We Still Got A Long Way To Go
The Ann Arbor SUN hasn't published an issue since January 23, the longest time between issues in our two-year history of continuous publication. The major reason for the delay has been our financial problems, but we've also used the last three months since we suspended publication of the paper to reevaluate the SUN's relationship to the community and how the SUN must change in order to strengthen and expand that relationship and better serve the community.
For the past two years since the SUN began regular publication on May 1, 1971, the paper has been published and supported financially by the Rainbow People's Party (RPP). In addition, the SUN has served as an RPP organ and, as such, has focussed on a relatively narrow range of interests - those which were deemed most important to the RPP.
Our intention was to be a community newspaper serving the needs of the entire rainbow community in Ann Arbor, and in this regard our goals have not changed. But we want the paper to reflect the full spectrum of activity among our people, not just that of a relatively small class of freeks and the handful of groups and institutions in which they are active.
For more than a year we've been trying to involve more people in the process of producing the SUN as a rainbow community newspaper. We've also had plans to move our offices outside the RPP complex on Hill Street, set up a more readily-acessible offices in the center of the community and turn the paper over completely to the People's Communication Committee of the Ann Arbor Tribal Council. These are conditions we felt needed to be met in order to attract more sisters and brothers from the community to the exciting work of putting out a community newspaper, we're just now beginning to fulfill them.
We had made plans to move the SUN offices into the Washington Street Community Center on December 16th. When the Community Center was destroyed by fire on December 15th, we decided to wait to relocate in the new Community Center as soon as it was secured. The delays in locating a new building for the Community Center, however, have led us to look for office space somewhere else, at least on a temporary basis, and we hope to be moving to a central location within the next six weeks.
In the mean time we have moved our offices from the basement of 1520 Hill Street, where we were effectively isolated from most of the people who might've wanted to work with us. We are presently situated next door on the first floor of 1510 Hill Street, and we hope this will make us more accessible to people until we can find our new offices.
We have also moved to establish the SUN as an economic entity independent of the RPP, which has caused us the 3-month delay as we had to borrow money to pay off our past-due bills so the SUN could come out again. We would like to thank the brothers and sisters of the community who lent money to the SUN to help us out of the hole this time, and we hope we will prove worthy of your faith and support as we go on.
In addition, we will now be published by the People's Communications Committee (PCC) of the Ann Arbor Tribal Council, a collective of people who are concerned with serving the community 's complex Communications needs. The Tribal Council itself is a mass organization of rainbow people (freeks and hippies) which seeks to involve all the people in our community in the process of struggle, both against the institutions of imperialist society which are responsible for our oppression, and for the creation of alternative, communalist institutions which will enable us to provide for all our people's economic, political and cultural needs.
We don't want to say this means a hell of a lot right now, because we are aware that the Tribal Council and the PCC are not really what you might call "viable institutions" as yet. But we do feel very strongly that the idea of the Tribal Council, and of the PCC, is one which we would like to make a reality, and we hope to contribute to its success by committing ourselves as individuals and as a collective to both the PCC and the Tribal Council.
We know we have turned a lot of people off in the past by coming on like we think we've got all the right answers to everything and everyone else is full of shit. We know we couldn't attract more people to the SUN because we limited our range of coverage of "the community" so severely, confusing a limited activist element and its particular concerns with the community as a whole. And although we said we wanted to work with more people on producing the SUN, we know that we drove away most of the people who tried to work with us by our arrogance, our narrowness, and our insistence that they limit themselves and their concerns to the same tiny fragment of the spectrum that we had so self-righteously embraced.
We want to create a newspaper that will help build a strong, organized community of politically-conscious rainbow people who can work together toward self-determination and the liberation of all people from the chains of imperialism, capitalism, racism and sexism which are presently the only force which consistently binds us together. We realize that our bogus practice in the past has helped keep our community from realizing fully its potential because instead of educating people and presenting them with accurate information to lead them to certain conclusions, we usually just spouted slogans and a bunch of "rainbow rhetoric" about Tribal Council and the People's Committees which only served to confuse and mystify people and turned them off to the whole idea of organizing themselves in such a way to achieve certain very concrete goals.
We have a lot of work to do to get ourselves together enough to be able to serve this community effectively, as a genuine rainbow community newspaper, and the community itself has a whole lot of work to do in getting itself together too. It would certainly be best if we could work together on these important tasks, helping ourselves and each other grow and develop over the course of a long struggle into a united community of people capable of transforming the social order into which we have been thrust.
We know that a community isn't created in the abstract, nor is society transformed without each person and each institution in that society being transformed as well. And we know that it isn't a small group of activists, but a whole people which must take its affairs into its own hands, a whole community which must participate in the process of developing alternative, communalist institutions to replace the competitive, property-oriented institutions which presently serve to oppress us and all people in this society.
We know we can't possible put out the SUN ourselves, and that it wouldn't be right even if we did. We haven't really got anything together except our desire and our will to change the conditions in which we are forced to work and live, and we need all the help we can get if we're going to get anywhere with that
In order to be a community newspaper, the SUN must involve more and more people from more and more of the many sectors of our community. That's exactly what we want to do, but like everything else we can't do it ourselves, and we can't be expected to. If there's something you want to see covered in the SUN, come over and pull our coats to it, write it up yourself if you can, and work with us in laying it out and getting it printed.
We aren't "professional journalists," or anything but a collective of people from Ann Arbor rainbow community who are committed to publishing a newspaper which might help our community develop along its most positive lines. We 're doing what we can, with our community's Communications needs, and we hope each one of you will come to work with us in one way or another so we can actualize our tremendous potential as a force for positive social change.
That's the only way the SUN can become what it needs to be, and it's up to all of us, working together on this and other community projects, to do what has to be done. If we're doing it wrong then we'll expect you to tell us so, because we certainly have no commitment to doing things the wrong way. We're probable as hard to work with as anybody else, but we're trying to do it right the best way we know how, and we can't get any better without the help of everyone who reads and uses the SUN.
We'd like to add that we realize that this issue of the paper is still a far cry from the community newspaper we've been talking about in this editorial. We know we have a lot to learn; however, we would like to reiterate that we are working towards that point, and that while progress may seem slow, we hope it will be evident in future issues of the SUN.
Managing Editor - Linda Ross
Production Manager - Kathy Kelley
Advertising - Carol Shackson, Mike Minnich
Distribution - Sherry Hansen
Photo Editor - David Fenton
Community Staff - Gary Grimshaw, Barbara Wienberg, Linda Latham, Richard Creemcheese, Walden Simper, Marcy Silverman, Freddie Brooks, David Sinclair, Sherry Lutz, Mary Wreford, Lori Melton, Lexa Brooks Skip Taube, Patti Gandolf. Alice Robertsen, Genie Plamondon, Linda Horton, Diana Romancheck, Frizz Palmer, John Morys, Bill Maurer, John Sinclair, Jim Dulzo, Bob Rudnick, Larry Benke, Pun Plamondon.
1510 Hill St. Ann Arbor Michigan 48104 (313) 761-1709
The SUN is a member of the Underground Press Syndicate and subscribes to the Zodiac News Service