Freedom Bookshop at 84b Whitechapel High Street re-opens today after the arson attack against it in the early hours of Friday morning. You can find more details on the Freedom website, donations at this time are obviously particualarly welcome.
The last time Freedom was attacked - in 1993 - it was by the fascist Combat 18 group, so speculation inevitably falls on this being an attack by the far--right. Interestingly, shortly before this attack, Britain First was circulating details to supporters of the launch of a new co-ordinating organisation for 'patriotic' street protest, to be called the English National Resistance. This was hyped as bringing together the English Defence League, Britain First, the English Democrats and South East Alliance.
The announcement stated:
"The 'English National Resistance' will confront, demonstrate and protest nationwide against the politically correct enemies of our country."
And the ENR comes complete with a fancy crest
The declaration continued:
Among the historical problems that the 'English National Resistance' is resolved to address is the chronic lack of discipline at demonstrations, the lack of ideology and direction, a weak hierarchical structure and the elimination of outside influences and agendas.
These problems will be solved once and for all by the'English National Resistance'.
The 'English National Resistance' will also take the form of an 'association', whereby existing street protest groups can join the new cooperative organisation and take a seat on the governing council, and several groups have already taken this step and joined forces.
The 'English National Resistance' will build a new disciplined organisation that mobilises patriotic activists against any attack on our culture, rights and heritage.
This is an exciting new dawn for patriotic politics, and we need the unbridled support of all of our supporters to make this a success.
Unfortunately for the ENR, their first planned demonstration - at Abu Qatada's home in north London on Saturday 2 February - was postponed after a High Court injunction was taken out by Mr Qatada's ever busy legal team. Whether the ENR took their frustrations out by attacking Freedom books instead is not yet known, but entirely possible.
Other suspects emerge. The first is some sort of secret state chicanery. The work Freedom does brings it significant enemies in London's police force, in the national public order intelligence units and of course amongst those spooks even deeper in the shadows. When Freedom was attacked in 1993 the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, known for its close links to the security services and habit of smearing Anarchists, suggested other Anarchists were responsible. So far, Searchlight has remained silent, although journalist Brian Whelan, closely associated with Searchlight splinter Hope Not Hate, has been at Freedom interviewing staff.
A second possibility is an attack by Islamist elements. Local Muslim youths have attacked squats in Whitechapel before (which it seems they idiotically believed were associated with the EDL) and two youths were jailed for a mob attack on the Blind Beggar pub just down the road earlier this year. Again the 'we thought they was the EDL' defence was given. We have also seen 'Muslim Patrols' on the streets in Tower Hamlets by a small number of fundamentalists, several of whom have since been arrested.
The third possibility - the least likely - is perhaps less political - someone wants Freedom out, in an area of high property values, as they want that building.
All of the above explanations now are possible, but unproven. The important thing now is to get behind Freedom, to donate books and to donate money. Attacking Freedom shall not pass.