Arbeter Ring Press

Arbeiter Ring Press (
Sat, 11 Jan 1997 20:41:14 +0000 ()



Arbeiter Ring is a new, not-for profit, worker-owned and collectively-run publishing house. We strive to be an activist press, to publish contemporary and accessible writing that amplifies the voices and documents the struggle for social change.

We are seeking book and pamphlet length submissions from activists, artists, writers, workers, academics, and anyone struggling to be heard through the ubiquitous hum of the status-quo. We are especially interested in writing that addresses issues of gender, class, authority, ethnicity, culture, and media.

One of the most effective tools for indoctrination into mainstream ideology is still the written word. For a mainstream, capitalist publishing house, interested primarily in the profitability of titles, whether or not anyone ever actually reads their books is irrelevant. To lower their dinancial risk, corporate publishers dramatically limit the range of ideas available, so that any "unconventional" thinking is soon silenced. Of course there are many good and imaginative people who enter the world of publishing with humane values. But a capitalist market forces one compromise after another, until eventually books come to be seen simply as commodities to be produced for maximum prodit at minimum cost; books that challenge society's attitudes toward race, gender, or class are not the way to produce maximum profit, and so they simply don't get published. Writing that clearly exposes corporate control of the media is very unlikely to earn that all-important review in the Globe and Mail, so it, too, will remain unpublished. A tiny minority of authors now commands astronomical advances, leaving publishers with no resources to nurture the work of new writers or to take a financial chance on politically challenging ideas. By contrast, at Arbeiter Ring we see ourselves as an activist press. This means that our first principle when choosing which books to publish is their political impact.

To create a leftist institution whose purpose is to challenge the credibility of mainstream institutions and offer alternatives, it would be absurd to adopt mainstream forms of work definition and organization with their dynamics of greed and oppression. Yet generally this is the way most "progressive" publishers have been organized (for some very understandable reasons). We feel there is a better way, a way for the structure of Arbeiter Ring to reflect the humane and egalitarian ideals that are the impulse behind its creation. We have therefore modeled our collective on the principles of participatory economics, as developed primarily by radical economists Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel, and employed for nearly two decades by American publishers South End Press. The fundamental principles of participatory economics include actual democracy in decision making, fair and sensible distribution of responsibilities, and no workplace power hierarchy. Each worker in the Arbeiter Ring collective has a "job complex" -- a complex of responsibilities equally weighted between tasks that are intellectual and empowering, and those that are rote or manual -- with the result that each worker's set of tasks is balanced equitably with those of others. Each collective member is actively involved in the business and administration of the publishing house, as well as in editorial and creative work, so that all members have comparable responsibilities and are equally able to participate in decision making.

For more information, or to submit manuscripts:

Arbieter Ring Publishing 2-91 Albert Street Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada R3B 1G5 (204) 942-7058

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