Anarchism attracts people who are brilliant uncompromising idealists with enormous faith in the ability of people to organise themselves, people who have an unquenchable desire for justice and infinite incendiary urges to do something about it. They want to take on the whole of the way modern humanity organises itself and change it. That takes a lot of thought and discussion, so there's always going to be plenty of books for an anarchist bookfair.
It also takes a total lack of inhibition about seeming weird. This means that anyone who is weird for any reason can find a place within anarchist circles. Consequently, there are lots of strange ideas at the bookfair. My all-time favourite is someone who saw that amongst my stuff was a pamphlet about cannabis legislation. 'Ah yes,' said the punter as he pointed to it, 'cannabis. But what is cannabis? Is it a set of numbers?'
On Saturday I was there doing a stall for Godhaven Ink's wares. You know how sometimes you're on a long bus or tube journey and there's a sign or advert in front of you and you can't help re-reading it over and over?
Well above the stall at which I was seated hung a large banner. About eight foot square of orange fabric, written on in black marker pen. And for hours, I involuntarily read and re-read it. Each time I had the suspicion that this time it would impart information - not an unreasonable expectation of a large banner, really - and yet each time I started to get a hint of sense it felt like I startled it and it bolted for the exit before I could catch it.
It was, I feel sure, the barkingest thing at the bookfair. And that's not something I say lightly. It's one of those phrases of deep meaning.
For example, if I tell you that Abha is the rainiest place in Saudi Arabia, it doesn't mean too much cos there's not exactly heavy competition. It's one of those impressive sounding declarations that dissolves upon consideration, like being called Britain's Tallest Dwarf. But when you're told Blaenau Ffestiniog is the rainiest place in Wales there's a certain gravity.
Ditto the barkingest thing at the Anarchist Bookfair:
THE SECRET OF ILLNESS IS HUMAN SPECIES
Everyone is tied to particular illness (Einzelkrankheit) which objectively aims at the creation of human species. BUT the doctors abuse and usurp the particular illness (Pathocentrism) to produce out of it the substitute (!) of species (Ersatzgattung): money, instead of human species (gattung). So the doctors abort the human species, before it exists.
SUBSTITUTE THE DOCTORS' CLASS BY THE: PATIENTS' CLASS
TAKE ILLNESS IN YOUR OWN HANDS
Create patients' collectives everywhere!
Start here and now! Do something for yourselves! Prefer confrontation against the doctors' class, make Patients' Front, you yourself!
TURN ILLNESS INTO A REVOLUTIONARY WEAPON!