Freedom Discussion Meetings [Apr, 1888]


Entry 2994


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Revolt Library Anarchism Freedom Discussion Meetings [Apr, 1888]

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(1854 - 1944)

: Charlotte M. Wilson was an English Fabian and anarchist who co-founded Freedom newspaper in 1886 with Peter Kropotkin, and edited, published, and largely financed it during its first decade. She remained editor of Freedom until 1895. Born Charlotte Mary Martin, she was the daughter of a well-to-do physician, Robert Spencer Martin. She was educated at Newnham College at Cambridge University. She married Arthur Wilson, a stockbroker, and the couple moved to London. Charlotte Wilson joined the Fabian Society in 1884 and soon joined its Executive Committee. At the same time she founded an informal political study group for 'advanced' thinkers, known as the Hampstead Historic Club (also known as the Karl Marx Society or The Proudhon Society). This met in her former early 17th century farmhouse, called Wyldes, on the edge of Hampstead Heath. No records of the club survive but there are references to it in the memoirs of several of those who attended. In her history of Wyldes Mrs Wilson records the names of some of those who visited the house, most of whom are known to have been present at Club meetings. They included Sidney Webb, George Bernard Shaw, Sydney Olivier, Annie Besant, Graham W... (From:

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Freedom Discussion Meetings [Apr, 1888]

 Photo by The Naked Ape, CC BY-NC-ND License

Photo by The Naked Ape,
CC BY-NC-ND License

Over 200 people crowded the little hall at 13, Farringdon Road, at our second meeting, on March 15th. The debate was to have been on Individualist and Communist Anarchism; but as no Individualists or Mutualists appeared to state their side of the question, the discussion turned chiefly on Free Communism.

Comrade Kropotkin opened the proceedings with an hour's speech, which we print elsewhere. When he resumed his seat, the audience showed their interest in the subject by a brisk fire of questions, and then engaged in a somewhat desultory debate.

The chief result of the discussion was to show that we Socialists of all shades of opinion are a long way yet from a thorough common understanding. 11 Nature is not slow to equip us in the prison uniform of the party to which we adhere," says Emerson, and we are no exceptions to that rule. Like all parties, we have our party phrases and modes of expression, and are too apt to use these as masks for ideas borrowed or half thought out. One consequence is a confusion as to the actual meaning of our commonest terms when we try in earnest to compare our thoughts. For instance, we Communist Anarchists are evidently not agreed with our Social Democrat comrades as to what is really meant by Communism. That must be cleared up. But first we propose to have one more quite general discussion.

The next meeting will be held at 13, Farringdon Road, E.C., on April 12th, at 8.30 p.m.

The discussion will be opened by Dr. Merlino. Subject : "Is Communist-Anarchism the Logical Outcome of Socialism?"

Freedom: A Journal of Anarchist Socialism
Vol. 2 -- No. 19,
APRIL, 1888

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April 1, 1888
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