rabble turns 10! Our story: This is who we are In Cahoots

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On April 18, 2011, rabble celebrated its 10th anniversary. Highlighting 10 important moments of rabble's history over the course of our 10th year, current and former people involved with rabble have been asked to share their personal highlights from their time with rabble. This rabble history series elaborates on some of the most common highlights submitted.

We also know that many of you have your own ideas of what the highlights of rabble's 10 years have been, and we want to know what you think. If you have thoughts on how you'd like to see us grow, please share as well in the comments section below.

When it comes to connecting social justice groups with a progressive online audience, In Cahoots is the place to be. It began with a handful of member groups, all of who shared rabble's vision of truly independent media in Canada.

Members have access to a unique forum on rabble where they can share issues, news and concerns that matter to them. In 2002, rabble joined the Quebec NGO Alternatives and together created a proposal to host One World Canada. The vision for One World Canada was to create "a family of French, English and bilingual progressive media websites that include material produced by civil society organizations, original editorial content and user-driven discussion boards," a proposal that closely followed the In Cahoots model. Although the funding for One World Canada ran out, the possibilities and vision remain.

In Cahoots has always been a significant part of rabble. As a venue to share news and research from diverse Canadian organizations that are working for social justice, there are now numerous In Cahoots partners who have joined rabble based on sliding scale membership rates. Kim Elliott, rabble's publisher, confirms that the In Cahoots concept was based on "the notion that rabble was going to be a portal for new social movements, and a solidarity mechanism on the site -- where we highlight partner news, and send traffic to their sites -- it was an integral part of rabble from its inception."

John Hall, rabble's first In Cahoots editor, recalls the early days of In Cahoots when there were close to a dozen partners and the belief that those partners had in the innovative and untested idea of rabble's national news and views alternative. Hall elaborates on the initial concept: "In Cahoots was never about building a highlight reel -- it was about incrementally expanding the reach of some progressive NGOs."

Examining the broader significance of In Cahoots, John Hall contrasts rabble's approach to journalism with mainstream media's approach. "Journalism is always enabled and limited by the social and economic interests of the folks who pay the bills. And rabble pulls that reality to the surface by saying 'Yo, here are the folks we're totally In Cahoots with.' And we blatantly pump their wares and ideas -- as mainstream media outlets pump specific interests in unacknowledged ways." Hall adds, that to him, "drawing attention to the social process of media is important if you want to nurture healthy and self-aware independent media."

Matt Adams is the current In Cahoots manager and he has witnessed firsthand how In Cahoots has evolved over the years. This has involved a shift during critical situations such as the 2011 postal lockout and Air Canada actions. Adams explains: "While In Cahoots intended to highlight the stories, issues, campaigns of the partners we have, some of the labour strikes and lockouts pushed it to act more like a news feed, updating much more frequently to allow rabble readers to see when unions have posted new information and analysis on the issues." He continues by observing that, "In Cahoots brings readers straight to the source, where most people not directly involved tend to go."

In Cahoots is still an important outlet for organizations working towards social justice. Kim Elliott observes: "It remains significant as a way for progressive organizations to share their message in an unmediated way with readers. It's a way rabble contributes to building a progressive community in Canada."

To become an In Cahoots partner or for more information click here.

Noreen Mae Ritsema is a former rabble intern and writer of the rabble history series.

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