July 03, 2006

Radical books fill Center Stage

by Stephen Janis
The state of the anarchist movement is “not bright,” said Aragon!, the Anarchy magazine publisher who uses only his nom de plume (which includes an exclamation mark).

“After [Sept. 11], a lot of people are scared to speak out,” he said.

Yet a quick survey of the 50 or so vendors at Baltimore’s 2006 Radical Book Fair, held at Center Stage Theater this weekend, indicates that alternative political ideas seem to be flourishing.

Sponsored by Red Emma’s, a coffeehouse and bookstore in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood, the fair was a bit different than a normal literary gathering, said fair spokeswoman Ira Kitchs.

“More of the books have a political bent and focus on social justice,” she said.

Offerings ranged from the Communist Manifesto to the Chicago surrealists’ take on the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

A booth for radical parenting tips and a copy of the so-called impeachment articles of George W. Bush added to an assortment of political posters and T-shirts.

There was even an archaic, though perhaps not radical, collection of vinyl records of various political indie rock groups.

Benn Ray — owner of Baltimore’s most famous alternative literary outlet, Atomic Books — said that the eclectic mix is evidence that liberalism is much less narrowly focused than many may believe.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of political diversity on the left,” he said.

For those looking for a radical political vision of the future, D.J. Solomon was on hand pitching his futurist book, “Xen.”

Written in a language called Eartherian, the “tongue” of the future, the book tells the story of humanity’s future struggle against oppression and xenophobia.

“We evolve into a matriarchy,” he said. “It’s a book that tells of what utopia can be.”


Post a Comment

<< Home