FBI Spies on Chicago Bookstore for ‘Violent Extremism’

According to a 30-page document from the FBI, this Chicago Bookstore is a hotbed for extremist activities. Though, there’s little evidence to back such claims.

Book Culture Book News
bookshelves with a ladder in front of them

Chicago has a lot of cool bookstores. Most of them have cute aesthetics, a generous selection of books, and, occasionally, a coffee shop within. And one bookstore apparently houses “violent extremists,” or at least that’s what the FBI has claimed per a new report.

In a 30-page document obtained by Unicorn Riot, the FBI reported that Pilsen Community Books — a collectively managed bookstore in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood —  is being used by “anarchist violent extremists” (AVEs), “environmental violent extremists” (EVEs) and “pro-abortion extremists.” 

What evidence does the FBI present for this claim? None, really. The report attributes this analysis to a “source,” although there is no evidence included of physical surveillance. 

Mandy Medley was not aware of housing violent extremists within the walls of her bookstore, especially since she’s an owner-worker there. 

Image via Pilsen Community Books

“We’re open to the public, open to the community,” Medley said to Unicorn Riot. “Everything is very much out there in terms of what we believe and what we do. I was shocked that the FBI would be interested in us this way.”

Medley’s best guess for why the store caught the FBI’s attention was a sign-painting event that took place in the store before a public demonstration was held in response to the Supreme Court’s decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. 

That, and the FBI’s claim that PCB is not a “police-friendly space.” Below is an excerpt from the FBI’s document.

Image via FBI

The FBI is concerned with protecting government agencies like their own and speculates that anti-police protest movements, like the one currently underway in Atlanta, will spread to Chicago. 

“Here’s the thing about PCB—we absolutely do support community organizing (and we are unapologetically leftists),” Medley said, “but community organizing is not illegal and should not be treated as such.”

For more (positive) news on bookstores in America, read this.