Anarchists vs. Maoists at SF Book Fair



Ah, it’s that time of year again. Time for the San Francisco Anarchist Book Fair! A place to learn of the glories of social revolution, listen to tales of human autonomy, consensus and self-management and bask in the pungent smell of patchouli oil and sweat.

It is generally an uneventful event. Book sales do not tend to attract an aggressive crowd. But this year’s fair was marked by confrontation, a struggle between anarchists and Maoists. No incendiary devices were exchanged, no bottles thrown, no brawls occurred.

The fair takes place at the fairground building in Golden Gate Park. Every time I went to the event there was some Stalinist, Maoist or other communist group with a literature table outside of the building.  Most attendees ignored them.

This year members of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) attempted to enter the building to sell their literature. This created quite a scene. The RCP was told they had five minutes to leave the building or they would be removed. After five minutes had passed they were shown the door.

The RCP proceeded to set up their table outside the facility. Soon thereafter members of the Modesto Anarchist Crew (MAC) dumped a five gallon bucket of water on the table, drenching the RCP’s books and other propaganda.

This has created (or more properly, exasperated) a rift in the SF activist scene with some supporting the action and others decrying it as “sectarian” and “counterrevolutionary.”

Statement from RCP/Revolution Books:

Revolution Books, a communist bookstore in Berkeley, was forced to leave the anarchist book fair and told they could set up outside by the organizers. After setting up their table, someone poured a bucket of water on their books, fliers, and newspapers, destroying hundreds of dollars of literature. We denounce this act and call on the organizers of the anarchist book fair to do the same. This sort of attack is repressive and reactionary and is the complete opposite of the culture of discussion, debate, and dissent that we need in order to create a vibrant, liberated society

Here are some comments from two posts at Indybay:

Never Trust a Bolshevik:

I can’t believe this is even an issue at this point. Anyone with any knowledge of history knows the disaster which comes from making common cause with Bolsheviks. Against the wishes of Makhno, the officers of the Makhnovshchina chose to trust the Bolshies and it got them machinegunned en masse at the Crimean “peace talks.” The CNT made common cause with the Bolsheviks and Durruti ended up face-down with a bullet in the back of his head.

“A” writes:

I know some of the Maoists personally. They’ve never pushed any political agenda or ideals onto me. In fact, one of the organizers is at nearly every protest/rally there is in the Bay Area, spreading a consciousness of change and revolution, but NEVER promoting any particular agenda. It shouldn’t matter what agenda you want AFTER the revolution; the point is that we have the same enemy. I’ve never seen any anarchist show such determination in organizing or participating in Bay Area events, especially Oscar Grant rallies.

Miles replies:

Read some fucking history, specifically about the followers of Lenin, Stalin and Mao and their relationships to anarchists and other anti-state revolutionaries, and then come cry to us about our common enemy and explain how “revolutionary” those butchers are. Fuck you crybabies. If you’re ashamed to call yourself an anarchist after a minor skirmish like that where nobody got hurt or maimed or killed, who needs you on our side? What’s going to happen to your thin skin when the shooting starts? Get lost and take your wishy washy hippy liberal shit with you on the way out. The fact is that the followers of Lenin (and company) denounce us no matter what we do or don’t do, and when they’re not busy denouncing us they frame us, jail us, torture us, maim us and when that stops amusing them, they murder us. It’s factual history, not some bullshit neo-McCarthyist paranoia. No tolerance for our enemies, whether they wrap themselves in a red white and blue flag or a plain old red flag.

Sometimes I miss the Bay Area.

2 responses »

  1. Man I miss these parties. The sectarian divide only adds to the humour.

    I especially loved this “This has created (or more properly, exasperated) a rift in the SF activist scene with some supporting the action and others decrying it as “sectarian” and “counterrevolutionary.”

    The fact that any of these people think selling some anarchist and communist zines in San Francisco is revolutionary to begin with is pretty comical.

  2. Pingback: Poumish « Poumista

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