Tuesday 12 July 2022

Meet LIBERTARIA, our publishing venture


Looking back looks like it was a lifetime ago that we launched Libertaria as a meagre Left Libertarian inspired Democratic Socialist journal, and the nuisance it was for those that read met us that we insisted on labelling ourselves as Anarchists in the tradition of the 1875 Portuguese Socialist Party founded by Jose Fontana, Azedo Gneco, Jose Correia Nobre Franca and Jose Tedeschi and trying to bring back the legacy that the Socialist Party claimed as its own back in 1975, when Self-management was still in order and Libertarian Socialism was an active force within it.

With a steady pace we seduced new writers, already idealizing the Socialist Library book collection that stubbornly refused to rise to the daylight, gathering frustration until we arrived at the conclusion that there was an urge to create something new within the Portuguese book publishing market, a new label admittedly politicized in this age of apolitical cowardice that published not only the classic works of Libertarian Socialism but also the founding authors of Democratic Socialism and Social-Democracy that even 50 years since the restauration of democracy in 1974 are yet to be translated and published in Portugal or have long been out of print, circling on a strict circuit of collectors. And no, we are no longer a project just within the Socialist Party. 

Crowdfunding and voluntarism 

Of course, living in the peak of the current Capitalist triumphant Dystopia, that is starting to give away all the signs of jolly heading into a new form of open Authoritarianism with little or anecdotic opposition, it would not be possible to launch a new publishing label without funding. Making use of the impetus created with the crowdfunding we organized for the printing of the 4th issue of Libertaria, the journal, we thought the time was right. Some of us donated their Christmas and Vacations bonuses, others donated what they could, and others still (very few) joined our Patreon, enough so that in February 2022 we started our publishing activities, discreetly subversive. 

Translators, proof-readers, graphic designers and even writers are all collaborating with this project, in the sense that we have a horizontal structure, and they can equally intervene and have a word on where we are heading, not in the Capitalist euphemism that uses the term collaborator just to avoid voicing the words workers, proletariat and precariat. None of us takes a wage home, the objective being that in 2022 Libertaria must become viable as a self-sufficient editorial project, meaning the books we print will end up being paid through its own sales before we run out of money.

Copyleft books that won’t go out of print

It is our intention that our books are published under a Creative Commons Share Alike CC BY-SA 4.0 licence, allowing reprints since the authors and the publisher (Libertaria.pt) are given credit and the integrity of the full texts or quoted parts is respected. You read it right, unlike what is common in the market mentality of the book publishing business we allow our readers to freely copy our books. With the exception that our published authors, the ones that are still alive that is, have the final word.

Being perfectly aware that publishing labels are given birth, live and die out, we believe that making our books and journals public domain right from the start is the best way to guarantee that they will outlive us, be it in the Limbo of the Internet or through the good will and voluntarism of others that might wish to republish them when we are no longer active. Besides that, and refusing the elitism of limited print runs aimed at collectors, usually being bought by the same bunch of people, we are trying to make the best of the print on demand technology to upscale or downsize the print runs according to how bad (or good) is the demand. In the same logic we want to reach the largest audience possible among the common folks, so besides our own online store we will be available on the three major online book outlets in Portugal, FNAC, Wook and Bertrand.

Were not for the exception above mentioned with the clear intention of proselytizing and make our ideas and authors know amongst people that are already trained and conditioned to look for their books in these platforms, we would gladly only be available for purchase in independent bookstores. We figured that at this stage a dozen would suffice due to logistics and trying not to strict ourselves to Lisbon and Oporto, we aim to have our books on at least one independent bookstore per district up to February 2023.

You can see here the addresses of the bookstores that were willing to sell our books, being a publishing business far from the ordinary they well deserve your support.

Escape to the country side and self-sufficiency

Born in Amadora, proletarian town on the outskirts of Lisbon, Libertaria aims at becoming self-sufficient at the tiny plot of land we bough in Santarem and we are building most of the infrastructure ourselves. We want to turn it into our office, our warehouse, our garden, and household. It’s an ambitious and painfully slow, and bureaucratic hard process, but living off the grid is becoming quite common in Portugal, mostly due to foreigners moving here from the USA, Israel, the UK and The European Union and for some of us it also become a life goal.

The journal and the website

The periodicity of Libertaria, the journal, as a print magazine has been erratic to say the least, since it has been published on the rhythm that the authors see fit to send us papers, my time to proofread it and the free time of Jorge Matias to graphic design it. Under the current restructuring not much will change, the printed journal is an obsolete model that ends up being a treat to our authors and supporters and very few sells, we are thinking it would be best to turn it into a digital publication or turning the website into a publication itself, as we don’t want it to be just a static website for the label.

Going professional as a co-op

Of course, if in 2022 we are jolly to work as volunteers to make sure this project is viable giving it an initial push, the main goal is to become a cooperative business turning us into paid workers somewhere in 2023 or as late as 2024. We no longer believe in the possibility of changing the system, but it’s possible for us to live outside of it and of its logic. 

We will be publishing unsalable books written by dodgy authors that are mostly avoided by the mainstream, so we intend to be the first Portuguese publishing label sponsored/crowdfunded in full by its readers.

Any alternative or mainstream news media can satiate its curiosity contacting us through libertariapt@gmail.com, we love written interviews and it you throw in some wine and cocktails we might even accept to be guests on your podcasts.

Do you like what we are doing? Buy our books and journals or join our Patreon, 2€ make all the difference in the world!


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