Mark Fischer reports on a solid first week for our annual fundraising drive and on an important political advance for our organisation
The CPGB’s annual fundraising drive, the Summer Offensive, has had a really good start. At the launch on June 30, the comrades present pledged a tremendous £13,100 towards our £25,000 overall target. This is an excellent beginning to what is traditionally an important and instructive period of work for our organisation.
But before we go into the details of the money actually received, let’s tidy up last month’s Weekly Worker fighting fund news. The June fund came up just short, with a final total of £1,396 – £104 shy of its monthly £1,500 target. A pretty solid £78 came in on the Thursday and Friday of last week to make the final pot more respectable; particular thanks to PM’s £20 in that last-minute surge and the same amount from BL.
There is sometimes a little bit of a stutter at the beginning of the SO when Robbie Rix is temporarily boxed and I take over the money duties for the two-month SO duration. Comrade Rix has asked me to reassure readers that, although money donated to the paper will count towards the SO, the money directed to the Weekly Worker will be used exclusively for that purpose. So the £322 in standing orders paid to the paper in the first few days of July has not only boosted the SO, but will actually help the Weekly Worker pay its bills.
Overall, since last Saturday’s launch, £1,987 has landed in the SO coffers – impressive! The outstanding performer in this has been comrade PK, who – having pledged £700 on June 30 – actually gave us £900, all in one go, a few days later! Others deserve mention for their contributions – in particular, comrade TB is writing off hundreds of pounds owed to her, debts mostly accrued during work on the redesign of our website (see below).
As I wrote last week, we are again placing the drive to support the Weekly Worker at the core of this year’s campaign. Our paper attracts the overwhelming bulk of its readership online, of course, and many comrades who are part of that ‘Weekly Worker Thursday surge’ on the internet will be pleased to see that the long-awaited relaunch of our website has finally happened.
So far the responses have been extremely positive. Despite the joshing tone of one CPGB supporter’s comments, his general sentiments are pretty typical of the comments we have had since we relaunched in the past few days: “Fuck me,” he writes delicately, “I thought I had more chance of seeing adequate time for debate at an SWP event than I did of ever seeing a new party website.” But he adds: “Joking apart, I’m impressed – a huge step up in terms of clear information.”
I know what he means. On one level, it is just a relief to see the thing go live, frankly. When our site was attacked and taken down in June 2009, we were determined to take it as an opportunity, not simply a setback. We quickly reconstituted an interim site for what we were convinced would be a short transition period (somewhere, quietly, a cantankerous god of the internet chuckled) and set about reshaping our website as a resource that might more adequately reflect the depth and range of this organisation’s political and programmatic work over the past 30 years or so.
Quickly, however, we ran hard up against our skills limitations compared to our ambitions. We tried short cuts of various sorts – buying in expertise; detailing some comrades to work almost exclusively on the site, whatever their personal aptitudes or interests; searching for content management systems that would enable even a Freddy Flintstone clone to manage things; etc.
In fact, all these initiatives – although none were the answer in themselves – facilitated the emergence of a team of comrades who were clearly the attack pack that would finish the project. And they have. We owe them a tremendous debt. I think those comrades – and our organisation in general, when it gets over its simple pleasure of having the new site up at last – will admit that there is still a great deal of work to be done. We have moved forward in our aim of providing “clear information” to the workers’ and progressive movement, but we are still a distance from where we need to be. The site is an advance technically. But it represents a far more important political step forward.
We are proud of the comrades who have worked so hard to get the new site off the ground. And we are also proud of all those readers and supporters who have helped finance the launch through their donations. But there is a lot more to do, and it is obvious where a good portion of our SO receipts will be spent.
So, comrades – like the new website? Do you think, like the comrade quoted above, that it enhances the mission of the Weekly Worker to provide “clear information” to our movement? If yes, what’s stopping you? – donate!