Freedom must be saved

Freedom must be saved

The potential closure of an iconic publication such as ‘Freedom’ is an absolute travesty, and would be in whatever circumstances that it may have arisen. However, the reasons for which it found itself in such a perilous financial state makes me feel sick to the pit of my stomach.

Freedom was founded in 1886 by a group of volunteers, and despite format changes, is still in publication today, 125 years from when it first appeared. Freedom has been written and edited by some of the most legendary figures in the movement, and has a well-deserved reputation.

I am no expert of the finances at Freedom, but clearly those finances are limited. Any substantial or unexpected cost was bound to put a spanner in the works. What you would not expect is an allegedly ‘left leaning’, anti-fascist, photojournalist, to near bankrupt the newspaper over the accidental use of a photograph in a book.

David Hoffman, a well-established photojournalist, took issue with a photograph used in the 2009 book, “Beating the Fascists”, that didn’t have his permission. Rather than just accepting an apology for a genuine mistake, the rat bastard decided to go after Freedom and threatened them with legal action. Ultimately they have had to hand over £4,000 to the cunt, which has left them in dire straits.

Freedom is launching an appeal for donations and subscriptions. If nothing changes then it will cease to exist in its current printed form in October.

I started writing the international news pages a few months ago, which has given me an insight into the hard work and commitment of all those involved. They really do bust their asses every month to ensure the paper is finished.

Freedom has given so much to the movement for well over a century, I really hope the movement can pull together for a really worthwhile cause.

***Please click on this link for more detailed information and how you can help***

Posted By

working class s...
Jul 19 2012 00:52

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Fall Back
Jul 20 2012 09:05
raw wrote:
I think it should be "movement" policy to tell this guy to fuck off out of any demo he is seen on. agree?

Definitely agree. Reckon it might be worth trying go get a common statement from the various Feds, groups, collectives etc that he isn't welcome at anything we organise? Probably even activist groups beyond anarchy ones.

Photographing lefty events seems to be his bread and butter, let's make sure he knows this won't be so easy anymore.

raw
Jul 20 2012 09:27
Fall Back wrote:
raw wrote:
I think it should be "movement" policy to tell this guy to fuck off out of any demo he is seen on. agree?

Definitely agree. Reckon it might be worth trying go get a common statement from the various Feds, groups, collectives etc that he isn't welcome at anything we organise? Probably even activist groups beyond anarchy ones.

Photographing lefty events seems to be his bread and butter, let's make sure he knows this won't be so easy anymore.

Great idea - which org wants to start the ball rolling? Feel free to email london@weareplanc.org and I can bring it up. Also might be good to check out the orgs he's used to photograph like the Liberate Tate people.

raw
Jul 20 2012 09:41
zero wrote:
I'll try again:

Journalists do tend to be parasites; never trust any of them.

I think this has and still is my sentiment purely from experience.

Rob Ray
Jul 20 2012 09:47

Your sentiment includes dealing with me for the last seven years, on and off, would you say I've been an untrustworthy parasite, in your experience?

Larry O'Hara
Jul 20 2012 09:51

I agree with Fallback above: something needs to be done.

It is an open question as to Hoffman's precise motivations: on the surface, merely money (he did get some from the Met Police a while ago), however going after the addresses of Beating the Fascists authors perhaps points to another agenda.

We know (from an admission by a South London photographer used still by the SWP I believe) that photographers share photos with cops.

Excrement as Hoffman evidently is, there is another issue raised by this thread, about the continuing viability or otherwise of hard copy publications in the digital age. As the publisher/editor of one such (Notes From the Borderland) I clearly have an interest, but also an opinion.

If you go into any supermarket, the shelves are packed with glossy high-production value magazines (Exchange & Mart/Parkers Guide aside). So, clearly, people do still buy things like that: it is just that they often don't buy Leftist versions. Otherwise, supermarkets wouldn't sell them. There are all sort of complex reasons for this state of affairs, but it illustrates it isn't a simple question of hard copy being defunct at all. It is interesting that following Hope Not Hate's split from Searchlight, the former (which had been virtual) has felt the need to produce a magazine.

The very fact of a radical bookshop being in existence (Freedom & Housman's too) creates an anti-capitalist space for real-life humans to connect. With the rise of e-books too, that is under threat.

Aside from improving production values, in my view Left/anarchists need to get involved in this whole virtual/digital vs real world debate. There is some fascinating stuff out there (eg Lanier's I am Not a Gadget). A conference/debate on these matters would, I suggest, bring in more than the 'usual suspects', and hence enlarge the space for radical hard copy publications.

raw
Jul 20 2012 11:36
Rob Ray wrote:
Your sentiment includes dealing with me for the last seven years, on and off, would you say I've been an untrustworthy parasite, in your experience?

I've related to you as an anarchist comrade first and foremost Rob

Rob Ray
Jul 20 2012 11:44

Okay, but I am also a journalist, as are a fair few other people in the movement. I get annoyed about the "all" stuff because for people who are new and/or don't know my background it can actively get in the way to have that automatic tarring going on. Obviously I'd never tell people not to be careful, but there's a big difference between a tendency and a totality.

Mr. Jolly
Jul 20 2012 12:57
raw wrote:
Rob Ray wrote:
Your sentiment includes dealing with me for the last seven years, on and off, would you say I've been an untrustworthy parasite, in your experience?

I've related to you as an anarchist comrade first and foremost Rob

But this whole situation has arisen because of problems BETWEEN journalists.

oisleep
Jul 20 2012 13:16

no it hasn't

there is an incidental episode in this whole sorry saga between journalists that provides further evidence as to David Hoffman's suspect character, but this was a by-product of the wider situation, it wasn't its cause

journalists have really nothing to do with the crux of the issue here

georgestapleton
Jul 20 2012 14:46
Rob Ray wrote:
Okay, but I am also a journalist, as are a fair few other people in the movement. I get annoyed about the "all" stuff because for people who are new and/or don't know my background it can actively get in the way to have that automatic tarring going on. Obviously I'd never tell people not to be careful, but there's a big difference between a tendency and a totality.

Ok but you are employed by the radical press and that does result in different pressures. Of the 30-40 people who make a living in journalism that I have encountered, there are four I trust personally and three I trust professionally.

Those three are you, the editor of Look Left in Ireland, and Donnacha (who as far as I know isn't actually a journalist anymore but rather is a media advisor). Every single journalist I know who makes money in political journalism where they are not working for the radical press is untrustworthy professionally. And that includes one person who said he used to write truthfully but by the time it got to print his articles always contained slurs, and lies and misrepresentations. (This person, I don't know very well, but from my few encounters seems to be a decent bloke and I believe him when he says what he submitted wouldn't originally contain the bad bits.)

I mean when you write an article for the times/guardian/telegraph on a demonstration/political movement and it isn't a load of complete and utter crap, I'll be extremely impressed. Now you've never written anything like that. And I consider you a friend. I like you personally as well as professionally. So this is not a personal criticism. Political journalism and journalists have a role in society that does put them at odds with our movement. That doesn't mean secluding ourselves from the press as the WOMBLES kind-of tried to do. But really I don't think criticizing journalists is any less legitimate than, for example, criticizing left wing councillors or politicians purely because they are politicians. Some of them are great. For example, Paul Murphy a socialist party MEP in Ireland is, I think, a really good guy who is a serious and sincere socialist. But if he got upset when people criticize politicians in general I'd think its as ridiculous as when lefty journalists get up when people criticize journalists in general or when lefty academics get upset when people criticize academics in general. Or if he thinks, and he does, that he can rise above the contradictions of the position he holds, I'd think it ridiculous. Politicians are politicians, journalists are journalists and academics are academics. It doesn't make them bad people or cant be part of the movement, but it does often make them do bad things and things that damage the movement.

And I'm saying this as someone who would like to be an academic and tried to go down that road and who would like to work in financial/economic journalism and will probably try to go down that road in the future. But there is no denying that journalism is a compromising position.

I generally think, the whole lefty thing that so big in London about having un-corrupting jobs is absurd. But its equally absurd to say that jobs are not corrupting or that they don't make workers do things that they wouldn't otherwise do. (And not just because your boss forces you to.)

(The possible exception to all of this would be Paul Mason. But even there I don't know if I'd trust him. And I have no idea how he gets away with what he does.)

donnacha.delong
Jul 20 2012 15:22

I'm still a journalist, I just can't make much money out of it, so I tend to write and present Circled A on occasions for nothing and try to make a living from editorial advice.

raw
Jul 20 2012 15:26

I agree with georgestapleton. The biggest critiques of journalists should be from journalists rather than being their defenders or apologists. It is an inherent role that journalists play, especially political journalists who seemed more interested in defending their profession than their anarchist principles.

Ed
Jul 20 2012 15:42
georgestapleton wrote:
I don't think criticizing journalists is any less legitimate than, for example, criticizing left wing councillors or politicians purely because they are politicians. Some of them are great. For example, Paul Murphy a socialist party MEP in Ireland is, I think, a really good guy who is a serious and sincere socialist. But if he got upset when people criticize politicians in general I'd think its as ridiculous as when lefty journalists get up when people criticize journalists in general or when lefty academics get upset when people criticize academics in general. Or if he thinks, and he does, that he can rise above the contradictions of the position he holds, I'd think it ridiculous. Politicians are politicians, journalists are journalists and academics are academics. It doesn't make them bad people or cant be part of the movement, but it does often make them do bad things and things that damage the movement.

With the utmost respect and not meant at all as a cheap one-liner, I can't help but think this says more about your opinion of politicians than it does about the role of journos or academics in society.

Mr. Jolly
Jul 20 2012 16:06

Photo journalists, journalists, publishers etc. all same world iosleep, thats what I was getting at. For someone to say fuck journalists, when the people who are being attacked are journalists, publishers etc, not aimed at the meta conspiracy, rather they relationship between wanker, Whelan, Freedom, NUJ etc.

martinh
Jul 20 2012 16:07

Some of the comments on here seem to confirm what I've long suspected about this character, namely that he had a bigger agenda that involved attacking his bosses political enemies.

I agree he should be persona non grata at anything organised by anarchists or with significant anarchist involvement. I also think that this should be spread beyond the anarchist movement. If he is in the business of trying to close down radical publishers, it should be of concern to anyone who thinks that there should be radical publishers. The fact that he's shut down a charity using his same despicable tactics should be spread far and wide. His actions put him in the same category as a scab IMO and he should be treated as such and this should be made clear to everyone.

One question for the NUJ members- can he be expelled for his behaviour? The loss of his press card would at least minimise his ability to continue his parasitic workings on behalf of his paymasters.

Regards,

Martin

rat
Jul 20 2012 16:25
Quote:
it might be worth trying go get a common statement from the various Feds, groups, collectives etc

Who would such a statement be aimed at?
Who the audience be?
What would be the point?
How would it be backed-up?
Wouldn't it just provide Hoffman with a good laugh?

Armchair Anarchist
Jul 20 2012 18:03

What a despicable scumbag. Isn't this the bloke who had his collar felt for putting the Class War Cameron is a wanker poster in his window?

martinh wrote:

One question for the NUJ members- can he be expelled for his behaviour? The loss of his press card would at least minimise his ability to continue his parasitic workings on behalf of his paymasters.

NUJ code of conduct, not sure that any of it applies in this case though:

http://media.gn.apc.org/nujcode.html

steve y
Jul 20 2012 18:47

I knew David Hoffman in the late 80s and 90s, who was pleasant enough with anti-fascists around AFA, etc. Truth is that he had to be for protection, something he forgets quite easily - he owes us. This is especially the case as he was nothing but an isolated Searchlight photographer without much integrity and a total Gable-poodle. I suspect this Freedom case has much to do with Gable's hostility to the left and anarchism, along with a pretence alliance with the white-boy largely skinhead AFA gang - of which I was a critical member for too many years. In 1992 I was expelled from London AFA for proposing something along the following lines, which I have also talked about, with open arms, at the founding meeting of a London AF meeting to join with the national Anti-Fascist Network:

The new Anti-Fascist Network response to EDL must develop both its own intelligence, and serious sensitivity and militant integration with the youth of communities now attacked by fascists - Muslim, Arab, Black and Asian. Something AFA never did. But also we need to develop a rounded understanding that fascism is but one part of the strategic divide and rule method of the ruling class, and that this is against women, LGBTQ, etc. The ruling class grasp much better than the left that the systems of oppression are interconnected systems inside one system of oppression - and they play their divide and rule instrument according to need. Blinkered AFA only saw white working class male youth to either recruit or beat up.

That strategic temperature was turned up in the 70's and 80's by the ruling class in face or working class strength; then turned down in the following decades according to need (look at the eccentric Stephen Lawrence publicity) following serious uk and global working class defeat; and now it will be turned up again as they impose deeper and deeper austerity measures globally and here. Gable and Red Action are two sides of a sick coin that needs chucking in the Thames! What forced the BNP turn to electoralism was not the self-glorifying myth of AFA/Red Action in 'Beating the Fascists', but the broad defeat of the working class and new needs of the ruling class. An effective new AFN is how to beat Hoffman/Gable, but all this belongs in another thread, just like the good/bad journalist debate.

solid - stevey

Fall Back
Jul 20 2012 20:31
zero wrote:
Who would such a statement be aimed at?

It would be asking people to not give Hoffman access to protests they had organised.

Quote:
Who the audience be?

It would be asking people to not give Hoffman access to protests they had organised.

Quote:
What would be the point?

It would be asking people to not give Hoffman access to protests they had organised.

Quote:
How would it be backed-up?

By not giving him easy access to protests we've organised.

Quote:
Wouldn't it just provide Hoffman with a good laugh?

Given that it's how he makes his money, no.

rat
Jul 20 2012 21:30

People?

Fall Back
Jul 20 2012 21:37

people(pee-puh l)
noun

1. persons indefinitely or collectively; persons in general: to find it easy to talk to people; What will people think?
2. persons, whether men, women, or children, considered as numerable individuals forming a group: Twenty people volunteered to help.
3. human beings, as distinguished from animals or other beings.

welshboy
Jul 20 2012 22:07

I posted a wee bit about this on my blog, just so there may be something 'permanent' for the time being. If folk want me to change or add anything PM me or put it in the comments.
http://whitthef.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/what-a-fanny-david-hoffman/
(edited to add: nothing new, just a permanent post that isn't a forum thread)

Mr. Jolly
Jul 20 2012 23:03

Has Hoffman been making any direct noises to Freedom et al. wanting to put his side of the story?

Choccy
Jul 21 2012 01:35

Fallback's made clear the reasons for both a public statement to articulate that Hoffman is unwelcome at any sort of radical event, and that should he show at any, that people make him uncomfortable, as his parasitic, opportunistic, calculated, deceitful pursuit of this case means his cards are marked.

Choccy
Jul 21 2012 01:41
Mr. Jolly wrote:
Has Hoffman been making any direct noises to Freedom et al. wanting to put his side of the story?

he's talking shite on twitter about 'right to reply' in Freedom, the dialogue seems to be going:

PARASITICCUNTHOFFMAN: why won't you give me right of reply?
F:you're welcome to send a letter
PARASITICCUNT: WHY WONT YOU GIVE ME RIGHT OF REPLY
F: send in a letter
PARASITICCUNT: they won't even give me right to reply

Jared
Jul 21 2012 04:34

Totally feel the anger about this and share it, but cmon, can we please lay off the patriarchal language? ie cunt, cuntish, fanny... I don't mean to be a stickler but seriously, a lot of our comrades are women and using those terms negatively is not that cool. embarrassed

welshboy
Jul 21 2012 05:13

You're not worried about the term 'prick' though Jared?

Jared
Jul 21 2012 07:22
Quote:
You're not worried about the term 'prick' though Jared?

Didn't see that coming wink

plasmatelly
Jul 21 2012 08:14

I remember the attack on the bookshop and how people from everywhere sent money in - even though the paper was rubbish. This is different, this photographer has essentially brought the paper itself to the precipice. There's no question, how this has come about is shameful and I'm sure it'll rumble on for some time to come.
The question is - is there enough genuine support from class-struggle anarchists to keep this thing alive? If there isn't then it's goodnight Freedom.
I'm more uncomfortable with the idea of it folding than supportive of the paper itself. I haven't really picked up from any of these posts that people are prepared to hand over money to bail the paper out.

Mr. Jolly
Jul 21 2012 09:06
Jared wrote:
Totally feel the anger about this and share it, but cmon, can we please lay off the patriarchal language? ie cunt, cuntish, fanny... I don't mean to be a stickler but seriously, a lot of our comrades are women and using those terms negatively is not that cool. embarrassed

Don't want to get into the peurile argument about the preponderance of potty mouthed patter, but I think one of our Liverpool SF comrades makes decent points, suffice to say don't think you speak for all feminists, or your gallantry is appreciated by all women, be they anarchist or not.

http://magiczebras.posterous.com/can-we-check-our-cunting-privilege

***Edit*** Given the public nature of Libcom, and us projecting some sort of 'image' and all that reeling in the expletives may be a worthy goal...