Anarchist bookstores are community spaces that provide access to radical literature and serve as hubs for activism. These bookstores specialize in the literature on anarchist theory, history, practice, and related topics such as socialism, anti-fascism, and anti-capitalism.
Historically, anarchist bookstores have been around since the late 19th century. During this time, anarchism was a popular political ideology that advocated for a society without government, hierarchy, or domination. Anarchist bookstores served as gathering places for anarchists to discuss and promote their ideas and organize and plan direct actions and protests.
Today, these bookstores continue to exist around the world. Many are worker-owned cooperatives, often serving as community spaces where people can discuss politics, attend events, and organize activism.
These bookstores offer many benefits to their communities. They provide access to literature and resources often unavailable in mainstream bookstores, universities, or libraries, which includes works by radical and marginalized authors, zines and other independent publications, and books on anti-racism, gender and sexuality, and environmental justice.
Anarchist bookstores also serve as virtual community spaces where people can meet and connect with others who share their politics and values. They often host book launches, film screenings, and workshops, providing meeting spaces for activist groups and organizations.
Oldest Anarchist Bookstores
Here are some of the oldest anarchist bookstores from around the world:
- Freedom Press Bookshop – London, UK: Founded in 1886, this bookstore is one of the oldest anarchist bookstores in the world and has been a hub for radical thought and activism for over a century.
- Mayday Books – Minneapolis, USA: Established in 1975, Mayday Books is one of the oldest anarchist bookstores in the United States and has played an essential role in shaping the radical politics of the Midwest.
- L’Insoumise – Montreal, Canada: Opened in 1983, L’Insoumise is one of the oldest anarchist bookstores in Canada and has been a vital space for radical thought and activism in Montreal for over 35 years.
- Long Haul Infoshop – Berkeley, USA: Founded in 1979, the Long Haul Infoshop is one of the oldest continuously operating anarchist bookstores in the United States and has served as a community space for radical politics and activism in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 40 years.
- Centro Studi Libertari – Milan, Italy: Established in 1977, Centro Studi Libertari is one of the oldest anarchist bookstores in Italy and has played an essential role in the country’s radical political movements for over 40 years.
If you’re looking for a radical bookstore near you, A Radical Guide offers a directory of bookstores worldwide. This directory is a comprehensive list of bookstores, infoshops, and social centers that cater to radical and anti-authoritarian communities. It’s an excellent resource for anyone looking to get involved in activism or connect with other like-minded individuals.