On Thursday 2nd May, the day after major Mayday demonstrations, a comrade from the French Fédération Anarchiste was attacked in the FA’s Parisian infoshop and bookstore Publico by a man in his mid 40’s armed with a knife. The attacker came at Christophe while he was packing books and hit him so violently with his knife that part of the blade broke off and got stuck in his skull.
Shortly after the attack, the bookshop was called and subjected to verbal abuse down the phone, removing the possibility that the 2nd May incident was a random event. Likely this was a cold attempt at murder almost certainly given the history and context, by someone aligned with the far right.
Publico, where Christophe volunteers his time, is a hub for the Anarchist scene in Paris, much like Freedom in London. The bookshop is a host to several groups, such as Radio Libertaire and the paper Le Monde Libertaire. It also provides a warm and welcoming space for those looking to pick up books about anarchism and related struggles.
Publico is no stranger to assault. “We have already had incursions of right-wing activists in the bookstore, who entered shouting things like “France to the French” but never a savage attack” one volunteer lamented.
Indeed it is a deeply concerning escalation of violence as more and more anarchist and socialist spaces come under attack. Last year we saw far right storming into Bookmarks socialist bookshop in London, and the previous year saw the “Pie and Mash” fascist troop attack the ANAL social centre in Belgravia, forcing the people running the space and the homeless guests to defend themselves. In the U.S., the Proud Boys attacked the Portland IWW Union Hall, while the Patriot Boys had a go at the Occupy ICE camp in San Antonio in Texas. It’s very easy to become concerned about things escalating to the tragedy that befell Libertatia in Thessaloniki when, following a large nationalist rally, the fascists attacked the city’s social centre, burning it down in the process.
In Paris, Christophe was taken to the Saint Antoine hospital where he was treated. Scans show that a fragment of the blade used in the attack has remained planted in the skull bone. Thankfully Christophe’s health seems stable and he was patched up and sent home to recover while waiting for an operation to the remove the left over shard. At time of publishing the culprit remains unknown, and no doubt quite proud of his addition to the air of oppression and constant threat of violence that fascist scum aim to seed with their horrific acts. However, the main concern to Publico’s opening hours remains the ongoing renovation work. The revolution will not be intimidated, it will not be silenced and we will not allow these acts of violence to pass.
Anarchist and socialist spaces are bastions of liberty and community in an overtly oppressive environment and they must be defended. The threat isn’t just from the xenophobes on the far right but from the state as well, with large and well-established communities such as ADM in Amsterdam being evicted by legal and physical force. We must remain vigilant in order to protect and preserve these spaces for the benefit of the communities they serve, and improve with their existence.
Our complete and overt solidarity with Christophe, Librairie Publico and the Fédération Anarchiste during these most interesting times on the streets of Paris.
Source: Organise! Magazine
Photo: Librairie Publico