I had a rather sorry experience visiting Centreprise in Dalston this week.
A community bookshop and cafe, I have been going there on and off for over a decade, occasionally buying books and more usually leftist periodicals. Much of the stock is now a mess, and there is clearly an attempt to phase out a lot of the political books, with many at reduced prices. These books were piled up in a slapdash fashion at various points in the store. The collection of socialist newspapers and magazines was now an untidy pile, with most of the titles obscured.
In a depressing sign of the times, much of the new material in there is religious, black nationalist or the sort of American "self-help" books that make authors rich whilst stating the bleeding obvious.
Worryingly, for a "community bookshop" the number of Nation of Islam books inside suggest that anti-semitism and racism is not something that concerns Centreprise. One NOI title, on the history of the relationship between Jews and Blacks, centring on the slave trade, seemed to me to be little more than an attempt to put an intellectual veneer on traditional anti-semitism.
All in all these changes are a step backwards for Centreprise, and a step backwards for Hackney.