We write you this letter just days after the 10-year anniversary of The Battle of Seattle, the demonstrations that shut down the WTO meetings in 1999. As you read this, US movements are preparing for the 2010 US Social Forum, housing activists from around the country have just met in Miami to initiate a national Take Back The Land Campaign, students are protesting budget cuts at campuses across California, and more than a thousand US solidarity activists are preparing to join tens of thousands of Palestinians for the Gaza Freedom March.
Over the past ten years it has been sometimes hard to see the victories through the clouds of illegal wars, sanctioned torture, and economic and environmental collapse. Still, every time someone says to us, "I wish there was something happening or people standing up," we simply need to point to the pages of Left Turn Magazine to demonstrate to breadth of inspiring activism and organizing that is going on every day all around the world.
As we do this work, it is important to know that none of us are alone. Although silenced by the corporate media, the history textbooks and the political pundits, grassroots activism is constantly challenging and shifting the political landscape both here in US as well as internationally.
Left Turn has committed to being a part of that challenge. Over the past nine years, spanning 35 issues of the magazine, an incredible and unique all-volunteer network of authors, artists, editors and distributors have come together to produce not just a great publication, but the foundation of a much larger political project.
We are not just a movement publication. We are a collective of more than thirty organizers and activists spread across the US that put out the magazine while also staying involved in local organizing projects.
Among our proudest moments from the past few years:
*In September of 2005, our special issue themed The Revolution Will Not Be Funded, building off of an earlier conference organized by INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, expanded the national dialogue around the role of non-profits both here in the US and internationally. This grew into large public forums across the country including Atlanta, Detroit, Oakland, Washington DC and New York. Two articles from that issue were later reprinted in a book published by South End Press under the same title. Other special sections and series such as Intergenerational Organizing, The State of the Black Left, Alternatives to the Prison Industrial Complex and Collective Soul: Religion and The Left have continued to bring out new and important conversations from within our movements.
*Since Left our first issue nine years ago, our award-winning coverage has helped keep organizers informed about successes and challenges from both international and local movements. We have consistently offered groundbreaking and essential coverage of Palestine, Lebanon and the Middle East, as well as explorations of Islamophobia and Anti-Arabism in the US. We have highlighted movements in Latin America, with first-hand reporting from organizers from Chiapas to Buenos Aires. Our Activist Reports section has given voice to exciting activism in cities across the US and around the world. Our Reviews section showcases new voices and draws attention to books, CDs and films that other publications ignore.
*In the Spring of 2007, Left Turn became the first national news outlet to break the Jena Six story. Later that year, one of the largest civil rights marches in the history of the South took place in Jena.
*For the launch of our special issue, Visions of Queer Radicalism, Left Turn members coordinated a series of public launch events at community spaces across the country including Denver, Atlanta, Greensboro, Durham, and a 200-person forum in New York commemorating the 40th anniversary of Stonewall.
*From 2001-2009, Left Turn members organized a series of independent conferences. There was Globalization & Resistance in the fall of 2001, the first major left conference following September 11th. Turning the Tide in 2003 on Latin America & resistance to neoliberalism, and Life After Capitalismin 2004, which brought over 2,000 activists together for strategic dialogue and reflection during the Republican National Convention. We also participated in organizing workshops and entire tracks during the National Conference on Organized Resistance (2002-2008), US Social Forum (2007), Left Forum (2005-2009), Critical Resistance 10 (2008), the Allied Media Conference (2006-2009), and the Revolutionary Summer School2008 and Revolutionary Work In Our Times Strategic Dialogue 2009, a left-unity process which continues through the US Social Forum in Detroit next summer.
Taking credit for accomplishments or asking for the recognition of the work that we have done over the years is not something that we spend much time doing. In fact, this is the first fundraising appeal letter that we have sent out in over two years.
But independent media is in crisis, and we need your help to survive. Literally hundreds of magazines and newspapers are going out of business every year, and the corporate press is increasingly cutting out journalism to focus on celebrity reporting. Printing and mailing costs are going up, and in an era where everything is available online and for free, it is hard for grassroots projects to find even the small amount of money they need to continue.
Left Turn Magazine is an all-volunteer project, but we believe that in the past nine years we have brought you reporting that can stand up to the output any other media source. Most important, we have amplified voices that are shut out of the rest of the media.
We want to continue this work. We believe that it's important. But we need your help.
Sobered by the challenges facing independent media and inspired by national conversations around The Non-Profit Industrial Complex that have discussed alternatives to foundation funding, today we are asking you, the grassroots organizers and activists that make up our base, to donate $5, $10, $20, or $50 a month to keep Left Turn not only alive and well, but also innovative and powerful. You can do this by signing up online at: leftturn.org/donate or by sending a check to PO Box 445, New York NY 10159.
Donating at least $5 a month will provide not only the peace of mind that Left Turn will stick around for years to come, but will also make you a subscriber for as long as your monthly donation continues.
We have big plans for 2010. We plan to continue not just putting out an important publication, but to continue our involvement with grassroots organizing in cities around the US. With your help we will be able to continue to increase the strength of our movements, and contribute to vital dialogues, for years to come.
With revolutionary love and holiday greetings,
Ps. Please visit our website today to make a quick, secure, one-time donation at: www.leftturn.org/donate.You can also subscribe online at leftturn.org/subscribe, or buy a gift subscription here. If you subscribe or give a gift donation by the end of the year, we will make sure you receive copies of our latest issue Other Worlds Are Possible: Visionary Fiction and The Left.