Freedom News

Report from Newcastle Ewan Brown Anarchist Bookfair

We continued to celebrate the life of our comrade and the radical past, present, and future of the North-East — it’s our Anarchist Christmas, but also a punk wake

The third annual Ewan Brown anarchist bookfair took place in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on Saturday 1st June. Ewan died of exposure after a psychotic episode, brought on by a police officer punching him in the face. A dedicated and hard-working comrade, Ewan was committed to a number of causes, many of which are reflected by those who run and attend the Bookfair that now carries his name. Following his death and inspired by the Edinburgh Anarchist Feminist Bookfair, which Ewan greatly enjoyed, a group of his friends and comrades got together to organise this yearly event.

Hosted once again in the wonderful Star and Shadow Cinema, there were 2 rooms of stalls, and the cinema room, where films by Ewan were projected. The book fair was well attended and hosted many stalls and workshops run by both local and national groups and organisations. Much was discussed, with a comrade on the Northumbria IWW union stall mentioning that there had been a lot of interest in our campaign for an Apartheid Free Zone. We also chatted to some of the people on the stall run by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), who turned out to be from Teesside, and suggested that we organise a Teesside Radical Bookfair, which all the other stalls also expressed an interest in attending.

As well as the stalls there was art, live music and film. Among the films shown was one from the protests at the 2012 Liberal Democrat conference in Gateshead, where we dropped a very large banner referencing the coalition government and reading “CONDEM CAPITALISM” in two meter font, as well as the ensuing tussle, arrests and de-arrests between our mates in the small black bloc and the cops.

Photo: Davy Ellis

On the same day as the bookfair, there was also a planned Palestine Solidarity Campaign demonstration which was set to start in the city centre before marching to the student encampment at the university. Early on news reached us that 10 fascists looking to disrupt the demonstration had occupied the meeting point at the Monument in the centre of Newcastle. Some of us went to confront them but it turned out to be a group of teenagers who, after being talked at a lot, commented “I don’t know anything about Palestine, I agree with everything you said”. Also present were a lot of police who were out gathering evidence.

A large banner, calling for the shut down of our local arms factory, which is owned by Israeli firm Rafael, was unfurled and the march set off. The students had also made an amazing banner of their university logo in barbed wire and flames, to protest its involvement in apartheid and genocide. After the demo some of us went round some of the local pubs in the afternoon, eventually getting back to the Star and Shadow Cinema in time to catch the last band, Almighty Uprisers, who were—like every other aspect of the day really—brilliant.

~ Captain B. Fart

Top photo: Street art by Ewan Brown, from Organise Magazine

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