Working Class Movement Library

A blog from the Working Class Movement Library in Salford

Best wishes to all @Freedom_Paper

Posted by wcmlibrary on February 4, 2013

We’re horrified to hear about what police are treating as an arson attack on the Freedom Press bookshop in east London early on Friday morning.  Photos of the damage and details of how people can respond are on their Web site here.  Heartening to hear that the bookshop has re-opened today, after an extensive collective clear-up operation over the weekend.

Freedom Press, which comprises
» Freedom newspaper
» Freedom Bookshop
» Freedom publishing
is a longstanding anarchist publisher based in Whitechapel.

To quote from the history page on their Web site:

The first Freedom emerged from the British socialist movement in the early 1880s. At that time there were several overlapping organisations with associated periodicals – the Social Democratic Federation with Justice and Today, the Fabian Society with the Practical Socialist and Our Corner, the Socialist League with the Commonweal, and so on.  Anarchists were active in all these, but there were no separate anarchist initiatives in the country until the formation of a “circle of English anarchists” in May 1885.  This group included both Continental émigrés (Such a Nikola Chaikovski and Severio Merlino) and native British anarchists; among the latter the leading member was Charlotte Wilson, who was both well educated and well off, and who was an active writer and speaker advocating anarchism in socialist organisations and publications from 1884.

When Peter Kropotkin, the best-known figure in the international anarchist movement, was released from prison in France in January 1886, Charlotte Wilson was responsible for the group inviting him to come to Britain to join them.  He settled in England in March 1886, and the group decided to produce a new anarchist paper after their separation from the English Anarchist Circle and The Anarchist edited by Henry Seymour. In addition to Freedom, the group eventually set up Freedom Press, the main publisher of anarchist literature in England. This was the origin of Freedom and the Freedom Press’.

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