Spring and early summer have certainly not been dull. This year, people are raising a ruckus. In Spain a large portion of the population is rising up angry and indignant, demanding change. With each day, the Spanish protestors become more aware and more confident (see article page 22). Emerging assemblies (vehicles of direct participation and self-management) remind one of councils during other uprisings. The same is happening in Greece, where the numbers of participants are comparable, but where, because it has all been done, tensions are higher. Where this will all go no one knows. But it is certainly very hopeful. And it isn't unique. Similar stirrings are happening in North Africa, the Mideast, Europe, and in parts of the U.S.
While the potential beneficiaries of such turmoil and anger (social democrats and liberals) are compromised and in disarray, regular folks seem to be moving from anger to creativity and we can easily anticipate more of it in the coming weeks and months. Of course, the fact that international climate calamities are turning everyone into militants or depressives adds fuel to these potential fires.
On the home front, the various Z Communications projects will continue to report on current activities and events as often and as in-depth as we can. We just recently completed our 2011 Z Media Institute during which 32 students (see photo by Robert Armaline of the graduating class) learned about U.S. foreign policy from Noam Chomsky and organizing from Steve Early and Monica Adams, the latter also reporting on the developing movement In Wisconsin. Some of these ZMI courses and talks will be available on DVD in September.
Z Magazine (continuously delivering monthly print content for 24 years, and online for 10) is also now available in PDF format for E-Readers, IPads, and IPhones. The magazine and ZNet, our online network, are chugging along nicely.
Two staff are moving on to new pursuits. Chris Spannos (Z staff since 2006) and Andy Dunn (Z staff since 2003 have done a great job over the years and we thank them for all their work. The remaining staff of Lydia Sargent, Michael Albert, and Eric Sargent (the original three since 1988/1989) are rearranging tasks in order to get the work done while we are short-handed.
Books & Organization
Our annual fundraising efforts have gone well for now, thanks to magazine subscribers and online sustainers. We hope to put some of the $170,000 raised toward Z Books, geared for courses and study groups, as well as providing resource material for activists.
Another new development concerns a poll Z conducted earlier this spring about the possibility of creating an international organization. Based on the poll’s results, Z decided to begin creating a web system to house an interim effort at building such an organization, including having branches nationally and chapters locally. Using the organizational description that gained wide support as a set of guidelines, we are moving forward. One indicator that there is real potential is that the description has already been translated into Russian, Japanese, French, Albanian, Italian, Spanish, German, Greek, Portuguese, and Swedish.
Another project in the works is a new web operation to be called ZSocial, which will eventually largely replace ZSpace with a powerful, easy-to-use social networking system with left values and goals. In other words, we hope people and groups will use ZSocial for left networking, not Facebook or other commercial operations, and confine their use of commercial sites to exploiting them to reach large audiences.
ZSocial is intended to provide all the functionality of operations like Facebook, plus real privacy, no ads, and no selling of your information to make profits or inform police of members’ agendas, which is what Facebook does. It will be a politically conceived and motivated vehicle for the left. We look forward to interacting with you on the new facilities and in the new organization by this coming fall.