Dublin Anarchist Bookfair 2013: Schedule being finalised


The Dublin Anarchist Bookfair 2013 is almost upon us, taking place over the first weekend of April, and the schedule of meetings is currently being finalised.  This year’s Bookfair takes as its theme ‘1913-2013: Re-building a movement from below’. 

2013 marks the 100th anniversary of what many see as the most significant industrial dispute ever to have taken place in Ireland - the Dublin Lockout.  The employers of Dublin, led by William Martin Murphy, locked out over 20,000 workers in an attempt to starve them into submission and to smash the increasingly popular Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU).

One of the Bookfair highlights will be a meeting at which a panel of speakers will explore the legacy of 1913 and its lessons for the trade union movement of today.  Padraig Yeates (author of ‘Lockout’), Brian Hanley (historian and author), Mary Muldowney (author of many books and articles on women’s labour history) and Gregor Kerr (WSM member and Irish National Teachers Organisation activist) will each take a unique look at the relevance of 1913 and why it retains such importance among trade union organisers and activists one hundred years on.

Austerity and the PIIGS

The austerity policies of the latest phase of capitalism have wreaked havoc on the lives and living standards of working class people across Europe and beyond.  The struggles in which communities find themselves as they attempt to resist these policies have a lot to learn from each other.  As we strive for a better world and to build communities free from poverty, exploitation and hopelessness we need to find time and space to listen to each other, to find common cause and to support each other’s struggles.

A number of speakers from the EU-‘peripherals’, the so-called PIIGS countries (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain) will share the stories of the struggles they are involved in and explore a vision of what is needed to ‘change the world’.

Allied to this, Kevin Doyle (a member of the WSM) and Alan Gibson, both of whom have been actively involved in helping to build the Campaign Against Home And Water Taxes, will talk about the lessons learnt from the fight thus far against the household and property taxes and explore what type of campaign and campaigning is needed for the fight against the property tax (and the forthcoming water tax) to be successful.

Free, Safe and Legal

The tragic death of Savita Halappanavar last November catapulted the issue of the lack of access to abortion rights for women in Ireland back onto the political agenda.  For over 20 years, Irish politicians have failed to face up to the challenge of legislating for the X case judgement.  But with change now on the horizon, 3 speakers – Anne Quesney (an abortion and women’s rights activist for the past 15 years), Aileen O’Carroll (a WSM member who has been involved in the pro-choice struggle since the X case) and Sinéad Redmond (who set up the hugely popular facebook page ‘Unlike Youth Defence, I trust women to decide their lives for themselves’ last year) - will discuss how the struggle for abortion rights can be fought both in Ireland and elsewhere.

Sex Work

Dr. Laura Agustín (author of Sex at the Margins: Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry) will talk at the Bookfair about why she believes sex work should be treated as work and why we should “resist the general victimising of women who sell sex”.

And Plenty More

Among the other topics and themes that will be covered in Bookfair talks and discussions will be

  • Anarchism and the City - anarchism in Barcelona in the lead-up to the 1936 Spanish revolution, with Chris Ealham (author of 'Anarchism and the City: Revolution and Counter-revolution in Barcelona, 1898–1937')
  • Organising The Unorganised – some practical examples, which will look at the lessons to be learnt from two examples of union organising among ‘the unorganised’
  • The Art of Resistance: Image-ing a new Middle East, which will explore the ways 'art as defiance' is re-imagining power across the Middle East  
  • Facing Deportations – a practical workshop; how we can organise to prevent deportations, which aims to share the direct practical actions that need to be done and to raise awareness, unveil truths and correct misconceptions surrounding the issue of asylum application and deportation
  • Social history and social media, a discussion with history project Come Here To Me!
  • Latin American Social Struggles against mining, a meeting at which two speakers - Milton Sánchez Cubas (President of the Celendin Interinstitutional Platform (PIC), a network of 40 grassroots organisations from Celendin Department of Cajamarca, Peru) and Aida Julieta Quinones Torres (a member of the Environmental Committee for the Defense of Life which monitors the socio-environmental impact of the La Colosa mine, in the department of Tolima, Colombia) – will look at the impact on their communities of exploitation by mega-extractive multinational corporation and how they organize to face this threat
  • Queer Anarchism: Equality or Liberation?, a talk which will discuss emergent radical queer politics which resist assimilation and question the foundations of gender and sexual identity

As well as the meetings, this year’s Bookfair will, as in previous years, have book and information stalls from a host of anarchist and radical bookshops and campaigning organisations.

Music and film

The weekend will kick off on the Friday night with a film showing and music session in Seomra Spraoi.  Following the day of talks and bookstalls in Liberty Hall, Saturday night will have an opportunity to continue the discussion while enjoying some fine tunes at a Bookfair fundraiser in ‘The Pint’ (beside Liberty Hall). 

Sunday afternoon

And on Sunday afternoon, the weekend’s activities will conclude with a walking tour entitled ‘Finance Under Foot’ on which Conor McCabe and Tom Murray will  take participants through Ireland's most important sites of financial power, past and present. The idea behind the tour, according to the guides, “is to make the nature of organised money power accessible, understandable and even entertaining”.  Given the way in which financial power has devastated all our lives in recent times, this tour should prove to be of great interest to those struggling against its daily effects.

Friday 5th, Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th April – make sure the dates are in your diary.

Help promote the Bookfair by RSVPing and asking your friends at the Facebook event