Are you frustrated with The Resistance©, still fronting for Hillary Clinton while thousands of kids whose families fled the killing regimes in central America that she enabled are being held in concentration camps ? You’re not alone. 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, the real resistance, fighting on the frontlines against ICE, the coal companies, the police, the CIA, the warmongers, the banks, the slumlords, big pharma and the child separators. They all deserve your support and, if you can spare it, your money.
Alliance for the Wild Rockies
PO Box 505. Helena, MT 59624
We are one of the smallest environmental organizations in the country, yet we have a huge impact. We have worked to protect thousands of acres of old growth forests from road building and logging in Montana’s Seeley-Swan Valley. We have stopped a 2,900 acre timber sale on the western border of Yellowstone National Park, saving 500 acres of old growth forest and preventing new logging roads from cutting into grizzly bear and lynx habitat. We have fought for native species both large and small, from mountain lions and wolverines to bull trout and ground squirrels. We are educating the public every day about the value of old growth forests and clean mountain watersheds. We are actively promoting the conservation of biological corridors between wilderness areas so that grizzlies, lynx, wolves, bison, and countless other native species can not only survive, but thrive.
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.
7304 Carroll Avenue, #182, Takoma Park. MD 20912
Beyond Nuclear works to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abandon both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic.
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.
Black Belt Citizens Fighting for Health and Justice
23355 County Rd 53
Uniontown, AL 36786
BBC was created to address the economic policies and practices that influence worker exploitation, poverty, and environmental violence. BBC is currently fighting for equal rights to clean air, clean water, and equal protection of land and sacred space across Alabama’s black belt. BBC is fighting against factory farms, mega-landfills, and state policies and practices that result in water pollution, toxic waste, and desecration of sacred space.
700 Marion St. NE
Salem, OR 97301
Causa is Oregon’s Latino immigrant rights organization. We were founded in 1995 by farmworkers, Latinos, immigrants, and allies in order to defeat ballot measures that would have negatively impacted the lives of Latino families in Oregon.
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.
Coalición de Derechos Humanos
225 E 26 St.Ste #2 Tucson, AZ 85713
Grassroots organization that promotes human and civil rights of immigrants, fighting border militarization and migrant abuses. Derechos Humanos acts to influence public policy and opinion on immigration. Its bilingual website has useful resources for immigrants and advocates, such as ‘Know Your Rights’ cards,an abuse report hotline, and updated information on Arizona migrant deaths.
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.
Humane Borders/Fronteras Compasivas
P.O. Box 27024
Tucson, AZ 85726
Humane Borders offers humanitarian assistance through the deployment of water stations on routes commonly used by migrants, with the sole goal of preventing deaths. It also develops informational resources about migrant deaths, and accepts volunteers.
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.
Labor / Community Strategy Center
3546 W Martin Luther King Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90008
The Strategy Center is a Think Tank/Act Tank for regional, national and international movement building, founded in 1989 and based in the 10 million-person world city of Los Angeles. Our campaigns, projects, and publications are rooted in working class communities of color, and address the totality of urban life with a particular focus on civil rights, environmental justice, public health, global warming, and the criminal legal system.
Lakota People’s Law Project
547 South 7th Street #149
Bismarck, ND 58504-5859
For over a decade Lakota People’s Law Project has been standing strong with the Lakota to end the long history of treaty violations and systemic corruption that has resulted in the loss of their most sacred lands and the epidemic of children being removed from their families and traditions. LPLP engages in ongoing efforts to reclaim ancestral lands, and to stop all threats to Lakota land and resources. We believe that Native peoples possess inherent sovereignty and the right to autonomous rule and self-determination. The Lakota flourished for centuries before Europeans arrived on these lands, and their tradition of living in relation to all things is more important today than ever before. We are committed to working with the Lakota toward the revitalization of their people and culture.
740A Round Lake Road
Luck, Wisconsin 54853
Nukewatch began in 1979 in response to the cold war build up of nuclear weapons and the secrecy surrounding the nuclear industry. Nukewatch conducted TrackWatch; a program to monitor and expose secret shipments of radioactive waste on U.S. rails; TruckWatch, the transportation of H-bombs and component parts in unmarked trucks by the DOE; Nukewatch mapped all 1,000 land-based nuclear missile silos for educational and organizing purposes. Nukewatch has a long history of successful grassroots organizing across the nation.
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.
Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty
P.O. Box 1362 Lanett, AL 36863
Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty is an Alabama death row prisoner founded and run organization. We were founded in 1989. Our mission is to work together with friends and other supporters to educate the public and to bring about the abolition of the death penalty in Alabama. For the past 16 years we have been working on a moratorium initiative, which has taken us before city councils, county commissions, groups, churches. 850 entities in Alabama have signed on. We also reach out to families of murder victims and law enforcement to help us achieve our goal of a moratorium. We believe we can not do it without their generosity.
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.
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.
+ Thomas Cooper (1805-92):
“The time shall come when wrong shall end
When peasant to peer no more shall bend
When the lordly Few shall lose their sway
And the Many no more their frown obey
Toil, brothers, toil, till the work is done
Till the struggle is o’er, and the Charter won!”
+ Markets are plunging, the US is pulling out of Syria, the Pentagon is in chaos and the US govt is shutting down. Maybe it will be a Merry Xmas after all…
+ As 2018 comes to an end, let us remember that there are still some 5,400 detained migrant children in the U.S. sleeping in shelters along side more than 1,000 other children.
+ All educated Americans (even those who matriculated at Trump U) know that Mexico was going to pay for a beautiful Border Wall. But will they pay for a row of Steel Slats?
+ Trump claims he has $10 billion in the bank. Many people are skeptical about this. But he could go a long way toward proving his worth by donating the extra $3.6 billion he wanted from Congress for his border wall. I’m sure Melania “doesn’t care” about the money.
+ Former Utah congressman Jason Chaffetz went on FoxNews to blame the death of 7-year old Jakelin Caal Maquin on her parents. “Don’t make this journey, it will kill you,” Chaffetz bellowed. “That should be the message.” Is that the message Jason Chaffetz takes from the Mormon children who died while fleeing the terroristic violence in Nauvoo, Illinois for the Salt Lake Valley?
+ Ronald Reagan on the border, during a 1980 GOP primary debate against Poppy Bush:
“Rather than … talking about putting up a fence, why don’t we work out some recognition of our mutual problems and make it possible for them to come here legally, with a work permit, and then while they are working and earning here, they pay taxes here? And when they want to go back, they can go back, and they can cross. And open the border both ways, by understanding their problems — this is the safety valve right now they have with that unemployment.”
+ Anyone living in a country that the US has bombed, invaded or plotted coups against deserves to vote in US elections.
+ Whatever his motives (and they’re almost certain venal) in announcing the the pullout of 2,500 US troops from Syria, Trump tries to do one good thing in his life and gets slammed for it from the neoliberal-neoconservative Axis of Evil…
+ Memo to Adam Schiff: the “Regional Partner” is the Kingdom of the Body Sawyers…
This is patently false and dangerously naive. These hostile nations are delighted by the U.S. withdrawal and betrayal of our regional partners.
The rash decision, despite opposition from Mattis and others, means our allies will not trust us and our enemies will not fear us. https://t.co/NJF0Dj7wdk
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) December 20, 2018
+ Victoria Nuland, Hillary’s favorite neocon, was so irate at Trump’s Syrian pullout that she declared “With a single Tweet, Trump destroyed US policy in the Middle East.” If only it were true, still it’s a helluva start…
+ Why stop with ISIS? Trump should simply declare victory over Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Niger, Libya, North Korea, Russia, China, Venezuela and Cuba, bring all the troops home and close the overseas bases. A giant Arch de Trump, even bigger than Macron’s, could be built on Pennsylvania Avenue through which the victorious troops could parade. I’d even nominate him for that Nobel Prize he craves.
+ Let’s just hope Trump doesn’t redeploy all of these returning troops to the border…
+ With Mad Dog out, is Pompeo Maximus, Bolton or Ivanka now running the show?
+ George HW Bush’s last words to Trump: “Feel free to abandon the Kurds.”
+ All the adults (Kelly, Mattis, Tillerson, McMaster and Haley) in the playroom are gone and the training wheels are off…
+ The troops are coming home (Hurrah!)
But if I know John Bolton
The drones will continue to roam…
+ The logical candidate for Secretary of Defense is Patrick Shanahan, the former Boeing exec who now serves as Mattis’ chief Deputy for procurement. Shanahan’s challenge would be to keep the mammoth defense contracts flowing to the military industrial-intelligence complex and avoid any new wars that would reveal the technological flaws in those big ticket weapon systems. Of course the wildcard pick would be Erdogan…
+ How many Trump administration officials resigned over Charlottesville or child kidnappings on the border or shredding the Iran deal or gutting clean water rules?
+ Today is the shortest day of the year. But brace yourself, it will still be six Trump years long.
+ HBO’s Tukkker Carlson?
Trust us, you can handle it. pic.twitter.com/96uBncZFsG
— Real Time (@RealTimers) December 19, 2018
+ Just a reminder: An average of 130 children are dying each day in Yemen.
+ As much as liberals try to inflate Trump into a maniacal tough guy like Pinochet or Franco, it’s impossible to disguise the fact that he’s really a wimp, who frightens easily & wilts under pressure. So pressure him on things that matter: immigration, clean air, hunger, homelessness, jobs, endangered species, et al.
+ Thanks to that judge in Texas, who ruled ObamaCare unconstitutional, we are now one giant step closer to having a single-payer health care system in the US.
+ Syracuse cops convinced a judge to sign a search warrant to force doctors to search a man’s rectum for drugs. An X-ray (also performed without his consent) had already shown there was no contraband in his anal passage. The forcible search turned up nothing. The man was then billed $4,500 for this anal-rape by cop.
+ 61-year old black woman in San Antonio got the death-penalty-by-neglect after being held in the Bexar County Sheriff’s jail since July for lack of $30 to post bail…
+ The State Route 134 in Los Angeles, which runs from LA to Pasadena, has been renamed the Barack Obama Highway. This is perfect honorific. Thousands of liberals will be stuck in their cars for hours each day, mindlessly spewing out hydrocarbons, while going nowhere.
+ Public Citizen has just published a devastating analysis of 25 years of NAFTA…Thanks a lot, Bubba.
+ Treasury Secretary (and comic book villain) Steve Mnuchin on Trump’s election-eve promise of a 10% tax cut for the middle class (or what’s left of it): “I’m not going to comment on whether it is a real thing or not a real thing.”
+ During an interview in Doha last week, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat described his bizarre interaction in November 2017 with Jared Kushner, who is supposedly constructing Trump’s “peace” plan for Israel and Palestine.
Erekat: ‘Jared, the president is supposed to sign the waiver not to move the embassy.’
Kushner: ‘We’re not going to sign.’
Erekat: ‘What do you mean we’re not going to sign? The president promised us in the White House that he would not take any step that may preempt or prejudge Jerusalem, not before negotiations.’
Kushner: ‘It’s our business and we will conduct our policies according to our interests.’
Erekat: ‘Look: if you do this, you will have disqualified yourself from any role in the peace process.’
Kushner: ‘Don’t threaten me.’
Erekat: ‘Read my lips: You will have disqualified yourself from any role in the peace process.’
Kushner: ‘You don’t know the changes that are happening around you in the Arab world.’
Erekat: ‘The best thing for me is to be a student. So teach me.’
Kushner, shouting: ‘DON’T BE SARCASTIC.’
Diplomacy by brat.
+ Remember when Howard Dean was MoveOn’s “peace” candidate? Josh Frank saw right through him and wrote a vicious little book about the fraud titled Left Out…
+ Will Trump now take up Eric Prince on his “offer” to privatize the Afghan War with Blackwater’s murderous mercenaries?
+ CounterPunch pollster Doug Johnson averaged out the five Democratic 2020 Primary Primary polls in December
No one else reached 10% (including Kamala Harris at 4.8%)
That’s not a very good number for Bernie, is it? It suggests to me that the fervency of his support in 2016 was largely fueled by a hatred of HRC, which he betrayed with his endorsement of her at the convention.
+ This is the kind of interlude that makes the whole damn Internet worthwhile. “Mamma Mia” performed in classical Greek…
+ Putin has always been suspicious of popular culture in Russia. This week he went on a rant against Russian hip hop, saying it need to be “controlled.” That’s peculiar. I thought Putin was using rap music as a weapon to destroy the cultural norms of France, Britain and America…Perhaps he could hire Tipper Gore as a consultant in his campaign to suppress the subversive threat of the rappers.
+ A little recovered history on foreign meddling…Under the Obama administration, the US secretly created a Cuban Twitter network as a means to foment discontent on the island.
+ There’s an interesting profile of Robert Mueller in the Washington Post written by Tim Weiner, who encountered him at a conference in Mexico a few months before he was appointed special counsel. Weiner, whose reporting I’ve long admired, especially his ground-breaking book on the Pentagon’s black budget Blank Check, tries to emphasize the softer side of Mueller, suggesting he is sensitive to civil liberties. This strains credulity. For the darker side of Mueller, see our book The Big Heat, which charts how Mueller, as one of the architects of the Green Scare, trampled the bill of rights in pursuit of radial environmental activists.
+ Since the crash of 2008, nearly 10 million families lost their homes to foreclosure, most of them as a consequence of predatory lending. This sent a shock through the system and dramatically changed the US housing market. In the past 10 years, the ratio of renters to homeowners has more than doubled. There are 7.3 million more households renting today than a decade ago. In nearly half of the major cities in the country, renters outnumber home owners.
+ According to CounterPunch contributor Elliot Sperber: “New York City Public Housing has about 600,000 occupants, a larger population than the entire city of Miami.” And some of them haven’t had heat in 10 YEARS…
+ The Washington Post’s profile of Letitia James was headlined: “New York’s next attorney general targeted slumlords. Now she’s going after Trump.” Is there really much of a difference?
+ After reading the entire third edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, Fath Ali Shah, the 19th-century leader of Iran, changed his title to include the phrase ‘Most Formidable Lord and Master of the Encyclopedia Britannica’.
+ From Limmericking…
A slew of reports in the press
Show Facebook’s an ethical mess.
But has it been screwing
Its users by doing
Appalling things knowingly? Yes.
+ Ryan Zinke, under investigation for trying to enrich himself in office, refused to step down from his post at the Interior Department until he could have a Christmas party with lobbyists and take pictures in front of a stuffed polar bear…
+ Zinke’s greed was largely personal. His likely replacement David Bernahrdt, a former lobbyist for the fossil fuel industry, will dutifully feed the greed of the shareholders of big oil and coal.
+ The Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump administrations all did a lot to advance the interests of Big Coal and almost nothing to fight black lung disease.
+ There are fewer North Atlantic Right Whales left in the world than sitting members of Congress. They may well go extinct in our lifetimes.
+ According to a new study by Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, climate change has made the Western megadrought (the worst in at least 500 years) 38 percent more severe, leading to record low flows in Colorado River and dwindling reservoirs behind Glen Canyon and Hoover Dams. Is this what they mean when they say “it’s a dry heat?”
+ Clichés we may have to rewrite: “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink…” “You can lead a horse to water, but he’ll be dead before you find any…”
+ The Arctic is now warming so quickly that 14,000 tons of melted ice is gushing into the oceans every second.
+ The Alaska statewide running temperate for the last year is the highest in the last 100 years (ie., since records have been kept.)
+ Who are the people who, according to the New York Times, paid “well over $40,000” per seat to see the last performance of “Springsteen on Broadway”? What do they hear in his music? Where they do they get that kind of money? Have they ever given $40,000 to a homeless shelter?
+ Usually we keep Nick Roney locked in a room doing cover art for CounterPunch magazine. Every once in a while we let him out to play with his camera. And guess what happened? His hysterical film “Material” for the band Flasher was just named the 9th best music video of the year by Rolling Stone. So there’s still lot’s of room for improvement, Nick.
+ Sorry to learn of the death of the great session musician Joe Osborn, a member of the Wrecking Crew. Osborn’s bass is one of the primary reasons most of these otherwise innocuous songs have stayed in your head for 50 years: Secret Agent Man, Travelin’ Man, Poor Side of Town, Monday, Monday, Gentle on My Mind, Windy, Dizzy, Summer Breeze, Holly Holy, Stoney End, Temptation Eyes…
+ Just a few of the people lining up outside the White House to submit their applications for open positions in the Trump administration…
+ 10 Best Album Covers?
1. We’re Only In It for the Money – Frank Zappa & the Mothers
2. The Slider – T. Rex
3. The Harder They Come – Jimmy Cliff
4. Electric Ladyland – Jimi Hendrix Experience
5. Never Mind the Bollocks – Sex Pistols
6. Bitches Brew – Miles Davis
7. Country Life – Roxy Music
8. Slave to the Rhythm – Grace Jones
9. Cosmic Slop – Funkadelic
10. Fresh – Sly and the Family Stone
Eric Dolphy: the Musical Prophet
What I’m reading this week…
Zooicide: Seeing Cruelty, Demanding Abolition by Sue Coe and Stephen F. Eisenman (AK Press)
Slum Wolf by Tadao Tsuge (NYRB)
Buzz: the Nature & Necessity of Bees by Thor Hansen (Basic Books)
What I’m listening to this week…
People of the Sun by Marcus Strickland’s Twi-Life (Blue Note)
Songs for Judy by Neil Young (Warner)
Constant Image by Flasher (Domino)
The Tom-Tom of Revolt
Langston Hughes: “Jazz, to me, is one of the inherent expressions of Negro life in America: the eternal tom-tom beating in the Negro soul, the tom-tom of revolt against weariness in a white world, a world of subway trains, and work, work, work; the tom-tom of joy and laughter, and pain swallowed in a smile.”