For over two months now, The Last Round (TLR) has been pushing against incredible odds to develop a new platform for left ideas. Our aim has always been to provide material that caters to people who are beginning to develop an interest in left politics as well as seasoned activists, this hasn’t changed and as we approach the new year, this is a good time to reveal our ‘five pint plan’ (a pub pun?)
Why do we need this plan?
We have already recognised that with over 800 visitors and 1,500 views on our website; we are capable of developing TLR into something much greater than just a left wing website. What we’ve been able to achieve in what has been a chaotic first two months with no finance, has been nothing short of astounding and is testament to the great work put in by people on the organising committee of TLR as well as our growing pool of contributors.
However, we are trying to provide genuine analysis and comment in a sphere swamped with snake oil Twitter commentators, who are anonymous and peddle the ideas of neo liberal economics as the cornerstone of peace and to resist austerity is to oppose peace. Protesters like those occupying QUB demanding they #DivestNow are vilified in the media by journalists and self made commentators alike.
Unlike the commentators you see plastered across your screens, we are not interested in keeping the peace, because for the many made unemployed by the recent job culls in the manufacturing sector, there is no peace. There is no peace for those struggling to survive in the cracks of Northern Ireland’s rotting economy, riddled with low wage, zero hour jobs. There is a space for a media publication to attack the Gail Walkers and the Stephen Nolans, but it will take a lot of work and this plan, which is made up of plans made during various TLR meetings over the last four months.
The way we consume media has changed substantially in recent years, as Jacobin has gathered thousands of subscribers for their magazine and 20 million online hits this year; Novara Media has launched a very successful radio show and more.
We believe that Podcasts are a very important part of TLR’s future, our aim is to follow up on published articles with in depth discussions and debates that push the ideas and analysis of that particular issue forward. In 2016, we plan to have a regular podcast series set up which will be accessed via Soundcloud through an embed on our site.
We will move towards Print!
Print media isn’t dead, Jacobin has proved that. We aim to produce a small magazine that will be released at certain stages in the year with the first hopefully released in time for May Day 2016. Each issue will have a theme and will contain political writing and analysis that is connected to that theme as well as an Arts section. This is the most costly part of our plan but we are committed to bringing alternative analysis and commentary to as wide an audience as possible.
Why go to print? Why set up a website and podcasts? Well, it’s time to create a community around the existing left, those drawing left conclusions and creatively minded artists, musicians and so on. Much like the ‘Drinking Liberally’ gang in the US (just without the pro Democrat crap!) we want to organise offline events that allow the people who follow us to meet, have a good time but most importantly discuss politics and the campaign issues of the day. We see the Belfast Feminist Network’s Book Club and Novara IRL as inspiring examples of how we can make this work.
Finances are the sinews of war, and if we want to be able to fight the big media outlets and the anonymous shitehawk commentators of Twitter; we need to be able to raise money. Our first step in this direction will be a launch night in January, but we aim to utilise crowdfunding as well as offline events in order to raise money to cover the cost of new equipment, an improved website and producing print editions.
We are always looking for new content that we think will interest you. There is no point in developing new ways of producing content if we just produce the same old stuff, we have huge plans in place to deliver the best possible content in 2016. From a section dedicated to poetry and short stories to pieces examining the EU referendum and what side the left should take, we will have material that will challenge you and entertain you.
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