Anarchy in the Twin Cities

This year’s fair will have a diverse selection, but no governmental interference.

Grace Gouker

Twin Cities Anarchist Book Fair

Where: Powderhorn Park Building located at 34th St. and 15th Ave. South, Minneapolis

When: Saturday, Sept. 11: Noon-6 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 12: 2:30 p.m.- 8 p.m.

Cost: Free



Hundreds of anarchists will soon swarm the city for the Twin Cities Anarchist Book Fair. Powderhorn Park (location of the May Day Festival as well) will play host to dozens of anarchic vendors promoting and presenting their products and ideas this weekend.

Participants will include Hard Times Café, the MARS Collective0 and Veterans for Peace from Minneapolis, with the RNC Defense Committee (formerly the RNC Welcoming Committee) being represented by individuals from all over the state.

Though it’s now become a quasi-cliché topic in many circles, the Republican National Convention in 2008 — and all it entailed — is still something that comes to mind when discussing anarchism in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The sentiment is felt even more so now that the Democratic National Convention could be held in Minneapolis in 2012.

 “I think there are a lot of misconceptions about anarchism, especially after the RNC, and a lot of epithets were thrown around … [anarchism] is not just chaos,” said Amanda Luker, representative of the soon-to-be Boneshaker Books in Uptown.

In the course of conversing with a few of the booth-keepers for the book fair, there erupted resounding consensus in response to the concept of outright protest: Politicians and politics are not worth the trouble. An individual identified only as “Aragorn“ in our interactions said “Anarchists have only begun to soul-search about the benefits verses costs of chasing after sensational events such as the primary activity that we are known for in mainstream media circles. I have guarded optimism that a significant de-emphasis of this kind of action is on the horizon.”

Aragorn and his nonprofit Little Black Cart, an online bookshop and distribution organization based in Berkeley, Calif., are one of several informative and thought-provoking stops you can make at the fair.

As great as that sounds, however, there’s always that weird, paradoxical feeling that a college student may get when engaging in any activity opposing “the system.” But this should not deter us, according to Margaret Killjoy of Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness.

“[Anarchism] can help a student navigate a world of hierarchy and help 
them understand the need to confront the oppression they face in their everyday lives,” Killjoy said. SIATW, her affiliated organization, will offer up its distributional expertise at the fair as well.

Aragon, on the other hand, seems to have diverged from this view.

“This freedom to act separates anarchists from other political ideologies like
liberals, conservatives, other statists and the future payers of student loans and mortgages,” he said.

The Really Really Free Market will be happening simultaneously in the park on Sunday at 2 p.m. Featured speakers at the fair include Diana Block and Cindy Milstein on Saturday, with workshops in the mid-afternoon on both days of the fair. Fortunately, pipe-bomb making is not on the agenda for either day.