Hello, This is, we believe, the last message we will send to ZNet Members via the tried and true mailing procedure that we have used since ZNet's birth over a decade ago. Goodbye to that.
The good news is, this is not because ZNet is no longer breathing. It is because ZNet has new lungs - in the shape of a new email server and online system - and because you will shortly begin getting email communications from us by that new channel. As someone on our large mailing list from the old ZNet site, by now you have undoubtedly discovered and begun using the new site - http://www.zcommunications,org But you may not, as yet, have logged in to see your account page. And you may not, as yet, have upped your free account to a sustainer account. And that is why we are writing you. Because we need you to take those steps. When you go to www.zcommunications.org - in the upper right on the splash page - and other pages too - you will see two little fill in areas. One is for your email address and the other is for your password. As a free member in the old system - and if you haven't already joined the new system as a sustainer - you can enter your email address in the first field and you can enter the generic password 12345 in the second field. Once you do that, you can change your password, and you can also work with your account. The old system was pretty good. We delivered fine content, consistently, and we provided an occassional mailing to free members and a nightly commentary to sustainers as well. There was an old fashioned forum system and a struggling blog area which worked, however, for only a few writers. There was no commenting on the site. There was little multimedia on the site. Navigation was, let's say, suboptimal. The design harked backward, not forward. And there was no infrastructure for contined growth. The new system is very different. It still offers the same editorial attitudes and priorities, of course, and the same incredible collection of core writers, always enlarging, as well. But now the site is also full of graphics and, beyond that, has major and growing audio and video content. The site has commenting throughout. The site has databases devoted to user content - preferences, poetry, quotes, lyrics, articles, and even a massive system of user blog content. Core and also peripheral writers have way more range of content and partiicpation as well. Navigation is modern and refined. Without itemizing a list of new features, which would be way too long for an email, the new ZSpace has the potential to be a vehicle not only for far greater intercommunication among our users and writers than we have before enjoyed, but for socializing and activist work too. Already it has friends facilities and RSS feeds, where the latter are incredibly powerful including allowing users to create customized content for themselves. So what are we trying to say? Do you remember the old line - if we build it, they will come? Yes, we know that it was from a Hollywood movie, Kevin Costner, Field of Dreams, blah blah - and we know that ZCom is not baseball, not a movie, and not fiction. But, nonetheless, that Hollywood tag line pretty accurately summarizes how we feel. At no small financial and psychological cost - we have built it. Now, you need to please come use it. You need to please make it fly. We constructed the skeleton and wired the nervous system. Will you set the blood flowing? Will you grow the brain? This message is going to roughly 100,000 people - and we hope each of you will send it on to others, too. Most of you frequented the old site and utilized it in diverse ways. Now ZCom offers you much more. Now, indeed, ZCom can offer a whole lot beyond even what is already in place, if you will only please add your insights and energy. You can become a Z sustainer for as little as $1 a month. The premiums you receive even at that low donor level are extensive and worth many times the donation amount. But mostly, by becoming a sustainer you will help make the site something more than it would otherwise be. Here is a message from Noam Chomsky expressing his view regarding supporting Z: A Personal Message From Noam Chomsky We live in an era of media concentration, vast efforts on many fronts (political, economic, military, ideological) to insulate state and private power from critical discussion or even popular awareness, and to reduce citizens to isolated atomized creatures restricted to satisfying personal 'created wants.' This massive and coordinated campaign has been partially successful, but only in a limited way. The range and scope and dedication of popular activism has also increased, all over the world, reaching a level of international solidarity and mutual support that has never been seen before. The basic conflicts are very old, but they have taken quite dramatic and significant new forms, and the stakes are far higher than ever before. It is, regrettably, no exaggeration to say that the survival of the species is at risk -- and many others with it. We all know why. The popular movements are the hope for a decent future. They of course have to have access to information and modes of interaction. In addition to alternative print and video, to a very large extent they have relied on the internet, which allows people to escape from the constraints of the doctrinal systems, to explore and investigate and discuss crucial issues with one another, to plan and organize. Z Magazine and ZNet have played a crucial role in serving all of these functions. I see that every day. I travel and speak constantly, in the U.S. and abroad, and spend many hours a day just responding to inquiries and comments. I constantly discover that the people and organizations I come in contact with are relying very substantially on Z projects for information, discussion, and opportunities for interaction and organizing, to an extent that is quite remarkable. Z is also an invaluable resource for me personally, in all of these respects, and also in my case for providing a forum for intense and very constructive discussion, the only one I regularly participate in. And for posting articles, interviews, commentaries, etc., of mine. I know that many others have very much the same experience. It is of inestimable importance, in my judgment, that Z and ZNet, now composing the new ZCom with their various other projects such as their growing video efforts and incomparable summer school, arguably the most exciting and instructive I have ever encountered. Again, I do not think it is possible to exaggerate the stakes. I hope that all of us who are committed to resisting and reversing the powerful currents of reaction and oppression and violence, and showing that another world is indeed possible, will contribute as best we can to ensure that the remarkable achievements of Z and ZNet will be carried forward. Noam Chomsky U.S. Let us be blunt about this. There are many of you who cannot afford even $1 a month. We know that. We don't even want you to try. The idea is not to extract your needed funds. We hope you will give us some time, instead, some writing, instead, some word of mouth, instead. That would be incredibly valuable! There are tens of thousands of you, however, for whom $1 a month, and in fact $3, $5, or even $10 a month, would not even be noticed, financially. And the truth is, we also want your time, writing, and word of mouth, but, beyond that, your money is the money we want. Is that blunt enough? Will you give it? A lot of people think donating is for others to do. They think donating is geeky or naive, or doomed, or whatever. What a load of nonsense that is. We don't take ads - which means we don't sell you to corporate profiteers. As a result, our funds must come from you. Donating isn't geeky, naive, or doomed - it is what keeps us going. The truth is, we'd like to ask for what justice and social struggle deserve - but in the contemporary world, it would sound crazy. So we will restrain ourselves and ask, instead, for whatever anyone wants to give, starting at $1 a month, and we hope for the best! ZCom is now an incredibly complex and massive operation - and there are virtually no limits on further growth, assuming you step up to help. Are you going to use ZCom? To really use it? We very much hope so. That is why we built it. But, are you going to also contribute to it, with a little of your insight and also a little of your money? Again, we hope so. That is why we built it. That is why it awaits you at http://www.zcommunications,org So come on... all the accomplished international writers, quoted below, just can't be wrong - can they? And if they are right, then surely Z is worth your involvement, your support! Howard Zinn, from the U.S., says, "The many Z projects have played an enormously important role in connecting thousands of people outside the traditional channels of communication, bypassing the major media. and introducing into the marketplace of ideas original and provocative ideas and significant information that otherwise would be lost. It has always struggled financially, as befits a bold and dissident organization, and so deserves all the help we can possibly give it. I hope people will come through at this critical time, when Z's work is especially crucial to the nation." John Pilger, from Australia, says, "I hesitate to call ZCom/ZNet one of the leading samidzat of our age, because it is also one of the great newspapers of the internet. Turn to ZNet and you get more in one visit than hours of thumbing through voluminous newspapers that are little more than voices of rapacious power. The range of good journalism, good writing and good scholarship on Z is astonishing: from the pen of the well-known to the raw, eyewitness reporting of 'citizen journalists'. Please do support Z; we need it; you need it." Cynthia Peters, from the U.S., says, "The entire Z communications enterprise not only provides information and analysis to already existing social change organizations, it also helps launch new endeavors. Countless activists have joined political struggles, started new organizations, and brought new vision and strategy into their already existing efforts because of Z. Using few resources, Z reaches people all over the world and provides a forum for communication and debate. We should commit ourselves to Z by supporting it with cash. Dollar for dollar, you won't find an organization more capable of consistently (relentlessly!) providing accessible analysis of current events, explaining the workings and interconnectedness of systemic oppressions, and making it possible to seriously address questions of vision and strategy. Support activist-oriented alternative media! Support Z!" Vijay Prashad, from India, says, "ZNet is my ZNN -- I get my dose of global reality from it. It keeps me in touch with developments around the planet, including my own back yard. The debates and the commentaries provide a lively community, a vital institution of the global left. ZCom/ZNet must stay alive." Ezequiel Adamovsky, from Argentina, says, "I can confidently say that the array of resources that the Z community offers -the prodigious ZNet website, the excellent monthly Z Magazine, the Z Video production and distribution, the school of alternative journalism Z Media Institute- is unique in its diversity of viewpoints, plurality of voices, depth and reliability. No other independent media undertaking that I know has been so successful in offering good up-to-date information, deep political analysis, and new radical visions, in sharing skills and resources with like-minded groups and social movements, and in helping people to come together at the global level. Z is fundamental for the community of people and collectives that are trying to build another world." Sonia Shah, from Australia, says, "I tell all my friends in Australia to check out ZCom/ZNet if they want to learn about progressive movements around the world; Z Net has always been my first source for left commentary and reportage. It's huge, vital, unique and necessary." Patrick Bond, from South Africa, says, "Amongst other sites of struggle for justice, Johannesburg is in continual need of international networking. No service is as good as ZNet, and the comrades - from social movements to trade unions to NGOs to academics like myself - cite Z repeatedly." Bob McChesney, from the U.S., says, "I spend a good deal of my time nowadays struggling for a media system that does not so readily dispense corporate and militarist propaganda and masquerade it as news. ZNet is one of the main alternatives to the status quo that points to a caliber of media that we so desperately need. I read it nearly every day and find it of tremendous value. I strongly urge people to support the new ZCom including ZNet and Z Magazine to the fullest extent that they can." Tim Wise, from the U.S., says, "In a media world saturated by the fog of mediocrity and too often devoid of truly radical, transformative analysis, Z is like a beacon of light. The commentaries provided by the many writers for Z not only point out the problems with current power structures and institutions, but even more, examine alternative futures. In my own work, Z is indispensable, and I have heard the same from literally thousands of people I've met around the country: folks who are thirsty for knowledge, and whose thirst is regularly quenched by Z." Betsy Hartman, from the U.S., says, "Progressive activists the world over rely on Z Communicatons not only for coverage of breaking events, but for deeper analysis of the challenges facing diverse social movements and successful strategies to overcome them. Z Communications is boldly visionary at a time when the Left needs new non-sectarian vision. It is a force for change -- and for hope. It is important that to the extent they are able, people who use it support it" Andrej Grubacic, from the Balkans, says, "As one of the editors of the Z Magazine for the Balkans, I can attest to the curious attraction and power that the politics of "Z" has in this neo-colonized part of the "not quite European" world. The first issue of the Balkan Z magazine was financed by Serbian workers in struggle. It can be found on every news kiosk in Serbia. The internationalist-indeed, global- political message of "Z" has been successfully translated into the language of the local struggles. By helping Z you will also be helping us to continue to struggle, and to continue to promote the values of a non-hierarchical, participatory society, in Serbia, ex-Yugoslavia and the Balkans" Nicos Raptis, from Greece, says, "Greek journalists have been using the material found in ZNet and Z Magazine for years. They know that these are sources for honest information and deep analysis of what is going on in the world. Personally I have been contributing articles based on these sources to the Greek print media for many years. The Greeks as most peoples in the world base their hopes for a better world on a future moral reaction of an informed American people. ZNet and Z Magazine offer valuable help to this end." Justin Podur, from Canada, says, "The past few years, I've traveled to various parts of the world that are directly affected by US foreign policy and capitalist globalization. People often ask me there, `Don't North Americans care? Don't they know?' If the mainstream media were to have its way, the answer to these questions would be a clear `No.' Z tries to change that answer. It's not just a repository of information or analysis: it has tried, and to some extent succeeded, in becoming a real space of exchange and dialogue, where individuals and movements can feel a sense of community, break sieges and isolation, hear others, and make their voices heard. That is what ZCom promises, if we help." America Vera Zavala, from Sweden, says, "Every morning when I open my mail I have a new window to the world. ZNet Commentaries brings me a story and a thought in a world with so much information that you don't stop and think. ZNet makes me stop and think; I feel as part of something bigger. Even though I'm in Sweden I feel connected to other struggles that I don't share in day to day work. ZCom/ZNet is a tool for sharing visions and goals. " C.P. Pandya, from India, says, "What truly sets Z apart from other news and analysis providers, independent and otherwise, are its unrelenting commitment to including diverse voices in the struggle for social justice and its accessibility to writers and activists. As a young journalist of color looking for both safe spaces to write and reliable sources of information to cite - there is no organization comparable to Z. It is made up of a global community of people who - without pretentiousness or condescension - are providing a uniquely fair and just alternative to the status quo. It must continue on." George Monbiot, from England, says, "Whenever people ask me where they should go to find out what's really happening in the world, I direct them to ZNet. For me it's the starting point in the great global conversation which the internet permits. The only hope we have of countering the 24-hour propaganda produced by people such as Fox News and Clear Channel is to develop our own media, and Z Communications does it better than anyone else. I would be devastated if Z went down." Brian Tokar, from the U.S., says, "After 15 years, Z remains the most thorough, in-depth source of truly radical news analysis and commentary. It is one of the only outlets in the US that remains fully unencumbered by the strictures, the fashions, and the foolishness of mainstream media. It's a vital resource in troubling times--please support them in this time of need!" Marta Russell, from the U.S., says, "Z is the first left zine to acknowledge the view of disability as a social, political and economic creation. Including disability as one of the social movements forging changes in society, it has garnered a wealth of information on disablement. Click on the "Disability Rights Watch" section on the home page of the web site for reference and commentaries too. Check it out and stay tuned. Z must go on. We cannot lose such a monumental source of information on topics covering all areas of social justice." David Edwards, from England, says, "Z is one of the great resources and bastions of dissent - an authentic flagship of internet-based activism. Much of our work has been inspired by the example of Z, and much of our output has been enhanced by resources accessed via Z. I would view it as a genuine disaster directly impacting our work if Z was to disappear. That can't be allowed to happen. I strongly urge everyone who cares about rational, compassionate analysis and activism to do everything they can to support Z." Edward S. Herman, from the U.S., says, "Z Magazine and ZNet have been my primary vehicles for communicating messages to a sizable audience for more than a decade. I consider the Z family a model of an open and democratic media. We should do all we can not only to help them survive but also to expand. Their growth and that of others of similar openness may be a matter of life or death." Joanne Landy, from the U.S. says, "If the Left is going to survive in these grim times, it's going to need its own media to keep its message and its spirit alive. Z is one of the most valuable of these alternative media outlets. It deserves our enthusiastic support." Stephen Shalom, from the U.S., says, "I have always considered ZNet and Z Magazine tremendously valuable resources for progressives -- which is why I have been happy to write for them and work with them. But I also find Z and ZNet wonderful resources for my own learning, with articles on a vast array of topics, often making valuable contributions to significant controversies on the Left. Z and ZNet understand that the Left isn't advanced by putting forward "the official line," but by encouraging vigorous discussion and debate within the progressive movements. One other part of Z Communications -- the Z Media Institute -- is one of the U.S. Left's most important educational projects. Hundreds of the sharpest and most promising media activists in the country (and in Canada) today are graduates of ZMI. We're in this for the long haul, and ZMI and the other components of Z Communications -- the magazine, the web, the videos -- provide essential support for our efforts and, hopefully, will continue to do so long into the future." Paul Street, from the U.S., says, "Z is unmatched as an accessible and sophisticated source of radically useful information, analysis, debate, and inspiration. It is to those who believe in the need for a reasonably informed citizenry and who reject the reactionary filters and messages of corporate media. It is a vital antidote to the incessant soul- deadening propaganda of concentrated wealth and power. It brilliantly rides the latest wave in the communications revolution to advance the common good and to update and sustain the noble dream and vision of a world turned upside down. I refuse to imagine a world without Z." David Cromwell, from England, says, "Z Communications is quite simply one of the best resources in the world for anyone concerned about justice, peace, compassion, the environment and humanity. Educate and empower yourself, counter state-government propaganda, join with others and become part of a revolution in grassroots awareness and activism. Please support ZNet wholeheartedly!" Milan Rai, from Britain, says, 'People struggling for a better world need a way to cut through the lies and distortion created by the Western mass media. Z Communications is a crucial part of that effort. The dynamic projects that spring out of Z, and the extraordinary evolution of ZNet, express and reinforce the vitality of our movements for change.' John Hepburn, from Greenpeace Australia, says, ZCom is for people who dare to imagine that another world is actually possible. It has been a melting pot of ideas for the global justice movement over the past decade - a kind of radical, online university for social change. More than ever, we need vision, we need strategies for how to get there, and we need independent media that cuts through the crap. We need znet, and znet needs you. So put your money where your vision is - become a znet sustainer." Thank You. Michael Albert for ZNet