From the bowl-makers of Sheffield to the street-sellers of Scotland — the Morning Star, the only daily English language socialist newspaper, needs you. Star Organiser, David Peel, outlines the Summer of Heroes fundraising drive to secure a future of growth for the only paper that’s on the side of working people day in, day out:
The launch of the Morning Star Summer of Heroes fundraising campaign comes at a tipping point for this great newspaper of the broad left and the labour and trade union movement. It follows a spring of key recruitments by the paper’s editor and senior management to strengthen its backroom business team, aimed at putting this paper on a professional footing.
A new sales team is in place, as is a new web team, both taking a strategic approach to driving the paper forward. New advertising campaigns are planned. Apps for both Apple devices and Android devices have been completed. Investments in new technology, marketing and awareness-raising are now needed, all tied to a vision of the Morning Star becoming what it truly is — the educator, organiser and agitator of the movement.
This is a newspaper welcomed at every trade union conference, known by all delegates for breaking news about their struggles and those of millions of ordinary working people that other media simply ignore.
In fact this week — by way of illustration — it won some small measure of recognition from an unexpected source. At the Prison Officers’ Association conference in Southport, general secretary Steve Gillan, a supporter of the Morning Star, wrote in its columns about all the key issues facing the union.
Two days later, at the same conference, Conservative Justice Minister Jeremy Wright said, in a super-heated exchange with delegates about MPs’ overinflated salaries, that he was aware of Steve’s views — he had read them in the Morning Star!
Steve responded that he was pleased to hear it. “The Morning Star,” the POA general secretary said, “is a good socialist newspaper.” He hoped the minister read it regularly. Yes, said Wright, quick as a flash — he did read it regularly.
Doubtless, housing ministers will be aware of the Morning Star too, for the reports of the construction union Ucatt’s activities, and transport ministers for news of RMT, TSSA or Aslef. Not to mention Ed Miliband and his team, who will have been aware of it for the trenchant comments by Labour MP Ian Lavery to this week’s Aslef conference.
For years, editor Richard Bagley and his team of journalists have made sure that the only daily English language socialist newspaper in the world gets out six days a week.
The Morning Star is in every sense of the word the campaigning newspaper of the broad left and the anti-austerity movement. It doesn’t just report the news, or even break the news, it makes the news.
An exclusive on former minister Maria Miller’s attempts to quash a flood of petitions to her department demanding she hand back her expenses and resign ran on BBC Newsnight and in Sky News paper reviews.
This splash was tweeted and retweeted hundreds of times, among the public, journalists, opinion formers and commentators. Twitter, as one Morning Star journalist later recalled, “lit up” in the hours after the front page hit social media.
Weeks earlier an exclusive on shadow education spokesman Tristram Hunt’s decision to cross a picket line of academics’ union UCU members similarly made waves.
Trade unions have a proud track record of support for the newspaper. Many place advertising and order papers for their members. Nine national unions and one union region sit on its management committee. It is welcomed at trade union conferences and events such as Tolpuddle and Burston.
Without the trade unions, this trenchant voice of the labour movement would probably have died.
But there are other heroes who have kept the Morning Star alive and kicking. This newspaper is a co-operative, owned by its readers. Thousands of readers and supporters have given everything, from £1 to legacies of tens of thousands of pounds.
The unemployed, those using foodbanks, students in debt, single parents struggling on benefits, the disabled, those fighting racism in their communities and many, many more — too many to mention — have given unstintingly.
Those activists in 100 people’s assemblies across Britain — the fastest-growing grassroots movement against austerity — are turning to support the Morning Star as well.
They recognise it as their voice too in the battle against crushing austerity, unemployment and poverty, driven by a far-right, ideological, anti-democratic coalition without any mandate for wrecking public services and the NHS.
And when they marched with teachers and many others in their tens of thousands through London on June 21 this year, the Morning Star in its thousands was handed out by volunteers at coach points across the country and in the capital. It was a remarkable distribution operation. The Morning Star really is the house newspaper of the anti-austerity People’s Assembly movement.
It is, as our editor has said, a Daily Miracle that this paper comes out at all — but it does, unapologetically fighting for the values of millions of ordinary people in Britain.
The Summer of Heroes campaign is a dramatic and ambitious drive to engage more effectively with the trade union and labour movement, and to galvanise the many readers and supporters groups around Britain. They will be holding summer events in towns and cities across the regions, raising money for the Morning Star.
Every penny will be accounted for and every donation no matter how small will be recognised and celebrated.
As coalition ministers and far-right parties like Ukip go into election mode for 2015, and as their media join them in daily, organised and orchestrated assaults on the welfare state and public services, so the trade unions, progressive organisations and the anti-austerity movement will look for a voice to represent them, and campaign on their behalf.
After 84 years, the Morning Star is that voice. The Summer of Heroes campaign of investment means the Morning Star can become what it truly is — the champion of millions of British people who believe a better world is possible.
What we need:
New computers — £30,000
New software — £1,200 per month
A dedicated six-month sales post — £12,000
Improved circulation via retail trade agreements — £10,000
Capital investment fund — £30,000
Our usual four-month Fighting Fund — £64,000
To cover these and other vital activities we are looking to raise a total Summer of Heroes target of £150,000 by September 12.
How to support us:
: Send cheques payable to PPPS Ltd – Fighting Fund to: Morning Star Heroes, 52 Beachy Road, London E3 2NS
Phone: On 020 8510 0815 between 10am-5pm Monday to Friday
One-off or regularly by Paypal: Via our website at www.morningstaronline.co.uk, where you can also check for updates over coming weeks
By bank transfer: Payee: PPPS Ltd – Fighting Fund, Sort code: 08-90-33 A/C number: 50505115
Don’t forget to let us know either with your contribution, by email or by phone what part of our Summer of Heroes drive you want the money to go towards.