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What sort of socialist media do you want to make possible?

Almost invariably, when reading something online, we are assailed by requests for money. If we’re not battling through hundreds of adverts that make the page unusable, we’re being interrupted by popover messages explaining why we should support whatever publication we happen to be reading.

These requests tend to be framed in the most generic of terms, using the language of values and aspirations. Much is made of the publication’s “independence” (“no billionaires tell us what to write”), their “quality journalism”, their “truthfulness”.

But quite quickly, we run into a problem: if every publication we encounter is independent, not told what to do by billionaires, produces high quality journalism, and tells the truth, how do we distinguish between them? How do we choose who to support? And what’s really at stake in the first place?

On the left (and even on the left edge of the centre), publications often attempt to distinguish themselves from the pack by promising political effects—“holding the powerful to account”, perhaps, or supporting “vibrant” movements. It’s all very nice sounding, but, equally (and perhaps deliberately), it’s very vague.

Don’t get us wrong: we don’t disagree that a media with maximum independence from capital, and that produces high quality work, is desirable. We absolutely think you should support left or socialist media, if you are able to.

But we also think that “support left media” is too generic—as though we’re all fungible, identical; as though ‘left media’ as a whole is a redistributive, prefigurative space. It would be great if it was, but sadly, it’s a marketplace, where outlets compete for a share of your attention (and your money). And in a competitive marketplace, the real question is this: what sort of socialist media do you want to make possible?

What sort of socialist media is New Socialist?

Everything we do is 100% funded by our subscribers (and a lot of our own, unpaid work). We don’t run ads (including monetised YouTube content), or turn a profit. We do not seek profit. We’re not bosses. We don’t receive money from unions, or international foundations, or from any other monied institution of the left. And we do not paywall our work: everything we publish is available for free, and will remain so.

This means we are, indeed, independent—not only of billionaires; not only, as far as possible, of capital in general (nothing can be truly and entirely external to it)—but also of academia.

More importantly, we’re independent from the various institutions of the left and the labour movement. We’re not the comms arm of the institutional left: we don’t republish their press releases, or deal in hagiography. We’re where the left can ask uncomfortable questions of itself—about the neocolonial foundations of left environmentalism (1, 2, 3, 4), for example; or about who “vibrant movements” serve, and what potential they actually have (1, 2, 3).

This critical approach extended to elements of Corbynism, and their tendency to wave away the problem of the state—including its repressive aspects. Against this, we affirm that workers’ struggles are fundamentally opposed to the capitalist state. From sex workers’ fightback against police and local councils, to militant teachers organising against racism and repression in schools, our aim is both to theorise these struggles and also to make ourselves useful to those directly engaged in them.

We are (and always have been) committed to trans liberation (1, 2, 3); likewise, we are firmly anti-imperialist, and have taken a strong line against borders and antimigrant discourses from the very beginning.

Against the endless churn of ‘content creation’, we practice slowness as method. Some things cannot be said in brief. Some things call for depth, attention. Taking our time to work something out—or even to think through how something can’t be worked out—sometimes matters more than clicks, or Twitter numbers.

But this isn’t a liberal argument about ‘nuance’ or ‘negative capability’; nor is it a performance of ‘thoughtfulness’ for capital. Our starting point is a fierce and partisan commitment. The world needs to be changed—not tweaked, not borne. We need analysis that goes deep, that doesn’t stop at the uncovering of scandal, or at rallying calls for a politics that already exists and has proven itself inadequate. We need to go further than just ‘owning’ the right or ‘debunking’ their arguments (while merrily engaging with them as legitimate debating-partners).

A left media that’s worth anything will consist of more than ‘breaking news’; more, even, than theoretical analysis of ‘politics’, narrowly-defined. We take culture seriously as something that is lived and enjoyed—whether it’s people making their own culture in Islington estates and Welsh mining communities, or the ways in which football or music can “create a territory of shared experience, values, judgements and actions”.

The revolution we want will not be Instagrammed, or livestreamed, or posted on a dying platform owned by a billionaire Peter Pan. It will not be brought to you by personal brands, or merch sales; it will not exist to make you feel like a winner. The revolution we want is long, because it encompasses everything.

But we can’t do this alone. For a project like this to stay afloat, we desperately need subscriber support.

It’s not just about left or socialist media. It’s about what sort of socialist media you want. If you want some of what we want, please support New Socialist.

What’s in it for you?

The knowledge that you’re supporting the production of truly grassroots socialist theory and analysis. We desperately need more subscribers if we are to keep going at all.

Epubs of our editions (and hopefully, soon, of work in our archives).

A discount on books from Pluto Press and Repeater Books.

Open editorial meetings, roughly twice a year. These meetings will offer a space for subscribers to contribute ideas, critiques, and perspectives, as well as offering us a chance to explain and account for editorial decisions, discuss plans for forthcoming editions and events, and build community.

Thank you so much.