Welcome to Discourse Blog. Again!
I wrote those same words about 18 months ago, just after we left Substack and moved to a website of our own. Now I am writing them once more to mark our return to Substack. That’s right: we’ve gone back to where this whole thing began! Or, as Katherine put it, “Back, Back In the Substack Groove.” (Though then she added “lol/kind of,” so maybe she wants to pick a different song now?? I thought it was good anyway.)
If you’ve never heard of us before, hi! We’re Discourse Blog, a worker-owned, independent collective news and culture site. We write a lot about political movements, uprisings, the woeful Democratic establishment, the conservative death cult, bad journalism, bad bosses, workers, online nonsense, and really whatever else crosses our minds. (We recently did over 1,000 words on a very large bear—a surprisingly profound topic!) Oh, and birds, we are hardcore all about birds. We are also hardcore all about not having any corporate bosses interfering with our work.
If you have heard of us, or are a subscriber, first of all, thank you so, so, so much for sticking with us! (And please pardon our dust as we iron out the finer points of our latest move.) And second, if you’re thinking that this seems like a lot of times for one small group of people to change things up, well, I wouldn’t disagree with you. But let me (briefly, I promise!!!) explain what’s behind this latest move.
Obviously, when we left Substack for Lede back in October of 2020, we intended to stay there. The opportunity to build a new, independent website from the ground up was one we couldn’t let pass us by. We’re very proud of what we created with Lede, which is run by a group of talented and kind people who we’ve been fortunate to work with. But things have changed for us. Maintaining the site and its myriad operations, posting blogs every single day, running our newsletters, juggling Discourse Blog with our other responsibilities, all while trying to keep our collective sanity amid the maelstrom of the past 18 months—have you heard it’s been a little intense out there recently?—well, to put a long story short, it all became a bit much.
Of equal importance is the fact that our group is getting a little smaller. Aleks Chan and Paul Blest are sadly moving on from Discourse Blog in order to focus on their full-time jobs. To say we will miss them is putting it mildly. Our experience together over the past few years, which culminated in the creation of Discourse Blog, has bonded us all more deeply than we can express.
Taken together, these two realities have combined to point in a clear direction for Discourse Blog: the need to get back to basics and streamline everything about our operation, so that nothing gets in the way of our singular focus—the work we do for you. We want the fewest barriers possible between you and that work. Nothing matters more. At our heart, we’re just bloggers who want to blog! And also for you to like the blogs.
That’s where Substack comes in. We think it’s the perfect fit for where we are in this stage of our development: a platform that works out of the box and takes care of all the extra stuff so that we can concentrate on giving you the best possible blogs, and features, and random rants, and flights of fancy, and all of the other things that have led so many of you to subscribe. (Which, I know I said thanks before, but really: thank you, thank you, thank you.) It also has the added bonus of bringing us even closer to our comrades in the Discontents collective. All of this has the same goal behind it: to serve you, our readers, better than we ever have.
About those subscriptions…here is the point where I have to get a little administrative and bureaucratic. (I swear this won’t take long.) First, if you’ve subscribed to us already, don’t worry about a thing. Your account is secure, your subscription is safe, and you don’t have to do anything to continue getting our work. (If anything, it will hopefully be a little easier!) You got our newsletter on Friday and you’re getting this email today. Going forward, it’s back to how it was: each of our posts will land in your inbox. It’s really as simple as that. If you have any trouble with anything, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Substack has fewer subscription tiers available to us, so we’ve pared down to two big categories: one $8 monthly option and one $80 annual option. (There’s also a $100 option if you want to kick us a few extra dollars out of the goodness of your heart!) If you were a monthly subscriber before, you’ll still be a monthly subscriber now, and the same goes for annual subscribers. (Your plan automatically will switch into one of these two existing options at the start of your next billing period.) And everyone now gets the same benefits when you subscribe. It’s simple, straightforward, and easy—exactly the kind of thing we came back to Substack for. If you want to subscribe just from reading this post, well, I won’t stop you.
Ease of use, peace of mind, a relentless focus on you and our work—all of that is why you find us back here. More broadly, we are here because we still have work to do, and things to say. We are here because our commitment to building strong independent media is undimmed. We’re here because the freedom we have on Discourse Blog to bring you the world as we see it, to unabashedly advocate for a more humane and caring society, to stand in solidarity with everyone fighting the good fight and stand just as firmly against the enemies of that fight, and to do it all with humor and joy, is something we cherish and want to nurture for as long as you’ll have us. So please stick around—we’re really excited about what’s to come.