Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Lancaster to host first Anarchist Fair

In the midst of looming wide ranging cuts to public services the first ever Lancaster Anarchist Fair will open its doors this (Saturday 6th November)  in the Friends' Meeting House, Lancaster.

As an example of anarchy in action organisers tell us the event is free, organised by local volunteers. The Fair is expected to attract around 100 people keen to learn about more democratic and just ways of living and organising.

The event will stage a range of workshops on topics as diverse as setting up workers and housing cooperatives, making decisions without leaders, the people’s history, what is anarchy and more. As well as a range of interesting stalls, games, short films and a reading area for quiet contemplation.

A café selling locally grown, home cooked food will also be available as well a ‘freeconomy’ stall where people give things away for free. Children are welcome and the building is accessible but the workshop space is up one flight of stairs, we will try and help if you need support to move around the building.

“Most people don’t recognise that what they are doing is practising anarchy," says one of the organisers, Dave Holtham. When local groups organise litter picks, jumble sales, village fetes or charity fundraisers, swap shops, community led projects such as Fairfield Orchards, or the Lancaster Car Club, most people involved in activities like these don’t do it for profit or to boss other people around, but to benefit and enhance their community.

"This is anarchy in a nutshell – living cooperatively without exploitation. There are so many really good examples of anarchy in Lancaster and Lancashire that we felt it was about time we connected the dots and brought it all together.”

Anarchist fairs and bookfairs have acted as the centre of anarchist organising and networking for decades, with thousands of people attending the London event every year. (We're pretty sure there have been anarchist events in Lancaster in the past, too). The recession has also given anarchism a fresh impetus, with anarchist flags flying above occupied universities, schools and factories whilst summits across Europe attract increasing crowds demanding freedom and equality and an end to a world of oppression and profit.

“We're aiming to challenge many of the views and assumptions people have about anarchism," says Sarah Karney, one of the event's other organisers. "Most people think anarchy is about lawlessness and doing what you want when the reality is it is almost the complete opposite.

"Lawlessness and doing what you want is how governments and powerful corporations like banks behave right now, whereas anarchy is about sharing, living cooperatively, equality, freedom, respect and direct democracy.

"We all need to sit back and seriously question the world and how it works – is this really the best we can do?”

• When and Where: Saturday 6th November, 10.30am – 5.00pm, Friends Meeting House, Meeting House Lance, Lancaster.

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