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


Attached files


Jul 21 2012 09:10

It might be worth chucking in that 'cunt' means different things in different places.. I think in the States its a particularly nasty way of calling a woman a slut (which is already pretty nasty), I think its the same in Australia and so could be the same in NZ (where Jared is from). In the UK, its basically a way of calling someone a dick (or, if you go to Northern Ireland, a way of greeting old friends wink ) and pretty much every feminist that I know, male or female, uses it.

Jul 21 2012 09:14

Getting back on track.
plasmatelly raises the most significant issue:

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.

Jul 21 2012 09:20

The last thing I want to do is derail this thread, so I'll just add quickly that here in NZ it's not cool to use that term in most circles. I couldn't care less if it's PC or not, but for me it's a matter of respect, and I'm just trying to act the same both online and in person (rather than some act of gallantry). So yeah, sorry if the UK movement is ok with it—we must be a few years behind in the antipodes!

Jul 21 2012 09:54

Deleted: double post

Jul 21 2012 10:09

Hoffman is a dickhead, a prick, a ballbag, a cock, a bellend, a scrote, and a parasitic cunt.

Jul 21 2012 11:39

Latest from hoffman on twitter:

David Hoffman ‏@davidhoffmanuk
@scnnr You're confusing me with someone who gives a fuck. I'll reply on Freedom or just let them rattle on.

Rob Ray
Jul 22 2012 12:23

He reckons he's sent "an offer," haven't seen it myself though.

edit: Meaning his "conditions" for deigning to write something, afict.

Jul 22 2012 08:07

Is there a way to donate to Freedom online?

Jul 22 2012 11:36
plasmatelly wrote:
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.

This is the point, I think. Are those of us (some of us not even 'class struggle anarchists' anymore) who think that Freedom's existence is more important than our agreement with its 'line' prepared to do anything about it?

It may fold in October. It may not. A subscription is currently £22, or £18 for claimants. There's a load of different options here: - use the drop-down menu under 'subscription rates' to find your preferred method of paying; there's also a note saying 'phone us for discount bundles to sell'.

I've approached my local radical-ish bookshop and they said they'll take some. I'll be taking out some form of subscription in the next couple of days.

If this hadn't have happened now, it may be that Freedom might have folded next year or the year after because people aren't prepared to save it - it's not worth saving. If, on the other hand, this is rather an opportunity than a crisis (to appropriate a bit of orientalist pop-psychology), then if we rally round we can save it.

Is 'Freedom' the best paper around espousing class politics? No, not in my opinion. Is it worth saving? Yes, I think so.

Serge Forward
Jul 22 2012 12:22

Surely, now that this Hoffman chappie has legally established his 'matter of principle' it would now be even more principled of him to donate the four grand back to Freedom Press. I guess it would also be in his own financial interest to do this, given that he stands to lose more than four grand a result of this... lost future work, lost potential photo opportunities, loss of credibility, loss of good name, lost this, that and the other...

Jul 22 2012 13:18

Serge - nice idea,but I think this particular ploy of his was intended to get someone involved in the AFA book into court so that identities became public. Hoffman is only a pawn in this game, albeit one who deserves ostracising for it. He's doing the state's work for them and is in the same league as the police infiltrators in my view.

jack white
Jul 22 2012 13:57

Just got a subscription there now. Have there been many people getting them in the last few days?

Rob Ray
Jul 22 2012 13:59

Won't know until the sub gets around to totting them up.

jack white
Jul 22 2012 14:06

Well good luck. I'll follow the threads, hope things work out. I would hate to see Freedom finish because of some shit like this.

Jul 22 2012 14:20
martinh wrote:
Serge - nice idea,but I think this particular ploy of his was intended to get someone involved in the AFA book into court so that identities became public. Hoffman is only a pawn in this game, albeit one who deserves ostracising for it. He's doing the state's work for them and is in the same league as the police infiltrators in my view.


(hence my point earlier that this is nothing to do with journalism or journalists - it's political)

Jul 22 2012 14:43
jack white wrote:
Just got a subscription there now. Have there been many people getting them in the last few days?

Got a subscription myself too, again, I don't read Freedom that much but think it's very important that it exists, been to lots of meetings, benefits, talks there and the idea of it folding because of a parasitic opportunist doing others dirty work is disturbing.

Jul 22 2012 15:01

I think yous should stop chest-beating about the c**k photographer and worry about how to save Freedom. Two quick suggestions on money to deal with the current crisis:

1. Make online donations as easy as possible - I really like Kickstarter as a payment platform, it's easier to use than PayPal and takes less of a commission. Set something up as soon as you can.

2. Ask for funding from UK and international anarchist organisations. I imagine most would be good for a few hundred quid at least.

More generally, it's important to remember that very few newspapers/magazines are self-financing, most are cross-subsidised through other mechanisms. For small leftwing newspapers this is doubly true. You should figure out long-term funding mechanisms. These could include:
- Setting up anarchist/leftwing clubs with bar licenses in cities with significant enough population.
- Annual/monthly donations from UK anarchist organisations
- Fundraisers: gigs, table quizzes, raffles, public talks, etc.

Obviously, all this requires getting a lot of new people involved to support the paper. I don't think it makes sense for Freedom to be so under-supported by the UK anarchist organisations. Politically, it would make sense for all the libertarian socialists to centralise their news media around Freedom, since the small differences in their politics are better explored through journals anyway.

Rob Ray
Jul 22 2012 15:06

The plan's to have a meeting in August to actually work through some of this stuff and explain the nuts and bolts of what we think we need to do - Kickstarter's actually a US thing and I don't think it operates in Britain yet but there's a British-based one which might be doable.

Jul 22 2012 15:28

Perhaps freedom could continue as an online newspaper, in a manner similar to how you can read the occupied times of london online. Although that would cost money e.g server space and so on.

Rob Ray
Jul 22 2012 15:37

We have a site and yes that could become part of the future if the paper itself proves unsustainable, but the idea is to keep it going as a paper product, partly for historic reasons but also because not everyone has internet access and for those that do, a (good) newspaper is actually an excellent way of disciplining writers to cut out the dross and make sure you see the important stuff.

Jul 22 2012 15:49

Yeah, I was wondering whether the UK version was operational yet. Try IndieGoGo, they're available for anyone with a bank account to use.

Global Access

No matter where you live, you can start your campaign and collect money from any country in the world as long as you have a valid bank account.

EDIT: Those sites are all about the rewards. Maybe you could offer book vouchers and subscriptions.

Jul 22 2012 16:18

A UK version of Kickstarter is meant to be launched in autumn -

Jul 22 2012 16:21
dara wrote:
I think yous should stop chest-beating about the c**k photographer and worry about how to save Freedom.

what? most of the comments on this page of the thread are people saying they've taken out subscriptions to help Freedom or posting up links to how to subscribe an so on
Very poor, misplaced opening sentence making me think you haven't followed this thread at all.
Though your suggestions stand as very useful, just a terrible way to introduce it.

[edit]i was gonna start this with 'fuck off you pious wanker' but decided against it

Jul 22 2012 16:41

Sorry, was in a bad mood about the whole thing.

Jul 22 2012 17:06

No doubt ex-members of Red Action will be chipping into the Freedom paper print fund too.

Jul 22 2012 17:50
Ed wrote:
I think in the States its a particularly nasty way of calling a woman a slut

it's a much stronger, rarely used version of 'prick' or 'bastard.' i've never heard it used as a term specific to women.

working class s...
Jul 22 2012 19:05

As soon as pay-day comes this month, I will take out a subscription (rather than buying from a shop) and will make a donation.

I have a few ideas:

1) Not sure how it would work with Freedom, but the Morning Star have some type of shareholder scheme. I don't know specifics of what it entails, but I believe that they raise plenty of money this way.

2) Not sure if they still do, but the SWP/Bookmarks ran a scheme in which you could pay a lump sum (not sure how much) and in exchange you received a copy of every new bookmarks publication upon its release.

3) Going back to the Morning Star, they offer an electronic subscription offer (cheaper than a paper copy) it is a PDF file, that gets emailed to you the night before it hits the shops. To ensure that people still buy a paper copy (if that is still the aim) there could be a two week delay. Meaning that the paper copy is distributed when it is printed, but the e-version is sent out two weeks later, at a greatly reduced price (i.e, 50p).

4) an electronic archive of all available copies of freedom on pdf that requires a small subscription for full access, or allows you to buy individual copies for a much smaller fee. New editions of the paper could go on two months after their initial publication.

5) A pdf flyer created by Freedom, summarising all of the issues and the need to raise money etc, and they ways in which people can contribute (A5 size). something that is easily distributed on paper and online.

6) Donations. I may be wrong (often am) but sometimes I think people can be reluctant to donate money because the organisation wanting money can price themselves out of the donation. you could click on donate on some websites and it would give you the option of what you are able to donate....£5, £10, or £20....Some people may only want to donate 50p or £1. Also, they may just think that 50p or £1 is not worth bothering with, so perhaps some encouragement for people to donate whatever they can regardless of how small. Perhaps advertise a 50p monthly donation via direct debit?

7) Do subscriptions have to annual??? can people not pay monthly? with perhaps a reduced overall price if you take out a full year.

8) The Freedom shop online.....the shop page is not at all appealing, and there is not much on there. In the last 6 months I have spent over £100 on books published by freedom (the centenary editions) and other stuff. I have also purchased many back copies of Freedom....but I did not buy any of them from freedom, I had to go elsewhere. how come??

Robin Banks
Jul 22 2012 21:35
Totally feel the anger about this and share it, but cmon, can we please lay off the patriarchal language? ie cunt, cuntish, fanny...

Yes, what the little dears need is a big strong man to step forward to voice their concerns for them.

Jul 23 2012 01:05

It was my personal concern actually Robin: as a cis man I'm not comfortable with that term thrown around, especially when used negatively by (I'm assuming) other cis men. I've already said why on page 3, if anyone wants to PM me they can, but lets not derail the thread as there's been some constructive ideas put forward on how to move Freedom forward.

Jul 23 2012 14:57
Fall Back wrote:
people(pee-puh l)

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.

So a statement circulated to pee-puh l who go on demos?
And the statement would be sent to pee-puh l who organise demos too?
How would such a statement be implemented?
On demos pee-puh l would have to spot Hoffman and challenge him constantly for the duration of the march. A flyer outlining his behaviour would have to be on hand to inform pee-puh l on the demo why this particular photographer was being challenged.
Maybe he’d carry on snapping away anyway?
If Hoffman appears at demos where none of the pee-puh l who know about his antics are, he would be able to carry on taking photos unchallenged.