The New Gateway – One year on.
It’s hard to believe it’s a year since I first wrote an editorial for The New Gateway. This time of year is traditionally one for reflection. And how much there is to reflect on in 2016. How the world has changed. Here’s a few highlights: Labour crisis, Conservative crisis, Brexit crisis, American President (crisis) – not to mention the refugees and economy (stupid).
Each month when one pens an editorial one is in the moment and only when you put them all together over a period of a year (and longer) do you realise that each little part becomes part of a whole which is then larger than the sum of the parts and is a witness to social history.
The New Gateway is true to the spirit of James Leatham’s original aim in offering a unique and alternative perspective on the past, present and future. It is not monetised and there are no gatekeepers controlling what is put ‘out there.’ (apart obviously from my editorial choices – but these are open and upfront – determined by putting out as broad a range of ‘previously published’ work from Leatham and the public domain with a smattering of truly ‘alternative’ contemporary perspectives.
It may be seen as propaganda from the past and present, but The New Gateway has no problem with the word or concept of propaganda in its original sense. There is no shame in presenting a different (even a minority) view.
An unquestioning adoption of words such as ‘propaganda’ and ‘democracy’ into the pantheon of ‘juju’ words – which become the clichés all too many people live by- stands in need of regular reappraisal and challenge if we are not to become victim to the bread and circuses of modern (including social) media. Today we are bombarded with information (some may say mis-information) constantly. It comes pre-packaged, easy to consume - ready info - and there is a greater need than ever for slow, considered information that has to be looked for and studied and not reduced to sound bites. This is what we hope we point a gateway to.
There are many more backwaters to explore and it is for the reader to learn how to engage with the information age – passive consumer of junk or questing for enlightenment beyond the obvious. That’s your choice. Our job is simply to remind you that you get out what you put in. The options are almost limitless but it requires the individual to engage at a level beyond what we are being taught. There is a world beyond Bestsellers lists, beyond Wikipedia, beyond celebrity… it’s out there – but you have to get up off your virtual couch to look for it.
Over this year The Deveron Press has worked on publishing its Centenary Collection of 10 books. The task is now nearly complete with just the ‘Socialist Shakespeare’ to make it through the final proof/publishing process before our anniversary year ends in May 2017. We believe that the Centenary Collection offers a good insight into the work of James Leatham as writer, editor and publisher and, brought together, the books become much more than the sum of the whole. Making hidden works and forgotten writing available again for a contemporary audience is something of a mission, a revolutionary act against the tsunami of capitalist driven version of publishing. I often sit and wonder what Leatham would have made of the technological (and social) changes (I hesitate to call them advances) of the past seventy years. Freed from copyright prison, his work now lives on. To read a book you first have to know it exists. We are bringing work back into print, and we do what little we can to tell the world it’s out here. It will always be a backwater, a side-show, an alternative – artisan publishing if you will (and if you can understand the irony of the ‘juju’ word artisan in this context!) and it’s up to the individual reader to pick and choose what they want. We’re always happy for feedback and to do what we can to promote the cause of wider, free access to public domain work. It’s a collaborative process, about sharing and openness, not about bottom lines and profit motives.
Have a wee scout around Gateway this month and you'll find that we are giving away omnibus ebook editions of cultural and political writings from Volume 1. Don't say we never give you anything! There's plenty on offer for free, but if you enjoy what you find here, we recommend that you put your hand in your pocket and buy one of our paperback publications. Not to make us rich, but for our own enjoyment and to demonstrate to us that there are readers out there who appreciate what we're doing.
And what of next year? We’ll carry on doing the same. This ongoing, quiet, determined logging, blogging and cataloguing of the kind of writing that has been airbrushed out of history or simply forgotten, may not start revolutions, but it provides an alternative to the mainstream and dominant narratives which surround and threaten to engulf us. The New Gateway offers a door into a different perspective. It’s for you to open the door when it suits you, explore what is behind, and make of it what you will.
As 2016 turns into 2017 I wish you all that you might wish for yourself going forward. If you enjoy The New Gateway, I’d appreciate it if you’d share that fact – tell others – and encourage them towards, if not through, the doorway we offer. See you on the other side!
To find past articles please use monthly archives.