Dreams on Screen

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'It's been said that dreams are our road maps to the future. If so, where are we headed?' So starts the 'About Us' section of the Common Dreams website, www.commondreams.org

Since 1997 the people behind the website have been 'working to bring progressive Americans together to promote progressive visions for America's future'. They believe in 'using the internet as a political organising tool - and creating new models for internet activism'.

With this in mind, Common Dreams has created a daily news service that brings together a wide range of articles (mainly from mainstream US media, but with a smattering of other papers from across the world) of interest to the activist community.

Also worthy of note is the Common Dreams progressive newswire - a regularly updated set of press releases and statements from progressive organisations - and not just the usual suspects either, but a wide variety of groups, campaigns, trade unions and NGOs. As I write this, the latest press releases include ones from the AFL-CIO, the World Wildlife Fund and the Centre for Science in the Public Interest.

The site has a huge archive - its search facility is a useful starting point for anyone researching a particular topic, though non-US readers might find it slightly limited by its predominantly American content. Perhaps a second criticism is that it is difficult to find more radical voices than those of the mainstream left and NGO types, but there are other sites that more than make up for this.

One of these sites is dedicated to the work of 'one of America's most prominent political dissidents' - Noam Chomsky. The Chomsky Internet Archive at www.zmag.org/chomsky/index.cfm, hosted by Znet, contains many downloadable versions of his books and articles.

ZNet itself - www.zmag.org/weluser.htm - is another resource of radical and alternative articles. Contributors come from many traditions - John Pilger, Robert Fisk, George Monbiot and Naomi Klein to name a few of the more well known authors. It's difficult to classify any particular editorial line, but a general libertarian socialism probably fits the bill.

Activists could do a lot worse than while away a few hours reading either Znet or CommonDreams.

Martin Empson
Martinempson@hushmail.com