The Last Line Of Defense: 20 Activist Groups That Are Making A Big Difference

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Above Photo: Arched balustrades, Yaquina Bay Bridge. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

Are you frustrated with The Resistance©, still fronting for the failures of 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 pipeline gougers, the bankers, 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
https://allianceforthewildrockies.org/

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.

Apache Stronghold
P.O. Box 766 
San Carlos AZ 85550
http://www.apache-stronghold.com/

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.

Beyond Nuclear
7304 Carroll Avenue, #182, Takoma Park. MD 20912
Tel: 301.270.2209
http://www.beyondnuclear.org/about/

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
1-406-646-0070
http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/

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
http://blackbeltcitizens.org/our-info/

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.

Causa
700 Marion St. NE
Salem, OR 97301
https://causaoregon.org/

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
(541)687-9180
http://cldc.org/

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
http://www.derechoshumanosaz.net/

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.

Fatal Encounters
3375 San Mateo Ave.
Reno, NV 89509-5046
http://www.fatalencounters.org

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
http://www.goaltribal.org

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
http://www.humaneborders.org/

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
http://icahdusa.org

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
https://thestrategycenter.org

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
https://www.lakotalaw.org/

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.

Nukewatch
740A Round Lake Road
Luck, Wisconsin 54853
http://nukewatchinfo.org

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.

Prison Radio
PO Box 411074
San Francisco, CA 94141
http://www.prisonradio.org/

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
http://www.phadp.org/

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
https://risingtidenorthamerica.org/

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.

Solitary Watch
Community Futures Collective: Attn. Solitary Watch
221 Idora Ave., Vallejo, CA 94591.
http://solitarywatch.com

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
773-878-3815
http://vcnv.org/

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.

  • GOETZ IT2

    DeSmog Blog good choice! Delaware Riverkeepers Network and their program For The Generations as well.