[ from the dept. ]
At the moment I am travelling through Germany, have been at the leftwing radical bookfair in Nuremberg – [Linke Literaturmesse] where I did a stall advertising several campaigns and selling books from AK Press and Chiapas merchandise for the Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group, as well as the Stewart Home Society.
It was really great and thoroughly enjoyed it. [pics and report on Indy Germany].
It was particularly lovely to share the stall with folks from Indymedia Germany, as they really helped a lot with staffing the stall,helped me out with the costs of photocopying flyers and posters and Counter Information, and showed the European Indymedia NewsReal and other video clips on their laptop.
Apart from doing a talk about the G8 coming to Scotland, which was kind of sabotaged by the previous reading about the armed struggle in Germany, read by somebody who has been in prison for 17 years, and who refused to stop her reading, running over for more than 40 minutes. This was a very discouraging experience, and really pisses me off. It certainly had to do with her arrogance a bit as well as she very much enjoyed the appreciation she got through the public, I think, nethertheless it was quite disrespectfull towards me. I found it extremely discouraging that she also put it to a vote with the audience “if she should continue or not”.
As if anybody would dare to go against her!
Afterwards a member of the audience even gave me shit for interrupting her and asking her to finish after having overrun for 40 minutes.
I really found this quite bad, and I broke out into tears afterwards, because of the disappointment and the lack of support by the organisers of the bookfair, I complained being felt treated quite discriminated and disevaluated, as well as I had to swish through my talk in 15 minutes, getting interrupted by people who already wanted to secure the best seats for the reading and discussion following afterwards. There, the members of the audience threw me out on time, I even had no opportunity to take away the television and the videorecorder and the rest of my equipment.
But I should also say something positive and not complain all the time, because that was really the only negative thing I came across, otherwise it was fantastic.
After the bookfair I went to Leipzig, and got some great clothes from Mrs Hippie. The shop is situated in a big complex in Leipzig, which is known as “Feinkost”. The complex is in discussion to be torn down, but a strong movement to save the building and the left wing initiatives situated there, has begun. [Rettet die Feinkost]. The complex is quite famous because of its lovely advert of a family eating soup: Löffelfamilie.
Just today the local newspaper announced, that the plan to build a massive discount superstore has been abolished, and that the initiatives have now a chance to build up a neighbourhood centre there. [Leipziger Volkszeitung, 26.11.2004].
Some years before, the advert was in discussion to be torn down, too, but luckily enough a strong initative stopped it.
Apart from the clothing shop, there is also a bicycle receycling project named Rücktritt situated there, as well as a computer receycling project named Absturz, an old furniture store, at which I got fantastic old furniture for a really low price, a little bit more expensive than the common students’ IKEA furniture, but much more individual and charming, as well as I DIY to make them look nicer.
I also went round to NATO, short acryonym für : Die nationale Front, which is a left wing pub and community cinema.
The name is a bit odd, but it is a leftover of the former GDR.
They do fantastic cocktails there, and also organise the favourite bath tube race every summer, and a community football tournament including the famous antifascist football team Roter Stern Leipzig, and other funny things.
I did not have time to come round earlier for the carneval, starting last weekend, or to visit Conne Island or other fantastic places, such as Moritzbastei, Ilses Erika,
I just got a newspaper called “incipito” which reminded me a bit of my favourite newspaper “klarofix” which was printed and distributed about 5 years ago. Unfortunately Incipito is not that good compared with “klarofix” – the calendar is missing, and the stories are written from a much narrower perspective, and some even from an perspective of the odd german left sectarian “anti-deutschen”, which is really disappointing. E.g. the article about the ESF in London is so completely crap, I have to say, and I have been there, the article is quite distorting.
Aparantly Leipzig is the only city in former East Germany, where the right wing parties lost, and not gained in the last elections. This is also consolidated by the last fascist march, where the fascists got a proper beating and got their asses kicked by the antifascists, and never got much further than the square in front of the central station. [Report on Imc UK].
Later, I travelled further to Berlin, to participate at some meetings and to join in at the Media activist gathering. Yesterday, I was watching some films at the film festival which is accompanying the Media Activist Gathering, and some were really good, whilst at others I fell asleep for at least an hour or two, and when I woke up, the film was still playing.
There were some good videos downloaded from the internet, such like the Argentina Indymedia clip,which unfortunately made difficulties in playing and an incredible good film about Seattle done by a film student from Stuttgart, and a film made by Swiss television about PGA, the People’s Global Action in 1998, where there was much more enthusiasm.
I was a bit lazy organising somewhere to sleep and ended up and crashed in a political project space, which seems to be run on anarchist principles. It was a bit odd tbecause nobody seemed to speak with me for the first day, and then the second night, another guy started sleeping there and suddenly everybody seemed to be concerned about me- they even slept next door on the floor in case the guy would have made some advances. Now this let to a very intensive discussion if this place should allow people to crash there or not, but luckily enough I’ll hopefully be gone till they decide there can’t be anybody anymore staying overnight.
I was able to sell all the books of AK press to another shop, and discovered that the 35% discount on book selling really is not enough to make a proper living. With all books sold, that would have made a profit of about 60 Euros, but I forgot to list 3 books I sold in the hand-over price, and one seemed to have been stolen, or I might have mismanaged 5 Euros.
From these 60 Euros I would also have to pay about even more than half for having the stall, and to cover the rest of the costs, such as travelling there, and similar. So, in total, I have no clue how AK Press or other small bookshops can survive, or even cover their staffs’ cost of living. As well as I would have had to give the other bookseller a discount, which I again miscalculated.