Hundreds Attend 3rd Anarchist Bookfair in Dublin - 2008


The Dublin Anarchist Bookfair – held this year on the weekend of 14th and 15th March – has firmly established itself as the biggest and most exciting event on the political left in Ireland.

This year’s event kicked off on Friday night with an informal get-together in the Teachers’ Club attended by anarchists and libertarians from across the country and from abroad. Old friendships were renewed and new ones made. Pints were drunk, music was listened to and there was plenty of chat and debate until the early hours.

Despite a day-long downpour, Saturday’s Bookfair saw over 800 people pass through during the day. 13 different meetings were held discussing topics as varied as the Health service, the Lisbon treaty, climate change, feminism and class, trade union organisation and many many more…. Several thousand Euros worth of books and pamphlets were purchased from stalls operated by Workers Solidarity Bookservice, Barracka Books, Just Books, Anarchist Federation, Irish Socialist Network, Oxfam Bookstore and others. Pamphlets and leaflets from a vast array of campaigns and political organisations including Revolutionary Anarchafeminist Group, Shell to Sea, Residents Against Racism, Choice Ireland, Seomra Spraoi and Justice for Mumia Abu Jamal were distributed.

All day long, the film room showed alternative movies. And, in the kids’ area, there was crafts and fun aplenty.

Most importantly of all, on an informal level there was plenty of chat, discussion and debate. The great thing about attending an event like the Anarchist Bookfair is the number of new people one meets. It’s a friendly forum where people can dip in and out. People who know nothing about anarchism but are simply looking for new ideas can come along and chat to others in a non-threatening, easy-going environment. And anarchists, libertarians and others who are involved in political groups and campaigns can meet like-minded individuals, share ideas and debate differences – again all in a friendly and comradely manner.

For those of us involved in organising this year’s Bookfair, there is no better or more satisfying feeling than standing in the hall in the Teachers’ Club and watching the browsing, the chatting and the discussion unfold. The weeks and months of planning and organising were all worthwhile on seeing this and on seeing successful meetings and debates take place. We were delighted to be able to welcome a vast array of speakers from outside the Workers Solidarity Movement – speakers such as Sara Burke (freelance journalist and health policy analyst), Dr. Ciara McMeel (a GP in Dublin’s north inner city), Martin Collins (Pavee Point), Dave Landy (Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign), Dr. Graham Smith (School of Law at University of Manchester), Anne McShane (Hands off People of Iran)…. and many more.

Following a day of debate and discussion, the evening ended with a well-attended and music-filled social event in the Clifton Court Hotel on Eden Quay. And despite the lateness of events on Saturday night, early Sunday afternoon saw a lively bunch of people participate in a guided walking tour of Dublin city centre visiting several sites of historical and more contemporary interest.

Were you at the Bookfair? Did you attend any of the meetings? Did you go on the walking tour? If so, why not write a short report of your impressions and together we can build up a comprehensive review of the weekend. Or maybe you have some pictures or recordings which you could post here!

Of course, because we are always looking to make things better, we are already wondering how things could be improved for next year. If you were there, we’d love your feedback. What was your favourite part of the weekend? What could be improved? We’re not sensitive, we don’t mind criticism so please do let us know what you thought. We’re already working on ideas for next year’s Bookfair so if you’ve any suggestions, please let us have them. Let’s make next year’s event even bigger and better.

First published on Irish indymedia