Plan to Win had a stall at the Melbourne Anarchist Bookfair on Saturday 4 August. It was a lovely day at the Abbotsford Convent, with a big crowd turning out and a bunch of activity.

Holly (PTW Director) and Clare (Highly Valued Supporter) at the Melbourne Anarchist Bookfair

Last year I ran a workshop (see the follow up article Limits to Consensus?) but this year I really enjoyed just hanging out on the stall and chatting with folks.

In addition to selling some great books and chatting about activist training, we posed the questions:

‘Which books have you learnt the most from? Which books would you recommend to other activists and anarchists?’

Folks shared their recommendations on a sheet of butchers paper, and I shared them further afield on Twitter (and collected a few more that way too).

As a side-note – if you are organising stalls I recommend this approach. Having a relevant and participatory activity was a great way to engage folks in conversation, which flowed on to benefits in terms of growing PTW’s email list, promoting Melbourne Campaigners’ Network, letting people know about mentoring, finding out about training needs – and even selling the odd book.

Gathering people’s recommendations held some surprises – what, no Tyranny of Structurelessness? No anarchist heroes like Kropotkin or Bakunin or Bookchin? Some classics still got a mention though, as well as strong votes for science fiction by Kim Stanley Robinson and Ursula Le Guin.

Here’s some of the recommendations people came up with:

  • Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell
  • The Ego and Its Own, Max Stirner
  • The Rebel, Albert Camus
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Funded, INCITE!
  • The Dispossessed, Ursula Le Guin
  • No Logo, Naomi Klein
  • Right to the City, Henri Lefebvre
  • Flat Earth News, Nick Davies
  • Treasure Islands, Nick Shaxson
  • The Stewardship Economy, Julian Pratt
  • Captive State, George Monbiot
  • Bilderberg People, Richardson and Kakabadse
  • Pacifism as Pathology, Ward Churchill
  • The Sword that Heals, George Lakey
  • Great River: The Rio Grande in North American History, Paul Horgan
  • Black Reconstruction in America, 1860–1880, W. E. B. Du Bois
  • Fighting Back: The Politics of the Unemployed in Victoria, Charlie Fox
  • The People Smuggler, Robin De Crespigny
  • Seal Wars, Paul Watson
  • Red Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson
  • The Illuminatus! Trilogy, Robert Anton Winston
  • The Fifth Sacred Thing, Starhawk
  • Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak
  • That’s Revolting: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
  • … and anything by Emma Goldman

We did some show and tell on the stall with some favourite activist resources including:

  • How to Win Campaigns, Chris Rose
  • In the Tiger’s Mouth: An Empowerment Guide for Social Action, Katrina Shields (check your library)
  • Doing Democracy: The Map Model for Organizing Social Movements, Bill Moyer et al
  • Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinsky
  • Grassroots and Nonprofit Leadership: A Guide for Organizations in Changing Times, Lakey et al (available to download from
  • Organizing for Social Change, Midwest Academy Manual for Activists
  • How to Make Trouble and Influence People, Iain McIntyre (new edition coming soon from Breakdown Press)

And of course these excellent titles that we have for sale:

  • The Activists’ Handbook, Aidan Ricketts
  • Re:Imagining Change: An Introduction to Story-based Strategy, Doyle Canning & Patrick Reinsborough

Many thanks to the organisers of the Melbourne Anarchist Bookfair for all your hard work putting on such an inclusive community building event.

Looking forward to next year!