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Juan González on 20 Years of Democracy Now! & Keeping Dissident Alternative News Alive

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Award-winning reporter and longtime activist Juan González has been a fixture of Democracy Now! since its first broadcast more than 20 years ago. A former organizer with the Young Lords and a longtime reporter for the New York Daily News, Juan González spoke Monday night at Democracy Now!'s 20-year celebration at New York City's historic Riverside Church about the need to keep alternative news alive.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Democracy Now!’s own Juan González also spoke at the event about his 20 years co-hosting Democracy Now!

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We’ve been privileged to bear witness to the most important political events and social struggles of the past two decades, to interview some of the most brilliant grassroots leaders, artists, poets, scientists, from inmates bravely organizing within the prison-industrial complex to young immigrant DREAMers fighting to keep their families intact, to visionary political and religious leaders from around the world seeking to make a better life for their people, to American soldiers resisting imperial war from within the military, to daring whistleblowers exposing secrets, the darkest secrets of capitalism and empire. In the true spirit of the workingmen’s press of the 1830s, the muckrakers of the early 1900s, the revolutionary press of the 1970s, we have sought to do our part to keep alive dissident alternative news and information and analysis, grounded in facts and research, and in the service of social progress.

As many of you know, I’ve been fortunate to not only have worked with Amy, one of the truly great journalists of our time, but also—also to have labored in two other major streams of the American media: the corporate, or commercial, press and with the press of people of color—which has its own separate 200-year history, because both the corporate press and the dissident press kept excluding racial minorities from their ranks. And my journalism has always been informed and shaped by my own struggles, successful mass struggles in the social movements of our time, from the 1968 Columbia student strike against the Vietnam War and racism; to the Young Lords in the 1970s; to the battle to remove Frank Rizzo, the racist, fascist mayor of Philadelphia, from his mayoralty; to the bitter five-month strike at the New York Daily News from 1990 to 1991, the last successful newspaper strike in American history; and to the difficult and arduous battle in 2000, 2001 to save the Pacifica network from a corporate takeover.

I resigned from the Daily News in May, after 29 years there, to devote myself to more in-depth research and writing, and I’m completing a book on the new progressive movements that have come to power in several U.S. cities the past few years. Those cities, you see, are the only hope right now for the nation’s progressive movements, especially after the debacle we witnessed at the state and federal level last month and as one advanced capitalist country after another faces the resurgence of right-wing, anti-immigrant and neofascist movements. We must nurture and build progressive alliances at the city and local level, not despair or lose hope. And those of us who are journalists must keep reporting the facts, exposing the injustices, drawing the lessons of history and speaking truth to power.

Democracy Now! has always drawn inspiration from people’s struggles. Its biggest stories have come from the information gathered by activists and researchers who no one else would listen to. And 20 years after we started, with your help and support, it will continue to do so for longer than anyone thought possible. Thank you for coming tonight.

AMY GOODMAN: Democracy Now! co-host Juan González, speaking Monday night.

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