Introduction to issue #99

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

Making this issue was an exciting yo-yo. During editing weekend, there were a dozen people and a lot of good articles actually turned in on time! But then a week later right before layout started, it looked like just a handful of us were available to do 20 pages. Imagine our collective surprise when an overflow crowd of people showed up from all directions to make the paper happen in terrific style — some people we already knew and a bunch of folks whom we had the pleasure of meeting for the first time.

How many people out there may be looking for opportunities to plug into collective projects like publishing Slingshot? Sometimes it can feel like there’s barely enough energy to keep a handful of alternative projects afloat, but just below the surface there are hidden reservoirs of energy just aching to express themselves. Like throwing a message in a bottle into the ocean, we need to take the risk of seeking community, engagement and action. And we hope this applies to direct actions of all kinds, not just publishing zines.

The protests that turned into riots to protest the murder of Oscar Grant could be a preview of things to come this year. People are straining on the sidewalks, ready to take the street. If you’ve been imagining building that community garden, starting that free clinic, carrying that sign or erecting that barricade, this is the year to turn your dream into reality.

• • •

We had an unusually large number of article submissions for this issue and had to cut a number of them because there wasn’t enough space. In the computer age, less and less materials get physically published on paper — where physical space is a limitation — and more and more writing ends up on-line, where length is irrelevant. The collective discussed whether it would make sense to publish a shadow on-line edition containing articles we received but didn’t include in the paper edition due to space considerations. The discussion felt funny. We don’t want radical print publications to be entirely replaced by the internet, but we don’t want to stick our heads in the sand and refuse to engage with other forums for distributing information. Let us know what you think. As an experiment, if you look at the on-line edition of this paper, you’ll see a few articles that we didn’t print.

We get lots of letters that we could have published, but many of them didn’t react to what we publish in very interesting ways. So we ended up cutting the letters section and publishing a page of obituaries, instead. The lives described in the obits are messages to all of us about how to find meaning through resistance and action.

We neglected to include an obituary of anarchist political prisoner, writer, painter, and jailhouse lawyer Harold H. Thompson who passed away, November 11th 2008, in the West Tennessee State Penitentiary. May he finally be free.

We also missed getting an article on the RNC8. An angry voicemail from a corporate newspaper organization claimed that someone had put a stack of Slingshot papers in their newspaper boxes somewhere in southern California. Of course they threw our papers away. If you’re a volunteer distributor, keep that in mind — Slingshots like to end up in places they won’t get thrown away.

Slingshot is always looking for new writers, artists, editors, photographers, translators, distributors & independent thinkers to make this paper. If you send in 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. Please stop peeing in the drinking water.

Thanks to all who made this: Asphalt, Cometbus, Compost, Crystal, Daisy, Dominique, Eggplant, Ginger, Glenn, Gregg, Gerald, Hunter, Julia, Justin, Kate, Kathryn, Kermit, Kerry, Lesley, Melissa, Memoria Collectiva, PB, Samantha, Stephanie, Will, Xarique 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, March 8, 2009 at 4 p.m. at the Long Haul in Berkeley (see below.)

Article Deadline and Next Issue Date

Submit your articles for issue 100 (!) by April 11 2009 at 3 p.m.

Volume 1, Number 99, Circulation 20,000

Printed January 30, 2009

Slingshot Collective

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 for back issues. Outside the Bay Area, we’ll mail a free stack of copies of Slingshot to you if you give them out free.