Morning Star could go under by Christmas


5:18 pm - November 16th 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


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Britain’s only socialist daily newspaper, the Morning Star, is appealing for funds to save the newspaper.

Editor Bill Benfield posted a plea yesterday saying there were just ‘Six weeks left to save the Star‘.

He pointed out the paper had always refused advertising. “No normal newspaper could ever withstand the half-century of commercial advertising boycott that ours has had to,” he admitted.

The newspaper costs around £1.4 million each year to produce, he said. The aim of the ‘Fighting Fund’ was to raise £16,000 each month to survive, but had fallen short of an average of £3,000 each month.

The total shortfall of funds was over £100,000, he admitted.

The editor says they need to raise an additional £50,000 before Christmas or the newspaper paper “will not survive”.

We need every supporter to rally round and back us, contribute what they can and take us through this immediate crisis not of our own making.

We will need the efforts of every reader, of each readers and supporters group, every communist and every socialist and every trade unionist of goodwill.

Cashflow problems meant they could pay staff wages this week, he admitted, but there is “no certainty” about next week.

You can donate to the Morning Star’s Fighting Fund from here.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Needs more capitalism, presumably.

Another venerable voice of the left drowned out…

In the modern age it would make sense to replace it with a website.

@2 Drowned out by what? Surely it’s not more money they need it’s more readers, unfortunately it appears this is common across most left wing papers atm, anyone see those appalling readership figures which came out for the guardian today? Thought left wing papers would be thriving under a tory government.

@4 well no matter what happens, the message of the Morning Star is compromised (if they have to advertise, though it eludes me who would advertise in a Socialist daily) or (in the event of closure) totally removed. It’s being drowned out by the pressures of a highly marketised and capitalist media sector where sensationalist rubbish is rewarded more than commitment to a philosophical and political standpoint. What I’d like to see is a popular front paper where Leftists of all shades of red, from Communists like myself to mild social democrats are all represented.

Jason – they are, but their print figures are being cannibalised by online (where the Guardian is growing massively and near the top)

Yeh this is probably a trend of all traditional media (right & left) losing ground to the internet. As sunny says they could move online. I’d imagine this would reduce their costs and thus enable them to continue however do nothing to stem their declining readership unless they embark on some kind of publicity campaign. Don’t mean adverts or anything, more social media prescence and the like

8. couer_de_lion

I doubt that the Morning Stars woes are due to a market where ‘sensationalist rubbish is rewarded more than commitment to a philosophical and political standpoint’.

Sensationalist rubbish perfectly describes the Guardian, and they’re dying too.

The Morning Star is the paper of the Communist Party of Britain, a party that has a high opinion USSR. It is the descendent of the old Communist Party of Great Britain which was funded by Moscow. Why anybody on the Liberal Left would want to fund this ghastly organ I have no idea. Sunny and other “liberal intellectuals” would be up against the wall along with Tory supporters if a British KGB ever came about.

10. Leon Wolfson

@10 – Ah, right, that explains the Tory’s government actions against the left then. They’re setting up a KGB!

11 – Most people on the Left certainly wouldn’t, but I am genuinely surprised that Liberal Conspiracy is voicing support for what is frankly a “nasty” faction of the Left. If ConservativeHome was trying to save a publication that bigged up fascist regimes Sunny would rightfully be laying into them.

Great News if it happens, lets all hope The Mirror & Express are next.

13. So Much For Subtlety

I know what the problem is. It is that they have forgotten their core values. The beliefs that brought them into the socialist movement in the first place. That is what is causing them problems now.

Take this “closed by Christmas” crap. Why mention this superstitious festival? What they should say is that it will be closed by the anniversary of the Soviet liberation of the people of Afghanistan. Which it, of course, warming supported.

@14

And your gang supported what became the Taliban…

—-

On “The Morning Star supports/supported the USSR” debate – it’s actually a red herring because if you ever took the time to read the damned paper you’d read numerous critiques of the USSR and Stalinism (personally I think less time spent by the left navel-gazing about the failure of communism in Russia would be A Good Thing, maybe that’s just me)

The Morning Star occupies an important place in the media and it would be a shame to see it go – I know of no other publication that consistantly has labour news (rather than an over-represented “business” section that all of the broadsheets have).

@ Richard

”Why anybody on the Liberal Left would want to fund this ghastly organ I have no idea.”

That’s a question I’d like answered too, but I’m pretty sure there won’t be any answer.
There often isn’t an answer and so casual readers must wonder why particular groups are fated and approved of and others panned on LC.
To be honest, I’ve kind of forgotten who the Morning Star even are and what they’ve been doing all these years. Twenty years ago I used to sometimes deliver post to their offices on Farringdon Road, and they did seem rather crusty and weird back then.
Some of them would look like eccentric Open University professors.

I remember the Morning Star trying to work out whether they should support ETA in iuts attacks on the Franco regime in Spain – were they being prematurely anti-Fascist. <artket forces are the answer. if no one wants to read this crap then do not mourn the departure of stuff that means that trees have to be chopped down and pulped to no effect.

Sunny and other “liberal intellectuals” would be up against the wall along with Tory supporters if a British KGB ever came about.

I’ve lost count of the number of people who want to have me up against the wall first. If you dislike the newspaper – fair enough. Just stop whining

15. damon

” Some of them would look like eccentric Open University professors. ”

Can you tell the difference between a professor and a hobo?

http://individual.utoronto.ca/somody/quiz.html

@ 5”What I’d like to see is a popular front paper where Leftists of all shades of red, from Communists like myself to mild social democrats are all represented.”

The Independent does that quite well an so does the i

20. So Much For Subtlety

14. Mr S. Pill

And your gang supported what became the Taliban…

No they did not. And even if they did, at least they are not support it now.

On “The Morning Star supports/supported the USSR” debate – it’s actually a red herring because if you ever took the time to read the damned paper you’d read numerous critiques of the USSR and Stalinism (personally I think less time spent by the left navel-gazing about the failure of communism in Russia would be A Good Thing, maybe that’s just me)

I see. You think it is a good thing that (1) they were utterly silent on the mass murder going on in the USSR while it was going on, and they were taking the blood money from Stalin’s henchmen and (2) that they only discovered the blatantly obvious (which they had previously denounced as lies and propaganda) when the cash from gold mines run by slave labour in Siberia was cut off?

An interesting, even intriguing, point. But perhaps not quite as valid as you might think.

The Morning Star occupies an important place in the media and it would be a shame to see it go

No. The News of the World was a shame. A long paper with a glorious history. The propaganda rag of a totalitarian party is no loss. No more than the loss of the Volkische Beobachter.

– I know of no other publication that consistantly has labour news (rather than an over-represented “business” section that all of the broadsheets have).

21. Leon Wolfson

@11 – And when have they supported Nazi Germany? Marxist-Leninist Communist, Single Party State and Totalitarian are not the same thing as Fascist, for reference, in either common or academic usage.

And no, I don’t count J. E. Hoover’s rants.

22. Teller of all truths 15

Cowardly Sunny the censor!!!!

Few points of clarification.

First, I believe Bill was pointing to an advertisers’ boycott of the Star rather than the other way round. We’d gladly take it, but wouldn’t change our stance for doing so

Second, the paper opposed Soviet policy on czechoslovakia and afghanistan

Third, as someone born in 1977 I find the Stalin stick used to beat the Star with pretty bizarre. I’ve worked at the Star for a decade and know that its policy and the vast majority of the readership are understandably disgusted at the actions of the Soviet state during the terror period.

The defining culture at the paper is a staunch commitment to social justice, economic redistribution and people’s right to advance their situation through organisation and struggle.

Mine and the generations after have been born into a society ravaged by the worship of greed, consumerism and market forces. So count me out if your fetish is mid-20th century Soviet history. We younger generations have bigger fish to fry.

Chalk up one more for Sunny.

Hundal et al did for Tribune and the Morning Star as sure as video killed the radio star.

What news, tactical suggestions,ideas or opinions do they publish that haven’t or can’t be posted here?

“I’ve lost count of the number of people who want to have me up against the wall first. If you dislike the newspaper – fair enough. Just stop whining”

Why should I not put forward the view that a blog that presumably stands up for liberal values is trying to save a newspaper which is diametrically opposed to such values? I’m sure you’re not stupid enough to sympathise with the dead Soviet regime so why do you defend a newspaper that does? You have not been afraid to criticise other factions of the Left before – why hold off from this one? What do you honestly think it would be like for most people in this country, including liberals and moderate lefties, if the Soviet-sympathising far left came to power?

23 – They why are they still linked to the Communist Party of Britain whose “Britain’s Road to Socialism” is very positive about the USSR and glosses over its bad points (they only really put the boot into Stalin’s regime).

I genuinely find it odd that the moderate Right will not touch the authoritarian far Right with a barge pole but that many in the moderate or liberal Left seem happy to cosy up with the authoritarian far Left.

I remember the MS saying the same thing quite regularly many years ago. I have no knowledge if they ever raised the money they wanted, but as it was ‘always’ needed I did wonder. Maybe their friends in the Trade Union movement could dip into their pockets.

Why should I not put forward the view that a blog that presumably stands up for liberal values is trying to save a newspaper which is diametrically opposed to such values?

LC is also a news blog, and we report on stuff that is of interest to the left…. which is a broad church. Some of our readers undoubtedly read the MS so its relevant. I pass no judgement on their connections or editorials – people are welcome to boycott or offer money if they want to. No one is forcing you to.

Also, my criticisms of other left groups are mostly about the strategic choices they make (or don’t) – rarely because I just want to fight with them.

@9, the daily fail openly supported hitler & other fascists pre WW2 *hooray for the blackshirts* and other headlines/editorials/articles, come to think of it, in the 90’s the daily fail besmirched vaccination programs like MMR, and had at least one fancy dress party where they dressed as hitler & his henchmen! since then we’ve been getting closer & closer to a rebirth of fascist ideals…
…worrying!

30. So Much For Subtlety

23. Richard B

First, I believe Bill was pointing to an advertisers’ boycott of the Star rather than the other way round. We’d gladly take it, but wouldn’t change our stance for doing so

Yeah. It is a bizarre attitude isn’t it? “Give us your money you bastards so that we can keep on working to have you all liquidated”. I love that Sunny and the rest of you call this a boycott. It isn’t, is it?

Second, the paper opposed Soviet policy on czechoslovakia and afghanistan

As opposed to Soviet policy on working for a British defeat in WW2, the murder of Trotsky, collectivisation and so on? I am sure that makes all the difference. Not that I believe it. Evidence?

Third, as someone born in 1977 I find the Stalin stick used to beat the Star with pretty bizarre. I’ve worked at the Star for a decade and know that its policy and the vast majority of the readership are understandably disgusted at the actions of the Soviet state during the terror period.

How nice. I am sure that most members of the BNP are appalled by the Holocaust too. Why does apologising for one set of totalitarian genocidal murders make someone more moral than apologising for another?

The defining culture at the paper is a staunch commitment to social justice, economic redistribution and people’s right to advance their situation through organisation and struggle.

Yeah, we get it, they are Stalinists who want to open the Gulag in Britain. We know. Pretty words cannot hide real meanings.

Mine and the generations after have been born into a society ravaged by the worship of greed, consumerism and market forces. So count me out if your fetish is mid-20th century Soviet history. We younger generations have bigger fish to fry.

Ravaged are you? Funny, I wouldn’t think that a concern for the victims of the 20th century’s totalitarians is exactly a fetish. But it does show a certain, how would one put it?, minimization of the horrors of Stalinism. But by all means, tell us all how Nintendo adverts are worse than the mass graves all over the USSR. I was reading one morally numbed account by a Gulag manager and he said that a friend of his was proud to be an executioner for Stalin, until he had to shoot a 14 year old who was sentenced to death for being a family member. Then he had to think. But at least she wasn’t ravaged by consumerism, right?

@21: “And when have they supported Nazi Germany? Marxist-Leninist Communist, Single Party State and Totalitarian are not the same thing as Fascist, for reference, in either common or academic usage.”

Really? Try this reference in Wikipedia to the Friendship Treaty between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed on 28 September 1939, when Britain and FRance were already at war with Nazi Germany:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German%E2%80%93Soviet_Treaty_of_Friendship,_Cooperation_and_Demarcation

32. Leon Wolfson

@26 -” I genuinely find it odd that the moderate Right will not touch the authoritarian far Right with a barge pole”

Revisionism, as usual. The entire right is authoritarian, and the Tories are riddled with links to the far right – look at who they sit with in the EU Parliament!

We are apt to forget what Communist Parties were really like.

Famously, the French Communist Party was regarded as the most Stalinist minded this side of the Iron Curtain. When Georges Marchais, Secretary General of the Party in France (1972-94), was pressed for comment on the crumbling Soviet empire c.1990, he replied: “I tell you, they didn’t arrest enough. They didn’t imprison enough. If they had been tougher and more vigilant, they wouldn’t have got into the situation they are in now.” [Jonathan Fenby: France on the Brink (1999)]

With the state organised famine in the Ukraine in 1932/33 intended to “eliminate the kulaks as a class”, Stalin pioneered category killing before the Nazis could get around to it. He announced the policy of eliminating the kulaks as a class in a speech about the problems of Soviet agriculture in December 1929. Hitler became Reich Chancellor in January 1933.

34. Chaise Guevara

@ 32 Leon

“The entire right is authoritarian”

This is a semantic argument, really, but a lot of people who commonly refer to themselves or are referred to as “right-wing” are the very opposite of authoritarian: namely libertarians. You’d have to really twist the definition of “authoritian” to include people who want rules and authorities reduced to the lowest levels practicable.

At the end of WW2, George Orwell had initial problems finding a publisher for his fable Animal Farm because some found it unacceptably insulting about our heroic Soviet allies. That prevailing sentiment perhaps explains why we tend to forget about the famine in the Ukriane of 1932/33:

“The death toll from the 1932-33 famine in Ukraine has been estimated between six million and seven million. According to a Soviet author, ‘Before they died, people often lost their senses and ceased to be human beings.’ Yet one of Stalin’s lieutenants in Ukraine stated in 1933 that the famine was a great success. It showed the peasants ‘who is the master here. It cost millions of lives, but the collective farm system is here to stay.'”
http://www.ibiblio.org/expo/soviet.exhibit/famine.html

36. Leon Wolfson

@34 – Libertarianism isn’t limited to the right. It’s entirely wrong to smear every libertarian with that label. Moreover, it’s still entirely true of right-libertarians – they want a limited state, but within that sphere to be highly authoritarian and rule-bound.

@33 – Great, Stalin got round it to three years before Hitler did. And? It’s not like Stalinism has anything to do with the vast, vast majority of the modern left. There is, on the other hand, a VERY strong streak of social darwinism in the mainstream right.

@36: “It’s not like Stalinism has anything to do with the vast, vast majority of the modern left. There is, on the other hand, a VERY strong streak of social darwinism in the mainstream right.”

That evidently didn’t discourage Georges Marchais, secretary general of the French Communist Party, from his dedicated Stalinist outlook.

Economic Darwinism is absolutely central to Schumpeter’s notion of “creative destruction” as the source of the fundamental dynamism driving capitalist economies and which Marx was so eloquent about in that famous passage in the Communist Manifesto. I was under the impression that you liked Schumpeter but seem to have been mistaken.

Self-styled leftists tend to be ambivalent about competition, hence Frank Dobson’s concerns about competition in the NHS. Until he became the New Labour minister for health, I had a choice about which local hospital I could elect to go to but he introduced hospital catchment areas to remove the possibility of competition. I can’t grasp how he imagined the health services functioned in other western European countries.

@36 – “Moreover, it’s still entirely true of right-libertarians – they want a limited state, but within that sphere to be highly authoritarian and rule-bound.”

The problem here is that you don’t have the first clue as to what you’re talking about. Can you provide any examples of someone who is both Libertarian and highly authoritarian?

Leon @ 36:

“Libertarianism isn’t limited to the right.”

Nobody ever said it would. Nor would it need to be. You claimed that “the entire right is authoritarian”, so to disprove your statement, it would only need to be the case that some right-wingers are libertarian. Which they are.

“It’s entirely wrong to smear every libertarian with that label.”

I don’t think it was intended as a smear, just a simple description of their opinions.

“Moreover, it’s still entirely true of right-libertarians – they want a limited state, but within that sphere to be highly authoritarian and rule-bound.”

I don’t know how it’s possible for a government to be both limited and authoritarian, unless (as I strongly suspect) you’re just making up definitions to suit your political prejudices. Also, what exactly is wrong with a government being “rule-bound”? How else are you meant to check politicians’ power, or ensure that everybody gets the same treatment?

40. Leon Wolfson

@39 – Erm, it’s about centralising all the power in the government in a small group of politicians who have limited sphere, but unlimited powers within that sphere. If that’s not authoritarian, whose dictionary precisely ARE you using?

“Also, what exactly is wrong with a government being “rule-bound”? ”

Sir, it’s now 6:01, I know you work and were next at the counter, and have been queuing since 5:45, but this office closes promptly at 6:00, and since you protested verbally when I said we’re closed I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to leave with these officers, who will arrest you for squatting…

No, no problem at all in zero-brains rule-bound government!

@38 – It’s the ROOT of right-wing libertarianism, perhaps? Nah, you can’t see that of course.

41. Leon Wolfson

@37 – And you come up with…someone who lost his position in 1994. Best example you have, of course.

“I was under the impression that you liked Schumpeter”

Oh, the man who is used to justify downsizing. Yea, him, who has a fanbase among the neo-liberal trickle-down followers. (No comment on Schumpeter of course, any more than the ASI has anything to do with Adam Smith!)

Of course you just assumed that. Helllo, mutualist! I have zero in common with Stalinists, for flip sake. Shit, I have little in common with communists in general. I’ve TRIED communism (an Isralie Kibbutz) unlike most people on here, and it sucks. I’m FULLY in favour of the free market!

(And as a separate issue, against capitalism)

“Self-styled leftists”

Of course, because being a leftist isn’t REAL, unlike your big man right wing stance. They’re just dilettantes!

42. Gerrard Sables

We the readers and supporters of this gallant little paper refuse to let it die. It is the longest lived daily socialist paper in the English language and the only surviving one in the world. If you believe in a daily media that is not 100% capitalist please cough up by going to http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk

@Leon: “I’m FULLY in favour of the free market!”

I’m not. Try reading John Cassidy: How Markets Fail (Penguin, 2010)
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_47/b4156079791251.htm

and Camen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff: This Time Is Different – 800 years of financial crisies (Princeton UP)

I’d be the more impressed if the Morning Star offered an explanation for the Friendship Treaty signed between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany on 28 September 1939.

46. So Much For Subtlety

44. Richard

http://hurryupharry.org/2011/11/19/morning-star-selling-the-protocols-of-the-elders-of-zion/

Hmmmm….

Why is anyone surprised? This is just Blair’s Law at work. Or to put it a simpler way – both movements were filled with people who hate and loath the West. They wanted to destroy it and replace it with a brighter, cleaner, more pure future, with themselves in charge of course. Now that their direction and guiding light is gone, they no longer have to conform to the needs of Moscow’s foreign policy. So anyone who hates the West is acceptable. Thus the Guardian embraces Islamists. Not to mention Britain’s main Academic Union, run by the Socialist Workers’ Party, endorsed David Duke’s website.

“Thus the Guardian embraces Islamists”

That’s unmitigated rubbish.

48. Gerrard Sables

The paper has not refused advertising. It has been refused advertising especially from HMG since the Wilson era
Our paper will survive but keep giving


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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  25. Will Porter

    On a day when #Leveson discussing press freedom pls retweet this http://t.co/gq6YP1dr to help keep the Morning Star afloat.





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