Volume , Number 0
Europe in Ten Questions
Redistricting Returns With A Vengeance
Repairing the damage
Democracy and the War on â€¦
Jonathan lawson and susan Gleason
Unions Must Tap Young Workers
2001 In Music
The Fruits Of NAFTA
There are no articles.Culture
There are no articles.Features
Journal of 15th Year
There are no articles.
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.
Z Means Resistance Lives
the media, played always with three conservative views for “balance.” This is not a joyous event, this is part of the most underhanded censorship ever devised because it fools so many, even dissidents, many of whom spend their days trying to get “published” by those who keep a tight grip on the flow of corporatized information. If only we could write well enough or package it appropriately they will publish us, the mantra goes.
A typical moment was at an American Booksellers Convention years ago. Some publishers of books and magazines were concerned about the concentration of media distribution in the hands of few book chains. So they organized a panel to discuss the situation. After everyone had voiced their concerns, they were able to sum things up by saying that, in spite of gender issues and race issues and media conglomerate issues, ultimately a good book would get published…and find its audience.
Then they opened the panel for questions. We raised our hands and asked why Noam Chomsky and so many others, less well known, couldn't get published and distributed more widely in the U.S. A panel member shrugged and said, “Oh, well, Noam Chomsky.” There was a pause and then they moved on to the next question.
Even more bizarre are attacks from conservatives about liberal “bias”—whatever that means. Does it mean that the media is pro abortion, pro-gay, anti-death penalty, anti-war, and these are bad things that, if you are for them, make you biased? Or is it that the media is just not anti abortion, anti gay, pro war, pro death penalty, etc. etc. enough?
At Z Inc (magazine, website, school, video productions) we have often noted—cynically—that progressive media subscriptions/sales go up when there is a Republican in the White House. We do even better when that republican is invading a small defenseless third world country. Why? Because that's when people come looking for us. And that's the real tragedy. If more people were already reading us, they wouldn't have to look for us in times of “crisis.” They would be in a position to understand U.S. motives, see through the mainstream propaganda, and act on it. Getting alternative media to as many people as possible is crucial, not just now, but day to day. Just as ongoing organizing, not just responding to certain events or crises, is crucial.
So how is one of the many important alternative media institutions in the U.S. faring, this days?
The State of Z
For those who are new to Z Magazine: it started in January 1987 as an offshoot from South End Press (book publishing collective started in 1978). We took the name Z from the Costa-Gavras movie of the same name about a military coup in Greece. The letter Z was censored by the new junta and so the letter Z scrawled on the sidewalk to us meant “the spirit of resistance lives.” The first issue appeared in January 1988.
After years of publishing 112 pages of articles, we cut down to 64 pages in 1992 for financial reasons. Many years and financial crises later, we are finally financially stable (if that's possible for a magazine). We've made a few small design changes, we have more freelance articles and a larger activism section than ever before, but basically we are the same magazine with the same staff of three.
We are often surprised at how reticent people are to submit articles as if it takes an elite resume, or knowing the editor, or constant pitching of stories to get anything in Z. While we are limited by length vs. number of articles submitted (sometimes 75 per month), it isn't difficult to submit articles and “get in Z.” First read Z. Then write about something the progressive community should know about or that isn't being covered or that is of interest to people in general. Send the article on the 25th of any given month (email preferred/attached word file and we'll do what we can. The same applies to cartoonists and illustrators. (We pay for all articles and graphics.)
Z Video Productions
Since its inception in 1998. ZVP has distributed over 5,000 videos in the last years through ads in Z and mailings to Z readers. We have learned how to shoot and edit videos on the computer and a local videographer supplies multiple copies. We have two digital cameras, a microphone and portable lighting set up. We are continuing to build a larger catalogue of videos and to make DVD version available at a reasonable price.
If you have material (from talks, demos, interviews) that you think would contribute to ZVP's catalog, feel free to inquire. Also we are looking for people who might be available to film various talks.
Z Media Institute
Created in 1994, ZMI is a nine day school for politics and media, held in Woods Hole in early June. Each year seems to top the next year in spirit, activism, interest, and impact.
ZMI 2001 followed in that tradition, with one exception: we formed a working committee to begin plans for a reunion of the roughly 500 ZMI students. Our first step has been a search for updated addresses. This has been slow going. We are now searching the website for email addresses. If you are a ZMI graduate please email you current address to Lydia.sargent@ zmag.org.
The next ZMI will be held in 2003. There will be no ZMI 2002 as we need time to plan a reunion and to do other things.
Our website (www.zmag.org) has gone through many permutations since it was founded in 1994. Right now, it is a huge site with over 200,000 users per week, over 14,000 files, offering a wide range of information through participatory forums, diverse watch areas, many translation areas, varied interactive components, pen pals, archives, countless links to other progressive sites, resources, and a daily commentary program going out to 6,000 people.Try the site. We promise you will like it.
ZMagazine-Web: We are exploring the possibility of offering a subscription to Z Magazine in an online version, particularly for our international readers who often wait three months before getting an issue. A subscriber could choose between getting Z in print, online, or both. The online version could also include footnotes and resources which are often too long to put in the print magazine.
Z Magazine-Spinoffs: We are very interested in pursuing (with others) the possibility of spin offs: Z Regional, Z International, Z Culture, etc. There could be some articles that would appear in all forms of Z Magazine, but some articles would be specifically geared for the different readership's interests.
Z Audio: With satellite radio comes the possibility of creating a Z Audio Project primarily for the Internet, but also available in CD and cassette form. Programs could include a magazine hour, call-in talk shows, features, comedy, etc.
Z Books: We have often been asked to publish some of the course material used at Z Media Institute, designed particularly for people new to radical politics. We think a series on politics, strategy, and vision for courses and study groups might be useful.
Z Media Institute Spin offs: Another future possibility is to offer more concentrated forms of ZMI, that is, week-long institutes for six to ten activists on politics, democratic workplace, media production, etc. Other spin offs might include regional and/or international ZMIs.
Z Comedy Relief: It is clear from Z Media Institute participants alone, that the left could generate a vast number of comedy troops to entertain and inform. Besides live performances, comedy troops could share scripts, offer material through the Internet, and provide visual and audio material.
Z Media Action: Given the ongoing mainstream media spin mentioned above, we have often felt that it's time to move beyond analyzing and “watching” the media, to pressuring it. In fact, part of the reason for creating ZMI was to find activists who might help create Z Media Action or other Media Action projects.
The mission would be as follows: (1) to increase the visibility of “alternative” media through militant distribution of material and creation of new material; (2) press the press, through campaigns demanding TV and radio shows created by alternative media, as well as space in local and national newspapers and magazines. Press the press campaigns could include letter writing as well as demonstrations and civil disobedience; (3) a media watch to monitor the media on an even more widespread basis than is currently being done, with aggressive distribution of exposes of lies, half truths, misinformation, etc.; (4) build media and activist institutions based on the principles of a democratic workplace. Member groups could range from Z Media Action to Los Angeles Media Action to Steelworkers Media Action to Writers Media Action.
We'd like to thank all the writers, artists, and cartoonists who have contributed such wonderful material to Z Magazine and ZNet. We'd also like to thank all those readers who have made generous financial contributions this past year. Z