The way it was…

There was a time when the media were seen as a mirror society held up to itself. But we know in reality the mainstream media act more like the agents of powerful interests.

News is reported from the point of view of private business owners and investors. Media ownership, particularly in Canada, has become concentrated in increasingly fewer hands. As a result, reliable information about political, economic and social trends is harder to find. Media outlets are more likely to exclude points of view other than those held by the advertisers, and pushed by the owners.

Media democracy requires independent media

At rabble.ca, we know that without independent media, debate is distorted, issues get ignored, and injustices get overlooked. Media democracy requires independent media. rabble.ca has been publishing independent news and analysis for 20 years — no small accomplishment for a digital-only publication. Today we invite you to celebrate with us, by joining our special campaign to raise $20,000 over 20 days for our 20 years. Join in the celebration at rabble.ca/donate. Donate any amount and you could win a copy of Everything on (the) Line: 20 Years of Social Movement Stories from rabble.ca, published by Between the Lines on April 18, 2021 — in a daily raffle!

Those of us who work in independent media dedicate our careers to this vocation because we know whole sectors of Canadian life are no longer covered by the mainstream media. Rarely is there unbiased reporting on labour and social issues. No mainstream media covers the economy as it actually works: people working, and providing services to each other that meet real needs.

rabble at the forefront

rabble.ca has proudly maintained a focus on labour and worker rights, grassroots activism, and a progressive analysis of national politics, for two decades. Launched April 18, 2001, on the eve of the Summit of the Americas, we’ve been at the front lines of grassroots journalism since that time. At 20 we look back at being at the forefront of an extraordinary history of the evolution of Canadian online journalism. And always doing so without a paywall.

The last year has been one like no other. Over the past year rabble has focused on sharing critical information and analysis about the pandemic, while telling the stories of the spectrum of essential workers through Chelsea Nash’s labour journalism. We’ve amplified the work of grassroots activists across the country through our “rabble rousers to watch” series, curated by our Activist Toolkit editor, Maya Bhullar. Journalism for change writer Lidia Abraha last summer dug into the role of policing in Black communities. Award-winning federal politics reporter Karl Nerenberg shared incisive analysis of federal politics. And we’ve kept our focus on the future of the planet, with our series Climate Hope in the Time of Pandemic and in our upcoming podcast series led by Victoria Fenner with the Tommy Douglas Institute.

As we look ahead, Canada’s pandemic recovery must be inclusive, forward-looking, and transformative. It’s one thing to “build back better,” as many of our governments say they will do. But for whom are they building? How transformative are they really willing to be?

“Building back” onto systems that are not working is simply building on failure. We need to pivot. That’s why at rabble.ca, we’re focused on what it means to build forward — not back.

Build forward

We are focused on holding governments accountable for the systems that have failed us, and featuring the stories of activists and changemakers who are fighting to change them — that speak to a feminist analysis of economic recovery; to genuine reconciliation with Indigenous peoples that is centered in Land Back; and why defunding the police is a central component of dismantling systemic racism and patriarchy. You’ll find this analysis in our journalism, among our roster of Canada’s best opinion writers, and in our live “Off the Hill” current politics panels.

This is what media democracy is made of. This is why we need rabble.ca‘s independent media.

We are committed to the cornerstones of our media project: telling the stories of grassroots movements, the labour movement, and national politics from an unapologetically progressive perspective. Over the coming months you will see new faces at rabble, as we bring new voices to our site, including new columnists like Evelyn Lazare and Chuka Ejeckam, while we continue to share some of the most urgent voices you need to hear in Canada — from Monia Mazigh, Duncan Cameron, to Pam Palmater, to David Climenhaga and so many more. We have big plans in the works to bring and share the news with you in a vital and creative way.

20,000: 20: 20

We have big plans for the future but we need your support to make it happen! This is why we are launching a special 20th anniversary fundraiser: we want to raise $20,000 in 20 days for 20 years celebrating rabble’s independent media.

Really, it is a modest proposal: if each of us chips in $2 or $20 or $200 (or more if you can), we could raise that many times over.

If you’ve been reading rabble.ca over the years you know that we love to celebrate. We have many plans over the coming year, and to kick it off we will be sharing stories from our archives over the next 20 days. We hope you will celebrate this special moment with us.

Thank you for supporting independent media and rabble.ca. Strengthening media democracy in Canada is what we are all about.


Kim Elliott

Publisher Kim spent her first 16 years on a working family farm in Quebec. Her first memories of rabble rousing are of strike lines, promptly followed by Litton’s closure of the small town...