Attack on Bookmarks Socialist Bookshop

Attack on Bookmarks Socialist Bookshop

Keith Flett Reports

At 18.45 hours on 4th August just as the shop was closing 12 masked fascists entered Bookmarks the socialist bookshop in Bloomsbury and tore up material and generally messed up the shop. Fortunately no one was injured.

You don’t need a crystal ball to see a link between this and the release of fascist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon earlier this week pending a re-trial on contempt of Court charges. The law will take its course but Yaxley-Lennon was able to afford a top lawyer whose arguments, in some parts, held sway with the Appeal judges.

The result was to give confidence to fascists and the far-right,hence the attack on Bookmarks

We have been here before.

In the mid-1970s in North London as a socialist and anti-fascist I rarely left the house without wearing a pair of steel toe capped Doc Martens. I still have them and they still fit but I hope more agile people can now move into the frontline.

Why the shoes? Because in those days you had to be careful walking the streets. You might be attacked (I narrowly avoided it on several occasions. In those days I could run fast). The fascists of the National Front were on the rise and their aim was to control the streets.

That meant attacks on socialist and trade union meetings and any street campaigning. You had to have security but even then you couldn’t guard 100%. Events were broken up by fascists and people injured.

That hasn’t happened for 40 years but its what Yaxley-Lennon & Co. have in mind again as the attack on Bookmarks underlines.

The Battle of Wood Green, on 23rd April 1977, was a key moment last time (as was Lewisham in August 1977). Jeremy Corbyn, then a Labour Councillor in Haringey, brought together Councillors (Labour and Tory) and anti-fascists organised to stop the National Front as they tried to march down the busy Wood Green High Rd on a Saturday afternoon.

The NF was a virulently anti-BME and anti-Semitic party. ( Islamophobia is a more recent arrival in the fascist playbook) Its march was designed to intimidate and show that it controlled the streets.

It did not. The march was broken by protesters as it came out of Ducketts Common in Turnpike Lane.

The fascists did not recover. After Bookmarks the same resolve to stop them is needed.

Resolve meaning by the way, building a mass opposition to isolate them, including those who one might not otherwise have much time for, not punch-ups down alley-ways. Fascists are usually very good at that and mostly very bad at organising mass support on their side, provided the left gets there first.

The Battle of Wood Green

The Telegraph - then and now

The Telegraph - then and now

Vote Peter Willsman for Labour's NEC

Vote Peter Willsman for Labour's NEC