This last weekend, on Saturday I went to the first annual Los Angeles Anarchist Bookfair at the Southern California Library. I’ve been to a few Anarchist Bookfairs up north in San Francisco, so I was very interested in seeing how this would turn out. I couldn’t make it to all the workshops/panels but I did make it to a few.
More after the jump.
The turn out was much more than anticipated, I gather, because one really did have to navigate through a small sea of people just to go anywhere. Lines to get into workshops? I was happily surprised. Also, quite notably the bookfair was organized by Anarchist People of Color and the schedule of workshops/discussion/panels really did show this reality. Most often the events of any given anarchist gathering can be copy-and-pasted from one into another by their monotony and sometimes their dated-ness. Here I felt I was hearing critical, modern voices that reflected Los Angeles & its people.
Here are the workshops/discussions I attended:
- Latin American Radical Movements
- APOC caucus
- Rethinking National Liberation-Punjab as Case Analysis
- Indigenous Resistance & Self Determination
All really did present new & different ideas, collectives, and movements I wasn’t even aware existed. They challenged what I thought, such as the Punjab workshop where Harjit Singh Gill gave a compelling argument to abandon the typical anarchist’s ambivalence towards national liberation struggles due to their Statist nature.
The APOC (Anarchist People of Color) caucus did not have much time to get really going but it proved that there is a want/need for some sort of network for Anarchist people of color in the LA area. Some networking went down, as well as people sharing where they’re from & how they were politicized. A common theme showed that for APOC, politicization was not purely through books or college courses but by real-life lived experiences. We have no choice but to realize our position in this society. I hope more comes from this caucus soon.
The discussion on Latin American Radical Movements opened an eye into much history that I was not aware of: Whether it was women collectives in Bolivia challenging homophobia and patriarchy through their radical street art and more, or how in many ways the momentum of radical movements of Latin America are being coopted by “legitimate” leftist governments.
I was not present for all of the Indigenous Resistance workshop but my time there was framed by the speakers right assertion that we must realize that we are on land that was once someone’s indigenous homes. What looks like an asphalt-covered metropolis was once a sacred place to people who have been here longer than the European incursion into this region.
I made my way in & out of other rooms and heard some enheartening and sometimes disenhearting things. Sometimes I could feel people be disrespectul and downright rude. Yes, the workshops were not on schedule but they got done. There were also no cops & as far as I know no real negative events. All in all, I’d definitely come to another even like these. My many thanks and respect for the individuals that were involved in making this happen.