The Anarchist Bookfair has returned once again to Montreal, bringing thousands of anarchists – and those curious – from across North America to the city. The fair, with the tagline “no gods, no masters, no bosses, no borders,” is now in its the fifteenth year.
The Bookfair takes place during the Festival of Anarchy, a month long festival that was kicked off on May 1 with the Anti-Capitalist May Day march, and goes to June 7. Anarchist and anti-capitalist events will be occurring throughout the city during this time.
Helena Moloney and Udham Singh, members of the Anarchist Bookfair Collective, explained to Forget the Box “anarchism stands for uncompromising resistance to all forms of oppression and domination – including capitalism, patriarchy, racism and colonialism – while promoting mutual aid, direct democracy, anti-authoritarianism, autonomy and solidarity.”
“We bring together theory and practice, through books, zines, art, discussions, presentations and more. There’s nothing like it in Montreal, when compared to other bookfairs,” they continued.
While books are of course a large part of the focus at the Bookfair, there will also be art exhibitions, workshops, presentations, as well as activities for children. Community groups and collectives such as Le Frigo Vert, Howl arts collective, and Queer Between the Covers – among many others – will set their tables for the event. With this, comes diverse set of workshops, all tackling different issues. Some top contenders of workshops include topics such as squatting as a political stance, struggles against police brutality from an anarchist perspective, and Indigenous Sovereignty and Decolonization.
Moloney and Singh explained there would be introductory workshops for those looking to learn more, stressing that the “the Bookfair is a very welcoming space for people who want to learn more,” not just for anarchist but those who are curious as well. Workshops and events will be held in both French and English with whisper translation.
Another initiative the fair is taking on is it’s committed to accessibility –something that sets it apart from other book fairs held in the city. According to its website, the fair is working to “avoid replicating the barriers in society that exclude and marginalizes people.” In 2010 the Book Fair started an Accessibility Fund which is focused on making the Fair accessible to those with disabilities, as well as counteracting ableism.
A large part of this is making the fair open to all, including children, offering free childcare for those looking to attend with kids. In addition the Fair works to make the environment as open as possible to all, with a “chill zone” set up in the park near the venue with the understanding that the Fair can be overwhelming.
The Anarchist Bookfair will be held May 26 and 27, from 10 am to 5 pm in Parc Vinet and is free to everyone looking to take part.