|English | Español||December 19, 2014 | Issue #62|
A School of Authentic Journalism Can Amplify Hope and Reason: Are You In?
Help Narco News to Tell the True Stories so that We Can Be Better Informed, and Better Organized to Win
By RJ Maccani
Looking over the list of students and faculty for this next installment of the School of Authentic Journalism is humbling. Taken collectively, what we have already accomplished is heroic. Sure, we’ve proven our worth, but we’ll need to be even better than we’ve been. Faster and more creative. And there will need to be more of us.
My own beat for the past 4 years has spanned from the mountains of Chiapas to the hills of the Bronx. In the first days of 2006, I pulled together a team of volunteers in Oaxaca City and began to document that rainbow of struggles that came together around the Zapatista-initiated Other Campaign. Working in Spanish, English, French and Portuguese, we were one small piece of an effort organized by The Narco News Bulletin that spanned an entire year and the whole of the Mexican Republic.
Throughout that January, and with Zapatista Subcomandante Marcos’ arrival in the first week of February, we encountered and documented a convergence of citizens that would rise up just months later to seize their city as the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO). Nancy Davies was there to tell the story of those heady months when the APPO became the good government of the city. Back in NYC, I covered the concurrent protests at the Mexican Consulate ignited by the murder of Brad Will in Oaxaca and the attack on the people of Atenco. Narco News published all of our stories on-line, and put Davies’ into book form in “The People Decide: Oaxaca’s Popular Assembly.” Jill Friedberg, on faculty for the 2010 J-School, brought that struggle to the screen in her incredible documentary, “Un Poquito de Tanta Verdad” (“A Little Bit of So Much Truth”). Because of this work, another struggle from below is better remembered and more fully understood… not only in the English-speaking world, but in Oaxaca as well, where its burning embers continue to ignite rebellion.
We’re already on the job, but the task ahead is immense. Kristin Bricker, on staff with Narco News, has been reporting on how Mexico’s Military and Federal Police, who are trained, equipped and armed by the US government under the Mérida Initiative, have been deployed against striking miners, teachers and, most recently, in a preemptive strike against electrical workers. If the President of Mexico, Felipe Calderón, prevails in his current drive to dismantle one of that country’s largest independent and democratic unions, the Electrical Workers Union, it will be counted as his first successful initiative since taking office under allegations of fraud over three years ago. And with this “success,” the war against Mexico’s social movements may just be heating up.
From across the Wall, here in New York City, I can hear those drums of war amplified and echoing through TV cables, in theaters, over-the-air and on-line. Amidst the din of a failed Drug War, poor and working people in Mexico will continue to be attacked, displaced, and killed to make way for the sacking and privatization of Mexico. I’ve also found here the Other Campaign making waves powerful enough to defeat the biggest landlords in East Harlem in the form of a community organization called Movement for Justice in El Barrio.
And we’re all just a small little piece of that force called Authentic Journalism that we need now more than ever. So let’s build something that gives us back more than what we put in; a school of that art which is so fundamental to the construction, defense and renovation of democracy. A School of Authentic Journalism to amplify hope and reason, to tell true stories so that we can be better informed, and better organized to win in the days, weeks and years ahead. So are you in?
Please contribute today, online, at this link:
Or send a check to:
The Fund for Authentic Journalism
PO Box 241
Natick, MA 01760 USA
By the way, I make my living as a domestic worker in one of the most expensive cities on the planet. I’ve dug up $200 to throw into the pot. Thanks to a matching grant it’s now $400. What have you got?
School of Authentic Journalism, Class of 2010
Brooklyn, New York
- The Fund for Authentic Journalism