Thursday, 8 November 2012

'Sticks & Stones will Break My Bones but...'

Reply from Northern Voices Editorial Panel to London Anarchist Bookfair Collective:

Dear Anarchist Bookfair Collective, 

Thank you again for your swift response to my original e-mail. Since I returned to the North and related the events at the Bookfair to others, both on the NV editorial panel and elsewhere, there has been much distress expressed about the violent attempt to gag us. I have always been happy with your treatment of our organisation in the past, but I was a bit concerned that you had failed to retrieve our stock. Be that as it may, you are quite right when you say that the term a 'contractual duty of care' is a nonsense: this phrase was wrongly introduced to the e-mail as it was dictated over the phone to me. It was wrong because it muddles together two different spheres of the law, 'Tort' and 'Contract'. A duty of care, as you show, relates to the law of Tort. I take on board what you are saying about the limited contract at the Bookfair. The duty of care, as you say applies to visitors as well as stall-holders, not to mention the right of trespassers, in some circumstances, to the right of a duty of care. As you clearly state there is 'a responsibility for health and safety...' and projecting salad cream into someone's eyes (my eyes, in this case - see Five Leaves report) is clearly not conducive to good health and safety practice.

Where I think you breach your own criteria about being none judgemental, and 'not going to act as police, judge or jury for the anarchist movement' is at bullet point [3] where you equate 'not writing shit about dead comrades...' with a physical attack by members of AF led by Sally Hyman on the Northern Voices' stall. One is reminded here of the northern English saying: 'Sticks & stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me'. The fact is the piece in NV13 about Bob Miller was well researched with a phone interview with Mike Ballard and information gained from others who knew Bob Miller (the piece deals with the problem of secrecy and openess); but even if there is anything that is factually incorrect in the piece, neither Sally or anyone else has written to Northern Voices to put us right, and we have continually urged the parties to use their right to reply. Indeed, this is not the first time that Sally Hyman has conducted herself in this way against NV: I wasn't present, but in 2010 she snatched some copies of NV10 off a stall at a Manchester Anarchist bookfair at the Dancehouse on Oxford Road. On that occassion she returned the copies when the organiser intervened. Bob Miller was still alive at that time, so Sally has a history of this kind of behaviour well before the current incident. We have also seen an e-mail, which Sally earlier this year sent to Martin Gilbert, in which she declined to meet with us to discuss her ongoing problems with NV, and she has turned us down on every occassion we have asked. The advice you have given us to meet up is well intentioned, but it is no good if one of the parties prefers to act in a mob-handed way.

The NV Editorial Panel, which met yesterday, asked me to ask you about your Bullet Point [7] in which you say there was a request to ban Northern Voices from this year's bookfair: who was it who made this request & when did they make the request? I ask this because the 'offending publication' NV13 was published in March 2012, and we didn't hear anything until August 2012, when one of our outlets said there had been a complaint and later our printer was approached by Sally Hyman who was using a list to try to blackball Northern Voices. Also do you have the details for the address of the Anarchist Fed., we already have Sally's details. 

Look forward to hearing from you. 
Best wishes,

Brian Bamford: Editor of Northern Voices

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Brian Bamford, 1st August 2012:

"Why did Mr. David Hoffman, reputably a radical journalist, threatened to sue Freedom? Clearly Freedom was in breach of the law, but Freedom is a hard-up left-wing publication, not Rupert Murdoch"

Brian Bamford, November 6th 2012:

"As anarchists we always try to resolve things in a comradely manner, but if this fails we will pursue the matter through the County Courts"

You're a joke man