I make no bones about it- this piece is a plea for help. I’m lucky; so far I’m fine. So the help is not for me. It’s for an institution that I believe in- Haymarket Books. Haymarket is one of the few publishers left that puts out a stream of books on progressive matters, espouses progressive values, and gives “unpublishable” authors a chance to teach us all.
Now, clearly, even before the Coronavirus-induced slowdown, there are many people and businesses suffering. And, clearly, there are more existential, even pressing, needs to be attended to. The issue at hand is not about the hierarchy of needs but about the fragility of institutions and the irrevocable nature of certain collapses.
There are a variety of recent precedents to consider. Take one glaring example- for the past ten years, journalism of all sorts has been decimated. Layoffs have been commonplace in newsrooms and almost daily one hears of some publication or another being put in bankruptcy. We’ve all suffered from this fall. Society thrives when investigative journalism exposes abuses of power, when truth-telling prevails over mendacity. We’ve lost these, hopefully not permanently.
Rebuilding institutions that took hundreds of years to nurture is nigh impossible. Even with the best of intentions, we’ll need time—a lot of time. So we have to ensure we maintain these institutions and don’t let them falter to the extent of having to cease operations.
Now, I’m not privy to any such cataclysm at Haymarket but I do know it is suffering from the twin punches of recession and general disinterest in progressive material. On the other hand, Haymarket has a loyal base of people who want to continue to understand the world as it is really not as the propagandists tell us it is.
So, therefore, the appeal. Please consider buying books from Haymarket-directly that is. Or, even better, joining one of their various subscription programs.
It is hard to all the people and institutions you want to right now. I’m feeling the same pinch. This one, to me at least, is important because I can’t imagine a world in which access to good progressive books and analysis isn’t available.
Romi Mahajan in an Author, Marketer, Investor, and Activist