John Collins is the editor of Rural America In These Times. He lives between Seattle and La Pointe, Wisconsin, a village on Madeline Island in Lake Superior.
La Pointe is a former French outpost that was established in 1693 by French fur traders. Madeline Island is the spiritual home of the Ojibwe. A part of the island is governed by the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians, the rest is under the jurisdiction of Ashland County.
John is the great-great grandson of James B. Weaver (1833-1912). A member of Congress from Iowa, Weaver ran for president in 1892 as the candidate for the People’s Party (aka “The Populists”), a party that he helped found. (Weaver carried Kansas, Colorado, Nevada, Idaho and North Dakota, for a total of 22 electoral college votes, along with many majority black counties in the Deep South, who citizens supported the Populists because of their opposition to the doctrine of white supremacy championed by the Democratic Party) Weaver was also the editor of the Iowa-based Farmer’s Tribune.
In his 1892 book, A Call to Action: An Interpretation of the Great Uprising. Its Sources and Causes, James B. Weaver warned: “Corporate feudality has taken the place of chattel slavery and vaunts its power in every state.”
John wants to amplify the voices of rural America to make them heard. He says, “As James Weaver wrote, ‘As a rule, men and women in the private walks of life—the sufferers—are first to apprehend impending danger, and it is their sleepless energies which finally arouse the drowsy conscience of nations.’ ”
“Throughout his life Weaver was a steadfast champion of America’s farmers,” says John. “Today, the stories of people who live in our country’s small communities, native and non-native, are not being told. Both the independent media and the commercial media—social and televised—ignore an entire way of life.”
John, 31, graduated from the University of Utah in 2011 with a B.A. in English. From 2011 through 2014 he worked as a carpenter for Northwoods Construction on Madeline Island. From 2002 to 2006 he was a guitarist for the LA-based indie rock band Controlling the Famous, which released the album Automatic City in 2006 on The Militia Group label.
Global Financial Fears, Community Resilience, the New Economy, Just Transition and Gig Workers
The global economy is in a bit of a jam. As central banks juggle elephantine debts, some countries are nervously forecasting less economic growth than the insatiable system requires. To complicate matters, there... MORE
Rural America · February 10, 2016
Cattle, Guns, Birds and Boredom: Inside the Oregon Occupation
Editor’s note of January 27: On January 26, the day after this story was posted, the FBI reported that one of the people occupying the Malheur Wildlife Refuge was shot and killed by... MORE
Rural America · January 27, 2016
Before Bernie Sanders: A 19th Century Populist’s Run for the Presidency
We are nearing a serious crisis. If the present strained relations between wealth owners and wealth producers continue much longer they will ripen into frightful disaster. This universal discontent must be quickly interpreted... MORE
Rural America · November 24, 2015
For the Activists in the New Economy Movement, All Revolution Is Local
In May 1983, the cover of Time Magazine featured an image of a klutzy looking robot. It had a primitive computer for a body, analog tape reels for eyes and was pushing a wheelbarrow... MORE
Rural America · November 8, 2015
Rural America In These Times Goes Bioneering
Bioneers is a progressive nonprofit organization that, for the last 26 years, has hosted an annual conference where people gather to learn about and discuss the issues facing our culture and planet. Two weeks... MORE
Rural America · October 30, 2015
Heroin Doesn’t Care Where It Is: HHS to Distribute Naloxone to Rural Areas
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently found that, since 2010, 28 states have experienced a rise in the number of heroin related deaths. Many of the counties most affected are in rural areas. The... MORE
Rural America · September 24, 2015
From Quebec to Wisconsin: Walking for Water
In Ojibwe culture, water is feminine because it’s the carrier of life. Since 2003, Ojibwe elder Josephine Mandamin, a 66 year-old born in Wikwemikong, Ontario, has led long-distance treks—sacred water walks... MORE
Rural America · September 7, 2015
Busting the Myth of the Food Desert: A Farmer’s Market in Milwaukee Sautés Statistics
By any economic measure the 53206 zip code—part of a 120 block neighborhood on Milwaukee’s north side—is among Wisconsin’s most struggling. Sixty-six percent of households earn less... MORE
Rural America · August 31, 2015
Out of Site, Out of Mine: Who Pays When Toxic Sludge Escapes?
The Gold King Mine—the abandoned site near Silverton, Colorado, which contained 3 million gallons of toxic, heavy-metal-laced wastewater and tailings that are now flowing down the Animas River on their way to... MORE
Rural America · August 11, 2015
Will Wisconsin Be the Next Rice Capital of North America?
If you haven’t heard of the Wisconsin Rice Growers Association it’s because there isn’t one. In fact, when it comes to rice cultivation in the Dairy State,... MORE
Rural America · July 22, 2015