Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Alive 125 Creates A Stir


First Published: Alive Magazine: Literature & Ideology No. 126, March 10, 1979
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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GNS. March 5: The initial response to Alive 125, a special 240 page issue dealing with the struggle against Edward Pickersgill, has been quicker and more active than had been projected. Pete Jones, of the Alive Production Collective, told us: “We called for written response in the form of letters to Alive and answers to formal questionnaires. We figured it would take people as long as a month to read the issue and formulate their ideas and prepare responses. However, some readers read extensive sections or even the whole magazine right away and have already sent us their views. When we announced that we would resume publishing letters to Alive, we planned on beginning the letters column once again after four or five weeks. It looks like well actually be able to print some letters in the next issue.”

The reaction to Alive 125 has been very polarized. There has been a very strong negative response from some quarters already but this has been more than balanced off by an even stronger positive response. The negative response has come mainly from unreformed factionalists and some of their friends or family members. The positive response has come from far and wide, being expressed verbally by friends in or around Guelph and in written letters from far afield nationally and internationally.

There are some common points in the negative and positive reactions. Everyone who has seen Alive 125 is interested in the detail it presents and all agree in their wonderment at the large size of the issue.

A group that responded with unwitting humour was the Bainzites. They got wind of the important special issue of Alive and began running around like chickens with their heads cut off. They were reported to be begging store owners in Guelph for copies of Alive 125, to be calling at the homes of people they suspected to be friends of Alive asking to buy copies and to be wandering around with idyllic looks remarking: “I heard it’s over 200 pages!”

In desperation, the Bainzites even wrote a letter to the Alive Production Collection under a pseudonym. In the letter thy masquerade as typing novices with a folk rural style in the hope that the letter would be identified as coming from an ordinary member of the broad masses. They only succeeded in revealing their thorough contempt for ordinary people and in showing the turmoil that the news of Alive 125 had created in the Bainzite ranks. All in all, quite a funny spectacle.

Alive 125 is not difficult to obtain by anybody who is interested. Extra copies were printed in anticipation of demands for more copies than usual for reading and study. Extra copies can be paid for when ordered or can be obtained through special arrangements. The Alive Production Collective does not appreciate payment arrangements like that of the Bainzites, who proclaimed in their letter an enclosure of two dollars to pay for two copies but actually included no money. Issue 125 is being sold at the usual Alive cover price of ten cents. Never mind the two dollars they claimed to enclose, the Bainzites were too cheap to enclose twenty cents. Not really that much money, is it?

When we spoke with Pete Jones, he reiterated the exhortation to Alive readers to give their response to issue 125: “Whether it be long or short and whether it can be prepared in a short time or it has to take a longer time to prepare, we have a real need to know people’s response. No doubt there will be demands for additional information and many points of controversy. We are willing to receive letters disagreeing with Alive 125 or raising points of difference even while agreeing in general. We are willing to answer our readers’ questions and to allow, for whatever length of time is necessary, our letters pages to be a forum of contention between negative and positive opinions around Alive 125 and our Collective’s struggle against Edward Pickersgill.”