ALL-oNE Returns to Boston: The 2012 Boston Anarchist Bookfair!

Hey, I know i’t s been a while as per usual. I meant to upload a review of Karl Hess’s “Community Technology” but never got enough edits to feel totally good about it. That may be forthcoming or I might just check it over myself and then do it. We’ll see.

Either way, I regret not reporting on my experiences at the second 2012 Liberty LOVE fest, that, despite some mild interference from the police due to “illegal selling” of alcohol went reasonably well and made us here at ALL-oNE remember the importance of getting contact information a bit better…

I also did a speech there was was decently received even though it was cut sharply from its original length due to scheduling complications. I’m unsure if anyone got video of my speech (I remember asking but forget if anyone ever did it) but either way I’ll eventually upload it on my Youtube channel anyways.

I also attended, in late August, the 2012 Providence Rhode Island book fair and while ALL-oNe missed the opportunity to table there (don’t worry, we’ll get it next year with any luck!) we had a good time meeting some organizations in the New England area, meeting up with some fellow ALLies and having some interesting discussions on the issues of race at one of the anarchist organizations in Providence called Libertalia.

I wish I could remember more of the conversation but it was an interesting one and we ALL ended up having a good time. But I’d simply be too remiss to not do the report at a bigger event than Liberty LOVE Fest and one that was in the same scene as the Proidence one and one we’ve reported on before.

So with that, I hope you’ll enjoy the report from me (Nick Ford) back from the 2012 Boston Anarchist Bookfair!

Getting Ready

New ALL-oNE Literature!

There were preparations to be done even before we could really feel good about the bookfair. The main one being an updated inventory. Unfortunately Jack and I realized, quite late on, that our inventory hadn’t been updated in quite a while and that we could use some more pamphlets from an ALLy, whomever that ended up being.

We ended up asking Charles Johnson who runs the Distro of the Libertarian Left and who very graciously and helpfully prepared a bunch of new pamphlets for us (and threw in a few extras for free!). Thankfully it arrived on the day that Jack and I were to leave for the Opening Show. We got a little over $50 for the following:

  • [I had two stacks of pamphlets, the following was found in the first stack]
  • Problems of Anarchism: Property, Labor & Competition, by William Bailie (1893)
  • The Economics of Anarchy, A Study of the Industrial Type, by Dyer D Lum (1890)
  • 3 The Free Market as Full Communism: Two Essays on Mutual Ownership & Post-Scarcity Market Anarchy. By Kevin A Carson
  • Market Anarchy, Ecological Order: Three Libertarian Views on Environmental Protection (MA #32 . August 2012) by Kerry Thornley, Mary Ruwart & Karl Hess Jr.
  • The State by Randolph Bourne
  • No Matter Who You Vote For, The Winner is Always the Government. Stop Voting . Start Building. (MA #34 (October 2012) Essays by Charles Johnson, Kevin Carson, Roderick Long & Randolph Bourne
  • Property Rights in Celtic Irish Law by Joseph R. Peden (this was a surprise hit last year so we ordered more copies)
  • Scratching By: How Government Creates Poverty as we Know it by Charles Johnson
  • 3 Intellectual Property is Theft!: How “Intellectual Property” Impedes Competition by Kevin Carson
  • [Second stack]
  • The Ethics of Labor Struggle: A Free Market Perspective by Kevin A. Carson
  • Liberty, Equality, Solidarity: Towards a Dialectical Anarchism by Charles Johnson
  • Libertarian Feminism: Can this Marriage be Saved? by Charles Johnson and Roderick Long
  • Free Market ***Anti-Capitalism***? State Socialism & Anarchism: how far they agree and where in they differ by Benjamin Tucker
  • A Catechism of Anarchy by Anonymous (Mary Hansen, Voltairine de Cleyre & The Philadelphia Anarchists)
  • Anarchism and American Traditions by Voltairine de Cleyre
  • The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand by Kevin A Carson
  • The General Strike by Ralph Chaplin
  • 3 A Critique of Anarchist Communism by Ken Knudson (another surprise hit from last year that I wanted to bring back)
  • The Industrial Radical: A Quarterly Publication of the MOLINARI INSTITUTE

I took pictures of all of the pamphlets from plenty of different angles and the pictures are all publicly accessible so feel free to look around! For the amount of pamphlets we got and for the quality they were in and content provided it was quite a good deal.

Many many thanks to Charles for helping us out so last minute!

(Maybe next time we’ll ask a bit earlier…)

The Opening Show

Opening Show                                                                    (“Not sure if I hate my boss – Or all bosses”)

With the pamphlets out of the way and our inventory looking a bit fresher than usual it was time to pack up and hit the road…about an hour or two late. But it turned out to be fine. The place was pretty chock full of anarchists, those simply curious, music-lovers, tablers, various people who didn’t really belong (security guards, a guy who was leaving when Jack and I got in came out with a business suit…) but it made sense because it was taking place at the School of the Museum of the Fine Arts, which, as Jack explained, was ironically subsidized by a lot of the ruling class themselves. But we anarchists had it for the night and that was what counted.

We got in when a band was playing that seemed to be mixing poetry and a foreign language (possibly Middle Eastern?) but I was still absorbing the environment and trying to re-adjust myself to the scene that I hadn’t really been in since last year. I actually recognized one or two faces from the year before but for the most part no one really stood out to me. There was a guy who I thought I knew from Facebook and who I might’ve met at last year’s bookfair but it turned out to be someone else…good thing that kind of stuff isn’t awkward…

I started looking around and quickly remembered how out of place I sort of feel in anarcho-communist circles due to the way they dress and the way I dress. But I also quickly realized that’s not something that really matters and what I was there to do was have some fun before it was time to get down to business for the next two days. So I went to some of the tables, grabbed some pamphlets here and there (including Voltairine de Cleyre’s “Crime and Punishment!”, made a few donations to the organizers and slowly but surely became more and more engrossed in the music.

The first bit of music I really got interested in was from a woman who’s name was Susanna Smash and whose singing and incurable optimism and interest in radicalism really spoke to me against what some in the crowd might think or feel. She was really talented at singing and was a one-woman act. I spoke to her after  her performance congratulating her on doing so well.

In any case there was a puppet show intermission between some bands that touched on the themes of love and was pretty entertaining. I believe they were from the Bread and Puppet and so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. The second intermission they did was funny about how the whole system being exploitative was “boring” but kind of lacked punch and came off as social-democratic/reformist when they talked about “not enough [state] funding” for schools, etc. instead of building up alternatives.

Either way the music continued and up next was an interesting band led by Evan Greer that had a children’s songs that gave a good middle finger to the cops  mixed in with some other songs that were fine enough for me.

After that a really stereotypical anarcho-punk band named PigStomp came out.

How stereotypical you may ask?

This stereotypical.

L’oreal: Because he’s worth it!

And no, I didn’t take this photo on purpose…I swear, I was just lucky. But more seriously their equipment kicked ass and they had the aesthetic totally down…for whatever that’s worth to you.

Up next was the second to last act which was Spider Cider a jazz-hop (hip-jazz?) band that freakin’ ruled (in a non-hierarchical way of course :P)! It was led by Jacob, who was, incidentally hosting Jack and I at the place he lived with some others via collective housing. The lyrics were snappy, the jazz part of it rocked and I just had a great time!

Finally Far More than 40 blew away all of my expectations as a Rage Against the Machine cover band and rocked the whole place. People were going crazy and so was I. It was a wonderful time and I got a chance to talk to some of them afterwards! It turned out the guitarist was actually one of the organizers of the bookfair and recognized me from Facebook saying he and the others joked about me being their biggest supporter and I told them I was also pleased in having their support.

He then added that he thought ALL was actually pretty cool  but some of the people that can sometimes be associated it aren’t necessarily as much. I agreed and made a comment about anarcho-capitalists, but I forget what.

And thus ended  the opening night, with a  head full of sweat on a cold winter’s night and plenty of exhaustion to go around Jack and I soon returned to the collective house that Jacob lives in and around 9 AM woke for the first day of the bookfair.

Bookfair Day 1

Welcome!

The first day of the bookfair started out a little before 11 AM with Jack finding parking for his van and me setting up the table a little after 11 AM.

The reactions that followed from our presence could be mostly categorized in one of the three possible scenarios:

1. A look of confusion/disgust (confusion seemed much more popular) and then a quick or slow movement away from the table.

2. A look of confusion but one that lead to curiosity more so than presumptions and which typically led to a small conversation and/or a purchase of a pamphlet or what have you.

3. Ignoring the table completely (statistically speaking this was probably the biggest part of the three but I think most tables can say that…at least I hope!)

I was always glad to see the 2. sorts of people and fortunately for ALL-oNE as the days went on we typically got quite a few 2.s rather than 1.s.

On the first day it ended up being that I’d man the table for most of the day (up until 4 PM upon which Jack would return and we’d both table) and Jack would go to some talks. Originally I wanted to split them as there were talks on both days that I wanted to see but it just ended up working better and was fairly equitable in the end.

In terms of the people I interacted with I’ll try to keep it limited to those that I found memorable.

The first person I remember was someone who was asking me about counter-economics (we had the ALL banner which said “starve the state, go countereconomic!”) and from there we had an alright five minute or so conversation on the topic. It focused on getting the definitions right, talking about how it’d apply to strategy and if counter-economics is so effective why the third world countries aren’t more anarchic. In response to the last part I remember emphasizing that the black markets that exist in third world countries largely lack a libertarian consciousness in terms of how they operate. So anarchic or anti-authoritarian movements more generally aren’t simply gonna be easy to organize just because of the existence of large-scale black markets or underground markets, etc.

Another person who came by was a guy from Worcester who opened with jokingly telling me that we seemed better than we did online. He also told me about something called the SAGE alliance and suggested that I look them up and try to get in contact with them for future projects. He later messaged me on Facebook telling me about a bunch of other projects going on in Worcester and it seems to me to possibly be a promising thing but I guess we’ll just have to see…

In terms of sales they seemed to come sporadically with the occasional big bulk purchase. One of the most memorable ones was an individual from the Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration Society who liked archiving things from every table when he could. He payed around $10 for all of our new stuff (I gave him some discounted prices for buying a bunch) and it was definitely one of our cooler deals!

Another person who talked to me actually knew me from online via the mutualism Facebook groups. We had a discussion about a few topics but one in particular was whether anti-capitalist markets could help housing for those in need. I told him that I thought the smashing of Tucker’s big four monopolies (especially land of course) would be a big help towards such an effort. And though I may not have mentioned this point, Voltairine de Cleyre’s idea of anarchism as a sort of “voluntary abundance” instead of just seeing anarchism as a means for markets to flourish but people in general (instead of the institutions or mechanisms they use/control) might help as well. Either way, he said he was interested in buying some stuff but would return later when he had some cash.

On the subject of cash however, ALL-oNE tried to make our policy on buying things a bit more lax. First, we tried to make it more explicit we had some pamphlets that were free/donation based and that went pretty well. Next, we also told people if they didn’t have the necessary money for the purchase they could just give us what they had/what they felt it was worth to them in terms of what they had. Even with these new (and in my opinion much needed updates) the person buying pamphlets typically either had the money, would come back when they did or would just take the free ones. A few people offered to barter and unfortunately at the time I was too unsure if that was a good move so I declined. But perhaps that’s an idea for the future? We’ll have to see…

Lunch was definitely one of the most interesting times of the bookfair. While probably more people were in the main room where the vendors were and conversations were happening  they were still rather sporadic at coming to the tables (it seemed to be like that in general though and not just for us here at ALL-oNe but perhaps I’m wrong about that, not sure). Unfortunately, on the subject of lunch, due to my pickiness I had to settle for some bread and fruit and some juice/water, etc. plus whatever else I could eat (which thankfully also included intermittent eating of pumpkin pie! :D).

Jack returned from the talk he had just been at saying it was alright but was hoping the next one would be better. He was gonna attend the direct action talks next and while I was interested about going to one part and him another he ended up attending both, which was fine by me.

One of the other conversations I had with someone at the bookfair was on the subject of markets more generally and how I could think of them in a “left” context. What followed was me trying to explain how I thought markets could potentially be a leveling field for a freer society. I contrasted this leveling sort of market with the rigged and captured markets of today which I said were controlled and captured for the delight of the capitalist and ruling class at large. I forget exactly what convinced him (of course!) but it was an awesome feeling to actually get someone to agree with me. It actually took me by such surprise that I paused for a second when he said it made sense and then asked him if he actually agreed.

The time in between discussions, Jack coming back and looking around the tables mostly had me preoccupied with reading the latest pamphlets that we got (Kevin Carson’s, “The Free Market as Full Communism”, some of “Market Ecology” and a few others) and I kept diligently making sure that Dyer D. Lum’s “The Economics of Anarchy” was kept to the side. It was the only copy we got and I wanted to read it for myself at some point…plus two greedy capitalist points for me I suppose…

Jack eventually came back which gave me some much needed time to stretch my legs and check out some of the tables. The stuff at Black Powder Press particularly impressed me in its scope and level of different pamphlets. Apparently they’re simply a re-publishing distro based in CA (they came ALL the way from California!). I eventually picked up 10 of their pamphlets for about $10 or something like that. It was quite a deal! They take submissions too so perhaps we’ll ALL see ALL-oNE or more generally speaking ALL zines in their library some day…

In the meantime I dropped my camera with the lens out while I was browsing their library and effectively broke it. So it was at this point that I couldn’t take any more pictures. 🙁

After that I (frantically) tired to fix it back at the table but it was no good. So in frustration I just sat there with Jack for a while, went over the day and tried to do some more sales. I did a little more “window shopping” at the tables and had a few more conversations with folks but none that I can specifically remember. By the end of the day we had made up for half of the costs of the purchase from Charles!

If things went as well tomorrow then we’d be in good shape…

It was with these good thoughts in mind and high hopes that we left most of our stuff at the bookfair (at our own risk of course, but we weren’t concerned since anarcho-communists respected possessions last we checked… :P).

Day 2

On the second day I was fairly excited right off the bat because a friend of mine from Worcester MA was gonna be coming up to Boston to meet up with Jack and I. Even more exciting was that he was not only gonna help us table and so forth (and he had helped us out at previous events too!) but that he let me know in the morning that he’d be able to make it before 11 AM (originally it was gonna be later)!

We met up with him in the main room for the vendors and then proceeded to figure out that he and I would go to the talks from eleven to four and then we’d reconvene with Jack and the ALL table for lunches and breaks in between.

What follows are some of my most striking reactions and memories of the talks my friend and I attended.

Safer Spaces (11:00-12:15)

This talk was notable to me for being totally unorganized. I don’t fault the people in charge of the talk per se’ (after all, they were mostly organizers of the bookfair too!) but I do wish the talk had been a bit better organized. Not only did it not start until twenty minutes after when it was supposed to but an important pamphlet that was supposed to be there for resources didn’t make it.

Fortunately things went uphill from there as we got into various scenarios and tried to collectively figure out for ourselves what a safer space would be and wouldn’t be.

They made an interest points about the term safer space as opposed to safe space. Namely, that such a thing as the latter can’t exist. You can only make spaces safer, you can only approximate and keep going forward. Thus, saying a space is safe is somewhat disingenuous (even if it’s not of an intentional sort). Now, to be clear, the speakers only really said that first part but I think what implications I drew from their statement seem clear enough to get.

But what is a safer space?

safer space is a place in which anti-oppressive culture cannot only be formed and cultivated but progressively developed by better ensuring that people’s voices are heard, that certain groups aren’t marginalized and that people feel welcomed to express themselves in a free way so long as it’s not oppressive.

That’s a rather rough definition but I’m not aiming for comprehension here, just a rather rough outline so people might get some sort of notion about what was going on in the talk.

So throughout the rest of the talk the organizers went over several scenarios and tried to see how we would react. One of the interesting things was the topic of the level of response in proportion to what was going on in a given space. So, for example, if an older gentleman was simply trying to be friendly to someone and was trying to (or was) touching them in some way that made another person uncomfortable we all pretty much agreed the answer wasn’t to openly shame that person (let alone publicly!). After all, the intent was not malicious and the older gentleman (in the scenario given) isn’t trying to cross any boundaries intentionally, they just happen to be.

So it was decided that a solution to non-predatory sort of boundary crossing should be something that would be “non-ruckus” inducing such as privately telling the older gentleman (in this example) that they’re crossing boundaries. A third party might not even be necessary at all and all might be necessary (in this case) is that the individual person telling the other individual what’s going on. The important thing is to make sure both parties know what’s going on and that people feel safe and physically comfortable.

It’s also good to keep in mind the feelings of both parties. There’s no reason to unnecessarily hurt the feelings of either the person who feels like their boundaries being crossed nor the person crossing those boundaries. Now, if it is intentional or malicious then the feelings of that other person (the ones crossing the boundaries that is) might matter to a slightly less extent depending on the context of the scenario. Even so, I’d argue that there are still limits to the amount of shaming (public or otherwise) that’d be warranted in a given context.

Examining our own behavior, how we may reinforce bad perceptions or behaviors as well as not noticing others is also important in dealing with other people. Because if we can’t even see what we are doing (at least in part) then how can we hope to help others? Understanding ourselves therefore is one of the key ways in which we can better make sure that spaces can get safer.

Lastly, what are your intentions in a given scenario? Do you feel comfortable with dealing with the situation directly? Are you better suited to simply be a bystander who might get involved if stuff goes wrong? Or do you think (because of personal involvement with the given participants or your own personal issues that might be separately going on) you shouldn’t be involved at all?

If you’re feeling like you should be removed from the scenario you should always take yourself out of it until you feel like you can come back to it and deal with it. Sometimes that means coming back once the situation is totally resolved and other times it means coming back when you’ve simply cooled off. Either way, make sure you’re trying to create safer spaces with a cool head. It does us no good as a movement if we’re all frustrated at each other instead of trying to get shit done.

There’s more to be said about the talk and my feelings but overall I very much enjoyed the talk (whatever its problems) and hope that more discussion can be had on it. I signed up to receive the pamphlet I mentioned before about safer spaces so I’m hoping to receive that soon!

Lunch (12:15-1:15)

Like the day before I wasn’t much interested in the food that was being served (not the servers fault, I’m a picky eater!) but I made due with some fruit and bread, etc.

Checking in with Jack at the ALL table it seemed as if we weren’t off to much of a good start for the day. Jack hadn’t gotten any sales (or else it had only been a few) but on the plus side had had a few cool chats with some folks nonetheless. As I stayed there with my friend from Worcester and Jack we were talking about the talk I just went to and what I thought of it as well as what else I was gonna do during the lunch break.

As it turned out Black Powder Press not only had good pamphlets but they also take requests like I mentioned before and it was at this point that I actually found that out. I’ve thought of some titles but am interested in hearing other ALLies thoughts on what we should send to them!:

Women and The Invisible Fist – Charles Johnson

The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand – Kevin Carson

Forth Generation Warfare & Standing Orders for Open Sources Insurgencies – John Robb

Fuck Neo-Liberalism, Fuck Borders – Joe Peacott

General Strike – Ralph Chaplin

A Critique of Anarchist Communism – Ken Knudson

As far as much else, I don’t remember anything specifically happening. I believe Jack had quite a long talk with a few people about the history of the libertarian movement and how we as left-libertarians fit into it. Unfortunately on both people I believe we forgot to follow up by asking if they wanted us to add them to our email list.

Oops.

Community Accountability and Transformative Justice (1:15-2:30)

It was 1:15 before I knew it and my friend and I were off to the next talk. We only got there a few minutes late and the room was packed already! It was a fairly sizable room (classroom but still…) but even though it was only a few minutes after the talk had started there were no chairs left. Throughout the first few minutes of the talk (or more) there was still people coming in here and there.

The talk was described as such:

This workshop will focus on community accountability and transformative justice, specifically addressing constructive means of fostering a culture of everyday consent, accountability, and support. Anarchism is a project of community building and it is our collective responsibility to confront and transform the way oppressive systems manifest themselves in our collective and individual lives. This workshop will offer concrete and tangible recourses for implementing our vision of a liberatory society.

 

Clearly this was an important topic to the folks at the Boston Anarchist Bookfair. It was definitely the most packed talk I went to (but then again I technically only went to two talks and an IWW meeting that I’ll talk about soon) so perhaps there’ll be more discussion in the future. The amount of people there seems to warrant that much!

They started off with some basic definitions about what transformative justice was, especially in comparison to restorative or restitution based justice. The speakers talked about how these can fail because they can be too limiting, based too much on the old system of doing things (they did not expand on this idea and I forgot to ask them in more detail their objections to restitution and restoration based justice) and that sometimes restorative justice in specific can suck because the conditions beforehand might’ve sucked too. In which case, restoring the relation to previous circumstances might not always be the best answer.

There were multiple parts of creating transformative justice and keeping it there and so on. The speakers talked about a consent culture versus a culture of fright as well as a culture of transparency, destigmitization as a strategy towards a better society and after they were finished with that and a few other things the questions session began.

Most of the discussion focused around feminist issues such as rape culture, survivors (as in people who survive rape) and most notably a woman at one point stood up for literally almost five minutes on a rant about how patriarchy and all these other oppressive systems (states, capitalism, etc.) reinforce each other. And while to me some of it seemed somewhat off-topic (though I’m not necessarily saying I disagree with everything she said…) to the talk, at the end of it she got a rather good share of the people in the room to applaud her.

Aside from those things I must be honest with you, my dear reader, and tell you I don’t recall much of the event past that. Nothing that was really said made too much of an impact on me )then again, I’m writing this a few weeks later so it’s partially my own fault as well of course) and I felt like a lot of the Q&A was somewhat off topic but perhaps because of the wide range of topics that’d fall under something like community accountability talking about accountability for rapists and making sure survivor’s voices are heard are important. Either way I’m not saying that stuff isn’t important I’m just unsure how much of what was talked about had as much relevance as I would’ve liked to have seen.

At one point when they got around to me I made a point about something (I, of course, forget what) and when referencing another person misidentified their preferred pronouns (gender wise) and quickly doubled back and apologized instinctively. Afterwards they told me they appreciated my candor about being sorry which I appreciated. But then I proceeded after I had finished having a nice quick chat with them to make a joke to my friend using a sort of “dumb” voice so I thought to myself, “how much good is it being polite in one aspect if I can’t do another?”.

Something to ponder.

Break 2:30-2:45 

Not much had changed for Jack if I’m recalling correctly. He had gotten a few sales finally and even more good conversations (and possibly one or two people on the email list to boot!) but nothing more was really to be had.

It turned out not to matter much because the next thing my friend and I were attending, the IWW meeting was going to start sooner than we thought.

We rushed down to the first floor to see what we were in for…

IWW Meeting (2:45-4:00)

I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect from the meeting but what I hoped for (a Q&A type discussion in a small circle with folks introducing themselves and such) went out the window pretty early on.

Now before I say anything more let me be clear:

If there’s one union I’m gonna support, it’s gonna be the IWW. The amount of autonomy due to the lack of union bosses, the lack of hierarchy, the equitable decision making, the actions they take, their tendency to have anarchists, the historical support they typically had from anarchists (including Voltairine de Cleyre in her essay, “Direct Action”) and more make me unequivocally support the IWW.

That said…I have my issues.

First off, the meeting was just that…it was a meeting. And unfortunately it wasn’t an introductory meeting…just a meeting. I know I could’ve just came and talked to some of the position-holding folks in the Boston IWW or just one of the members in general but it would’ve also been important to hear what generally the people in the group thought it was good to emphasize and let others know. So right off the back the whole context in which I was attaining knowledge wasn’t much to my liking.

Another issue was that the only times they ever really explained what an action was or what was going on was when someone reminded the person talking to do so. I know that most of the folks there were IWW members so I get it to some extent but for the most part it was like the observers really had no presence there at all.

Those issues aside however the members seemed nice enough though and the actions were all ones I supported. They talked about unionizing some oppressed workers and trying to do so on the larger scale industries and talking about whether such and such industry was a good place to do that. They talked about some basic financing stuff and generally came to such conclusions quickly and efficiently from what I saw.

There were a few complications though, such as a debate over a given proposal on changing some part of the IWW constitution which brings me to my tendency to think more highly of something like comrade William Gillis’s essay Organizations Versus Getting Shit Done (and I even have some smaller affinities to his slightly more radical proposition in The Union Makes us Weakthan some of what was going on at the meeting. Which I guess means I have some sympathies towards some autonomist Marxist and post-leftists points on organization insofar as stuff like the IWW goes.

But that isn’t to say I want the IWW abolished or something or that I think mass movements are unimportant but I do have some sympathies to the ideas that William talks about and think they should be talked about more. Mass movements can work great but they should never be tactical dogma and as Konkin said, the revolution starts one person at a time.

So while the meeting didn’t necessarily convince me of joining the IWW, it did for my friend who’s more of a syndicalist than a left-libertarian (in the ALL sense of the word I mean) himself so perhaps he “got it” better than I could.

For myself I just sheepishly told the people at the IWW table once we got up there and my friend was finished signing up that I was moderately interested but was unsure because of plans to move away from NH to MA and some other complications. So in the end I decided not to sign up for the IWW. And while I don’t deny that there’s a possibility I might do so in the future once I read more up on the history of the IWW (at present I’m reading up on the history of the anarchist movement, certain figures in the movement, etc.) but I still can’t say for full certainty that I will.

Nonetheless in the end I fully support the freeing of the unions and hope that more things like the IWW can exist in a much more decentralized and informal manner.

The Closing of the Bookfair (4:00-7:00)

With the meeting over with I had much to ponder and not much time to do it in.

I counted up the money owned so far and as it stood we had a little over half of what we had to pay Charles for the pamphlets! That was a pretty decent victory but I was still hoping we’d do better.

Miraculously in the last three hours we got some great passerby and it was largely due to the ALL-oNE table being one of the last tables still standing (ironically the Earth First! table was the last table to close before the bookfair was over). We had one person who wanted a few different articles, someone who wanted a collection of what I’d most recommend and then we hit the jackpot:

Someone came in wanting to buy Markets Not Capitalism for us as well as a bunch of other pamphlets for $30!

While ALL-oNE only makes 1/4th of the price that we actually sell M!C for (we sell it for $20 so we get $5, ya know, if you don’t feel like doing the math…) we made enough from that sale and the other stuff to come out ahead of the costs of the pamphlets we bought!

So the bookfair ended on a happy note…well more like an interesting note.

There was a guy on the table next to us (I don’t recall which table it was) with a name that reminded me of something straight out of Lord of the Rings or something (note: I’ve not read or seen the movies, so I just mean generally) and he said that he didn’t much care for market anarchists and Marxists (seemed like a post-leftist sort of guy which is cool I guess) but managed having an okay discussion with Jack and my friend while I was starting to pack up our stuff. I wish I could’ve listened a bit more but he was fairly knowledgeable about the ALL and what we were about, etc. so that was still nice to see.

It was interesting to say the least to finally see another person who actually knew about us, friendly or not, sometimes recognition (of any kind!) is a good thing.

Concluding Thoughts

Well there’s not much more to say, I thanked the organizers for having us once more and told them I’d love to help them with a survey or whatever they give us so we could let them know what we thought and what worked and what didn’t.

Overall I definitely learned to appreciate the anarcho-communist side of things a lot more (which happened at last years event as well I think) and continue to learn the value of communication and better understanding of who I’m talking to, why I’m talking to them and so on. I’m hoping more connections can be specifically made in the Worcester area and hopefully more ALL themed action can take place so that ALL-oNE might get a stronger hold on itself as an organization.

The trip was definitely a success overall and I’m excited to attend the next one!

Towards liberty, equality and solidarity!

[Note: ALL-ONE should be attending the 2013 Liberty Forum at a joint table with NJ-ALL (and C4SS as well!) as well as having some of its members at the 12th AltExpo speaking. More to be announced as more things are finalized!]

3 thoughts on “ALL-oNE Returns to Boston: The 2012 Boston Anarchist Bookfair!

  1. “…it was taking place at the School of the Museum of the Fine Arts, which, as Jack explained, was ironically subsidized by a lot of the ruling class themselves.”

    Not sure if Jack was making an argument here, but as far as I’m concerned it’s kind of ridiculous to purposely avoid these kinds of institutions simply because the ruling class created them. We should use every tool we can get our hands on and use it to our advantage. For example, would John Brown have been a hypocrite for wearing a shirt made with cotton picked by slaves? No, because being against the object/venue, etc. itself is not the same as being against the system/class that produced it.

    Good to know you had a good time.

  2. Pingback: The Power of Note Taking and Other Revolutionary things – NYC (A) Book Fair Trip 2013 | ALL-oNE