Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Support Z!

One of the first resources I stumbled upon in the mid-1990s as a student who was beginning to learn about the world in politicized ways was Z Magazine. I don't read the print magazine so much any more -- I have subscribed at times but currently just pick it up on the newsstand occasionally or browse it online (which I can do as a recurring donor to Z). However, the Z Net page has been the default home page of my browser since forever and no matter how strict I am being on any given day about limiting my tendency to accidentally lose hours to reading online political nonfiction, I always have a look at the daily articles published there.

I am posting this because the entire Z family of media projects is in the middle of launching a new and radically updated web presence. This includes a new page for the magazine and a new top page for Z Net -- I have mixed feelings about the new aesthetic, but in functional terms I like how the content is presented. Along with updated, easy one-stop access to blogs by Z writers and discussion forums, they are including an online social networking feature called Z Space. There is much greater scope for interaction and content creation by users of the site, with access to extra features for those who donate to support it. They are still scrambling to include all of the bells and whistles, and some of the cool stuff is still a few months away, but it looks very promising -- take a look at the list and timetable. To learn more about the new site, take a look at this Q&A document by Michael Albert, one of the dedicated activists behind Z.

In order to sustain this new and expanded site and to allow the Z project as a whole to continue to exist and to grow, they need money. It is a completely non-commercial media source, so their income is exclusively from sales and donations. The document I link just above, with info on the new site from Michael Albert, makes some points I've seen him make many times over the years about how reluctant leftists can be about deliberately investing effort and money in supporting new projects, even while we unthinkingly spend many times what is being requested on media and other things produced/controlled by capital. So I would urge all of you to check out the new site and if you find it useful or promising to give a few dollars, or even commit to giving a few dollars a month from now on.


dirk buchholz said...

I am definitly with you on your assessment of Z-Net.
When I got my first computer back in 03,Z-Net was one of the first progressive sites I found.I was definitly impressed,an awesome resource for sure.
In fact I was so impressed by Z-Net that I even had a couple very interesting e-mail discussions with Michael Albert.
In fact that's when I first realized just how valuable the net could be as a tool for progressives and activists.
Although I have to admit my views on that have since,been some what tempered.
Anyway just a few thoughts.

Scott said...

Hi Dirk!

Yeah, I have mixed feelings about how useful the net really is for movement building...I mean, I think there are genuinely ways in which it can be quite useful, but that folks who really hype online organizing tend to miss the boat and attribute all sorts of potential to it that just doesn't exist. But the only way to really find out what will work and what won't is to experiment, and that's one of the reasons why the revamped Z site is exciting...because it is an interesting experiment.