FREEDOM BOOKSHOP, London’s most famous anarchist press and bookshop, has been firebombed.

The attack on the Whitechapel premises took place on Friday morning in the small hours. Police were alerted by the Fire Brigade at 5.30am.

The downstairs section of the shop is badly damaged. Electrics are damaged. Many books are burnt or charred. Upstairs is untouched. No one was hurt.

The exact nature of the weapon is not yet known. A device was projected through the shutters of a downstairs shop-window; or petrol was poured through and set alight.

An emergency meeting is taking place on Friday afternoon – as this article is being written – at The White Hart pub close to Angel Alley.

No one has claimed responsibility and the general response can be summed up in three letters: WTF?

A police forensics squad has examined the premises. The perpetrator ‘may have been caught on CCTV’.

The Left has a whodunnit to solve. A book-burning is intolerable enough. A bookshop-burning is a very serious crime.

Also, there is a mess to clean up and a campaign to raise funds.

Publishers, record shops, and magazines have already pledged to donate stock and sales proceeds to help FREEDOM rebuild.

A member of the FREEDOM collective said: ‘Could you please help spread the word about donating to rebuild the shop? We are setting up a donation page. In the meanwhile, anyone who wants to donate can do so by ordering a book/s through the website, and emailing us at to let us know that your purchase was a donation. Thanks!’

Even broke poets can donate:

People will gather at the shop from 1pm on Saturday Feb 2 to start the work. All welcome. Bring cleaning stuff, dust masks, gardening gloves etc.

The manager of the bookshop, Andy Meinke,  said from the safety of The White Hart: ‘Freedom will carry on in the same haphazard way it always has – the Fascists have just driven us to the pub a little bit earlier in the day than otherwise. Unfortunately, copies of the Raven have been irreparably damaged which, as you can imagine, is a great loss to the movement. We thank all those who have contacted us today with their solidarity. We remain united in the struggle against Fascism.’

FREEDOM’s incredible history began in 1886, with Peter Kropotkin as one of the founders. This is the latest episode in a very colourful story. There are worries that complete print archives of the press may have been damaged or destroyed.

Here are some shots of the interior:





Niall McDevitt

Photos: Max Reeves of FREEDOM BOOKSHOP AND AUTONOMY CLUB!/groups/246036957900/10151267705952901/?comment_id=10151267817052901&notif_t=group_comment_reply

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  1. Davy King says:

    What an utter drag! I feel really shocked & upset by the news.

    Used to read & sell Freedom during the 70s. In fact I shared a house with the guy who printed it for them, so used to help him out & delivered the newspaper hot from the press to their London shop in Angel Alley….

    • Editor says:

      It’s saddening and maddening news. We hope that FREEDOM, which has had a run of bad luck recently, can get back on its feet very soon. We also hope that this attack will help to reunite people of the left who have been much divided of late.

  2. Editor says:


    ‘Donate a Poem for Freedom’ is a fundraising campaign to raise money for Freedom Bookshop after the firebombing 1/2/13.
    ‘Donate a Poem for Freedom’ is a fundraising campaign to raise money for Freedom Bookshop after the firebombing 1/2/13 . If you are a poet/know a poet who would like to donate then please inbox me. If you want to show your solidarity LIKE and SHARE!
    The collection will be published via LULU and proceeds will go to Freedom Bookshop.
    Submission topics: freedom, liberty, oppression, free speech.
    Deadline: 1st March
    Submit to: Alex Clarke on or @

  3. Avalon says:

    I suppose this presents a bit of a problem for the workers there, they will now have to co opporate with th enasty facist Policeman to find who did this? Hopefully this will show there is good in everyone when we work together , even the police.

  4. lost says:

    i only heard this awful news late this afternoon from a good friend,who will be helping with the clear up.

    i also am really shocked and distressed by this event.

    as an anti sectarian libertarian revolutionary socialist,i regard Freedom as a beacon/landmark in our living movement of anarchist AND revolutionary socialist ideas.i will be spreading the word,and writing about this when and where i can.i will try to collect some money to support the rebuild etc.whtechapel and”our”movement would have a big hole without you.i am sorry i cannot be there -i have other campagning commitments and franky,now disabled i may not be much use,but send my solidarity greetings and good wishes.keep on keeping on,comrades

  5. nisi says:

    this is utterly gross news! solidarity from folks in Dublin. Unfortunately many of us cant be there in person to help with the clean up. However, we have a documentary screening planned for this week that we will now be using as a fundraiser for you guys aswell. I was just wondering, is there any documentaries available about Freedom Press that you can recommend showing? We can add it to the bill to make the eve a wee bit more relevant..

    Best wishes, stay strong

  6. Wendy Davis says:

    Shocked to hear about the firebombing…. do we know “whodunnit”?

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  8. Cindy and Bob says:

    I am so saddened to learn of this today. Please let us know if we can help in any way.

  9. ollie says:

    Heard about the news last night. Will not be at the clean-up, but will help in other ways. Firstly could you put up a wish list on the freedom press website (materials, tools….etc. needed). The photos were a good idea to post as it gives a clear view of the damage caused, I can see that amp fuses and possibly a head company fuse is needed, wires and box needs replacing. I will have a chat around today to see if a benefit gig could be put together, possibly at Grosvenor pub, possibly Reknaw sound crew. The System, Liberty and Anthrax will be playing at the Grosvenor tonight 2nd feb. saturday; If anyone from freedom collective could make it down to give a description of the events and the help needed (passing a bucket around for donations). Take care and good luck, if anything hopefully this situation will bring people together. Mutual aid and solidarity.

  10. Pingback: Burnt books and cleaning – Freedom Bookshop clean-up report | ana.

  11. Jill Rock says:

    Outrageous – this is more than the thin end of the wedge – will be there to help – Jill

  12. Claire says:

    Maybe we should organise a fundraiser event, get some bands, and the old IT crew together to get this place up and running again!

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