December 22, 2021

The Park Center for Independent Media circulates the Indy Brief. Subscribe for a weekly selection of news stories from journalists operating outside traditional corporate systems.

The Izzy Award
Nominations Open for 14th Annual “Izzy Award” for Independent Media

The Izzy Award will celebrate its 14th year this spring, and nominations are officially open for work produced during the calendar year 2021.

PCIM will again grant this honor — named after legendary journalist I. F. “Izzy” Stone — for outstanding achievement in independent media. This year’s award will go to an independent media outlet or individual journalist whose work is published independently.

Journalists, academics, and the public at large may submit nominations until midnight EST on Tuesday, February 2, 2022. The winner will be announced early next spring, with an award ceremony to follow in April 2022.

Nominations should include 250 words or less explaining why the entry is worthy of consideration. They should also include supporting web links (no more than four) and/or attached materials. Send submissions to Raza Rumi, director of PCIM, at

Read more on nominations here.

The Edge
Manchin’s Opposition Slashes Build Back Better’s Chances

Democrats face a political crisis after West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin announced during an appearance on Fox News that he won’t back his party’s signature $2 trillion social and environment bill.

After five-and-a-half months of negotiations with Democrats, during which he was the bill’s greatest opponent, Manchin further suggested that he never intended to compromise to support crucial portions of the Build Back Better Act, preferring it die altogether.

Now facing an uncertain future are the popular social and economic policies outlined in the bill: In addition to limiting prescription drug costs and implementing a more generous child tax credit, the bill allocates more than $500 billion for tax breaks and spending aimed at curbing carbon emissions, which experts consider the largest federal expenditure ever to combat climate change.

Read the full story on The Edge.

Newly Elected Chilean President Gabriel Boric Promises to ‘Bury Neoliberalism’

On December 19, Chile elected its youngest president ever: 35-year-old Gabriel Boric, a progressive Democratic Socialist who ran on the promise to enact widespread social and economic change. The former student activist has vowed to make Chile — one of the earliest nations to implement neoliberal reform — the ‘grave’ of neoliberalism.

Following a historic voter turnout, Boric beat conservative opponent Jose Antonio Kast by a wide margin with 56% of votes.

Boric’s triumph over Kast — whose far-right, reactionary politics are comparable to authoritarian leaders such as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and former U.S. President Donald Trump — is considered a significant win for Chile and leftist politics in South America.

Read the full story on The Edge.

Watch — Todd Miller on ‘Build Bridges, Not Walls: A Journey to a World Without Borders’

In October, journalist and author Todd Miller spoke at Ithaca College about his latest of four books on border issues, “Build Bridges, Not Walls: A Journey to a World Without Borders.”

You can still catch Miller’s discussion, full of personal tales from the U.S. border and broader insights on global nationhood. In answering questions and asking his own, he shed light on the function of borders as intentionally designed deterrents, which rely on violence to keep people away.

Miller explained, “the border is constructed for a displacement crisis — not a ‘border crisis’ — hundreds, or even thousands, of miles from the border.” Further, border militarization budgets are continuing to rise, even as nations ignore the existential threat of climate change.

Watch the full talk on YouTube.

More from the Edge
Millions Dread Impending Student Loan Repayments after Biden’s Inaction

Nearly 45 million Americans are set to face a continued period of student loan repayments after the moratorium ends on February 1, 2022.

Financial advisor Chris Kampitsis wrote in a piece for Forbes earlier this year, “Short of winning the lottery, there is often no feasible alternative for students with limited means to pay for college.” Data from the Education Data Initiative supports this, showing 44.7 million people have outstanding student loans in the U.S., with the average debt at over $36,000.

Calls to cancel debt are growing louder and pressure mounts on Joe Biden’s administration to execute his campaign promise to do so.

Read more on The Edge.

Kellogg’s Workers Strike for Wages as Executives Profit

Kellogg’s factory workers are continuing to strike for fair wages as the company employs aggressive anti-union measures against them. The union rejected a deal after two months of negotiations, and the company has recently announced its plans to hire replacement workers.

The unionized workforce reports that factories have been “purposely understaffed,” requiring employees to work “72- to 84-hour work weeks.” COVID-19 has exacerbated the situation, leaving some factories to operate with 100 workers fewer than needed, though the company disputes this.

Joe Biden has opposed the company’s move to hire replacement workers, and The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act would help restrict such union busting strategies.

Read more on The Edge.

Georgia’s Republican Primary: A Referendum on Trump’s Election Lies

Ahead of Georgia’s 2022 Republican primary for governor, Donald Trump has levied his support for David Perdue over Governor Brian Kemp. Trump favored Kemp in 2018, but has developed a tarnished opinion since, calling him a “complete and total disaster on election integrity” and saying Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams might make for a better governor.

Trump and Kemp’s relationship started to fray in 2020, but fell apart when the former president pressured public officials in states where vote tallies were tight to overturn the results, citing bogus claims about widespread election fraud.

Now, Trump is stoking fears of fraud in the upcoming Georgia election, suggesting it’s the only way Kemp could win — despite the voter suppression law Kemp signed, inspired by Trump’s prior false claims of rigging.

Read more on The Edge.

In Other News

1. Rogel Aguilera-Mederos: Prosecutor asks judge to ‘reconsider’ 110-year sentence for trucker (The Independent)

2. Why Authoritarian Regimes Bother With Elections (The Atlantic)

3. Coal Miners Union To Joe Manchin: Support Build Back Better (HuffPost)

4. Perfectly preserved dinosaur embryo found in China (BBC)

5. Why US far-right groups are shifting their focus to local communities (The Guardian

Read previous Briefs and more from independent media on the PCIM website, and The Edge, and follow PCIM on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

The Indy Brief is edited by Jeremy Lovelett.