ANARCHIST BOOKFAIR, SAN FRANCISCO, MARCH 18, 2006
(This is Part 2 of a two-part report. To see Part 1, about the "Global Day of Action" rally, click here.)
The Anarchist Bookfair was held on March 18 in the San Francisco County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park, several miles from the "Global Day of Action" anti-war rally that had been accidentally scheduled on the same date.
The fair was, well, as anarchic as usual. But -- probably because of the scheduling snafu, but also because anarchism may be starting to lose its veneer of hipness -- it did seem to be less crowded and more subdued compared to the previous year's event.
Inside, the woman at the Indybay booth seemed inordinately proud of her "Defend Falluja" shirts, apparently left over from the 2004 Battle of Falluja. Since the city has now been back under the control of the US military for over a year, do her shirts advocate defending Falluja from the terrorists? Somehow, I doubted it.
A shirt at a nearby booth suggested "Sodomy, not bombs." I wonder how well that'd go over in Falluja?
While for the kiddies, there was A Child's Guide to Nihilism. Because if there's one philosophy you want your kids to follow in life, it's definitely gotta be nihilism. As we all know, a nihilistic child is a happy child.
Speaking of which: outside, an anarchist mom was encouraging her young daughter to play a game of "Pin the Molotov on the Cop Car."
At the sew-on patch booth, "My Cunt Rocks" was a popular design.
For those seeking educational opportunities, impromptu seminars in lock-picking were being offered.
If picking locks doesn't bring about the dissolution of all forms of government and authority, then arming the homeless (more than they're already armed, one supposes) is the next logical step.
Bakunin would definitely approve. Even anarchists need a leader to follow.
This I had to see.
The game was commendably chaotic, with no out-of-bounds, no restrictions on who could join which team, and wide disparities in skill levels among players.
But what's this? A referee throwing a penalty flag? Sorely disappointed that they had resorted to following rules, I gave up on the soccer match...
...and headed back over to the fair.
I tried my hand at the Starfucks game, but only managed to smash one corporate window with my beanbag "rocks."
I listened to a couple of the lectures in the main auditorium, but I'd missed Ward Churchill and apparently anybody else with speaking skills; the presenters were so meandering, I couldn't even tell what the lectures were about. So instead I perused the exhibit of "pizza box art" on the auditorium walls.
Back in the main exhibit hall, attendance was starting to look distressingly sparse.
But praying for more customers was definitely not on the agenda: who would you pray to?
Definitely not this guy. Most of the hard-core anarchists hate communism as much as they hate capitalism, though there is a certain fondness for particularly violent revolutionaries.
This booklet seemed very out of place, especially considering that it was about 35 years behind the times.
But if you look hard enough at any San Francisco event -- no matter what the theme -- you can always find some kind of anti-Israel material.
This customer at the makeshift open-air anarchist barber shop was none too happy about having his styling session recorded for posterity.
A cry of defiance, or a fashion statement? You decide.
And so another lackluster day of impotent calls for revolution came to a close. I'm not quite sure whose cause seemed more futile and doomed: the communists in the first half of the day, or the afternoon anarchists.
(Click here to return to Part 1 of this report, the "Global Day of Action" rally.)
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