[sixties-l] Monthly Review Appeal

From: Allen Ruff (ruff@danenet.wicip.org)
Date: Thu Apr 26 2001 - 09:03:20 EDT

  • Next message: radman: "[sixties-l] Where Have All the Protest Songs Gone?"

    Please forward, distribute widely.

    Below find the letter from our dear comrade, Bob McChesney. Many of you
    may know him for his outstanding work as corporate media crtic. Some of
    you may not know that he also recently became one of the editors of
    Monthly Review, the oldest ongoing independent socialist monthly in the
    world. He and his close associate, John Bellamy Foster, have assisted in
    making the MR perhaps better than ever, an inestimably valuable
    analytical tool for understanding thw world in which we live. I'm not big on
    funding appeals but I know we must not lose the MR and its publishing
    venture, needed now more than ever. Please read Bob's message and please
    do what you can to help the magazine and related projects through its
    current difficulties.
    -Allen Ruff
      ---------- Forwarded message ----------


    WE MUST RAISE $100,000.

    April 2001

    Dear Friends of Monthly Review,

    I have good news and bad news.

    The good news is very good and I'll get to it shortly, but the bad news is
    extremely bad and needs to be dealt with up front.

    We are faced with a severe and immediate cash crisis. Due to a gap in our book
    publishing program, we are confronted with a substantial shortfall in revenue.
    We must call upon everyone in the MR family to make a tax-deductible donation
    today, and to be as generous as possible. While our mid- and long-term outlook
    is very promising, we must get over this immediate cash crisis if MR is to
    continue. We can only do so with your help.

    Before I tell you the rest of the news, though, let me tell you a little bit
    about myself. You probably know a great deal about Monthly Review's other
    three editors, but not much about me. And I think when you read my story, you
    will understand our optimism for the future.

    When Paul and Harry asked John Bellamy Foster and me to join them as the
    co-editors of Monthly Review a year ago (as acting co-editors for a year and
    then as full co-editors), it provoked a rush of memories. I had discovered
    Monthly Review in 1972 while browsing the magazine rack at a bookstore in
    Cambridge, Massachusetts, a 19 year old college dropout. Monthly Review almost
    leapt into my hands. Here, finally, was a truly radical socialist publication
    that spoke in plain English, combined principles and a commitment to social
    change with a belief in reason and evidence, and that avoided cliches.

    When I returned to college in 1973 I was already a graduate of the
    "University of Monthly Review." As fate would have it, my roommate was John
    Bellamy Foster. I told him about MR and he soon shared my enthusiasm. We put
    this enthusiasm to work almost immediately, not simply reading MR and MR Press
    books but helping to organize a national symposium on the Pinochet coup in
    Chile. Still, back in 1974 or 1975 if someone would have told us that we would
    someday join Sweezy and Magdoff as editors of Monthly Review, I think we would
    have regarded that person as deranged.

    John began a close collaboration with Paul and Harry by the late 1970s, has
    published numerous books with MR Press - including his seminal Marx's Ecology -
    and has probably written around fifty articles and reviews for the magazine.
    Foster was a natural to join and eventually succeed Paul and Harry.

    I was a professional journalist and publisher for a short time after college
    but remained politically active and a devoted reader of Monthly Review. I
    finally got a Ph.D. and am now a professor of media studies at the University
    of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My own research has been the critical
    analysis of journalism, communication policy, and the media industries, and I
    have written several books like the recent Rich Media, Poor Democracy:
    Communication Politics in Dubious Times. I have been active in the management
    of left media and with media reform efforts. This past year I worked on the
    Nader presidential campaign. I have also written for Monthly Review, some ten
    articles over the past decade.

    The need for Monthly Review has never been greater. There is a burgeoning
    anti-capitalist movement in the United States and worldwide, as the horrors of
    neoliberalism and capitalism leave their mark on humanity. I give around fifty
    public talks every year, to audiences of all shapes and sizes. The increase in
    youth interest in radical politics is striking; there hasn't been anything
    like this in the United States for decades. But these young radicals are also
    victims of the impoverished state of left political culture in the United
    States. Many are great activists, but they lack a basic education in socialist
    analysis and politics. Monthly Review's job is to educate and draw together
    these young activists, and acquaint them with the best in the Marxist and
    socialist traditions. Monthly Review gave Foster and me that education in the
    1970s, and that's what we plan to do for their generation in the years to come.

    The response to our work at Monthly Review has been very positive.
    Subscriptions have climbed nearly 15 percent in the past year, and our
    circulation is at its highest point since the 1980s. It hasn't grown at this
    rate in thirty years - since the early 1970s! Monthly Review is beginning to
    reach the new young generation of activists and radicals. Reflecting these
    changes, the MR website is now getting around 20,000 hits per month.

    But the bad news is really bad. It is no secret that Monthly Review has always
    been strapped for funds and has been periodically on the brink of financial
    collapse. During the 1960s and '70s the magazine and the press were able to
    expand, but even then we needed strong support from our Associates and
    Sustainers. The 1980s and 1990s were much more difficult and we are now
    emerging from a long period of crisis for the left. Monthly Review has
    survived by streamlining its operation and cutting costs to the bone, but
    remains saddled with the rising costs and diminishing revenue that affected
    left publishing in the last two decades. Our rising circulation helps a bit,
    but that is a payoff that comes down the road.

    On top of this problem that afflicts the entire left press, we went
    through a period when we did not publish our standard number of books. The
    income from those missing books normally would have shown up in the first half
    of 2001. So we now face an especially serious shortfall of cash to pay our
    bills, while having our best medium and long term prospects in more than two
    decades. The amount we need - just under six figures - is pitiful by
    capitalist standards (we doubt Bill Gates would even bend over to pick it up)
    but it is daunting for us. If we don't raise the money, the very existence of
    Monthly Review will be threatened.

    So, again, we must turn to you as a supporter of Monthly Review. We need you
    to send us whatever you can so we can weather this short-term crisis and p
    repare MR for the struggles ahead. The money we need is for the absolute bare
    essentials. Foster and I take no salary. We are here because we are socialists
    and we believe in the importance of Monthly Review.

    Please make a tax-deductible donation to Monthly Review today.

    In Solidarity, Robert W. McChesney

    Send contributions to:
    Monthly Review
    122 West 2rh Street
    New York, NY 10001

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Thu Apr 26 2001 - 19:05:50 EDT