What Iain said!

In response to the news of the Liberty archive’s first-phase completion, my friend Iain commented, “now, if only someone could do that for Freedom between 1886 and 1926!”

Amen! And for Mother Earth, and for any number of other important anarchist papers and journals. I’ve started to work up a text archive of the six issues of The Rebel (Boston, 1895-6), an anarchist-communist paper, which had a few Voltairine de Cleyre items in it, in part because it looked like a simple job, and because I wanted to look at something other than issues of Liberty and Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly for a change. Partly, I tackled it because it was there, and we ought to do what we can to make locally available bits of our history available more universally.

I’m working on a proposal for the Liberty Site that suggests both a philosophy and some mechanisms for gathering up our scattered heritage, using Liberty and the debates within and around it as a focus, and our interest in those debates as an engine, for extending and improving the existing archive. If someone was willing to begin a similar scanning project with Freedom, Mother Earth, or any of the other significant social anarchist periodicals, we could, if nothing else, bring to bear that much more interest and, one would hope, labor. If anyone is interested in attempting such a thing, get in touch. Perhaps we can work out some way of making it happen.

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2701 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.


  1. “my friend Iain”? That will get you into trouble on Wikipedia from the haters of “An Anarchist FAQ”, you know 🙂

    Talking of back issues of Freedom, I did ask the current editors if they had an archive going back that far but they said no. Unfortunately, the planned volume 1 of selections from Freedom has never appeared (announced in 1986, only the supplement Kropotkin’s “Act for Yourselves” has been published). Again, the current editors did not think that it would be appearing any time soon.

    The Anarchy Archives has a few copies of Freedom from that period, but not many. I would love to get my hands on a few of them but I do not have the time (just now) to get them into electronic format if I did. Maybe in 2009?

    Oh, btw, I’m about to start revising section G of “An Anarchist FAQ” (the section on individualist anarchism). So Shawn’s work has come at a very appropriate time!

    Also, if anyone has any positive comments and suggestions, I would love to hear them — but, please, no pointless arguments about “anarcho”-capitalism really being a form of individualist anarchism.

    Please contact me via the FAQ webpage, if you do have anything to suggest.

    I want to make the FAQ as good as possible and part of that is getting the ideas of individualist anarchism better known in anarchist circles. It would be a crying shame if their legacy was appropriated by right-wingers who dismiss their “bad” economics and social vision.


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