By Edward Nawotka, Editor-in-Chief
Today marks the three year anniversary of the failed Green Revolution in Iran, an occasion we mark by pointing to the global success of Zahra’s Paradise, a wildly popular graphic novel about a protester who disappears. Over the year’s we’ve looked at several stories that discuss the various ways in which publishers have become politically active, including
- Iranian publisher Arash Hejazi–also the doctor who treated slain Iranian protestor Neda Agha-Soltan–discussing Iranian censorship
- A look at Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez’s “Color Coded Revolutionary Reading Plan
- Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan’s Facebook-based reading campaign.
- A report from Tahrir Square from a Bloomsbury Qatar editor…and much more
Very often, politics and publishing can’t help but mix. At some imprints, it’s even entire point, as discussed in our feature about the UK’s Telegram Books, “Publishing as Politics, Publishing with Purpose.” Of course, this also raises the question of where a publisher should also draw the line.
Pamphleteering, propaganda and agit-prop have long been a part of the publishing process. It’s here to stay. So long as publishers stick to their ideals — whatever they may be — and are true to their audience, we can live with that. But as soon as the feeling creeps in that the publishers are being bought-and-paid for to become part of a larger political machine, it becomes far more troubling. All all too often it seems publishers are creeping closer and closer to that line.
So tell us, what do you thing: what role should publishers play in political activism?