by Don L. Durivan
(Swans - November 30, 2009) I write this on my own initiative. No one suggested it to me, least of all Gilles d'Aymery or anyone else at Swans. I saw the short list of financial contributors this year and said to myself, "Are you kidding? Something's got to be done." An E-magazine like Swans has costs, like Internet access and maintenance, just to name two, and we aren't stepping up enough, though thousands and thousands of us read the original content of the publication for free.
I made an overture to Gilles that as a reader/contributor I would try to help. He agreed to it, and this is it. Any proceeds as a result of my efforts will go to Swans exclusively. This is volunteer work on my part, in the same fashion as is the great fundraising appeal that Louis Proyect recently wrote on his Blog, "Why you should contribute to Swans" (Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist, November 17, 2009).
OK, here is my take:
Swans is a small treasure of critical thinking provided by an eclectic bevy of authors from all over the world -- e.g., Africa, Australia, Canada, England, France, India, Italy, the U.S., etc. It is in fact a unique oasis, where you find only original work, not rehashed articles posted all over the Web.
Let me take a look at three recent examples:
Are you perhaps bothered by extraordinary arms dealings and militarism around the globe? Take a look at Charles Pearson's powerful plea for sanity this past August.
How often would we see such sanity expressed in mainstream press circles here in the U.S., Britain, Western Europe, or elsewhere? You know the answer. That's why we need Swans!
Needing a break from text? Do you want something short and sweet, but insightful and maybe hilarious all at once? Take a moment to view one of Jan Baughman's cartoons. Most of her contributions rival some of the best-known cartoonists in print media. Everyone is caught up today in "health care non-reform." Well, here is Jan's take -- I bet you cannot hide a smile.
Or how about what we in America have cutely called the "Cash For Clunkers" program, the one designed to encourage consumers to swap, through a $3 billion federal subsidy, their old clunkers for more efficient vehicles? Mainstream media anchors gushed and drooled at the dealership pick-me-up stories. Some of that is understandable, since economic pain is palpable right now. But who was casting a critical eye on this program, given that it was touted as much for its "environmentalism" as for its economic value? Forget mainstream media. One source surely did -- Swans. Take a look at the critique provided by Gilles d'Aymery. You can read his thoughtful analysis in his Blips #88.
(By the way, if you missed it, the AP recently did an analysis of the program, and the grades are not so hot, shall we say. The most common deals involved pickup truck swapping, like Ford 150s, Chevrolet, and Dodge swaps for Silverados and Rams, where the new vehicle on average got a mere 1 to 3 mpg more than the clunker -- which Gilles predicted.)
There must be a reason why Swans gets no philanthropic help, right? And it's not for lack of quality. Just check the editorial line and you'll know why. Swans is ad-free; it rejects consumerism; it advocates solidarity, labor unions, cooperation over competition, egalitarian values, humanism, etc. It is anti-corporate and anti-power; it is...so many things!
We receive a lot from Swans. So, can we give a little in return? ...$15, $25, $250, $2,500 -- any amount is warranted and would be well-received.
You all may know that in the animal kingdom, swans have exceptional vision, and are profoundly protective of their own. Why can't we, as members of another swans community, imitate them? Please contribute any amount you can, and, of course, thank you!
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