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Sat, 25 Jan 1997 22:42:42 GMT


FREEDOM (anarchist fortnightly) 84b, Whitechapel High St., London E1 7QX UK ----------- Sender: a-infos-request@tao.ca Precedence: bulk Reply-To: a-infos-d@tao.ca

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THE ANTI-ELECTION CAMPAIGN HAS STARTED

Inevitably with a General Election at most some four months away, the politicians, old and aspiring, will be selling themselves in their constituencies aided and abetted by the media hacks who will give them the same space as at present is dominated by the football racket. Last but not least, the politically dormant or apathetic electorate will briefly come to life, flattered by all the attention their cross on a piece of paper is attracting. And at the end of the four months in the political market-place, with all the promises, the denunciations of the others parties and the counting of the crosses, the electorate exhausted by the effort and concentration required (perhaps even discussion with your neighbour) will once more slump into apathy and indifference. And the new government - red, blue or brown will, after the ceremonies and the 'Queen's speech' (not hers), get down to the real business of double-cross.=20

In our opinion anarchists should take advantage of this quinquennial 'political' circus and try to reach as many as possible of the growing number of our fellow citizens who will not vote for the politicians not through apathy but because they feel isolated in their political views, who are not consciously anarchists but who in fact might realise that they were if they knew about Freedom Press and our journals, books and pamphlets. =20 This is not just wishful thinking. The evergrowing success of the Anarchist Bookfair is just one example, and the recent feature article by Richard Boston in The Guardian 2 about the anarchists which included a paragraph giving details about Freedom Press and our journals has resulted in more than a hundred new subscribers and enquiries for our literature lists. =20

And The Guardian's Sunday sister The Observer (12th January) starts on the front page an article "introducing the Abstention Party" by Dave Hill. No, it's not an article supporting the anarchists' abstentionism. Most of the abstainers interviewed were proposing to do so either for very personal reasons or because the political parties were not living up to their expectations. Towards the end he introduces Observer readers to "Britain's most stately anarchist" (today not even serious hacks can avoid such jeux de mots) "a veteran advocate of mutual aid who has only ever voted once". Mr Hill's 'stately anarchist' Colin Ward points out that:=20 "'That was for my local parish council, which was a very different matter. I wanted to elect people who would provide affordable housing for local people'. Did it make a difference? 'No'."=20

Ward's small deviation confirmed his stance - the traditional anarchist one that voting doesn't change anything (a famous piece of London graffiti once proclaimed that if it did they'd make it illegal). 'It's a means of deceiving people so they don't take action on their own', he explains. So is anarchism thriving in the age of lost illusions? Do ecowarriors and travelling communitarians count? 'Undoubtedly a lot of people involved in those kinds of popular movements and direct action are anarchists, whether they call themselves that or not. And that's the way to make things change. I want to see those kinds of organisations take the place of the parliamentary system'."=20

Unfortunately no free publicity for Freedom Press. Why should they give publicity to ideas which advocate the abolition of the capitalist system on which all our national press depends. =20

That same Sunday every national Sunday carried a double-page advertisement for James Goldsmith's Referendum Party, at a cost we estimate at not less than half a million pounds. This has been going on for months but Sir Goldyballs is a multi-millionaire playing with politics as that other multimillionaire exhibitionist, Richard Branson, plays with hot air= balloons. =20

Obviously anarchists cannot compete with the billionaires, and the millionaire supporters of both Labour and Tory parties. But in our opinion we would be missing an opportunity in the months ahead if we did not make a special effort to reach that minority of thinking people who have no faith in the political parties (and neither, we hope, in the church's politicians or God's infallibility) by a modest advertising campaign. For such a campaign to be successful we shall not be employing the notorious Max Clifford to advise us, but you our readers throughout these islands. This briefly is our suggestion and plan: What we aim to do is to have Freedom, The Raven and a selection of Freedom Press titles on sale in at least one bookshop or newsagent in all the main towns and cities in the UK and to take out paid advertisements in the local press drawing readers' attention to our anti-election position, to our literature and to the bookshop/ newsagent stocking it.

We haven't the organisation to carry such a tour. Anyway, even if we could why waste hard-earned money when we have readers and comrades throughout the country who could do the necessary in an hour?

Here's the challenge. We call on all our comrade readers to: 1) contact the bookseller/newsagent they think most sympathetic to our cause and intentions to stock a selection of our titles (on a sale-orreturn basis and at a discount of 35% on sales); 2) to send us (or get the publishers to send us) a copy of the local newspaper they think most suitable, with advertising rates.

Finally, *money*. We start the fund with =A31,000 from a well-wisher. We should aim at raising =A310,000 in the next couple of months if we are to= make a real success of the project. We can assure you all that it will be money carefully and well spent. We must take advantage of the electoral circus to make more and more people aware that the alternative to having a bunch of politicians running our lives is to tell them loud and clear that we are intent on running our own lives and telling the world as much.=20

FREEDOM PRESS http://www.lglobal.com/TAO/Freedom

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