FREEDOM TO CEASE PUBLICATION AS A PAID NEWSPAPER AND GO ONLINE

Freedom is to cease publication from next issue and go online with a freesheet for those without access to the net. I’m sure this is the right decision – the sad fact is that no one – apart from those heroic Stakhanovites at STRIKE – wants to street sell papers anymore. Full Stop.
Yet at the same time anarchist blogs feature highly in the TOP 100 POLITICAL BLOGS IN THE UK. Johnnie Void’s blog………http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/………regularly in the Top Ten with my own lurking in the top 70s. Freedom should be able to quickly establish itself with a similar readership.
So Farewell then……irritating, annoying, and occasionally brilliant……Freedom was the first anarchist paper I ever read and doubtless many others. When the plumed feathered shire horses pause outside the White Hart and Angel Alley no doubt Whitechapel High Street will be thronged with bare headed costermongers muttering ‘ you could leave yer front door open when old Kropotkin was the editor’…………indeed you could.

19 Comments

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19 responses to “FREEDOM TO CEASE PUBLICATION AS A PAID NEWSPAPER AND GO ONLINE

  1. Anonymous

    I suppose it had to happen. As you say, hopefully Freedom will develop a high profile web presence.

  2. Peter Good

    Am much saddened by this.
    I too, got hooked into Anarchism by buying a copy of Freedom. In the “old days” I would take a dozen copies an issue to street sell. But, increasingly, I was staying with the paper more out of nostalgia than anything else.
    The last three years have been its terminal decline. Event and news sections months out of date; a policy of not responding to correspondence; simple courtesies of failing to acknowledge donations (sometimes hefty) to the fire bomb fund. Easy to lose the confidence of supporters.
    So sad.

    • Aidan

      In the 80s, and maybe later, Freedom used to publish anonymised details of donations received – if I remember rightly a comrade in Wolverhamton used to send them one pound 50p every week without fail. That would probably be equal to at least a fiver today. They also published short accounts of incoming and outgoing cash for the paper and the bookshop which were run as seperate things. Black Flag did something similar. If people can see where their money is going they’re much more likely to donate.

      • Peter Good

        Aidan,
        It was called the “Freedom Fighting Fund” and would list the donor’s initials and home town against the amount.
        When Freedom proposed to change from a weekly to a fortnightly due to increased potal costs, I launched a campaign asking people to donate a £1 a week to maintian its weekly status. My direct debit lasted six months. Alas, I was the only one and the paper went fortnightly.
        It is said that Freedom’s decline began from the time Colin Ward and Arthur Moyse stopped contributing. Values such as “customer care”, “money management”, “correspondance” were considered to be bourgeois and could therefore be ignored.

  3. Socialism in One. ...

    Street sales are not over…

    I saw Owen Jones at 5am this morning outside the gates at Cowley flogging The Workers Guardian. His new gig.

    “The only paper wot tells the truth! By Oxbridge for Oxbridge!”

  4. Colin West

    Sad to see it go (though my experience with Freedom over the last few years are very similar to Peter Good’s). Perhaps it points to the cowardice of current anarchists, who would rather hid behind their keyboards, rather than be seen promoting anarchism to a potentially hostile audience. We will be able to tell when anarchism is properly on the rise, when activists are willing to raise their voice on the streets and estates where there isn’t already an established presence. And given that I’ve written this on a blog, I can’t exclude myself from this criticism.

  5. INCUBUS

    This is indeed sad news, and all part of the transition from print to digital, but if I may sound a word of warning:- always keep an old printing press or Gestetner somewhere handy, in a shed or backroom, because a truly independent press needs its own mode of production- the internet, while offering amazing opportunities for reaching a wider audience, is also prone to hacking, disruption and the closure of authority-hostile sites (see Turkey at the moment) by the invisible hand of the state. The Samizdat, the scurrilous subversive broadsheet, the obscene and satirical cartoon flyer or the McLibel-type leaflet, have not, nor will ever have, had their day, so long as censorship and repression exists…

  6. Peter Good

    Incubus strikes a timely warning. There must always be a Plan B.

    The increasingly over-reliance on cyberspace has enormous security issues attached. Has no one read Snowden? What’s the point in Freedom putting up another blog? One day, someone in an underground Wyoming bunker will simply switch it off.

    So many of Anarchist papers have been little more than the continuance of traditional agi-prop: uncritical articles on Bolivian coal strikes; lengthy accounts of big-beard activists, near-academic adjustments to the correct ideology. To all but the few, it’s a turn-off, and makes no threat to the elites at all.

    A profitable Anarchist future lies in breaking away from predictable formats. Whatever we become involved in – industrial action, ecology, by-elections, publishing – must be characterised by adventure, imagination and hope.

  7. harry the hat

    i went a benifit at freedom with a mate who was intrested in anarchism.he asked if i wanted a beer.so he went down the alley and got a couble unaware that there was beer being sold in the bookshop.on coming back and handing me a cold one he was chastised and humiliated by one the editors.he deserved a slap .and i had to stop my mate from giving him one and myself from joining him…………..wanker.

  8. b

    My mate worked in Freedom bookshop for £5 a day three days a week in the 1980s. At least the bosses were nice enough not to grass him up for having an undeclared job while claiming the dole. Ended up sacking him. He didn’t take them to a tribunal. I thought the bookshop and publishers were different concerns then. The publisher biggies used to talk about the ‘girls in the office’. Doubtless low-paid but not as low-paid as the bookshop worker.

  9. b

    As for leaving your door open when ol’ Prince Peter was the editor…in Whitechapel in 1888?🙂

  10. Aidan

    @ Peter Good – Arthur Moyse told me I should read Max Stirner’s “The Ego and It’s Own”. Still sitting on my bookshelf mostly unread. Top geezer though.

  11. Geoff

    ‘The Ego and It’s Own’ – ” the case of the individual against authority”. Fucking excellent book ( i read it 2 or 3 times back in the 80’s, 1980’s that is!) but much criticised by many anarchists. Personally i think it’s the most 100% honest book that’s ever been written, and by a guy who died in 1856!

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