Here at CounterPunch we get lots of calls from readers this time of year asking: where are the good groups? Where can I send a year-end check and know that the money will be well spent, not recycled into a fat executive salary or an annoying direct mail campaign? There are many such groups out there; indeed, there is a vibrant and thriving grassroots movement across a whole range of issues. Unfortunately, we can’t bring all of them to your attention. But once or twice a year we devote the pages of CounterPunch to a survey of what these organizations are up to. Here’s our end of the year list of good groups. They all deserve your support and, if you can spare it, your money.
P.O. Box 766
San Carlos , AZ 85550
A fierce coalition of activists with the San Carlos Apache Tribes who are waging a desperate struggle to save the sacred landscape of Oak Flats from a devious maneuver by Senator John McCain, who pushed through the Senate a bill transferring this public land to the Resolution Copper Company (a subsidiary of the notorious Rio Tinto Mining Company), which plans to annihilate the important natural and cultural site with a 7,000-foot deep mine.
Voices For Creative Nonviolence
1249 W. Argyle St. #2
Chicago, Illinois 60640
Since Obama’s election, the anti-war movement in the United States has withered away, even as the wars and interventions have expanded with rising body counts. Yet one group has never wavered. You’ll find activists with Voices for Creative Nonviolence leading protests at the White House, blocking the entry to Drone Operational Centers, occupying nuclear missile silos, educating inside US prisons, and organizing for peace inside war zones, from Afghanistan to Syria. Most crucially, Voices for Creative Nonviolence recognizes that war is waged by many means. Almost alone among US anti-war groups, Voices For Creative Nonviolence is mounting a resistance to the economic war machine.
Israeli Committee Against Housing Demolitions (USA)
PO Box 8118
New York, New York 10116
Since 1967 and the beginning of the Occupation, the Israeli government has demolished over 28,000 houses belonging to Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. These demolitions are part of a web of policies designed to force Palestinians off their own land to make room for expanding Israeli settlements, construct a 26-foot high “separation barrier” that cuts deep into Palestinian territory, create a network of Israeli-only bypass roads, and generally “thin” Jerusalem of its Palestinian inhabitants. Largely obscured in U.S. politics and the media. ICAHD-USA works to educate the U.S. public about the realities of the Israeli Occupation.
Buffalo Field Campaign
PO Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
The annual slaughter of buffalo that migrate out of Yellowstone Park is one of the more horrific traditions in practice in the West today. Buffalo Field Campaign is perhaps the only group working tirelessly to defend the right of bison to wander to lower elevations during winter, without the threat of being killed by Montana bureaucrats. After an 18 year fight, Buffalo Field Campaign was finally successful in forcing Montana Gov. Steve Bullock to allow bison to roam year-round on an additional 400 square miles of land outside Yellowstone Park. It’s a step in the right direction and Buffalo Field Campaign’s relentless struggle should be championed. Pony up to ensure there are more victories ahead for Yellowstone’s iconic bison population. Roam free dear buddies, roam free.
Rising Tide North America
268 Bush St Box #3717
San Francisco, California 94101
A feisty group of grassroots environmentalists is exactly the kind of folks we can get behind. This past year members of the direct-action oriented Rising Tide initiated a host of successful campaigns. They shut down mining roads, hung from bridges to stop Shell’s ice breakers, protested the Paris climate deal, and so much more. They run on a slim budget and get more done than most multi-million dollar NGOs. How can you not support that? More bang for your buck. Want to upset the system, Rising Tide is a great place to start.
Community Futures Collective: Attn. Solitary Watch
221 Idora Ave., Vallejo, CA 94591.
While polls show that a decisive majority of Americans oppose the use of torture under any circumstances, even on foreign terrorism suspects, the conditions in U.S. prisons and jails, which at times transgress the boundaries of humane treatment, have produced little outcry. The widespread practice of solitary confinement, in particular, has received scant media attention, and has yet to find a firm place in the public discourse or on political platforms. Solitary Watch is a web-based project that brings the widespread use of solitary confinement out of the shadows and into the light of the public square. Their mission is to provide the public—as well as practicing attorneys, legal scholars, law enforcement and corrections officers, policymakers, educators, advocates, people in prison and their families—with the first centralized source of unfolding news, original reporting, firsthand accounts, and background research on solitary confinement in the United States.
Civil Liberties Defense Center
259 E 5th Ave, Ste 300 A
Eugene, OR 97401
Increasingly the Civil Liberties Defense Center, a small, non-profit law firm based in Eugene, Oregon, has become the last line of defense for radical activists in America during this age of government repression and prosecutorial crack-downs on dissent. CLDC has led the legal fight against the McCarthy-like Green Scare attack on the constitutional rights of environmental and animal rights activists. They have defended the rights of Rastafarians to practice their religious rituals in prison. They successfully defended a mosque against the FBI’s first-ever attempt to subpoena religious records. CLDC has also developed and distributed much-needed “Know Your Rights” outreach material, and presented more than 150 “Know Your Rights” trainings.
3375 San Mateo Ave.
Reno, NV 89509-5046
Fatal Encounters is an incredibly vital project by D. Brian Burghart, the editor/publisher of the Reno News & Review, to create a national database of out how many people are killed by law enforcement, why they were killed, and whether training and policies can be modified to decrease the number of officer-involved deaths. Fatal Encounters’ efforts to collect information about officer-involved homicides going back to January 1, 2000, is completely funded by donations.
Guardians of Our Ancestors Legacy (GOAL)
P.O. Box 30000 #360
Jackson, Wy, 83002
GOAL, the Tribal Coalition to Protect the Grizzly, may be the last best hope to save the grizzly. This fierce, small, grossly underfunded outfit has pulled together over 40 tribal nations in an effort to keep the Interior Department from removing the grizzly from the Endangered Species list. With many of the big green groups missing-in-action, GOAL has mounted a powerful legal and cultural defense of the bear, arguing that allowing trophy hunting of the grizzly infringes on tribal sovereignty and violates the federal trust responsibility by disregarding tribal interests and pursuing a policy that benefits three states over a coalition of tribes from Montana to Arizona.
39611 Oak Glen Road, Bldg. #12
Oak Glen, CA 92399
Industrial solar is not the wave of the future, even though many Big Green groups support the idea of ravaging our deserts in order to produce green power. Wildlands Conservancy knows better. They realize solar farms destroy precious habitat and keep the profit-driven energy structure intact. Our public lands shouldn’t be leased out to energy companies that continue to fight decentralized, rooftop solar. Power to the people not corporations, literally. One of the few groups working to protect the wild desert landscapes of California, Wildlands Conservancy needs our support in fighting these monstrous solar developments. Let’s leave some land for future generations, there are plenty of rooftops out there that will work just fine. Those desert tortoises will thank you.
PO Box 411074
San Francisco, CA 94141
A voice of freedom broadcasting from behind the walls of injustice? Look no further than Prison Radio, where you’ll hear fantastic, insightful commentaries by Mumia Abu-Jamal and others who have faced decades of repression from within our unjust judicial system. These are the best, most fierce reports on life inside America’s prisons. NPR can’t touch these folks. Tune in and donate if you can.