Anarchist Book Fair Returns Tomorrow, As Police Well Know


When the seventh annual Anarchist Book Fair kicks off tomorrow at Celemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, interviewers will ask attendees “What does anarchy mean to you?” so their answers can be compiled into a zine or book.

“The vision is to understand what anarchism means to the individual as well as groups of people. Because there is a lot of misconception out there from the media,” said Elias, a member of the collective that planned the fair. “Anarchism isn’t just about causing mayhem.”

East Villagers might remember that the book fair last year ended in smashed windows and scuffles with police.

This year, the Ninth Precinct will be keeping an eye on the proceedings, a police source told The Local. While “the book fair itself wasn’t a problem,” the source said, the fair is “something we need to be aware of in case it gets out of hand.”

Members of the Anarchist Book Fair Collective have insisted that the fair does not promote violence and contend that undercover police officers instigated the confrontation last year. In any case, this year, the Anarchist Book Fair has a new “Safe Space Policy” that’s “intended to make this event a supportive, nonthreatening, and safe environment,” according to the fair’s webpage. There will be no violence of any kind tolerated and violators of the Safe Space Policy will be asked to leave.

That’s not all that’s new this year: this time around, the fair will be two days instead of just one, and there will be more than 40 tables featuring zines, radical and New York City publishers.


The book fair will also include more than 30 workshops, with titles such as: “Anarcho-Feminist Panel,” “Ecodefense,” “Open Utopia,” “Custer Died for Your Sins: How to be an Indigenous Ally,” and “Everytime I Check my Messages, Somebody Thinks I’m Dead.” Workshops will take place on Saturday and Sunday at Bluestockings Books, ABC No Rio and the cultural center.

Scheduled events will also include an Anarchist Film Festival on Saturday from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. and an Anarchist Art Festival on Sunday from 7 p.m. until 11:30 p.m.

The Anarchist Film Festival was founded in 2007 in honor of Bradley Will, an activist from the Lower East Side who was killed in Oaxaca, Mexico in 2006 while filming a documentary-style video about a teacher’s strike. According to Priya Reddy, the founder and main organizer of the film festival, one of the goals of the film festival is to use media to educate and inspire activism.


“While the film festival began in tragic circumstances, it has always strived to present social struggles and ideas and perspectives and movements that defend and assert dignity potential and sanity in the face of violent repression and the dangers relentless exploitation of human and non-human life,” Ms. Reddy said in an e-mail.

“We encourage audience discussion to inspire and ignite our spirit and move beyond fear and apathy,” she said.

The full schedule of workshops can be found here. Information about the Anarchist Film Festival can be found here. Information about the Anarchist Art Festival can be found here. The Celemente Soto Velez Cultural Center is located at 107 Suffolk Street, between Rivington and Delancey Streets.