27 October 2011


This is what I wrote last time Tribune faced closure in a matter of days, back in 1988. I think the same today.

Paul Anderson, Tribune column, 22 January 1988

Now is the time for all good comrades to come to the aid of Tribune. As things stand, Tribune is set to close after this issue unless we get help, to the tune of £16,000 in total, in the next few days.

This is serious. There is no sugar daddy to bail us out. The Greater London Council was abolished some time back, and the unions are broke. There is no Moscow gold or CIA funding here. Tribune really is reliant on its readers and supporters to give it enough at once to ensure its survival.

Of course, we all have our criticisms of Tribune. The paper has sometimes erred in its choice of targets; and often it has been too shrill or insufficiently radical.

Sometimes the fact that the paper is ridiculously under-staffed and over-worked means that we go wrong -- being less grateful than we should to everyone who does so much for us (for no payment) being the most common sin.

But for all its faults, Tribune has been a vital part of the British left's political culture — and as such a vital part of Britain's culture.

Being part of some British political tradition does not, in itself, guarantee the usefulness of an institution: look at the House of Lords, the monarchy and much more besides. That Tribune has in the past had a role does not necessarily mean that it has one now. I believe it does have one, and that's not simply because my job is on the line.

Tribnne is the only open forum for debate among supporters of the British Labour Party and the Labour-sympathetic left. All the arguments of the British democratic left take place in its pages. Unlike others, the paper is not afraid to give space to unfashionable opinion. On the assumption that a democratic, discursive movement of the left is necessary for the left to have any success, Tribune is utterly essential.

As this issue goes to press, the future remains in the balance. We've had an extraordinary surge of donations and messages of support: we did not know everyone cared so much, and we're grateful to you all.

But we're not there yet; we will go under unless we raise another £16,000 in one week. Bung us a fiver please everyone, and get all your friends to do the same. Really.

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