The experience in Chicago alerted me to the all-powerful, multigenerational enemy with which alternative media is at perpetual odds. I’m prepared for that battle, and also hopeful that the marginal press will live at least as long as the agents we ride against.
Like Armstrong, I plan to play a part in keeping alt ideals alive. I recently teamed with another local weekly—Dig Boston, where I started my career in 2004—to convene a gang of young dissidents to trade ideas and network regularly. So far it’s gone well, with more than a dozen eager writers whose interests range from dismantling Monsanto to reporting on the oft-forgotten corners of the city’s minority neighborhoods. I’m uncertain of what will come of our efforts in the longer term—if the appetite for passionate reporting will eventually erode entirely, or if we can carry on tradition, and sound a trumpet to arms. Wherever this trampled road takes me, I’ll use Armstrong’s wisdom as a compass:
When one underground enterprise succeeded, all the others were strengthened. . . . This did not only benefit activists. The public benefitted, too, from the much greater availability of new visions and values, which broadened the political, cultural, and spiritual options of millions. . . . Without [the alternative press], the counterculture and the New Left would not have taken root and flourished.