The National Coalition Against Censorship strongly supports Politics & Prose, author Jonathan M. Metzl and those who attended Metzl’s Saturday reading at the store before it was interrupted by white nationalists. NCAC condemns the behavior and intent of the individuals who stormed the store and disrupted the event.

When a nation built on broad protections for speech faces times of deep political division, it must draw a firm line between freedom of speech and violent conduct or disruptive behavior aimed at silencing others.

When an organized group with a reputation for violence enters a peaceful space unannounced, halts an event, chants into megaphones, and physically imposes their presence with the intent to intimidate, this is not an exercise of constitutionally-protected speech or protest.

Washington, DC-based bookstore Politics & Prose is a partner in NCAC’s Open Discussion Project, an initiative designed to foster discussion of contemporary issues between community members of differing political viewpoints. As this incident illustrates, our national commitment to discussion and mutual listening has never been more vital.

We stand behind Politics & Prose, and all independent bookstores, as they continue to open their space to foster discussion.