Liberation News Service

The Liberation News Service (LNS) was a leftist alternative news service which published news bulletins from 1967 to 1981.


[edit] History

LNS was co-founded in the summer of 1967 by Ray Mungo and Marshall Bloom, when the two of them (experienced college newspaper editors) left College Press Service (CPS) in a dispute. An organizational meeting the following October took place during a major anti-war demonstration in Washington, D.C. Its purpose was to strengthen support for the fledgling news organization. This gathering was quite tumultuous, and it was chronicled in a book by Mungo, Famous Long Ago:

"Marshall began to speak of the goals of LNS when the staff of the East Village Other, led by Walter Bowart in Indian headdress, began a lengthy poem about the underground and an enthusiastic pitch for the Underground Press Service, which EVO directed. This brought others to their feet with charges of embezzlement against UPS and EVO. John Wilcock, in his clipped British accent, quickly corroborated that EVO was staffed by a pack of thieves...Before the issue could be resolved, however, Allen Cohen of the San Francisco Oracle rose to read a poem, precipitating a lengthy East-West poetry competition between the New York Indian forces of EVO and the San Francisco Oracle Hari-Krishna heads.
"And so it went in that terrible loft. The college editors were interested mostly in campus revolution, the pacifists in the war, the freaks in cultural revolution and cultural purity. The underlying buzz became a steady roar; Marshall burned his draft card and quit the podium. A few fist fights broke out between warring factions of the anti-war forces...It was clear on first meeting our constituency, that LNS was to be an uneasy coalition."

The impetus for the founding of LNS came from Mungo's participation in an international meeting:

"In 1967, Raymond Mungo attended a meeting in Czechoslovakia among radical journalists and representatives of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam. Resulting from talks on how to increase pressure at home to end United States involvement in the Vietnam War..."
"LNS sent twice-weekly news packets of articles and photographs to member underground publications. With its worldwide contacts among Western radical groups and Third World liberation forces, LNS gave the underground press a global perspective it had formerly lacked."

A split in the news collective, then based in New York City (recently relocated from Washington, D.C.), saw Mungo, Bloom, and Porche set up a short-lived competing operation in Western Massachusetts. Mungo characterized the split as taking place between the "Vulgar Marxists" in New York and the "Virtuous Caucus" who "liberated" the printing press and moved it to Massachusetts.

LNS garnered support from well-known journalists and activists, as documented in a letter signed by I.F. Stone, Jack Newfield, Nat Hentoff, and William M. Kunstler published in the New York Review of Books. In an appeal for funds, the signers praised the investigative work of LNS, and noted it had "grown from a mimeoed sheet distributed to ten newspapers to a printed 20-page packet of articles and graphics mailed to nearly 800 subscribers twice a week[1]

Starting in 1968, for several years, LNS was produced from Morningside Heights in Manhattan, initially from a store front, and later from the basement of an apartment building which at one time had been a food store (but had sat empty for twenty years). This location provided LNS with a front row seat for the 1968 uprising at Columbia University, for which it provided extensive coverage, including inside the various occupied buildings, at a time when the mainstream media were only printing official statements (or in the case of the New York Post, editorials demanding blood). Coverage of the "big bust" at Columbia, in which over 700 were arrested, was one of the two most widely reprinted of all LNS stories, the other being a piece entitled "Americans Are Unfit for Human Consumption".

Reduced to serving only 150 newspapers, the LNS collective decided to close operations in August 1981.[2] LNS records are archived variously in in the Contemporary Culture Collection of Temple University Libraries, the Archive of Social Change of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Library; its photographs are archived at New York University's Tamiment Library.

[edit] Revival

LNS was restarted as New Liberation News Service with Ray Mungo's blessing by a group of younger radical journalists led by Jason Pramas in 1990. They continued to publish NLNS from their offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts until 1993. Also in the 1990s, a Santa Cruz-based group established Liberation News which did radio programs, published a newspaper, and established a newswire on the internet. Since then various individuals have used the name Liberation News for a variety of projects.

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Hentoff, Nat; Kunstler, William M.; Newfield, Jack; Stone, I.F. (September 21, 1972). "To the Editors: LNS". New York Review of Books. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  2. ^ Ron Sirak, "Alternative News Service Shuts Down," Associated Press, Lexington Herald-Leader, September 13, 1981, p. C10.

[edit] Further reading

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

Related topics in the Connexions Subject Index

Alternatives  –  Left History  –  Libraries & Archives  –  Social Change  – 

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