Freedom Press Reopens

February 3, 2013


Freedom Press will be reopening on Monday after a monumental effort over the weekend. Over the past couple of days, over a hundred people have flocked to Freedom Bookshop to help clean up the downstairs space, scrub the blackened walls and try to salvage as many books as possible. People were clearly shaken by what had happened but the overwhelming feeling was one of quiet determination and positivity about the scale of a response that has seen people rush to help clean up, send messages of solidarity and donate funds from around the world.

The oldest anarchist publishing house in the English-speaking world was firebombed in the early hours of  February 1 2013. Fire services arrived at around 5am and took around two hours to extinguish the blaze, which according to the London Fire Brigade damaged around 15% of the ground floor of the shop.

No injuries were sustained as there was nobody on the premises when the attack took place. The ground floor of the building received the bulk of the damage as a significant amount of stock was destroyed. Freedom tweeted on the day: “Not sure yet whether archives survived – we had one of only a few sets covering almost the entire printed history of the paper boxed in shop.”

Set up by a group of friends in 1886 (including the great anarchist theorist Peter Kropotkin), Freedom has been at the heart of London’s anarchist community for over a century. In 1993, the building was similarly attacked by neo-fascist group Combat 18. At the time of writing, the perpetrators of this attack are unknown and the police have said “the incident is being treated as suspicious and that inquiries into the blaze’s circumstances are under way.” There has been little reporting of this in the mainstream media because apparently politically-motivated arson in the nation’s capital isn’t newsworthy.

Freedom Press will need solidarity and contributions over the coming weeks and months – the insurance on the building had expired recently. For more info follow them on Twitter @freedom_paper or visit their website: Cheques or postal orders made payable to Freedom Press can be also be addressed to Freedom Press, 84b Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX.


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