Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Freedom's Metropolitan Bubble Bursts!

Anarchist Publishing House Broadens its Base
by Brian Bamford
LAST Monday at this year's Annual General Meeting, the Friends of Freedom Press have appointed two new directors from outside London.  In doing so, with the appointment of the former miner and trade unionist, David Douglass from Tyneside, and the writer, Peter Marshall from Plymouth, they have effectively broken the stranglehold of a metropolitan political clan which has continually served to castrate the publication of Freedom as a serious intellectual voice of radical anarchism.
News over the weekend came out that the Freedom Bookshop manager, Andy Meinke, is leaving his job, but it is still unclear as to whether he is leaving of his own accord or if he has been dismissed by the unofficial Freedom Collective, over which he had a degree of influence.  A year ago Mr. Meinke was questioned by the Metropolitan Police after an incident in the Freedom Press Bookshop in which he played a role trying to prevent someone from participating in last year's Friends of Freedom Press' AGM.
The story of the strange departure of Mr. Meinke came to Northern Voices on the evening of the 16th, June, when we got the following e-mail from someone unknown to us in London:
'Thought you would like to know I was listening to Dissident Island Radio earlier this evening. Andy Meinke, has a regular five minute slot on the two-hour show.  He said at the end of his usual schtick that he was leaving Freedom and there would be a farewell drink in the shop at 2pm this Sunday' 
Almost a week later this same source informed us:
'The edition of Dissident Island Radio I referred to last week is online.  The final section of Andy's slot where he mentions leaving has been removed and one of the shows sweary radio idents has been inserted to camouflage the edit.  Heaven knows what he's up to.'
Later, our informant further updated us:
'The situation has spilled over on to Facebook with Meinke and others, including that anarchist can't recall his name who works for the Morning Star (editor: this is presumably Simon Saunders, formally from Ipswich). Facebook is a no-go zone for me so I haven't followed it'
Our informant ends up with a warning by saying:
'I have no doubt your group's commendable actions precipitated this.  The only questions remaining are what carnage will be discovered in his wake, and if the place (Freedom Press Bookshop) doesn't collapse, who will replace him.'
Another metropolitan pundit writes today in response to the news of Mr. Meinke's departure:
'Good news for Freedom.  Maybe not so good for wherever he ends up next.' 
Ultimately. the Friends of Freedom Press (FFP) themselves, particularly the FFP Secretary Steven Charles Sorba appointed as secretary of FFP in 2002, should be asking themselves how they came to allow someone like Andy Meinke to be employed for so long, empowered as a virtual overlord to very dubious goings on, without the directors applying any obvious restraints. It may be just a coincidence but the decline of Freedom newspaper seems to date from 2002, when Harold Schulthorpe, then living in Hebden Bridge, resigned as secretary of FFP, and Steve Sorba took over.
Those readers interested in the details could do worse than read Chris Draper's accounts of the history of Freedom:


hypoxia said...

Have the Friends of Freedom have changed the locks and carried out a stocktake once the state agent vacated the premises?

'M' said...

People Recruiting people from outside the South East to become Friends looks like an inspired decision.

Kevin said...

Hiya Brian,
I read your article on Freedom with interest.
They treated you very badly.
Hope things improve now

Subzorro said...

Brian have you considered a career with The Sun? Because this article, with its emotionally charged insinuations, would fit at The Sun very well.

Just to clarify a few things:

1. Andy Mainke left Freedom for pretty clear reasons, and, if you don't know them, then obviously you've been out of touch for a while. In the future, I suggest you focus your writing on issues you are familiar with.

2. Your rather disgusting allegation of Andy Mainke being a grass is missing a few facts too. First of all, being interviewed by the cops may not be honorable thing to do, however, it is more honorable than calling the cops. In this particular incident, you were the one to do just that. It was also you who were removed from the AGM. The reson for that was that you were violent with a woman. I would think both of those facts should be mentioned in any writing refering to this incident.

3. For your information: online radio shows get edited all the time. Try to make one, and you will find that out pretty quickly.

bammy said...

Don’t worry, we'll have more to say about what’s been going on down at FREEDOM PRESS. We just don’t want to over-face anyone. Mr. Subzorro will have to hang-on in the anarcho hang-out until we’re ready to reveal more of what we know. Watch this space!

Nothingness said...

That's nice, Subzorro's a sound engineer. I heard the show with my mates. We all heard it loud and clear. Please explain to the huddled masses why those specific few seconds were removed.
(Puts large bowl of popcorn in the microwave)

MakhnosEvilTwin said...

Much hilarity ensued on reading this in Chez Maknho. We are supposed to believe those in and around Freedom have suddenly realised the most toxic and divisive individual in London anarchism has a vile mouth. A more plausible interpretation would be that Andy Monger hacked off allies so often they could no longer look away from his worst excesses.
Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the case, making NV persona non grata is a disgrace and the FFP should remove the statement and publicly apologise. The fact that any anarchist believes they are entitled to dictate to others who they can and can't associate with is an affront to anarchism.

hypoxia said...

Freedom wasn't an anarcho hang-out. It was a space used by a clique who believed they were a vanguard while they looked down on other anarchists.

hypoxia said...

An email correspondent said:
'Good news for Freedom. Maybe not so good for wherever he ends up next.'
Speaking of which:
Who was his previous employer?
Did he leave under a cloud?
Did they give him a reference?
Did any of the FFP bother checking his references?
Did anyone at Freedom enthusiastically support his application?

N.V. Editor said...

Poor Simon Saunders! Will he now do the right thing as editor of the FREEDOM website, and explain how things fell apart at FREEDOM, and why Andy Meinke had to leave? Or is he going to wait for others to do the job for him? Afterall, Andy has already given his own 'pretty clear reasons' on Facebook for why he had to go. Mr Saunders, the hired 'Morning Star' hack, has been much less clear about his role in these events.

D*I said...

Loathe as we are to wade into this mud slinging match, a degree of clarity needs to be brought regards editorial policy:

a) Dissident Island shows are predominantly geared towards giving people the opportunity to engage in future activities

b) Each live show is recorded and then edited to create a more listenable podcast. Predominantly this involves the removal of ‘umms’ and ‘ahhs’ as well as repetition but sometimes also irrelevant information.

In this case the conspiracy being alluded to above is nothing more than information (the time and location of Andy’s leaving drinks) which was out of date at the time of the podcast being uploaded being removed so as to reduce superfluous information.

It is heartening to hear that people are actually paying attention, we never really thought anyone was listening!

N.V. Editor said...

Thank you for the explanation 'D*I'. It seems a perfectly reasonable account as to why the broadcast was edited, although some of our readers seem sceptical. Part of the problem may be that what’s now going on at FREEDOM these days seems anthropological strange. It is strange indeed that FREEDOM newspaper, which for more than a generation was edited by a man who wrote ‘Lessons of the Spanish Revolution’, should now end up with a web-site edited by Simon Saunders, a man employed by the Communist Morning Star.

D*I said...

Your readers are welcome to be sceptical, they can choose to read other meanings into this particular edit if they see fit (although no obvious alternate explanation springs to mind). Regards what is/isn't going on at freedom, we have no agenda there and there doesn't seem to be a clear correlation with our editorial policy thus we have no comment to make, our intent here is simply to offer clarity on an issue raised in one particular post.

N.V. Editor said...

N.V. didn't aim to use a scattergun. We naturally have concerns about what is happening at FREEDOM, but we respect D*I's editorial policy as described in its comments.