I traveled to San Francisco this past weekend (March 14 - 19) to attend the 12th Annual Anarchist Book Fair. With over 50 organizations involved and two days of panel speakers, this event is anarchy's answer to traditional media conglomerates. So what exactly -is- anarchy, and what then, is the answer?
Princeton's Wordnet defines anarchy as:
"a state of lawlessness and disorder (usually resulting from a failure of government) "
Therefore, anarchy is a visible symptom of a failing system of rule. That anarchists exist, especially in the numbers seen at this most recent gathering: a mere .5% of the San Francisco population perhaps, but not bad for a lawless collective.
Judging by the range of materials available at the event (some free, most not) [and a google search that turned up this letter revealing anarchist turmoil], even anarchists can't exactly decide on a definition of anarchy -- human drama likes to intervene in just about everything and who gets to decide "right" versus "wrong" anyway?
Anarchists are people, too, people trying to get by in a capitalist world, and surviving means cash flow, which then leads to struggles of power -- inevitable in any human relationship. Most of the information at the book fair was not free and available, but instead, the book fair provided a marketplace for writers and publishers would might not have an opportunity to distribute their wares.
Many of the smaller venues had signs that announced they would accept trades, which I think is fantastic. I had nothing to offer for trades, but I had cash earmarked for the event. Anyway, George Richard Esenwein, author of Anarchist Ideology and the Working Class Movement in Spain, 1868-1898, suggests that "preferred economic systems are one of the many areas of disagreement for anarchists," so the money thing isn't anything new.
When I've had a chance to read through the materials, I will post a review, and, perhaps foolishly, an answer to that second question. Plus, I might just update you on the state of our very own print publication, but for now, I leave you with a new website to visit:
Center for Tactical Magic
The tactical ice cream unit, sponsored by Hallmark
They interned with a magician, a private investigator, and a ninja as an exploration of power in the modern world. They gave me a free popsicle and information on digging up your grandma's heirloom tomatoes. You oughta check out the projects.
Didn't get to visit this year's book fair?
Don't worry, friend.
Here are the highlights, in no particular order:
A Giant Bike & Lip-Locked George Bush Clones
Crappy Live Music, by Anarchists
Those Who Dress Alike Think Alike? Maybe.
(x-posted from greensburg)