7 min read

Big News from OptOut!

Two great developments happened this week at OptOut.
Big News from OptOut!

Greetings, OptersOut!

I am thrilled to tell you about not one but two great things that happened this week.

First, the OptOut Media Foundation has been approved as a 501(c)(3) public charity!

This way we can raise money through tax-deductible donations, and we'll have a better chance of landing grants from foundations. Our EIN is 85-2348079.

The nonprofit houses our various projects, including the forthcoming news app, our future original news outlet, and, pending funding, OptOut Comms (a communications arm that will help independent outlets with media outreach) and OptOut Studios (a production studio that will help independent outlets produce, edit, and distribute podcasts).

Second, this newsletter has a new home!

As you can see, this newsletter is formatted a little differently than usual. That's because we've left Substack for our own site!

We are self-hosting the free and open-source software called Ghost, which is similar to Substack in many ways, including the ability to write blogs, send them to an email list, and have multiple tiers of paid subscribers.

But Substack is an increasingly large operation and is currently raising $65 million in Silicon Valley venture capital funding. It's also become a home for several prominent anti-transgender writers, and its verification-free signup method has enabled trolls to harass prominent trans people by signing them up for newsletters that attack them. And Substack has recruited big-name writers from their jobs with six-figure cash advances while many Substackers struggle. Nathan Tankus also left Substack for Ghost, and his essay about his decision is worth a read.

In addition to the standard fees from payment processor Stripe, Substack takes a 10% cut of your contributions. On here, we still have to pay Stripe fees, but no one else takes a slice of your money before it gets to us.

So now that we're self-hosting our site, we have complete control over our data (we're using free, open-source Matomo software for analytics), don't have to pay another company a significant percentage of our revenue, and get to use open-source software. Thanks to OptOut volunteer and infrastructure engineer Noah Williams, we were able to transfer your emails and paid subscriptions over here smoothly.

Stay tuned for our guide on how to leave Substack!

We owe enormous thanks to the Progressive Coders Network, a nonprofit group of volunteers that is building our app, and to Lawyers for Reporters, who took us on pro bono and is guiding us through legal matters.

A note about your paid subscription: It's currently unchanged, and you won't be double charged. We have shifted your Stripe payments over to this site. Bear with us a little longer as we figure things out regarding our new nonprofit status. We'll post information soon about whether your contributions thus far are tax-deductible, and how you can make tax-deductible donations in other ways, including through employer-matching programs and several additional platforms.

If you're not yet a paid supporter of OptOut, please consider helping us raise money for our launch later this year. If you want to now, you can do so here or click the red button on the bottom right side of this page if you're viewing this on our site.

If you're not yet on our mailing list, please add your email here.

And now, here's some news content from the great outlets that participate in OptOut!


HEADLINES

The New York City mayoral race is heating up, and apparent frontrunner Andrew Yang is getting lots of scrutiny. The Prospect explains that Yang is no friend to the left, as his universal basic income plan is "a Trojan horse for dismantling public assistance altogether."

Andrew Yang’s Discomfiting Vision for New York City
It infuses Silicon Valley–style ideas and private philanthropy into an eroding safety net, and calls for no sacrifice from the wealthy.

Zeeshan Aleem contextualizes the conviction of George Floyd's murderer in What's Left.

Is the Chauvin trial a sign of progress?
I talk with New York Magazine’s Zak Cheney-Rice about the meaning of Chauvin’s murder conviction.

Speaking of police violence, Eoin Higgins writes about deranged Boston cops in The Flashpoint.

Boston Police Beat, Trampled Protester—Then Tried to Incriminate Her For Filing Complaint
Detectives interviewed Jasmine Huff shortly after she was assaulted by Boston police at a demonstration last summer—but were more interested in incriminating her

Don't miss OptOut co-founder Walker Bragman's latest piece for The Daily Poster, a lengthy account of the tragedies in Yemen and the Biden administration's foot-dragging.

“I Feel The World Is Turning A Blind Eye”
While the Biden administration drags its feet on the Yemen crisis, aid workers on the ground there say the situation is worse than ever.

Matt Stoller writes about Federal Trade Commission nominee Lina Kahn's Senate hearing this week in his newsletter, BIG. Kahn is "the most important scholar on antitrust since Robert Bork," and she appears to have bipartisan support, at least when it comes to Big Tech. (I read Matt's book about the history of U.S. monopolies, Goliath, this year and highly recommend it.)

FTC Nominee Lina Khan Fires a Warning Shot at Big Tech - “Potential Criminal Activity” - and Senators from Both Parties Love It
The Senate Commerce Committee holds a nominating hearing for the most important scholar on antitrust since Robert Bork. She warns of potential criminal activity in the adtech world.

Payment processor Stripe and nonprofit fundraising tool DonorBox are facing calls to cut off accounts of groups that helped organize rallies on Jan. 6 just before the deadly insurrection, Sludge reports. Yes, we are currently using Stripe, which this content management system is set up to do, and yes, Stripe has a checkered record on servicing extremist groups, something I've reported on as well.

Stripe and Donorbox Face Calls to Cut Off Jan. 6 Rally Organizers
Both companies have terms of service that prohibit organizations that encourage violence.

Mike Pearl is back from paternity leave with a post about Earth Day in his blog, We Are Definitely Screwed Maybe.

Make Earth Day Depressing Again
Earth Day is becoming a drag. Good. That was the idea all along

Housing

In Los Angeles news, Knock LA documents how organized tenants are fighting greedy landlords who want to evict them during a pandemic.

In East Hollywood, Tenants Unite to Fight Evictions - Knock LA
A landlord and his attorney tried to file a restraining order against tenants fighting evictions, but the tenants and their union fought back.

On The Next World podcast: "Cole Williams of the Greater New Orleans Citizen's Relief Team talks with host Max Rameau about liberating homes owned by the city of New Orleans, renovating them, and moving unhoused people into the homes."

The Next World - Liberating Housing: With Cole WIlliams of Greater New Orleans Citizen’s Relief Team
Cole WIlliams of the Greater New Orleans Citizen’s Relief Team talks with host Max Rameau about liberating homes owned by the city of New Orleans, renovating them, and moving in unhoused people. Described as having ​“the heart of Bob Marley, soul of Sam Cooke and grit of Etta James”,​ New Orleans-b…

And on Jacobin Weekends, "Ana Kasparian discusses the ongoing housing crisis and explains how private investors take advantage of housing market collapses at the expense of working people."


More Audio & Video

Laura Flanders interviews the founders of the new URL Media, a new network of community media organizations owned and led by Black and Brown people. OptOut will definitely be contacting them!

Listen to the audio version.

Check out This Machine Kills' latest episode featuring Jacobin staff writer and labor reporter Alex Press: "A post-mortem investigation on the Amazon warehouse union vote in Bessemer, Alabama."

Listen on Soundcloud.

Brown Girl Green interviews U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey about environmental justice.

Get the latest on Weird Pillow Guy from Matt Binder.

The Humanist Report exposes Bill Gates' role in Covid-19 vaccine apartheid.

Listen to Africa Is a Country Radio's latest mix, "Songs of Freedom," by Boima Tucker.

Africa Is A Country Radio: Chief Boima – Dakar – Worldwide FM
This month we wrap up our theme of port cities, and make a final stop in Dakar, Senegal. A major exit point for Africans during trans-Atlantic slave trade, the former capital of colonial French West Africa, and a central node in the independence movement under the leadership of the poet-president Léopold Sédar Senghor, Dakar is another quintessential gateway between the many worlds that make up the Black Atlantic.

Read more about the episode.


Thanks as always for following OptOut and our great media participants. Have a good week, and stay tuned for updates!