The World Without BlackCommentator.com?


Many people who know me know that at some point, in discussing the financial future of movement organizations and institutions I ask:  "How do we expect to run this project, on magic?"


While I know that some people tire of hearing that, in this age of the Web, I actually think that for many people the answer is "yes."  In other words, there is a semi-magical aspect to the Web that leads many of us to deceive ourselves about what it takes to make something happen in cyberspace. Think about it for a second.  All YOU have to do is sit down at your computer, get onto the web and type www.blackcommentator.com (only 24 keystrokes) and presto! – you get one of the best of the on-line magazines!!


Doesn’t it feel like magic?


It’s not.


Unfortunately, and I have seen this with other on-line magazines (such as "The Black World Today"), despite the professionalism of the project and the quality of the result, on-line magazines are very difficult to sustain.  If someone is going to treat this as a serious piece of work, devoting themselves as the publishers of BlackCommentator.com do every week, they simply cannot do that on a shoe-string or as volunteers.  That might work for a periodic newsletter or blog entry, but it does not work for a genuine on-line magazine.


So, we are at the proverbial fork in the road. BlackCommentator.com needs YOUR financial support, but it also needs to know that you will advocate for the magazine. The responses we receive to the magazine are tremendous.  We have developed important connections with media outlets in Canada, Africa and Latin America.  People have indicated that there are stories and analyses contained in BlackCommentator.com that they just do not find anywhere else.  In addition, over the last two years, we have worked especially hard to expand the ideological diversity of BlackCommentator.com so that it is truly a center for debate on issues facing people of African descent.


Well, team, if the money does not start flowing in, this project cannot last, pure and simple.  I wish that I could sugar-coat this request, but I do not want to insult or mislead you.  We need YOU to contribute to BlackCommentator.com.  For some of you, a one-time contribution may be all that you can do at this time, and we respect and appreciate that.  Others of you may be able to contribute on a monthly basis.  And still others may be able to both contribute but also get some of your friends and colleagues to contribute (you can even sponsor an ad!!)


I have never particularly liked asking people for money.  I have always hoped that someone else would do that.  But as Executive Editor of BlackCommentator.com (a position for which I receive no financial compensation) I feel morally and politically obligated to tell it like it is.


BlackCommentator.com cannot survive based on magic, good- will, or moral support.  We need to know, just as do all Movement institutions, that you, a supporter of our work, make BlackCommentator.com a priority by offering a financial contribution.


Let me thank you in advance since I KNOW that you are pulling for the magazine.


And from Nancy Littlefield, Managing Editor of BlackCommentator.com:


As longtime readers may have noticed, our annual hiatus is coming a little early this year so that we may return in time for commentary and analysis on the U.S. Democratic National Convention.  Although we’re not publishing right now, we are, however, working on several new projects to make BC even better, and to try to find a means of reliable cash flow.


While we’re away, please visit the BC archives, which are open to everyone during this hiatus.  If you are new to BlackCommentator.com and like what you see, please consider becoming a BC Paid Subscriber and/or BC Contributor.  You’ll find links all over the site to do this. If you are already a BC Paid Subscriber and/or BC Contributor, thank you. Every dollar helps.


[BlackCommentator.com Executive Editor, Bill Fletcher, Jr., is a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum and co-author of the book, Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward Social Justice  (University of California Press), which examines the crisis of organized labor in the USA.]

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