My Quarterly Fundraiser: Why I’m Asking for $200 (£150) a Week from You to Support My Guantánamo Work (Clue: It Involves Capitalism, and the Internet)

6.12.17

Andy Worthington holding up a poster advertising a fundraising appeal for his independent writing and campaigning on Guantanamo.Please click on the ‘Donate’ button below to make a donation towards the $2500 (£1850) I’m trying to raise to support my work on Guantánamo for the next three months!

 

Dear friends and supporters — and any kindly passing strangers!

Every three months I ask you, if you can, to make a donation to support my writing about Guantánamo, and my campaigning to get the prison closed. I’m not a young man, but I am a modern creation — a reader-funded journalist and activist — and the blunt truth is that, without your support, I can no longer continue doing what I’ve been doing for the last 12 years: making sure that Guantánamo is not forgotten, telling the stories of the men held there, and working to get the prison closed once and for all.

If you can help out at all, please click on the “Donate” button above to make a payment via PayPal. You can also make a recurring payment on a monthly basis by ticking the box marked, “Make this a monthly donation,” and if you are able to do so, it would be very much appreciated. 

I should also note that you don’t have to have a PayPal account to use PayPal, and also that, although the default setting for donations is dollars, as most of the my readers are in the US, PayPal will convert donations from any other currency.

Once upon a time, journalists were employed by media organizations, whose income, for TV and the print media, came from advertising, and, for newspapers, from paper sales. Those jobs still exist, but over the last 30 years paid jobs have been axed in huge numbers as newspapers’ corporate owners have sought to shore up their profits, and in the last five to ten years the rise of the internet, while theoretically making everything available to everybody at any time, and, crucially, giving individuals like me a platform, has also seen a massive rise in the amount of journalism — and, it should be noted, creative work of all kinds — that consumers now expect to be done for free.

In addition, those responsible for disseminating it — primarily, the tech companies making computers and mobile phones, and running search engines, social media and apps — also profit from people’s work, making eye-wateringly huge profits without giving anything back. When it comes to the wordsmiths, artists and creators, a handful of big names in all these fields — from journalism to entertainment — are well-rewarded, but everyone else is struggling in a manner that is profoundly dispiriting.

As an independent journalist, activist and creative person, I fell into this precarious world by accident — or perhaps through being driven by a desire to put fighting injustice above making a living. Certainly, when I researched and wrote The Guantánamo Files, my book about Guantánamo and the men held there, in 2006-07, I was not thinking about money. I wrote the book without being paid, and when I finished it, despite being acclaimed as having exposed the truth about Guantánamo and the men held there like no one before, my efforts to secure paid mainstream media work have only ever been sporadically successful, and have never been enough to maintain anything resembling a living, largely because, in the new, stripped-down mainstream media world, there is only a certain amount of money allocated for proper news, and only a few jobs to go with it. Instead, I set up this website, and have published, at the last count, 2,147 articles relating to Guantánamo over the last ten years.

In addition, a persistent injustice like Guantánamo is not generally of interest to the mainstream media, which typically has a short attention span. But as I have always maintained, just because an injustice is ignored doesn’t make it any less disgraceful, and when it comes to Guantánamo, the fact that, next month, it will begin its 17th year of operations ought to be even more of a source of shame than it has been to date, because the fundamental injustice of the prison — holding people endlessly without charge or trial — has never been adequately addressed.

Regular followers of my work will know that I also do other work that is only possible with your support — my photo project, ‘The State of London’, for example, the campaigning against the destruction of social housing in London that I have recently begun, and even the music I perform with my band The Four Fathers — and if you want to help me with any of these projects then I will be very grateful, but the core of what I do remains the struggle to get Guantánamo closed, and if you can make any kind of donation — be it $25, $50, $100 or more — than I will at least be able to keep going.

So to answer the question I posed in my headline, I need $200 (£150) a week just to get by, to pay my bills with a little bit left over, so if you appreciate my work and can help out, please do. If everyone who took an interest in my work gave just a few dollars, I’d be able to wrap up this fundraiser tonight, but there’s the problem: you can read my writing, look at my photos, and listen to my music all for free, and it’s only up to you if you want to give anything back.

Thanks, as ever, for your support.

Andy Worthington
London
December 6, 2017

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and the Donald Trump No! Please Close Guantánamo initiative, launched in January 2017), the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, which called for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison (finally freed on October 30, 2015), and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and The Complete Guantánamo Files, an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

One Response

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Friends, supporters and passing strangers, it’s Day 3 of my quarterly fundraiser, and here I lay out my case for why independent journalists and creators like me cannot do what we do without your support – in part because of the shrinking world of paid journalism, and in part because of the tech companies’ drive to make huge profits while pretending that everything that people read and consume has been made for free. If you appreciate my writing about Guantanamo, and my campaigning to get the prison closed, which I’ve now been doing for nearly 12 years, then please make a donation to support my work. Thanks for your interest!

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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