The Freedom Collective, publishers of Freedom, the anarchist periodical founded in 1886, decided at a meeting on 3 March 2014 to discontinue printing and concentrate on online publication. After the second printed edition of 2014, the intention is to publish a special edition for the anarchist bookfair in October, and after that to print only occasional free sheets.
Peace News and Freedom have much in common. Donald Rooum, who has contributed cartoons to Peace News since 1962, has been associated with Freedom since 1944, and his Wildcat strip cartoon has appeared in every issue of Freedom since January 1988.
The Freedom Collective issued the following statement on 10 March 2014:
"Since Freedom: A Journal of Anarchist Socialism first appeared in 1886 it has been in the form of a newspaper to be sold. Now the Freedom Collective has decided that we shall move content online, accompanied by a freesheet, after publication of the upcoming second issue of 2014.
We have come to realise that a sold hardcopy newspaper is no longer a viable means of promoting the anarchist message. Despite a huge publicity boost to Freedom following the firebomb attack last year (shop sales rose 50%) there has not been a corresponding increase in distribution of the paper.
Only 29 shops, social centres and individuals now sell it and the number of paying subscribers has fallen to 225. As a result annual losses now amount to £3,500, an unsustainable level for our shoestring budget.
Readers will have noticed that the paper has struggled to come out on time for some while. An underlying problem has been a lack of capacity to sustain it. We had hoped that Freedom would be adopted as the paper of the anarchist movement. Despite a great deal of goodwill from anarchist groups and individuals, which has helped to stave off the inevitable many times over the years, sadly this hasn’t happened.
Although Freedom Press has changed from a political group with a particular point of view to a resource for anarchism as a whole, we have not managed to shake the legacy of the past and get different groups to back it as a collective project. We hope an online version and freesheet will make that possible. Subscribers will be offered a refund or book in lieu but we are happy to accept donations towards the costs of the new project. Charlotte Dingle will remain as editor and of course the shop, publishing and book distribution will continue as normal. As will the use of Angel Alley for meetings, events, offices, postal addresses and drop-in protest advice.
The print version could not have continued so long without the generosity of Aldgate Press, currently amounting to a subsidy of nearly £10,000 a year. They have very kindly agreed to print an occasional freesheet and a special final edition, which will be released for the London Anarchist Bookfair in October.
Many thanks to all who have contributed to the paper in the past and who will, we hope, support its online successor."