Clamor Magazine was a huge and significant part of my life. Not only did a spend seven years working on it, but it shaped my life, friendships, and politics more than I could have imagined.
I’ve been working for the last year to make the content of the magazine available digitally, and I kind of can’t believe that I am able to say CLAMOR IS NOW ONLINE.
Jason and I are also doing a fundraising campaign to make the archive more accessible. I hope you will consider contributing or spreading the word. Here’s a link to the campaign:
Working on this project has been so nostalgic for me, but also just really exciting. As part of the fundraising campaign I’ve been going through each issue and posting some of my favorite pieces on Facebook and Twitter. It’s been like an excavation – the features I totally forgot, along side the things I could never forget. I am pleased and proud about the work we were able to do then, and wish there were a similar vehicle now.
These pieces are available if you go directly to the Internet Archive, but right now we aren’t able to locate them through searching Google or other engines, which is the purpose of the project we’re doing now.
More info on the project (including a link directly to the online archive and to a list of the 800+ contributors) is below.
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The Clamor Magazine archive is now available digitally—Can you help us make it more accessible?
Clamor co-founder Jason Kucsma and I are working on making all of the print content available and searchable through a new web portal. We’ve already digitized the print magazines, and though everything is online now, we still have some work to do to make it an accessible collection for readers, researchers, and enthusiasts. Can’t wait for the new portal? You can view the magazine collection on the Internet Archive here.
We need your help to see this project through. We hope that you will consider making a small donation to make this possible. Read on for for more about why we’re digitizing the magazine, and why we need your help.
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We talked for a while and she explained it all to me. I recognize that she is essentially a salesperson and her job is to make it sound like a good deal. She succeeded. You can read all about it on Groupon’s site for selling their service to businesses, Groupon Works.
Despite the sales pitch, I was skeptical. I started talking to a bunch of people about their experiences and thoughts about it and eventually decided not to do it.
Why I said No
Let me be a bit conceptual here for a moment.
Like most small business owners, I consider what I do a craft. Each cupcake order I make is custom made in a small batch, usually by me with the occasional help of an assistant. What I charge for my work is that (sometime elusive) sweet spot between what it actually costs me to produce the order and what people think it’s OK to pay for cupcakes (aka “what the market will bear”). There’s not really a lot of wiggle room there.
Capitalism is really good at instilling in us the desire to pay as little for things as possible, despite what the things cost to produce. This doesn’t make sense. When we look at the “slow food” and artisan food movements, where things like organic vegetables and fancy cheese and nice bread cost a lot, the producers say it’s because that’s what it actually costs to make the food. While I’m sure we can all think of fancy food and artisan things that are over-priced, for the most part, while we live in a system where we pay for food (which is kind of absurd, but that’s another story), I think that charging what it actually costs to make something is right.
Offering a coupon (Groupon says it needs to be at least 50% off) encourages that kind of behavior – of thinking not of what something is worth, but a more self-focused “what kind of deal can I get this for” attitude that I don’t want to encourage. At all. It’s not the way to value things that are produced ethically, by people who care about what they are making and their customers.
Not offering a coupon feels like I’m saying “this is what my product is worth.” Good. Let’s go with that.
Isn’t it worth it for the marketing / getting my name out there?
As someone who works on publicity and marketing, I think about how to get the word out about projects all the time. Unlike other people, I think spending money on marketing and promo efforts is important and can be effective when done right.
When people say “I lost a lot of money using Groupon,” Part of me thinks of that dollar figure not as lost money but as the cost of a marketing effort. Then the discussion is, is that dollar amount something I am willing to pay as an investment in marketing? and did I gain customers as a result? For most people, the answer is no.
For example, when I look at my Groupon/coupon buying behavior and that of my friends, which I can guess is not that different from most of the Groupon-buying public, I pretty much only buy coupons for places I already go or have no intention of going to again after I’ve spent the coupon.
Most people who buy online coupons are coupon shoppers. If they want more cupcakes, they’re not going to buy from me, they’re going to wait for the coupon for the next cupcake place (because we all know that cupcake places are everywhere right now).
Now that I’ve had the opportunity to think about this in an in-depth way, I’m not doing that any more. It basically financially penalizes the small businesses and restaurants that I am patronizing and want to support. They’re not gaining me as a customer since I already go there (or don’t intend to go again), they’re just losing money on the transaction. If I don’t want people to do that to me, why am I going to do that to others?
One of the caveats I can imagine is that if I were offering, say, a yoga class where my costs stayed the same even if the number of participants increased, then it might make sense. But, obviously, cupcakes are different than yoga. And if I offered a class, I would probably just offer an introductory package (like half off your first month or something), bypass Groupon, and spend my time and money on social media.
Although I often joke and say that I have 10 jobs, really my main job is to help awesome authors & filmmakers promote their work through events and other outreach. I work with a few other really cool folks, and we have a group called Aid & Abet. I know, this is not news. I’m just trying to get everyone on the same page here.
Well, I am absolutely thrilled to announce that today we relaunched the Aid & Abet website – it’s at www.aidandabet.org and I absolutely love it. The designer is Derek Hogue and I will highly recommend him to anyone who wants a new site or a redesign. Not only does it look great, but the user interface is amazing and easy to use.
Second, along with the new site, today we are announcing the release of a new booklet – Get Noticed! How to Publicize Your Book or Film – designed for all of our friends (including many of you) who have your own projects and don’t want to or can’t afford to hire a PR firm to do publicity for you. There is tons of info in it and it’ll be helpful for anyone who has a book, project, or film to promote. It’s available as a PDF download or as a printed booklet, and you can find out more about it at: http://aidandabet.org/resources/get-noticed/.
The Allied Media Conference call for proposals is now being circulated (see below) for the July 2009 conference. I’m not sure yet if I’ll be there, it depends on how my finances shake out over the next couple months.
So, even though this zine came out a while ago, I just got it in the mail yesterday — and I love it! One of my favorite photographers, Chrissy Piper, made a zine where she asks punks of all stripes to list three records that have changed or inspired their lives. So each page features a photo of the person, and then their three records, and sometimes a description – short or long – about the record.
Why is this so awesome? First, like many of these people, punk music and community was instrumental in shaping who I am today. So it’s great to see that honored.
Second, I LOVE ZINES. As if you couldn’t tell already. But, I love that this is a real zine, not a blog or a webzine, that it is a paper copy that I can have and hold and look at when I want. I have been floating this theory lately that zines are going to make a comeback in a big way. Partially it’s because of the political magazine landscape right now – when I think about where to print the articles I am writing, there aren’t a lot of options. So, I’m considering self-publishing – it’s either that or the web. I’m excited about this idea, and hope others are too, so seeing a great zine like this makes me happy. And, I’m planning a split of my old zine, Fucktooth, with my friend Mike of Antipathy zine sometime this spring/summer. Yes, really. And yes, I know it’s been 10 years. I was busy, OK?
In honor of my dad‘s birthday today, two poems that he loved.
Crossing the Bar • Alfred Lord Tennyson
Sunset and evening star
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.
High Flight • John Gillespie Magee, Jr
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
Love to you, Dad, wherever you are.
While I was at home in Ohio with Jason Kucsma, finishing up the very first issue of Clamor, many friends were in the streets of Seattle protesting the World Trade Organization meeting. We featured the protests on the cover of our premiere issue.
This year, David Solnit wrote a bit of a reflection, and it was posted on Infoshop.org – “Seattle WTO Shutdown 9 Year Anniversary: 5 Lessons for Today” where he talks about the need for new tactics, strategic organizing, and a systemic analysis. He says, “There is actually no global justice movement. “Global justice” instead is a common space of convergence—a framework where everyone who fights against the system we call corporate globalization (or capitalism, empire, imperialism, neoliberalism, etc) and its impacts on our communities can make common cause and make our efforts cumulative. This anti-systemic framework helps diverse groups and movements to come together for mobilizations or to support each other. This is the movement of movements that fights for global justice, often winning, and has become stronger over the last nine years.”
I know, like me, every year you get appeals at the end of the year from all sorts of organizations asking for your money. This is a good opportunity to talk about how each of us needs to support the activists and organizations in our communities – whatever those communities might be. While other periods in social movement history have included an responsibility for funding our movements, the radical community has seemed to have moved away from feeling this sense of obligation for giving our hard-earned dollars to social movement organizations, no strings attached.
I know I seem to talk about money endlessly (see here and here for example), but imagine the impact on social justice movements if each of us gave away just 1% of our income. I feel it’s part of my responsibility, as a relatively privileged person who cares about the world, to do everything I can to make positive change – and that includes thinking of money less as “mine” and more as a tool with which things are accomplished. My writing and activism are tools, but so is money.
So, I’d like to share five of the organizations that I have given money to, because in the sea of appeals from liberal organizations with bandaid solutions, I want to think about truly radical organizations that are often overlooked in this fundraising season.
“I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington… I’m asking you to believe in yours.”
A few thoughts.
Most of the people I associate with have serious critiques of the electoral system and recognize its limitations. Despite that, I’ve encountered many friends and comrades who are excited about Barack Obama. It started a few months ago, when I was on a hike with a few friends right after the “Race Speech.” Granted, there was a lot of stuff in there that was really good–-it’s pretty much unheard of for any policymaker to talk about race in such a frank way, about things like discrimination and lack of economic opportunity. He acknowledges the anger that exists in black and white communities. He also lauds protest and civil disobedience (in the context of the civil rights movement), right in the beginning of the speech. Despite this, the speech is far from perfect and it has a lot of problems, including comments like this, where he’s denouncing Rev. Wright’s sermons as: “a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.” There are lots of people talking about how much they like him. Though not the most radical of sources, here’s an essay of Tom Hayden‘s where he talks about why he is campaigning for Obama, and The Nation has come out strongly supporting him.
I remember when people were excited about John Kerry. In 2004 I lived in Ohio, a swing state, and I remember going to the poll the morning of the election and seeing lines of my friends as they prepared to vote, believing that Kerry would win. I voted because at the time I was working at Planned Parenthood, and I believed that who was in office would influence policies that control funding for family planning and restrictions on abortions. I didn’t have any illusions that voting him into office would be some transformative experience, though I thought that it might make a minor difference to a select group of people.
That’s not how people are talking about Obama. People, even radicals who have checked out of the system, some who vote and some who don’t, believe in his message of change. So, over the last few months, I’ve been asking a lot of people I’ve come into contact with about why he is exciting. It boils down to a few points: