On Saturday, May 4, 2013, the Village Muse Bookstore in Cumberland (centrally located on Vancouver Island in Coast Salish territory) will be hosting the first ever Comox Valley Anarchist Book Fair at The Abbey, featuring a May Day feast of subversive ideas and creative resistance possibilities. As a black and green event, it is bathed in both the radical legacy of the Cumberland mine wars and the soaring Beltane spirit of the Merry Month of May, and has absolutely nothing to do with Queen Victoria’s birthday. This anarchist festival of the book has been fomented in the cooperative spirit of mutual aid that unites Cumberland and Denman Island co-conspirators. While we anticipate that lots of anarchists and anarchist-friendly folks will converge on Cumberland that weekend, you don’t have to be a self-described anarchist to attend the Book Fair. All you need is an open mind and an anti-authoritarian sense of curiosity.
In The Abbey on this day, you will find rows of tables peopled by individuals, distros, and bookstores that feature a wide array of anarchist and anarchist-related books, zines, publications, and crafts. Participating bookstores and distros, in alphabetical order, so far include: BC Blackout (Vancouver/Denman Island), Black Banner Distro (Vancouver), Black Sheep Collective (Calgary), Camas Books (Victoria), Eberhardt Press (Portland, OR), One Way Ticket (Victoria), Red Lion Press (Nanaimo), Spartacus Books (Vancouver), Village Muse Bookstore ( Cumberland), and Warrior Publications (Vancouver). At this point, individual book authors who will be at tables include: Gord Hill, Jeff Shantz, Larry Gambone, Matta, Miles Olson, Ron Sakolsky, Sean Woods, and Tom Swanky. Only a limited number of tables are still available, so please apply asap.There will be free food all day and a potluck at the Abbey between 6 and 7 PM. The Abbey will provide space for an “art wall”and an acoustic open-mic event starting at 7:30 PM, dubbed The Creative Mayhem Anarchist Cabaret.
Across the street from the Abbey, at the OAP Hall, there will be a series of free direct action, skill-sharing and radical history workshops at the top of every hour all day. They will feature such topics as: combating the Raven and Bear coal mines/anti-pipeline solidarity; street theatre; rewilding; Cortes Island forest defense; the BC government’s historical use of biological warfare against indigenous people through the spread of smallpox on Vancouver Island and in the Comox Valley; grand jury resistance in the Pacific Northwest; decolonization; and Cumberland’s radical roots. Outdoors, there will be a medicinal plant walk and a blacksmithing workshop. As we get closer to the Book Fair date, we will provide more detailed info on titles, facilitators and scheduling, as well as billeting possibilities for out-of-towners.
On the occasion of this 2013 May Day event, we recognize the 127th anniversary of the judicial murder of the Haymarket anarchists in their fight against wage slavery back in 1886, and we remember Ginger Goodwin, who was shot in the back by the law at Comox Lake for militant union organizing activities among his fellow Cumberland mine workers and for his principled refusal of conscription during the First World War.
In turn, we commemorate the hundredth anniversary of local resistance to the military invasion and occupation of Cumberland by order of BC Attorney General Bowser in 1913. His kilted dragoons were stationed in the village at the behest of the coal barons to protect their financial empire by breaking the Vancouver Island miners’ strike of 1912-1914 and restoring order through the imposition of martial law. Today, anarchists, along with many others, are engaged in an effort to prevent Cumberland from once again becoming a mining town under the thumb of the coal bosses should the Compliance Energy Corporation’s proposal for a Raven coal mine project get approved, which would then open the door for the proposed open-pit Bear coal mine to be precariously perched over Allen,Henderson and Comox Lakes, threatening the water supplies of Cumberland,Courtenay and Comox.
Finally, we respectfully acknowledge that we are holding this event on unceded K’ómoks’ territory, and we express our solidarity with their ongoing struggle for their land and against colonization.