A group of Nazi and racist thugs attacked a TUC-backed socialist bookshop in central London on Saturday.
Around 12 of them marched into Bookmarks, the TUC union federation’s appointed bookseller. They waved placards, shouted far right slogans, and began intimidating staff. They had been on a nearby protest in central London earlier in the day.
They also spouted racist bile about Muslims being paedophiles and smears about the left being antisemitic.
Noel Halifax, who works in Bookmarks, spoke to Socialist Worker about the attack. “I was leaving work a bit early at about half past six,” he said. “And suddenly I noticed a small group on the corner with alt right placards.
“They said something like, ‘BBC—British Bolshevik Cult.’
"I telephoned my co-worker and told him to close shop, but about a dozen of them had got in. They began trashing the shop. They knocked over some book stands and displays.”
“The book they picked up when shouting about antisemitism was Abram Leon's On the Jewish Question.” That’s a book about Jewish history and antisemitism.
“Could you be any more inappropriate?” said Noel. “Abram Leon died in Auschwitz concentration camp.”
The attack on Bookmarks is a sign of the growing confidence of the far right after the release of Nazi Tommy Robinson from prison on Wednesday.
It comes after an attack on trade unionists, including senior deputy general secretary of the RMT union Steve Hedley, following an anti-fascist demonstration last month.
A new layer of young people who look to Donald Trump and the US alt right has been a significant factor on recent thousands-strong “Free Tommy” rallies in London.
Noel said, “They were definitely alt right, one of them was wearing a Donald Trump mask.
“They were clearly fascists and were into ultra anti-communist stuff.”
Noel said he thought the attack was planned in advance. “I recognized one of people in the crowd,” he said. “He had been in the book shop a week before arguing with other customers.
“He had been coming out with alt right slogans, fake news nonsense stuff, and we had to get rid of him.”
He added, “I think they had been somewhere else and the thought that they would do mini bash on a socialist bookshop.”
The fascists sense an opportunity to rebuild a movement on the streets that's capable of carrying out much more serious attacks against Muslims and minorities. Anti-fascists have to be ready to mobilize against them when they next try to march.