Summer is near its end, school is starting up, and the Book Project is in a crucial phase. I have recently been engorged in extensive research, prepping myself for this current portion of writing. I am determined to bring out something worthy of all the generous support I have been given thus far, and again I need to beseech my kind readers for their support. So if possible, please consider a donation to The People’s Book Project.
One aspect with which I have been attempting to take particular care for is in “concision”: in condensing and thoughtfully, yet logically weaving together a great deal of information in a coherent and readable manner. Thus, I am undertaking an experiment, and a true test for myself, but one which could yield benefits, I am sure. Longtime readers of my work know that words such as “short,” and “concise” do not easily lend themselves as descriptions to my writing style, and indeed, the voluminous research I have compiled (totaling roughly 1,300 pages thus far) is indeed a testament to that. Yet, it is from this mass of research that I am hoping to draw out the facts and pieces of information and to weave it into a commentary. It is a challenge for me to say the least, but luckily for me, and for my readers and supporters, the majority of the research for this volume has been undertaken, and now it is a matter of making it coherent and adding my own voice and analysis.
My true objective is to produce a book which is readable by any and all, understandable, approachable and, in a sense, simple. I am writing this not for academics or “experts,” but for people. I want to contribute something which in turn can contribute – in its own way – to empowering individuals and people: People Power. This is, after all, the PEOPLE’S Book Project, and I take the name seriously. The experience of research and writing up to the present day, almost a year into the Project, has been, I must admit, extremely challenging. The work, research and writing itself has been personally rewarding and enlightening, and has only spurred on my stubborn will to see this through to the end; but the experience of attempting to dedicate all my time and efforts, to leave my previous job and rely upon donations, and, in short, to become more personally acquainted with the reality of so many people in this world, even if a dampened Western pseudo-middle class version of poverty, has been quite the experience: often frustrating, painful, excessively stressful, but also, I realize, important and necessary. It does indeed change ones own perspective when writing about poverty, debt, or vanishing middle classes if one is existing within that reality.
I look around myself, at friends, family, and compatriots – at my generation – and I see so many people struggling, in debt, being pushed into poverty, a poverty which is light compared to most of the world, but which nonetheless has those within it unsure of where their next meal will come from, if they will be able to pay their rent next month, to have to decide which bills they will pay this month, if any, etc. One thing I have learned is that poverty is too damned expensive. I have been incredibly lucky in my life. I was born white and male and in a Western society to a middle class family. Thus, I was born into a privilege unknown to the vast majority of the world’s people. With privilege, comes responsibility. While the debt-based facade of my middle-class upbringing came crumbling down many years ago, I still had and have more opportunities than most people. I have made the difficult choice, however, of choosing an independent path, of not seeking to join any one organization, to submit my intellectual curiosity to the direction of any other institution or individual, but to let it discover itself in its own way. That independence of thought and direction has been entirely – and only – made possible by the generosity of you readers and supporters.
There were times where friends suggested I seek a grant from a foundation, to which I explained the central problem, much of my research and writing is highly critical of foundations: “Dear Rockefeller Foundation, I would like to request money from you to expose your role in social engineering and social control, to keep the population under control and the elite in power. I will accept cash. Thank you.” Yeah, a slight problem there.
So, I have attempted crowdfunding. It has gotten me to where I am, which is no small matter. It has allowed me to produce the work I have produced, which again, is no small matter. But it constantly has me asking for money from people, and often, it is the same extremely generous individuals who consistently provide funds to me (especially when needed most, like guardian angels coming to the rescue, allowing me to continue to do this work). I have attempted various other methods and approaches to fundraising, most of which have been abysmal failures, but you can’t fail if you don’t try. So try I must. I think the greatest frustration in terms of fundraising is the amount of time spent on it, taking away from work on the actual book, but alas, tis necessary.
So, while I [again] ask for donations, I would just on a personal note, like to thank not simply donors, but supporters, readers, well-wishers, and indeed, many of you whom I now consider to be friends, even though we may have never met. This past year has been one of immense productivity, growth, struggle, pain, frustration, humbling realities, intellectual growth, inspiration, hope, at times – desperation, at others – rejuvenation; but altogether, I remain increasingly determined. I admit to be stubborn, and when it comes to my own work, an imperfect perfectionist, perpetually unsatisfied with what I have done and am doing or how I am doing it, and how fast it is getting done. The one benefit of this is that the end product(s) will have to pass my own test: I simply refuse to produce something short and simple and short-sighted, which I can scarcely be proud of. So this volume is one which I will be proud of, and which I hope those who have supported me, and continue to support me, will also be proud to know that they have made it possible. So my sincere thanks to everyone who has helped me along this path, I truly would not be here without all of you, and it means the world to me.
What I am doing, and have been doing this past year, would simply not have been possible even 20 years ago, and I think that’s pretty incredible. I would just like to also apologize to subjecting you readers and supporters to the endlessly neurotic, frustrating, unstable and annoying tumult of a young writer’s mind. As I am sure many would be impatient with this Project by now, frustrated by its seeming lack of development, just know that no one is more impatient or frustrated than I… or perhaps my close personal friends who have to be subjected to the incessant ravings and rantings of a mind in continuous transition (and to whom I am most grateful for putting up with me, you know who you are!). I do not explain all of this to gain sympathy or pity or what have you, but because I ask so much of you, it seems only fair that I am honest and open with you in turn. I am young, I am still learning and still finding my way and charting my own path, I am stubborn and determined and dedicated and perhaps a little nuts at times, naive, frustrating, but alas, this book has essentially become my life this past year, and I have put not simply time and energy, but my whole heart and will into it. I have lost some things along the way, like financial security (or stability, even), but I do not regret my decisions. I am here because this is where I am meant to be. So I am as sure of anything as I am of the fact that the book that will be produced is exactly the book I will have intended it to be.
So I now again, humbly and hopefully, ask you to help me get that to be a reality.
Thank you, all.
Andrew Gavin Marshall