Freedom Socialist newspaper fundraising in high gear

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Does the public value radical alternative media — journalism that aims to afflict the comfortable and to comfort and organize the afflicted? Do they rebel at the idea of an information scene locked down by the likes of the ultra-conservative, ultra-rich Koch brothers, now eyeing purchase of eight major newspapers?

Given the tremendous response to the $100,000 Freedom Socialist Fund Drive, the answer is a big, “Hell, yes!” Only a month into our June-September campaign, the creativity and dedication of socialist feminist fundraisers and the generosity of supporters netted the FS over $40,000.

But that remaining and much-needed $60,000 is still a lot to raise! We are relying on the support of every reader and fan of the paper to make our goal by Sept. 30 — and, we hope, shoot past it.

Truth-teller, educator, and organizer. In print and online at www.socialism.com, the FS is a voice supplying facts and analysis that the corporate media is allergic to.

Henry Walton, the Los Angeles host of Pacifica Radio’s show Labor Review, has this to say:

A truly FREE press is in such short supply that most people don’t even know what that means. The FS is free, truthful, bold, and thorough. Even if I disagree with a conclusion, I don’t have to doubt the veracity of the reporting.”

The FS aims not only to inform and educate but also to inspire to action. And that too is appreciated by readers. Writes Katerina Check, a workplace delegate with the Community and Public Sector union in Melbourne, Australia:

The FS gives me an avenue to actually get active, organise and do something for issues that I care about.”

That is exactly what we aim for with stories about struggles ranging from the Pay Justice Campaign that Katerina Check is involved in to the climate-defense actions featured on our centerfold and the fight to save City College of San Francisco.

Modest needs, but urgent. The needs of the FS are basic; however, as everybody knows, even basic needs are expensive to meet these days.

Almost all the money raised and spent goes to pay two staffers (the rest of the staff is volunteer), the printer, and the U.S. Postal Service (a beleaguered entity discussed in this issue’s story on public workers). We are not an extravagant outfit!

But we are an expanding outfit, especially online. The FS at www.socialism.com is getting more hits and new readers every week. FS articles are also being reprinted ever more widely, from ZNet and Z magazine to the Independent Political Report and the San Francisco Bay View, a national Black paper.

Besides staff hours, what makes this increased visibility possible is an aging collection of computers — a couple of PCs plus four MACs, three of them becoming more creaky and cranky every day. We need your donation so that we can upgrade our technology, and soon!

A steady compass in tempestuous times. Freedom Socialist Party (FSP) branches from Seattle to Melbourne, with the active support of Radical Women (RW), are doing a great job in making sure that the FS can survive and thrive over the next couple years. Friends of the paper are lending aid in significant ways, from joining in phonathons to potential donors in every locale, to selling raffle tickets at Seattle’s LGBTQ Pride.

It’s not unique to the FS that two sturdy foundations of fundraising are food and rummage. Supporters have helped FSP and RW members make roaring successes of BBQs, a thrilling cake auction in New York City, and a très international FS-article-themed culinary extravaganza in Melbourne. Meanwhile, Seattle’s New Freeway Hall is beginning to fill with secondhand treasures, with giant rummage sales also planned for the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York, and Portland, Ore.

But it’s not all appetizers and antiques! A highlight of the campaign so far have been lively political events in every city and the rich discussions they have inspired. These have included showings of the documentary Harvest of Empire: the Untold Story of Latinos in America in LA, Portland, and San Francisco and forums like Seattle’s “Good Jobs vs. Healthy Planet: Who Profits When Movements Collide?”

The timing of this fund drive is turning out to be one in which world events are swirling at a rapid tempo, from the downfall of Morsi in Egypt to the gutting of the Voting Rights Act by the U.S. Supreme Court and the travesty of the “not guilty” verdict for George Zimmerman, killer of Trayvon Martin. (Click the links to read editorials on those topics.)

FS drive events are proving to be places where people active in movements can discuss common concerns, latest developments, and issues of strategy.

The Fourth of July barbecue in San Francisco was one such event, coming just one day after CCSF’s accreditation was yanked. (But the struggle continues! Read an editorial on CCSF here.) Similarly, a barbecue in LA, featuring poet Nellie Wong from the Bay Area, took place the day after the Zimmerman decision. Guests who came to the benefit straight from protests were able to share their experiences — while police helicopters circling South Central LA passed overhead.

Reading the Freedom Socialist is a moralizing and meaningful experience. So is contributing to it, whether you’re giving cash or time. If you have already donated, thank you! If you haven’t, please do. (You can donate online here.) If you would like to get involved — and we hope you will — contact an FSP branch or email me at FSnews@socialism.com

Truly, we are all in this together!

To listen to this article and others from this issue, click here.

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