WELL, you’ve done it — Morning Star readers have smashed our ambitious Summer of Heroes target with room to spare.
There were moments when we thought we wouldn’t make it, but in the end your generosity and dedication to this newspaper pulled us through and kept the Star shining.
That says something special about our paper. No other national daily could call on its readers to rally round it in this way — as you do, not merely for special fundraising drives like this summer’s but month after month in the Fighting Fund.
Our unique status as the only daily newspaper in the country that’s a co-operative, owned by its readers, is the key to the relationship that makes us different.
But so is the fact that we are a campaigning paper for people who want to change the world, not a mouthpiece for some tax-dodging billionaire like the bulk of the British press.
Our readers — communists, socialists, trade unionists, Greens, you name it — are not just readers, but campaigners and fighters — fighters for an alternative to endless austerity and war, the alternative proudly displayed on our masthead each day: peace and socialism.
By raising the money we’ve needed this year to survive and grow, you’ve proved that once again.
And survive and grow we must. The Morning Star is the only daily putting the case for our class day in, day out.
To take this summer’s events alone, we were the only paper to run daily coverage of the People’s March for the NHS that trekked from Jarrow to London.
The only paper to put the massive People’s Assembly march of June 22 and the huge Britain Needs a Pay Rise demonstration of October 18 front and centre of our coverage.
No other national paper has highlighted the heroism and courage of Doncaster’s Care UK strikers or the Focus E15 mums battling for their right to affordable housing in the capital.
Nor has the mainstream media paid any attention to the anti-blacklisting Crocodile Tears tour or the ongoing campaign to stamp out that appalling practice and win redress for its many victims.
Read the other papers and you’d never know that people are fighting back — that this rotten coalition and its bid to wreck our welfare state and privatise our public services isn’t having it all its own way.
Only the Morning Star is telling that story. But sometimes it can feel as if we’re a voice in the wilderness.
Our readership remains far too low for the only working-class voice in the national media. Low sales mean endless financial problems, of course, but even more importantly they mean the message of Britain’s labour movement isn’t getting the attention it deserves.
In six months’ time we face a general election, a chance to boot out the criminal regime that has ruined so many lives over the past five years, whether through its colossal cull of public-sector jobs, its humiliation and persecution of disabled people or the welfare cuts that have driven a million people to rely on foodbanks to survive.
A Labour Party frightened of its own shadow and tied by its shadow chancellor to continuing austerity runs a very real risk of throwing that election away.
It won’t be a fair election in any case. As usual, the Tories hold most of the cards — their war chest is far larger than Labour’s courtesy of donations from bankers, hedge fund managers and the odd foreign oligarch.
And the travesty of a law that is the Lobbying Act further ties the labour movement’s hands behind its back — this grotesque piece of legislation does nothing at all to limit corporate lobbying but places severe restrictions on what trade unions and charities can do and say in the run-up to the election.
This is quite deliberate. The Tories and Liberal Democrats are seeking to deprive the labour movement of its voice, just as the former have made clear a new raft of anti-union legislation will be their top priority if they sneak back into office in May.
But — thanks to you — we still have a weapon they haven’t silenced, and that is your newspaper.
Its voice and its influence will be more important than ever over the next six months, which is why we’ll be launching another ambitious campaign – not for money this time, but for readers.
The Star needs to reach a thousand new daily readers in order to break even and become the fighting force we need it to be.
To reach them, we’re going to need your help, whether that’s by joining your local readers and supporters group or taking a few copies to a trades council meeting or a protest.
Our circulation and campaign teams are working hard on what we can do to help and you’ll be hearing more from us.
We want to hear from you, too. Today I’ll be in Glasgow getting to know the readers and supporters north of the border and finding out what they need from us.
Myself, our circulation manager Bernadette Keaveney, our campaigns co-ordinator David Peel and the whole team will be on hand with assistance and advice for everyone trying to win new readers for the Star.
It’s essential that we do so. British politics is broken, and your paper has never been so needed.