After the horrific recent attack by ‘alt-right’ racists and fascists in London on Bookmarks bookshop – a longstanding socialist bookshop ‘founded in 1967 in a suitcase’ according to Ian Birchall, I thought the least I could do would be to just briefly put up a post in solidarity with Bookmarks. As someone who is proud to have had two books published with the help of Bookmarks bookshop in the past – Chris Braithwaite: Mariner, Renegade and Castaway (2014) and (as co-editor), Celebrating C.L.R. James in Hackney, London (2015) – indeed we had the booklaunch for the little booklet on Chris Braithwaite in Bookmarks bookshop itself – I managed to pay them a visit today (and bought a few books, and a nice anti-fascist greeting card – see photos below).
Fascist attacks on left wing (and black, women’s and LGBT+) bookshops are of course nothing new, and as Bookmarks manager Dave Gilchrist rightly noted in the Guardian, obviously have chilling historical echoes of ‘book-burning’ in 1930s Nazi Germany. In the current climate when fascists internationally are more emboldened and confident than ever thanks to the normalisation of racism by the likes of Trump and his myrmidons, we urgently need to come together to build a united mass movement against the far right that can turn the tide against them. I would also urge anyone reading this who has not already done so to visit Bookmarks either in person or through their website online and buy a book out of solidarity.