Get In On the Action: It Will Add Meaning and Happiness to Your Life
Help Narco News and the “Other Journalism” Continue to Report on the Zapatistas’ Other Campaign
By Stan Gotlieb
February 20, 2006
It’s not as if I was sitting around doing nothing when Al Giordano sent out an email asking for assistance from local Oaxacans during the visit of the Zapatista’s “Other Campaign.” My life is pretty busy most of the time, but I never ignore a call from Al, because I know he is too focused to waste anyone’s time. Among other things, we were told, the “Other Journalists” with the Other Campaign needed an office with a high-speed Internet connection, and I decided to make that my project.
As it turned out, we did find a very good office: a cybercafé with four desktop computers, 512 DSL access, and a wireless hub for the Other Journalists who had wireless laptops, at an excellent rental price. Tables, chairs, and just about anything we asked for were provided, and the room was closed to all others for a few days while the writers, photographers, videographers and video editors slaved away day and night to get the REAL news out.
When Giordano arrived first, with his Apple laptop, we faced our first problem: an incompatibility between the PC-based network and Al’s machine. Fortunately, a good friend of mine, a young Oaxacan who had the expertise and respected the cause, arrived an hour after I called and set everything straight.
After that, I pretty much made myself scarce, so as not to distract the Other Journalists from their work – although I dropped in from time to time to see if anything was needed. From the brief encounters I experienced, I can tell you that I have seldom met a bunch of harder working, more focused, and – dare I say it – happier people.
These young folks receive no pay for their sometimes-twenty-hour days. What little money they may need from time to time comes out of Al’s very shallow pocket. I happen to know that he is spending money he had saved in hopes to buy a modest house somewhere in Mexico which he wanted to make into a permanent home for the School of Authentic Journalism. Giving to the last measure is not uncommon in “Movement” work. I’ve seen it happen again and again over 40 years around folks who have dedicated their lives to peace and justice. Invariably, the people who are doing the best work on a shoestring are intelligent and savvy enough to win a MacArthur or a Fulbright or a Pulitzer (and a few actually do), but those big checks usually go to people who are less “activist.” The rest of us have to raise it from each other, and those of us who have a little to spare can choose from a myriad of worthy groups and individuals.
My compañera Diana and I have chosen to give a poor pittance of support to Narco News and the School for Authentic Journalism. Because of our involvement in the first School of Authentic Journalism, we were privileged to meet Gary Webb, Don Mario Menendez, Ethan Nadleman, Jules Siegel, and a host of other fine and inspiring authentic journalists and organizers. Our encounters with the latest crop of Autenticos reinforces our conviction that – despite Bush, Cheney, Iraq, Vicente Fox and the rest of the people and places that saturate the corporate media in hopes that we will become so numb we no longer will care – there is, below and to the left, a movement for change that is gaining strength and moving forward.
Think about this: it takes so little money to accomplish so much. Every dollar is stretched to the limit. Anyone with a few bucks can be of enormous help. I remember at benefit rallies back in Minneapolis in the 70s, one compañera who took the stage between acts and more or less said the following:
“Do you know who George Washington was? He was a slave owner! And his picture is on the one-dollar bill! And you’ve got some one-dollar bills in your pocket! You don’t want a slave owner in your pocket, do you? Of course you don’t! Get that slave-owning George Washington (she also mentioned Thomas Jefferson and others) out of your pockets now! Put him in the hat!”
That’s the spirit in which I come to you now: this is joyous work. It’s sometimes dangerous, often lacking in comforts, and exhausting, but it inspires not only the kids who do the work, the mentors who guide them, and the readers who get the message; it also uplifts everyone – whether a provider of hospitality, an arranger of needed infrastructure, an attendee at schools, concerts or other functions, or a donor.
So, how about it? This is as good a time as any, folks; probably better than most. You know they tell the truth, or you wouldn’t read their writings, or watch their videos, or listen to their broadcasts. They need your help now. Please don’t let them – and yourself – down.
Make a donation online via the following website:
Or send a check made out to “The Fund for Authentic Journalism” to:
The Fund for Authentic Journalism
P.O. Box 241
Natick, MA 01760 USA
– Stan Gotlieb
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