We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Australian and Canadian Activists are Building an Alternative Media

by Ron Horn.

I have long argued for an alternative media to be established in the US in order to provide a foundation for a serious revolutionary movement. Depending on corporate owned media only insures the continued management of consent/dissent by operatives of the One Percent. They have huge budgets and command the very best in resources, both human and material, to capture the minds of American citizens. 

In the anti-war movement of the 1960s there were a number of underground newspapers that sprung up, but once the war was finally concluded, they and the whole activist movement largely disappeared. 

I watched this development with profound dismay. It demonstrated the immature level of political consciousness that existed in that period. The movement was only about stopping the war--not about the system that made wars inevitable.

The Vietnam war, although it involved war crimes on a huge scale, was only one operation of the capitalist class that was determined to obtain control over every resource on the planet using methods ranging from political subversion to military invasion to accomplish this. Although the system also exploited US working people for the benefit of the One Percent, American workers had been enjoying substantial material rewards trickling down from the One Percent. However, it would only be a matter of time before they turned on their own workers. We are seeing that today under globalized capitalism in which trans-national elites vie for the exploitation of workers and resources throughout the world. 

The ruling One Percents have gotten away with this without significant opposition from their own labor forces. Even today with the rampant destruction of the economy and social safety nets, US working people are still slow to wake up. Many still think that this is only a temporary aberration and things will be back to normal soon. Their minds are dumbed down by corporate media and the One Percent's indirect control of education. Even the latter is under increasing pressures to be privatized; and to the extent that this happens, education will deteriorate even more. Working people are now subject to complete Orwellian indoctrination programs from corporate media and, to a lessor extent, in publicly funded schools. Never before has an independent, worker-centered alternative media been more vital to the 99 Percent and their liberation.

Fortunately, there is hope. Activists in Australia and Canada are showing the way. They have been establishing alternative media and showing signs of expanding. 

Since 1990 Australia activists have been publishing the Green Weekly. They have also produced a number of videos of political events. 

Green Left Weekly have recently expanded their operations to include online news broadcasts of news, a project called Green Left TV’s YouTube channel. The first program is Green Left Report. Here is their first program:

Canadian activists are also organizing their alternative media. Starting from a local alternative paper published in Halifax, Nova Scotia, they have established The Media Co-op and expanded operations to include centers in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. So far I believe they have only print media, but they are talking about online video programs. View this video in which they explain their operations:

Well, what about "Democracy Now!" TV program that is based in the US? A recent article (You may need to reload the page to get past the funding pitch.) by Dr. Stuart Bramhall has confirmed my long held suspicions.  She has uncovered well documented evidence that much of what passes for left media coverage, including "Democracy Now!", in the US is funded, at least in substantial part, by right-wing non-profit institutions such as the Ford Foundation, Council on Foreign Relations, various liberal foundations, and other CIA front organizations.