South End Press Needs Your Help; Support Them Today
Our colleagues at South End Press put out the following call for financial support this week, and we're republishing it here it in hopes that Open Media Boston viewers will send them some money at speed. There aren't very many left-wing publishing houses in the U.S. and we can't afford to lose another one. Especially in times like these. So please check out their pitch and then dig as deeply as you can to help them out.
Read on and thanks,
Open Media Boston
Imagine Your World Without South End Press
Radical, independent, collectively-organized, committed to advancing justice and liberation, and moving the margin to the center: South End Press is your movement press. And the Press needs your immediate support, now more than ever. Will you make a donation today to sustain both resistance literature and radical imagination in action? Can you ask a friend to do so?
Can you imagine the world without South End Press? We can’t, either.
But times are very tough for the Press, with sales down significantly, two recent office moves in less than 6 months, serious website trouble and other weakened infrastructure, destabilization, and a tiny staff. Tellingly, sales are not down because our books are not needed; sales are down because we need to reprint key titles to meet the high demand but face large upfront printing and shipping costs, while any income generated from those sales is delayed by months. We receive almost no foundation or grant funding, relying instead on grassroots support from those who read, write, buy, assign, recommend, study, and share our books with others—those who recognize the importance of underwriting radical publishing. Like you.
Regretfully, we don’t have to imagine a world without one of our most important movement presses; Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press shuttered in 1996. Kitchen Table was cofounded in Boston by, among others, veteran activist and movement intellectual Barbara Smith—three years after South End Press’s 1977 launch in the same city. The founding spark was a suggestion by Audre Lorde, who said to Smith, "We really need to do something about publishing.” Kitchen Table was among our first movement presses, “an activist and advocacy organization devoted to the liberation struggles of all oppressed people.” And now it’s gone, the press itself and yes, even some of its most beloved books: In 1986, they published Audre Lorde’s groundbreaking work I Am Your Sister: Black Women Organizing Across Sexualities, now out of print. As is their landmark publication This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. Unimaginable as it might seem, This Bridge will likely never be published again; even used copies are extremely difficult to obtain.
So much of this work—the books and their enduring influence on radical thought and movements; the movement press itself; the alternative working model and space for actualizing liberation every day—is lost. Even as it is still needed. Perhaps more than ever.
This is why we’re asking you to continue the fight to keep movement publishing alive. Please donate today; any level of support helps!
What a year this has been.
Even Time had to recognize “the Protestor” as its person of the year. And as Occupy Together heads into winter, one thing is clear: the literature of resistance is held dear and considered essential. Libraries are ubiquitous to Occupy despite the tremendous energy, skill, time, and other resources they require to organize and maintain. Witness the public outcry that rose up when police forces destroyed the Occupy Wall Street library at Zuccotti Park, dumping thousands of books, and how others heeded the warning and attempted to rescue their libraries (often before much else) ahead of impending state assaults on the camps.
So many of those libraries have adopted South End Press titles: Boston, Oakland, Seattle, Pittsburgh, New York, Portland, the list goes on. And over the past three months, the SEP collective has received multiple requests from Occupy activists for book donations, usually for specific titles. While we’ve donated books to camp libraries as well as other resistance media and liberatory education projects, the hard reality is that we’ve often been unable to fulfill those requests largely because we don’t have enough money raised to meet the full reprint demand. Your donation today would make books available to the movements that need them.
Now, let’s imagine a world where the people rally to sustain our movement presses.
Many are interested in building out from Occupy to support lasting, creative, and sustainable resistance media projects that are organized as worker cooperatives or collectives. Together we recognize that liberation movements are advanced by think/action tanks and other tools for gathering resources to deeply engage, imagine, and change our world; and we recognize that such tools must be nurtured, led, and funded by the same movement base to which they are accountable. Key to that process is not only understanding the history of movement publishing as we search for models, but sustaining the movement presses we already have and recognizing them as our own.
By joining this effort to sustain movement publishing, you help ensure not only that the work of bell hooks, INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, and Noam Chomsky—whose first political books were published by South End Press—remains available, but that a model for publishing driven by movement priorities, instead of market forces, stays alive and relevant to the next generation of radical writers, thinkers, movers, and dreamers. Like you.
Can you imagine what movement-sustained publishing might look like?
We’re asking for your ideas, and have a few of our own:
Before we go, a bit of good news, kudos & interesting movement publishing history!
In 1981, the South End Press collective, just a few years after its founding, published bell hook’s debut, Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, which she wrote when she was 19 but didn’t publish until a decade later. Thirty years (and many, many books) later, readers participating in the 2011 Ms. Readers' 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of All Time poll voted Ain’t I a Woman in their Top 10, along with Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center and, at #1, Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics. Congratulations, bell! And thank you, all, for helping make the seemingly impossible, possible. It takes a movement.
For justice, liberation & peace,
The South End Press collective
Read. Write. Revolt.
p.s. Any level of support helps and is so very much appreciated. For donations of $100 or more, you will receive a Read. Write. Revolt. tote bag of sturdy black canvas (while supplies last). Donate $250 or more, and you will receive our 2011 frontlist titles: In Kashmir: Gender, Militarization and the Modern Nation-State, by Seema Kazi; The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities (available in print and ebook), eds. Ching-In Chen, Jai Dulani & Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha; and Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law (available in print, ebook coming soon), by Dean Spade.