We’ve passed the quarter-century mark and we’re on the uphill drive towards three decades. We’re deeply grateful for all of you who have contributed in the past to help keep this tiny non-profit alive and kicking year after year!
Some of our charter members will remember our humble beginning as a six-page, photocopied newsletter. 2012 rang in our current format, now 6 times larger than the original newsletter, but still 99% ad-free. When most of us still didn’t know what email was, let alone read the daily news on anything but paper, Jeffrey St. Clair courageously dove headfirst into the world of website building. This was a nightmarish task in the mid-90s, when dial-up internet was so sluggish it took hours just to upload the articles. Now, in the amount of time he painstakingly posted a half dozen articles, he and Joshua easily post many times that 52 weeks a year.
I started working for Alexander Cockburn 22 years ago. I was hired to convert his hunt-and-pecked type-written articles into digital format. It was a complicated exchange involving a range of technologies, his archaic fountain pen corrections (inkblots included), lots of whiteout and typing paper and my old “vintage” Mac – a suit-cased sized beast and an old, low-resolution monitor. Before long, I was working 20 hours a week in a desk across from his doing the bookkeeping for CounterPunch which he and Ken Silverstein had started a few years before. Anybody who knew him certainly misses his always witty, insightful and deeply perceptive view and would give their right arm to hear his commentary on the state of the world today. I especially miss him this time of year, because he was always wild with the excitement of hearing from our “jolly” and “feisty” readers as he called all of you. When he answered the phone for an incoming donation, and somebody would say, put me down for $10, he’d say “don’t be a chiseler” and get them to pony up another $5.
Early on, Alex said to me that the main point of CounterPunch was to have fun. His idea of fun was punching out scathing and smart pieces on the evils of Washington and beyond, rallying like minds to a purpose, and impromptu board meetings where the wine flowed freely and he and his cohorts would exchange ideas and formulate editorial tactics far above my head. Those nights felt more like a turn-of-the-century (20th that is!) salon- you could have expected Gertrude and Hem to walk in at any moment.
While we’ve made it through some rough seas and eerie doldrums when nary a dime seemed to roll through the door, our tiny ship still cannot survive without the support and generosity of our readers. Unfortunately, less than a half percent of our readers donate. Most non-profits have staff just for grant farming – but not CounterPunch. We refuse to have big foundations and corporations tell us how to operate. With our readership as large as it is, we could be funding our efforts with interest-based advertising, and every time you’d visit the CounterPunch site, you’d be stalked by creepy advertisements selling products that those nosey bitches, Siri and Alexa overheard you need, and your browsing history, shoe size, and face-print would be usurped by the sinister info stealers that hover in the background of many news sites. Hopefully, it won’t come to that. We prefer to use our “white space” to let you know about the books we’ve published and those by the writers that are featured on our site every week. The rest is used only for the original content that you won’t find anywhere else on the web.
You’re not just a stat to CounterPunch – you’re our life-blood.
This is the time of the year that we dust off our begging bowl and ask everybody to contribute what they can. The virtual bowl appears at the top of our home page and is what some have called “rude, ugly, obtrusive, lame, f*d up.” But, we can’t take it down until we’ve raised the funds to cover another year of operations. Please chip in as soon as you can and hopefully, we’ll all be back to business as usual before the end of the month. Once you’ve made your donation, if you like, we can tell you a nifty trick to read articles without the stalker box (just email me: firstname.lastname@example.org).
CounterPunch survives on a bare-bones budget with a small, intensely dedicated staff. We don’t have retirement plans or paid vacations or six-figure salaries. Jeff and Josh work tirelessly to put up the vast array of articles you read every day. Josh puts together our free News Updates, where you get a quick view of what’s new on our site a few times a week. Nat disseminates our stories across social media, informing a new generation of readers that CounterPunch is where they can turn to read what the mainstream media won’t touch. Here in the business office, Deva, Nichole and I are making sure your orders are fulfilled, your receipts mailed, the phone is answered, the bills are paid and the state and federal bureaucracies are satisfied. We hope to continue to produce the print magazine and publish new books that few other publishers won’t touch and to continue publishing dozens of original articles daily on our website for millions around the globe for another year.
However, unless we reach our fundraising goals we simply won’t be able to stay afloat.
Please, if you can spare the money, don’t let us sink. If you don’t like to donate online, please call our business office or mail in your donation today!
If you have already donated, we thank you so much for your support.
1 (707) 629-3683
PO Box 228
Petrolia, CA 95558