Over the last 30 years the London anarchist bookfair has grown to be a huge event, which inevitably raises a variety of safety issues for all bookfair-goers. The bookfair collective has put in place the following ways and suggestions to try and keep the bookfair a safe space. However, anarchism is about collective responsibility and bookfair goers are equally responsible for each-others’ safety at the bookfair.
The venue room bookings and movement routes in the building and outside are carefully planned by the bookfair collective to make sure that over-crowding is minimised and that people can move around the bookfair comfortably and safely. If you have any concerns over safety issues to do with the building and venue, please contact the collective either on the day or after the event.
Aggressive, abusive and oppressive behaviour
Considering the amount of people who now pass through the bookfair, very few incidents occur, although inevitably with large open access events, you are always going to get some anti-social people. This may include people who are sexist, racist, homophobic or oppressive in many other ways, too many to list. Where such incidents occur, it is up to the movement as a whole to deal with; not just the bookfair collective. As the bookfair collective we will try and deal with any issues brought to our attention in a calm, non aggressive and open minded way. We ask that others take this same approach and try not to “enflame” any situation, which, as we have found in the past, just esculates things. Within meeting spaces, both meeting goers and meeting organisers are responsible for dealing with aggressive, abusive or oppressive individuals.
The bookfair is a free, open access, public event and we do not want to make it the role of the bookfair collective to ban individuals from the bookfair. It is up to the movement as a whole to develop ways to deal with anti-social people within the movement. We would hope that if a known individual was oppressive then accountability processes would already be in place by the people who knew the said individual. If not, we cannot and will not act as judge, jury and police force.
However, saying that, we will do our best to deal with situations arising at the bookfair and we reserve the right to ask anybody to leave the event. This may be cops, fascists or certain journalists but it could also be any individual acting in what we consider to be an excessively inappropriate manner.
The bookfair collective makes decisions about which groups can and cannot have stalls and meetings at the bookfair. This is based on a very broad definition of anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist anarchism. Authoritarian ‘communist’ groups are not included and equally, ‘libertarian’ capitalists are not welcome. This is the only criterion for inclusion and the bookfair collective will not ban any groups purely on the basis of the behaviour of one of their members, so please do not ask us to do this.
Banning ideas and books
If groups have been accepted as stall holders at the bookfair, under the above criterion, we will not ban any books or publications from their stalls, so again, please do not ask us to do so. People are capable of reading material and making up their own minds. We trust the stall holders we have at the bookfair and would likewise expect the stall holders themselves to show respect in the materials they bring to the event and be prepared to explain their inclusion of any publications to any member of the public who may question said inclusion.
Alcohol is no longer sold by the bookfair collective within the bookfair, to reduce aggressive behaviour and incidents.
Apart from guide dogs, dogs can no longer come into the bookfair. This is to ensure the safety of children and others, as well as the dogs themselves, so please do not bring dogs to the bookfair. If you do, you will be asked to leave them outside the building.
Filming and photography
To ensure the privacy of bookfair goers there is a strict no- filming policy inside the bookfair venue, unless agreed in advance with the bookfair collective.