Library Juice 6:18 - August 28, 2003
2. IFLA Report to SRRT, August 2003
3. Some Alternative Press History
4. Leo Tolstoy on Patriotism
Quote for the week:
"The art of research is the ability to look at the details, and see the
-- Daryl Zero, "The Zero Effect" (1998)
Homepage of the week: Marie Jones
Extra Homepage of the week: C Wright Mills, whose birthday is today
"Do We" Really Know Dewey?
Dewey Decimal classification system for elementary school kids
[ from LII "New This Week" ]
The Distributed Library Project
Slashdot discussion about it:
[ from LISNews.com ]
Responses to the Project's claims that public libraries "do little to
foster community", mostly from Slashdot:
[ from Librarian.net ]
Gerry McKiernan, "Library Database Advisors: Emerging Innovative
Augmented Digital Library Services, " _Library Hi Tech News_ 19 no. 4
(May 2002): 27-33.
[ sent by Gerry Mckiernan to LIBREF-L ]
A book you should know about:
Dismantling the Public Sphere: Situating and Sustaining Librarianship
in the Age of the New Public Philosophy
by John Buschman. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003.
[ sent by John Buschman to PLGnet-L ]
UNITeS, UN VOLUNTEERS LAUNCH WSIS WEBSITE
UN Volunteers and the United Nations Information Technology Service (UNITeS)
role in the upcoming World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS):
[ Benton Foundation's Communications-Related Headlines ]
Libraries blamed for their own decline
The Guardian (UK)
[ LibraryLink Library Link of the Day - http://tk421.net/librarylink/ ]
Beacon for Freedom of Expression
Database on censorship of books and newspapers, and literature on freedom
of expression, produced by the Norwegian Forum for Freedom of Expression.
[ sent by Don Wood to ALA member-forum ]
Indianapolis: Solidarity Books Raided Last Night by the cops
[ sent by Chuck Munson to Anarchist Librarians listserv ]
Fox drops suit against Al Franken [Star Tribune]
[ LibraryLink Library Link of the Day - http://tk421.net/librarylink/ ]
FISTULA is the Faculty of Information Studies Temporary Underground
Librarians' Alliance (University of Toronto).
A WIKI site for library students (only people at U Toronto can edit)
[ sent to me by William Denton ]
If you're on Friendster, you might want to add Rad Librarians | Unite -
a Friendster identity just for us.
If you're not using Friendster and want an invitation to join, write to
Here's an article in Wired Magazine about Friendster:
"Making Friendsters in High Places"
2. IFLA Report to SRRT, August 2003
The annual IFLA Meeting took place in Berlin, August 1-9, 2003. It was
attended by 4650 participants from 133 countries. IFLA's recent
reorganization has resulted in a more democratic and representative
structure, and IFLA's first Third World president was inaugurated at the
end of the meeting, Kay Raseroka from the University of Botswana. The new
Governing Board has much broader geographic representation than previous
bodies: 8 from Western Europe, 4 from North America, 3 from Africa, and 1
each from Australia, Eastern Europe, Russia, China, and Latin America.
Interestingly it was openly discussed at the USA Caucus that out of a slate
of 16 candidates this time around, 11 were elected and that all four US
candidates were defeated. It was pointed out that there were too many US
candidates and a lack of a coordinated election strategy. Furthermore and
unsurprisingly, US foreign relations has a clear effect on IFLA. Since
most of the world's people and governments opposed the US war on Iraq, it
is not surprising that US candidates were defeated. It is absolutely
critical that US librarians and the rest of civil society learn these
political realities. Obviously, we must increase our efforts to actively
counter the fiction that librarianship can be apolitical.
Apart from the ongoing work of the various sections and other bodies, the
major issues can be seen in the substantive resolutions (appended) passed
by the IFLA Council on Libraries in Iraq, National Security Legislation,
and the World Conference on the Information Society (WSIS). The Council
also passed a resolution on Women's Information Needs. And The IFLA/FAIFE
World Report 2003: Intellectual Freedom in the Information Society,
Libraries and the Internet was launched with responses from 88 different
A French librarian, Jean-Marie Arnoult, was part of the second Unesco
delegation to Iraq at the end of June and beginning of July. His
presentation, including slides, was truly shocking. See
http://www.ifla.org/VI/4/admin/iraq2407.htm. The delegation visited ten
libraries in Baghdad and some others elsewhere. He stressed that he saw
only a small part of the situation and that more missions are needed to
visit other parts of the country. Nevertheless, his emotional report
showed the level of destruction. He confirmed that the most precious
collection of 47,000 manuscripts was rescued, but that the national library
building was completely destroyed, looted and burned twice. Thirty percent
of its 1.2 million books are lost, the catalog was destroyed, and the
remaining books are now scattered in three locations in very bad
conditions. The National Archives were in the same building. The oldest
part of the Archives were previously moved and hopefully OK but the rest
was completely destroyed. Looters piled books in corners, poured fuel over
them, and set them alight so that only ashes remain. This pattern was seen
throughout the country. This deliberate book burning took some level of
organization and planning. The Baghdad Central University Library lost
half of its books and the oldest university lost 5-10% of its collection.
The Central Public Library of Basra which had unique collections and
functioned as a key resource for the southern region was completely
destroyed as was the central library of Basra University. Things were not
as bad in Mosul where the public library was weakened by bombing but
escaped vandalism. The Mosul University Library was looted but was
immediately restored. Mr. Arnoult stressed the need for all countries to
ratify the 1954 Hague Unesco Convention for the Protection of Cultural
Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its protocols, especially the
1999 protocol that makes looting a war crime. See
http://www.unesco.org/general/eng/legal/convent.shtml for the conventions
and protocols. The IFLA Council resolution asked national library
associations to respond to the International Committee of the Blue Shield
through IFLA Headquarters.
According to IFLA President Kay Raseroka and other speakers, the USA
Patriot is serving as model legislation for other countries to clamp down
on civil liberties in the name of national security. When she praised ALA
for taking a stand, I realized that IFLA could certainly do the same and
have a worldwide effect. In fact, the IFLA Free Access to Information and
Freedom of Expression (FAIFE) Office was actually ahead of ALA. The June
5th FAIFE press release called on the US Government and Congress to amend
the PATRIOT Act to safeguard civil liberties and freedom of access to
information. After discussing the need for a resolution at the FAIFE
Committee meeting, several people worked with me to craft the final
resolution which states that IFLA deplores such legislation and calls for
the repeal or amendment of such existing laws. It calls for national
library associations to respond to the IFLA FAIFE Office.
The World Summit for the Information Society (WSIS) will be held in Geneva
on December 10-12, 2003, and a second summit will be held in Tunis on
November 16-18, 2005. Although IFLA has responded to its Draft Declaration
of Principles and Draft Plan of Action, few librarians seemed to know about
it before the Berlin meeting. The WSIS is sponsored by the International
Telecommunication Union rather than Unesco, and there is a danger that
libraries will be not only ignored but that the Summit will concentrate on
technical issues and promote a corporate agenda. Mr. Abdelaziz Abid of
Unesco presented an alternative view and declared that libraries need to be
considered a "global public good." In discussions with Mr. Abid and
several IFLA leaders, I drafted a resolution incorporating Abid's phrase
and delineating information gap issues to try to influence the WSIS debate.
It will be distributed to all national library associations and government
delegations to the WSIS.
Finally, I am pleased to again report on the recommendations of the IFLA
Social Responsibilities Discussion Group. Some readers may remember that I
convened this group, and it concluded last year in Glasgow with the
approval of 13 recommendations by the IFLA Council. These were all related
to information gap issues, and included specific items on rural library
development, literacy in libraries, fees for library services, human
resource development, electronic information, library cooperation, and the
profession, library associations and IFLA structure. The Discussion Group
then suggested sending specific recommendations to appropriate IFLA
sections and other bodies. The IFLA Professional Committee added a few
more bodies at its December 2002 meeting and letters were sent to 17
sections and 5 other IFLA bodies. As a result, many of these bodies
already the recommendations on their Berlin agendas regarding the
formulation of their new two-year action plans. According to the 2002
resolution, the members of the Discussion Group were to help with
implementation of the recommendations. I was able to advocate for the
recommendations at the meetings of 15 sections, the Regional Activities
Division, and at the FAIFE meeting. The response was heartening, and I
expect that many of the forthcoming action plans will incorporate these
Berlin was an excellent IFLA venue, a stimulating non-stop city with a rich
and disturbing history. Changes in the IFLA structure and culture along
with much hard work made this a most fruitful meeting.
World Summit for the Information Society
[passed unanimously, AK]
Whereas the World Summit for the Information Society offers a unique
opportunity for the library community to be recognized as the heart of the
And whereas IFLA has already devoted a great amount of work to influence
the draft declaration and plan of action of the World Summit for the
Therefore be it resolved that library associations and institutions are
urged to advocate to their government representatives to the World Summit
for the Information Society for libraries as a global public good,
And be it resolved that IFLA calls upon all governments to address the
growing gap between the information rich and the information poor, and
promote library development programs for poor rural and urban populations,
literacy instruction through libraries, and the strengthening of library
And be it resolved that IFLA urges governments to eliminate fees for basic
services broadly construed, assist in developing local content for
electronic information services, and provide equitable access to Internet,
And be it resolved that this resolution be sent to all national library
associations and government delegations to the World Summit for the
Proposed by: Robert Moropa, LIASA; Carla Hayden, President, ALA; Barry
Cropper, Chair, CILIP Executive Board
National Security Legislation
[17 abstentions, 0 opposed, AK]
Whereas IFLA understands the need for appropriate national legislation
consistent with international conventions to fight terrorism,
And whereas almost all countries have ratified the Universal Declaration of
Human rights, specifically including Article 19,
And whereas IFLA has drawn attention to the consequences for libraries,
librarians, and library users of the USA PATRIOT Act,
And whereas national security legislation should not infringe existing
civil and privacy rights,
Therefore be it resolved that IFLA deplores the introduction by a number of
countries of legislation which violates fundamental human rights to privacy
and unhampered access to information in the name of national security, and
calls for the repeal or amendment of all such legislation in order to
protect these rights,
And be it resolved that this resolution be disseminated worldwide, and
specifically sent to all national library associations with a request that
they respond on this matter to the FAIFE Office of IFLA.
Proposed by Al Kagan, University of Illinois
[passed unanimously, AK]
Libraries in Iraq. (Consolidation of resolutions 4, 5 and 6)
Whereas recent UNESCO missions confirmed destruction and extensive damage
in libraries and archives throughout Iraq; and
Whereas IFLA as an advocate for free access to information and freedom of
expression, affirms the central importance of libraries to civil society;
Whereas IFLA as an advocate for the preservation of recorded history and
cultural heritage has played a key role in making librarians all over the
world aware of the significance of these losses to the Iraqi population
and to humanity; and
Whereas discussions at IFLA's 2003 conference have advanced the
understanding of the complexities surrounding any efforts to rebuild the
library profession in Iraq and the library collections, systems, and
buildings throughout the country;
It is resolved that
- IFLA members should encourage all national governments, that have not
already done so, to ratify UNESCO "1954 Hague Convention for the Protection
of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict" and its Protocols
particularly the Second Protocol (1999) which will provide for enhanced
protection of cultural property and introduce the concept of a cultural war
- IFLA should encourage all countries to take appropriate and strong
measures to combat illicit trade in cultural heritage, if they have not
already done so.
- IFLA encourage its members to work in collaborative international
effort, looking to the International Committee of the Blue Shield as a
- IFLA members should encourage the creation of a national Blue Shield
committee in their respective countries.
- IFLA should strengthen its communications program to foster
understanding of the conditions facing librarians and libraries in Iraq and
to develop a global awareness of the impact of those losses, not only for
those who would study the past but also for those who depend on libraries
to contribute to the rebuilding of civil society, recognizing libraries as
an essential part of the social infrastructure.
- IFLA should encourage all countries to commit themselves to continue the
restoration of the physical, professional and technological infrastructure
of Iraq's libraries.
- IFLA should redouble its actions and also make publicly evident its work
in assisting the rebuilding of Iraq's libraries; and further, that this
resolution be conveyed to each national member association of IFLA.
- And national associations should respond to Blue Shield through IFLA HQ.
[approximate wording for this clause, added as an amendment, AK]
Women's Information Needs
[495 for, 40 opposed, 163 abstentions, AK]
As members of the Women's Issues Section we urge the members of all
divisions and sections of IFLA to undertake activities to study information
needs of women in the member countries in order to enhance information
services to women and to augment women's use of information.
Proposed by: Mary Biblo; Kalpana Dasgupta; Monica Ertel; Leena Siitonen;
Thelma Tate; Marta Terry (Women's Issues Section).
IFLA Social Responsibilities Discussion Group
Rural Library Development
1. IFLA should develop a research program on rural library development in
coordination with national library agencies. The focus should be on
empowerment of local authorities to process information required by the
community in comprehensible formats for diverse rural populations.
Literacy in Libraries
2. IFLA should urge library and information schools to promote adult
basic education skills as a component of their curriculums.
3. IFLA should promote literacy training as a basic library service as
advocated in the Unesco Public Library Manifesto.
Fees for Library Services
4. IFLA should take a strong position against fees for basic
services broadly construed as advocated in the Unesco Public Library
5. IFLA should work with commercial information providers to establish a
standard price structure for publicly supported libraries based on ability
Human Resource Development
6. IFLA should encourage library and information science schools to adopt
a socially responsible orientation, including the promotion of a strong
service ethic towards all population groups.
7. IFLA should research the education and training needs of Southern
countries in conjunction with relevant agencies in order to facilitate the
development of appropriate information curricula.
Electronic Information Gap
8. IFLA should promote the development of and assist in formatting
local content for electronic resources.
9. IFLA should work with appropriate national and international bodies to
promote policies and develop programs that equalize access to the Internet.
10. IFLA should promote greater resource sharing between the
information rich and the information poor, including links to the
information superhighway for equitable, adequate and reliable
communications for all.
The Profession, Library Associations, and IFLA Structure
11. IFLA should advocate and develop strategies for the use of library
associations to develop policies conducive to the development of
information infrastructures for equitable, adequate and reliable
communications for all.
12. IFLA should monitor and report on how various library associations
are addressing information gap issues with a view to stimulating further
work and activities.
13. IFLA should continue to work toward putting the concerns of Third
World librarianship at the center of its program and activities.
Revised August 18, 2002
3. Some Alternative Press History
Text of Talk for Panel on the Alternative Press at ALA 2003 Toronto
By Chuck D'Adamo
Alternative Press Center
In 1969, the Alternative Press Center was originally founded as the Radical
Research Center at Carleton College in Minnesota. Carleton College never
really supported the Center institutionally so the Collective, then
including Kathy Martin and Art Jacobs, later joined by Marty Scheel, moved
the Center to Rochdale College in Toronto in October 1971. It was renamed
the Alternative Press Center. There the collective found inexpensive office
space on the 6th floor and living space on the 13th floor. Rochdale
College, as some in the room may remember, was an attempt to develop a
"free university" space and a collective living experiment. The Canadian
government funded the project, something we would rarely see in the United
In the summer of 1974, a new collective, Peggy D'Adamo, Michael Burns, and
myself, began the move from Baltimore to Toronto to publish the Alternative
Press Index. We applied for "landed immigrant" status and two of us worked
from Rochdale College for a period of time. A serious problem developed
which was that Rochdale's residents were involved in a struggle with
Toronto's "city fathers" over the space. Rochdale was losing the struggle
so the APC collective decided to move to Baltimore.
If you walk by 341 Bloor Street, you can see the 18-story building that was
once Rochdale College. Now it is the Senator David A. Croll Apartments, a
senior housing project under private-public management, I believe. As I
remember, the City considered Rochdale a haven for drug users and US
draft-dodgers. However, Rochdale's founders included among its members
Dennis Lee, the poet laurette of Ontario who, I imagine, must not have been
strung out on drugs in the Rochdale days, but doing some creative writing.
His book "Aligator Pie" is one of the top 100 books of Canada.
Now this story is one of many social movement stories connected to the
1960s anti-war, student, and, potentially anti-systemic movements. And
there is a link between this piece of social movement history and
alternative press history from which I'll try to relate to other examples.
The basic, and obvious idea, is that the history of the alternative press
is directly related to the history of social movements.
Please note that I am not Paul Buhle, who would have had more learned
things to say on this subject.
A democratic society is impossible unless citizens are engaged in active
discussion of public policy. Such discussion requires controversy between
At least since the French Revolutions of 1789 and 1848, class-based groups,
ethnic groups, and social movements of all kinds have had their own
newspapers and magazines. Even in the depoliticized United States, there
have been times when the numbers of social movement publications were
extensive. In 1912, there were 323 socialist newspapers or magazines, many
published in foreign languages. And by the end of World War II there were
about 200 African-American newspapers. Most constituency-based periodicals
were partisan and controversial, working for democratic social, political
and economic change.
While mainstream newspapers and magazines often publish articles which help
citizens to intervene in the political process, it is usually the
independent, critical periodicals which generate the innovative reporting
important for progressive political intervention. "Project Censored" and
the "Alternative Press Index" are documentary sources here.
Many editors of the alternative press take it as their mission to move
readers beyond information to action. Indeed, the independent,
"alternative" press has been organically connected to social movements.
Publications rise, fall or subsist in circumstances that parallel the
movements they represent. Such periodicals serve as forums for debating
strategic approaches, for finding common cause among seemingly disparate,
often geographically diffuse, constituencies, and, in hard times, for
More examples in US history:
*In 1862, writing in the "Douglass Monthly," Frederick Douglass argued that
slavery had become an obstacle to preserving Union, helping to persuade
Abraham Lincoln to sign the Emancipation Proclamation.
*Ida Tarbell and other muckraking journalists exposed the nastiness of
American capitalism in the pages of "Colliers" and other magazines, helping
to facilitate the passage of some of the Progressive era's important
*Writing in "The Revolution" in the 19th century, Susan B. Anthony
developed a critique of gender discrimination that catalyzed the movement
for universal suffrage.
*Second-wave feminists writing in "Feminist Studies," "Off Our Backs," and
"Women: a Journal of Liberation" expanded feminist analysis to include
violence against women, the poverty of single-mothers, sexual harassment,
and, more generally, the politics of the personal.
*From the 1950s through the early 1970s, criticism in the pages of the "IF
Stone Bi-Weekly," "Monthly Review," "The Guardian," "Latin American
Perspectives," "NACLA," "The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists," "The
Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars," and other periodicals informed the
social movements which worked to change US policy on nuclear weapons,
Vietnam, and Latin America.
Throughout the twentieth century, oppositional and minority movements,
including workers, welfare mothers, people of color, gays and lesbians, and
disabled persons have used the alternative press to develop the vision and
power their struggles have required. From "The Nation", founded in 1865, to
"The Progressive" (1909), to "Science & Society" (1936), to "Monthly
Review" (1949), to "The Black Scholar" (1969), to "In These Times" (1976),
to "Z Magazine" (1988), to "Counterpunch" (1993), to the Independent Media
Centers of the new century, the independent critical, press reports the
news, analyzes the social relations, and nurtures the oppositional
movements whose interests are in direct conflict with those of the liberal
ALTERNATIVE PRESS CENTER
The Radical Research Center, later the Alternative Press Center, was
founded in 1969 "to increase awareness of the so-called underground, or
critical, press in the United States." Its original--and
continuing--project, the "Alternative Press Index", originally appeared
with the subtitle, "An Index to the Publications, which amplify the Cry for
Social Change and Social Justice." In 1969, the range of the voices making
this "Cry" was becoming increasingly diverse. Consider a few of the 1960s
events that the APC began to document through the Index:
*The murder of Fred Hampton and the intense pursuit of other Black Panther
leaders by the FBI and other government agencies *The Trial of the Chicago Eight
*The publication of "The Bitch Manifesto, "The Red Stockings Manifesto" and
other events catalyzing the increased radicalism of many feminists
*The disintegration of Students for A Democratic Society
*The introduction to US readers of the works of Western Marxists, such as
*The increasing determination of the antiwar movement in the face of the
Nixon administration's commitment to pursue and intensify attempts to
destroy the National Liberation Front in Vietnam.
Only a handful of stable independent left periodicals, all with limited
circulation, including "The Guardian", "I.F.Stone's Bi-Weekly", "Monthly
Review", "Liberation", "The Nation", "New Politics", and "The
Progressive", were documenting these events and analyzing them from a
left perspective during most of the 1960s. But, by 1969, the world of
alternative periodicals was expanding. The APC undertook the project of
making the range of these reports and critiques accessible to students,
scholars, journalists, and other researchers.
In 1969, the "Alternative Press Index" began indexing 72 periodicals. Only
20 of those titles indexed from 1969-71 are still publishing today.
However, the Index now covers 300 titles and, since its founding, the API
has indexed more than 900 titles. Over the past three decades the APC's
collective has tried to follow people active on the left, whether they have
settled into academia, community organizing, or single issue advocacy, and
to document the publications they are writing and reading. Coverage, thus,
has always been wide-ranging, including from the inception of its indexing
project titles as diverse as the North American Congress on Latin America's
"NACLA Report", initially a newsletter, the academic "Review of Radical
Political Economics", and Toronto's, "This Magazine", originally titled
"This Magazine is about Schools", now "This: Because Everything is about
Politics". Theoretical perspectives surveyed include feminism, Marxism,
critical theory, structuralism, poststructuralism, critical race theory and
queer theory. API titles have documented dozens of political and social
movements, including the efforts of women, people of color, rank & file
workers, environmentalists, anti-apartheid student groups and Latin
American solidarity supporters.
Almost all the radical weeklies and bi-weeklies of the 60s and 70s are
gone--Atlanta's "Great Speckled Bird", the "Ann Arbor Sun", the "Portland
Scribe", New Orleans's "Nola Express", the "Berkeley Barb", New York's "The
Guardian" and its negation, the "Liberated Guardian", the "DC Gazette". (A
few remain such as Vancouver's "Georgia Straights" and Detroit's "Fifth
Estate", though the latter now only publishes quarterly). This partly
relates to the waning of the 1960s movements and the lack of development of
institution-building skills, but also to the decision of the Underground
Press Syndicate to be open to advertising in member newspapers, changing
its name at the same time to the Alternative Press Syndicate. "New Times"
from Arizona surely benefited from this changed policy as it eventually
bought out other alternative weeklies from various cities. Its publisher,
Mike Lacey, has justified this by arguing that because of this "New Times"
has been able to develop resources for investigative journalism (2). I
don't know. Maybe the jury's still out on this.
However, the analytical journals continued to publish and the work of their
writers has likely influenced a new generation coming of age in the 1990s
and the new century. From the radical caucuses in the academia sprang
"Critical Asian Studies" (formerly the Bulletin of Concerned Asian
Scholars), "Critical Sociology" (formerly Insurgent Sociologist), "Feminist
Studies", "New Political Science", "Radical History Review", "Radical
Philosophy Review", "Review" of the Fernand Braudel Center, "Review of
Radical Political Economics", and others. Of course, the general journals
of the New Left continued but with changes--"Arena Journal" from Australia,
"Capital & Class" from Britain, "Le Monde Diplomatique" from France,
"Monthly Review" from the US, "New Left Review" from Britain, "Socialist
Register" from Britain, "Studies in Political Economy" from Canada. While
1960s activists tended to refer their critique to "The System" or "Advanced
Industrial Society", relying as they did on maverick scholars who wrote
under the pressure of the conservative 1950s, activists in today's
alternative globalization movement, many "social anarchists" of varying
tendencies, simply say "It's capitalism, stupid."
Two media organizations with which the APC has affinity are Project
Censored and the Independent Press Association.
Project Censored was founded in 1976 with the purpose to advocate and work
to protect First Amendment rights and freedom of information in the United
States. It essentially serves as a national ombudsman by identifying and
researching important news stories that are underreported or censored by
the mainstream media. The Top 25 Censored Stories and their media guide
are key resources for activists. Typically, 80% of the stories that win the
awards are from the periodicals that the API covers.
INDEPENDENT PRESS ASSOCIATION
In March 1996, a group of independent, progressive, magazine editors,
reporters and publishers gathered at the Media and Democracy Congress in
San Francisco to discuss the challenges they had in common. Within a few
hours of meetings, their shared need for technical assistance, advocacy and
fundraising resources moved them to found an organization to work in their
interest. The resulting Independent Press Association (IPA) had its
inaugural board meeting in August 1996 and, with the help of a few
broadminded foundations, hired staff and began operations in September.
Board members have represented a wide range of alternative titles,
including "Extra!," "Mother Jones," "Social Policy," "In These Times,"
"City Limits," "Third Force," now "ColorLines," "Teen Voices," and "Curve".
Seeking to make the organization both inclusive and responsive to all
publications with a social change vision, the IPA board developed a mission
statement dedicating the IPA "to promote and support independent
periodicals committed to social justice and a free press" by providing
"technical assistance to its member publications" and by acting as "a
vigorous public advocate of the independent press."
Publications that share IPA's mission can join the organization for an
annual membership fee depending on circulation. Direct services include a
members-only listserv, free technical assistance manuals, a quarterly
newsletter the "Ink Reader", various discounts, and access to a variety of
specialized services. The IPA staff operates a Revolving Loan Fund to help
members with direct mail marketing, a bookstore magazine distribution
service called Big Top, an ethnic press project in New York City, and
offers ad hoc technical assistance in a wide range of areas. In addition,
the IPA began in 1999 to display member publications, sometimes in
collaboration with the Alternative Press Center, sometimes with
"Counterpoise," at American Library Association conventions.
INDEPENDENT MEDIA CENTERS
The first Independent Media Center was founded to cover the Seattle
protests against the World Trade Organization in November and December
1999. This first IMC created an environment for independent media makers of
all types (audio, video, print, Internet) to work together covering the
protests in a democratic and collaborative manner. It took three months for
the Seattle IMC to get organized to provide grassroots coverage of the
Battle of Seattle. It turns out that this was the beginning of a global
independent media movement which focuses on reporting on the world-wide
struggle against neoliberal capitalism and a range of local issues. There
are now over 100 IMCs around the world. I happen to be involved with
Baltimore Indymedia. Besides local coverage, we've written on the
activities in the streets at national protests in Washington DC and New
York City. Baltimore IMC also collaborates with APC staff providing a
small, but growing, database of links to articles of the independent,
critical press. Most members of our group are activists with social
movement experience, and this is true of other IMCs.
In a sense, the current Indymedia movement is like the radical weeklies of
the 1960s and 70s. Both are or were urban-based. Both have or had high
levels of activist involvement. Both report or reported the advocacy of
radical social change. Both express or expressed a commitment to
independence and free speech. The IMCs, being Internet-based, are less
costly. However, even in the IMC network there's recognition of the crucial
value of print periodicals. The New York IMC's "The Indypendent" has
recently moved to twice monthly publication and aspires to a weekly
Now the "global" parallel I am making between the 1960s radical weeklies
and the 2000s IMCs is one which notes the social movement-alternative media
connection; broad-based left libertarian politics connecting with a similar
It is also interesting to note how independent media changes over time
within a single periodical's history and how this changing connects to
changing social movement activity.
Thus, there is a thread from "Studies on the Left", the 1950s origin New
Left journal influenced by C.Wright Mills and William Appleman Williams,
intellectuals who challenged mainstream sociology and history to the 1960s
origin "Socialist Revolution" where we see the influence of revolutionary
Marxists like Hebert Marcuse and Antonio Gramsci--SR published the first
version of Carl Boggs's studies of "Gramsci's Marxism", a text well used by
cadre of the 1970s New American Movement--to the 1980s "Socialist Review"
responding to the success of right wing Reaganism with a slide back to
social democracy and a slippage into the politics of identity in the 1990s
to the latest version "Radical Society" which attempts to bring strategic
thinking and left intellectualism to contemporary global justice concerns.
To quote from the journal, "Our inspirations are both old and new--from
"The Masses" and Emma Goldman's "Mother Earth" to the Harlem Renaissance
and the Paris Commune, from the end of the cold war to the beginnings of a
new global justice movement."
There are at least two other threads from "Studies on the Left" expressive
of various trends in the social movements:
One is from "Studies on the Left" to "Socialist Revolution" to "In These
Times". The defining thread here is James Weinstein's project to develop a
strategy similiar to the old Socialist Party, but in a new context.
Weinstein's recent book, "The Long Detour: the History and Future of the
American Left," tries to make his case systematically, I assume as I've yet
to read his book.
Another is from "Studies on the Left" to "Socialist Revolution" to
"Kapitalistate" to "Capitalism Nature Socialism". The defining thread here
is James O'Connor's attempt to develop a neo-Marxist understanding of the
capitalist state with strategic intent. The first version of O'Connor's
"Fiscal Crisis of the State" appeared in "Socialist Revolution". He then
helped to organize an international group of thinkers around
"Kapitalistate" to explore state theory and socialist strategy. Later
O'Connor argued that capital's destructive relationship with nature
constitutes a "second contradiction of capitalism", the first, of course,
that of capital and labor. Thus, "Capitalism Nature Socialism" focuses on
case studies of the environmental movement as well as theoretical work
providing analysis valuable for an eco-socialist project.
Similar shifting threads of influence can be seen with the independent Left
periodicals "Socialisme ou Barbarie" in France, "New Left Review" in
Britain, and "Arena" in Australia.
Taking the case of "Socialisme ou Barbarie" we see a development to
"Informations et Correspondance Ouvriere" to "Echanges: Bulletin du Reseau
Echanges et Mouvement" and the related U.S. periodical "Collective Action
Notes." The thread here is that of the council communism of original
"Socialisme ou Barbarie" collective member Henri Simon.
And there is the development from "Socialisme ou Barbarie" to "Textures"
(France) to "Thesis Eleven" (Australia) to "Democracy & Nature"
(Greece/USA). The thread here is that of Cornelius Castoriadis's critique
of Marxism and attempt to develop theoretical basis for a libertarian
socialist alternative, which he later described as "autonomous society,"
defined as "self-management of production" and directly democratic
I understand that this panel was to address the past, present, and future
of alternative materials in libraries. Well, many states in the US are
experiencing budget crises. We are losing some subscriptions to the
Alternative Press Index as a result. And I expect some small circulation
alternative magazines are being cut as well. Thinking of the connection
between the alternative press and social activism, it seems to me that the
role of those librarians who are advocates of the independent, critical
press is dual. One role is to fight as a professional worker to maintain
and expand library collections of alternative/independent press; the other
is to fight with other groups effected by budget cuts as activists to move
forward a left libertarian agenda. Thus, librarians must not only be
professionals, they must also be activists working in the social movements.
1. Parts of this text draw on "The Independent Critical Press and
Democratic Tradition" by Beth Schulman and Charles D'Adamo published as the
Introduction to "Annotations: A Guide to the Independent Critical Press."
2. Response of Mike Lacey to questions on a panel at the Second Media and
Democracy Congress in New York City.
Alternative Press Index, 1969-present. Alternative Press Center.
Buhle, Mari Jo, Paul Buhle, Dan Georgakas (editors). Encyclopedia of the
American Left. University of Illinois Press, 1990.
Jones, Marie F. (general editor). Annotations: A Guide to the Independent
Critical Press. Alternative Press Center and Independent Press Association,
Lewis, Roger. Outlaws of America, the Underground Press and Its Context.
Peck, Abe. Uncovering the Sixties: the Life & Times of the Underground
Press. Pantheon, 1985.
Phillips, Peter & Project Censored. Censored: The Top 25 Censored Stories.
Seven Stories Press, annually.
Samek, Toni. Intellectual Freedom & Social Responsibility in American
Librarianship, 1967-1974. McFarland, 2001.
Selected Entries from the "Encyclopedia of the American Left":
"Appeal to Reason" pp51-52
"Black Panther Party" pp96-98
"Daily Worker" pp178-82
"In These Times" pp350-51
"International Socialist Review" pp374-75
"Liberation News Service" pp422-24
"The Masses" pp452-54
"Month Review" pp483-85
"Mother Earth" p492
"National Guardian and Guardian" pp502-04
"New International/New Politics" p516
"New Left" pp516-23
"New Masses" pp526-27
"North American Congress on Latin America" p538
"Partisan Review" pp556-58
"Peoples World" pp573-74
"Radical Economics" pp621-23
"Radical Professional & Academic Journals" pp636-38
"Ramparts Magazine" pp639-40
"Science & Society" pp679-80
"Socialism and Feminism" pp707-11
"Southern Exposure" p737
"Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee" pp755-57
"Students for a Democratic Society" pp757-58
"Stone, I.F. (1907-1989)" p 751
"Studies on the Left" pp758-59
"Underground Press" pp791-93
"Women: a Journal of Liberation" pp831-32
"Women's Studies" pp842-44
Selected Web Sites:
4. Leo Tolstoy on Patriotism
I took up the subjects of patriotism, cosmopolitanism and humanism
in Library Juice in the weeks following Sept. 11, 2001. It seemed
like an excusable digression from library topics at a time when everyone
seemed to be stepping away from business as usual and becoming more
passionately engaged in discussions of the world situation. As time
has passed we've returned to business as usual, but business as usual
has changed, and open expressions of patriotism have become the norm,
and sometimes seem to be something from which it's dangerous to deviate.
I continue to believe that patriotism is a value which is contrary to
the values of librarianship, ideally conceived, given my understanding of
librarianship's purpose as supporting free inquiry and enlightenment.
Leo Tolstoy was born on this day in 1828. The following are excerpts from
his writings on patriotism, a subject on which he had a lot to say...
"Patriotism in its simplest, clearest, and most indubitable meaning is
nothing but an instrument for the attainment of the government's ambitious
and mercenary aims, and a renunciation of human dignity, common sense, and
conscience by the governed, and a slavish submission to those who hold
power. That is what is really preached wherever patriotism is championed.
Patriotism is slavery." -Leo Tolstoy, Christianity and Patriotism
"Men who can undertake to fulfill with unquestioning submission all that is
decreed by men they do not know . . . cannot be rational; and the
governments-that is, the men wielding such power-can still less be
reasonable. They cannot but misuse such insensate and terrible power and
cannot but be crazed by wielding it. For this reason peace between nations
cannot be attained by this reasonable method of conventions and arbitrations
so long as that submission of the peoples to governments, which is always
irrational and pernicious, still continues. But the subjection of men to
government will always continue as long as patriotism exists, for every
ruling power rests on patriotism-on the readiness of men to submit to power
. . ." -Leo Tolstoy, Christianity and Patriotism
"To destroy governmental violence only one thing is needed: it is that
people should understand that the feeling of patriotism which alone supports
that instrument of violence is a rude, harmful, disgraceful, and bad
feeling, and above all is immoral. It is a rude feeling because it is
natural only to people standing on the lowest level of morality and
expecting from other nations such outrages as they themselves are ready to
inflict. It is a harmful feeling because it disturbs advantageous and joyous
peaceful relations with other peoples, and above all produces that
governmental organization under which power may fall and does fall into the
hands of the worst men. It is a disgraceful feeling because it turns man not
merely into a slave but into a fighting cock, a bull, or a gladiator, who
wastes his strength and his life for objects which are not his own, but his
government's. It is an immoral feeling because, instead of confessing
himself a song of God . . . or even a free man guided by his own reason,
each man under the influence of patriotism confesses himself the son of his
fatherland and the slave of his government, and commits actions contrary to
his reason and conscience." -Leo Tolstoy, Patriotism and Government
"[D]iscipline consists in this, that the men who undergo the instruction and
have followed it for a certain time are completely deprived of everything
which is precious to a man-of the chief human property, rational freedom-and
become submissive, machine-like implements of murder in the hands of their
organized hierarchic authorities." -Leo Tolstoy, Patriotism and Government
L I B R A R Y J U I C E
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