In These Times is fast approaching its 35th anniversary.
In 1976, In These Times founding Editor & Publisher James Weinstein made the decision not to set up shop in San Francisco (where he was living) or New York (where he grew up) or Washington, D.C. (where investigative journalist I.F. Stone suggested).
Instead, Weinstein moved to Chicago, a Midwestern metropolis where rents were cheap and anti-establishment agitation has a noble history. Henry Demarest Lloyd, William Dean Howells, Eugene V. Debs, Ida B. Wells, Upton Sinclair, Frances Perkins, Jane Addams and Richard Wright all advanced the American cause for social and economic justice with their work in Chicago. It is a tradition we are proud to continue.
In his first editorial, Weinstein wrote, “The major parties are the protection agencies of corporate capitalism. They are committed in bipartisan consensus to accommodating government policy and public expectations to the capacities and limits of the system [in order to] keep corporate capitalism out of, ‘above,’ politics.” He concluded that if the Democrats and Republicans do succeed “in keeping corporate power out of politics,” they will only have done their job – and we on the left will have failed to do ours.
Today, despite the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression showcasing the intrinsic flaws of our economic model, the two parties continue to do their job all too well. In These Times exists to suggest alternatives to corporate rule, and to provide a forum in which progressive alternatives can be debated. Those alternatives – and this forum – are more needed today than at any time since In These Times was founded. And it is the financial contributions from you and other members of the In These Times Community that make In These Times possible.
For the magazine’s 25th anniversary in 2001, Weinstein wrote, “A viable New Left cannot exist without principled, rigorous publications to inform it, and to help give it direction.”
I am proud that this remains our purpose today.
In These Times has had much to celebrate recently. In the last year, the number of readers who subscribe to In These Times has more than doubled – and is at the highest it has been in 20 years – thanks to a restricted grant to fund circulation growth from the Puffin Foundation.
In These Times continues to publish hard-hitting journalism that helps fuel movements for social change. The magazine’s website, InTheseTimes.com, has undergone a major redesign, its first in seven years. And we are proud to announce that Lindsay Beyerstein’s new blog, Duly Noted, recently debuted on our site.
That is the good news.
The bad news is that so far this year, reader contributions are down more than 25 percent.
Several explanations come to mind: the pervasive economic uncertainty that grips the country; the misconception that foundations underwrite most of our operations instead of a project-based portion (I have heard this from several members of the In These Times Community); the fact that Art Director Rachel Dooley designs a beautiful magazine and website that belie the fact that they are published and managed on a shoestring budget; all of the above?
In recognition of 35 years of In These Times, please show your support by making a tax-deductible donation today.
Joel Bleifuss, a former director of the Peace Studies Program at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is the editor & publisher of In These Times, where he has worked since October 1986.