The attack on the weekend on Bookmarks, the socialist bookshop in Central London, proves that the far right has gained a firm hold in society. After all, bookshops are the traditional heart of the community; unlike libraries, as private stores they have the right to choose a stance and sell the books that fit the ideologies of their owners.
After activists attacked the shop and, thankfully, only scared the staff (there were no reported injuries to staff), I personally felt that the attack should galvanise those who believe in human rights and encourage those writers who want to make a positive difference, rather than putting them off.
Wearing Donald Trump memorabilia and draped in a Union Jack, the activists focused on books on Islam and anti-racist magazines, this was very clearly an attack not just one specific bookshop, but on a whole ideology- one that actively promotes inclusion. Earlier this year Gay’s the Word had its windows put in in another display of fascism.
Whilst it would be easy to be disheartened by such an attack, this physical display of violence highlights how relevant books and bookshops remain in the spreading of ideologies and ideas, and as such rather than feeling upset by the incident and put off writing for fear of reprisals, novelists and social commentators alike should focus on creating even more work. Not only will this prove that the attackers have not won, it will also create a legacy for many years to come of writing that is born out of fear, and still manages to showcase the very best of the human race.
Ultimately, whilst it is true that Trump and his cohort, alongside the UK’s Tory government, have certainly helped to stir the pot, at its heart this attack proves that, now more than ever, books and literature are a key media despite the move online for many publications. Even in 2018, books remain a key weapon for the people, and as such writers should use this to their advantage, and write their truths, no matter what the threat.