Freedom (British newspaper)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
TypeBi-annual journal
Owner(s)Freedom Press
PublisherFreedom Press
Political alignmentAnarchist
Headquarters84b Whitechapel High Street, London
Sister newspapersFreedom Bulletin
Spain and the World
War Commentary

Freedom is a London-based anarchist website and biannual journal published by Freedom Press which was formerly either a monthly, a fortnightly or a weekly newspaper. It is the world's oldest surviving anarchist publication.

The paper was started in 1886 by volunteers including Peter Kropotkin and Charlotte Wilson and continued with a short interruption in the 1930s until 2014 as a regular publication, moving its news production online and publishing irregularly until 2016, when it became a bi-annual. Originally, the subtitle was "A Journal of Anarchist Socialism". The title was changed to "A Journal of Anarchist Communism" in June 1889. Currently it's labelled simply as an "Anarchist Journal". The newspaper's mission statement was originally stated in every issue and summarises the writers' view of anarchism:

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.

The current printed issue does not carry a summary, but the website retains a section of the original 1886 introductory essay by Peter Kropotkin:

We are socialists, disbelievers in property, advocates of the equal claims of all to work for the community as seems good — calling no-one master, and of the equal claim to each to satisfy as seems good to them, their natural needs from the stock of social wealth they have laboured to produce ...We are anarchists, disbelievers in the government of the many by the few in any shape and under any pretext.


1886 front page
September 1897 front page

The paper historically featured news from the peace and labour movements and events as well as listing planned events and protests. Staying true to Kropotkin's principle of mutual aid, the paper regularly featured reviews of other anarchist and libertarian socialist publications, such as Organise! and Direct Action as well as other local and international newsletters and journals.

In 2006, the paper gained a colour front for the first time in its history. Along with a number of gradual changes in the content and structure of the paper and organisational changes at Freedom Press, Freedom got a re-design in January 2008. While remaining a fortnightly newspaper, it doubled the number of pages to 16 and reduced to A4 in size, introducing a basic theory section, dedicated business and public sector pages and an increased story count.[1] In late 2011, it switched from fortnightly to monthly publication, which continued until its closure as a regular paper in 2014. It cost £2 per issue.

On 1 March 2014, Freedom announced the closure of its print edition as a monthly publication,[2] continuing to publish online alongside a bi-annual printed freesheet. This was expanded into a 20-page journal from 2016. Frequency dropped to one issue per year during the 2020-2021 Covid pandemic. Freedom currently sees two print issues a year, joined by the daily website Freedom News.[3]


Note that this is a non-comprehensive list:

Related publications[edit]

Spain and the World was an anarchist publication founded in 1936 by Vernon Richards[13] with former Freedom writers, which had effectively ceased publication in 1932. The intention was to provide an English-language publication to support Spanish anarchists who were at that time achieving a measure of political influence through the anarchist trade union Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) and other organisations. Spain and the World had several notable contributors, including Emma Goldman, Herbert Read, Ethel Mannin and John Cowper Powys.[14]

Between the end of the Spanish Civil War and the outbreak of World War II, the fortnightly Spain and the World briefly became Revolt! in 1939 before adopting the title War Commentary. In 1945, War Commentary resumed the title of Freedom.

In 1944, Richards, his wife Marie-Louise Berneri and two others associated with the paper (Philip Sansom and John Hewetson) were charged with conspiring to cause disaffection among members of the armed forces. Despite a defence campaign backed by the likes of George Orwell, Michael Tippett, T. S. Eliot and Benjamin Britten, Vernon, Sansom and Hewetson were convicted and served nine months in jail.[15]

Freedom Press compiled a selection of articles from Freedom in the 1991 book The State Is Your Enemy.[16]

Related pages[edit]


  1. ^ Rob Ray's blog includes an analysis of story counts in the anarchist press: [1]
  2. ^ Archived 2014-07-14 at the Wayback Machine )offline)
  3. ^ "About". Freedom News. Retrieved 2024-04-16.
  4. ^ "Matt Kavanagh letter to Tom Keell". Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Rooum, Donald (Summer 2008). "A short history of Freedom Press" (PDF). Information for Social Change (27). Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 July 2019. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  6. ^ "Freedom news paper changes". Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  7. ^ Ray, Rob. "Freedom…". Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  8. ^ Bone, Ian (16 March 2009). "Freedom's Got Talent". Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  9. ^ "Freedom Archive". Freedom Press. Retrieved 18 April 2023.
  10. ^ "Freedom Archive". Freedom Press. Retrieved 18 April 2023.
  11. ^ "Freedom Spring Update (2023)". Freedom Press. 18 April 2023. Retrieved 18 April 2023.
  12. ^ "Freedom Spring Update (2023)". Freedom Press. 18 April 2023. Retrieved 18 April 2023.
  13. ^ Vernon Richards biography Archived 2008-05-09 at the Wayback Machine (offline)
  14. ^ George Woodcock, Anarchism:A History p.383.
  15. ^ Colin Ward's article on Vernon Richards in the UK Guardian
  16. ^ Kinna, Ruth (2012-06-28). The Bloomsbury Companion to Anarchism. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 388. ISBN 978-1-4411-4270-2.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]