A Personal Message From Noam Chomsky on Z, February 13, 2008

For more accolades of Z, click the title or look at the first comment.

We live in an era of media concentration, vast efforts on many fronts (political, economic, military, ideological) to insulate state and private power from critical discussion or even popular awareness, and to reduce citizens to isolated atomized creatures restricted to satisfying personal 'created wants.' This massive and coordinated campaign has been partially successful, but only in a limited way.

The range and scope and dedication of popular activism has also increased, all over the world, reaching a level of international solidarity and mutual support that has never been seen before. The basic conflicts are very old, but they have taken quite dramatic and significant new forms, and the stakes are far higher than ever before. It is, regrettably, no exaggeration to say that the survival of the species is at risk -- and many others with it. We all know why.

The popular movements are the hope for a decent future. They of course have to have access to information and modes of interaction. In addition to alternative print and video, to a very large extent they have relied on the internet, which allows people to escape from the constraints of the doctrinal systems, to explore and investigate and discuss crucial issues with one another, to plan and organize.

Z Magazine and ZNet have played a crucial role in serving all of these functions. I see that every day. I travel and speak constantly, in the U.S. and abroad, and spend many hours a day just responding to inquiries and comments. I constantly discover that the people and organizations I come in contact with are relying very substantially on Z projects for information, discussion, and opportunities for interaction and organizing, to an extent that is quite remarkable.

Z is also an invaluable resource for me personally, in all of these respects, and also in my case for providing a forum for intense and very constructive discussion, the only one I regularly participate in. And for posting articles, interviews, commentaries, etc., of mine. I know that many others have very much the same experience.

It is of inestimable importance, in my judgment, that Z and ZNet, now composing the new ZCom with their various other projects such as their growing video efforts and incomparable summer school, arguably the most exciting and instructive I have ever encountered.

Again, I do not think it is possible to exaggerate the stakes. I hope that all of us who are committed to resisting and reversing the powerful currents of reaction and oppression and violence, and showing that another world is indeed possible, will contribute as best we can to ensure that the remarkable achievements of Z and ZNet will be carried forward.

Noam Chomsky


  1. "I hesitate to call ZCom/ZNet one of the leading samidzat of our age, because it is also one of the great newspapers of the internet. Turn to ZNet and you get more in one visit than hours of thumbing through voluminous newspapers that are little more than voices of rapacious power. The range of good journalism, good writing and good scholarship on Z is astonishing: from the pen of the well-known to the raw, eyewitness reporting of 'citizen journalists'. Please do support Z; we need it; you need it."

    John Pilger

    "I can confidently say that the array of resources that the Z community offers –the prodigious ZNet website, the excellent monthly Z Magazine, the Z Video production and distribution, the school of alternative journalism Z Media Institute– is unique in its diversity of viewpoints, plurality of voices, depth and reliability. No other independent media undertaking that I know has been so successful in offering good up-to-date information, deep political analysis, and new radical visions, in sharing skills and resources with like-minded groups and social movements, and in helping people to come together at the global level. Z is fundamental for the community of people and collectives that are trying to build another world."

    Ezequiel Adamovsky

    "I spend a good deal of my time nowadays struggling for a media system that does not so readily dispense corporate and militarist propaganda and masquerade it as news. ZNet is one of the main alternatives to the status quo that points to a caliber of media that we so desperately need. I read it nearly every day and find it of tremendous value. I strongly urge people to support the new ZCom including ZNet and Z Magazine to the fullest extent that they can."

    Bob McChesney

    "In a media world saturated by the fog of mediocrity and too often devoid of truly radical, transformative analysis, Z is like a beacon of light. The commentaries provided by the many writers for Z not only point out the problems with current power structures and institutions, but even more, examine alternative futures. In my own work, Z is indispensable, and I have heard the same from literally thousands of people I've met around the country: folks who are thirsty for knowledge, and whose thirst is regularly quenched by Z."

    Tim Wise

    "The entire Z communications enterprise not only provides information and analysis to already existing social change organizations, it also helps launch new endeavors. Countless activists have joined political struggles, started new organizations, and brought new vision and strategy into their already existing efforts because of Z. Using few resources, Z reaches people all over the world and provides a forum for communication and debate. We should commit ourselves to Z by supporting it with cash. Dollar for dollar, you won't find an organization more capable of consistently (relentlessly!) providing accessible analysis of current events, explaining the workings and interconnectedness of systemic oppressions, and making it possible to seriously address questions of vision and strategy. Support activist-oriented alternative media! Support Z!"

    Cynthia Peters

    "Z is a vital resource for the left, not only in the United States, but globally. People around the world look to ZNet for the myriad voices of resistance in the United States and to share in a truly global dialogue about the urgently needed alternative to the current world order. ZNet has shown the real power of the Internet as a tool for raising consciousness and helping organizers to effect change."

    Anthony Arnove

    "Progressive activists the world over rely on Z Communicatons not only for coverage of breaking events, but for deeper analysis of the challenges facing diverse social movements and successful strategies to overcome them. Z Communications is boldly visionary at a time when the Left needs new non-sectarian vision. It is a force for change -- and for hope. It is important that to the extent they are able, people who use it support it"

    Betsy Hartman

    "After 15 years, Z remains the most thorough, in-depth source of truly radical news analysis and commentary. It is one of the only outlets in the US that remains fully unencumbered by the strictures, the fashions, and the foolishness of mainstream media. It's a vital resource in troubling times -- please support them in this time of need!"

    Brian Tokar

    "Z is the first left zine to acknowledge the view of disability as a social, policial and economic creation. Including disability as one of the social movements forging changes in society, it has garnered a wealth of information on disablement. Click on the "Disability Rights Watch" section on the home page of the web site for reference and commentaries too. Check it out and stay tuned. Z must go on. We cannot lose such a monumental source of information on topics covering all areas of social justice."

    Marta Russell

    "I tell all my friends in Australia to check out ZCom/ZNet if they want to learn about progressive movements around the world; Z Net has always been my first source for left commentary and reportage. It's huge, vital, unique and necessary."

    Sonia Shah

    "The past few years, I've traveled to various parts of the world that are directly affected by US foreign policy and capitalist globalization.
    People often ask me there, "Don't North Americans care?" "Don't they know?" If the mainstream media were to have its way, the answer to these questions would be a clear "No." Z tries to change that answer. It's not just a repository of information or analysis any more: it has tried, and to some extent succeeded, in becoming a real space of exchange and dialogue, where individuals and movements can feel a sense of community, break sieges and isolation, hear others, and make their voices heard."

    Justin Podur

    "Z is one of the great resources and bastions of dissent -- an authentic flagship of internet-based activism. Much of our work has been inspired by the example of Z, and much of our output has been enhanced by resources accessed via Z. I would view it as a genuine disaster directly impacting our work if Z was to disappear. That can't be allowed to happen. I strongly urge everyone who cares about rational, compassionate analysis and activism to do everything they can to support Z."

    David Edwards

    "As someone who lived through the depression of the 30s, World War II, McCarthjyism and the Cold War, I find this the most worrisome period in our history -- indeed, considering our rising militarism and environmental recklessness -- in the history of the world. At the same time, however, virtually all of those too few media groups that provide vital information find themselves in deepening financial stress -- as do left of center political groups. In addition to increasing our own political efforts, we must therefore also increase our financial support to those who need us and whom we need."

    Doug Dowd

    "As one of the editors of the Z Magazine for the Balkans, I can attest to the curious attraction and power that the politics of "Z" has in this neo-colonized part of the "not quite European" world. The first issue of the Balkan Z magazine was financed by Serbian workers in struggle. It can be found on every news kiosk in Serbia. The internationalist -- indeed, global -- political message of "Z" has been successfully translated into the language of the local struggles. By helping Z you will also be helping us to continue to struggle, and to continue to promote the values of a non-hierarchical, participatory society, in Serbia, ex-Yugoslavia and the Balkans"

    Andrej Grubacic,
    The Balkans

    "The many Z projects have played an enormously important role in connecting thousands of people outside the traditional channels of communication, bypassing the major media. and introducing into the marketplace of ideas original and provocative ideas and significant information that otherwise would be lost. It has always struggled financially, as befits a bold and dissident organization, and so deserves all the help we can possibly give it. I hope people will come through at this critical time, when Z's work is especially crucial to the nation."

    Howard Zinn

    "Amongst other sites of struggle for justice, Johannesburg is in continual need of international networking. No service is as good as ZNet, and the comrades - from social movements to trade unions to NGOs to academics like myself - cite Z repeatedly."

    Patrick Bond
    South Africa

    "ZNet is my ZNN -- I get my dose of global reality from it. It keeps me in touch with developments around the planet, including my own back yard. The debates and the commentaries provide a lively community, a vital institution of the global left. ZCom/ZNet must stay alive.

    Vijay Prashad

    "Z Magazine and ZNet have been my primary vehicles for communicating messages to a sizable audience for more than a decade. I consider the Z family a model of an open and democratic media. We should do all we can not only to help them survive but also to expand. Their growth and that of others of similar openness may be a matter of life or death."

    Edward S. Herman

    "What truly sets Z apart from other news and analysis providers, independent and otherwise, are its unrelenting commitment to including diverse voices in the struggle for social justice and its accessibility to writers and activists. As a young journalist of color looking for both safe spaces to write and reliable sources of information to cite -- there is no organization comparable to Z. It is made up of a global community of people who -- without pretentiousness or condescension -- are providing a uniquely fair and just alternative to the status quo. It must continue on."

    C.P. Pandya

    "Every morning when I open my mail I have a new window to the world. ZNet Commentaries brings me a story and a thought in a world with so much information that you don't stop and think. ZNet makes me stop and think; I feel as part of something bigger. Even though I’m in Sweden I feel connected to other struggles that I don't share in day to day work. ZCom/ZNet is a tool for sharing visions and goals. "

    America Vera Zavala

    "Whenever people ask me where they should go to find out what's really happening in the world, I direct them to ZNet. For me it's the starting point in the great global conversation which the internet permits. The only hope we have of countering the 24-hour propaganda produced by people such as Fox News and Clear Channel is to develop our own media, and Z Communications does it better than anyone else. I would be devastated if Z went down."

    George Monbiot

    "If the Left is going to survive in these grim times, it's going to need its own media to keep its message and its spirit alive. Z is one of the most valuable of these alternative media outlets. It deserves our enthusiastic support."

    Joanne Landy

    "Greek journalists have been using the material found in ZNet and Z Magazine for years. They know that these are sources for honest information and deep analysis of what is going on in the world. Personally I have been contributing articles based on these sources to the Greek print media for many years. The Greeks as most peoples in the world base their hopes for a better world on a future moral reaction of an informed American people. ZNet and Z Magazine offer valuable help to this end."

    Nicos Raptis

    "Z is unmatched as an accessible and sophisticated source of radically useful information, analysis, debate, and inspiration. It is to those who believe in the need for a reasonably informed citizenry and who reject the reactionary filters and messages of corporate media. It is a vital antidote to the incessant soul-deadening propaganda of concentrated wealth and power. It brilliantly rides the latest wave in the communications revolution to advance the common good and to update and sustain the noble dream and vision of a world turned upside down. I refuse to imagine a world without Z."

    Paul Street

    "At some point after every talk I give about political issues, someone asks me, "Where can I go for reliable alternative information?" I offer a list of web sites, and at the top of the list is Z. From the time the Z Magazine staff first experimented with putting news and analysis online, long before most other media outlets, ZNet has been the most reliable place to go on the web for a wonderful range of ideas on an incredible range of topics. Right after 9/11 many people found out what had been true for years: ZNet had discovered how to harness the power of the technology to bring crucial news to a public hungry for something beyond the corporate commercial news media."

    Robert Jensen

    "I have always considered ZNet and Z Magazine tremendously valuable resources for progressives -- which is why I have been happy to write for them and work with them. But I also find Z and ZNet wonderful resources for my own learning, with articles on a vast array of topics, often making valuable contributions to significant controversies on the Left. Z and ZNet understand that the Left isn't advanced by putting forward "the official line," but by encouraging vigorous discussion and debate within the progressive movements. One other part of Z Communications -- the Z Media Institute -- is one of the U.S. Left's most important educational projects. Hundreds of the sharpest and most promising media activists in the country (and in Canada) today are graduates of ZMI. We're in this for the long haul, and ZMI and the other components of Z Communications -- the magazine, the web, the videos -- provide essential support for our efforts and, hopefully, will continue to do so long into the future."

    Stephen Shalom

    "Z Communications is quite simply one of the best resources in the world for anyone concerned about justice, peace, compassion, the environment and humanity. Educate and empower yourself, counter state-government propaganda, join with others and become part of a revolution in grassroots awareness and activism. Please support ZNet wholeheartedly!"

    David Cromwell,

    'People struggling for a better world need a way to cut through the lies and distortion created by the Western mass media. Z Communications is a crucial part of that effort. The dynamic projects that spring out of Z, and the extraordinary evolution of ZNet, express and reinforce the vitality of our movements for change.'

    Milan Rai,

    ZCom is for people who dare to imagine that another world is actually possible. It has been a melting pot of ideas for the global justice movement over the past decade -- a kind of radical, online university for social change. More than ever, we need vision, we need strategies for how to get there, and we need independent media that cuts through the crap. We need znet, and znet needs you. So put your money where your vision is -- become a znet sustainer.

    John Hepburn
    Greenpeace Australia


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