I don’t like begging for money. None of us at CounterPunch do. We understand that money is a weapon, invariably used against the poor and the defenseless, with vicious results. Begging for money is distasteful and degrading. But we are trapped by the very system that we are trying to break down. Until the glorious day comes when the system crashes, we need money in order to keep exposing the dire human toll exacted by the neoliberal policies that now rule much of the world.
CounterPunch is not based in a relatively enlightened nation like France, where the government subsidizes small and independent publications. We don’t get infusions of cash from Venezuela’s oil fields or Colorado’s marijuana trade. We don’t sell ads online. We don’t take money from big foundations with hidden agendas or political parties or even political sects. We depend on our readers and only our readers to keep us running. No one pulls our strings. Or calls our shots. We are only beholden to you. But that comes at a cost. Once a year our readers have to step up and shoulder part of the burden.
We are not asking for much. Our business manager Becky Grant keeps us on a trim, if not downright austere, budget. Let me lay it out for you: Our entire annual budget is around $360,000 a year. That’s what it costs to operate the website, publish CounterPunch magazine and CounterPunch Books. Editing and maintaining the website consumes 80 percent of our time, but generates no daily income. We offer it as a kind of commons. We want to keep access to the website free to all.
Every month, hundreds of thousands of people access the CounterPunch site–most of them every day or two. Of course, if each one of our online readers contributed only $10 we wouldn’t have to humiliate ourselves with another fund drive for five years. But we know that’s not the case. Many readers can’t even afford that much. Others simply won’t contribute (presumably for religious reasons!). That places the burden on our core group of supporters, the many thousands of people around the world who identify themselves as “CounterPunchers.”
This year more and more CounterPunchers are donating, but they’re donating smaller amounts than in the past. We know times are hard. We know that the recession has only evaporated for those in the top 1%. But in recent weeks, two generous CounterPunchers have come forward to ease the burden a bit. They have offered to match any contribution of more than $100–and through our monthly donation option–you can get your $100 matched for as little as $10 per month. I urge you to please take advantage of this opportunity.
Our need is urgent and the generosity of our readers remains the only palatable solution. If you want CounterPunch to survive as an advertisement-free commons for uncompromising political journalism, it’s time to step up to the plate and make the kind of donation that you can afford. No more, no less.
Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.