Once upon a time, I wrote hard-hitting editorial essays for a small newspaper in which I took on the Bush/Cheney assault on the living spirit of our Constitution, on the violation of our civil liberties in the name of some fantasy they called "safety" for some place I'd never heard of called "The Homeland."
I attacked and explained the utter immorality of torture, whatever one calls it -- and I did it well because I am a philosopher and was an ethics instructor at a university. I did it clearly, so normal humans could understand the arguments and issues: that there is something more important than survival for the human being, that we live and depend, not on biological needs, but moral ones, and that life without these virtues is not a truly human sort of existence.
I argued we could not define enemy soldiers or criminals as something outside the capacity of law to face and examine: there is no such thing as an "enemy combatant" devoid of human rights we can toss in a hole for perpetuity from sheer revenge; that habeas corpus is not something that can be abolished forever and have America remain America -- it might be "The Homeland" or "The Fatherland" or whatever, but it won't be the United States anymore.
And I attacked what was revealed of domestic spying: illegal, immoral, uncalled for, that reduced all citizens to de facto criminals before the commission of any crime. That is, citizens in name only.
I wrote these things and more in a community that was ultra right-wing and was impressed the editor allowed me to speak at length for 5-and-a-half years before I was banned due to pressure from 21 readers and who knows what else.
And it revealed for me, no matter how unjust I thought it was, no matter how frustrating, that, as I wasn't the editor, publisher, and printer, I had no freedom of speech without the owners of the press. Yes, I could talk on the internet or street corner, but I could not target the audience that needed to be faced with the ideas I presented. I can't force anyone to allow me to speak in the media.
And so, I moved on to making political comic books and satires -- underground comix as they are known in the trade. But that has its own problems, as I have found, as the times and the situation have changed since the first undergrounders published themselves in the 1960s and 1970s, problems I'll elaborate below.
I've given it long, hard thought: I need to become not only a publisher, but to own a printing press; a small used CMYK press that can be employed for my message and the messages of a small group of similar artists and writers. Targeted, niche print media isn't dead; you're just not going to become William Randolph Hearst with it, and who wants to be that son of a bitch anyway?
I have an Indiegogo campaign to raise cash for the press and for some truly free speech aimed at the people, not academics and specialists, something to play a small but effective role in counteracting hate radio and Fox misinformation and mindless entertainments towards no point. Something else needs to affect our culture, or just small pockets of it, and I have the antidote, or one of them. Read my campaign page and think about helping in any way you can.
Give us the tools; we'll do the job.