[Marxism] Make a contribution to Counterpunch

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Nov 8 12:42:00 MST 2013

I just donated $100 to the Counterpunch fund-drive 
(http://store.counterpunch.org/) and strongly urge you to do so as well. 
At the risk of sounding like one of those annoying NPR or PBS people 
during their fund-drive, let me show you how little this would cost you 
in comparison to the reward: keeping the most important “hard left” 
website afloat.

$100 per year comes to about 28 cents a day, the amount of small change 
that you would barely notice if it fell out of your pocket behind a sofa 
cushion. I pay $2.50 per day to read the N.Y. Times but if I had a 
choice between Counterpunch and the Gray Lady, I would not hesitate. You 
could always switch to the Washington Post but there is only one 

On the Counterpunch home page, the editors remind us that it’s 
celebrating its 20th anniversary. Although most people associate 
Counterpunch with the web and the editorial team of Alexander Cockburn 
and Jeff St. Clair, it actually was launched in 1994 by Ken Silverstein 
as a print newsletter in the same format as Doug Henwood’s LBO. I took 
out a sub to Counterpunch just as soon as I learned of it from an ad in 
the back pages of the Nation Magazine. In the first year of Counterpunch 
newsletter, there’s an article based on an interview Ken did with me 
about the mass layoffs of IT managers at Goldman-Sachs.

After Counterpunch devolved into the capable hands of Alexander 
Cockburn, Ken went on to a series of jobs with different newspapers and 
magazines, and is now ensconced at Harper’s, a magazine that I have been 
subbed to since the early 80s. In fact, my staples—periodicals that I 
rely on—are Harper’s, Counterpunch, LBO and the NY Times.

Harper’s has a real connection to the fundraising appeal I am making 
here. As you probably know, the publisher John MacArthur hates the 
Internet, viewing it as a threat to journalism and to humanity in 
general. Like Evgeny Morozov and Jaron Lanier, he views it as a plot by 
people like Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg to turn us into slaves of the 
Big Machine a la Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. When I put a Harper’s article 
(a Terry Eagleton review of Sperber’s Karl Marx biography) on the 
Marxmail website, I got email from Harper’s demanding that I take it 
down. It probably did not occur to them that the people who read the 
article might have been enticed to take out a subscription to the 
magazine on the basis of the theft of their precious intellectual property.

MacArthur’s big complaint is that the Internet will destroy serious 
journalism by removing it from the commodity chain. While it is true 
that an article on the Louisiana oil company depredations by Ken 
Silverstein requires a serious outlay in terms of transportation and 
housing costs, not to speak of his salary, there are articles in 
Counterpunch that are just as vital as Ken’s. They, however, are not 
behind a paywall.

That is where you come in, dear readers. We need a mainstream liberal 
magazine like Harper’s but we need Counterpunch even more. Where else 
are you going to get quality articles written by a wide range of authors 
six days a week? The content of the Counterpunch archives are an amazing 
resource for any leftie doing research on some topic. For example, if 
you Google “fracking” using the Counterpunch domain, you will get 6,100 
hits—all of them relevant to the research project of exposing the 
corporate polluters. This is certainly worth 28 cents a day.

Finally, I want to deal with the question of some of the static 
Counterpunch has generated this year, particularly with the ISO attack 
on “sexism”. It is very important to understand that Counterpunch—at 
least the way I see it—is not a party newspaper like the ISO’s. Jeff and 
Joshua Frank do not sit down and plot out an agenda for 2014 with the 
aim of establishing cells of disciplined cadre everywhere determined to 
win the masses to the St. Clair/Frank programme for communist revolution.

In fact it is the very undisciplined character of Counterpunch that 
makes it unique. What better symbol of that was the Cockburn—St. Clair 
partnership that persisted even when they were miles apart on global 
warming? I began writing for Counterpunch on the invitation of Jeff St. 
Clair after he read my tirade about an article supporting the jailing of 
Pussy Riot that had appeared on Counterpunch. Also, you may have noticed 
the publication of a piece about Syria I had written recently. It went 
against what regularly appears on Counterpunch. If the vanguard party 
newspapers were 1/100th as inclusive as Counterpunch, we’d all be a lot 
better off. If you study the real history of the Russian revolutionary 
movement, you will learn that Counterpunch has much more in common with 
Iskra or Pravda than any of these “party line” newspapers.

At any rate, in a period of deepening social and economic crisis, a 
publication like Counterpunch is more necessary than ever. I created the 
Marxism mailing list in order to allow revolutionary socialists 
worldwide to communicate. Not more than a day or so goes by without me 
linking to a Counterpunch article, totaling 3,490 at this point. That 
speaks volumes for its importance. I urge you to donate $100 like me or 
$50, whatever you can afford. As they say, “from each according to their 
ability…” Then, of course, everybody needs Counterpunch equally.

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