Slingshot introduction issue #93

Slingshot is an independent, radical, quarterly newspaper published in Berkeley since 1988.

Four nights ago while we were editing, we heard a loud crash and at first thought it was two cars hitting each other out on the street. When we ran out to see what had happened, we were horrified to see that the noise had been a car running over three pedestrians in the crosswalk only feet from where we were working. They were lying on the pavement seriously hurt — one going into convulsions — gasps and screams of on-lookers and the victims filling the air. None of us could concentrate after that — and none of us slept well that night. Since then, we’ve been extra aware of how violent cars are, and extra careful walking and biking the streets.

The incident underlined how the modern, fast, motorized world is opposed to life on all levels — from global warming exterminating coral reefs and polar bears, to stress and fast-food and chemicals hurting our health, to the internet isolating us and smothering local communities, culture and bookstores. In many ways, we’re struggling not just against capitalism, war and corporations, but against the culture and worship of speed in all aspects of our lives. Just as fast-food has perverted food, fast-life has perverted many of the best things about being human.

Our culture pushes people to pursue money, power and fame. In contrast, we find that the things that really make life worth living are our experiences — not the goals we’re “supposed” to be seeking. This issue, the best moments were the late-night good conversations and community we found as a collective. Very slow, human-speed moments of connection. These moments are free — they don’t require fossil fuels or money — but they do require the time to be present and to appreciate them.

Another thing about this issue was the funny weather while we were making it — the coldest days in decades here in the East Bay while in areas where it should be cold on the East Coast, we hear it has been warm. No doubt about it — global warming is the elephant in the room that no one knows how to confront. While we try to live as fossil fuel-free as we can day-to-day, publishing Slingshot and shipping it to all 50 states and 20 countries relies on a ton of oil. Maybe it would be better if folks everywhere would publish their own papers locally, or maybe we should be emphasizing a return to storytelling and face-to-face communication. At the same time, we read with concern about more and more radical print publications struggling to continue. A world where radicals only exist on-line is as problematic as one in which all the independent bookstores are replaced by Amazon.com.

And finally, to prove that life is complex and that it’s all about navigating the contradictions, Slingshot is desperate to find a really dedicated, stable, long-term computer / website consultant — even though we’re generally mistrustful of and down on computers and the internet. Our website hasn’t been adequately updated in two years — it is missing a lot of important stuff we would like to make available — basically it’s being held together with chewing gum. We would love to find someone with a lot of time on their hands and great skills who would emphasize sharing their knowledge with the collective so we could all participate in creating and maintaining our website. We want to avoid past mistakes that created a hierarchy of experts and disempowered technology consumers within the collective. Well, we can dream . . .

Slingshot is always looking for new writers, artists, editors, photographers, translators, distributors and independent thinkers to help us make this paper. If you send something written, please be open to working with the editorial collective.

Editorial decisions are made by the Slingshot collective, but not all the articles reflect the opinions of all collective members. We welcome debate, constructive criticism and discussion.

Thanks to all who worked on this: Alex, Asher, B (Catering), Cathy, Dean, Eggplant, Hefty Lefty, Julia, Justin, Micah, PB, Rachel and Terri.

Slingshot New Volunteer Meeting

Volunteers interested in getting involved with Slingshot can come to the new volunteer meeting on Sunday, March 11 at 4 p.m. at the Long Haul in Berkeley (see below).

Article Deadline and Next Issue Date

Submit your articles for issue 94 by April 7, 2007 at 3 p.m.

Volume 1, Number 93, Circulation 15,000

Printed January 17, 2007

Slingshot Newspaper

Sponsored by Long Haul

3124 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA 94705

Phone: (510) 540-0751

slingshot@tao.ca • www.slingshot.tao.ca

Back issue Project

We’ll send you a random assortment of back issues for the cost of postage: send us $2 for 2 lbs or $3 for 4 lbs. Free if you’re an infoshop or library. Or drop by our office. Send cash or check to Slingshot to: Slingshot 3124 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA 94705.

Circulation Information

Slingshot is free in the Bay Area and is available at Long Haul and Bound Together Books (SF), plus lots of other places. Contact us or come by if you want to distribute Slingshot for free in the Bay Area.

Subscriptions to Slingshot are free to prisoners, low income and anyone in the USA who has a Slingshot organizer, or cost $1 per issue. International is $2.50 per issue. Back issues are also available for the cost of postage. National free distribution program: Outside of the Bay Area, we’ll mail a stack of free copies of Slingshot to distributors, infoshops, bookstores and random friendly individuals for FREE in the US if they give ‘em out for free.