Freedom Collective Statement on Brian Bamford

We’re sad to report an incident which occurred today(June 22) at the Freedom building, in which a member of the Freedom Press collective and one of the nominees for the Friends of Freedom were attacked by Brian Bamford, a former contributor to Freedom newspaper who has been excluded from involvement for the last four years due to his unreasonable behaviour. Bamford and his three pals had previously been engaged in a lengthy campaign of online harassment against both the collective and its individual members, following a dispute at the 2012 London Anarchist Bookfair in which he felt we had failed to back his grievance against another organisation. From 230 miles away he took it upon himself to punish a collective he had mostly never met for not pushing what he wanted. He and his chum Chris Draper called this smear job an “expose.” This campaign culminated at the Friends AGM at which he appeared, unannounced, despite having been told he was not welcome in the building, in order to criticise the collective and attempt to have Freedom, sold to fund a website more in line with his own philosophy. After he refused to leave, the Friends allowed him to speak then asked him to wait outside. Having walked down the stairs he then refused to leave the building, attempting to push over the woman who was in his way. Two collective members subsequently took him by the arms and dragged him out. He followed this by charging at a collective member who was blocking the front door, bouncing off and falling over. He got up, and failing to push past, put them in a headlock and stamped on their feet until restrained from doing so.  This was a 72-year-old man repeatedly attacking a 35-year-old who refused to be drawn into a fight. Bamford’s conduct has repeatedly been disgraceful for most of the last four years. He has sneered at, defamed, doxxed and impugned anyone who disagreed with him, and dragged respected comrades and organisations’ names through the mud in his quest to pull down Freedom Press.  As a collective we have, until now, not commented publicly on his appalling behaviour as we felt that it served no purpose to give him the oxygen of publicity. However following his bizarre physical attacks on members of Freedom Press and the Friends, we feel we should make it clear that Brian, and his three pals who have enabled him throughout, have no place in the anarchist movement.  Their brand of disruptive, bullying, self-aggrandising tantrum-throwing is unacceptable and should not be given any support by anarchist or progressive organisations. In our view they should not be welcome in anarchist spaces nor published in the anarchist outlets – they are persona non grata in our eyes. We hope other organisations will support us in rejecting their toxic approach.

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