(Sovereign Man) A book by Andy Ngo called Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy, is about the violent tactics that Antifa uses to coerce and intimidate its ideological opponents.
And after a Portland bookstore began carrying the book, Antifa threatened to destroy the store and organized a seething protest outside one of the locations.
The “Anti-Fascist” activists surrounded the bookseller, plastered banners on its windows, and forced it to close early “to keep employees and customers safe.”
Antifa’s intimidation worked. The store responded that they will not carry the physical books, but that they would still keep the book in their online catalogue in order to “[shed] light on the dark corners of public discourse.”
Additionally, though, the bookstore groveled in a public statement to indicate ideological alignment with Antifa, saying “It feels ugly and sickening to give any air to writing that could cause such deep pain to members of our community.”
"You have police officers protecting Andy Ngo & fascism right now!"— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) January 15, 2021
Video from the third day of #antifa protests against my upcoming book. They tried to shut down the @Powells Books in Beaverton, Ore. pic.twitter.com/4kBMaWmBAu
Powell’s Commitment to Free Speech
Dear Powell’s community,
At Powell’s, a lot of our inventory is hand-selected, and hand-promoted. And a lot of our inventory is not. Unmasked by Andy Ngo came to us via one of our long-term and respected publishers, Hachette Book Group. We list the majority of their catalogue on Powells.com automatically, as do many other independent and larger retailers. We have a similar arrangement with other publishers.
Since Sunday, Powell’s has received hundreds of emails, calls, and social media comments calling for us to remove Unmasked from Powells.com. Due to protests outside our Burnside location, we have chosen to close our store, including curbside pickup, to keep our employees and customers safe. We are monitoring the situation daily and we will reopen when it is safe to do so. Our other locations and website remain open.
As many of you may be following these events, I want to offer additional context about our decision to allow this book to remain online.
Since the first published texts there have been calls to disown different printed work, and at Powell’s we have a long history of experiencing these calls, and the threats they bring with them, firsthand. Until recently the threats were from those who objected that we carried books written by authors we respected or subjects we supported. The threats were real but we could feel virtuous — we were bringing the written word to the light of day. We could feel proud of our choices, even when the choices created conflict.
Our current fight does not feel virtuous. It feels ugly and sickening to give any air to writing that could cause such deep pain to members of our community. But we have always sold books that many of us would reject. We have fought for decades, at Powell’s, for the right of a book to stand on its own. Doing so is one of our core values as booksellers...
President and Owner