Happy 13th birthday to us! Imagine: 13 years ago on the Internet, as rabble.ca was gaining its first pageviews, so too were Google and Wikipedia -- both launched the same year. Facebook was not to come for another four years. In fact, as rabble co-founder and current Mozilla foundation ED Mark Surman explained at our 10th anniversary: "rabble took the Internet from being a thing to a space... Think about it: The Internet that we interact with every day now didn't exist back then. It was a time when 98% of the Internet was viewed through Microsoft, when the dot.com boom had gone bust... where none of the things we are excited about today regarding the Internet existed... and here was rabble saying there are all these exciting stories to be told on the Internet..."
Our media choices have changed greatly in the years since rabble was launched: they have multiplied and they have at the same time diminished. With the Internet came many sources of alternative and independent media. Where once babble, rabble's public discussion board, was Canadian social media, Facebook and Twitter now permit individuals to share their news unmitigated by big media. Conservative media, closely allied with the political party, has also grown, and public media has been slowly destroyed in Canada: first with the cuts to local CBC media production back in 2009, and then with the intentional silencing of the CBC via further Conservative cuts, and the more than 657 job losses announced just last week.
Politically, rabble was founded to provide a counterbalance to the launch of the right-wing National Post and the conservative/neo-liberal bias of the Globe and Mail. It was founded to tell the stories of Canadian social movements. Launching at the Quebec Summit of the Americas on April 18, 2001, it was there to tell the story of the anti-globalization movements -- that had reached their apex -- and just before the retrenchment following September 11, 2001. Over the past 13 years we have reported on the Conservatives' attack on science, their disregard for treaty rights, their contempt for the institutions of democracy and much more.
However, if you are one of the up to 450,000 unique monthly visitors who have followed the news on rabble, you know that over the past 13 years we have reported on the progressive movements that have also transformed Canada and grown into a real force.
We need a progressive, independent media that gathers together the voices, stories and analysis of Canada's social movements, that counters the anti-democratic measures and right-wing reframing of Canada by the Conservative government and media. rabble has been too often the first to tell the stories of the growing and evolving actors of social change in Canada: from the early days of the opposition to the war on Iraq, to the Toronto G20, the Vancouver Olympics resistance, Occupy, the Quebec student movement, Idle No More, the new forms of organizing led by environmental and anti-tar sands movements, and in politics, issues ranging from the New Politics Initiative, to the coalition movement, to the (un)Fair Elections Act -- all often far before mainstream media took notice, and with a lens all too often ignored in those media. We continue to cover the stories that mainstream media would prefer we overlook...
rabble holds the distinction of both being unapologetically progressive, while not in the pockets of any one political party or funder, or held back by the limitations of receiving government funding. Built on an open-source platform, technology has been a part of our thinking about media from the start: and despite our humble budget, rabble has been at the forefront over time of exploring the potential of technological developments: from being the first in Canada to establish a network of podcasts (in the early days of iTunes), to being the first to use livestream video, rabble over the years has explored the potential of virtual reality for news sharing and gathering (with our home in Second Life) and early adopters of Twitter and of exploring the potential of multi-voice blogs to curate news coverage (way back in the 2008 federal election).
At 13, we are proud of our accomplishments, particularly as rabble has a budget far smaller than any of our online competition or American independent media counterparts (and less than the individual salary of pretty well any Canadian TV anchor you can name). Our small budget is derived from contributions from labour and civil society partners, and from readers and contributors alike.
Can you donate $13 in honour of our birthday to keep rabble going? $13 to keep the stories that matter being told. $13 to provide a robust watchdog and counter-voice to the Conservative and corporate machine.
If a tiny fraction of our readers send us such a gift, it will be a great birthday indeed.
Thank you for your part in rabble's history, and enjoy this look back to our 10th anniversary shingdig below!
Thank you for reading this story…
More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.
rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.
So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.
And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.