According to Paul de Armond, research director for the Public Good Project, “We are on the cusp of the biggest movement of social transformation that has hit this country in a generation.” Among other things, he notes, that means the number of potential recruits is more than we’ve seen since the 1960s.
As I noted in my book War of Ideas, “The challenge for those devoted to training agents for social change is in providing programs that focus on the specific tools they will need—to develop research and analysis capacity in a manner similar to intelligence and security conducted during warfare.”
As a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and activists, Public Good Project is oriented towards a constantly evolving set of priorities best suited to the defense of democracy. As a network, Public Good participants function as correspondents and colleagues.
The primary function of a network participant is to communicate, and that’s something Public Good does very well. Public Good has often served as the means by which new connections were forged.
It is a basic premise of Public Good that facts come first. Public Good does investigative research, finding the facts and making them available to the public. What happens next is up to citizen activists, the media and any other interested or responsible parties.
Investigative research is the collection of evidence from public sources: public records, eyewitness accounts, interviews, court documents, as well as photographs, video and audio recordings for primary documentation. Public Good’s standard for primary documentation requires that information meet the evidentiary standards of a court of law. Secondary information is collected from books, newspaper stories, and other publications—what people have to say about that evidence.
It is a basic requirement of all of Public Good’s investigative research that it be available to the public for confirmation. There are no secrets.
Public Good publication methods include administrative or legal filings, publishing a report, producing an article for the media, or supplying copies of primary documents to researchers, writers or public officials. In some cases, Public Good has forwarded information after publication to responsible agencies for civil or criminal action.
Public Good also produces analytic reports which provide a larger context of history and policy analysis drawn from investigative research. These reports, papers and educational pamphlets provide the basis for informed opinion based on knowledge of the issues at hand.
We have recently begun to generate interest in establishing a Public Good Learning Center in San Francisco, in order for experienced researchers to pass on their skills and knowledge to another generation. As the renowned Public Good researcher Dan Junas once said, “It’s always worse than you think, and you never know until you look.”
You can learn more about Public Good by visiting our website at www.publicgood.org