What drives me to drive, for ridiculously long hours, spend a couple hundred on a trip that almost guarantees no return of funds, and cramp myself up with people I could generally see on a day to day basis? Don't know, a desire to travel, to meet new people, to have fun, to spread ideas?
The Seattle Anarchist Bookfair didn't disappoint me because I had hardly any expectations of it. I see generally the same people each time I go out to a bookfair, at least the ones on the West Coast. The people from Little Black Cart, Eberhardt, AK and PM Press. We are part of this weird circus, that I think Aragorn! termed, "the traveling anarchist flea market." What is certain, there seems to be less and less NEW things coming out at bookfairs, and we all seem to have the same SHIT. Seriously, How exciting is it that half the tables have the same AK Press shit? Also, it's cool to bump into insurrectionary kids who are starting their own distros and getting stuff out there, but I'd really like to see stuff that they are working on. I didn't pick up one local publication while I was at the bookfair. The only group that I met at the bookfair that seemed to be engaging in any activity based on the street was the Seattle Solidarity Network. I'm sure there were other groups out there, but I didn't meet any. I had come to the Northwest to see what was happening; I found little.
I stopped in Eugene, to pay respect to one of the parental units of the new wave of anarchy, but found nothing happening in their town. I went to Tacoma, and heard about some projects in the works, and more ones that had fallen through. They have a new publication out entitled, Autonomy 253, which is interesting. It seems to be taking a local focus in the Modesto Anarcho vein, but needs some more work in presenting it to the reader. Perhaps an editorial column and some introduction paragraphs about each piece are in order? The design is nice though. The inside cover looks like a scene from Back to the Future. "Where we're going, we don't need zines." Olympia I didn't spend much time in, and I didn't get a chance to check out the infoshop, which looks interesting. I did speak at the University there, Evergreen. The talk I thought went ok. I really want to spend some time in the future writing some stuff out to read or go off on, not rely on notes. The other presenter from Fire to the Prisons did much better than I, but still, I thought that our presentation was engaging and good.
At one point one person in the audience stated that no female bodied people had spoken, and commented on the fact that both of the presenters (myself included) were male. One person in the audience then stated, "Dude, you've been talking more than anyone." Anyway, I guess the kid had a bad time, left with a friend, someone said he was crying, and came back and told me later that he felt that the event was not a safe space. I replied that maybe the person was just an asshole and that he should go talk to them about what they said. They said they didn't feel comfortable doing that. They then replied that we needed some sort of facilitation in the Q and A, I replied that was unneeded because Q and A is already facilitated. Anyway, that's what went down. There was a long discussion about the piece, "She Doesn't Give a Fuck About Your Insurrection," which was interesting because almost no one in the audience appeared to have read or understood the piece (myself being the latter), thus making the conversation one of generalizations and bickering about back and forth shit.
Picked up some good stuff though. The Bash Back people are awesome, check out Pink and Black Attack, Letters Journal #3, and thew new Politics is Not a Banana.
Also, check out www.modestoanarcho.org for massive updates.