A message from Socialist Worker
Socialist Worker 500th issue supplement
IN LATE May, the New York Times had an apology to make. After spilling barrels of ink echoing every lie and rumor that the Bush administration told about Saddam's Hussein's nonexistent "weapons of mass destruction" and "ties to al-Qaeda," the "newspaper of record" published a message from its editors admitting that they had screwed up.
"Looking back," the Times editors wrote, "we wish we had been more aggressive in reexamining the claims as new evidence emerged--or failed to emerge." Of course, they weren't so upset with themselves that they published their editorial on the Times' front page--where the fraudulent "revelations" about Iraq first appeared.
Today, as for the last 27 years, Socialist Worker doesn't have anything to apologize for. While the mainstream media stenographers to the rich and the powerful didn't think twice before printing every last Pentagon lie, it was a matter of pride for Socialist Worker and other independent media to question and expose those lies.
The same has been true throughout our 500 issues. From the fall of the racist apartheid system in South Africa to the collapse of the so-called "socialist" regimes in the ex-USSR and Eastern Europe, from the Iranian revolution of 1979 to the 1992 Los Angeles Rebellion against police brutality and poverty, Socialist Worker offered its readers an analysis that could explain these events the mainstream media did its best to confuse.
But Socialist Worker isn't only dedicated to providing the real story about these world-changing events. We've also told the stories of injustices--large and small--throughout society that don't make it into the newspapers.
Among the messages of solidarity that we received from our readers and supporters as we celebrated our 500th issue, this is a constant theme--that Socialist Worker has been the place to turn to find the stories of resistance that the mainstream media don't report. As Stanley Howard, the former death row prisoner who was pardoned by Illionois Gov. George Ryan in 2003, wrote to us: "Your work has been a staple in my life for the past five years, and your willingness to carry the unfiltered stories that the mainstream media cannot and refuses to carry has been most vital in my understanding of our world."
We've been proud to share with our readers the voices and experiences of people like Stanley who have stood up against war, injustice and corporate greed.
This has meant reporting from picket lines across the country--interviewing striking miners in Kentucky, the Local P-9 meatpackers who battled Hormel in the 1980s, and the "road warriors" from the Illinois "War Zone" struggles during the '90s. SW talked to victims of police brutality and those organizing against the criminal injustice system. And we've reported from the front lines of many other struggles--the global justice movement's Battle in Seattle in 1999, the Palestinian resistance to Israel in the Occupied Territories, and the fight against Bush's war on Iraq, whether in the U.S. or in Iraq itself.
In this way, Socialist Worker has strived to be a source of information like no other. But we want to do something more--to not only show what's wrong with the world, but encourage more people to take action to change it.
This is why newspapers and other publications have always been associated with struggles for a better society--from the 19th-century abolitionists who fought slavery in the U.S. South, to the socialists and communists of the 20th century, to the most radical sections of the Black Power movement. This special issue has articles and interviews about some of these newspapers--how they were produced, what they stood for, how they contributed to the struggle for a better world.
Newspapers like SW are aimed not only at putting forward our ideas about the world. They also intend to be "organizers" that help build the struggle. This is directly tied to the way we produce SW. Socialist Worker could never have produced 500 issues without the contributions of volunteer correspondents, sending us reports and articles from across the country.
And, of course, SW isn't sold off supermarket shelves or out of street-corner boxes--but by people involved in the fight for a better world, which means the paper has a direct connection to the discussions taking place in those struggles. Because of this connection, we're able to report the news that activists need to know--and, just importantly, take up the debates of the movements and struggles that we are a part of, because without having these debates, we won't go forward.
We're proud of the milestone we've reached with our 500th issue. And we look forward to a future of contributing to the struggles for a better world--a socialist world.