Harvey Wasserman Brings Nuke-Free, Frack-Free Vision to Ann Arbor on Sunday 9/27

I’m honored to be hosting my friend Harvey Wasserman this weekend as he visits Ann Arbor to take part in the Michigan Daily reunion. As a special bonus to Ann Arbor-area residents, he will be speaking on Sunday about the movement to halt Fermi 3 and ban fracking. Harvey is an adviser to Greenpeace USA and is recognized worldwide as a visionary of the anti-nuke movement.

Ever hear the expression “No nukes!”? Simple but concise. That was Harvey’s. He also wrote the story of Liberation News Service, the AP-UPI of the underground press, for my Voices from the Underground Series.

Details below in the press release. Please do plan to join us.

Special thanks to the Alliance to Halt Fermi 3, which did most of the organizing for this event; and the Ecology Center for hosting it.

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Harvey Wasserman will present “Making Michigan Nuke-Free and Frack-Free: Getting to Solartopia” on Sunday, September 27 from 1-3 pm at the Ecology Center in downtown Ann Arbor. This timely event is free and open to the public. Co-sponsors include the Alliance to Halt Fermi 3, the Ecology Center, the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan, Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, Sierra Club-Huron Valley Group, and Public Citizens of Washtenaw.

Joining Harvey will be Peggy Daub and Keith Gunter. Peggy is co-coordinator for the Washtenaw County group of the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan. She will be talking about the anti-fracking movement in Michigan and the petition drive to put a fracking ban on the statewide ballot. Keith is co-founding member and current board co-chair of the Alliance to Halt Fermi 3. He will be talking about the anti-nuke movement in Michigan.

One of the best-kept secrets in Southeastern Michigan is that DTE is the only utility in the entire Midwest with a license to build a new nuclear power plant, Fermi 3. As we thankfully close several dirty coal plants and plan to meet the President’s Clean Power Plan to address the global climate crisis, we are at a historic crossroads and must make a collective choice–we will either spend $10-20 billion on Fermi 3 or we will make a historic commitment to solar, wind, and efficiency. Renewables are a far better climate strategy: quicker, cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable as nukes can be shut down at any time due to safety concerns. DTE wants to make this decision behind closed doors–it has already spent $100 million of ratepayer monies on paperwork and licensing fees without telling its customers. We need to force DTE to come clean and listen to its customers.

The oil and gas industry is not-so-secretly trying to extract every available fossil fuel out of the ground regardless of its impact on families and communities. High-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing–commonly known as fracking–is a relatively new technique for extracting oil and gas using millions of gallons of water and sand mixed with toxic chemicals, and then blasting the mixture underground under intense pressure to break up the subsurface rock formations to release oil and gas. We already have fracking in Michigan and the oil and natural gas companies want to expand it throughout the state. There is ample scientific evidence that this technology is inherently unsafe and destructive to human health and the environment. Only a ban can protect us.

Harvey Wasserman, a historian and adviser to Greenpeace USA, has been a leading visionary of the anti-nuclear power movement since the 1970s. He also created the vision of Solartopia, a democratic and socially just green-powered Earth free of all fossil and nuclear fuels. Harvey graduated from the University of Michigan in 1967 and was editor of the Michigan Daily. He helped found the legendary antiwar Liberation News Service, the AP-UPI of the underground press. He has written more than ten books, and edits nukefree.org which posts cutting-edge articles on nuclear power and green energy.

The Ecology Center is located at 339 E. Liberty Street, Suite 300, in downtown Ann Arbor. Convenient parking is available at the Liberty Square Parking Structure with the entrance at 510 E. Washington Street. Light refreshments will be served, and donations will be accepted.

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Feminist and Lesbian Periodicals in the Digital Age

I’m pleased to report that my proposal to speak at the “Women’s History in the Digital World 2015” conference at Bryn Mawr College on May 21-22 to talk about my underground press digital project has been accepted. The project, at its projected completion date at the end of January 2017, will include some one million pages—exact keyword-searchable digital reproductions—of underground, alternative, and literary newspapers and magazines from the fifties through the eighties, of which the women’s papers are one major part.

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So far we have on board some 150 women’s papers, 130 literary magazines, 900 GI underground papers representing every branch of the military, and some 170 papers representing the campus, community, high school, minority, gay, prisoners’ rights, new age, and other independent voices from the period. We even have 4 papers published by the FBI to sow dissension in the Movement. Joining me on my panel will be

  • legendary feminist activist and archivist Laura X, who was a contributor to the history of It Aint Me Babe, one of the histories in my Voices from the Underground Series and now one of the papers on board the digital collection;
  • Andrée J. Rathemacher, professor and head of acquisitions in the University Libraries at the University of Rhode Island, as well as a long-time advocate for open access; and
  • Julie Enszer, long-time feminist and lesbian scholar and activist as well as editor of Sinister Wisdom, another of the papers on board the digital collection.

Following is the proposal that was submitted and accepted:

 Feminist and Lesbian Periodicals in the Digital Age … Rebroadcasting Our Voices

Overview of panel: This panel is about the work that Reveal Digital has been doing for the past four years to digitize important feminist and lesbian archives as a way to preserve women’s history and make it accessible to the current and future generations of activists. It’s no secret among academics that young scholars today look first and primarily to the Internet for sources of information and may be totally unaware of the vast treasures that await them in the back shelves of special collections libraries. Digitizing these treasures is a first step toward making them accessible. But digitizing alone isn’t enough to ensure accessibility, especially if the resulting digital collections are priced beyond the reaches of academic libraries, which are the primary purchasers of these collections. This is the predicament that libraries face under the traditional economic model employed by traditional publishing companies, which offer digital collections at prices so high that only a small number of libraries can purchase them ever and therefore only their clients have access to them ever. In addition, researchers increasingly want the ability to text-mine digitized content, which requires access to the entire full-text corpus of digitized collections, something that is typically unavailable under the traditional publication model due to intellectual property concerns. Meanwhile, library budgets strain to keep up with rising prices for print and digital collections. Reveal Digital has entered this arena with a unique new economic model called “cost recovery = open access.” Briefly, what we promise is to sell any one collection only until we have earned back enough money to recoup our expenses and salaries and then, after a brief period of exclusivity for those libraries that buy into it, we make that product open access, which means it will be freely available to anyone through simple Internet searching and the full-text content will be available for text mining. The work described above to digitize women’s papers is part of a larger project—that we call Independent Voices—to digitize a million pages of underground, alternative, and literary newspapers and magazines from the fifties through the eighties by the end of January 2017. Our motivations are two-fold: to preserve the most important writings of our generation, which are now hidden in dark shelves of special collections libraries and beginning to yellow and crumble with age; and to make them available to current and future generations of scholars and activists. We originally aimed to include a thousand publications in the collection but we already have surpassed that number. In addition to the approximately 150 feminist and lesbian papers included so far (see list below following bios), we also have some 130 literary magazines, 900 military underground papers, and 170 campus, community, high school, gay, minority, prisoners’ rights, and other underground and alternative papers. We even have 4 papers published by the FBI to sow dissension in the Movement. With each paper, we are creating an exact keyword-searchable digital reproduction of every page. So far we’ve uploaded about 125,000 pages. Our goal is to have digitized and uploaded 450,000 pages by the end of January 2015 and a million pages by the end of January 2017. This work couldn’t be done without the immense help of a growing team of sourcing libraries that loan us original copies of these papers from their collections after we clear permission from the intellectual property rights holders. Libraries that are on board already include Duke, Northwestern, University of Wisconsin, Michigan State University, Georgia State University, University of Texas-Austin (UT-Austin), University of Buffalo, University of Maryland-Baltimore County, University of Washington, New York University, Bowling Green State University, University of Kansas, University of Arkansas at Little Rock (Sequoyah National Research Center), William Way LGBT Center, University of California-San Diego (UCSD), and University of Illinois, Chicago Public Library, University of Michigan, Oberlin College, University of Connecticut, and California Historical Society. It is not uncommon that for some titles no single library owns a complete run. In those cases, we patch together complete runs from our sourcing libraries that have partial collections. This ability to create aggregate collections is another advantage of digitizing. Our sourcing libraries receive from us keyword-searchable digital files and the metadata of all titles that they share with us, to do with as they wish, including making them searchable through their websites. We reimburse them for all shipping and handling costs. Independent Voices is the first collection to be funded through Reveal Digital’s cost recovery = open access model. Beyond the Independent Voices project, we are working with SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) to create a SNCC Digital Archive, with Highlander Folk School to digitize their papers from its founding through the Civil Rights era, and with Liberation News Service, the AP-UPI of the underground press, to create a collection that includes their photos and news packets. Other projects are in the conceptual stage. In the tradition of Kickstarter, Reveal Digital has created a crowd-funding website at http://revealdigital.com/ . There, we introduce every new project that is under consideration, lay out the individual costs to create the site, reduce the total cost to a per-library cost based on a tiered pricing structure (approximately 20 percent of what libraries would pay a typical digitizing company for a similar collection), and ask for non-binding commitments of support. Once the total of commitments reaches the cost-recovery threshold, we begin the permission-clearance phase. Libraries that fund any one collection receive early access to that collection, free MARC records, COUNTER compliant usage metrics, and full support for mass text downloading, as well as initial consideration for ideas to make their own collections more widely available through the cost recovery = open access economic model, without giving up ownership of the resulting digital files. Libraries have a long tradition of working together for the greater good of the broader library community. In that same tradition, no library is expected to support every Reveal Digital project but every library will have access to every project once they become open access. Thus, libraries supporting this unique new approach to funding the digitization of special collections ensure that access to important cultural material is free and available to all. You can learn more at http://voices.revealdigital.com/voices. Because we aren’t yet open access, you can only view the papers on that site if you have access to one of our supporting libraries. However, you can still review a sample of our work at our demo site, http://demo.revealdigital.com/voices. Panel of presenters:      

  •  Julie R. Enszer: Chair/Comment
  •  Ken Wachsberger will introduce and explain the cost recovery = open access economic model—how it works, why it is needed, why it is important for libraries to support it— for digitizing library and other special collections with a focus on the Independent Voices collection of feminist and lesbian papers. He will introduce some of the upcoming projects and the Kickstarter site.
  •  Laura X is known far and wide for her extensive archives that document the women’s movement of the late-1960s and early 1970s. This material has been cataloged and microfilmed but is not keyword-searchable. Subsequent materials from Laura’s archives have not yet even been cataloged and are not easily accessible despite their immense value to researchers. Laura will talk about the challenges she has had in maintaining her collection, storing the 600 hardcopy boxes, raising funds to have her collection cataloged and then digitized, and how Reveal Digital’s cost recovery = open access economic model could bring her that funding.
  • Andrée Rathemacher, acquisitions librarian at the University of Rhode Island, advocates for the University Libraries’ support of several collaborative open access initiatives including Reveal Digital. She will talk about her commitment to open access as well as the reasons why it is crucial that libraries channel their resources to support and facilitate open access to scholarship and unique primary source materials.

Bios: Julie R Enszer is a poet and Visiting Assistant Scholar, Department of Women’s Studies, at University of Maryland. Her scholarship is at the intersection of U.S. history and literature with particular attention to twentieth century U.S. feminist and lesbian histories, literatures, and cultures. By examining lesbian print culture with the tools of history and literary studies, she reconsiders histories of the Women’s Liberation Movement and gay liberation. Her book manuscript, A Fine Bind: Lesbian-Feminist Publishing from 1969 through 2009, tells stories of a dozen lesbian-feminist publishers to consider the meaning of the theoretical and political formations of lesbian-feminism, separatism, and cultural feminism. Enszer is the author of two collections of poetry, Sisterhood (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2013) and Handmade Love (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2010). She is editor of Milk & Honey: A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2011). Milk & Honey was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Lesbian Poetry. She is the editor of Sinister Wisdom, a multicultural lesbian literary and art journal, and a regular book reviewer for the Lambda Book Report and Calyx. Ken Wachsberger is an internationally known author, editor, and speaker as well as a renowned expert on the Vietnam era underground and alternative press. Ken is a book contract advisor with the National Writers Union and a frequent lecturer on the topics of contracts and copyright. He is the former editor or managing editor of several peer-reviewed publications from Pierian Press and MCB University Press. During his tenure as Contracts and Copyright Manager with Reveal Digital, Ken has led the drive to identify and obtain permission for over 1,200 underground, alternative, and literary newspapers and magazines from the fifties through the eighties to be part of Reveal’s Independent Voices digital project, including some 150 feminist and lesbian papers. Laura X began collecting first political materials in 1964 as part of her activist archivist work during the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, and then primarily literature on women and women’s health and legal issues starting in 1968. Two years later she founded the Women’s History Research Center, which maintained the International Women’s History Archive, an internationally recognized collection of periodicals, pamphlets, songs, leaflets, and other materials that document the women’s movement of the late-1960s until July 1974. Laura published SPAZM, the only national women’s liberation newsletter from April through December 1969; and was an original member of It Aint Me Babe, the first national newspaper of the Women’s Liberation Movement. She founded the National Clearinghouse on Marital and Date Rape in 1978 and the next year led the successful campaign to criminalize marital rape in California. She served as consultant coordinator to campaigns that by 1993 successfully eradicated exemptions from prosecution for marital, date, and cohabitation rape in the remaining 44 states (there were five before California). Last year she founded the Laura X Institute http://www.lauraxinstitute.org/ to house her Social Movements Archives from the women’s movement and overlapping social movements, which she has never stopped collecting. Andrée J. Rathemacher is Professor and Head of Acquisitions in the University Libraries at the University of Rhode Island, where she manages the materials budget of approximately $4 million. An advocate of open access and scholarly communication reform, she chaired the University’s Ad-Hoc Committee on Open Access in 2012-2013 and played an instrumental role in the passage of an open access policy by the University of Rhode Island faculty. She currently serves as the Faculty Senate Designate for the URI Open Access Policy. In 2013-2014 she initiated the creation of the URI Open Access Fund and is the fund administrator. She advocates for the University Libraries’ support of collaborative open access initiatives such as SCOAP3, Knowledge Unlatched, Reveal Digital, and the Open Library of Humanities. She is currently Co-Chair of the ACRL New England Chapter Scholarly Communications Special Interest Group.

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Feminist and lesbian papers already on board the Independent Voices digital collection: Papers that already are on board for the feminist and lesbian collections include 13th Moon, Aegis; Ain’t I a Woman (Iowa City); Amazon; Amazon Quarterly: A Lesbian Feminist Arts Journal; And Aint I a Woman (Seattle); Aphra; B.A.D. (Big Apple Dyke) News; BattleActs; Big Mama Rag; Black Belt Woman: The Magazine for Women in the Martial Arts and Self Defense; Black Maria; Black Woman’s Voice; Branching Out; Bread & Roses; Chrysalis, Common Lives/Lesbian Lives; Conditions; Connexions: An International Women’s Quarterly; Country Women; CWLU News: Newsletter of the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union (and three papers associated with CWLU: Womankind, Blazing Star, and Secret Storm); Dayton Women’s Liberation Newsletter, Distaff; Dyke, A Quarterly; Dykes & Gorgons; Echo of Sappho, Everywoman; The Eye; Female Studies Series; Feminary; Feminist Alliance Against Rape; Feminist Art Journal, Feminist Bookstore News/Feminist Bookstore Newsletter; Feminist Voice; Feminist Women’s Health Center Newsletter; From the Ground Up: A Seattle Feminist Newspaper; The Furies; Heresies: A Feminist Journal on Arts and Politics; Her-self; HOT WIRE: The Journal of Women’s Music and Culture; Houston Breakthrough: Where Women Are News; Hysteria; IKON; It Aint Me Babe; Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media, Killer Dyke; KNOW; The Ladder; Lady Unique Inclination of the Night; Lavender Vision; Lavender Woman; Lesbian Connection; The Lesbian Insider/Inside Her/Inciter; Lesbian News; Lesbian Tide; Lilith; Marin Women’s Newsletter/News Journal; The Matriarchist; Matrices; Media Report to Women; Meeting Ground; Mom’s Apple Pie; Motive (feminist issue, lesbian issue); National Communication Network for the Elimination of Violence against Women, New Directions for Women; New Women’s Times; New York Radical Feminists Newsletter; Newsreport; No More Fun and Games: A Journal of Female Liberation; Notes from the [First/Second/Third]Year; off our backs; On Our Backs; Paid My Dues, Pandora, Quest/a feminist quarterly; Radical Chick; The Second Page, Second Wave: A Magazine for the New Feminism; Sinister Wisdom; Sojourner; SPAZM; The Spokeswoman; Tell-a-Woman; Tooth and Nail; Tribad; Triple Jeopardy; Union W.A.G.E., Up From Under, Voices of the Women’s Liberation Movement; WomaNews; Woman’s World; WomanSpirit; Women: A Journal of Liberation; Women and Art; Women and Their Bodies/Our Bodies Ourselves; Women in Print Newsletter; Women Organizing; Women’s News…For a Change; The Women’s Page; and Women’s Press. Also to be included is the groundbreaking paper “a kind of memo” (later published in Liberation as “Sex and Caste”), written by Mary King and Casey Hayden.

Digital Project Welcomes East Village Other, Others

It was a good week for Independent Voices, the underground/alternative/literary press digital project that has consumed the better part of my last four years. I won’t detail every connection I made with rights holders or prospective rights holders. Getting an official okay can take many weeks and require my sending of multiple reminders. That’s just the nature of email communication. This project has taught me patience.

Today, I’ll just mention a few of the major agreements that I received.

After a long campaign to find out who the rights holder was, I was thrilled—yes, that’s still an understatement—to welcome East Village Other and Gothic Blimp Works to the project. I ended up not finding one rights holder. Rather, I sent my invitation to a list of every EVO veteran I could find, and even some folks peripheral to EVO who weren’t really in a position to say yes or no anyhow but might have been able to provide input, and then I responded to everyone who got back to me. I found strong support for being included, and no opposition, which is what I anticipated. EVO was one of the most important underground papers of the Vietnam era and was one of the first five members of Underground Press Syndicate, the first nationwide network of underground papers. In fact, as the story goes, the name Underground Press Syndicate came out of their office. Gothic Blimp Works had a brief run of eight issues in 1969. It was published by EVO and was billed as “the first Sunday underground comic paper.”

Along the way, I developed a nice email friendship with veteran Alex Gross. I’m currently reading his memoir, The Untold 60s: When Hope Was Born: An Insider’s Sixties on an International Scale. It’s a huge book, approaching 700 pages, but it’s a fast, enjoyable read, taking on his adventures in England, Germany, and the United States, including his time with East Village Other and London’s first underground paper, International Times (a.k.a. IT).

Another major paper to come on board was Southern Patriot, published by legendary civil rights organizer Anne Braden. I got the okay from her son, who is her estate executor. Along with Independent Voices, we are developing other Civil Rights- and Vietnam-era digital collections, including the archives of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the archives of the Highlander Center, and the news packets and photos of Liberation News Service. Having connected to Jim Braden, we’re now talking about creating the Anne Braden Digital Archives. Just in the talking stage so far but exciting to me.

Meanwhile, speaking of the East Village Other, I should mention that three new literary publications that have recently come on board are Yardbird Reader, Y’Bird, and Quilt, all co-published by EVO co-founder Ishmael Reed, who gave me the okay.

Other recent additions to the literary collection: Reflections from Chapel Hill, Personal Injury, Fire Exit, Not Guilty, d.a. levy’s The Marrahwanna Quarterly, and the feminist Earth’s Daughters.

And then I topped off the week by getting the okay from Tessa Koning-Martinez, daughter of Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez, to include El Grito del Norte (The Northern Call), an important bi-lingual (Spanish and English) paper from New Mexico, co-founded by Betita and attorney Beverly Axelrod, that covered news of the Chicano movement, workers’ struggles, and Latino political prisoners from 1968 to 1973). I thank Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz for connecting me to Tessa.

Reveal Digital Introduces Pro-Library “Cost Recovery = Open Access” Model to Finance Underground Press Collection

In my last blog post, I listed the feminist and lesbian underground and alternative papers that are part of the digital project that has filled a major part of my last four years. They are only one part of the story. In my next post, I’ll list some of the other papers that are on board and invite readers to suggest others that are still absent from the list.

But first I want to talk about how this project is being financed through the Ann Arbor-area company Reveal Digital. If you’re a librarian or a scholar, please pay close attention because our economic model was created with you in mind. As the former managing editor of References Services Review and Serials Review, two publications that were read avidly by reference and serials librarians, I regularly edited articles by librarians who were lamenting their shrinking budgets in the face of rising costs. This is the model that will enable you to maintain and even enhance your collections.

But we need your help to make it work. I’ll show you what you can do.

I am tempted to use the term “revolutionary” to describe the model but the term has been overused and trivialized by Madison Avenue. However, “unique” will work. There is no other model like it to my knowledge. Nor is there any model so budget-friendly to libraries.

To put it in perspective, other companies that produce digital collections for the library market (and, no, I won’t name them) charge prices that traditionally are so high, only a handful of libraries can afford them. These collections then become accessible only to the patrons of those libraries. Meanwhile, the companies that produce them keep them on the market, looking to generate additional profits as long as they can. Their economic model is designed to yield high profits for them on a perpetual basis while keeping access for the rest of us low forever. Who benefits from that model? Not you. Not the public.

Our economic model is called “cost recovery = open access.” Briefly, what we promise is to sell any one collection only until we have earned back enough money to pay for expenses and salaries and then, after a brief period of exclusivity for those libraries that buy into it, we put that collection into open access, which means it will be free to other libraries as well. To libraries that provide the sourcing materials, we give them keyword-searchable pdf files and the metadata to do with as they wish. To read more about our economic model, you can read this article that appeared in Library Journal.

Why would libraries pay for a collection that will eventually be free? There are at least three reasons.

First, the library culture promotes that spirit. During my many years working in the library profession, I came to know that bigger libraries and library consortia often used their financial advantage to support products and initiatives that later benefited smaller libraries and consortia as well. It was because of that community culture that I found so much satisfaction working with them. Now, with our cost recovery = open access economic model, you don’t have to be part of a larger system to do your part to help because we offer pricing on a tiered basis according to type of library.

As we note on our beta site, “Reveal Digital’s pricing for Independent Voices is tiered by type of library and is based on an initial estimate of the number of libraries expected to purchase the collection.” In other words, if more libraries support the collection than we need to recover costs based on our final estimate, the price per library goes down! Yes, instead of the company making more money for the collection, libraries pay less per institution. Each library can pay one lump sum or four equal annual installments. And then it goes into open access.

We estimate that our collections will cost about 20% of what comparable collections from other digitizing companies would cost—and less if more libraries support them.

Second, we will produce additional collections beyond Independent Voices. Because of our promise of open access, we can’t make continuing profits from any one collection so we have to produce new collections, all using the cost recovery = open access model that saves libraries so much money.

Already other collections are in the early stages of development. We are working with the folks from

  • SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee), one of the leading, most effective Civil Rights organizations of the sixties, to create a SNCC Digital Archive;
  • Highlander Center, one of the pioneering educational and training institutions for civil rights organizers and leaders—including Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Pete Seeger, and others—to digitize their papers from its founding through the Civil Rights era; and
  • Liberation News Service, the AP-UPI of the underground press, to create a collection that includes their photos and news packets.

No one library will buy every collection but every library will have access to every collection with our cost recovery = open access economic model.

But only if you do your part to make sure this economic model succeeds.

You can enroll in Independent Voices right here and join the growing list of fellow libraries that are already on board. Scholars, if you agree that any one of these collections would be good fits for your university’s library, please talk to your librarian and submit a request to purchase?

Third, supporting libraries are invited to suggest archives from their holdings to become digital collections. What archives have you been wanting to digitize? Let’s talk.

We are in the process of building a Kickstarter-type website that will promote all of our collections that are in development. Under each collection, we will list the projected costs and the tiered pricing structure. We will seek commitments from libraries. As soon as any one collection has attracted the necessary commitments to bring it into open access, we will begin production.

Was I wrong in calling this model “unique”? I don’t think so. Rising costs and shrinking budgets don’t have to prevent you from building your digital collection. Help us to help you make this crucial information accessible to the current and future generations of scholars and activists. It’s a win-win.

In my next post, I’ll list some of the non-women’s underground and alternative papers that are on board so far to be digitized as part of Independent Voices; and I’ll invite you to suggest others and connect me to folks who were on those papers so I can request permission.

In the meantime, if you missed my two earlier posts on the digital project, you can read them here and here.

Introducing the Voices from the Underground Website

I am pleased today to introduce the Voices from the Underground website. The multi-page site is a celebration and a unique study of the underground press from the Vietnam era.

The underground press was the voice of the antiwar movement that led the long struggle to halt our own government’s crimes against the people of Vietnam. While the corporate press was largely parroting the government line about lights at the end of the tunnel and Vietnamization and enemy body counts that surpassed the total population of Vietnam, the patriots of the underground press exposed our true history of aggression, joined in solidarity with the people of Vietnam, and became the voice of peace that forced our government to withdraw our troops.

The task they faced was the task that today’s bloggers face in our efforts to get our government out of Iraq and Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Underground papers were a phenomenon made possible by what was then the new technology of offset printing. Suddenly, owning your own paper was not a possibility reserved for the rich and powerful. Left-wing, radical, liberal, progressive communities all over the country started their own papers to oppose the war but also to strengthen their emerging communities and liberation movements. Through networks like Underground Press Syndicate, Liberation News Service, and others, they joined together as a network, sharing resources and knowledge and strength. All underground papers were united in solid opposition to the war. They were a powerful force, locally and nationally. They were everywhere.

And yet today they are little known. In fact, the entire antiwar movement is little known, and for good reason. No corporate government wants its citizens to know that if they unite and speak up they can overcome their government’s imperial tendencies. So, today the Vietnam War is barely discussed in high school, or it is discussed at a superficial level that glosses over the antiwar movement. College journalism classes don’t touch the underground press, even though it was arguably a highpoint in our young country’s celebration of journalism and the First Amendment, America’s greatest gift to the world.

Today’s progressive bloggers are heirs to the underground press tradition, and yet most don’t know what the underground press was.

The four-volume Voices from the Underground Series changes that. It addresses the underground press like no other book before it, by giving voice to insiders who were key people on their own papers. Although all underground papers were united against the war, individual papers spoke to different audiences. Papers represented the gay, lesbian, feminist, Black, Puerto Rican, Native American, prisoners’ rights, rank-and-file, psychedelic, Southern consciousness, new age, socialist, military, and other voices of the many liberation movements that arose during that period.

Those voices are represented in the Voices from the Underground Series.

So, if you’ve read this far, take a look at the website. I talk about the underground press and then I give you a sneak preview into all four books, which will be released one at a time over a period of two years. I share testimonials here and here from academics and activists and media reviewers. And, while you’re waiting for your books to arrive in the mail, I share a few excerpts from other books of mine: Early Wachsberger.

Volume 1 will be officially available in January 2011 but it is expected to be in the Michigan State University Press warehouse in early December and I’ll be helping to distribute them. So don’t wait until December. Order now and take advantage of my special pre-publication price. It’s easy. Just go through PayPal.

I want to thank MSU Press for their support of Voices from the Underground. What I compiled was the equivalent of four books. I couldn’t help it. The material was there, and so was the commitment from my contributors. If they had said, “Give us just enough to fill one volume,” I would have said, “Catch you later.” But they recognized, as did I, that every story was amazing in its own way so they bought into my vision of four separate volumes. In this horrible economy, they deserve credit.

I also want to thank Hillary Handwerger for helping to turn my words into this website and Jim Campbell for producing the video.