Bob Gould, 2005

Questions on Green Left Weekly readership

Source: Ozleft, June 7, 2005
Proofreading, editing, mark-up: Steve Painter

Green Left Weekly discussion list, June 7, 2005

A general question for Peter Boyle, over and above factional and polemical considerations.

His report of the extraordinary number of hits on the Green Left site is encouraging from the point of view of socialist propaganda.

The World Socialist Web Site, which positioned itself early on the web, seems to get an even more spectacular response, and that’s also encouraging, in a general way, for socialists.

It’s an open secret that sales of printed socialist newspapers, including Green Left Weekly, are probably at an all-time low.

Personally, I’m inclined to favour persisting with print socialist newspapers as an agitational tool. From that point of view, despite political differences, the print edition of GLW is a considerable achievement.

Nevertheless, the effort and cost of producing the paper is obviously considerable.

I wonder how, despite the large number of hits on radical web presences such as GLW, WSWS and others, it’s possible to generate enough finance on the web to cover the cost of up-to-the-minute coverage.

Joaquin Bustelo on Marxmail, for instance, seems to have a very expansive view of the possibilities of the web, but it seems we need an objective discussion of the issues and possibilities for socialists on the web, and what continuing utility printed socialist propaganda has as well.

I’m not convinced by Bustelo rubbishing the idea of printed socialist journals.

Our experience at Ozleft isn’t in the same league as the mainly agitational web presences of GLW and WSWS, but our experience is that even for a site that concentrates mostly on history and theory, the interest and access rate is going up rapidly.

This also has a bearing on printed magazine projects such as Seeing Red, Dissent, Arena, Overland and others.

One thing that Peter Boyle might gives us, if he doesn’t mind, is the raw figures as to how the hits on GLW break down between Australia and overseas.