Seven hundred issues ago the first copy of Green Left Weekly hit the streets in the midst of the first US-led invasion of Iraq. "Just say no" to the war, was the cry on our multi-coloured cover, and the issue was snapped up eagerly at the anti-war protests.
This has happened many times over. Indeed, can you imagine attending a major anti-war demonstration in Australia (or for that matter any other progressive rally) without noticing the ubiquitous Green Left Weekly being distributed, read or even held aloft as a placard?
Some columnists in the corporate media have even made Green Left Weekly a metaphor for radical ideas and protest. You'd expect readers of Green Left Weekly to oppose the US-Australia alliance, sneered conservative Sydney Morning Herald columnist Gerard Henderson recently. An article in the lifestyle section of the Melbourne Age coined the phrase "a Green Left Weekly moment". What that is I have yet to work out, but it sounds good.
Seven hundred issues after the paper first came out in February 1991, we are still in the midst of a bloody US-led war of occupation of Iraq.
All through Green Left Weekly's 16 years of publication, there has been a long and continuous US-led war on Iraq if you count the 10-year economic war against the Iraqi people. These UN Security Council sanctions caused 500,000 child deaths according to UNICEF. Add that to the 200,000 military and civilian casualties from military action in 1991 and the, at least, 650,000 since the 2003 US-led invasion. How can anyone even attempt to justify this genocide with the 9/11 atrocity, in which less than 3000 people were killed, especially since Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with this act of terror?
Is the ongoing war on Iraq proof that our message, and that of many other anti-war publications and coalitions around the world, just hasn't been getting through? You couldn't say that after the last week or so when Bush, Cheney, Blair and Howard have been clearly forced onto the defensive on the war.
Another major issue we have covered from the beginning of Green Left Weekly has been global warming. In the fourth issue of Green Left Weekly, I wrote an article that noted: "The balance of scientific opinion has swung unequivocally behind the view that industrial activities in the last century have been accelerating the greenhouse effect. What once was a radical theory — that a number of gases were building up in the atmosphere and acting like a blanket to warm the globe — has been proved to be fact. The world has been given clear notice: act now or face ecological suicide."
But back then nearly every big capitalist — and their political parties and paid propagandists (some parading as scientists) — was proud to identify as a global warming sceptic. Today that club of denial is all but extinct, although the capitalists still resist putting the urgent environmental action needed ahead of their greed for profits. But you cannot say we are not winning the battle for hearts and minds on climate change.
The editorial in the very first issue of Green Left Weekly made this appeal:
"Many individuals made this issue possible by writing articles, letters, poems, drawing cartoons, taking photographs, designing graphics and layout. But there is room for many more people to become part of the GL team. And there is room for you too!
"The broader the range of people who contribute to GL, the better it will be. This is a paper by and for the green and progressive movement. We would like it to reflect the movement in action and in discussion. We want to reflect the controversies and the concerns as well as the achievements and celebrations. Your input could help us do this better."
Over the last 16 years large numbers of people have responded to this appeal, and their selfless contributions have helped advance the movement for a better future. They've made a real investment in our common future. If you are not yet of these "investors" we hope you'll get in touch with us and join the team soon.
And how about giving Green Left Weekly a 700th issue present? Last week was a bit slow; our supporters raised $1663 bringing the total raised for our Fighting Fund so far this year to $27,273. That's 11% of our target. Can you help us get there faster? If you can give us a call on the toll-free line 1800 634 206 (calls from within Australia only), send in a cheque to PO Box 394, Broadway 2007 or donate securely online (protected by SecurePay) at <http://www.greenleft.org.au/fogl.htm>. Thanks for your ongoing support.