solidarity

SolidarityI have a history of social activism. When I was attending Trinity College in Dublin I got involved in student politics. For four years I was on the Gradate Students’ Union, and for the last year I served as President.

During that period I sat on numerous college committees, including TCD’s College Board – which was the ultimate decision-making body in the college. I learned a great deal during those years. I learned the nuances of negotiating within a structure where the majority of the decisions were quietly agreed upon by an elite group behind the scenes. I also learned the importance of solidarity.

Even though people speak in patronising terms about college students (they doss off; lay about in cafes and talk shite over coffees; get stoned/high/drunk) believe me they are the lowest rung on the university power ladder, and everyone treads on them when it comes to politics. I’ve never lost my sympathy for students for I have a very clear understanding of what they are up against when they attempt to take on the university as an institution.

So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that over the years I’ve continued my interest in campaigning for the rights of those who are not getting a fair shake. For the last four years I’ve worked with the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild as their webmaster, newsletter editor and blogger. It keeps me in touch with the industry but it also allows me to do my part to help writers, who are another group on the bottom rung of the power ladder (unless you’re Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, and they are the exception, not the rule – in Ireland most writers make 10K or less a year).

Today I read that horror writer Brian Keene, and many of his colleagues, have begun a boycott against Dorchester Publishing (it owns Leisure books).

Most sane writers – as I know from my work with the IPSG and my own career – do not like to cause a fuss. If anything they are too accommodating, often to their detriment.

Yet, we have our ability to write and communicate. The power of words, well-constructed and pitched, should not be underestimated.

Brian Keene has written clearly and succinctly about why he has launched his boycott against Dorchester. I recommend you read it and consider the long list of authors and organisations who support what he’s doing:

In short, we need your help. If you care about horror fiction, and more importantly, if you care about the people who write horror fiction for a living, and if you disagree with this publisher’s methods, history, and “mistakes”, then please consider withholding your financial support of Dorchester Publishing and Leisure Books. Boycott them.

Solidarity.

Boycott Dorchester Publishing.