The Shadow, Reanimated

Last year, at the Tompkins Square Park 25th Police-Riot Reunion, it was announced that The Shadow was going back into print. The Shadow was a monthly, anarchist newspaper that started in 1989. It was an interesting paper, during an interesting time. I don’t remember it in great detail, but I remember that my favorite section was Cop Watch, where people reported on the activities of cops in the neighborhood. I also remember that they advertised the sale of the encryption program PGP for $10, even though the download from MIT was free.

If you want to get an idea of what it was like, check out their archives on the Wayback Machine. Unfortunately, it only starts in 1997 (the Wayback Archive started in 1996), but you’ll get a good idea of what the paper was like, especially compared with today.

The key thing is that it was more of a real newspaper. They still borrowed (liberated?) other people’s writing, but there was much more of their own. Today, it’s almost all borrowed. It’s basically a printed version of a Google search for, let’s say, “conspiracy theories.”

Their first re-issue features a piece written by Michael Parenti in 1996 (!), about the Kennedy assassination conspiracy (Yawn); an obituary of Mae Brussell (a conspiracy-monger who died in 1988) taken from a 1994 book by Paul Krassner; a review of a Kennedy-conspiracy book written in 2012; a Kennedy-conspiracy article; another Kennedy-conspiracy article…

Apart from the conspiracy nonsense, none of the articles are particularly bad, they’re just not news. For that matter, they’re not even new. There’s a long (of course) article about Bill de Blasio and Hillary Clinton that tries to be “local”:

In his 2000 book Rogue State, anti war writer William Blum indicated some of the reasons the husband of Hillary Clinton was considered responsible for war crimes by many anti war activists on the Lower East Side in 1999…

Their editorial headline is “The Honeymoon is Over: America Grows Weary of Barack Obama”. I have to wonder, as anarchists, was there ever a honeymoon period? This was written by A. Kronstadt, a pen-name used back in the 90s also, but who knows if it’s the same person?

They’ve dropped the banner “The Shadow is New York’s ONLY underground newspaper” from the paper itself, but they’ve added it to their Facebook page. Maybe the claim should be “The Shadow is Facebook’s only underground Facebook page!”

The Spring 2014 issue is better only because it’s not filled with Kennedy-conspiracy drivel. There’s another long article on Bill de Blasio and Hillary Clinton, an obituary of Al Goldstein, who died in 2013, and a lot of other non-news articles.

Probably the worst thing about The Shadow today is that I now have to pay $1.00 for a copy! Back when it was worth reading, it was free. Now that it’s all recycled internet articles, I have to pay for it. It’s not really worth it.

Finally, here is a screen shot of their web page:


Who knows what evil lurks in your closet? The Shadow knows!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Chris Flash
    Nov 22, 2014 @ 19:02:09

    A measure of a community newspaper is the public’s willingness to BUY it. A dollar for a 24 page newspaper is a good deal (less than a nickel a page) + it enables The SHADOW to be provided FREE to those who want it but cannot afford it..


    • Quilas
      Nov 22, 2014 @ 23:55:09

      I agree people who support it should be willing to pay a reasonable price for it. I paid for two copies, after all. It’s just, as I said, if it’s going to be a collection of internet articles, it might not be worth the $1.00.

      One idea is to investigate local ties to fascist groups in Ukraine!


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