EARLIER THIS YEAR, IN THESE TIMES SURPASSED 50,000 PRINT SUBSCRIBERS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ITS 40-YEAR HISTORY. That milestone didn’t just pop out of the ether. It is the result of hard work on the part of the staff and a public desire for political change, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the 1960s. And, of course, because of readers like you.
To ensure that In These Times is up to the challenge of this historic moment, we reached out to hundreds of supporters over the past few months. We asked for help in re-engineering In These Times to better serve progressives as we grapple with the political realities of these new times.
This new issue is the result of that feedback. Here are some of the things In These Times is recommitting to:
- Original stories that the mainstream media refuses to publish
- Reporting that gives a voice to grassroots activists and new strategies to effectively fight corporate power
- Articles that provide theoretical and practical frameworks for connecting with and energizing others on the Left, especially through the lens of work and labo
Going forward, In These Times will do even more to put community struggles for justice front and center, particularly acts of resistance ignored by the corporate media. You will find these stories in our new Dispatches section.
In These Times will continue nurturing a sense of progressive community. The magazine will serve as a forum for debate within the Left, as in our revamped Up for Debate section, and will spotlight local victories that can be used as blueprints for change.
My favorite community response came from Laura Orlando, who likes In These Times because of the “tone that sets it apart from other progressive publications.”
“It’s a tone that makes me want to read the magazine,” she wrote. “What it usually is not is the drumbeat about what is wrong with [fill in the blank]. Think of a child’s whine. ITT is the compassionate parent that says, ‘Yes dear, it’s hot, but just a little bit farther and we’ll be at the beach, feeling the ocean breeze.’ ” This belief that a better world is within our reach is something I vow will not change.
Another thing that will not change: In These Times will continue to publish investigative reporting that holds power to account. Trump administration officials, Republicans in state houses and governor’s mansions across the country, corporate entities that run amok and Democrats who fail to respond to a base that is demanding real change—that is to say, all who help perpetrate systemic injustice—will get particular scrutiny.
But even as we reorient to face the unique challenges of today, we haven’t forgotten where we come from. When I began reading In These Times, then a weekly, in 1979 in Columbia, Mo., it served in a sense as a community newspaper for a national network of progressives who, inspired by the rebellion of the 1960s, continued to fight for transformative change.
Historian James Weinstein, who founded In These Times, wrote, “Part of the reason the New Left [of the 1960s] disintegrated was that it had no intellectual center and no popular publication to disseminate its ideas and let people know what it was doing and why.” In These Times was established in 1976 to be that center. It remains our mission today.
I hope you'll agree that the new magazine distills what we do best. By publishing journalism that exposes the racial, economic and environmental injustices that define life in 21st-century America, and by covering movements for social change, In These Times challenges us to work together to expand the boundaries of what is possible.
Many nonprofits have seen a big dip in support in the first part of 2021, and here at In These Times, donation income has fallen by more than 20% compared to last year. For a lean publication like ours, a drop in support like that is a big deal.
After everything that happened in 2020, we don't blame anyone for wanting to take a break from the news. But the underlying causes of the overlapping crises that occurred last year remain, and we are not out of the woods yet. The good news is that progressive media is now more influential and important than ever—but we have a very small window to make change.
At a moment when so much is at stake, having access to independent, informed political journalism is critical. To help get In These Times back on track, we’ve set a goal to bring in 500 new donors by July 31. Will you be one of them?
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.