Oh looky here, what do you know…From an article titled Scabs: Academics and Others Who Write for Free by Yasmin Nair.
I want to return to a thread I introduced in that earlier piece with much greater force: That those who write for free or very little simply because they can afford to are scabs. This would include not just academics with tenured or tenure-track positions, but adjuncts, professionals (like paid activists and organisers), as well as, really, just about anyone who writes for places like Guernica, The Huffington Post,open Democracy.net, and The Rumpus (and this is a very, very tiny list).*
Guernica and openDemocracy are both 501(c)3s. Where, in the case of the former, does that money go if they’re not paying for writers like Tariq Ali, and guest editors like Clair Messud? Their labour is provided gratis, as a symbol of their entrance into the upper echelons of the writing world.
OpenDemocracy’s funders include The Open Society, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Tides Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Apparently, not one of these highly reputable funders thinks it’s a problem that a publishing organisation asks for money but can’t be bothered to even pay the writers without whom it simply would not exist.
Well, fortunately, it turns out I’m not a scab, because I refused to treat the article I wrote at their request for free as a “draft” and their “editorial suggestions” as commands I had to obey despite not working for them and not being, you know, paid. I gather that means they won’t be publishing it, although I don’t know for sure, because they didn’t reply to my reply.
Which itself is interesting. Not only do they not pay despite all those funders, they’re fucking rude besides. I suspect that the fact that they don’t pay causes them (ah this is so obvious) to view writers with contempt. “We don’t even pay you, you’re not even worth being paid, so why the hell should we be minimally polite? Why should we answer your outrageous email in which you dare to refuse to do any more work for zero dollars? Who do you think you are? Out of our sight, peasant.”
I might as well share my reply with you.
No, sorry. Way too much additional work for an unpaid article. In any case I’m not interested in writing to someone else’s recipe; I don’t see the point. I tried to make it approximately what you asked for, but if you want something that specific and tailored…I don’t see why you don’t just use an algorithm. I don’t see the point of soliciting writers because you like their work and then trying to make them follow your particular recipe.
If I’d known about the funding from The Open Society, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Tides Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and apparently others, I would have been much much ruder.