The socialist bookshop Bookmarks was invaded by far-right activists on Saturday 4 August. The activists threw books, tore up placards and posters, and threatened staff and customers. Fortunately no-one was injured.
The bookshop, which is run by the Socialist Workers Party, is located in Bloomsbury, central London. The attack appears to be an opportunistic action carried out by protesters returning from a protest against alleged “censorship” of Alex Jones’s far-right conspiracy-theory platform “InfoWars”. One of those involved was wearing a Donald Tump mask. A video taken by the assailants appears to show them passing the shop and noticing placards in its window condemning Tommy Robison; they then march into shop chanting “we love Trump”, and shouting various insults – including “paedophile lover” – at staff.
Like the attack on anti-fascist activists following a anti-racist counter-counter-demonstration in Westminster on 14 July, this event forms a picture of a new far-right movement, growing in confidence. Although no-one was injured and no serious damage was done in Bookmarks attack, the event marks a new development, whereby far-right activists emboldened by what they feel to be the burgeoning of their movement have the confidence to openly invade left-wing spaces.
The assailants appear to be linked to the "Make Britain Great Against" campaign, a group attempting to transplant Donald Trump and Steve Bannon's ethno-nationalist "America first" rhetoric to the UK. Their placards, carried from their earlier protest, denounced the BBC as the "British Bolshevik Cult", a classic motif of contemporary fascism which sees all of mainstream socio-political and cultural life as being dominated by what it calls "cultural Marxism", a Jewish plot to impose multicultural values on society.
Bookmarks is holding a solidarity event on Saturday 11 August from 2pm. Workers’ Liberty will be present and encourages others to attend. The left and the labour movement must urgently discuss the question of self-defence for our spaces and demonstrations. Understanding the political nature of this growing movement, and confronting its ethno-nationalism with an unapologetic working-class internationalism and advocacy of free movement, equality, and solidarity is also essential.