Volume 21, Number 2
N.O. Dollar Day
Readers & writers
Journal of 21st Yr
2008: What's New?
Waiting for War
Iraq War Vet
Dylan & Wainwright
Charlie Wilson's War
César cuauhtémoc garcía Hernández
NYT on Kosovo
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
The Greatest Revolution, Part 2
Journal of the 21st Year
I’d like to thank readers for their inspiring birthday messages and reassuring responses to my editorial “The Greatest Revolution Since Gutenberg?” in which I wrote about the various predictions regarding the future of print media. I offered some options we are considering for Z Magazine, as print subscriptions and newsstand purchases continue to drop, appraently in favor of online reading of all the “free” material on offer and audio/visual options.
Almost all those who responded (see “Letters" in this issue) have preferred the monthly format and feel an affinity for print (admitting to being in the mainstream survey category of “Luddite”). They see an advantage to having the physical magazine arrive in the mailbox or to seeing it in a bookstore or library or a table at an event. Not many touched on the issue of paying writers—Frank Pitz commented that “not all writers need the money. If one is truly committed to the fight, the financial position should be secondary.”
It is true that those who contribute to Z can’t live off what they earn from their Z articles and graphics, so we are depending on their generosity. Unfortunately, that limits the diversity of the left writing pool to those who have the time (mostly white males connected with an educational institution). And, of course, it’s unfair not to pay people for their work. We have paid writers and illustrators since our first issue. On occasion we have had to “owe” them, but have paid them back within six months. (The complex and serious issue of what happens to writers and illustrators is something for a future article on the writers’ strike, etc.)
The letter from Michael Nolan had some concrete suggestions for how to help Z (print) Magazine. These included a network of Z Clubs that could help get new subscriptions, increase newsstand sales, raise money for library and school subscriptions, publicize activities related to Z’s mission, etc. These are good suggestions and always welcome. We have tried to solicit distribution and promotion help over the years: including gift offers, indivudal distributors, promotional copies at conferences. Z readers and Z Media Institute graduates have helped with this (for which we are extremely grateful), but these efforts alone are not on a large enough scale.
I was interested in Nolan’s suggestion that people publicize local activities related to Z’s mission—which means that Nolan thinks Z has a mission. And he’s right, we do. Z’s Mission has always been to provide critical information and analysis, but also to push the debate about what kind of society we want—not as an academic execise, but to contribute to activist efforts to build mass organizations that can effect systemic changes. To quote our founding brochure, mailed to potential subscribers in July 1987: “Z will convey new ideas about politics, culture, economics, and international relations; examine the race, sex, class, and political dimensions of each person’s life as fundamental to understanding and improving their circumstances; and present lively debate to promote a better future.”
Our mission was also to challenge the structure of the existing mainstream and left institutions. The usual approach to beginning a progressive media project was to criticize mainstream publishing and then structure a media project by mimicking the mainstream media world. If that seems strange, it ought to. It is testimony to a lack of confidence in our own analysis. That is:
- the mainstream media world is an alienated, propagandistic mess;
- we will create our own better media institutions;
- we will do it by designing them to look like mini-mainstream institutions;
- but they will be better because we will be in charge.
What is the result? If you plop down inside the operations of many, not all, progressive media projects, you find typical hierarchies, restrictive divisions of labor and decision-making structures, and so on. So we structured our workplace to reflect our politics and values. If you look at the inside front cover, for example, you won’t see any hierarchical decision-making structure or division of labor.
Over the 20 years of Z, we have received lots of wonderful comments from our readers. These often include the comment, “Z keeps me sane.” On the other hand, we have also received our share of “hate mail.” Surprising- ly most of these have come in response to mailings to progressive lists. They come in the business reply envelope so we have to pay postage on them. The “hate mailer” will stuff the envelope with shopping coupons, pornography (graphic), or religious literature. Others will include the order form with “commie” or “idiot” or something unprintable scrawled where the name and address is supposed to go. These are depressing, nauseating, and yet, on occasion, mildly entertaining in their level of creative venom.
The ones that really get us, though, are the people who identify themselves as leftists, who then accuse us of ripping people off or lying or being like the capitalists we criticize or of being too liberal. One even said that our descriptor (at our website flash page) “the spirit of resistance lives” is wimpy and why aren’t we doing more than just resisting. We usually ignore these, as they don’t seem to describe Z at all, but sometimes I wonder if they reflect the fact that, although we have a mission, it isn’t being expressed clearly or directly enough in what we publish. Does it make people deepen their commitment to not only taking a moral stand, but to seriously wanting to win the changes we write and teach? As Dave Shukla comments in his birthday message, “I don’t want to just fight a good fight, I want to win. I want to bring about the future society in all its required totality out of the shell of this world.”
Shukla, of course, wrote the above based on his experience at Z Media Institute and not solely from reading articles in print and/or online. This is one of the reasons we have expanded Z to include Z Media Institute, Z Video Productions, and ZNet—with more projects to come if finances allow. Which brings me back to the role (and ultimate survival) of print.
The question of how people become radical and why they stay committed has always been a part of decisions we make about what we publish. I appreciated Fred Glienna’s letter in which he wrote, “the message is more important than the medium, but alas how we read bears some uneasy relationship to what we read and how deeply we read.” As one of the three people who has produced Z for years, I‘ve tried to see that each issue was put together with Z's mission in mind—so that the sum (style, tone, humor) of its articles was as important as each individual contribution. I see each issue as part of a trajectory of information, consciousness raising, inspiration leading toward organized movements for change.
In the first year or so, we were able to ensure diversity of content because we had contracts with 25 or so writers who had a schedule and we were working with 112 pages. This allowed the magazine to have a range of topics whose totality per issue would reflect a broad new left politics, edited to eliminate sexist language and jargon.
To this day, although the magazine is half the length, we still look for articles that will give activists needed background information in their organizing efforts and we try to arrange the articles so that the there is a totality about the reading experience of what’s in a given issue—including the placement of cartoons.
Since I believe that a structured, edited, designed print magazine is read more deeply, at least for now, by a certain generation, I have argued in our Z meetings to keep the print magazine alive as an important part of Z’s mission. But clearly, other generations prefer other formats. I would still argue for those other formats to be organized in a way that enhances the totality of the material and for how things interweave and support or debate each other.
In "The Greatest Revolution" (Z January 2008), I listed the various options we were considering for the print magazine (which appears online around the same time as people get it in their mailboxes). These included:
- Keep Z as is and hope the Sustainer program covers Z print’s deficits
- Publish Z six times a year—as Ms Magazine, Mother Jones, and others have done
- Keep the monthly format but cut from 64 to 48 pages and cut writers/cartoonist fees.
- Abandon the magazine format for a quarterly journal.
At the moment, we have decided to proceed as follows: we will keep the print magazine alive for as long as we can. However, since we need to cut costs by around $12,000 a month, we are going to cut Z to 48 pages and reduce writers and graphic fees, except in the case of extreme need. At the same time, we will expand Z Magazine Online to include three or four additional articles that are “online only.” And we will begin using a cheaper paper, starting with the March issue.
Once we know what kind of regular income we can expect from our new website’s Z Sustainer Program, we can decide if these changes are still necessary or if additional cost- cutting is required. If response is over the top, frankly, we’d prefer to return Z Magazine to its original 112 pages, with regular writers and illustrators under contract, and with significant raises in pay. We’d also like to expand print offerings to include Z Books and to bring back the quarterly Z Papers (on vision and strategy). These would, of course, have an online component.
As we continue to consider solutions to the print dilemma, it is important to note the many ways our Z Communications website can and will contribute to our mission of a radical restructuring of society’s repressive institutions. To that end, the website will allow for more interaction with and among activists. We are also going to offer online video satire and we have plans for an online school.
In our introductory brochure we wrote: “It is in the spirit of life that we launch Z, a magazine dedicated to resisting injustice, defending against repression, and creating liberty.”
We hope you will join us in this mission in whatever way you can—by writing, by organizing, by financially supporting all attempts to build left institutions (including media), and by joining in the much-needed discussion of concrete alternatives.
To Help Support Z
UPGRADE STATUS: Our upgraded website is in place, finally. Z Magazine Online (ZMO) is available to everyone free for the next month or two, until the kinks in our new Z Communications site are worked out. At that time, the most recent five issues of ZMO will be only be available to online subscribers, as before, and to print subscribers who sign up or renew online (Z Magazine archives are still free). Current ZMO subscribers will automatically become Z Sustainers for the time remaining on their subscription. This will give them access to Z Sustainer’s many features.
Thank you for your support
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; email@example.com; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; firstname.lastname@example.org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: email@example.com; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; email@example.com.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; email@example.com; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: email@example.com; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.