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Anarchists unite at literary feast in Fernwood

Allan Antliff, who is helping to organize the Victoria Anarchist Book Fair and Festival of Anarchy, sits in his home surrounded by books and posters from previous years’ events. - Sharon Tiffin/ News staff
Allan Antliff, who is helping to organize the Victoria Anarchist Book Fair and Festival of Anarchy, sits in his home surrounded by books and posters from previous years’ events.
— image credit: Sharon Tiffin/ News staff

Victoria resident Allan Antliff won’t have to travel far to satisfy his specialized literary appetite.

Others, however, will soon travel to Victoria from throughout North America for the sixth annual Victoria Anarchist Book Fair and Festival of Anarchy.

“It will be larger than ever this year,” said Antliff, a member of the Victoria Anarchist Book Fair Collective.

The two-day literary and cultural showcase drew 2,000 people last year.

The festival will feature a series of events, culminating with the book fair on Sept. 10 and 11.

Anarchists are people “who believe we can do better than we’re doing now in the world,” according to Antliff, an art history professor at the University of Victoria.

The movement is about embracing radical change “to reorganize society to make it more equitable, more economically sustainable and peaceful,” he said. “The anarchist’s desire is to address these things constructively.”

Antliff acknowledged that many anarchists and sympathizers are stereotyped as violent activists.

“(But) that isn’t the case at all. Anarchism is a very constructive movement.”

Some people devote themselves to organic farming, community development, housing co-operatives or volunteering, he said.

“When you tally it up, it doesn’t add up to madness or mayhem.”

The free book fair will feature 20 different workshops on sustainable farming, workplace rights, surveillance issues and animal liberation, among other topics. There will also be book and information tables and readings on themes such as radical theory, history and practice.

The growing popularity of the fair is a sign the anarchist community is thriving in Greater Victoria. Black Raven Records, for example, sells punk and metal music within the anarchist genre, and Camas Books & Infoshop is a not-for-profit anarchist literary resource.

“I would say there are hundreds of sympathizers (in Greater Victoria) who support anarchist pro-jects,” Antliff said.

The family-friendly book fair is open to anarchists and non-anarchists. There will be children’s activities, and free child-minding.

“It’s an event for everyone,” Antliff said. “In fact, we’re looking for people to attend who aren’t familiar with anarchism.”

For details or to volunteer, visit victoriaanarchistbookfair.ca.

emccracken@vicnews.com

Anarchist events on tap

• UVic’s online anarchist archives launch: Sept. 7 at 2 p.m., McPherson Library, 3800 Finnerty Rd.

• Free film screening: Capitalism is the Crisis, Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m., Camas Books & Infoshop, 2590 Quadra St.

• All-ages punk rock show: Featuring headliner, Iskra. Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m. Fernwood Community Association building, 1923 Fernwood Rd. Tix $4.

• Book fair: Sept. 10, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sept. 11 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fernwood Community Centre, 1240 Gladstone Ave.

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