Solidarity needed in the face of war



These are turbulent times. We are living in a state of permanent war, enforced by the world's ruling corporate elite. Driving the military offensive — by the world's most terrible and expensive war machine — is an economic war which kills millions of people, and devastates the planet.

The victims of these wars get scant sympathy from the all-pervasive mass media, that is owned and controlled by those profiting from the wars.

Many times the number killed in the terrorist attack on 9/11 have now been killed in Washington-led wars of "retribution". But there are no regular memorials and tributes for these victims. Are their lives worth less?

In a world where truth is shunted aside by war propaganda, Green Left Weekly struggles to tell it like it is. We want to expose the lies about terrorism designed to stir up fear and hate, and the lies about Indigenous people, and about Arabs and other migrants, designed to exacerbate ugly racism.

In a world of incessant, jingoistic advertising, free speech has been, well, expensive for a while. But now even its legality is under renewed attack. Spooks and political police keep getting more power to stop our dissent and silence our media.

But people do, and will, dissent. Iraq was invaded against the wishes of the world's majority. The biggest global anti-war protests in history took place in February.

Do we acquiesce or do we resist? That's a choice that confronts us all. Do we fight, or do we surrender?

We at Green Left Weekly have made an unequivocal choice. We resist — and our project is to help others do so too.

Not only does every issue of Green Left Weekly carry articles exposing the lies, but it helps link activists together and foster more effective resistance. To paraphrase Karl Marx, our aim is not just to interpret the world, but to help change it.

And now we really need your help.

In this and the next issue of Green Left Weekly you will see messages from some "dissenters" who deeply appreciate this publication. They have agreed to help us in this appeal for readers to join Friends of Green Left Weekly, supporters who make a regular financial contribution, whether of $10 a month or $100 a month.

There is an urgency to this. Green Left Weekly is a paper without corporate sponsorship or commercial advertising. The core of activists who have distributed and raised the money for Green Left Weekly for the last 12 years just cannot cope with the potential demand.

Green Left Weekly has a huge audience, but it is usually a widely dispersed one. At large rallies and marches, like in February, our dedicated volunteers easily quadruple the numbers of papers they sell, giving the project a much needed financial injection.

But in between such gatherings it can be a hard slog.

In recent years, Green Left Weekly has acquired an even bigger and more global readership through the internet. By March, visits to our web site were averaging 8077 per day. This made it the most visited political web site in Australia. According to one survey, it was the most third-most visited by Australians searching for news on the war, after the British Guardian and Michael Moore's web site.

Although the visits dropped somewhat in June and July, they started to increase again from September and our November average looks like it will top 8000 per day.

This is good news, but it has a downside, as a dropping minority of our readers are paying for the paper. We want to keep our web version free — which will ensure it continues to be so widely read. In fact, we want to upgrade the web site to make it easier to find information and eventually, to be a daily, rather than weekly, information source. But this, like many of our other ideas, remain dreams while we are so financially strapped.

That is why we have launched Friends of Green Left Weekly, and are asking you to commit to a regular financial donation to the project, make a donation or remember us in your will.

You'll be in good company! Those who have already agreed to help include renowned left journalist John Pilger, who has described Green Left Weekly as "a beacon to those who believe the press ought to be an agent of the people" and environmental campaigner Cam Walker, who describes GLW as, "an accessible, activist paper that encourages action and engagement in social and environmental struggles".

Even from the US, we have received support. Friends Barry Sheppard and Caroline Lund have been fighting US capital for more than four decades. "Green Left Weekly is the finest revolutionary newspaper in the world", they wrote to us.

We know you are besieged by appeals for donations. Global capitalism is so destructive that charities must keep slapping on the band aids. It is a tribute to humanity that people on low incomes give 3% of their income to charity, while the wealthy give just 1%.

We wouldn't ask if we didn't need it. For the next two issues, we will be "campaigning" to get a broad pool of supporters to ensure the continuation, and hopefully expansion, of our paper and web site. If you want to help achieve our goal of ending these permanent wars, fill in the form on page 5. If you're willing to have your name mentioned as a friend, please let us know that too.

Thank you to all our readers for your continuing support — we couldn't do it without you!

[Alison Dellit is the editor of Green Left Weekly.]

From Green Left Weekly, November 19, 2003.
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