A Two Year Experiment
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Publishing a revisionist periodical with scholarly ambitions is not exactly what can be called a profitable enterprise. Not only that there aren’t too many people who appreciate dissenting views on politically relevant topics of recent history, but also because scholarly literature simply isn’t meant to be absorbed by a mass market. It is reserved for people with an interest in special topics who are educated well over the average. The current print run of this magazine – a mere 500 copies per issue – is not only a result of this, but also a result of the fact that I seem to be unable to get the message out that this periodical actually exists. There is a strange silence out there about it. Many individuals and entities whom we would consider to be interested in revisionism and in a revisionist magazine flourishing, actually do the exact opposite: they obscure its existence from the world. Is it because they fear a competitor? Or is it simply thoughtlessness or carelessness?
In other words: The Revisionist is not only making no money, it is actually a huge financial loss. The time spent to put it together can never be covered by the subscription price. So why bother?
That kind of reasoning is exactly why Mark Weber, director of the Institute for Historical Review and editor of the suspended Journal of Historical Review, indicated in early January 2005 in a private conversation that he has no intention of resurrecting the Journal. After it had dropped below the mark of 200 subscribers in 2002, it would now probably be hard pressed to find 100 readers.
I started The Revisionist in 2003, because around that time Mark Weber made it clear by his inactivity that the Journal of Historical Review would cease to exist. At that time he claimed that it was only “temporarily suspended,” but I then assumed that this was its demise, and rightly so, as it appears now.
Can historical revisionism exist without a reputable periodical where the most important scholarly works appear or are at least announced, and where the theories of its opponents can be analyzed and refuted? Perhaps it can, but it sure would live a life in the catacombs of society, without a voice anybody would be able to hear and to take seriously. And this should be avoided as long as we all can.
This is not just a matter of status and reputation, but it is also a matter of survival. As all social groups, revisionism as well can survive and prosper only if we can prove to the public that we have a good cause. Our survival requires that we attract at least as many new customers, supporters, volunteers, scholars, and writers, as we unavoidably lose when our aged friends pass away. A periodical is vital to show vitality, it is pivotal to show academic competence, and it is central to bringing the most recent scholarly news about our ongoing research and revelations about censorship against dissenters out into the world. Somebody has to do it.
I dreaded the moment in late 2002 when I saw that nobody else would do it, so I had to do it. I knew I would have to spend uncounted weeks and large amounts of money to produce something that was a little out of my reach: Not only am I not a native English speaker, but I am basically also only a one-man company that would be trying to publish two periodicals at once (The Revisionist also appears in the German language – since 1997!), and on top of it to publish an ambitious series of groundbreaking books in both German and English. Anyone out there wanting to do that all by him-/herself? Just you and nobody else?
The way to handle this is by asking for help. There would be no Revisionist without numerous volunteers doing most of their work completely free of charge: translators, editors, proofreaders... This magazine exists because it is partly produced by some of its readers. It is a community project. I need to emphasize this here, because I want to bring a message home: The Revisionist is not a service enterprise like most mainstream magazines: pay me a few bucks a month, and I will entertain or teach you. Resulting from that is an attitude of expectation, of entitlement that the customer has toward such “normal” periodicals. It would not work with The Revisionist. It exists, because I sacrifice lots of my scarce resources, and because many helpers have decided to follow my example.
Hence, whenever I receive a letter by anyone suggesting that The Revisionist should feature this or that, or that revisionist should do research into these and those topics, my response to this is simple: if you want to see certain topics covered or certain issues research, do it! The Revisionist is a magazine that WE ALL create together. Most, if not all of us, are or have been, at some point in time, amateur researchers, hobby historians, lay-writers. We all grew because nobody else did it for us, so we had to do it ourselves. And that is also the only way, revisionism can get back on its feet: Do it yourself! I do, what I can, and that is something we all should do.
Imagine that I would disappear tomorrow, and with me all that I created. The Revisionist would disappear. The scholarly book series Holocaust Handbooks would cease to exist. The world’s largest revisionist website would be erased. And the same would happen to my German language part of my activities.
The fact is that the U.S. authorities plan exactly that to happen. When I entered the United States back in 2000, I applied for political asylum, because the German government seeks to imprison me for many years. The reason for their attempt to stifle me is my scholarly research and publications, similar in kind that you now hold in your hands and as it is advertised for in the back of this issue.
In November 2004, the Board of Appeal of the U.S. immigration services decided that my application was “frivolous,” that is: deceitful. The strange thing is that they have no evidence to support this claim, which is probably why this accusation appeared only in the written verdict: they did not want to give me a chance of defense. As a result, they want to deport me in handcuffs to a German dungeon (For more about my case, see online: www.germarrudolf.com).
I have filed an appeal with a U.S. federal court to overturn that decision. If justice prevails, they will have to overturn this decision, because not giving a defendant the right of defense is a massive violation of due process. But if justice always prevailed, there would not have been a need to apply for political asylum in the U.S. in the first place. So there is a chance that this move will fail. My lawyer says that it is unlikely to fail, but I have seen water flowing up the hill and horses vomiting, as we Germans say. So I need to be prepared for the worst. And what then?
In November of last year, I decided that I have to build my activities in a way that all the revisionist things I created do NOT disappear when I do. My company needs to have other skillful activists firmly involved who can carry on the legacy. My website must be taken over by people I can trust. And this magazine that you are holding in your hand ought to be produced by capable individuals who know what they are doing, by people who are willing to step up to the duty and sacrifice some of their time and money in order to give an alternative view on history a chance.
When I started reorganizing my activities end of last year, I also changed the priorities of what needs to be accomplished first. Producing this issue of The Revisionist, however, was not the top ranking item on my list. The leading items were self-preservation and preservation of my revisionist work. Next came the accelerated publishing of a number of revisionist books carrying important new research results and other important material. These books will be coming out during the first half of this year, both in German and in English.
Now that all these tasks have either been solved or are well in progress, I can again devote some of my time to this prestige object of mine, the perfect waste of time: producing an intellectual flagship of revisionism. I hope that you understand and accept my explanation for the delay of this issue. But I also hope that you will understand this as a “call to arms” to get involved in this struggle, which we can win only if we do not allow ourselves to be mere spectators in our armchairs and Lazyboys.
Two years have passed since I started The Revisionist. I knew that I would be utterly unable to continue this project, if I would not get massive help from the revisionist community, to which I count each and every one of my loyal customers.
After two years, I may express my gratitude, also on your behalf, to those who did help in many ways, be it as volunteers by getting the work done, or by assisting financially.
Now we have reached another limit, which requires even more cooperation between us. We have to make revisionism watertight against the onslaught of the eternal enemy of free speech. We have to make it capable of surviving in good shape in case I go down.
But we also have to enable it to survive vividly in case I manage to get permanent residence in the U.S., because in future I will have to share my duties as a revisionist with my new upcoming duties as a father. Considering both my legal and financial insecure situation, I cannot ask my wife to give up her career to become a stay-at-home mom. Hence, this will be my new spot. This means that starting in late summer of this year, I will have only a fraction of the time to spend on revisionism compared to what I was able to invest during the last eight years.
The good news is that I found already one person who is willing to help as much as he can. Yet one person is not enough. A friend once said that I am doing the work of four. Perhaps he was exaggerating, but it is true that I dedicated almost all of my spare time to revisionism in the past, that I had reached an incredible efficiency by pushing computers and software to their limits. I have therefore developed a high degree of professionalism in what is correctly labeled “home publishing,” where most people can do it only as a hobby or as a side-job. So once I have to take care of my child, who is due end of February 2005, one person will simply not be enough.
If you think you can make a real contribution, either by giving some of your time or of your money on a regular and reliable basis to this cause, not only I, but the entire revisionist community would be really grateful.
Think about it, and contact us at the addresses given in the imprint of this issue.
Additional information about this document
|Title:||A Two Year Experiment|
|Sources:||The Revisionist 2(4) (2004), pp. 362f.|
|First posted on CODOH:||July 20, 2012, 7 p.m.|