Underground Press Syndicate

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The Underground Press Syndicate, also known as UPS, and later known as the Alternative Press Syndicate or APS, was a network of underground counterculture publications formed in 1967. The organization included alternative weeklies, underground magazines and zines, and other similar small press publications. UPS agreed to the utopian model of supporting each other and allowing member papers to freely share and reprint materials. Membership was just $25 annually. The result was an explosion of alternative publications as every small start-up could print the work of somewhat famous writers, journalists, artists, and graphic designers, including people like Hunter S. Thompson, T. Coraghessan Boyle, Ken Kesey, R. Crumb and Art Spiegelman.

East Village Other publisher Alan Katzman explained the advantages of the UPS to the small press in and August 1967 Playboy article, "This system will make it three times as hard for the middle-class press to suppress the things we're talking about."

Members of the Underground Press Syndicate included East Village Other, Los Angeles Free Press, The San Francisco Oracle, The Chicago Seed, The Charlotte Inquisition, Interview (founded by Andy Warhol), Oracle, anarchist zine Fifth Estate, The Paper, Sanity, Peace News and The Berkeley Barb.

Shortly after the formation of the UPS, the number of independent and underground publications expanded greatly throughout North America. The Underground Press Syndicate was originally run by Tom Forcade, who later founded High Times magazine. After a 1973 meeting of underground and alternative newspapers in Boulder, Colorado, the name was changed to the Alternative Press Syndicate (APS). APS was an attempt to reinvent the syndicate to compete with the growing network of alternative weeklies networked by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. Eventually the AAN became the more dominant organization.