Welcome to The Scrum. We’re independent journalists dedicated to independent journalism. The need for this kind of work has never been greater or more urgent. The corporate-owned press and broadcasters have abandoned their responsibilities—and all of us, bringing our public discourse to a state of chaos and crisis. An illiberal censorship offensive now threatens our rights to speak and to know. The Scrum is our reply to these dire circumstances. Our intent is to help restore integrity to journalism—and reason and decency to all of our lives. Join us.

We publish The Scrum in memory of Stephen F. Cohen and Sherle Schwenninger.


What we’re doing

The Scrum features analysis and commentary on world affairs, economics, media, and culture by its founding editors. Guest contributors—journalists, historians, economists, others—bring to The Scrum additional insights and perspectives never found in the mainstream press.

The Scrum’s founding editors are not ideologues: We fit in comfortably nowhere. Traditional designations—liberal and conservative, left and right—do not interest us. Neither do made-to-order “narratives” concocted to keep us mis- or uninformed. We commit to accuracy without reference to ideology. What we publish will no doubt provoke and perhaps offend some on both sides of our deep political divide. The Scrum has no agenda other than to inform, enlighten and, we hope, spark conversation, debate, and dialogue.

What they’re saying

“The intellectual collapse of American journalism is the new reality, and I am delighted to applaud the decision of the much-admired Patrick Lawrence, with two accomplished colleagues, to start a new publication on Substack in these days of rearranging the face of American journalism.  It's a face that desperately needs a lift.”  — Seymour M. Hersh

“Patrick Lawrence, whose outstanding, incisive journalism makes him an endangered species, is launching a new publication The Scrum on the Substack platform. Please join me in supporting him.” — John Pilger

“The Scrum could not appear at a timelier moment. Journalism desperately needs intelligent dissenting voices. Lawrence, Carden, and Auerback promise to meet that need. They bring an array of skills to the task of reviving independent journalism-international experience, literary grace, sustained reflection, and a deep knowledge of foreign affairs, past and present. It is hard to imagine a more welcome development in our public intellectual life.” —Jackson Lears

"The Scrum takes its name from a cabal that included the late great Stephen Cohen and Sherle Schwenninger, along with Patrick Lawrence, James Carden and Marshall Auerback.  Important voices, informed analysis and excellent writing are to be expected. Subscribe and read.” — James K. Galbraith

“Lawrence, Carden, and Auerback bring great and varied talents to their new venture, not least sharp-eyed commentaries on America’s role in the world. Those disaffected with the Blob and the Swamp will find in The Scrum an indispensable resource.” — David Hendrickson

“Best wishes to The Scrum for getting true facts and reasonable analysis around, above, below, or through the mounting wall of censorship. You couldn’t be more needed than you are now!” — Diana Johnstone

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Supporting subscribers will have access to podcasts (in development) and are invited to participate in online conferences, free-ranging discussions of all questions readers may wish to pose.

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Founding editors and writers

MARSHALL AUERBACK is a Research Associate for the Levy Institute at Bard College, a writer for the Independent Media Institute, and a contributor to American Compass, a newly established think tank formed to restore an economic consensus that emphasizes the importance of family, community, and industry to the nation’s liberty and prosperity.  

JAMES W. CARDEN served as an adviser to the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Commission during the Obama administration and worked closely with Secretary Clinton’s Special Representative for Intergovernmental Affairs on Russia initiatives. A contributing writer for foreign affairs at The Nation magazine, his work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Quartz, American Affairs, The American Conservative, and The National Interest. He is executive editor for the American Committee for East-West Accord. He currently serves on the Board of the Simone Weil Center for Political Philosophy, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to furthering international dialogue.

PATRICK LAWRENCE is a commentator, author, essayist, and lecturer. He served as a correspondent and subsequently a columnist overseas for more than twenty years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune and The New Yorker. He has won two Overseas Press Club Awards as well as other honors and prizes. His reportage, commentary, essays, criticism, and reviews have appeared in a wide variety of publications, including The Nation, The New York Times, Business Week, TIME, The Washington Quarterly, World Policy Journal, The Globalist, Salon, and CounterPunch. Lawrence currently writes a column for Consortium News; his essays appear in Raritan, the quarterly journal of literature, politics, and culture. Lawrence serves as associate editor for publications at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. His most recent book is Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century (Yale). His sixth, The Journalist and His Shadow, is due out in Spring 2021.

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