American Friends Service Committee
Patrica Watson, Editor
Sara Burke, Assistant Editor
Pat Farren, Founding Editor
2161 Massachusetts Ave.
Peacework has been published monthly since 1972, intended to serve as a source of dependable information to those who strive for peace and justice and are committed to furthering the nonviolent social change necessary to achieve them. Rooted in Quaker values and informed by AFSC experience and initiatives, Peacework offers a forum for organizers, fostering coalition-building and teaching the methods and strategies that work in the global and local community. Peacework seeks to serve as an incubator for social transformation, introducing a younger generation to a deeper analysis of problems and issues, reminding and re-inspiring long-term activists, encouraging the generations to listen to each other, and creating space for the voices of the disenfranchised.
Views expressed are those of the authors, not necessarily of the AFSC.
The Circulation of Ideas
Peacework is a member of the Independent Press Association, a group of independent magazine publishers who share resources and information. John Anner is the executive director of the IPA and has been leading the organization in fighting to keep postal rates within the reach of small publications like Peacework.
Chances are this magazine was delivered to you by the United States Postal Service. It's a job that dates back to the very beginning of the American post office, when the first postmaster general, Ben Franklin, regularized postal service delivery of newspapers and other periodicals across the new-born nation--setting a flat rate no matter how far the distance traveled. Franklin maintained that the circulation of ideas, information, and insight was of paramount importance, and that it was the natural job of the nation's postal service to handle the delivery.
Now, a devastating spiral of postal rate increases coupled with an ongoing restructuring of the post office threatens to end this common sense arrangement. As a result, the very existence of thousands of small-circulation magazines and periodicals in the US is endangered. For small publications like ours which receive little or no advertising revenue, and which must support costs on a small subscriber base, a postal rate increase can mean big problems, right up to ceasing publication.
While small independent periodicals make up a tiny fraction of the total volume of mail passing through the Post Office, we provide the lion's share of information and ideas, the distribution of which helps the Post Office to fulfill its historic responsibility to serve the national interest. However, the USPS has, over the past few decades, increasingly set rates to favor large-volume commercial mailers, a trend that imperils the distribution of small independent periodicals.
Congressmember Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will soon introduce legislation to institute a three-year moratorium on postal rate increases for small independent periodicals. A moratorium would provide breathing space so that the ongoing debate over the restructuring of the Post Office could develop a way for the Post Office to continue its historic obligation to serve the national interest through the distribution of periodicals.
Take a moment to write to your Congressional Representative and
the Postmaster General and let them know that you much prefer
a post office that prioritizes the delivery of public-interest
magazines over the delivery of junk mail. Ask them to support
a freeze on postal rates for small-scale, high-editorial publications.
Our survival depends on you! You can write to the Honorable John
Potter, Postmaster General, at 475 L'Enfant Plaza Pl. SW,
10th fl., Washington DC 20260.