Common Courage Needs Help

Common Courage Press Needs Your Help


This is Michael Albert writing a note to all our ZNet Sustainers — particularly those in the U.S.

Common Courage Press (CCP) is one of the few truly leftist and inspired book publishing operations in the United States. It was founded in 1991 and publishes books for social justice on race, gender, feminism, economics, ecology, labor, and U.S. domestic and foreign policy. CCP seeks to provide an analysis of problems from a range of perspectives, and to aid activists and others in developing strategies for action. Regretably, CCP is in the midst of a capitalism-induced crisis and can use help from those who benefit from its work.

CCP’s distributor, LPC, the outfit that stores CCP’s books and fulfills orders to stores, pays its publishers about 100 days after sales are made to bookstores, wholesalers, and others. The distributor has gotten into financial trouble and has stopped paying, filing for chapter 11 and probably destined to go out of business. Along with 84 other publishers who use LPC, CCP is at risk of losing about 70% of the money from the sales from Jan, Feb, and March. For Common Courage that totals about $112,000. They’ll probably lose $80,000 of it.

The odd thing is, LPC was doing well and in the midst of cutting expenses with a profitable outlook. But LPC had borrowed money from Bank One in 1999.

Despite that LPC was current with all its payments, having reduced the loan from over $3 million to under $2.8 million, the bank got nervous, recalling its loan April 1. That is, Bank One pulled $1.2 million out of LPC’s account on April 1, which monies had been deposited that same day for sales from January and earmarked for distribution to publishers.

When LPC was suddenly without cash, it was forced into bankruptcy protection. Now, the bank is trying to recoup the rest of the loan from forthcoming payments for sales coming in May and June for February and March. If the bank persists, LPC probably won’t survive.

Although the fault for this situation can arguably be laid at the feet of the distributor, LPC, who borrowed the money from the bank–presuming we accept that the bank ought to be permitted to recall its loans in full regardless of impact on countless others–the publishers and the authors they publish and audiences they serve will wind up suffering because the money to repay the bank is coming from sales fees that are due the publishers.

What was the condition of Common Courage Press prior to this capitalism induced problem that owes nothing to their operations, and what were CCP’s prospects? Why does the problem create havoc with its prospects?

Prior to the distributor’s bankruptcy, Common Courage’s prospects were better than they had ever been in its 12 year history. Generally, CCP publishes 12 – 15 books a year. Last year they published only two because of a family illness. But this spring they’d prepared to roar back, planning to release 9 books in just the next 6 months, their biggest season ever. Everything was on track, yet it all of course depended on getting paid by their distributor. And of course, having been paid by the distributor on time every month for a decade, the thought that they might not pay didn’t even cross CCP’s minds.

I know quite a bit about this kind of situation. I have been there, enduring similar crises when I was working with South End Press, for example, and at Z as well. It is horribly demoralizing and debilitating to be doing things right, honorably, and well, and yet take an unexpected hit that threatens your plans, your agendas, and even your survival.

CCP’s potential prospects are still bright with a fine list of upcoming titles, but however good their long-term prospects are, they must first weather this sudden crisis, which has placed them in a desperate situation. They can’t print upcoming books without some influx of cash to cover what has been swiped.

Please think seriously about helping CCP… To donate with a Visa or a MasterCard you can please call them at:


To donate by check, please send your support to:

Common Courage Press 1 Red barn Road Monroe, ME 04951

Thank You, Michael Albert

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