We’ve been asked recently why we chose to publish in a PDF format, rather than as a website. Initially, the answer is stylistic – we wanted to evoke the old-school zine format for The Socialist Gun Review, bring some of those aesthetics of the subversive underground zine into a modern discussion of arming workers for self defense and revolution. It also revives the radical print literature of the 1960’s and 70’s distributed by the Black Panthers and the anti-war movement. It is true that we reprint many of those pieces of radical artwork and some of the inspiring writings that stirred a generation to stand up and fight back.
However, the full reason for our format is much deeper than radical artwork. Modern websites are designed for quick consumption, for social media accessibility, to read and pass along quickly. The Socialist Gun Review does utilize social media – our rapidly growing Facebook page not only features links to our zine, but highlights other stories and sites that relate to the liberation and armed peoples power. But the zine itself is meant to be read through in more than just one sitting. It is designed to take time for the reader to fully aborb the message.
It looks best in print, or on an e-reader, lending itself to sitting down and taking the time away from other distractions and focus on the revolutionary words and pictures, inspiring the reader to do more than just skim and click, but to agitate and educate. Its an investment, sure, to pay the cost of the ink and paper necessary to print it out, or the time to transfer and read it on your tablet or e-reader. But then it is meant to be shared, passed on to a friend, and generate a discussion.
In short, it is planting a seed. Every download of the zine is a revolutionary seed that is planted. Every printing is a thought brought from the electronic aether into physical reality. A website can be easily taken offline, invalidating every link, and it is extremely possible that this will happen to the website currently hosting The Socialist Gun Review. But every download of the zine disseminates our message to hundreds, thousands of different people in a much more permanent manner. The authorities can bring down this site, but each copy disseminated cannot be taken back. By downloading this zine, you have downloaded your own revolutionary seed.
Take this seed, print it out, post it again online and in person. Pass the seed on to a friend, an acquaintance, a stranger. Copy, duplicate, and replicate. Let each seed grow and spread revolution to each person that reads it. It starts with you.