The ninth iteration of the Anarchist Book Fair is set to descend upon the Vera Project at the Seattle Center on Saturday, Aug. 26. Each year since 2009, the fair has brought together strangers and friends alike to discuss what anarchists refer to as the “beautiful idea.”
More than 30 vendors are scheduled to table the event, which provides most of the fair’s funding in addition to some individual donations.
Replete with books, workshops and keynote discussions, the fair’s primary goals are to help facilitate conversation between longtime anarchists and to help newcomers explore and understand what anarchy is.
“As a book fair, it serves as a really good platform for folks who maybe don’t have as much experience with ideas of anarchy and are curious about it,” said an organizer, who asked to remain anonymous. “It’s not a demo, it’s a chance for folks to just come check out literature that has more about the ideas behind anarchy.”
Organizers say the current political climate has brought more relevance to the event more than ever before, citing what they perceive to be a rising tide of White supremacy and fascism, corporate exploitation and failure of the political left.
“Anarchist ideas are gaining a lot of interest, and anarchists have been on the frontlines of a lot of anti-fascist action,” the organizer said. “If folks have questions about what [anarchy] is all about, the book fair is a fantastic opportunity to come check that stuff out, and find out a little more.”
Amid a sea of political outrage, the Anarchist Book Fair is intended to be an inclusive space for people to feel safe. The event is wheelchair-accessible and welcoming to members of all communities, and there is even a limited level of day care for attendants with children.
Historically, the event has been well-received in and out of the anarchist community, the organizer said. Anarchists make their way to Seattle from across the country, and newcomers are often open-minded if they willingly attend an anarchist event.
The organizer said that anonymity is important for multiple reasons, including protecting people from the social stigma and false assumptions about anarchy and anarchists.
“Our enemies will use individual identities to persecute and attack us,” the organizer said. “There is a long history of state repression against anarchists; there are very real reasons to want to hide your identity when operating publicly.”
Anonymity also helps frame the work as a collective effort rather than an individualistic one. Many organizers work together to create events like the Anarchist Book Fair. In addition, the organizer mentioned the long history of anarchist writers offering up their works and ideas for the public to consume freely.
“It’s not, for example, my book fair,” the organizer said. “It’s sort of all of ours.”
WHAT: Seattle Anarchist Book Fair
WHEN: Aug. 26, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
WHERE: The Vera Project, 305 Harrison Street
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