12 causes to support for a more just and intelligent world

“The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed,” Steven Biko said. This goes a long way toward explaining why Okke Ornstein, here covering a protest in Panama, was thrown in jail. There are big efforts by powerful people and institutions to cut off information that does not come from them.

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If you are celebrating the victory of post-truth and gloating over the suffering of those unlike yourself that this will enhance in the coming year, this may seem hilarious to you. If your are concerned about the rise of irrationalism and suppression of information and would rather not be kept in the dark about the world around you, there are people and groups that you would be well advised to support if you can. Regular readers of The Panama News, and particularly those of you who follow our Facebook postings, will recognize many of these groups and causes. It has been a rough year for most of them, in part because progressive folks in the USA and the American diaspora spent a lot of their disposable money promoting the Bernie Sanders campaign that may have set the stage for things to come but fell short of victory. Across much of Latin America as well as in the USA, repressive and truth-unfriendly forces have gained the upper hand and moves as quickly as possible to muffle critical voices. Yes, freedom of expression is under threat, but probably worse is the flip side of this, your endangered right to accurate information and intelligent commentary about it. Here are 12 year-end investments that you can make to shore up your right to know. These graphics are all interactive and will get you to the respective donation functions.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research is one of the least endangered institutions on this list, and also one of the most valuable. The plutocrats have a glut of well financed think tanks that churn up unworthy stuff for corporate politicians and media to repeat. CEPR is OUR think tank.


The for-profit Google is an imperialist monster whose search engine gets gamed by Nazis so that you “know” that the Holocaust never happened, and the for-profit Microsoft churns out software with planned obsolescence so that you will have to buy new computers with new programs when the old stuff worked well enough. And then there is Mozilla, the not-for-profit folks who created the Firefox browser and who stand with a few others at the forefront of the crucial battle for a free and open Internet.


The Americas Program is one of the progressive media that had a very hard time in 2016. Based in Mexico, it’s the online home of Laura Carlsen, whose journalism is indispensable if you want to know about what’s going on in Mexico and, thanks to other folks who publish on this website, Latin America in general.


The Wayback Machine isn’t Sherman and Peabody’s toy anymore. It’s the nonprofit Internet Archive that does much to keep hackers and other scoundrels from erasing the electronic public record in order to keep you in the dark. In many ways it’s the cutting edge library that’s holding the line against a new Dark Age.


ALAI started out in Brazil, with some Liberation Theology Catholics at its core. It has grown into the multilingual information agency and forum of Latin America’s left, publishing articles in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. It’s not the property or tool of any particular government or political party and that makes it all the more valuable when progressive forces need critical friends rather than dull sycophants.


The Council on Hemispheric Affairs started back in the dark days of the 1970s “Dirty Wars,” when the dominant Washington narrative was about those wonderful freedom fighters, the death squads and the dictators, who were winning the Cold War for freedom and democracy by stealing or canceling elections and disappearing those with different ideas. Nowadays the same kind of folks who thought General Pinochet was a wonderful guy tend to proclaim the wonderful victories of the War on Drugs and COHA systematically debunks that stuff. A very important aspect of this think tank is that it has a core of veteran Latin Americanist professionals surrounded by a much larger group of student interns, and is thus training the next generation of activists, academics and journalists.


The Project Syndicate is the opinion section for those who ignore the deceptive or ignorant memes but pay attention to the well-reasoned opinions of those with whom they disagree. You will find opinions and analysis that you will like there, however. Their stall of contributors includes Nobel laureates, former top diplomats and government ministers and leaders of industry and academia. You get heads up about what’s about to come down and insights on what just happened here.


God’s a southpaw and some of the fingers of God’s left hand are Jewish. This is the progressive, intelligent and decent publication that Rabbi Michael Lerner started, the Jewish expression of the liberation theology, if you will, but now reaching out to a network of spiritual progressives from many denominations.


Corporate coverage of what happens in Panama is awful. The Google News filiter of what it lets through about this country is one of the best arguments for an alternative search engine of the global South. Especially on the English-language side, the ragtag little band who cover The Crossroads of the World is terribly short-handed and Okke’s part can’t be spared. As these words are written, we expect Okke Ornstein to be released from prison shortly. However, his legal bills are not paid, we don’t know the terms of his release and what further legal battles will be necessary, and there is still the fight in Europe to unfreeze his Bananama Republic website, which was obtained by hustlers wielding a reprehensible Panamanian court decision. So just because this irreverent Dutchman gets on the loose again doesn’t mean that his need for our support goes away.


So WHY should The Panama News add to the cacophony of the constant Reader Supported News fundraising campaigns? Because both as a news aggregator and as a publisher of original stuff, RSN is worthy. Screechy falsehoods and celebrity trivia they don’t do — because you have more important things to read.


OtherWords is gringocentric and people-oriented. It’s one of Jim Hightower’s hangouts and home to the cartooning of Khalil Bendib. Those two features are usually overshadowed by something or another in their weekly postings, but even without all of the other contributors those two make this media project well worth saving and expanding.


Finally, The Panama News has been covering the isthmus for quite some time. Our 22nd anniversary is later this month. We have weathered all sorts of attacks that would have put other small media out of business. We have done that by a solid commitment to the truth and no commitment at all to the power brokers who would control all stories. Help us continue the fight, and expand at least enough to bring in a younger generation to keep it going for another 22 years and more.



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These announcements are interactive. Click on them for more information.


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