Freedom News

The Anarchist Big Issue

If you know, then you know. They be slanging DOPE in Angel Alley.

Sliding up past Whitechapel Gallery like a needle to a vein, people come for two kinds. One of them they smoke in foil wraps with dragon flame lighters.  

The other they give out at the anarchist bookshop, targeting kids, prisoners and homeless people.

It’s handed out in plastic bags for free, 10 hits at a time, in solidarity with the homeless to sell at £3 a hit to make what they can for food, clothes, shelter.

The key difference: one is a symptom of capitalism, the other a remedy.

This is DOPE.  

Instead of narco-consumerism, this is anarchist propaganda, promoting the deed as much as the word. 

“Our street vendors are mostly homeless people. We say that it’s for anyone who could use a bit of solidarity, and it’s no questions asked – if you want to work with us selling DOPE Magazine to raise some funds for yourself, that’s good enough for us.”

It’s just one of the texts radical publishers Dog Section Press are putting out, as well as a pamphlet series on Great Anarchists, an upcoming book on fascism by the crew behind 12 Rules For What, subvertising text Advertising Shits In Your Head and books directly supporting international autonomous struggles.

“All money from sales of Make Rojava Green Again goes to the Internationalist Commune of Rojava. They put it into setting up their academy and various environmental projects. Sales of books here are going to plant trees and support solidarity on the ground in Rojava.”

Even the cops had a hand in distributing DOPE.

“The first projects were funded through a mixture of some money one of our crew got in compensation from the Met police and crowd funding. Paying for the ACAB pamphlet with the Met’s own money was a nice moment.”

East London Strippers Collective at DOPE party

Run voluntarily and horizontally as a radical publishing affinity group, all the money they make from sales and subscriptions goes back into the cooperative’s efforts, in particular printing more solidarity copies of DOPE Magazine for street-vendors.

Daily the vendors turn up eager for more copies, to the point where DSP have had to limit the number they give to individuals to ensure there are enough to share around. Starting out printing 1000 copies per issue back in 2016, the last issue (Autumn 2019) went up to 5000 copies. 

Next they want to print 10,000. And you can help.

“We wanted to do something in solidarity with both prisoners and homeless people is that prison and homelessness affect absolutely everyone, either directly or indirectly. Whether by accident or by design, the fear of prison or the street is what keeps people compliant. And it can’t be said enough: no-one is free until everyone is free.”

DOPE is funded by people buying a copy online, or taking out a subscription, or supporting them on Patreon. It is a direct way of contributing to autonomous and political support of homeless and imprisoned people.

“We’ve reached the point in the economies of scale now where it only costs £75 to print an extra 1000 copies. The cover price is £3, so that equates to £3000 to the people selling it on the street. To us that seems like a pretty good (and cheap!) win-win – anarchist propaganda in the hands of people who might not otherwise have read it, and money in the pocket of people who need it most.”

The next issue of DOPE (Winter 2019) is due out on 21st November. What if beyond 10k we were able to keep going, flooding the city with DOPE.


Solidarity projects only work with support of persons like yourself. 

To be blunt, passively consuming articles like this without acting upon them is liberal masturbation, same as how buying the Big Issue is part of assuaging guilt at the horrifying scale of homelessness in the UK, doing little to challenge the very system that created that crisis.

Winter is here. This is mutual aid.

You can help get more DOPE out on the streets. Buy a copy. Share the links. Let people know. 

Fuck the Big Issue. This is a way to model solidarity, not charity.

Let’s get the kids hooked. That’d be DOPE.

~ George F

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