Vernon Richards
Vernon Richards was an Anglo
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 anarchist, editor
Editing is the process of selecting and preparing written, visual, audible, and film media used to convey information through the processes of correction, condensation, organization, and other modifications performed with an intention of producing a correct, consistent, accurate, and complete...

, author
An author is broadly defined as "the person who originates or gives existence to anything" and that authorship determines responsibility for what is created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work.-Legal significance:...

 and companion of Marie-Louise Berneri
Marie-Louise Berneri
Marie Louise Berneri was an anarchist activist and author. She was involved with the short-lived publication, Revision, with Luis Mercier Vega and was a member of the group that edited Revolt, War Commentary, and the Freedom newspaper, which is still being published by the Freedom Bookstore in...


He was born Vero Recchioni in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 in 1915. He was educated at Emanuel School
Emanuel School
Emanuel School is a co-educational independent school in Battersea, south-west London. The school was founded by Lady Dacre and Elizabeth I in 1594. Today it has some 710 pupils, aged between ten and eighteen.-History:...

, and King's College London
King's College London
King's College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and a constituent college of the federal University of London. King's has a claim to being the third oldest university in England, having been founded by King George IV and the Duke of Wellington in 1829, and...

, where he trained as a civil engineer. He helped his father Emidio Recchioni
Emidio Recchioni
Emidio Recchioni was an Italian anarchist and businessman who was involved in a 1931 plot against the life of Benito Mussolini, the fascist leader of Italy....

 with propaganda work against Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

, was arrested in Paris in January 1935 and extradited from France. In 1936, he published in collaboration with Camillo Berneri
Camillo Berneri
Camillo Berneri was an Italian professor of philosophy, anarchist militant, propagandist and theorist....

, a bilingual anarchist and antifascist, the paper Italia Libera/Free Italy.

Richards founded and edited Spain and the World, which became Revolt in 1939, and eventually was followed by War Commentary 1939-1945, all filling the gap left by the cessation of Freedom
Freedom newspaper
Freedom is a London-based anarchist newspaper published fortnightly by Freedom Press.The paper was started in 1886 by volunteers including Peter Kropotkin and Charlotte Wilson and continues to this day as an unpaid project. Originally, the subtitle was "A Journal of Anarchist Socialism." The title...

in 1932, and the title naturally reverted to Freedom from 1945. With his co-editors Philip Sansom
Philip Sansom
Philip Richard Sansom was an anarchist writer and activist.Sansom began working life as a commercial artist. During the Second World War he was a conscientious objector, and worked in farming for a while. From 1943 he worked on War Commentary, a wartime substitute for the anarchist paper Freedom...

 and John Hewetson, he was tried at the Old Bailey
Old Bailey
The Central Criminal Court in England and Wales, commonly known as the Old Bailey from the street in which it stands, is a court building in central London, one of a number of buildings housing the Crown Court...

 and imprisoned for nine months in 1945 for conspiring to publish an article allegedly inciting soldiers to disaffect from their duty or allegiance. (Marie-Louise Berneri was excluded from the indictment because spouses are legally incapable of conspiring with each other.) He was a conscientious objector
Conscientious objector
A conscientious objector is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service" on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, and/or religion....

 during the war. He continued as editor of Freedom until 1964, and ran Freedom Press
Freedom Press
The Freedom Press is an anarchist publishing house in Whitechapel, London, United Kingdom. Founded in 1886, it is the largest anarchist publishing house in the nation and the oldest of its kind in the English speaking world. It is based at 84b Whitechapel High Street in the East End of London...

 for longer. Among his publications were Lessons of the Spanish Revolution (1953), Errico Malatesta
Errico Malatesta
Errico Malatesta was an Italian anarcho-communist. He was an insurrectionary anarchist early in his life. He spent much of his life exiled from his homeland of Italy and in total spent more than ten years in prison. He wrote and edited a number of radical newspapers and was also a friend of...

 - Life and Ideas
(1965) and "Protest Without Illusions", a critique of CND (1981). He was a personal friend and official photographer of George Orwell
George Orwell
Eric Arthur Blair , better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist...

 and a close friend of fellow Anarchist writer, Colin Ward.

Richards was involved in a long-running dispute with fellow anarchist and former contributor to Freedom Albert Meltzer
Albert Meltzer
Albert Meltzer was an anarcho-communist activist and writer.-Early life:Meltzer was born in London, and attracted to anarchism at the age of fifteen as a direct result of taking boxing lessons . The Labour MP for Edmonton, Edith Summerskill was virulently anti-boxing and his school governors at...

 which entangled many of their associates and the organisations with which they were involved and continued after both their deaths. Although the feud started in a dispute arising from the possibility of Meltzer's Wooden Shoe Press moving into Freedom premisses, there were also political differences. Meltzer advocated a more firebrand and proletarian variety of anarchism and often denounced Richards and the Freedom collective as "liberals".

In his later life, Richards became interested in Bio-Dynamic gardening, based on the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner. Richards ran a Bio-Dynamic smallholding in Boxted, north of Colchester from the 1970s up to his death.

Richards died in Hadleigh, Suffolk in 2001.

External links

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