San Francisco Green Festival, November 9-11, 2007

Introducing Amy Goodman, Jason McKain, of Free Speech TV told audiences of the need for “connecting to movements for empowering local citizens to revitalize democracy,” and the need for media to “represent community interests, not corporate interests.”

Who is Amy Goodman? A tireless advocate for free speech, free press and democracy now, an investigative journalist, author and occasionally, an inspirational speaker.

“Every time we run Democracy Now something happens… It’s as if we’ve entered into a democratic dream-state,” McKain said, “we see the resilience and power of people fighting back.”

Short in stature, but enormous in presence, Amy Goodman began by using the date to commemorate Ken Saro-Wiwa’s death. A Nigerian author and environmentalist, Saro-Wiwa spoke out against Shell in Nigeria, and lead nonviolent protests before his trial, allegedly under the watchful eye of Shell oil, and subsequent execution November 10, 1995.

Goodman then went on to discuss Burma. While Condoleeza Rice has castigated China for supporting the regime, Chevron continues fueling the military junta for supporting the regime. Despite US government sanctions on Burma, as a company, Chevron is not being held accountable. Despite Rice’s rhetoric, she has served on the Board of Directors for Chevron ( yet has not taken action to hold the corporation accountable.

The oil theme persisted, and Goodman went on to discuss British Petroleum (BP) and it’s impending $500 million dollar partnership with the University of California school system over the next ten years, as well as Exxonmobil’s $100 million dollar project at Stanford University. Conflict of interest? Perhaps. Especially when considering Exxonmobil allegedly spent millions to deny global warming was fueled by people.

The most recent San Francisco oil spill highlights the importance for developing, creating and sustaining alternatives to oil.

The end of her speech shifted focus from oil to instances of successful movements and protests from the Port of Olympia, Washington to Jena, Louisiana. She mentioned her newest book Static, and implored the audience to support free media, “We need a media that is the fourth estate, not one that covers for the estate.”

Goodman’s short speech exposed issues and corporate ties unexposed by other media sources. If Americans for Informed Democracy is to persist as a useful and active organization which brings issues to light, the issues discussed by Goodman and Democracy Now must be brought to light.