This weekend, MECA will play host to Houston's very own Anarchist Book Fair. Organized by folks from Sedition Books, the two-day event spans 28 hours of programming, offers free meals, free lodging for those coming from out of town, and free childcare for those that wish to attend. Art Attack chatted briefly with Bugga, one of the organizers, to find out more about the fair.
Art Attack: First off, tell us a bit about the book fair.
Bugga: Well, it's at MECA, 1900 Kane Street. They've been having them all around the country for years, and it's never happened in Houston, so we got the idea to try it here. We've been met with a lot of positive feedback, so it's gonna be a yearly thing. It's Saturday April 23 and Sunday April 24, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. There's a film fest as well, from 8 to 11 at night both days.
AA: What all does the book fair entail?
B: With outside workshops, there's going to be about twenty workshops, about 25 tables, free food, free housing, there's a show on Sunday from a New Orleans band, the film festival.
AA: What kinds of workshops?
B: There's a whole wide array of workshops. There's going to be folks talking about radical community art; there'll be people talking about police, immigration and resistance to the police. There are some folks talking about the history of radical activity in Houston. There's also a few discussions on illegalism, which is more criminal activism I suppose. That's a pretty good overview of some of the notable workshops.
AA: What about the tables? Is it people with books, pamphlets and zines?
B: Books, pamphlets, zines, mental health stuff. There's an array - generally most people bring books, but you can find almost anything when you're there. There's going to be handmade art, all sorts of stuff to pick up.
AA: What films do you have scheduled?
B: Two of the notable ones are Better This World, the film that was shown at SXSW about the Austin anarchists who got arrested for Molotov cocktails at the Republican National Convention, and Justice On Trial, a film about Mumia Abu-Jamal. AA: What's Homotopia?
B: That's a film made by some folks in San Francisco, critiquing marriage and the liberal queer movements - fighting for marriage rights for queer folks, saying that they want to undo the state and not get more rights from the state.
AA: Why does Houston need an anarchist book fair?
B: We need an anarchist book fair because our region is pretty devoid of radical action. There's a lot of radicals here, but there's not many who have been doing stuff. I feel like a lot of the reason is that the state has sort of scared people away from it. So it's bringing people into our community and showing our community and folks outside that we can organize and build a better world.
AA: "Radical action" means more than just illegal activity, right? You're talking about protests and positive action...
B: Yeah - community building, art programs, and also as well we're talking about liberation, fighting a struggle to free the people in this city.
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AA: What liberation do you feel that the people of this city need?
B: It all depends on localities. There's neighborhoods in Houston that are Hispanic, that are very much targeted by the police - fairly often and most times illegally. There's parts of the city like Montrose where there's a lot of queer bashing. And the entire working population of Houston is affected by capitalism, and is just being driven down by a few greedy folks - so that they can make billions of dollars while everyone else starves.
AA: Finally, what's the one thing you want everyone to know about the Anarchist Book Fair? B: It's one of the biggest radical community gatherings in the South for the better part of five years. So if you come, you'll be able to connect with folks and build a positive community and start really working towards liberation in Houston.
The Houston Anarchist Book Fair takes place at MECA, 1900 Kane Street this Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24. Events begin at 9 a.m. and end at 11 p.m. both days. For more information, visit houstonanarchistbookfair.wordpress.com or email houstonanarchistbookfair @ gmail.com.