Anarchist Book and Publications Fair 2024

Feria del Libro y Publicaciones Anarquistas - 2024

The punk-nahuales from the State of Mexico are hidden in the streets, resisting and fighting in an endless battle against the police, oppression, and the status quo. Or at least, that’s how it is in the comic of Arte Subversivo Hakai Teki Ato, which presents its comics, fanzines, and illustrations printed on tote bags, pins, and cardboard at the Anarchist Book and Publications Fair of 2024. He says he is inspired, of course, by anarchism, but also draws from the nahuales that his grandparents told him about since he was a child. It’s in this fair that he reminds us of our roots, in order to raise awareness of how vulnerable they are and to defend them.

The number 10 on Donceles Street, in the Historic Center, looks enigmatic at first sight. Whether because it is an old building that denounces the years that have passed through it or because it has a banner hanging on its facade announcing that the property is not for sale, adding even more mysticism if possible. It almost seems like a secret location if you don’t know that on the first floor there is a book fair, as there are no signs or indications that give a clue about it. The entrance is through a dimly lit door that leads to an equally dark courtyard, where stairs finally take you to the event. Only by following the voices and the smell of tobacco is it that one learns that indeed, something is happening upstairs.

Feria del Libro y Publicaciones Anarquistas 2024
The humble facade where the Anarchist Book and Publication Fair of 2024 takes place.

The fair space is small and barely covered by tarps; the organizers have put their own efforts into the event, and it shows. The budget proves to be tight with rented chairs, a banner announcing the event, along with an amplifier and a microphone. However, this austerity is in close logic with what this fair symbolizes: anarchy, which from its beginnings, goes against opulence. There are no subsidies or sponsors here, and as someone said at some point, they persist because they resist. Moreover, although at first glance, it may seem inhospitable, the truth is that many people were coming in and out, denoting movement and even creating a crowd of people to be near the table of talks and book presentations. The presenters of these books spoke, of course, about their works, but they also knew how to connect with the attendees, posing questions and inquiries. For example, when Ediciones Satánicas talked about religion, the question was: does it really contribute to us as a society, or is it, as Marx said, the opium of the masses? Or when El Ratoncito Literario presented “Micropolitics of Madness”, making us reflect if we are truly aware and empathetic with the mad, who are nothing more than people with mental illnesses who have been excluded over the years.

Many of these exhibitors are truly committed to spreading their ideals, such as those of the newspaper Resistencia, which usually offers its publications at the intersection of Bellas Artes with voluntary cooperation to continue with its printing press; they are always receiving publication material, with the only rule being that the theme is related to anarchism. It is worth mentioning that these exhibitors are mostly men who know each other, turning the fair into a meeting place. At the same time, they offer crafts, fanzines, and old books on their tables, which are largely themed around social criticism, the exclusion of certain communities, theatrical art, and rebellion. Undoubtedly, this fair is not for everyone (at least not for those who still do not want/cannot question themselves and their environment). And although this may sound like an event exclusively for adults, I did encounter a girl, and among the books, I also found one titled “Explaining Anarchy to Children“.

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