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by November 1!
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We are non-profit, tax exempt under the Institute for Social and Cultural Communications. Make checks payable to Z Magazine.
In Z Magazine’s July/August editorial "Closings," we speculated about the effect of the "financial crisis" on left media projects, as we had been hearing of closings on and off for a year or two. We worried that the only way any left media can survive at all is: (1) through the regular commitment of a rich "angel" with deep pockets (who may demand a say over the content); or (2) be supported by a union or political party; or (3) by changing its content to appeal to a less radical audience; or (4) by becoming online-only (although that’s beginning to be costly as well); or (5) through the generosity of its community of readers. Options one through four do not appeal to us at Z politically, especially as our mission has always been to provide information and inspiration to movement efforts for radical social change. So we are left with number five, the only option that has always come through for us—our community of readers.
Since writing that editorial, we’ve noticed that In These Times, the Progressive, the Nation, and Mother Jones, among others (including some online projects), have all made urgent pleas for money—needing to raise anywhere from $20,000-$500,000. In our case, we knew in 2008 that things were going to be difficult and we, reluctantly, did some cost-cutting. We stopped paying writers and cartoonists (which we had been doing since 1988), although we offered them a Z subscription instead or put them on account, hopefully to be paid back in better times. We cut the magazine from 64 to 48 pages and began using a less expensive paper and we reduced our mailing and promotional fees. This helped us through to June of this year.
We’re happy to report that, in spite of these cuts, our writers and artists have given generously of their time and good articles are coming in at a greater rate than ever. We have also been able to produce several new political videos, including Howard Zinn’s Political Disobedience, an interview with Jack Rasmus on the economy, and the forthcoming documentary After the Greek Uprising.
Also, of note, is the fact that ZNet, along with its many other offerings, has been hosting a project called Re-imagining Society. Begun in the Spring, it now has 347 participants from 45 countries. There are already over 100 essays, with more arriving daily. The focus is long-term vision and strategy and we are optimistic that these articles—and the ensuing discussions they generate—will move us beyond writing only or mainly about what’s wrong with society, to articles that answer the question, "What do we want?"
But, as politically important as these developments are, they haven’t added significantly to our income. All of which is to say that we urgently need your help to head off such possible disasters as having to cut an already small five-person staff and/or perhaps closing down the 22-year-old print magazine by as early as January 2010.
After pouring over financial reports and doing short and long term budget projections, we feel we need to raise $50,000 by November, $100,000 by December, and $150,000 by February in order to avert a disaster scenario (fundraising has already begun on our website). Throughout our 22 years, you’ve always come through. Please come through again, if you can. Your contributions will help:
- Preserve the print magazine and pay for the much-needed promotion to increase our subscriber-base
- Enable the necessary website updates/maintenance to keep up with technological developments, which can provide more diverse content and innovations
- Provide funds to expand our video offerings and start our Z Books project that’s been on hold since 2007
- Allow the staff to sleep at night secure in the knowledge that we will not have to lay ourselves off
It’s painful to have to ask as we know these are hard times all around, but please help with whatever amount you can manage. For those who can afford it, we hope you will consider the Friend of Z option. Our future financial security could be assured if readers and subscribers each gave at least $25 to $50 and a dozen supporters pledged larger annual contributions—ones we could count on from year to year. Please know that we appreciate whatever you can manage and that we will spend it as we always have—by providing independent, radical politics, humor, and vision to keep the spirit of resistance alive.