Anyone can become a shareholder in the people’s paper, says STEVE SWEENEY
IT IS fitting that we are launching our new Morning Star shares drive in our 85th anniversary year, in the Durham Miners’ Gala weekend edition of the paper.
The gala is the largest annual gathering of trade unionists in the country and at the heart of the labour movement.
As many of you will be reading this in your free copy courtesy of the Durham Miners’ Association, we hope that you will be inspired to go back to your trade union branches, trades councils, People’s Assembly groups and other progressive organisations and ask them to take out shares in the Morning Star and become an owner of the paper.
The Morning Star has been the voice of peace and socialism and a thorn in the side of the ruling class for 85 years — quite an achievement considering the trials and tribulations that we have faced over that period, including censorship, raids, attacks by fascists and even the politically motivated jailing of staff.
The fact that we are still going is a testament to you, our readers and supporters.
The Morning Star plays a unique role in the labour and progressive movement and we are the only daily newspaper that is owned by our readers.
We are the only daily newspaper that does not just report, but supports workers in struggle.
See our coverage of the Barnet Unison dispute, the People’s March for the NHS, the People’s Assembly and international events in Ukraine, Cuba, Venezuela, Palestine and Greece as examples.
The political landscape has sharpened with the election of a majority Tory government hell-bent on attacking working-class people, eroding our rights and destroying our public services — in short, destroying all the social gains we’ve made since 1945.
The Trade Union Bill proposed by the Tories not only sets unrealistic ballot thresholds that would effectively make striking unlawful but also attacks trade union education, facility time, union funding and a host of other measures designed to weaken the movement. This is class war and the Morning Star is the voice of the resistance.
The legendary William Rust, founding editor of the Daily Worker, quoted Lenin in saying: “You must start this paper not as a business … but as an economic and political tool of the masses in their struggle.”
This epitomises the Morning Star and Lenin’s vision that its existence was essential to the fight for socialism in this country.
An important change in the direction of the newspaper was the establishment of the People’s Press Printing Society (PPPS) after the war.
This meant that the paper became a co-operative and the Morning Star remains unique as the only daily newspaper owned by its readers and run by a management committee with representatives from our shareholders across the labour and progressive movements.
CWU, Community, FBU, GMB, NUM, POA, RMT, Ucatt and Unite are all shareholders and are part of the People’s Press Printing Society management committee which sets the priorities and direction of the Morning Star.
You can be part of this as each individual shareholder can take part in our AGMs, which are held around the country to allow for maximum participation.
The Morning Star is the paper of the broad left and is non-sectarian.
We regularly feature articles from a range of left Labour MPs, including Jeremy Corbyn, the Green Party, the anti-war movement, anti-fascist groups Hope Not Hate and Unite Against Fascism and leading figures from across the labour movement, including TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady. No other daily newspaper plays that role.
We are not owned by the billionaires or the non-doms who control the monopoly capitalist press.
We do not receive large amounts of money from big business which splashes out on expensive advertising and expects — and more often gets — something in return.
Our income and our existence is entirely dependent on our supporters in the labour and progressive movement.
As a co-operative we need to strengthen the PPPS’s balance sheet and fund our development plans. Buying shares helps us not only survive but fulfil our potential in the labour movement.
That is why on this, the launch of our 85th anniversary shares drive, we are appealing for your help. There are many things that you can do, for example:
Become a Morning Star shares organiser — support the paper in your trade union/trades council/progressive organisation branch or group, encouraging them to take out shares.
Hold a Morning Star 85th anniversary shares drive event — public meeting, rally, dinner, social. We can help with ideas and speakers.
Raise a motion through your union branch, trades council or progressive organisation. If you would like a model motion please contact us and we will be able to help.
Join your local Morning Star Readers and Supporters Group — if there isn’t one where you live consider setting one up. Our supporters are our lifeblood and we want to see groups in every major town and city and in every trade union, trades council and more putting the Morning Star at the centre of the labour and progressive movement.
Over the course of the coming months we will be holding a number of events including an 85th anniversary party, a Morning Star 85th anniversary dinner with major speakers from across the movement and more. We welcome your suggestions and contributions.
I will finish with the words of Harry Pollitt who famously said that “the paper is born and must never be allowed to die. If we keep that fixed in our minds we shall be invincible.”
Steve Sweeney is Morning Star campaigns manager (email@example.com). To buy shares either fill in the form on the back page or visit www.morningstaronline.co.uk/support.