Today marks another milestone in the continued evolution of the Ghion Journal. A venture that was non-existent on December 26th, 2016 has morphed from a dream into a viable news source. Though the challenges are many ahead of us, least of which is building a robust stream of income that will sustain our continued growth, we have nonetheless created a niche in a media industry dominated by money and “star” personalities. Ever since my closest of friends advised me to start writing on my own website instead of writing on Facebook, this experiment of building a platform that gives voice to the people independent from corporatism has taken off in ways that astounds me when I reflect on the trajectory of the Ghion Journal.
On this, milestone 9, an occasion that should call for celebration has led me down a path of contemplation. I have come a long way from last year, when the thought of selling my writing sent me into a state of repulsion. I loathed the thought of turning my book into a business so much that I bought the few books I could buy and gave them away for free as I could. But reality began to set in, if I am to use my ability to write for a bigger purpose than giving away a few books, I had to bend to the reality of this world. Yet, this aversion to monetizing my pen and pivoting to corporatism was still something I could not accept. I saw one too many victims of our system of corporate greed and systematic greed while living in shelters and mission to go back to the well of corporatism to sustain the Ghion Journal.
It is for that reason above all that I refuse to take money from corporations and why I don’t charge for ad space. How can I write against the evils of Wall Street only to turn around and accept their “kindness”. Moreover, I know the vices that comes along with giving your soul to corporations. When companies like Starbucks or Wells Fargo “invests” in ad space, what they are really doing is buying the silence and compliance of media companies. Think the Washington Post is willing to lose millions in ad revenue from Wall Street by speaking the truth about the evils of companies like Walmart and Monsanto? Of course not, corporations choose profit over virtue at all times; the coercive and corrosive influence corporate money has on companies, politics and humans as a whole should never be underestimated.
I believe that there is another way for a media company to thrive and yet remain true to the principles of journalism. After much deliberation, I arrived at a place of comfort in terms of expanding our footprint. Instead of taking corporate money to sustain the Ghion Journal and amplify our reach, I chose to follow the footsteps of the FoCo Cafe in Fort Collins Colorado (read more about FoCo Cafe here). Instead of being dependent on corporate bribes (corporate ads), I decided to cast my lot with the souls of fellow thinkers and idealists. The same way FoCo Cafe doesn’t charge a fixed price, I made the decision to give free ad space to companies that can meet certain requirements (not being a Wall Street corporation chief among them) and then let them contribute to the Ghion Journal as they are able (click on the picture below to find out more about this initiative).Today’s announcement, Milestone 9 as we are calling it, is the continuation of this decision. After getting advice to offer Ghion Journal merchandise on the website, an advice I initially resisted, I decided to take my friend’s counsel. While the nature of merchandising precludes us from letting people pay as they are able and we instead have to charge a fixed price, this is nonetheless a way for the Ghion Journal to continue being powered by people instead of corporate interests. Moreover, offering Ghion merchandise allows us to enhance the relationship with our readers and serves to expand our reach. Marketing is an essential part of any message; this is our aim to continue marketing our ideas to new audiences.
Yet, as I announce this milestone, there is a part of me that nonetheless grows apprehensive. I have seen one too many people claim to be for the people only to turn a cause into a cash cow for themselves. In fact, the “pundits” I deride in a lot of my articles are those who have turned grievance peddling into a personal enterprise. The question begs to be asked. Am I turning a crusade against grievance peddling into my own enterprise? This seems like a ridiculous assertion to make seeing that the contributions that we are getting is not even enough to pay overhead. Yet, I know what success does. The same people who were once idealists wanting to take on the “system” got corrupted by the system. Money and fame are the twin kisses of Satan.
These reflections I hope is what will keep us true to the message as the Ghion Journal continues to grow. It is easy to be an idealist when one has little—the test comes when one finds success. Will I continue to speak against the excesses of the system if Ghion Journal grows from an afterthought into a viable and powerful voice? After all, Google’s motto—when they first launched the company—was “do no evil”. This was a shot across the bow of Microsoft who back then was the giant on the block. Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, wanted to create a company that could dominate the search market yet retain their crusade to do good. Mission accomplished. Google is now a dominant company—but they became the very evil they once stood against. Google is now the new Goliath that use their size and scope to game the system to gain advantage, allow governments to squelch personal privacy and use predatory capitalism that they once hated when Microsoft was committing those sins. Size of wealth and scale of power corrupts all souls.
It seems trivial to ponder these things during the launch of a new initiative doesn’t it? But this is why our readers love us I believe. It is good to continuously inspect our intentions and to reflect on our way forward from a personal or a business level. None among us is resistant to the seduction of fame and money—no one is a saint in this world. As I acknowledge this things, I am nonetheless grateful. We have coalesced a core group of readers and viewers at the Ghion Journal who are able to think critically and assess this world apart from the blinders and dogma that are imposed upon us. Ghion Journal is a gathering place for thinkers; you can now proudly wear this label and tell others about us in the process.There is another lesson I’m hoping to pass on to others in this journey I’ve traveled. We live in an age of endless protest and external outrage, yet we can do more to alleviate our misfortunes and lighten our burdens as a society if we put more focus on empowering our communities instead of feeding the wolves on Wall Street. If we reinvest in each other, do more to empower local entrepreneurs and shop within our communities, the cascade effect would be truly revolutionary. Corporations are cancers; they will never change because the system demands of “public companies” continuous growth and continual transfer of wealth from the bottom 99% to the oligarchy who thrive on our backs. The only way we can change this paradigm is to build up wealth within our communities and then let that communal wealth benefit others. Reinvestment and empowering each other is an imperative in this context.
Thank you for everyone who continues to tell our stories and pass on Ghion Journal articles to others. The roadblocks put before independent voices by corporate media and government obstruction are one too many to count. We live in an age of censorship by subterfuge where media giants are using their weight, influence and technology to silence divergent voices. Companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter and other social media corporations are using algorithms to narrow the public square and to effectively sanitize the airwaves of people who do not toe the corporate line. The only way to overcome this level of systematic media purification is by every day people passing sources of information that the elites call “fake news” but what rational people call speaking truth to power. We depend on people like you to keep pushing the articles you read here to others. A media powered by people and veracity can stand toe to toe with mutli-billion dollar “news” corporations—this is the audacity of truth.
Ghion Merchandise is available at www.ghionmarket.com (or click on picture above) where t-shirts, phone covers, coffee mugs and other accessories are available. It’s on a separate domain for the time being because we have not been able to figure out a way to incorporate the commerce website into the existing website—part of the challenges of being a small busienss is having to learn as we grow. The website can be accessed by clicking on the Ghion Market tab in the menu bar or by scrolling down to the ad space on the right hand margin of the website on desktop version or all the way to the bottom on mobile version and clicking on the “Ghion Market” t-shirt ad space. Thank you for your continued readership and support, big movements are born through audacious dreams. #GhionMilestone9
“The people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” ~ Steve Jobs
This video below is a more expansive explanation of the model being implemented to further the mission of the Ghion Journal. There is a way to do good in this world without reverting to greed and profiteering. Here is to praying I never stray from this belief and that this model, inspired by the FoCo Cafe, is a counter to the gluttony of corporatism.
Mangled roots and warped branches yet these things bear fruit::
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.