Slingshot welcomes unsolicited non-fiction article submissions on a variety of topics. Many topics are of interest — we suggest you write about stuff you’re involved with, know about, or are passionate about. Because we only come out every 3-5 months and it takes a while for an article to go from the author to getting distributed, the best Slingshot articles are analysis, not pure news updates. Analysis is a process that examines and discusses news events and facts and reaches conclusions. It is different than an opinion rant — just spewing about what you think. While sometimes pure opinions are interesting, you’ll increase your chances of writing something publish-worthy by going beyond just ranting. We also like funny articles that make political points in a funny or interesting way. We like first-person articles where appropriate much better than dry articles with no “heart”.
One big purpose of Slingshot is to go beyond just providing information and analysis about social issues and provide some inspiration. Every day the mainstream press is full of articles about problems. The alternative press is at its best when it goes beyond just talking about problems and instead points to solutions — areas available for struggle, the development of new and creative tactics, hopeful stories about people who are changing things. A lot of people know we’re facing problems, but usually, this awareness just makes people feel hopeless and paralyzed. The alternative press can help figure out how to move people from disempowerment and resignation to action!
Slingshot has no formal political “party line”. We aim to reach a number of audiences:
• folks who could potentially be sympathetic and active, but haven’t yet made the step from critique to action.
• folks who were active at one point, but who’ve become discouraged or withdrawn.
• folks who are concerned about single issues or skeptical about the social direction, but who haven’t developed ideas about answers — what could be done, what would a new society look like, how can people organize to create change?
• people who are already inspired and motivated to act and want to hear about what other people are up to and think about new tactics or be exposed to what is working for other people.
Radical media can point out connections between seemingly distinct issues and social problems — a lot of problems and solutions come down to a critique of hierarchy, power, racism, patriarchy, dehumanizing structures, and economic / technological systems. We want to create media that goes beyond an academic, cold discourse and touches what is really human, precious and unique about each of our lives.
A good Slingshot article may contain some or all of these points:
1. Contains an analysis of a particular aspect of social reality that looks at the problem or phenomenon from a new angle or in a way that goes beyond “common wisdom” about the issue or typical liberal / progressive (or even radical / anarchist) points.
2. Suggests solutions vs. just pointing out how fucked up things are.
3. Inspires folks to actually do something. Just understanding an issue and knowing a theoretical solution is not enough. Each of us has numerous opportunities during our lives to change, grow and struggle. A great article will connect solutions to these opportunities.
4. Be fun to read, reach people on a personal / emotional level, maybe be funny or exciting, use non-jargon filled language that is accessible to a variety of people, explains or defines terms and ideas that are not universally understood and spells out group names vs. using acronyms. Articles should also address the who, what, when, where, how and why. Slingshot articles do not have to be objective but an author may find it helpful to define their biases where applicable. It is easiest for us if you send the article as an attachment to an email either as a .doc, .rtf, or .txt file.
The next article deadline is ?. Once people turn in articles, we have a weekend meeting where a big group of us read all the articles together. If you are in the Bay Area or can come here, join us for the reading and editing – it is fun and we’ll feed you and entertain you with jokes and ancient music played on vinyl records. Through that process, we either decide to publish an article as-is, decide to contact the author and ask them to revise the article, or decide that the article isn’t right for Slingshot. If we contact you and suggest revisions, you’ll have 3-4 days to make the revisions and one of us will be available to discuss the requested revisions with you. Submit to Slingshot!