Favourite local publication (that isn’t The Uniter)

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1. The Uniter (editor’s note: please stop voting for us)

2. Stylus

3. ARP Books

In 1996, a group of anarchists bound together to establish a radical press in the Old Market Square Autonomous Zone in Winnipeg’s Exchange District.

“ARP was born as Arbeiter Ring Publishing at the time,” editor Irene Bindi says. “It was run on volunteer steam for the first 15 years or something, with a focus on leftist politics originally, and then incorporating literary titles that have leftist-leaning themes, as well.”

Now, 27 years later, ARP Books has grown from a humble workers’ collective into a respected, independent publisher, loved by Uniter readers and many more. It’s given dozens of writers a platform to share radical ideas, styles and futures with the world.

While other publishers may shy from dissent, ARP welcomes it. From Owen Toews’ critique of settler-colonialism in Stolen City to Hannah Godfrey’s reinvention of art criticism in Critical Fictions, the publisher finds its strength in testing the boundaries of writing.

“We try to be aware of what’s going on obviously locally, and provincially, nationally and internationally,” Bindi says. “We believe in interconnection and that there is no such thing as an isolated struggle.”

The authors on ARP’s roster are diverse in background and craft. They are musicians, poets, academics, community leaders and activists of all stripes. But what binds them together is their belief that a better world is possible.

“A lot of our writers on the academic side and on the literary side are also activists and organizers and involved in a material way in creating change,” Bindi says.

In the face of large-scale, corporate publishing monopolies, she believes ARP’s people-over-profit mandate is what sets them apart.

“We operate in order to spread ideas, not in order to make profit,” Bindi says. “Along with that comes a lot of differences in terms of freedom to experiment both with content and with form.”

Published in Volume 78, Number 12 of The Uniter (November 30, 2023)

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