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Introduction to 'What is Left?'

The existence of the Bad Subjects Collective is a slap in the face of cynical individualism.
Steven Rubio

Issue #14, May 1994

In Issue #7 of Bad Subjects (September 1993), the 'Manifesto for Bad Subjects' first appeared in print. The conclusion of that piece, which is reprinted in this issue, reads:

We at Bad Subjects look forward to the day when we will all work together to make our world better. Until then, we offer you Bad Subjects as our example of utopian work freely given, and invite you to build a new future along with us.

It has been my pleasure to be associated with Bad Subjects since Issue #2, when my essay 'Dan Quayle Was Right' appeared alongside essays on Bill Clinton, who was then still a candidate, not a president. From the start I was drawn to the utopian vision which has always fueled Bad Subjects; as someone with perhaps more pessimistic bile than is useful, I found Bad Subjects the journal provided, and still provides, an alternative to what the manifesto refers to as 'cynical leftism.'

Equally important to a cynical leftist like myself was the opportunity to associate with the Bad Subjects Collective. The sense of community offered by the collective is inspiring; as much as the journal itself, the existence of the Collective is a slap in the face of cynical individualism. I consider my participation in the Bad Subjects Collective to be among the most satisfying achievements of my life in the 90s.

This issue, which asks the question 'What is Left?', has been in the making for almost a year. In a broader sense, though, it has been in the making since the first issue of Bad Subjects appeared in September of 1992. Everyone connected with Bad Subjects remains both proud and a little astonished at what has been accomplished since that first issue. Our readership is now worldwide; we can hopefully be forgiven for thinking we have also had at least a small influence on that world.

Bad Subjects is many things: it is a journal, it is a collective, it is an electronic mailing list, it is a way of looking at the world we live in. And it is an 'example of utopian work freely given.' Once more, we invite you to build a new future along with us, reminding all who would join us that in a utopia, the possibilities are limitless.

1993 — 1994

Ron Alcalay, Charlie Bertsch, John Brady, Ann Marie Caffrey, Carlos Camargo, Catherine Hollis, Josh Kun, Annalee Newitz, Steven Rubio, Jillian Sandell, Joe Sartelle, Geoff Sauer, Joel Schalit, Karin Swann.

Chief of Operations: Joe Sartelle

Copyright © 1994 by Steven Rubio. All rights reserved.