We were horrified to learn that Freedom Bookshop in Whitechapel was firebombed early this morning.
Details of the attack have been published on the IT and Freedom sites, with periodic updates on the situation on Freedom's Facebook group and Twitter feed.
The good news is that no one was hurt. The bad news is that parts of the building were badly damaged, including the wiring, and they have no insurance.
Some of the items that have been destroyed include copies of the Raven. This historic anarchist periodical also played an important role in the history of Surrealism: issues 2 and 3 published an important debate about the state of the movement in Britain, with contributions by Franklin Rosemont, Conroy Maddox, George Melly and others. The loss of the periodical is a bitter one.
Freedom are asking for volunteers to help with the cleanup from 1pm tomorrow (Saturday 2 February).
The bookshop has put out a call for book donations to replenish the stock – drop them off at the shop during normal opening hours (Monday to Saturday 12 noon to 6pm, Sunday 12 noon to 4pm).
Other initiatives to support the recovery include the Donate a Poem campaign, which will publish a book of donated poetry to help raise funds, and a compilation album by Iron Column Records, for which audio donations are being sought.
Financial donations can also be made: cheques or postal orders made payable to Freedom Press can be sent to Freedom Press, 84b Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX. Alternatively you can make a financial donation by making a dummy purchase through Freedom's online shop. After placing your order, email them at shop[AT]freedompress.org.uk to let them know that the "purchase" was really a donation: they will not send you the goods, but they will still receive the money.
None of the Surrealists we know is exactly rich, but we ask all our friends to do whatever they can to help with the rebuilding of this precious bookshop and meeting space, and to spread the word about the rebuilding campaign.