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We are a small but growing group of radical University of Southern California students and we had been looking for an outlet to get our views heard by the wider USC community.  Though some of us have worked briefly for the school-sponsored, student-run Daily Trojan, we found that experience to be extremely limiting, both in regards to levels of participation and openness to radical content.  Many of the people involved in the zine seem to have independently come up with an idea to put out our own publication and this is the subsequent result of months of meetings and many hours of labor.

Eventually, we hope to put out an issue every two weeks and run 500 copies of each one.

If you’re interested in attending meetings and/or contributing content, please email us at

Statement of Principles

  1. The Undercurrent is an outlet for non-mainstream views on politics and culture expressed through reasoned argument or in a creative manner. We define mainstream as standard partisan political views. We seek to provide alternative interpretations of world events and to bring attention to those stories that are under-reported.
  2. We oppose all forms of oppression, domination, and alienation. We strive to promote social justice, human rights, and direct democracy in the USC community and anywhere else we can effect change.
  3. Anyone can submit content. To be seriously considered for publication, all submissions must provide evidence, be consistent with The Undercurrent’s principles, and go through a group editing process. Nonfiction submissions should provide evidence and sources.
  4. We function as a non-hierarchical, non-commercial, democratically run cooperative. The Undercurrent is freely distributed and relies on donations for publication materials.
9 Comments leave one →
  1. November 27, 2010 3:16 am

    It would be helpful to readers to know what and where USC is.

    • December 1, 2010 10:29 pm

      Hi Steve, thanks for the feedback. I’ve changed unabbreviated USC into the University of Southern California in a couple places to make it less ambiguous where we are.

      It’s awesome to learn that non-USC students are reading our zine.


  2. Rachel Y. permalink
    August 28, 2011 11:04 pm


  3. David Bennett permalink
    August 30, 2011 3:26 am

    I think it’s really cool what you guys are doing. But, after reading through a couple articles, I do have one critique.

    Why not write your last names in your bylines? I guess I could think of a couple (unconvincing) reasons not to do it, but I can definitely think of one strong reason why you should: If you are going to stand up to USC, or any other “power structure” for that matter, if you don’t put your name down, your credibility will be lacking. I like to see a face/name behind an article, otherwise it falls into the trap of internet anonymity. If you’re a hacker, it may be helpful, but if you’re an activist espousing democracy, accountability, transparency, etc…I see a bit of a contradiction there, don’t you?

    I don’t know whether you put your full names on the actual zine or not….but at any rate, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

    • August 30, 2011 4:11 am

      Hi David, thanks for the kind comments. If you ever write or publish anything on the trustees, I’d love to see it.

      Regarding your critique, I would make some distinctions about who accountability and transparency needs to be applied to. I think transparency is needed for those who wield power in society as it is here where abuses take place. For example, USC should be transparent because it wields a tremendous amount of economic power. I might fairly excuse myself from transparency because in writing for this zine, I am not wielding power (of course we’re all wielding power in some vague sense all of the time, but perhaps what I mean here is notable coercive power over other people).

      For content like this issue of the zine, concealing our last names isn’t terribly important. However, in previous issues of the zine which are available here we’ve written much more radical and controversial pieces that we don’t want associated with our name on the internet for reasons like applying for jobs.

      As per another comment of yours, I think speaking truth to power is itself a rather futile enterprise. Power knows whats up. If anything, I’m gonna be “speaking truth to” people who can help change the relations of power. Towards power itself, I intend to do much more than “speak” :)

      Anyway, I’ve sent a friend request to you on facebook. If you ever want to write something for us, we’d love to have it. Maybe I’ll see you around at some SAJE protest.

      • David permalink
        September 3, 2011 12:29 am

        Thanks for your response. If I happen to rake up some muck on the trustees, I’ll definitely send it your way.

        You have a point that “speaking truth to power” is maybe not the best usage (though I think there is still a role for that in its literal meaning), but that wasn’t my main point. I’m no expert on journalism, but my main point is more about whether an investigative journalist should conceal her identity. Correct me if I’m wrong, but generally with investigative journalists/muckrakers, I don’t think this was the case (an anonymous blog post exposing a B of A scandal, for instance, probably wouldn’t get many followers, right?).

        I understand, though, that you are concerned about the permanent nature of what you write and that it may affect future job prospects (where, at the CIA?…the DoD?) but I’m not so sure I buy it. (Why hold back from putting your name on your views now for the sake of some unforeseen consequence of those views in the future? If you can’t do it, then who can? Why not own your views?) Again, I’d go back to my point about the name lending credibility to the article (I suppose by not putting your own name you defer credibility to the zine itself). At the same time, the fact that you footnote your articles is impressive, since this is not generally practiced, and definitely gives your articles more credibility.

        Another complication is that you are presumably writing about an institution you attend (and not in a conforming way). In this respect, I might say that you’re a “whistleblower” of sorts (only the difference, I think, is that whistleblowers may make what’s private known to the public — but they are also afforded certain protections, and perhaps they do not apply to you since you are a paying customer at the school, not an employee).

        Maybe I’d make this comparison: conscienscious objectors during the Vietnam War were part of an institution that they rebelled against (or, at the least, to which they did not acquiesce). Some left the country and others stayed and suffered the consequences (i.e., got locked up). Do you fall into one of these categories? Of course, at the time a lot was at stake (going off to fight a war that these draftees didn’t consider a “just war,” if there ever was such a thing). Are the stakes here too small to make this comparison legitimate?

        Still, I could see that you may prefer guerrilla tactics of sorts rather than standing in a line like sitting ducks. But anyway, perhaps that clarifies my comment a bit. I’m not purporting to have any answers on these tough questions, but feel free to let me know if you do…

  4. sixpillarstopersia permalink
    April 5, 2013 9:17 am

    Can we repost the latest Alex Shams article exactly as it, and credit you both and link back please?

    • sixpillarstopersia permalink
      April 5, 2013 9:19 am

      *as is… !

  5. Nina permalink
    May 15, 2014 12:15 am

    Does this group still exist at USC?

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