The Underground newspaper

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TheUnderground
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Mar 23 2007 22:59
The Underground newspaper

Hello comrades!

Sorry I haven’t been on for ages but I’ve been busy with a new project.

A new organisation has been formed “Anti-Capitalist Action” (ACA) which has it’s own monthly publication “The Underground” (1st issue will be available from 2nd April 2007).

ACA is London based for now but I’m sure it will spread out before too long.

If anyone has an article for the paper or is prepared to do a regular monthly column they are more than welcome. The deadline for submitting will be the 29th March 2007.

As I’m sure you will all appreciate that I will not go into much detail on what else ACA is up to.

You can contact ACA at ACAction@hotmail.co.uk
And for The Underground: ACATheUnderground@hotmail.co.uk
The paper will cost 50p, if you want a copy just send me your address to The Underground and I will send you a copy each month.
But if you do find some change in your pocket, no matter how little it would really help us produce more copies and of a good quality.
Cheques can be made payable to either The Underground or Anti-Capitalist Action
E-mail me and I’ll give you an address you can send it to.

If you want to help with the Underground but don’t think of yourself as much of a writer you can always help spread your paper, just e-mail your address across and state how many copies your want us to send.

In April 10,000 tabloid sized copies (12 pages each) will be published.

P.S. Thanks to Haraldur for your work on the graphics, you’re a Linux SuSE pro!

TheUnderground
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Mar 23 2007 23:01

Meeting

The Underground

20/03/07

In attendance:

Claude
Steve
Vincent
Tristan
John

Agenda:

Topic
Mission Statement

Content: Regular Features Columnists General

Template: Graphics Layout Font

Responsibility: Who Does What

Distribution:Locations Amount

Finance:Fundingtongueaper Sell/FreeDonationsSponsorshipCoststonguerinting Now Printing Quotes


Outcome

50% change – Anarchist – Monthly etc.See attached.

Definition of Socialism (to show what we are not).The Mission Statement.Letters/Correspondence.Calendar of activismContact page.Articles & Essays.Money saving tips.The Olympic saga latest.

PDF template (1 file per page) for the printing company.All to work on the template/layout & graphics. Completion must be by 29/03/07 for the 1st monthly edition release date on the 2nd April.

In line with the mission statement as much of the work will be jointly carried out.Tristan&Claude to proof read.

Primary: Camden, Hackney, Walthamstow & Whitechapel.Tesco, Sainsbury & WH Smith.10,000 12-page copies per month.Van will be needed (£750 see quote attached).

Paper sold at 50p per copy.Back copies sold at 20p each.Donations are welcome and will be encouraged.Advertising will be banned from the paper.Printing costs £585 for 10,000 12-page copies.See quote attached.Premises will be needed. Office space in Stratford will be £200pcm (see quote attached).

enelpozo
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Mar 24 2007 23:02

What's different about this mag to all the others already in existance?

TheUnderground
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Mar 25 2007 10:12

It will be wider spead.

I go days, weeks and months without seeing a left-wing paper let alone an anarchist one.

Like WAG's The Underdog what happened to that? their e-mail doesnt work, in the post doesnt work, last issue was December!

Also this one will allow the general public to have their say, their letters published and our responses.

10,000 copies for the first month, the more thats printed the cheaper and the further we can get it out there.

If anyone has anything they want to write for it that would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

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Joseph Kay
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Mar 25 2007 11:44

freedom's fortnightly ... do the underground's politics differ significantly from it?

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Jacques Roux
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Mar 25 2007 12:06
Quote:
In April 10,000 tabloid sized copies (12 pages each) will be published.

How are you going to distro that? And where to?

Where's the cash coming from?

And why are you starting something totally new when there are several in existence?

TheUnderground
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Mar 25 2007 20:26

Street sales
Via the internet
Sale or return in shops
Leftist hangouts
UNIs

Cash is generated from ACA members

For the ones in existance it's hard to have a say over what goes on, not just in terms on content but also layout, distribution, control over the financials and where the money gained (if any) gets spent.

Ideally at some point it would be nice to incorperate the other papers under the same name, with different groups running different sections of the paper but obviously that's a long way down the line.

nastyned
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Mar 25 2007 21:10

Shows how much i'm out of touch with things but who are anti-capitalist action?

Mike Harman
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Mar 25 2007 21:38

I think we all are, Ned, I think we all are.

nastyned
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Mar 25 2007 21:46

Still, not all bad is it wink

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pingtiao
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Mar 25 2007 22:45

Sounds like some 6th formers, sorry!

Best of luck though- I hope I'm wrong.

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Rob Ray
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Mar 25 2007 23:15

I think I know roughly who this is, and while I wish them well, it isn't going to bring anarchism under one printed roof by any means.

Thing is, while it is horribly difficult I'm sure to have a say over what goes on at places like Freedom (especially if your tactic to gain this say is through not contributing and/or talking to anyone in the first place about it?), you aren't exactly offering the Big Alternative here are you? You're asking for donations of all kinds, have said nothing about your intentions politically, haven't said anything about background or how you got your money in the first place, or how you expect to keep the print run, circulation and content up over the long term... Forgive me for not rushing to the Press and suggesting we be 'incorporated' just yet, but tbh it seems like your version of people 'having a say' in a publication is just a bit weird. Hell Freedom's not great at it, but at least we try a bit (and are criticised heartily into the bargain for trying to be too many things to too many people, I might add).

Incidentally, if I may ask, who came up with 'The Underground' as a name? Not to sound disparaging but it's a bit silly, I'd feel embarrassed reading one on the tube (hah, well actually no I guess that'd be quite fitting, but certainly on the bus). What I'm getting at here is it's not a name to last a century - or even the advent of becoming mainstream. I mean, are you still 'underground' if you're a major circulation paper? What's so underground about it anyway, if it's being sold for 50p in WHSmiths and Tesco?

Thing is, I hope it does well, but even if you've got startup cash, the real question is how long you can keep it up for. Even monthly is a big ask unless you've got a really solid editorial team behind you, particularly writers who know exactly what they're doing. If you don't have at least one good designer and a replacement in case they fuck off at some point, several good writers and editors, let alone distributors, I'd implore you to sink your money into something more durable, like a mortgage on a social centre or major organisational campaigns.

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Steven.
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Mar 26 2007 10:04

Yeah I don't want to just be disparaging, but it seems like you don't quite get the realities of life and independent publishing... but best of luck anyhow.

Actually this rings a bell from a similarly over-ambitious project that was on a website and posted to a couple of forums a year or two ago, which never came to anything.

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Steven.
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Mar 26 2007 10:04

Actually:

Quote:
In attendance:

Claude
Steve
Vincent
Tristan
John

This has got to be a joke grin

ftony
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Mar 26 2007 13:02

cuthbert gave his apologies.

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Steven.
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Mar 26 2007 13:04

Marmaduke took the minutes.

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Rob Ray
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Mar 26 2007 13:12

Tarquin couldn't make it because he got stuck on the underground, ironically.

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Jacques Roux
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Mar 26 2007 13:26

grin grin

TheUnderground
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Mar 26 2007 15:33

Hey you can laugh John, your names on the list! grin

I'll reply to this tonight.

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Steven.
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Mar 26 2007 15:46
TheUnderground wrote:
I'll reply to this tonight.

I shall await eagerly

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Rob Ray
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Mar 26 2007 15:49

Incidentally, to give a rough count, a quick bit of maths leads to following figures:

£7,100 p/a printing (does that include a double fold?)
£1,600 for van and one year’s tax/insurance/petrol (at a very conservative estimate)
£2,400 p/afor office space (from your estimate)

Total: £11,100 for a year’s production.

This, incidentally, assumes that all distro, marketing, layout, writing and admin is done for free, which I’m sceptical can be kept up unless you have a very large collective with inbuilt reserves in case of job/illness/movement/personal issues-related attrition (Freedom turns over pretty much ¾ of its staff in any two-year period for this reason). If any section of that has to go paid, costs go up exponentially – skilled labour on a London weighting costs large amounts of money and you would have to effectively double your costings, at the very least, and assuming you can find a sympathetic figure who’ll take half industry rates.

Assuming the industry average for startups of a 50% sale rate, 50% sale or return from stockists (assuming you can find any, Tescos, WHSmiths etc work centrally now and space allocation is not exactly easy to get hold of in many cases), meaning 25p per paper 5,000 sales (again generous), is £1,250 back per issue, total over 12 months potentially £15,000 BUT this is contingent on full success in both distro and marketing off a zero starting pot and the inherent difficulties surrounding getting corporate/public takeup for any anarchist publication, and as no adverts can be costed in that’s a very lean margin of error.

In which case, I offer you a heartfelt good luck because unless you have some very lucrative secondary revenue streams worked out you’re going to need a hell of a lot of it.

TheUnderground
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Mar 26 2007 23:10

A lot of the questions I have already answered and can only really re-iterate them.

The name The Underground was a name we jointly cam up with many months ago before the LondonPaper and LondonLite even existed. We chose that name because we were going to distribute predominately on the tube.
Things have evolved somewhat since then (maybe the name should too) though I don't personally feel the name is that important (we are open to suggestions though).

The main thing this paper will have over other anarchist papers is the interaction with the public. I’ve read the other papers and there is little to no interaction with the public such as letting them write to the paper and us printing their views/opinions/rants etc even if we don't agree with what they are saying, it will give us a chance to answer their questions from an anarchist perspective give our interpretation to their views.

Also unless you know where to look, you don't see these Anarchist papers.

On the 20th we came up with a new mission statement which I hope will help answer some more of your concerns.

We really do appreciate any constructive criticism you guys have so please give as much feed back as possible.

Mission Statement

To bring about unity among anarcho-communist organizations.

To raise awareness to the general public of the world around them and what alternatives exist in terms of lifestyle and also in terms of products that are freely available and often superior to their financially costly alternatives.

To bring various left wing struggles to the public eye, especially those that would otherwise only appear in media aimed at already existing leftists.

To try to decrease the dependency on money.

To reach out to people, to make them feel like they are not alone in their unhappiness of “the way the world is”

To create a community of like-minded individuals sharing skills and knowledge freely for the benefit of everyone.

The basic principles just outlined for this paper will help us to achieve our more long term goals of abolishing currency and the private ownership of collective resources such as land, water, minerals, fuels and energy sources and agricultural goods. We intend to replace such a system with one whereby everyone gets their needs fulfilled freely, their wants subject to actual availability and not the false scarcity imposed by the current economy. Collective resources will be collectively owned and used and anyone affected by the use, extraction, transportation and any waste products thereof can have their input on said resource.

We also have the goal of replacing the current system of “representative” democracy with true democracy, namely all-inclusive direct democracy, with everyone affected by a decision collectively making it, instead of the current system whereby a small group of individuals are elected to represent millions on the basis of policies they are not bound to in any way. We are also opposed to the more widespread phenomena of unelected, unaccountable and autocratic decision-making made by policemen, bosses, clergymen, army officers, “management consultants”, lawmakers, civil servants and politicians.

We recognize that the rational, scientific worldview has benefited mankind enormously and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. We are therefore opposed to organized religion and
the institutionalization of superstition (The Judaeo-Christian moral code, Sharia Law etc) into society.

We realize that such lofty goals can only be achieved by a human species looking forwards, united and standing together in the cause of common good, and so to that end we are also opposed to racist, sexist, homophobic, backwards-looking and anti-humanist ideologies and organizations.

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Rob Ray
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Mar 27 2007 08:42

Look, much as I appreciate that you're trying to do a good job here, stop accusing 'other papers' of shit without any proof. Freedom, nor any other printed group I"ve ever heard of, has ever censored the fucking letters page for anarchist content. People don't simply write in on spec to ask questions, they respond to issues raised in what they read - sometimes.

The second point is the only important one, and if you can get distro then fair play to you, but I'm wondering whether you have any idea the difficulty there is in getting 10,000 copies out on time every month and getting major stockists to take them. Alot of the major setups censor for content now, are you aware of that? Have you planned for it? Are you ready for the possibility that no-one will take an unproven publication without the backing of a major publishing label behind it? This isn't even ideology here, this is business.

In the last couple of posts you've been throwing around all kinds of accusations which simply aren't true, while still not answering any questions. That mission statement is as bland as to be practically worthless, practially any communist group in the country could have written it, Leninists and Trots included. What are you standing for now? How will you organise this future?

TheUnderground
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Mar 27 2007 09:22

I didn’t accuse the other papers of shit.
I stated that there wasn’t much interaction with the general publics views.

I never said that Freedom or any other paper censored the letters page.
I stated that there wasn’t much interaction with the general publics views.

Yes we have catered for the “worst case scenario”.

Fair(ish) comment about the mission statement.

Could you actually offer any constructive criticism?
I know it’s a long way from perfect but I think it has a lot of potential and if people like yourself help us by contributing your thoughts and ideas (as well as articles etc) then it can only make for better.

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Rob Ray
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Mar 27 2007 09:55

If that’s not what you mean, don’t say stuff like:

Quote:
I’ve read the other papers and there is little to no interaction with the public such as letting them write to the paper

Jesus Christ if you were as footloose in your language as that in a professional setting you’d be out of the door before you’d finished the sentence. It’s grounds for libel with malicious intent if you do it to a major company without proof. This is exactly what I mean by planning properly, do you have anyone involved who has more than a passing understanding of libel law? A 10,000 run is more than enough to make this an issue for you.

In terms of direct help, not a chance, I’m bogged down with a hundred other projects and frankly the last thing I want to do is involve myself in another big idea, especially one which has been thought up as an ‘alternative’ to a project I’m already involved in without any consultation – or even a cursory contact, which would have been the polite thing to do – with us or anyone else first to get our thoughts on the matter.

Indirectly, as long as you credit them properly, you’re free to request any feature or other articles by Freedom, they’re mostly on file so can be emailed through.

Clearly you haven’t being paying attention here, all my criticism is constructive with the exception of the Tarquin comment, within the limits of the information given. Your costings thus far are very, very dodgy and you’ve done nothing to assuage my fears on the subject. How many people are in your collective? What sort of backgrounds do you have? How many of you are currently employed? Are any of you expecting to draw a wage? Do any of you have any experience of dealing with the major stockists?

I’m not saying all this to be cruel, I’m saying it because publishing is a nasty business and unless you have at least a couple of savvy types on your staff you need to be prepared.

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Joseph Kay
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Mar 27 2007 10:10

TheUnderground, Saii does appear to be being constructive (if a little understandably put off by the lack of consultation with existing anarchist media, freedom etc, since it's all about co-operation and mutual aid innit). he asks a lot of difficult questions, but they need to be asked imho - it is a hugely ambitious project that could only succeed if those questions can be answered. i mean best of luck with it though.

in terms of practical help, the only things i contribute to anarchist/communist print media are longer theory-type pieces, while for news i focus on the libcom newswire which imho has a (potentially) bigger audience (syndicated by google news for example) and seems to present a better format for news imho (as-it-happens capacity, like the CPE Blog, publicly archived and easily searchable, no print deadlines or overhead costs, no physical distro issues). between these and other political activity (and a life) i'm pretty much kept busy.

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Steven.
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Mar 27 2007 10:53

TheUnderground - so were you lot the ones who put out some similar statements of intent a year or two ago then?

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Jacques Roux
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Mar 27 2007 11:00

Please don't interpret these comments as having a go, I'm genuinely interested and would love to see a copy once its published.

Quote:
To bring about unity among anarcho-communist organizations.

What organisations are these? What ones are your members involved in?

Quote:
To raise awareness to the general public of the world around them and what alternatives exist in terms of lifestyle and also in terms of products that are freely available and often superior to their financially costly alternatives.

can you give some concrete examples?

You don't seem to have responded above to some of the most important (practical) questions -

1. How are you going to distro 10k copies on the tube?
2. Are you really able to that many thousands of £'s from you the 5 or so people involved?!

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Steven.
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Mar 27 2007 11:17
rkn wrote:
1. How are you going to distro 10k copies on the tube?
2. Are you really able to that many thousands of £'s from you the 5 or so people involved?!

Not to mention how are those 5 people going to fill 12 tabloid pages every month!

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Joseph Kay
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Mar 27 2007 11:27

google turned up this:

Quote:
Date: Sunday 18th March

Hello,

The Underground released it's first issue this weekend, with some obvious floors & strengths.

So if anyone wants to help with the paper that would be great!

It's a community left-wing paper (though not everything has to be political).

The paper is FREE and no profits are generated so it would be on a totally volountary basis.

The Underground Team would ideally need people for being responsible for:

Writing:
Sports
Headlines - General news with a left-wing interpretation
Money Saving Tips (Regular)

Other:
Street distribution
Ideas

Here is the mission stateement:

... The Underground is a free weekly publication

I'm really confused now confused - as of 18/3/07 it's free, weekly and out already, but as of 23/3/07 it's 50p, monthly and not out yet confused confused confused

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Rob Ray
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Mar 27 2007 11:29

Well this is the thing, it’s not the one-off launch - which is fine because you have months to build up stories, design, market, everyone’s enthusiastic and unencumbered etc, you may have a couple of unemployed types driving things - it’s several months down the line, when the initial ideas are exhausted, the goodwill is gone, someone has been offered a job, everyone is fed up of distro, the initial money is gone and there’s several thousand papers sitting around the office which need to be pulped, and the next one is still waiting for content…