FREEDOM BOOKSHOP, London’s most famous anarchist press and bookshop, has been firebombed.
The attack on the Whitechapel premises took place on Friday morning in the small hours. Police were alerted by the Fire Brigade at 5.30am.
The downstairs section of the shop is badly damaged. Electrics are damaged. Many books are burnt or charred. Upstairs is untouched. No one was hurt.
The exact nature of the weapon is not yet known. A device was projected through the shutters of a downstairs shop-window; or petrol was poured through and set alight.
An emergency meeting is taking place on Friday afternoon – as this article is being written – at The White Hart pub close to Angel Alley.
No one has claimed responsibility and the general response can be summed up in three letters: WTF?
A police forensics squad has examined the premises. The perpetrator ‘may have been caught on CCTV’.
The Left has a whodunnit to solve. A book-burning is intolerable enough. A bookshop-burning is a very serious crime.
Also, there is a mess to clean up and a campaign to raise funds.
Publishers, record shops, and magazines have already pledged to donate stock and sales proceeds to help FREEDOM rebuild.
A member of the FREEDOM collective said: ‘Could you please help spread the word about donating to rebuild the shop? We are setting up a donation page. In the meanwhile, anyone who wants to donate can do so by ordering a book/s through the www.freedompress.org.uk website, and emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know that your purchase was a donation. Thanks!’
Even broke poets can donate: http://www.facebook.com/DonateAPoemForFreedom
People will gather at the shop from 1pm on Saturday Feb 2 to start the work. All welcome. Bring cleaning stuff, dust masks, gardening gloves etc.
The manager of the bookshop, Andy Meinke, said from the safety of The White Hart: ‘Freedom will carry on in the same haphazard way it always has – the Fascists have just driven us to the pub a little bit earlier in the day than otherwise. Unfortunately, copies of the Raven have been irreparably damaged which, as you can imagine, is a great loss to the movement. We thank all those who have contacted us today with their solidarity. We remain united in the struggle against Fascism.’
FREEDOM’s incredible history began in 1886, with Peter Kropotkin as one of the founders. This is the latest episode in a very colourful story. There are worries that complete print archives of the press may have been damaged or destroyed.
Here are some shots of the interior:
Photos: Max Reeves of FREEDOM BOOKSHOP AND AUTONOMY CLUB