Dear Adam Lawrence-Barr,
NICE to hear from you. I only became aware of you after someone drew my attention to your spat with Nick Heath over your interview with the Catholic Worker. I think he accused you of returning to the 'Big Tent' approach to anarchism, and you humbly said that Freedom had no intention of returning to the 'Big Tent' approach. I don't know what the alternative is perhaps it amounts to proclaiming what Orwell called the 'smelly little orthodoxy' of left wing politics. Whatever is the case, Northern Voices would be more than happy to publish your ideas on the NV Blog.
You mention a few groups or tenants of Freedom that are doing 'work', implying that by offering rooms or collecting rents and standing in their shadows Freedom is somehow made more significant by its proximity to these bodies. It's a curious argument to pursue, especially when at the last meeting of the Friends of Freedom you revealed that the inmates at Freedom had managed to 'squander' a large sum of money left to Freedom by a benefactor some 7-years ago. You did say 'squander' didn't you? And did you go on to absolve yourself by saying: 'It was before my time'? Also, is it true that a member of the Friends has been financing the Collective out of their own pocket?
None of these misdemeanours seems to inhibit you from taking that moral high ground in your e-mail and accusing Northern Voices an 'attempt to steal away the means of production from the workers using it by a bunch of old irrelevant white men'. I'm glad you raised the matter in this for it suggests that you have not read a word of the Freedom archives or even of Northern Voices. By couching your profound critique in such terms I suppose that you are claiming that you are more in touch with the shop-floor and the world of work? And that your record in anarchist politics is somehow superior to mine and the other three supporters of the 'Modest program'?
Well, that is interesting: how long have you been involved in Freedom? The problem is that you seem to be representing the Metropolitan elite, and apart from David Goodway from Yorkshire, who is on the Friends of Freedom to represent the provinces? Your own name sounds like something from the Home Counties and the middle-class, it doesn't have a proletarian ring to it does it? It doesn't sound owt like someone who has been apprenticed in a factory, or has worked in the shipyards in Gibraltar like me, or has been a weighman in a Lancashire textile mill. Or someone who has done time in Strangeways, or been detained in a dungeon in the province of Segovia in the summer of 1963, before even Stuart Christie went to Franco's Spain. I'll not mention about the interviews I did for Freedom during the pyramid sales riots in Albania in 1997, and in Belgrade during the general elections there in December 2000. What today seems to be held to be 'irrelevant' on the left of politics is the concerns of the blue-collar worker: take the lack of interest in many quarters in the recent High Court case over blacklisting - that is the elephant which has somehow been left outside the room. Where are the representatives of North & South Wales on the Friends of Freedom? Where is the Scottish connection? Where are the Northerners? Where are the genuine Proles and blue-collar workers?
Come-on Adam Lawrence-Barr, who are you kidding?