Introduction – Issue #98

Slingshot is an independent radical newspaper published in Berkeley since 1988.

In the moments after the police and FBI raided our offices at Long Haul — seizing all Slingshot computers and looking through our files — we wondered if we shouldn’t delay publication of this issue to give us time to regroup and recover. It is a funny thing when cops take your computers especially if you don’t really like computers in the first place. Maybe we shouldn’t bother to try to get them back — maybe we should free ourselves from this machine dependence.

Within a few days, we regained our composure and realized publishing this issue — on time and as awsomely as possible — was our best response to the police raid. So here it is. We initially discussed doing a shorter issue, avoiding articles that needed extra work, trying not to stay up so late or push ourselves as hard. These would actually be reasonable ideas every issue — why do we need a police raid as an excuse to balance our passion for making Slingshot with remembering to eat well, sleep more than 5 hours, and take time to dig in the garden between long-ass meetings?

Making this paper is a massive amount of work — it takes a dozen of us two weekends working long hours and requires a lot of organization and attention to detail. But it doesn’t feel like work — we don’t get tired — we look forward to doing Slingshot.

Artnoose wrote “Slingshot loft is the fountain ‘o youth” on a piece of paper where we make Slingshot and we keep realizing how true this is. While we were making the 2009 Slingshot Organizer, we realized that making Slingshot is like staying up half the night at a really good dance party, except that instead of dancing, we write stuff, edit it, make art, and try to figure out what record to put on and what we’re going to eat next.

The flood of creativity, bonding and getting to know other people in the collective — cooperating and struggling and discussing — you feel engaged, alive and present. It feels like you’re young and fresh — as opposed to the times you feel checked out, stuck in a rut, unable to get beyond the daily grind and see beyond the messy psychic spaces you inhabit. It is clear that feeling youthful isn’t mostly about your age — it’s really about how you approach life, and even more about how you actually live it. Making Slingshot or giving your all to any project isn’t a “sacrifice to the cause” — it’s a gift to enjoy and share with others that makes life meaningful.

And yet life isn’t always meaningful or inspiring or even possible to comprehend. We keep grappling with the stark contradictions between the moments of grief, regret, heartbreak, and the moments when everything falls into place and makes sense. How can life be so uneven?

Right before Slingshot collective started working on this issue, we heard that a collective member had fallen off an overpass and was in the hospital with spinal injuries. As of press time, we don’t know what happened or whether she will be okay. She wrote an email a few days before the fall saying “my mental health is deteriorating this past month and I am thinking of going in hospital.” We are so fragile and so alone and yet we are also part of something larger than ourselves — we have to be to find joy in this life.

The government fucked us over again on September 11 when they changed the rules for mailing items “bound printed matter” so that this cheaper class of mailing is only available to huge corporations, not independent zines like us. As we go to press, we aren’t sure how we’ll be able to mail out this issue . . . These creeping barriers to the free exchange of information are just as powerful as police raids, only harder to notice. And yet we’re not going to let all this put us off being part of the struggle for liberation.

Slingshot is always looking for new writers, artists, editors, photographers, translators, distributors & independent thinkers to make this paper. If you send something written, please be open to being edited.

Editorial decisions are made by the Slingshot collective, but not all the articles reflect the opinions of all collective members. We welcome debate and constructive criticism.

Thanks to all who made this: Compost, Crystal, Dominique, Eggplant, Ginger, Gregg, Hunter, JB, Kathryn, Kelly, Kermit, Kirsty, Lesley, Lelah, Max, Mando, Melissa, PB, Samantha and all the authors and artists.

Slingshot New Volunteer Meeting

Volunteers interested in getting involved with Slingshot can come to the new volunteer meeting on Sunday, November 30, 2008 at 4 p.m. at the Long Haul in Berkeley (see below.)

Article Deadline and Next Issue Date

Submit your articles for issue 99 by January, 17 2009 at 3 p.m.

Volume 1, Number 98, Circulation 17,000

Printed September 26, 2008

Slingshot Newspaper

Sponsored by Long Haul

3124 Shattuck Avenue. Berkeley, CA 94705

Phone: (510) 540-0751 •

Circulation Information

Subscriptions to Slingshot are free to prisoners, low income and anyone in the USA with a Slingshot Organizer, or $1 per issue or back issues. Outside the Bay Area, we’ll mail a free stack of copies of Slingshot to you if you give them out free.