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+4 votes
We're in a city where practical anarchy and the ISO are more or less the only games in town. There are some pockets of awesome around, but not nearly as publicly as these other, more established networks. Drawing a line would have consequences.

Is the line worth drawing?

Also, what's the precedent? Are they present at other anarchist book fairs?

1 Answer

+3 votes
It's your bookfair (I presume), so you can invite or ban whoever you choose.

My questions to respond to your questions are the following:
Are there to be other non-anarchist folks who will be selling their stuff?
Is this bookfair aimed at an activist crowd?
What's wrong with drawing a line? The ISO is not anarchist, they do not use anarchist organizational methods, do not share anarchist ideals, do not have anarchist goals. They make excuses for Lenin and Trotsky suppressing and murdering anarchists in Russia from 1918-1921. The sooner you draw the line at cooperating with anti-anarchists the better. But that's me.

I have helped kick out some Trots from the SF anarchist bookfair, just as I helped kick out the RCP scum. They are poachers. Let them organize their own events, where you won't be welcome.
by (570 points)
To expand, on Lawrence's answer, I think it requires some flexibility. How much depends on you and the others organizing the particular book fair in question. I don't think it always works to draw hard and fast lines (though I agree with Lawrence about explicitly statis communist or socialist groups - they can have their own book fairs).

At the book fair I have helped with we chose (at different times) to exclude groups that were not anarchist (Marxist groups, activist groups, etc) or to include other non-anarchist groups (anti-state communists or activist groups who anarchists in the area have developed deeper understanding or affinity with). We've also excluded "anarchist" projects based on history of being asshats, acting in a similar way to front groups, have refused to address concerns about past behavior, or who are just sketch-as-fuck.

As far as Haymarket Books, I suspect we would've said no, since they are pretty explicitly a Marxist-Leninist publisher, but I am one person, and would've wanted to hear input from others involved in organizing it.
The funny thing, Lawrence, is that in my experience, they actually are often willing to let anarchists table at their equivalent events, thanks to their supposed allegiance to abstractions like free speech.
Not only their allegiance to free speech, but it's also another opportunity to poach. These Parties always struggle with maintaining membership, and one of their primary activities is recruitment.

"Hey, we're all really on the same side, comrades. We want a stateless and classless society too after all... You know, you can't really understand capitalism without learning about Marxism... Why don't you come to the next group discussion? There'll be beer and pizza..."

Just like any other cult.
Oh yes, that is definitely part of the intent. I've found that I have interesting results when I have bothered to show up with explicitly post-left   and green anarchist materials. I think I've ended up poaching some of the potential recruits. Of course you never go to the discussion group (to be held at your local Revolution Books... or perhaps the Redstone) because they probably drug the pizza and beer with Avakian cum.