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Freedom newspaper to end

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Anonymous
Mar 10 2014 11:46
Freedom newspaper to end

Think this deserves it own thread:

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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-free...

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Serge Forward
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Mar 10 2014 15:46
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
If appearing in print hasn't worked because of the competition offered by various other publications and the internet I really can't see the point in Freedom trying to continue in some form online

That doesn't necessarily follow. Although I'm not privy to the fortunes of Freedom, I am aware that the print industry (particularly with regards newspapers and magazines) is generally dying on its arse and I see no reason why Freedom should buck this trend. Online publications are the way it's been going for a few years now but occasional cheap street publications/bulletins/flyers will still have a place.

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Steven.
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Mar 10 2014 16:28

I must say, I am sad to hear this. However I can't say I'm surprised.

I had to stop editing it myself, because it was just too much work. And it is such a huge effort just to get it out every two weeks (more recently, every month), that you just don't have any time or energy left to try to expand the pool of sellers or contributors.

And nowadays a paid-for newspaper doesn't seem like the best way to spread the anarchist message. So turning into a freesheet for outreach purposes doesn't seem like a bad idea. Although again you need people to distribute that. And the AF already produces a decent agitational freesheet so I don't think it would be a good thing to duplicate this necessarily.

I wish them all the best for the move online, and we would be happy for them to duplicate their content on libcom to help them reach a wider audience! Freedom has been putting articles online for some time now, can I ask how much traffic it gets?

Also we would be very happy to expand our archive of back issues of Freedom newspaper, which it would be really good to have up in the library at some point. But will need a volunteer to do properly.

Spikymike
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Mar 10 2014 16:49

I think Freedom has had problems of it's own beyond those suffered more generally by the rest of the radical/revolutionary press precisely because it it is not attached to any supporting political or specialist/campaigning type organisation and as a result of internet sites like libcom providing more opportunities for cross organisational distribution and discussion of ideas.

On a personal note I have continued to subscribe to Freedom and a number of other journals, in addition to purchasing printed journals and pamphlets at bookfairs, because I'm of a generation that prefers that format ( often printing off material from the internet to read elsewhere in comfort) and doesn't want to rely entirely on the internet ( to which I've been cut off at home more than once). I also have a slightly younger and poorer friend who mostly relies on the public library internet service and who also subscribes to printed journals because of that.

I fear that it may be we the older and/or poorer of those in our milieu who might be the losers in these changes if they continue.

As Serge suggest though I think the printed agitational/promotional leaflet and freesheet will still be needed if we are to be outgoing and not just talking to ourselves.

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Mar 10 2014 20:15
Steven. wrote:
And the AF already produces a decent agitational freesheet so I don't think it would be a good thing to duplicate this necessarily.

AF's Resistance hasn't been out seen since November, though from what Serge said to me at a recent MDF meeting, it will come out as themed issues, though how often that will be I don't know.

Though I have never subscribed to Freedom I do think it is a shame. With the general death of the left, it seems anarchist are on the retreat as well in the UK and should be noted there will be no anarchist papers around to distribute to a wider audience.

Battlescarred
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Mar 10 2014 20:30

The next Resistance- an anti-war special relating to WW1 centennial etc will be out in next 2 weeks. If you want to spread real class struggle anarchist ideas then think about ordering a bundle and distributing them

Rubbish Anarchist
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Mar 11 2014 01:38

Was sad to hear about this, but also recognised the inevitability of it.

There are opportunities for greater outreach online via social media though.

jacqueimo
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Mar 11 2014 14:01

I disagree with people who hail the inevitable decline of the print edition of a publication. I'm one member of the collective which produces the Occupied Times and we've found that the relationship people have with a print edition is massively invaluable. It allows us to get into spaces and engage with people in ways online presence just can't manage. We're able to outreach to people with a less developed sense of class consciousness, who regard politics as something other people do and so on. I personally think Freedom could have done with a more comprehensive visual overhaul - Good design doesn't have to be synonymous with branding/advertising/capitalism etc. - and perhaps a slower print cycle with a faster online presence at the same time.

We've also relied entirely on donations, largely online, and I genuinely believe having no price, suggested or otherwise, on our covers has encouraged people to donate more often...

Either way, it's a real shame to see people unable to continue, and a huge shout-out to anyone who kept it going this long, an often thankless task I imagine. None of what I just wrote was meant to knock people's efforts for a moment.

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Mar 11 2014 15:07
Battlescarred wrote:
The next Resistance- an anti-war special relating to WW1 centennial etc will be out in next 2 weeks. If you want to spread real class struggle anarchist ideas then think about ordering a bundle and distributing them

Will send you a email to get some smile

The Free Communist is still in print format and as like the above poster says, you have a different relationship with real people unlike the internet, though its not anarchist as such.
Issue 6 will also will be on WW1 and should be out in a week or so, when I get chance to finish it.

hellfrozeover
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Mar 11 2014 22:30

Without disparaging the fine efforts of either Free Communist or Occupied Times - 2 years publishing is not 110 years publishing. It's a lot easier to work on "your own" project than one with a history. Anarchists are big on freedom of association and shit at co-operating and supporting existing projects.

jacqueimo
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Mar 12 2014 08:29

You're totally correct in that, and it totally wasn't my intention to insinuate the OT had anything like such an illustrious history behind it.

Battlescarred
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Mar 12 2014 10:03

Exactly! A month that it continouosly published from 1886. I wouldn't say that its firstt years from 1945 ( not 1947, the anarchist paper War Commentary changed its name to Freedom at the end of the War in 1945) could easily be described as being a pole for liberal anarchists though, that came later

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Mar 12 2014 10:05
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
I'm not sure this Freedom really has that much of an illustrious history. It's not the same paper as the one Kropotkin used to work on back in 1886. It was first published in 1947 and became a pole of attraction for liberal anarchists. I'm more concerned about what's happened to Black Flag tbh.

I was under the impression that it had changed in recent times though I haven't seen a copy of Freedom for decades. When I lived in the UK it was a deeply anti-working class publication running articles about not supporting the miners.

Black Flag in those days was nearly as bad full of articles about Euro guerrilla groups and Spain.

Devrim

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Mar 12 2014 10:24
hellfrozeover wrote:
Without disparaging the fine efforts of either Free Communist or Occupied Times - 2 years publishing is not 110 years publishing. It's a lot easier to work on "your own" project than one with a history. Anarchists are big on freedom of association and shit at co-operating and supporting existing projects.

Just to say I wasn't comparing my paper to Freedom smile

Battlescarred
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Mar 12 2014 13:15

Should be "a myth" rather than "a month"!

jolasmo
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Mar 12 2014 13:39

Yeah, I was never a massive fan of Freedom tbh but it's a shame to see it go under. What with this, Black Flag, Direct Action, Shift etc. all stopping publication over the last few years I can't help feeling our press is suffering somewhat at the moment.

Obviously there's a general trend at the moment away from hard copy newspapers towards online news sites in the mainstream media, but I think there's different dynamics at work here. I'm not sure what "new media" alternatives are turning up to replace these publications. If we lose these organs and don't put anything new in their place it'll be a real shame.

~J.

andymeinke
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Mar 12 2014 13:41

i've been involved with Freedom since 2008 and was initially was very sceptical of it's liberal bent and stuck in the past attitude- see the essay in the 1992 anarchist yearbook. as an example when i first asked why the shop was on the first floor and downstairs was a storeroom i was told it was because it was eaisier for deliveries of newly published books. the strange thing is when Vernon Richards died (2001) he handed over Freedom to the "Movement" on a plate but it was too suprised to notice. it was comrades coming out of the anarchist youth network who saw the opportunity with the paper and reclaimed it for class struggle. On Blackflag we've been arguing (and some people have worked on both) for many years that they were complimentry. ideally anarchist groups had a magazine (blackflag) newspaper (freedom) plus their own freesheet. didn't work out that way.

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Mar 12 2014 14:17
Devrim wrote:
Black Flag in those days was nearly as bad full of articles about Euro guerrilla groups and Spain.

Indeed. In terms of class struggle social anarchism, the liberal Freedom and the Meltzeroid Black Flag were equally dire for completely different reasons. The only decent national anarchist publications at the time were Virus and Direct Action.

By the way, does anyone else remember a spoof version of Black Flag called Black Frog?

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Mar 12 2014 14:53

There's a poster on here (not me) who used to troll Black Flag by sending in spoof Euroguerilla communicades, some of which were published. Trolling required effort back then, you needed paper, envelopes and stamps. Kids today don't know they're born, etc.

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Mar 12 2014 15:33

I do think it is a reflection on the state of things at the moment and which doesn't include just anarchists..

When I was in Afed, producing Resistance was to be frank a nightmare and without Battlescarred it would have gone under a long time ago. Likewise Organise is often produced by a small number of people. Personally I think it comes down to a lack of commitment on the part of the members of said groups, towards the notion of national organisation. Can't really comment on Freedom, though I'm guessing this

Quote:
lack of capacity to sustain it

would be in part lack of people writing?

andymeinke
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Mar 13 2014 15:10

clever deduction my dear Theft. there's also production problems. partly inherent with laying out 24 pages and getting free printing from aldate press who had to send it off to be finished and folder so there was always a week between last copy coming in and getting it back from the printers. within the Freedom Collective only a small minority were involved in producing the paper. not so much lack of commitment as not seeing it as central to what Freedom as a building was for. a couple of people have been arguing to stop the paper for a few years but we hit a crunch with the first issue of 2014 (january/february on the cover) coming out on the 24th feb. i put a proposal to our internal list that we set deadlines which got 2 replies. talking to people i found others shared my lazy assumption "well it can keep going if there's someone willing to do it". time to look at the finances. a little complex cos of overlap with shop etc but roughly £3-5k pa loss. can pm the stats if you're really bored. not disaterous. we'd save £1000pa if we stopped sending it to the 140 people whose subs have run out! but this was just more proof that even the people responsible for the paper had lost motivation. so motion to next meeting to put it online. 10 for, 2 against, 2 abstentions.

CharlotteDingle
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Mar 14 2014 13:07

*Waves* Hello, Freedom editor here, come to chuck in my tuppence-worth. Frankly I am overjoyed that the paper is going online and echo Andy's comments above. I think it will be a really productive new beginning for us. P.S. WRITE FOR US! wink You know you want to.

syndicalist
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Mar 15 2014 16:28

Having read "Freedom" over the past 44 years, I've both loved and hated. Often at the same time.
It was often times one of the few english language anarchist sources (along with BF in all its incarnations) and always served a certain value to read.

Wish you luck in keeping it going on line. Do send our period on-line blasts to let us know about when you've gone to "press".

proletarian.
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Mar 15 2014 16:38
Battlescarred wrote:
The next Resistance- an anti-war special relating to WW1 centennial etc will be out in next 2 weeks. If you want to spread real class struggle anarchist ideas then think about ordering a bundle and distributing them

Why has this been 'downed' 7 times? I really can't get my head around this shit. Because he's plugging a journal on a thread about a 'rival' journal? Sorry for the derail to those who are offended by such things.

proletarian.
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Mar 15 2014 16:47

Comrade Theft, is it possible to get subscriptions to the Free Communist and if so how does one go about it and back issues, pamphlets etc?

redsdisease
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Mar 15 2014 18:33
proletarian. wrote:
Battlescarred wrote:
The next Resistance- an anti-war special relating to WW1 centennial etc will be out in next 2 weeks. If you want to spread real class struggle anarchist ideas then think about ordering a bundle and distributing them

Why has this been 'downed' 7 times? I really can't get my head around this shit. Because he's plugging a journal on a thread about a 'rival' journal?

Probably because saying shit like 'if you want to spread real class struggle anarchist ideas' seems somewhat in bad taste on a thread about the ending of another newspaper. Just a guess though.

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Mar 15 2014 19:50
proletarian. wrote:
Battlescarred wrote:
The next Resistance- an anti-war special relating to WW1 centennial etc will be out in next 2 weeks. If you want to spread real class struggle anarchist ideas then think about ordering a bundle and distributing them

Why has this been 'downed' 7 times? I really can't get my head around this shit. Because he's plugging a journal on a thread about a 'rival' journal? Sorry for the derail to those who are offended by such things.

Wouldn't worry about it, I've seen people and been downed for no reason other than giving info to someone. I often think it has more to do with who people like and dislike and that's often related to another post.

On the Free Communist, I'll pm you later when I get to work smile

Edit: Seems you have been downed for asking me about my paper smile

proletarian.
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Mar 15 2014 20:00

I must have skim read it because I didn't even realise the word 'real' or in any case didn't take any notice. Though I'm surprised some people are so easily offended.

proletarian.
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Mar 15 2014 20:03
Theft wrote:

Wouldn't worry about it, I've seen people and been downed for no reason other than giving info to someone. I often think it has more to do with who people like and dislike and that's often related to another post.

Yes, I was coming to that conclusion also.

jolasmo
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Mar 16 2014 08:22

Yeah that's what I assumed as well.

~J.

Battlescarred
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Mar 16 2014 09:41

No, not a dig at Freedom at all, and certainly not my intention. Freedom plays (played?) a different role from Freedom, and it certainly was not mu intention to knock it. Perhaps, only perhaps, some of you who clicked the down button might actualy want to change that.
By the way real wasn't italicised in my message, Redsdisease, and alters the sense of the original message