Monday, 23 March 2015

Tussle Over Death of 'Freedom'

IAIN Mckay answers Chris Draper's Critique in an e-mail comment below:
'(CHRIS Draper writes) - Angry members of the collective attempted to portray my critique as mere personal criticism and proffered no substantive refutation'
 I'm glad to see that members of the Freedom collective have echoed my comments on these disgraceful emails being no more than personal attacks.
 I have written for Freedom but never been a member of the collective -- I have always found the editors to be open to printing articles from many viewpoints and they regularly put things into the paper I wish they hadn't.  The notion that Freedom closed its doors to other views is wrong -- it opened them and this seemed bother the reformist-liberals (as can be seen from the quotes from Jonathan Simcock below).
"It appears the destructive implications of regime-change engineered by Toby Crowe were presciently anticipated in Spring 2004 by Jonathan Simcock of Total Liberty in the magazine’s editorial column:   'Sadly, the longstanding flagship of British Anarchist journals, namely FREEDOM, has increasingly abandoned the broader church of Anarchist ideas, and has metamorphosed into a poorer version of Black Flag’.”
 A 'poorer version of Black Flag' is far better than being a poorer version of 'Total Liberty' (which showed how well it knew anarchism by proclaiming the so-called "Libertarian Alliance" as allies!).  As for "the broader church" (church, really?) of anarchism, Freedom regularly put in articles from a wide range of views -- which provoked responses from other readers.
In the following edition, Simcock rammed home his analysis and critique:
'To reach ordinary people Anarchist papers need to re-evaluate Anarchist ideas and to hold an open debate. I am afraid the regular dose of 19th century Marxist and Class Struggle dominated viewpoints to be seen in FREEDOM will repel not attract people to anarchism.  FREEDOM has lost its way.' 
The notion that class struggle has something to do with '19th century Marxist' views is pretty ignorant of the views of the anarchists who founded Freedom in 1886 -- and relaunched it in 1936. It is nice to see that Simcock would not be happy to see Freedom opened up to the likes of, say, Kropotkin...
 And what of 'Total Liberty' ? If this analysis were accurate then that should have gone from strength to strength. If I remember correctly, it became 'Anarchist Voices' -- does that still exist?  I can find issues up to 2010 on-line.  It looks like it "lost its way" long before Freedom did...
As Richard noted, 'Black Flag' is still going and if you want to do something constructive for anarchism in the UK rather than ignorantly slang others off, we would like to hear from you.  It's is, as noted, an anarcho-communist paper -- in the same way that Freedom was when Kropotkin helped found it.
The major problem with the movement seems to be an unwillingness for people to get actively involved in projects -- that is the fundamental reason why Freedom is no more.  Perhaps rather than produce nasty little attacks on individuals, perhaps a more constructive activity could be found? Show us all how it is done... that would be a nice change.

1 comment:

Brian Bamford said...

Iain McKay writes: 'The major problem ... seems to be an unwillingness for people to get actively involved in projects'.

Typically Mr McKay & Mr Griffin's comments display a London-centric view of Chris Draper's dissection of the death of Freedom. Draper is based in North Wales & the editors of the NV Blog come from Greater Manchester. It's nice to be patronised by folk in London, but it shows a lack of geographical & political grasp. Perhaps they aren't aware that the two editors of this Blog, as officers of Tameside TUC, have just published a book 'Boys on the Blacklist' about our decade-long campaign against blacklisting in the British building trade? It's already been re-printed twice and is selling to trade unionists across the country, as well as in Wales and Scotland. We have even had praise from the London-based Blacklist Support Group (founded in 2009). We rest our case!