Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Eess Not a Gang, Eess a Bleg

I've been working with the Center for a Stateless Society for several years now, first as a News Analyst and for the last year-and-a-half as Media Coordinator (and "Senior News Analyst," which means I write occasional, rather than twice-weekly, op-eds).

Like most of the operations I work with, it's a shoestring kind of deal that does a lot with what money it raises. The Center's financial nut at present is somewhere below $1,500 a month.

What do we accomplish with that money?

For starters, an average of one "mainstream media published" market anarchist op-ed every weekday -- 445 of'em since we started keeping track in June of 2010.

That's right -- for about the pay of one minimum wage worker, C4SS gets market anarchism into newspapers big (the Republic of Korea's Joongang Ilbo has a circulation of 2.2 million -- more than the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post combined), small (Florida's Hernando Today has been showing our stuff to a few tens of thousands of readers on a regular basis), left-wing (Counterpunch and the Canadian), right-wing (Arizona's Sonoran News and the Carroll County, Maryland Standard), you name it. We've been published on every currently above-sea Earth continent except Antarctica (and I recently started submitting the Center's material to McMurdo Station's Antarctic Sun).

We also produce (primarily through the efforts of our Research Associate, the estimable Kevin Carson) academic studies, and have been involved in various ways with the publication of important books (Gary Chartier's The Conscience of an Anarchist; Markets Not Capitalism, a collection edited by Chartier and Charles W. Johnson; and of course Carson's oeuvre).

Oh, and there's our Wikileaks mirror, launched to keep that vital information source available when the US government tried to suppress it. And our Tor node, which facilitates communications from and among revolutionaries and dissidents worldwide even when governments try to interdict or censor those communications.

And so on, and so forth. How much do we accomplish for the movement with that $1,500 a month? A lot, and there's no two ways about that.

Now for a sad story: As much as we do for a notional $1,500 a month or so, we're just not bringing in that amount.

Not being the money dude (our finances run through the Molinari Institute), I don't have the exact figures at hand, but IIRC we're bringing in about $800 per month in recurring donations (i.e. people sign up to send us $X every month). Based on our last fundraiser, I guesstimate we've been doing another $100-$150 a month in "one-time" donations.

Some costs like domain renewals, hosting for the sites and the Tor node, phone service (yes, phone service -- newspaper editors still expect to be able to pick up a phone and hear it answered "professionally" when the piece they're looking at claims to be from an "institution," so we spend $15 a month to make that happen), and so on and so forth, can't be deferred. We pay, or the stuff gets turned off.

What gets deferred is our workers' minimal (see that total above? One minimum wage worker's pay covers everything) pay, which pretty much always runs at least a couple of months behind schedule.

We don't complain. Much. And we keep working, trusting that the whole financial thing will get better over time. And it will ... if you decide that it should.

Another hundred anarchists ponying up $5 a month, or another 50 coughing up $10 a month, would put us on something like a stable financial footing, so that we can not only keep up the work we've been doing, but start looking for even more work that needs doing.

So pretty please, with sugar on top, support the Center for a Stateless Society.

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