Crowds gathered at the Bookmarks bookshop in Bloomsbury, London in a show of strength and support on Saturday 11th August following an attack the previous week.
Around 12 men bearing placards and wearing baseball hats reading “Make Britain Great Again”, thought to be in their 20s and 30s, stormed the bookshop and destroyed displays, wrecked books and chanted right wing slogans with one wearing a Donald Trump mask between 6.30pm and 7pm on Saturday evening 4th August 2018.
Bookmarks is known for selling books on a range of socialist topics including Marxism and women’s and LGBT+ rights and is the TUC’s bookshop.
David Gilchrist, the shop manager said that this was an attack on the left and one that indicates their confidence, how emboldened they have become since the rise of Donald Trump and more recently the release of Tommy Robinson from prison.
Alan Hall and Barry Slapp of the Unite Community Greenwich, Lewisham & Bexley branch proudly joined the crowds showing their support.
Cllr Alan Hall said: “It is important for us to come together to show support after an attack on a bookshop. Destroying books brings back images of the 1930s and we all know where that led. I heard Labour London Assembly Member, Unmesh Desai passionately quote the famous poem:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
That’s why it’s important to show support today. We need to assert our beliefs, principles and values: The right to be a trade unionist, the right to be a socialist and the right to speak out whatever religion or ethnicity we are.”
"The Nazis targeted books because they knew how important radical ideas are for challenging racism and fascism. The same is true today, and that is why we have to show that we won’t be intimidated." – @Bookmarks_books' manager responds to bookshop attack: https://t.co/zpou8wqrqa pic.twitter.com/S6pi04tCqe
— The Bookseller (@thebookseller) August 7, 2018