'It is hard to tell someone who is shortsighted how to get to a place. Because you can't say “Look at that church tower ten miles away over there and go in that direction".'
OUR FRIENDS in the NORTH June 2016:
Ludwig Wittgenstein (Manuscript 107 70 c: 1929)
THE modest program below sets out to sets out to provide a signpost for the forthcoming Annual & General Meeting of Friends of Freedom on the 23rd, June. The four advocates of this modest program for change at Freedom Press are Barry Woodling; Martin Gilbert; Brian Bamford and Christopher Draper.
In 1962, Vernon Richards for the then editors of FREEDOM addressed the readers in a Preface to a volume of Selected articles:
'You, our readers, will, we hope, agree with Mr. Colin McInnes when he described FREEDOM as “about the only authentically polemical weekly surviving in our country” (New Statesman 7/9/62) for this very reason, and in fairness to our correspondents, comrades and sympathisers, we must mention that these Selections reflect the editorial approach of FREEDOM, an approach which on certain issues has been hotly contested, by comrades we esteem as anarchists and friends.'
Like the philosopher Wittgenstein quoted above, Vernon Richards was the son of a foreign businessman. Both also had European origins. The Austrian, Wittgenstein carried Tolstoy's Gospels in his pocket and Vernon Richards identified with the Italian anarchist Erico Malatesta. James Pinkerton, a former International Secretary of the Syndicalist Worker's Federation (SWF) and a severe critic of Freedom, had to admit that Vernon Richards and Freedom's position on civil liberties was a distinguished model of radical journalism in the UK in the 1950s and 60s.
Over a year ago Chris Draper and Northern Voices* played a major role in re-establishing the Friends of Freedom Press as a functioning body and helped to install David Goodway as a new Friend. What everyone of goodwill now wants, including the Friends of Freedom, is that some tidying up is required at 84b, Whitechappel High Street, and that the Trustees must now fulfil their obligations: the requirement under the Memorandum of Association is for the Friends to ensure that 'the anarchist journal “Freedom” ' is published properly. For this reason we believe all the signatories to this modest program below should now be elected to the board of Freedom Press at the forthcoming AGM:
* The publication Northern Voices was founded on the initiative of a former Friend of Freedom Press, Harold Schulthorpe, and others in 2003.
OUR FRIENDS in the NORTH June 2016:
* For over a century FREEDOM was uniquely important in the exchange of ideas between anarchists and the wider promotion of anarchist ideas and activities
* “Friends of Freedom Press“ (FFP) exists “To assist financially the printing and publication of the anarchist journal “Freedom” (Memorandum of Association; para 3(A)1).
* Despite this unequivocal obligation to ensure FREEDOM maintains its historic role, FFP (as currently constituted) has proved ineffective
* FREEDOM’s assets currently facilitate some positive activities but these assets are legally required to be used for maintaining FREEDOM as a lively, inclusive and effective Anarchist Journal (in print or web form). The existing website and recent print offerings have proved wholly inadequate and exemplify regrettable and embarrassing indulgence.
* Having initially been instrumental in the revival of FFP and subsequently witnessed a demonstrable lack of progress towards re-publication, “Our Friends in the North” (OFIN) now propose a slate of four well-qualified candidates committed to resurrect FREEDOM with a clearly articulated programme;
** Within 12 months, selling the 84b Whitechapel High Street property to liquidate FREEDOM assets
** The creation and maintenance of a new, professionally designed, sophisticated FREEDOM website within 6 months of liquidation
** A Webmaster-Editor to be formally appointed on a bi-annual basis by a newly created FFP Publications Sub-Group (PSG) with an annual budget of 15K (1% of liquidation capital), to include a modest stipend
** A three-person PSG to be appointed from within, and responsible to, FFP (by secret ballot if excess volunteers)
** Furthermore, to challenge London-centricity OFIN proposes convening all future FFP meetings in Birmingham
** All future FFP agendas and minutes to be published online
If appointed, all OFIN candidates commit to working cooperatively and constructively with existing FFP members to revive the fortunes of FREEDOM. On this basis we ask you to endorse the following;
Brian Bamford – Rochdale
Christopher Draper – Llandudno
Martin Gilbert – Ulverston
Barry Woodling - Salford