Friday, October 07, 2005

UL:A Five Year Anniversary

Tomorrow, October 8, marks five years since the founding meeting of the Underground Literary Alliance in Hoboken, New Jersey. Since that time, many skeptics and opponents have fallen by the wayside.

One year after our founding, a zine proclaimed our "disintegration." Yet we kept going, are still here today.

This year alone we've seen attack after attack after attack upon ourselves as individuals, upon our cause, upon our ideas. The scorn and mocking piled higher and higher-- including at least two parody blogs aimed at us, and one fake letter published in a once-respectable literary journal. Attack after attack. Yet here we are! We haven't gone anyplace.

During the past five years leading ULA personalities like myself, Michael Jackman, and probably the majority of our members have endured crushing personal setbacks, the pain, the hectic struggle merely to survive in this society, and still found smidgens of time to write. The setbacks haven't weakened or discouraged us in the slightest.

FIVE YEARS AGO we kicked off our organization with the kind of public campaign no American writers had dared before begin-- few if any would take on the fight now-- when we signed our names to a Protest against the awarding of philanthropic, tax-sheltered money to one of the wealthiest, most connected writers in America. Forty zine writers and publishers signed the Protest. It was signed by not one of the 300 upstanding establishment literary folk to whom it was circulated. Not one! This alone proved our argument about the system's lethargy and corruption. (Also that many of those same writers agreed with our campaign privately.)

Since that time we've made more noise in our attempts to wake up literary society, to awaken all writers everyplace. In return we've been mischaracterized, slandered, and dismissed by the bulk of the literary establishment and by establishment-wannabes-- not given credit for the rightness of our cause, for our unflinching integrity and our bravery. We won't be given credit, until we stop fighting with one hand tied behind our back by the inequities of this society and grab control of more space in the media carnival of noise, to further reach and speak for the bulk of the population so long ignored by the insular world of literary elitists.

Watch out! Our campaign is only beginning.

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