand to be trade-unionism. The exchange remained friendly and constructive without descending into sectarianism.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

The Just Books Collective and Organise! will host the first Belfast anarchist bookfair from the 31st to 1st September in Belfast Unemploymed Resource Centre 45/47 Donegall Street, Belfast. The bookfair has something for everyone interested in working class struggles and finding out about anarchism. From books on labour and Irish history, struggles across the globe, radical thinkers, anarchist, socialist and feminist books and pamphlets, t-shirts, badges and much more. There will also be meetings on the history of anarchism in Belfast, workplace organising, international workers struggles, resisting the water charges, Justice for Dockers, and the struggle for women's right to choose both north and south.

Sean Matthews states: "Despite the public spin of a 'new era' in the north our communities are being torn apart by property developers and ongoing sectarianism, meanwhile we are expected to bend over backwards for the bosses who are getting rich off everyone else's backs.
The bookfair seeks to highlight that working class people can and are fighting back against capitalist exploitation independent of politicians. The bookfair also seeks to promote a vision of a new society based on working class people running their own communities and workplaces for our benefit."


Thursday, 19 July 2007

Belfast Anarchist Bookfair September 2007

Dates of the Belfast Anarchist Bookfair have changed to Friday 30th August from 7pm until 10pm and Saturday 1st September from 11pm until 7pm. Hosted by the Just Books Collective and Organise! in the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre., 45/47 Donegall Street (beside the John Hewitt Bar) in the city centre.

Contact no: 07928479308

Friday 31st August

7.00 pm Welcome and Introduction followed by a film showing’Saturday 1st September

11.00 am About Just Books. A speaker from the Just Books Collective will give a brief history of the collective, what its been up to in recent years and months and where it would like to go in the future.

12.00 pm Belfast Anarchism. A talk by Mairtin O'Caithain, Organise! member and author of the Wee Black Booke of Belfast Anarchism.

1.00 pm Ireland - Still Fighting for the Right to Choose. A speaker from the Revolutionary Anarcha-Feminist Group talks about recent campaigning for the right to choose in the Irish Republic. Speaker tbc on right to chose campaigning and the legal situation facing women with unwanted pregnancies in Northern Ireland.

2.00 pm Northern Ireland—New Era? Another Future is Possible. Al from the Armagh Local of Organise! explores recent political changes in the north and sets out the case for a future based on working class peoples control of their own lives, communities and workplaces.

3.00 pm Justice for Dockers. A group of Belfast dockers was set up in July 2006 to fight for justice for Dockers suffering from asbestosis or asbestos related diseases they got while working unloading asbestos at Belfast Docks from 1960 to 1980. Up against the government, their employers and their union SIPTU a member of the group will be speaking about the Dockers struggle for justice and compensation.

4.00 pm Workplace Organising, Workplace Resistance. Speakers from the Independent Workers Union, Solidarity Federation (the British section of the Anarcho-Syndicalist international the International Workers Association), Organise! will lead off discussion on successful workplace organising. Drawing on a range of perspectives and experience we hope we can all learn from this debate, come along and contribute in the vein of ‘bad luck t’ the boss!’.

5.00 pm International Anarcho-Syndicalism. An overview of struggles that sections of the anarcho-syndicalist international - the International Workers Association - are involved in. A talk by the AIT-IWA secretariat.

6.00 pm Resisting Water Charges. A speaker who was active in defeating water charges in the Republic will draw lessons from that struggle—many of which can be applied to the struggle against water charges in the north in the here and now. The second speaker, active in the We Won’t Pay Campaign, will address the issues facing working class people in relation to fighting water charges in the north. Speakers from Organise! and the Workers Solidarity Movement.

Social: Saturday 1st September, The Pool Room, Lavery’s Bar.
Bands to be confirmed
More info:
Phone 07928479308