Slingshot is an independent radical newspaper published in Berkeley since 1988.
If it seems like an inordinate amount of time has passed between issues of Slingshot, your intuition is right. The structures that we’ve relied on to make the paper the last couple of decades broke down this time. Normally, we publish an article deadline and articles show up. We publish the date for a new volunteer meeting, and new and old members of the collective show up. This time at the deadline we mostly got poorly written articles. A bunch of people came to the new volunteer meeting but never came back, while longer-term members of the collective were absent. We had to extend the deadline twice and had small, sad meetings.
Little by little some momentum returned. Some articles came in that we really liked. Beautiful cover art appeared. We called each other and left late-night collective voicemails on speaker phone. We exchanged historic office supplies. We ate bananas. We sent birthday cards. Some of us even drank a little wine. In the end, we had so many good articles that we consulted a magick 8-ball to decide what to put on the first page.
So now we’re finally pushing this late issue out into the world with a Question: How can we re-imagine and revive the Slingshot collective so the paper can continue more smoothly? This project — 27 years old now — has a lot going for it. Unlike most radical projects, we are blessed with sufficient funding, provided by the Slingshot organizer calendar. Because of the network we’ve built around the Organizer, we have an excellent community of distributors all over the country who hand out the papers we publish. We have a unique voice and style that offers opportunities for artistic, political and literary expression.
The weak spots are that we need more article submissions and more help with editing. In the age of the internet with instant gratification and computerized-publishing, more people are writers than ever before and there is a lot of good material out there. We urge you to send some of it our way. Paper distribution provides opportunities to reach out to people who wouldn’t otherwise stumble onto radical ideas and this helps radicals break out of our self-created intellectual/cultural/social bubble.
Our other big problem is a 6-month backlog processing mail from prisoners. We are getting thousands of letters from prisoners and we’re overwhelmed. We need help typing addresses into our mailing list and responding to the letters. If Slingshot can’t find volunteers to process the prison mail, the only fair alternative is to warn prisoners not to write us anymore, because we don’t have the infrastructure to handle their letters.
In other news, because Slingshot is an open-collective that welcomes whoever shows up, we’ve been struggling with how to deal with the rare situations where we can’t work with people who show up to our meetings. In one instance, a tall white man named Darin made comments at meetings that were so disruptive that we finally asked him to stop coming to meetings. We also understand that he acted inappropriately towards a number of women by refusing to respect their requests that he leave them alone. These situations are hard on all-volunteer collectives and we delayed dealing with this situation for a long time because it was uncomfortable. This delay and avoidance didn’t make the problem go away — it just made it last longer and contributed to the feeling that our collective might be okay with his actions.
Slingshot is always looking for new writers, artists, editors, photographers, translators, distributors, etc. to make this paper. If you send something written, please be open to editing.
Editorial decisions are made by the Slingshot Collective but not all the articles reflect the opinions of all collectives members. We welcome debate and constructive criticism.
Thanks to the people who made this: Eggplant, Finn, Gina, Glenn, Hayley, Heather, Isabel, Jesse, Judy, Kit, Robin, Soren, William, Xander, and all the authors and artists.
Slingshot New Volunteer Meeting
Volunteers interested in getting involved with Slingshot can come to the new volunteer meeting on January 25, 2015 at 4 pm at the Long Haul in Berkeley (see below.)
Article Deadline & Next Issue Date
Submit your articles for issue 118 on February 14, 2015 at 3 p.m.
Volume 1, Number 117, Circulation 20,000
Printed November 14, 2014
A publication of Long Haul
Office: 3124 Shattuck Avenue
Mailing: PO Box 3051, Berkeley, CA 94703
Phone (510) 540-0751 • email@example.com slingshot.tao.ca • twitter @slingshotnews
Subscriptions to Slingshot are free to prisoners, low income and anyone in the USA with a Slingshot Organizer, or $1 per issue or back issue. International $3 per issue. Outside the Bay Area we’ll mail you a free stack of copies if you give them out for free. Each envelope is one lb. (8 copies) — let us know how many envelopes you want. In the Bay Area, pick up copies at Long Haul or Bound Together Books in SF.
Slingshot Free stuff
We’ll send you a random assortment of back issues of Slingshot for the cost of postage: Send $3 for 2 lbs. Free if you’re an infoshop or library. Also, our full-color coffee table book about People’s Park is free or by sliding scale donation: send $1 – $25 for a copy. We also have surplus copies of the 2014 Organizer available free in bulk for distro to people who wouldn’t otherwise purchase one such as prisoners, youth and the oppressed. Email or call us: firstname.lastname@example.org / Box 3051 Berkeley, 94703.