A community of local anarchists are hoping that their Winnipeg Anarchist Book Fair and DIY Fest at the Albert Street Autonomous Zone (91 Albert St.) will attract all different types of people to learn about new ideas and hone their skills.
A large part of the fest is a series of DIY workshops that teach a variety of practical things like fermenting, plumbing basics, electronics and soldering, and screen-printing.
“We live in a consumerist society where a lot of people depend on buying all their material goods when it’s really liberating and powerful to make stuff yourself,” says Kandice Knapp, who is hosting the fermentation workshop.
The workshops are part and parcel of the anarchist ideal of small, thriving communities that reject capitalism in favor of an exchange-of-goods economy.
The fair emulates this ideal by making everything free to the public, though people may give a donation if they feel inclined. This means it runs on a shoestring budget with no sponsors, and strictly volunteer contributors.
Quincey Brandt, the ‘web-guy’ and alternative travel workshop host, says they want to “promote an alternative economy of doing stuff yourself and helping each other” especially for those who “don’t have money to be paying for everything as a service.”
Anarchism is primarily about having no authorities or hierarchies in society, but the event does not want to only draw radical thinkers. For people who wish to learn more about its philosophies, the festival is the place to be.
Apart from DIY workshops, there will also be a “Cabaret of Anarchistic Talents” on Friday, as well as speakers, and a dance party hosted by anarchist hip-hop duo Test Their Logik.
The featured guest of the weekend is Norman Nawrocki, a writer, musician and actor from Montreal. Nawrocki will be having a book launch on November 9 at 8 pm for his text titled CAZZAROLA!: Anarchy, Romani, Love, Italy, which is a political, historical and romantic novel about a fictionalized anarchist Italian family that resists fascism.
Books are a significant part of the event, and hold a special place in the heart of Tim Brandt who acts as janitor and table mover of the event. For him, books were part of how he came to be an anarchist.
He recommends Anarchist Farm by Jane Doe as a book for all ages, which he describes as “a fun version of George Orwell’s Animal Farm [that’s] totally anarchistic and really cool.” Another book he suggests is Story of B by Daniel Quinn.
“A lot of anarchists are well educated and have studied and written, so you’ll find rich literature from anarcho syndicalists, anarchic feminists [and] environmentalists,” Brandt says.
“I think it’s a highest ideal kind of philosophy. I know lots of times it’s impractical or it takes lots of time to make things work by those kinds of ideals but I think they’re the most honest and worthwhile goals.”