Freedom bookshop torched

London based anarchist bookshop Freedom was damaged in an arson attack in the early hours of Friday morning. Nobody was hurt in the fire which partially gutted the ground floor and damaged the building's electrics.

Submitted by Anonymous on February 1, 2013

Freedom Press is Britain's longest running anarchist publisher and traces its history back to the original Freedom paper started by Charlotte Wilson and Peter Kropotkin in 1886.

Firefighters were called to the shop at around 5:00am and had the fire extinguished shortly after 7:00am. Around 15% of the ground floor was damaged by the blaze according to London Fire Brigade.

An unknown assailant forced a broken shutter open and smashed a window before pouring flammable liquid into the bookshop and setting it alight. The filth attended the scene and are treating the fire as suspicious.

As well as selling books, Freedom Press publish a number themselves, produce a monthly paper and provide office space for several radical and anarchist groups such as the Solidarity Federation, Anarchist Federation, Advisory Service for Squatters, Corporate Watch and London Coalition Against Poverty.

Nobody has come forward to claim responsibility for the attack although many believe that the far-right may be responsible as the building was last seriously attacked in 1993 by now defunct neo-nazi terror group Combat 18.

Due to financial problems the press has suffered recently, the insurance on the building had not been renewed and group are requesting financial support so they can continue their work.

Freedom said: “We are setting up a donation page. In the meanwhile, anyone who wants to donate can do so by ordering a book/s through the www.freedompress.org.uk website, and emailing us at [email protected] to let us know that your purchase was a donation. “

Alternatively, cheques or postal orders made payable to Freedom Press can be sent to Freedom Press, 84b Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX.

[youtube]7juTVY_ikJI[/youtube]

Photo - Max Reeves
Video - Brian Whelan

Comments

slothjabber

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by slothjabber on February 1, 2013

Glad to hear no-one has been hurt in this attack - grim news though. Intangible solidarity and some tangible cash will be on its way shortly.

Croy

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Croy on February 1, 2013

I want to know who fucking did this. This is both infuriating and depressing. I think this was obviously done by a political enemy, not just normal people because normal people probably wouldn't of known it was even there and its quite remote being in an alley and stuff.

freemind

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by freemind on February 1, 2013

Probably Fascist scum!

Tian

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Tian on February 1, 2013

Very sorry to hear. Solidarity.

working class …

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by working class … on February 1, 2013

'Donate a Poem for Freedom' is a fundraising campaign to raise money for Freedom Bookshop after the firebombing 1/2/13 . If you are a poet/know a poet who would like to donate then please inbox me. If you want to show your solidarity LIKE and SHARE!

https://www.facebook.com/DonateAPoemForFreedom

Alf

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Alf on February 1, 2013

I agree that practical solidarity is needed, and that this is certainly a political attack.

rooieravotr

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rooieravotr on February 1, 2013

That is horrible news! I wish the Freedom people strength.

commieprincess

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by commieprincess on February 1, 2013

solidarity from afar :(

Chilli Sauce

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on February 1, 2013

Donation on the way.

WTF insurance won't cover this? Why the fuck not?

Tian

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Tian on February 1, 2013

Chilli Sauce

WTF insurance won't cover this? Why the fuck not?

I took it to mean that they don't have any insurance, or at least not a policy that covers the damage.

Rob Ray

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Rob Ray on February 1, 2013

It ran out a little while ago and hadn't been renewed

wojtek

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by wojtek on February 1, 2013

Granted it's not the US embassy in Ankara or the presidential palace in Cairo, but the BBC has no excuse for not covering this, especially with all their resources and the locality.

How would one go about making a donation?

Tian

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Tian on February 1, 2013

"A member of the FREEDOM collective said: ‘Could you please help spread the word about donating to rebuild the shop? We are setting up a donation page. In the meanwhile, anyone who wants to donate can do so by ordering a book/s through the www.freedompress.org.uk website, and emailing us at [email protected] to let us know that your purchase was a donation. Thanks!’"

Chilli Sauce

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on February 1, 2013

Yeah, that's fucked about the BBC. Has there been any mainstream media coverage?

Also, anyone checked out the chatter on far-right websites about this?

Tian

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Tian on February 1, 2013

Tommy Ascaso

Not seen anything on far-right sites.

This comment was left on Indymedia:

Cop collaborators
01.02.2013 17:01

Freedom is the headquarter of cop-collaborator libcom. If they work with police they deserve all the fire. See Sam Fanto: http://dialectical-delinquents.com/?page_id=9

http://whois.domaintools.com/libcom.org

Well that just makes me feel a bit sick.

Samotnaf

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Samotnaf on February 2, 2013

Forced to post here to contest this absurdity, which has nothing to do with me. In response to the above, I've just written on Indymedia:

Samotnaf's Denunciation of firebombing

02.02.2013 02:34

The 3rd comment down here links to my site and the text I wrote "Cop-out...", and applauds the firebombing.

This has either been written by someone deliberately trying to discredit me and the critique I made of Anarcho-Leftism and Libcom (amongst other things) or a very naive idiot who praises attacks like this even when (probably) committed by fascists. My enemy's enemy is not my friend. And besides, Freedom Bookshop, for all its faults and stupidities, is not Libcom, even if some of Libcom's fellow travellers and partisans are closely associated with it. What's more, as far as I know even the ridiculous Libcom, does not directly collaborate with the cops, even if they defend the cop consultant JD.

Chilli Sauce

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on February 2, 2013

Cop collaborators
01.02.2013 17:01

Freedom is the headquarter of cop-collaborator libcom. If they work with police they deserve all the fire. See Sam Fanto: http://dialectical-delinquents.com/?page_id=9

http://whois.domaintools.com/libcom.org

If I was a betting man...

A Wotsit

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by A Wotsit on February 2, 2013

If we can make it to help with the clean up, should we bring stuff with us like:
- work gloves
- rubbish bags
- brooms n dustpans
- mop n bucket
- etc
Or will these be on hand/ bought from one of the local shops when we get there?

Armchair Anarchist

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Armchair Anarchist on February 2, 2013

Is there a paypal account for donations?

syndicalist

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on February 2, 2013

Khawaga

That's horrible! Glad to hear nobody's hurt.

Ditto this.

Solidarity from across the pond.

syndicalist

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on February 2, 2013

Looks like ancient bound volumes of FREEDOM. Hopefully the really old stuff has duplicate copies in some friendly professional library archive somewhere.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/29712186@N05/8437146439/in/photostream/

Sorry, perhaps I missed it somewhere, where can financial donations be sent? I suspect there's a lot of structural and licensed (electrical) stuff that would need to be done.

Any addresses or accounts to send such a donation to?

syndicalist

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on February 2, 2013

Tommy Ascaso

I've updated the article above and included the bit asking for donations:

“We are setting up a donation page. In the meanwhile, anyone who wants to donate can do so by ordering a book/s through the www.freedompress.org.uk website, and emailing us at [email protected] to let us know that your purchase was a donation. “

Got it!

Steven.

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on February 2, 2013

Thankfully, most remaining issues of The Raven were destroyed in the blaze.

No seriously folks, this is really shit, I'm sorry. I would try to set up a donation page ASAP because interest in this will wane quickly and you need to jump on it! You could just set up a personal PayPal…

When I used to edit Freedom I used to sleep overnight there on occasion, and something like this was always in the back of my mind. But this could have been much more tragic.

I hope the archives are okay, particularly the back issues of Anarchy magazine we were speaking about recently!

arminius

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by arminius on February 2, 2013

Tian

"A member of the FREEDOM collective said: ‘Could you please help spread the word about donating to rebuild the shop? We are setting up a donation page. In the meanwhile, anyone who wants to donate can do so by ordering a book/s through the www.freedompress.org.uk website, and emailing us at [email protected] to let us know that your purchase was a donation. Thanks!’"

Put this up on the World in Common's 'Spaces of Hope' blog. Hope it helps! Solidarity!

http://www.spacesofhope.org/2013/02/freedom-bookshop-in-london-firebombed.html

syndicalist

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on February 2, 2013

I'm hoping that the Workers Solidarity Alliance will come thru with a modest donation.

Hungry56

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hungry56 on February 3, 2013

Why don't Freedom put a book on their online bookshop called "Donate to Freedom" and make it the first book on the list? Instead of people emailing them. Seems easy though I've never run a website.

jef costello

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jef costello on February 3, 2013

Shit, this was not something I thought would happen.
solidarity

edit: Hungry's idea seems like a good one

Tian

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Tian on February 3, 2013

[youtube]0KJOVteDMnE[/youtube]

Anarcissie

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Anarcissie on February 4, 2013

Here in America, in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, NY, a free store operated by the In Our Hearts anarchist collective in a structure they themselves built was burned to the ground a few years ago, destroying the neighboring building (occupied by a dozen or so people, all of whom fortunately escaped injury although many lost all their possessions). Two people were rumored to have said that they were responsible. These persons had been associated with one of the various anarchist groups in the locality and were widely suspected to have been either provocateurs/saboteurs or crazy (or both). In any case they disappeared. The police showed little interest in the case in spite of the gravity of the crime. This is not the first instance of sabotage among activists, but it is the most serious.

smush

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by smush on February 4, 2013

Solidarity from down-under! We will make a donation shortly.

Steven.

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on February 4, 2013

This piece on Vice argues that it was probably fascists the did this, and ties it to Freedoms publishing of the AFA book. Which I think is probably the case.
http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/who-firebombed-londons-oldest-anarchist-bookshop

Rob Ray

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Rob Ray on February 4, 2013

Hungry: Had an ask and apparently we get a smack on the back of the head from Google if we put anything donation-related in the shop itself - they have some rule that only registered charities can do it apparently.

Croy

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Croy on February 4, 2013

Steven.

This piece on Vice argues that it was probably fascists the did this, and ties it to Freedoms publishing of the AFA book. Which I think is probably the case.
http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/who-firebombed-londons-oldest-anarchist-bookshop

Until a couple of months I thought Vice was a smaller "alternative" lads mag but then I saw their documentaries on youtube and thought they were pretty cool, and its good that they are covering this and put in a good word for anarchism in the article a bit. Does anyone read vice regularly ?

syndicalist

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on February 4, 2013

Anarcissie

Here in America, in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, NY, a free store operated by the In Our Hearts anarchist collective in a structure they themselves built was burned to the ground a few years ago, destroying the neighboring building (occupied by a dozen or so people, all of whom fortunately escaped injury although many lost all their possessions). Two people were rumored to have said that they were responsible. These persons had been associated with one of the various anarchist groups in the locality and were widely suspected to have been either provocateurs/saboteurs or crazy (or both). In any case they disappeared. The police showed little interest in the case in spite of the gravity of the crime. This is not the first instance of sabotage among activists, but it is the most serious.

What are you saying or implying?

Tian

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Tian on February 4, 2013

syndicalist

Anarcissie

This is not the first instance of sabotage among activists, but it is the most serious.

What are you saying or implying?

Let's not get the pitchforks out or play internet detectives. I'm really not sure it helps anyone.

jolasmo

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jolasmo on February 4, 2013

I'm not sure if Anarcissie was implying anything...? I could be wrong but I assumed they were just mentioning a somewhat similar incident (i.e. an arson attack on an anarchist shop) from their experience. I think it would be a bit of a leap to infer they were making any kind of accusation.

~J.

Steven.

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on February 4, 2013

the croydonian anarchist

Steven.

This piece on Vice argues that it was probably fascists the did this, and ties it to Freedoms publishing of the AFA book. Which I think is probably the case.
http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/who-firebombed-londons-oldest-anarchist-bookshop

Until a couple of months I thought Vice was a smaller "alternative" lads mag but then I saw their documentaries on youtube and thought they were pretty cool, and its good that they are covering this and put in a good word for anarchism in the article a bit. Does anyone read vice regularly ?

It's not a "lads" mag (see what they think about unilad here for example: http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/why-uni-lad-is-bigger-than-a-rape-joke), it's a pretty general hipster magazine. So there is a bit of nonsense but quite a lot of good stuff, some of it by people vaguely associated with libcom at least. Some of the documentaries are really good, they had good coverage of Egypt, as well as good stuff about anarchists in Greece and Italy, the student protests, EDL etc, some good feminist articles…

Actually a couple of years ago one libcom poster made fun of me for reading vice, saying it was "so 2009" or something and now he writes for them…

Lugius

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Lugius on February 5, 2013

I can report that the meeting of the Melbourne Anarchist Club of 3rd February has decided to donate AUD500 to Freedom Bookshop in solidarity to assist with repair and recovery. The email address on the website has been written to but no reply has been received as yet.

The MAC has been subject to a number of attacks by fascists/nationalists over the past four years. The most spectacular was an assault by about 60 members of Sons of the Southern Cross that was successfully repulsed by a weapons system developed in-house known as 'Stubbie Rain' despite being outnumbered by about four-to-one.

The most memorable was when a notorious local lone-wolf fascist skinhead nutter who had been spraying swastikas on the MAC for months was given a proper and thorough going-over by two of the most erudite and intellectual members of the MAC whilst managing to retain their spectacles on their faces. These comrades are now known around the traps as 'Liquid Ninja' and 'The Bookworm'.

The front of the MAC is offered some protection by a full-length roller-door and inside there are located about the joint six hand-held fire extinguishers. Highly recommended.

syndicalist

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on February 5, 2013

Tian

syndicalist

Anarcissie

This is not the first instance of sabotage among activists, but it is the most serious.

What are you saying or implying?

Let's not get the pitchforks out or play internet detectives. I'm really not sure it helps anyone.

Actually, they were implying something, so it seems. I mean, I'll let it be and really think folks should just say, there was a fire. We're not sure who did it. I found the other stuff to be a bit accusatory. Just my impression.

Ramona

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Ramona on February 5, 2013

Gavin McInnes

We seem really racist and homophobic
because we hang around with fags and niggers so much. It just becomes part of
our vernacular.

Vice does have some quite good articles in between the tits and racism

Harrison

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Harrison on February 12, 2013

vice a while ago had a playlist curated by one of the little american garage punk / garage pop record labels i buy stuff from.

Mr. Jolly

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mr. Jolly on February 6, 2013

Find alot of VICE very Nathan Barleyesque. A mag for thick hipsters.

Caiman del Barrio

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Caiman del Barrio on February 6, 2013

Harrison

i find vice often a bit uncool, like a friend who tries really hard to be on the curve but basically isn't but totally thinks they are and tries to lord it, but covers their ass by being constantly sarcastic so if they need to they can claim they weren't serious.

Yeah exactly at its worst it's this zeitgeisty faux-irony which defines young creative types living off Mummy in East London. The American material seems to be loads of insensitive gawping, poverty porn and tabloid-esque voyeurism at horrific human suffering (the Vice Guide to Liberia is particularly offensive).

But, they have a large budget to cover a lot of issues of interest to young urbanites and travellers so a lot of their material does actually concentrate on interesting stuff. I just wish the presenters would STFU, cos they're fucking banal.

Posted this before, but here's a non-ironic and sensitive Vice Mexico video on the Cherán commune (Spanish): http://aristeguinoticias.com/1107/mexico/cheran-el-pueblo-purepecha-en-rebeldia-documental-de-laura-woldenberg/?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=tweet&utm_campaign=mexico#ooid=l5MzNzNDrK5qbAX4vzrQBY7VkNRTEXct

Steven.

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on February 6, 2013

Ramona

Gavin McInnes

We seem really racist and homophobic
because we hang around with fags and niggers so much. It just becomes part of
our vernacular.

Vice does have some quite good articles in between the tits and racism

as Jim says, this is off topic so let's get back to Freedom. I just wanted to point out that that guy, McInnes, is a dick head but he got the boot from vice five years ago.

Tian

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Tian on February 6, 2013

Buy a t-shirt, help out Freedom:

The anarchist t-shirt shop No-Gods-No-Masters.com answers this call by giving an immediate monetary support to Freedom Press comrades following an attack of an unspeakable lazyness [sic] which reminds us the most horrible moments of the last century.
A first donation will be sent this week and more will follow on the upcoming months according to our monthly income.

Information is a wealth that must be defended at all cost and anarchist education is a fundamental need for the establishment of any anarchist society. Places like Freedom Press are rare and the ideas that they share plants the seeds of anarchism. We must stay in solidarity with them to preserve our ideas and continue to transmit today’s and yesterday’s anarchist philosophies that will be the roots of tomorrow’s revolutions !

In front of fascists who wants to shut us down and censor our ideas to impose theirs, we stay in solidarity. Neither aggression or intimidation will overcome our ideas !

In solidarity,
Ni-Dieu-Ni-Maitre.com / No-Gods-No-Masters.com / Ni-Dios-Ni-Amo.com

http://no-gods-no-masters.com/blog/money-donation-to-freedom-press-library-following-a-firebomb-attack/

Steven.

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on February 6, 2013

Yeah, as I understand it Vernon basically stole the press from the AFB, which plenty of people were understandably pissed off about.

Harrison

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Harrison on February 6, 2013

Steven.

Yeah, as I understand it Vernon basically stole the press from the AFB, which plenty of people were understandably pissed off about.

I can think of at least two more incidents like this within the british ultra left!

rat

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rat on February 6, 2013

I've never understood who owns or runs Freedom Bookshop and press.

Steven.

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on February 6, 2013

zero

I've never understood who owns or runs Freedom Bookshop and press.

the bookshop is owned by a group called the Friends of Freedom. The press is run by the press collective. It's not a physical press. There is a physical press next door called Aldgate Press which is a separate workers' co-op and which Freedom originally helped set up.

GrouchoMarxist

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by GrouchoMarxist on February 7, 2013

The first time I posted this to my facebook wall. Someone accused this site (Libcom) and Freedom Press of collaberating with a group of police informants. I think the accusations against Aufheben are stupid and are a smear campaign.

Rob Ray

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Rob Ray on February 7, 2013

Even if they weren't libcom publishing Aufheben material isn't "collaboration" in any meaningful sense and Freedom doesn't have anything to do with either group (in fact the only major link between Freedom and Libcom is me, and I'm neither an admin nor do I hold any official position in Freedom other than "collective member.")

Chilli Sauce

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on February 7, 2013

I think it might be true that libcom uses/has used Freedom's address in the past.

Rob Ray

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Rob Ray on February 7, 2013

They used it to set the account up a little over eight years ago, which I don't really count as "major"

Rob Ray

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Rob Ray on February 7, 2013

I didn't claim there aren't links I said I was the only major one, which is true afaik. There's no crossover of collective membership and no-one on the Freedom collective posts on here other than me (in fact I had to explain the entire Aufheben thing to people just the other day after they read the Indymedia stuff and had no idea what was going on - that's how minimal it is).

888

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by 888 on February 8, 2013

Steven.

Yeah, as I understand it Vernon basically stole the press from the AFB, which plenty of people were understandably pissed off about.

Yes, from what I have heard Vernon Richards was no innocent at any rate

888

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by 888 on February 8, 2013

argh dp

Steven.

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on February 9, 2013

I think it's fair enough to say that there is no kind of official link between libcom and Freedom. There used to be, as there was joint membership of the two collectives, but there isn't any more, nor has there been for what 8 years maybe?

But in the eyes of the cretins we host freedom articles on here, the same as we host Aufheben articles, so that means we are essentially the same organisation. As we are with Karl Marx , Chomsky and CrimethInc.

raw

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by raw on February 10, 2013

Why wasn't the insurance renewed? Why weren't the locks fixed on the shutter windows? Why were precious archives left so exposed?

Rob Ray

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Rob Ray on February 10, 2013

1. Because we'd run out of money
2. Because we'd run out of money
3. Because we wanted to make them accessible

Bear in mind there was no indication beforehand that someone was thinking of doing this and we haven't had an attack in 20 years other than a vague EDL threat to storm the shop in the day (which shutters wouldn't help with). Given there's so much else needs doing/paying for and definitely will get us shut down if we don't pay (rates, for example) it was nowhere near the top of the list.

Edit: No need for downvoting folks, they're legitimate questions.

raw

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by raw on February 10, 2013

Thanks for the response.

I ask those questions because I do see Freedom as a common resource both nationally and internationally. This may not be the opinion of some but what goes on at Freedom, its structure, its finances, how it organises - considering it relies on its legacy to continue ( recently seen by the amazing solidarity it received post the attack ) - should interest all those that associate themselves with anarchism.

Recently there has been some issues surrounding the future of Freedom, its lack of money and how money is accounted for? Is this true? This is also connected with the Hoffman case which no doubt has impacted Freedom's ability to pay for things like insurance and new shutter locks.

So yes, I think they are legitimate and valid questions, especially when Freedom appeals to the rest of the "movement" for support when its in crisis. Freedom has been donated a lot of money in the past, its apparently ran out - how this is the case, and how suggestions to close the paper down ( itself self financing as far as I know ) should concern every anarchist, no? I am not sure if thats still on the card but Freedom's future - with or without the attack - is in danger.

So what I am asking is whether Freedom and the collective that runs it should be accountable to a wider movement? If so how can this be done without negative assumptions being projected on to those that have put so much effort into it.

rat

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rat on February 11, 2013

raw

If so how can this be done without negative assumptions being projected on to those that have put so much effort into it.

What is it that you are trying to express here?

Rob Ray

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Rob Ray on February 11, 2013

Well financially I've kind of summarised some of it at the time of the Hoffman thing here, but no we don't have a proper breakdown of all the figures over the last few years other than a brief period a few years back when a volunteer accountant was doing them - that was actually something that the bookshop co-ordinators* were both working on sorting out just before the fire.

We do have rough figures which Andy has been doing the last couple of years, I don't think people would be happy with me putting it online but they can be requested from the bookshop or picked up at the monthly meetings (which are open access to the movement, though you can only vote if you're a collective member).

In general terms though, I can say that we've lost significant sums of money for all eight years I've been are the press and the last major donation we got, a legacy, was in 2007 which is what saw us through to the start of this year, basically. What it got spent on varies, but as I understand it (I wasn't around in the 2008-2010 period for personal reasons so can't say first hand) major outlays were:

- Wages (approx £12k a year for bookshop**, currently split between two part timers, £5k for admin and layout plus a year or so of paying an editor/shop volunteer travel)
- Business rates (about £8-9k a year and due to rise)
- Publishing (again, no exact figures but a couple of major miscalculations have led to significant losses on Mutual Aid and Beating The Fascists - we decided last year to have a hiatus on publishing with a view to eventually switching to short-run digital print as a result)
- Insurance (not sure exactly, but expensive)
- Utilities, general repairs (including boiler replacement, rewiring, £2k a year plus unknown costs for one-off stuff)
- Moving the shop downstairs (not sure, wasn't around)
- The paper (which lost quite a lot of money until the price was put up and the frequency dropped)

In terms of running off "movement" donations, since the last legacy not so much in the last few years, actually. We haven't run a donations column in the paper since I became an editor and didn't do a major callout during Hoffman either other than publicising what had happened and getting a fair number of new subscriptions as a result (in fact financially we were mostly helped through that period via two one-off donations from people we hadn't asked for anything and who were just infuriated by Hoffman).

On the paper, that's been largely sorted out for now and there are currently no plans to close it down.

And finally, on movement accountability, well, no not really. It's an independent group, same as SF or AF and it's like that for a reason, becoming "accountable to the wider movement" ime usually just means accountable to the loudest and most powerful voices within it and opens us to being pulled this way and that rather than focusing on what we're supposed to be doing.

To take just one recent example no doubt you've heard about the Mayo incident at last year's bookfair. One side has been demanding that we publish their take, the other has been demanding we don't. Our editor, supported by the rest of the collective, ended up deciding that Freedom's core remit is as a propaganda publication, not a forum for personal arguments - and he had the ability to do that because of our independence. It means we can continue being there for the movement as a whole rather than getting dragged into other people's squabbles the whole time.

Despite this, tbh it's piss-easy for any anarchist to involve themselves directly in Freedom and have the same rights as every other member simply by joining (ie. coming to two meetings in a row and volunteering for a job). It's not like it's an exclusive members' club or anything. Personally I'd be overjoyed if more people did so and feel free to PM me for details (again, not sure collective members would be happy with me giving exact details of when we're all in the shop in public).

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*I'd guess you probably know both of them but I'm only confident in mentioning Andy by name as I've never asked the other person about sharing details

** This has in the past been criticised, however before paying someone the bookshop income was £13k and falling, and rose to £26k afterwards. It's since fallen back down to a level between the two, but the wage has in general been made up by increased income until last year, when radical bookshop income suffered fairly serious falls across the board.

Chilli Sauce

10 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Chilli Sauce on April 14, 2013

looks like the comp is now available for download and it's a whopper, too:

http://ironcolumnrecords.bandcamp.com/album/a-new-world-in-our-hearts

Mark.

9 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on March 10, 2014

Since Freedom: A Journal of Anarchist Socialism first appeared in 1886 it has been in the form of a newspaper to be sold. Now the Freedom Collective has decided that we shall move content online accompanied by a freesheet after publication of the upcoming second issue of 2014.

We have come to realise that a sold hardcopy newspaper is no longer a viable means of promoting the anarchist message. Despite a huge publicity boost to Freedom following the firebomb attack last year (shop sales rose 50%) there has not been a corresponding increase in distribution of the paper. Only 29 shops, social centres and individuals now sell it and the number of paying subscribers has fallen to 225.As a result annual losses now amount to £3,500, an unsustainable level for our shoestring budget.

Readers will have noticed that the paper has struggled to come out on time for some while. An underlying problem has been a lack of capacity to sustain it. We had hoped that Freedom would be adopted as THE paper of the anarchist movement. Despite a great deal of goodwill from anarchist groups and individuals over the years, sadly this has not been the case.

Although Freedom Press has changed from a political group with a particular point of view to a resource for anarchism as a whole, we have not managed to shake the legacy of the past and get different groups to back it as a collective project. We hope an online version and freesheet will make that possible...

http://www.freedompress.org.uk/news/2014/03/10/a-statement-from-the-freedom-collective/

RepublicanIRA

9 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by RepublicanIRA on May 15, 2014

Combat 18 is still alive and well, they have a Polish section/branch which goes to prove how dangerous they are.

"Nobody has come forward to claim responsibility for the attack although many believe that the far-right may be responsible as the building was last seriously attacked in 1993 by now defunct neo-nazi terror group Combat 18".