The anarchist journal, Freedom, is no spring chicken. It’s not quite as old as the London Charivari or Punch Magazine but it does date back to an impressive 1886. It has not quite been one uninterrupted series of publications but since 1936 there have been very few stoppages.
Freedom has a mission statement published in every issue as follows:
“Anarchists work towards a society of mutual aid and voluntary co-operation. We reject all government and economic repression. This newspaper, published continuously since 1936, exists to explain anarchism more widely and show that only in an anarchist society can human freedom thrive.”
While that statement in itself doesn’t really shed much light on the subject of anarchism, it does prompt the casual reader to take a closer look at the journal if they’re keen on learning a bit more.
1886 was the year in which the first version of Freedomi was published. It was then and is now a not-for-profit venture and the volunteers behind the first publication were Peter Kropotkin and Charlotte Wilson. Kropotkin was a Russian communist and author of several influential tomes and Wilson was an early member of the socialist Fabian Society.
It’s always been called Freedom but the subtitle has varied; the first was “A Journal of Anarchist Socialism” but by 1889 it had become “A Journal of anarchist Communism“. Currently it has no subtitle.
One might describe Freedom as more of a diary publication with a review section attached. It has articles and editorials but much of the content is devoted to reviewing other anarchist, socialist and communist publications. The diary section lists upcoming events involving associated groups and organisations. One might argue that this lack of self-promotion is all part of the socialist/anarchist ethos of reciprocal aid – at least for similar groups and publications.
Freedom is published by Freedom Press which is the largest anarchist published in the United Kingdom. Based in arguably it’s spiritual home of London’s East End, over the years it has published a number of anarchist, socialist and related titles and it’s editorial team is a who’s who of British socialist commentators.