On November 7th, the Thursday before 2019’s Boston Anarchist Bookfair was slated to take place, Boston University informed the organizers that they would have to not only pay for the space, but pay for a police presence. The organizers, being anarchists, of course said no.
The organizers then shuttled the vendor tables over to The Democracy Center on Saturday the 9th, and moved as many workshops as possible to Make Shift Boston on Sunday the 10th. Not an ideal start to the weekend, but one, nevertheless, the organizers recovered from.
Unsurprisingly, The Democracy Center was packed. It’s not the largest space, and the meeting room was occupied until 2 pm. Despite the cramped quarters, dozens of leftists filled the space, sliding past each other to find a position near a table. They picked up zines and scanned the cluttered pages, made conversation with the folks working the table, and overall turned up to support their friends and comrades. Whoever says the old adage “the fascists have the outfits” not only fell for the propaganda, but has clearly never been in a room with a bunch of anarchical queers. The eclectic clothing, hand painted pants to patched denim jackets, created a flood of personality. Self styled haircuts bobbed and weaved throughout the hallways, stopping for a few seconds before once again being lost to the crowd. Fuck khaki pants and polo shirts, give me dyed mullets and spiced up denim covered in your favorite pins. It was uncomfortably hot with that amount of people, but honestly the crowd was good to look at, plus I’m always into supporting cool venues with morals.
Beyond the ambience, it was great to see some local and not-so-local anarchist spaces and publications show up and represent. From the Lucy Parsons Center in JP to AK Press, a worker-owned publisher/distributor operated out of California, I loved being able to peruse through hundreds of zines and books, skimming pages of anarchist theory ranging from economics to praxis to feminist theory. I collected several zines, a book, and temporarily adorned the inside of my pockets with stickers. “Bash the Fash, Smash the State!” one reads, while a couple, handed to me for free of course, say “Abolish ICE.” I took extra time to paste these ones around my neighborhood and also, give to my mom.
At another table I listened in on a discussion about the mechanics of peer to peer free wifi, the vendor hoping to eventually undermine ISP’s and create a network of minicomputers that either subvert the corporations hold on internet, or link up to each other and build their own, depending on what you use them for. (This is an incredibly bastardized explanation- I wish I had the technical know-how to code and specialize Raspberry Pi computers, but here I am). On my way home, I started reading the book I bought, Turn This World Inside Out by Nora Samaran. The book speaks on emotional intelligence, toxic masculinity, and creating a culture that genuinely cares for people. In other words, it’s very anarchist in the way it cares for others.
The Boston Anarchist Book Fair is an event for the like minded, for the passionate, and for the curious. I highly recommend everyone goes to the next one, hopefully it won’t need a sudden change of plans. Know that we adapt and overcome. Remember to love, organize, and destroy the systems of oppression that hold us down. Love to my fellow anarchists, thank you for this event.