Why do anarchists publish a newspaper?

Front cover of LinchpinWhy We Publish - Linchpin: An Arsenal of Ideas

This newspaper is a publishing project of the Ontario anarchist organization Common Cause. With it we hope to help build communication between people engaged in struggle and inform a growing proportion of the population of Ontario of the real facts of such struggles.

We are anarchists so the other related aspect of the paper will be articles that sketch out what anarchism aims to achieve and what the history and current reality of that struggle is, both in Ontario and globally.

To achieve this we are distributing copies where we live and work and at radical events. Each member of Common Cause distributes on average 100 copies of each issue of the paper. It will be a long time before we have a large enough membership to generate a distribution that starts to have the reach of the mainstream media but that is our goal. We want this paper going into every household and workplace in Ontario.

Most of the stories are written by Common Cause members and the paper is put together by delegates from each of the Common Cause Locals. This helps Linchpin to reflect the priorities of the organization as a whole. Which is not to say there is no room for other voices, in particular we carry interviews with people who are not members but who have something interesting to say.

Our aim is to make sure every member of Common Cause is involved not just in the distribution of Linchpin but also in the production of it. We don't aim to have a staff of professional writers that will produce content for everyone to distribute. Rather we see Linchpin as part of a process to develop basic analytical and reporting skills in every member of Common Cause.

The paper is one arm of the Linchpin publishing project, the other is the Common Cause website Linchpin.ca. This carries additional articles that you won't find in the paper and also carries blogs from Common Cause members where they point out and perhaps discuss anything that catches their eye. Currently this paper appears every two months but the website can be updated on a daily and even hourly basis.

Lastly this paper is not simply a way of reporting on struggles or of putting forward anarchist ideas. It's production and distribution is also an organising tool in itself. This may be at the level of editorial delegates reporting what their Locals think are the important for the next issue. Or it may be at the level of each Local deciding where to best distribute that issue, or discussing the contents with people who read it.

As well as discussions on the paper in our Locals all members have a chance to input comments on draft articles in the members only section of our website. At each Common Cause conference each member also has the opportunity to argue for a different focus or even set of goals for Linchpin.

Our aim is to get this paper into the hands of every ordinary person in Ontario. That is one hell of an ambition for a small group of anarchists. We need your help.

At the simplest level you could make some copies of this issue (you'll find a PDF file of it at linchpin.ca) and hand them around where you live, work or study. Or send us a regular donation so we can print more copies. But really what we need are people to join Common Cause and play a part at all levels of the production of Linchpin.

Originally published in Linchpin, the paper of Common Cause

WORDS: Andrew Flood (Follow Andrew on Twitter )


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