Organisers with the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair have announced they will refuse to hold this year’s event at secondary school the City Academy following revelations that its parent Trust is sponsored by arms-merchant Rolls Royce.
Rolls Royce is heavily partnered with Turkey building jet engines for its military aircraft, and has faced strong criticism for effectively enabling autocrat Recep Erdogan in his vicious campaign against the Kurds in northern Syria. Thousands have been killed by the Turkish assault against Afrin and surrounding villages.
The short-notice decision means the event will instead have to go ahead in a much-reduced form at a smaller venue, meaning some sellers will not be able to get stall spaces.
In a statement, the bookfair group said:
The Bristol Anarchist Bookfair 2018 has had to cancel the booking with our venue. As a result the full-scale bookfair has been postponed, and a smaller event will run on the same day at the Black Swan.
The primary reason for this is that it has been brought to our attention that the Academy Trust who manage City Academy have a sponsorship deal with arms-selling dickheads Rolls Royce. Rolls Royce do very big business with the Turkish military, who are currently blasting the Kurdish region of Afrin, in northern Syria, to pieces. They also blew up the convoy that resulted in the recent tragic death of the Kurdish womens army (YPJ) British volunteer Anna Campbell, along with many Kurdish revolutionaries. We had a chat, and decided there was no way we were comfortable going ahead with the Bookfair in that venue. We’re a small collective running at reduced capacity, at this difficult time for Bristol’s anarchist community, and the loss of our venue means our only realistic option has been to radically downsize the event. We did have a last minute search for alternative venues available on the day, but there were none free that would allow us to run the full bookfair extravaganza we had planned.
But don’t be too downhearted, as the committed and the anarcho-curious amongst you will be able to get a flavour of Bookfair on the 12th. Our afterparty venue the Black Swan (at 438 Stapleton Road in Easton) has stepped into the breach and during the day we’ll be cramming the venue with as many book, zine and campaign stalls as we can and hosting a tasty vegan bbq in the garden! Plus 30 seconds up the road at BASE (formerly Kebele social centre) we’ll be choosing some of our favourite workshops for you to get involved with and along with all this there’ll be a kids space. We have our party all set to be a banger long into the night in the same space and we hope to see you there.
In the evening the Black Swan will play host to a bookfair after party of epic proportions taking us all the way through till 6am, and raising money for anti-arms trade campaigning.
Outside the bookfair, of course, the weekend before, the Bristol Radical History Festival takes place on Sunday 6th May. You may also be interested in attending radical/anarchist bookfairs around the UK throughout 2018 – see here.
Massive apologies to stallholders, workshop hosts and anyone else that has been inconvenienced by this – we could have spotted this earlier, but it passed us by. If you have contacted us regarding a stall or a workshop, we will be in touch separately.
The Bristol Anarchist Bookfair will return in all its glory – and if you want to get involved in making sure that that happens, please contact bristolanarchistbookfair[at]riseup.net!
1. City Academy is managed by an Academy Trust known as Cabot Learning Federation, sponsored by Rolls Royce – see
2. Rolls Royce and the Arms Trade, as mapped by the Campaign Against The Arms Trade
3. Anna Campbell killed by the British armed Turkish military