a place for zinesters - writers and readers
I was at the big "Occupy Philly" gathering and march in center city Philadelphia Saturday. The size of the event had to rival what's been happening on Wall Street in New York. Are the days of apathy over?
I was disappointed not to see any zine tables among the tables at the Philly City Hall gathering site.
Once, underground writers-- who were once all zinesters-- were at the forefront of activism and cultural change.
If people are fighting plutocracy in the economy, they should also be fighting plutocracy in the culture.
In recent years the hobbyists have dominated underground publishing. The activist wing of the movement has all but vanished. Is it time for this to change?
Anyway, to see how big the Philly protest was, check out the photos I've posted at my blog,
If anyone would like to donate zines to Occupy Richmond the mailing address is:
3126 W Cary St. #442
Richmond, VA 23221
Yeah, it seems like Occupy is the hottest, biggest "alternative" thing to have happened since...well, it seems bigger than Woodstock, say. Pretty big. And it seems to have good traction on a wide range of exposure levels.
It really does seem like a great chance for alternative voices -- that is, writers -- to make an impact. The tent-campers have turned the eyes of the world toward the 99%. But what do they have to SAY? The world is waiting.
Now, folks here seem to think that zinester contribution means "donation" and "free" (when no one mentioned commerce at all, just the word "table") -- and then the discussion stops. Except for how or if to mail things to Australia/London. ? But it seems like there's a huge amount more to be explored, and acted upon, here. And now.
It's pretty relevant stuff.
Maybe that's why there's little to no buzz here in WMZ? Maybe zining is actually a 1%-er activity? ...Something done on the side for an out-of-touch minority. Ya know, it is often described as a "fringe" activity -- sounds kinda 1%.
Anyway, I've often thought differently about zines -- about how they relate to the real public that is overlooked by the corpo/academic media which is directed by the 1% with the purpose of exploiting the 99%.
Yeah, it seems like zinesters are natural candidates for the cultural voice and thoughts of the 99%. Of course, if they want to, they can just chime in. It's not like zinesters have asked anyone's permission before. Nor have they EVER worried about how something might "look" or if their etiquette is nice.
Some folks might think that the organizational side of something like the OWS should be left up to "experts." But surely the cultural side can also be busted open to present an opening and a big chance that the 99% has been waiting for. To take back, to take over, the written culture. Not just writing, of course. Zines have never been just about the writing. All art. Let's take it back from the 1%.
Blogs aren't necessarily the only, biggest or best way to reflect on OWS. Just because they're fast doesn't make them #1. Speed isn't everything. Who's going to stand up for real writing and real art? Or, speed is best for breaking news, as has been said. But there's more to be done. Will zinesters have a role?
Haha. I'm definitely not a 1%er. You make an interesting discussion, Jeff. Personally, I went to Occupy Melbourne and thought it was the perfect thing to make a zine about. They are words and art and everything that artists can reflect during such interesting times.
But perhaps zinesters went through some of the same thoughts I did - what is the focus of the zine, will occupy people want it?, do I have the $ to make it on my own with no return $? - and stopped. Or some don't understand it. I don't know what it's like in the US, but in Australia, some of our media outlets are trying very hard to make the occupy movements look like a bunch of ragtag jobless hippies.
I think zinesters have a role if they choose to create one. Given how long things have gone, speed isn't so much of the essence and we have the time to explore what place zines can have.
Are you referring mainly to serving folks doing the actual occupying? One angle might be that a zine that deals with or includes OWS issues could be distributed to non-Occupy people, to the general public. Maybe to help them better understand the movement. For instance, to counter the mainstream. So the zine basically could be presented to the mainstream as a counter-voice.
I don't get the "it's gotta be free coz it's about a protest" angle. For one thing, existing zines -- just like any existing media -- can just start to include OWS coverage and then keep whatever free/fee set-up it had before.
Sure, if a zine is going to be just one more thing that is handed out to the protesters themselves, on site, then it should fit in to that flow. However, if food is given to protesters it is likely bought from someone at some point so money is involved at some point which then shifts to a donation mode for the occupiers themselves. Obviously, if you're occupying you're not working and so you're supported.
I wonder if some occupiers ARE working, however. Anyone know? I live in the sticks so I haven't seen an occupation protest. But I've long been able to do my own particular job most anywhere via laptop, cellphone, or even notebook.
Also, I wonder about the sustainability of the model. Is a structure being set up to pay the rent/utilities, etc., of those who intend to make a longterm occupation? I hope that someone has done the accounting on the feasibility of this. A more typical political campaign is built around meetings for at least one obvious reason: everyone involved has to make a living. The OWS shouldn't build in any easily-identified weak positions into its method. I wonder if a sufficient core of supported occupiers is what will evolve. Each town will have to calculate how many occupiers are needed and how much donation will be required.
Anyway, it was curious that the charging money for zines angle is what was singled out at first. It seems a total non-issue. Whatever works and fits is what will evolve. If someone makes a misstep they won't likely repeat it, right?
Consider music. Some folks might play music with the occupiers, to support both the cause and the morale. Other musicians perhaps nearby who must support themselves might add OWS themes to their mix but will likely continue busking for cash wherever that works for them -- otherwise they'd starve. Right?
A writer in America who could best cover the OWS would likely already be close to starving. (In contrast to a hobbyist whose work might have less impact.) So they'd unlikely be able to print up a zine on the OWS then give it away in a print-run volume that would make suitable impact. It might be that OWS organizers (purse-string holders) could work with such a zinester and get the printing paid for that way and then maybe also join in on the foodline. That is, the media-side is important to the immediate cause and would likely be supported by organizers so that it could happen.
Anyway, however the money-side would work out best could likely be readily managed.
Proximity might be relevant here. A bit off to the side of an occupation the whole range of indie culture might attract more attention than usual these days, free or not. Ripe days are these! Seize the day! Are folks out there JUMPIN'? It's a big rare chance. Of course, it's fleeting. If these moments mean anything to you, it's time to ACT!
(I understand that for hobbyists these days may well be like any other, OWS being just another news-item, something that might or might not trickle out to mean more. Those who are just ITCHIN' for a chance, an opportunity, might view it differently.)
I don't think you can qualify that statement by saying that BECAUSE you are a radical libertarian that both movements aren't even close with your views. I have a friend who is invovled in the Occupy movement who also identifies the same as you.
What is so different about what you think that Occupy wouldn't suit your needs? You feel cooperations should run our government? If not... Occupy could be something you could be behind. Not that you need to support or even be a sympathizer but i dont think you are so far removed as you think you are. Go to one of the Occupations and see how many different people are out there from vastly different walks of life (though I can only speak for Richmond).
James N. Dawson said:
I'm a radical libertarian so neither the Tea Party nor Occupy Wallstreet represent my views. Not even close.
These types up movements are huge fronts skillfully manipulated by politically savvy factions. They're 98% rhetoric, all slogans, marches and display, and each, as a whole, has little ideological coherence. Occupy is essentially coercive-collectivist-egalitarian. Tea Party is essentially right wing social conservative bigotry. At best they're each very mixed bags.
If government were brought down to an absolute minimum, eliminated if possible, then corporations running government would be a moot point. Occupiers want huge government to take care of the needy. As such they want huge taxes to fund it. The poor must then submit to the caregivers control---they and their lives must be regulated, and as such, sell themselves into oppression. I oppose all taxation, all regulation. The vast majority of the Tea Party & Occupiers don't want that, despite their empty bluster. I will not add my support to their displays.
It's all a massive charade, and it's been going on for decades and decades and decades. Leftists voted for Obama---I refuse to call them by the good name of liberal, I'm a liberal, for libertarianism is authentic liberalism, leftism isn't---because they wanted to alleviate their white guilt and were duped by his silver tongue, but now even they've seen he's a typical politician. Tea partiers, the dupes, have witnessed their glorious politicos back pedal and vote for farm subsidies.
Freedom requires careful thought, commitment and principle. Frankly, I wonder if it's just a crazy, futile dream. I see apathy, muddled thinking, and naivete all around me. I have some plans myself, but I doubt anybody's interested in them. Decentralism is one, but that's a very hard strategy because of the very policies the right and the left (including the occupiers and tea partiers) will fight against with their agendas tooth and nail.
Yes, I am "apathetic" about the Occupiers. I don't share their core philosophy or goals. Nothing will come of it anyway, and any "victories" they achieve, will quickly be co-opted by the establishment. It's virtually axiomatic.
Consider two goals that may help all, and that are important to me.
1. Support the grass roots jobs idea of a National Hiring Day that would suggest a voluntary day when every corporation in the US hire one or more people, or at least stop firing ,
2. Oppose the consolidation of the arts and media into so few hands and support independent arts and media - the independent media was the one that has always been there. Then call for arts that fit - not corporate art - but the honest art of most independents artists of all kinds.
These are two issues that I'm very concerned with.
There is one thing to consider about protest photos. I note that when you take photos of protestors, they look like normal people. I wrote this comment on mainstream protest photos:
Media seldom cover protests in the US, unless they can find a picture of violent goofy painted face on a protestor. When has any media shown protestors that wear suits. This is cheap journalism where the media searches out the most goofy looking person with the most angry petulant scowl. Mainstream media it won't work. People can see through this use of photos as propaganda. It's fake journalism . And we both know it.
Why won't mainstream media talk about US protests unless they turn violent or can be pictured as goofy and childish?
James- I'm mostly Libertarian and can identify with a lot of what the OWS has to say. I think only a portion of protesters are into the more socialist side of things. I can totally support the goals of: