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From the Shelf Mole in a Mess

By Robert M. Krim

The goals of a revolutionary newspaper are different from those of other papers. In reporting news, it aims at mobilizing its readers towards the newspaper's revolutionary ends. The revolutionary newspaper believes that by exposing the real structure of American society, it will bring the people to see revolution as the way to change reality.

The revolutionary newspaper also exists to educate those already waging the struggle, as a forum for the viewpoints of the factions or as a magnet for one point of view within the revolutionary segment of the population.

There are pitfalls. The newspaper can easily become a propaganda tool, tailoring facts to its own ends or giving play to only one ideology. This only leads in the end to a struggle based on misconception. Thus, the newspaper becomes counter-revolutionary, since only awareness of political reality will bring about revolution.

The Old Mole has been publishing fairly regularly for the past year. The Movement has changed during that time and the Mole is now caught in the factional dilemma of SDS which could lead to the newspaper's decline. The ideological splits within SDS and within the various wings-Worker-Student Alliance, Revolutionary Youth Movement H, and Weatherman-are far deeper now than last fall when the Mole first appeared.

A year ago the Mole brought a welcome change for the Boston Movement. It offered hard news from a radical and revolutionary viewpoint about the Boston community instead of the lifestyle incantations of the Avatar's godly Mel Lyman. Compared with the hippie radical press around the nation, the Mole of a year ago would still be a vast improvement. In Washington, D. C. the Free Press and the Quicksilver Times still fill their pages with full page pictures of nude couples and psychedelic judges. It is not the kind of information on which a university strike could be waged, much less the revolution they say they advocate.

The Mole's news coverage of radical activities in Boston during the past year has been good. It was the first news source in the area to pick up last year's nascent revolt in the high schools. Its coverage of Northern Ireland has been excellent from the beginning of the struggle last winter. Northern Ireland may not seem like radical news to many, but Bernadette Devlin is the starting point of much conversation in Boston Irish homes, working class South Boston or super lace curtain Chestnut Hill.

During the last spring's strike, the Mole came close to the concept of a revolutionary newspaper. It reported facts which it felt would clarify the issues, and by the nature of the information, move the populace toward militant action. Its publication of the stolen documents from University Hall sharpened the struggle. Although it did not report about the split within the Strike Committee between WSA and the New Left Caucus, the Mole successfully avoided becoming solely a propaganda tool. It provided news which could be obtained from no other source. Its factual accuracy helped to maintain its credibility in the non-radical community.

The lay-out photography and writing have steadily improved. The Mole does a good job educating the community it covers culturally as well as politically. "Zans", "Happenings", and the film and book reviews make the paper worth reading in themselves. The Mole has gradually moved away from its original Harvard emphasis. It is much more the radical community newspaper now than at its inception.

In its early July Issue on the SDS split, the Mole provided some of the best coverage in the nation. Although the stories were biased slightly to the right in SDS and the history of the Progressive Labor Party contained inaccuracies, on the whole no other news source covered the June SDS convention and the ideological battle behind, it as well as the Mole.

The split however has placed the newspaper in an awkward position. The Mole has been financed and directed in the past by right-wing members of SDS. With the right of SDS now in-fighting, the Mole will have to spend more space explaining factional positions to maintain any use as an in-movement news source in disputes. The Mole's credibility among other factions of the Boston Movement was also seriously challenged last spring by the revelation by PL Magazine and the Boston Globe that the Mole was partly financed by a front corporation, Cambridge Iron and Steel, underwritten by a Newton businessman.

The Mole has served as a catalyst to radical consciousness and action at Harvard, with high school students, and in the women's liberation movement, as a revolutionary newspaper, a limited success.

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