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Netwar in the Big Apple: Wall Street versus the Indigenous Peoples Movement

 By Jay Taber

July 29, 2014

 

Architects of the Final Solution

In the run-up to the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in September at UN headquarters in New York, propaganda will inundate the infosphere, lending an atmosphere of pandemonium, and leaving many hopeless about the prospects for conflict resolution between Indigenous nations and modern states. For a few, though, widespread hopelessness within the Indigenous Peoples Movement, the human rights movement and the environmental movement is good.

For ubercapitalists like Bill Gates and their sycophants like William Jefferson Clinton — who promote the false hope of neoliberal globalization — terminating the collective ownership of Indigenous nations, in exchange for totalitarian corporate control of the planet’s resources, is a dream coming true. As architects of the final solution, they — along with the World Bank, Ford and Rockefeller Foundations — view the UN Millenium Development Goals as a blueprint for annihilation of the world’s Indigenous societies.

Crushing the Indigenous Peoples Movement is a crucial step in realizing their dream.

Principles of Psywar

With the advent of the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Indigenous Peoples Movement required the linking of national, regional, and local movement resources through a process of dialogue and integration. The involvement of moral authorities and civil society organizations helped to assure the proper movement emphasis on moral sanction, central to constructing new relationships between nations and states. But moral sanction alone is insufficient to constrain reactionary political violence and official repression. That will require continuous research, analysis, and investigation — the civil society equivalent of wartime intelligence operations — in order to weather the psychological warfare associated with the disease of dominion.

Psychological warfare, according to Paul Linebarger of the School of Advanced International Studies, is a continuous process not controlled by laws, usages, and customs of war — covert, often disguised as the voice of institutions and media — a non-violent persuasion waged before, during, and after war.

Most countries, notes Linebarger, suffer from ideological confusion—an instability of basic beliefs. “In states anxious to promote a fixed mentality, the entire population lives under conditions approximating the psychological side of war. Allegiance in war,” says Linebarger, “is a matter of ideology, not of opinion.” Coordinated propaganda machines, he observes, include psywar, public relations, general news, and public education. “Psywar,” he warns, “has in private media facilities, in an open society, a constantly refreshed source of new material that, when selectively censored, can prevent non-governmental materials from circulating.”

Mainstream Media and the Corporate Agenda

Mainstream media, when it mentions conflicts between Indigenous nations and modern states, portrays these conflicts as challenges to be resolved by assimilating Indigenous cultures into market systems. Extinguishing tribal sovereignty, annihilating tribal resources, coercing tribal leaders, and implementing the final solution; this is the corporate agenda mainstream media supports.

When these conflicts cannot be ignored, mainstream media looks for compromised NGOs to speak for Indigenous Peoples, thereby marginalizing Indigenous intellectuals, diplomats, and governing authorities—a mass communications tactic examined under the concept of Netwar. While mainstream media informs, it does not make information comprehensible; what it leaves out is essential to knowledge that allows readers to form their own judgment, rather than consume corporate distortions and state propaganda.

A Free Authentic Life

As Kalle Lasn, publisher of Adbusters Magazine said when interviewed in the July 2001 issue of The Sun, “It’s impossible to live a free authentic life in America today …Our emotions, personalities, and core values have become programmed.” Lasn, a former advertising executive for thirty years, understands the power of propaganda as advertising. He also understands the keys to undermining this corrupting influence—persistent ridicule, and appeals to conscience.

Antonio Gramsci, writing in Prison Notebooks, observes that, “Civil society operates without ‘sanctions’ or compulsory ‘obligations’, but nevertheless exerts a collective pressure and obtains objective results in the form of an evolution of customs, ways of thinking and acting, and morality. The eclipse of a way of living and thinking cannot take place without a crisis.” Civil society today, I would argue, exists in a perpetual state of crisis — some fabricated and some real — that, with the advent of alternative media, desktop publishing, and Internet communication, offers an unprecedented opportunity to begin this eclipse.

As Gramsci observed from prison in 1930s Fascist Italy, “If the ruling class has lost its consensus, i.e. is no longer leading but only dominant, exercising coercive force alone, this means the great masses have become detached from their traditional ideologies and no longer believe what they used to [thus] the exercise of force to prevent new ideologies from imposing themselves leads to skepticism and a new arrangement—a new culture.” If the Indigenous Peoples Movement is to succeed in creating a new culture based on mutual respect, the ways of thinking of the old culture must be strategically challenged.

Theater of War

In doing graduate research for the thesis included in my second book, I developed a curricular proposal that incorporated the study of psychological warfare as a key component of effective social activism. The more I observe discussion online about social conflict now taking place on the Internet and public airwaves, the more I realize how widespread and entrenched the misunderstanding of the nature of this conflict is, and in turn how important it is for those engaged in this war of ideas to acquaint themselves with at least the basic principles if not tactics of psywar. For those unable to access the classic texts on this topic — Psychological Warfare by Paul Linebarger, and The Science of Coercion by Christopher Simpson — I’ll try to recall them here.

For starters, there are two things to always keep in mind: the target audience, and the purpose of the message. In a theater of war — physical or psychological — there are combatants and non-combatants and at least two sides, as well as many interests. In communicating social transformation, psywar will be employed at different times and in different ways depending on the audience targeted and what the message transmitter is attempting to affect.

In recruiting the uninvolved or uncommitted, the message might convey an urgent threat, a righteous cause, a juicy opportunity, or a chance for revenge. In retaining the involved, a message would likely include an appeal to pride and expectations of victory. In undermining the resolve of the enemy, messages generally try to create doubts about all the above.

Counter-power in the Network Society

One area often overlooked by novices to psychological warfare, however, is the use of messages crafted and delivered for the purpose of preventing the enemy from effectively mobilizing audiences potentially supportive of its views, goals, and objectives. These strategically-developed messages — sometimes overt, sometimes covert — are those most-commonly associated with gray and black ops, white being forthright, gray misleading, and black counterfeit.

Understanding these techniques of mass communication — deployed in abundance in politics, campaigns, and advertising today — is essential for those who care about where the world is heading, even if in the end they decide to avoid the field of social conflict themselves. Once educated on the topic, they can at least refrain from unwittingly undermining those with whom they agree. Manuel Castells, in his paper Communication, Power and Counter-power in the Network Society, has a lot more to say on this.

The first principle of psywar is never repeat the talking points of your enemy. The second principle is to deny them a platform to misinform. To offer a platform, out of some misguided sense of evenhandedness, is to further the credibility and legitimacy of those who undermine our movements.

Controlling Consciousness

Wall Street’s vertical integration of controlling consciousness is based on five components: ownership of media, fabrication of news, integration of advertising with state propaganda, financing of foundations and brokerages, and co-option of NGOs and grassroots groups. While many well-meaning people are channeled into the latter by the concerted collaboration of all the former, the corporate agenda that determines the policies, practices and projects of these NGOs is anything but benign.

Indeed, the distractions, distortions and deceit promoted by the scoundrels, malefactors and curs — working on behalf of Wall Street villains — to mesmerize the naive in order to lead them astray, pose a lethal threat to Indigenous Peoples and their desperate movement of liberation. Pretending otherwise, in order to coddle the credulous, accomplishes nothing noble. Indeed, it only perpetuates misperceptions that urgently need to be shattered.

September 20-26 2014, in New York City, the Wall Street/NGO convergence around climate change, Indigenous Peoples human rights, and corporate derivative philanthropy, promises to be one of the super spectacles of the decade. Shining a light on that shadowy affair is something that simply has to be done. Unfortunately, there is no painless way of doing that, for it is way past time for an awakening.

Fantasies about Political Power

Fantasies about political power, however, are hard to break. People want to believe that activism led by Wall Street stooges, funded by Wall Street derivatives, and promoted by Wall Street media is revolutionary. Where do they get such ideas?

If you want to stop the environmental destruction from mining Tar Sands bitumen, Powder River Basin coal, and Bakken Shale oil, you stop fossil fuel export. You don’t do XL protests at the White House, organize fossil fuel divestment on college campuses, or hold a climate change march in New York.

These ineffective strategies are great for making Wall Street titans like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates even more obscenely wealthy, but they do nothing for improving the environment. Yet, because activism is based on feeling good — as opposed to doing good — Americans are routinely led by Wall Street’s pied pipers into endless (and meaningless) “movements.”

Making Americans feel good about losing strategies is the main objective of Wall Street-funded NGO pooh-bahs. Keeping Americans distracted with pointless projects dissipates the energies of well-intentioned youth, creating cynicism and hopelessness over time. Meanwhile, Wall Street titans make money from fossil fuel consumption and pollution, hand over fist.

The fact they colonize Indigenous territories by capitalizing on this pollution via REDD & carbon “credits” that accelerate the displacement of Indigenous peoples – seizing the planet’s final remaining rich & diverse rainforests in the process – is lost in the mist.

There are many ways to reduce energy dependence, increase energy conservation, and disconnect energy security from militarism. None of them are supported by Wall Street.

Bedlam in Gotham

Bedlam in Gotham, by all accounts, is going to be a three-ring circus:

  1. September 20-21 People’s Climate Change March
  2. September 22-23 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples
  3. September 24-26 World Summit on Indigenous Philanthropy

All the Ford and Rockefeller PR puppets from the non-profit industrial complex will be swarming for media attention to keep those grants flowing. A players program in advance would be immensely helpful.

When the pandemonium is in full swing, it will be difficult for consumers to sort out the noise from the information, let alone knowledge, intelligence or understanding. Once the spell is broken, though, consciousness could cascade. Since there’s no way to predict or force that, keeping a counter-narrative presence is the only way of giving them a chance of coming out of the consumer coma and becoming citizens again.

Mammon’s Missionaries

Continuing our discussion on co-option, I should note that Naomi Klein – as a board member of the Rockefeller Foundation-funded 350.org — functions as an emissary to co-opt Indigenous activist/intellectuals like Arthur Manuel and Leanne Simpson. Having branded herself as part of the eco-avant-garde, Klein’s diplomacy is part of the mission of Wall Street NGOs to assimilate Indigenous thought leaders into the corporate fold.

Manuel, as a Seventh Generation Fund/Ford Foundation-sponsored activist in 2013 — appointed by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to coordinate the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus — collaborated with UN Global Coordinating Group leader Debra Harry in an attempt to exclude tribal governing authorities from participating in the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, and later joined Harry in a fraudulent attempt to cover up their mischief. Manuel, the son of one of CWIS’s founders (where I am an associate scholar), is an articulate and intelligent Indigenous advocate. He has since apparently parted company with NAIPC, but his betrayal of trust remains a black mark on his record.

Simpson seems to have more integrity than Manuel, and I hope she does not get seduced by the insidious forces of Wall Street. The NGOs corrupted by UN flattery and foundation funds are responsible for much of the turmoil taking place behind the scenes of the media spectacle in which 350.org’s Bill McKibben is a star, and promise to be a problem in the lead up to the WCIP in New York come September.

In many respects, Klein and McKibben are like the church missionaries that initially helped subdue the Indigenous Peoples of Canada and the US. Instead of the religion of Christianity, however, they proselytize on behalf of the faith in corporate philanthropy, all the while posing as pious champions of the environment, colonized and downtrodden. This is psychological warfare at its most repugnant.

A Culture of Imbeciles

Guy Debord, author of The Society of the Spectacle, once remarked, “There are two parallel counterrevolutionary confusionist tactics: the partial cooption of new values, and a deliberately anticultural industrially facilitated production, the latter being a natural continuation of the imbecilization of young people begun in their schools and families. We have arrived at a stage of ideological absence in which advertising has become the only active factor, overriding any preexisting critical judgment or transforming such judgment into a mere conditioned reflex.”

I thought of this remark when reading that 350.org — the pied piper of pious poseurs— are promoters of the upcoming climate change march in New York City. Parade of imbeciles would perhaps be a better description.

Four plus decades later, Debord’s 1967 treatise Society of the Spectacle remains one of the most profound analyses of modern humanity. Oblivious to the deepening separation of industrial civilization from reality, even scholars of ongoing social disintegration rarely mention Debord’s penetrating insights and ideas. As another generation of state-educated children lose the capacity to think for themselves, keeping the intellectual fires burning remains a formidable task.

Producing fantasy in Hollywood and Washington is by now such a prescribed art, that the psychological warfare conducted 24/7 against the minds of all Americans has become child’s play. Few even question their fantasies as such. NGOs like 350.org tap into these fantasies about political power, perpetuate and capitalize on them. Pooh-Bahs of the non-profit industrial complex, like McKibben, become their Messiahs.

Absent coherent analysis based on research, social networks become part of the spectacle. As political researchers know, little of progressive activism is based on research and analysis, and much is based on preconceptions or what is fundable. As any astute observer can see, dependence limits strategies.

Debord’s remarks on the early development of a culture of imbeciles illustrate that revolutions like the one led by 350.org become exercises in silliness. The fact that media brain-damaged Americans are incapable of withdrawing themselves from the spectacle’s spell, is cause for considerable worry.

Allowing oneself to be herded from panicked horror to panicked horror does nothing to end the cycle of destruction; for that one needs to keep one’s cool, and to devise means of disrupting the seamless spectacle that shadows us through our daily lives. Only then, can the awakening begin.

Subverting Spectacle

Perpetuating systematic fraud on a global scale requires active support by academia, media, and commerce. Indoctrination through education, information and advertising thus bolster official propaganda in a circular reinforcement of the distorted world view required for institutionalized fraud to continue unchallenged.

As a closed loop system designed to prevent penetration of independent ideas, perspectives or analysis, this totalitarian cover-up of crimes against humanity — exercised to sustain the system — remains all-encompassing, until some unmediated event or thought breaks through. And when that happens, all sectors of the loop scramble to attack the intruder, rapidly responding to explain away the cognitive dissonance, introduced by the momentary glimpse of reality.

Wasted Energy

In my comment on the 350.org-led college campus fossil fuel divestment campaign, I noted that divestment won’t change a thing environmentally. It will only change ownership of some shares from public institutions to private ones–like the banks we bailed out with our tax dollars. Given the money to be made on the booming fossil fuel industry, I’m sure the banks will be delighted to acquire these shares, and in turn leave the public with no voice at future shareholder meetings.

Moral theatrics like this divestment campaign might make activists and students feel virtuous, but they do nothing for the environment, human rights or democracy. They bring big bucks into the coffers of NGOs like 350.org, but they do not change public policy. Nor do they influence corporate behavior, other than in public relations and marketing. I guess that’s why corporate foundations fund NGOs that promote such nonsense.

As of last summer, students on 300 campuses across the US were organizing fossil fuel divestment campaigns. That’s a lot of wasted energy, especially when we need that energy to change the political and economic system that awards fraud and punishes honesty.

As Cory Morningstar observed in her article on 350.org’s divestment tour, launched by Bill McKibben, “Such sophisticated public relations campaigns as this one are quite genius in a multitude of ways. Cloaked under the guise of tackling the root causes of the global climate crisis, such campaigns change nothing. Rather, they ensure the populace is participating in what it has been convinced is meaningful action – and nothing more.” As noted in her article, all market investing is about exploiting people and dismantling ecosystems. If students want to save the planet, they should start organizing for political power to change the market system, not rally to switch investments from one exploiting portfolio to another.

Given the influence such high profile campaigns have on the naive, one might return to the simple maxim of follow the money for guidance. In the case of McKibben and 350.org, one has to ask why such capitalist titans as Rockefeller would fund an NGO that might threaten the power of the oligarchy they symbolize. As Morningstar illustrates, the answer is they don’t.

Fording the River

The omnipresent Ford Foundation is an ideological supporter of the World Bank (a mega co-developer of dams, mining and plantations in Indigenous territories), and a UN Millenium Development Goals supporter — along with Bill Gates and Bill Clinton — who do the same. Co-opting Indigenous peoples is a key objective of their neoliberal privatization project. Taking money from Ford Foundation is thus equivalent to taking money from Shell Oil, Rio Tinto or Monsanto.

Ford Foundation is known for funding NGOs promoting civil rights, while simultaneously supporting the state and corporate neglect of Indigenous human rights. Civil rights do not conflict with capitalism, while human rights do.

Anti-Indian organizations in the US believe tribal governments should be abolished, and work toward that end. Their main argument is that civil rights guarantee equality under domestic law, ignoring the fact that international law recognizes the human rights of Indigenous nations to make their own laws.

Protecting their territories and properties requires Indigenous nations to invoke international law and treaties that supersede domestic civil law. By undermining the implementation of Indigenous human rights law, Ford Foundation arguably abets racism and religious bigotry against Indigenous peoples.

As Indigenous nations and modern states prepare for the upcoming UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, corporations like Shell Oil and foundations like Ford are spreading money around to co-opt Indigenous activists and NGOs. While this bribery ensures Indigenous NGOs will be in attendance at the UN event, these partnerships and dependencies ensure they will not challenge the capitalist system in anything but moral theatrics.

Indeed, some of the recipients of Ford Foundation money have already demonstrated a willingness to attack Indigenous governing authorities in order to protect their state-approved, foundation-funded privileges at the UN. Ford Foundation funded brokerages include International Funders for Indigenous Peoples, and the Seventh Generation Fund.

Because Ford Foundation funds academic institutions or NGOs or conferences does not mean that anyone working at these institutions or NGOs or attending their conferences supports neoliberal philosophy. What Ford tries to do is shape public opinion in favor of neoliberalism; supporting capitalist-oriented humanitarianism is essential to that psychological warfare.

Total War

Competing with systematic deception by following the rules established by and for the high criminals themselves is ridiculous; that is why Debord and Lasn urged subverting spectacle and jamming culture as crucial to free thought. Just offering an alternative point of view is not enough.

Given the total war attitude of those attempting to maintain their unearned privileges obtained by the supreme fraud, we who are not governing authorities can set aside for the time being any notions of diplomacy and concentrate on winning the war. There will be plenty of time to negotiate when we have the strength to make our threat to autocracy real.

Dependence Limits Strategies

George Manuel, chief of the National Indian Brotherhood (known today as the Assembly of First Nations), once remarked, “Assimilation is annihilation.” As president of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples from 1975-1981, Manuel’s work was foundational to the Indigenous Peoples Movement we see today.

Assimilation of indigenous peoples by corporations, church and state is facilitated by creating financial and psychological dependence. As Chief Manuel’s partner in forming the Center for World Indigenous Studies in 1984, Rudolph C. Ryser once noted that “Dependence limits strategies.”

Indeed, dependence on corporations and billionaire philanthropies has corrupted Indigenous leaders, and compromised Indigenous activism. Something Public Good Project has exposed in its coverage of the indigenous non-profit industrial complex.

One of the assimilated Indigenous NGOs exposed by IC Magazine is First Peoples Worldwide, a non-profit funded in part by Shell Oil. A non-profit whose role in this theatre of the absurd is to help corporations assimilate Indigenous leaders, by creating dependence that leads to cultural annihilation.

Featured frequently at Indian Country Today, First Peoples Worldwide propaganda posing as news is meant to psychologically undermine the Indigenous Peoples Movement that Chief Manuel and Dr. Ryser helped create, and to introduce non-sequiturs like Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), as though they are valid concepts. As Wrong Kind of Green reports in the evolution of CSR, corporations have never acted for the benefit of society, and it is the current threat to the legitimacy of the corporation that CSR seeks to counteract.

Degrees of Evil

Mind games of the non-profit industrial complex aren’t hard to decipher; the gullible simply have to decide they no longer want to be coddled by bromides, no longer treated as infantile consumers of spectacle. Once they reach the point of being skeptical, the charades of capitalist activism come clearly into view.

Spectacle celebrities like Naomi Klein, while raising valid (albeit hypocritical) criticism of the complex, count on infantile consumers to maintain their activist credentials. Serving as proxies for consumer rage, yet asking nothing serious of them as citizens, makes these capitalist activists popular and profitable PR puppets. (I especially love Ms. No Logo‘s logos.)

When Klein cuddled up to the apparently assimilated Indigenous activist Arthur Manuel on the celebrity panel at the Idle No More conference, she was branding Manuel with the approval of the heavyweight philanthropies behind her. Manuel, already co-opted by Ford Foundation through the Seventh Generation Fund, has wisely chosen not to sell out directly like Rebecca Adamson of First Peoples Worldwide.

Using philanthropic cutouts to maintain plausible deniability of co-optation, while strategically clever, however, is not immune from exposure by those willing to look. Once those masquerading as agents for change are revealed, non-profits like 350 dot org are seen for what they really are—extensions of Wall Street.

While these charades might seem harmless to naive consumers of the non-profit spectacle, they unfortunately interfere with the ability of authentic activists and Indigenous governing authorities to successfully challenge Wall Street and the modern states it has corrupted. When PR puppets — Indigenous or otherwise — dominate social media, the infantile, the skeptical, and the naive albeit well-intentioned youth are all led astray.

Chutzpah personified would be Naomi Klein — board member of 350 dot org — talking about Big Green opportunism. I guess that’s why elites like Rockefeller fund it.

As for scams, it’s hard to imagine a more losing strategy than the 350 dot org fossil fuel divestment campaign. Shifting university shares in oil companies to Wall Street is hardly going to improve corporate behavior.

Theatre of the Absurd

Bankrolling Indigenous cultural events, Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, and Indigenous NGOs might be good business for corporate criminals like Shell Oil, but Indigenous self-determination grants take us into the theatre of the absurd.

While this phenomenon is not surprising, given the idea comes from the preeminent corporate social responsibility darling — Shell Oil partner First Peoples Worldwide — the fact it isn’t rejected outright by anyone with intelligence and integrity shows how far down the road we have gone on the corporate collaboration model.

As corporate brokers like Rebecca Adamson promote this and other methods of assimilating Indigenous peoples into the corporate system, it would be wise to remember the maxim, “Dependence limits strategies.”

While corrupting Indigenous governing authorities and Indigenous NGOs is the raison d’etre of First Peoples Worldwide, similar to the roles played by McKibben and Klein, the role of Indigenous thought leaders like Adamson is more akin to Christian missionaries who played a similar function in converting Indigenous peoples on behalf of corporate states in the 16th Century.

I guess that’s what one might call coming full circle.

Corporate Social Responsibility

As the one-month countdown to the glorious UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples begins, corporate acolytes like First Peoples Worldwide will be graciously blessed with development derivatives lovingly laundered through philanthropic foundations like Ford, Gates and Soros. Spreading such altruistic largesse around to enlighten ungrateful naysayers and ill-mannered critics of Indigenous helping-hand policies by such selfless entities as FPW benefactor Shell Oil, after all, has to be handled with care.

While First Peoples Worldwide and other special helpers labor overtime to share the gospel with Indigenous NGOs and to convert Indigenous governing authorities, the corporate social responsibility theme needs to be promoted with confidence. As a sign of its devotion as unrivaled CSR evangelical, FPW chumminess on Twitter is especially heartwarming. Last summer, when FPW shared its Proud to be Indigenous campaign bromides on list serves during the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, I felt an uplifting spirit unfulfilled since the I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke TV sing-along ads of my impressionable youth.

As part of this merciful enlightenment, no doubt enjoyed by so many, the CSR theme — brought to us by benevolences like Shell Oil — generously saturates the infosphere, until even the most cynical and hardened souls among us erupt into fits of neoliberal ecstasy. As the World Bank and Wall Street lay loving hands on this righteous revival, Indigenous missionaries like First Peoples Worldwide’s Rebecca Adamson could go into convulsions of holy rapture.

Here Come the COPPs

As I noted in regard to the credibility issue haunting the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus, these Indigenous lobbyists at the UN have grown so accustomed to the prestige of hobnobbing with UN bureaucrats and diplomats that they have lost sight of what is at stake in the UN process. While Indigenous governing authorities struggle to democratize the UN — which has marginalized them, simultaneously with providing a play pen for Indigenous NGOs at the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues — the UN bureaucracy has been busy creating the illusion of inclusion.

To wit, the secretariat for the Permanent Forum in Spring 2013 announced the UNPFII Twelfth Session, May 20-31 in New York, will include a “dialogue” with the World Bank. As perhaps the most hostile of UN agencies to the Indigenous Peoples Movement and the implementation of Indigenous sovereignty under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the World Bank generated bags of bromides for the Indigenous patsies to use in press releases to impress their foundation funders. How to posture around this topic and others consumed the Indigenous Global Caucus (a.k.a. COPPs–charlatans, opportunists and pious poseurs) that met May 18 and 19 at UN Plaza.

The only potential bright spot in the secretariat announcement was the May 22 meeting with Indigenous journalists to “strategize” on the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, also held at UN Headquarters in New York.  Somehow, though, I don’t think the UN staff had journalists at IC Magazine in mind.

Grandstanding by First Peoples Worldwide — in the form of the “Proud to be Indigenous” campaign — reminded us that corporate-financed NGO promises are, as always, Too Good to be True. As I noted in March 2013, the corporate buy-in promoted by FPW’s president, Rebecca Adamson, is valuable brokering to her backers like Shell Oil. While her poverty-pimping brokerage might attract compromised or corrupt tribal leaders, it also undermines the Indigenous Peoples Movement. As the leading exponent of Indigenous assimilation, First Peoples Worldwide might be able to co-opt their NAIPC friends, but the grassroots activists know a COPP when they see one.

Implementing Indigenous Human Rights

There are several aspects of the UN human rights agenda that contribute to the invisibility of Indigenous rights enshrined in the 2007 UN Declaration. First and foremost of the obstacles to implementing the rights of Indigenous peoples, has been the refusal of the UN to recognize Indigenous nations as political entities worthy of participation in UN decision-making. If the governing authorities of Indigenous nations remain excluded from UN diplomatic processes, Indigenous peoples will remain marginalized from discussions on world issues. As noted at IC, this exclusionary obstacle at the UN has been challenged by 72 American Indian tribes, its removal deemed essential to resolving grievances and eliminating violence against indigenous nations.

As I observed in Making it Happen, democratizing the international community cannot be limited to the international institutions created by modern states. As Indigenous nations assert their human rights of self-determination and self-governance, new institutions are required. Something my colleague Rudolph C. Ryser addresses in his 2012 book, Indigenous Nations and Modern States.

As I wrote in Obstacles to Peace, the UN was formed by (and functions to serve the interests of) modern states, not Indigenous nations. Looking at Israel — a state created by the UN — and its ongoing human rights abuses toward the Indigenous peoples of Palestine, we can see how the UN has actually been an obstacle to peaceful political development. By acceding to American demands for crippling economic sanctions against Palestine, the UN has undermined their ability to manage their own affairs, in turn creating the desperation and humanitarian crisis to which cynical NGOs often cater. In another example, the UN — at U.S. urging — approved the Indonesian annexation of West Papua over the protest of Papuan Indigenous peoples, leading to the current human rights abuses there. As Dr. Ryser remarked, by reinforcing the illusion that the UN can or will relieve the pain from the violence of colonialism, “The UN Human Rights Council stands as one of the significant obstacles to dynamic political development in the Fourth World.”

Given the U.S. influence as a permanent UN Security Council member, and as one of four UN member states to oppose the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, it is fanciful to think the UN will ever be able to deliver on full human rights implementation for Indigenous nations. That can only happen in a neutral setting, where the diplomatic missions of Indigenous nations and modern states come together on an equal footing, to resolve grievances and to negotiate a more democratic, inclusive future.

As I noted in Public Relations Puppets, since the UN General Assembly declaration in 2007, the UN bureaucracy — in order to provide cover for the REDD Ponzi scheme of carbon-market trading by transnational corporations and investment banks — actively excluded Indigenous nations delegates from participating in climate change talks. In Poznan, Copenhagen and Cancun, the UN repeatedly found new ways to silence Indigenous peoples. As I wrote, dispelling the notion of the UN as an honest broker is critical to understanding the need for new institutions that aren’t controlled by states and markets. As Dr. Ryser stated, “The UN promises to permanently lock these nations into a cage of political subjugation.”

With the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples just around the corner, mainstream media will be falling all over itself to help the UN and its member states continue excluding Indigenous nations from meaningful participation in world affairs. Breaking the chains of their subjugation requires ending the silence.

 

[Jay Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal, and a featured columnist at IC Magazine. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and activists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]

 

 

 

Mammon’s Missionaries

McKibbenandKlein

Above: Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein (representing 350.org/1Sky) tour America promoting the illusion of an existing and available “carbon budget” (“Do the Math”), while in reality, “there is no available carbon budget“.  This fact is made abundantly clear by both David Spratt (Climate Code Red) and David Wasdell.  [Basis for a Carbon Budget? | Link] [The real budgetary emergency and the myth of "burnable carbon" | Link ]

Image: 350.org photo stream via Flickr. Photo by Ted Cleary | Do the Math Tour | New York City | 11.16.2012

Public Good Project

July 26, 2014

By Jay Taber

 

Continuing our discussion on co-option, I should note that Naomi Klein – as a board member of the Rockefeller Foundation-funded 350.org — functions as an emissary to co-opt Indigenous activist/intellectuals like Arthur Manuel and Leanne Simpson. Having branded herself as part of the eco-avant-garde, Klein’s diplomacy is part of the mission of Wall Street NGOs to assimilate Indigenous thought leaders into the corporate fold.

Klein McKibben Healing Walk

“Tar Sands Healing Walk” | July 6, 2013 | Caption: “At the press conference before the walk formally began, there were many speakers. Among them was Naomi Klein.” Klein is under the purple flag with Clayton Thomas-Muller who is the co-director of the Indigenous Tar Sands (ITS) Campaign of the Polaris Institute and organizer with Idle No More & Defenders of the Land. [July 1, 2013: Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein to join Canada's tar sands 'healing walk' – Idle No More press release] Photo by “taylorandayumi” via Flickr.

 
Manuel, as a Seventh Generation Fund/Ford Foundation-sponsored activist — appointed by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to coordinate the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus — collaborated with Debra Harry in an attempt to exclude tribal governing authorities from participating in the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, and later joined Harry in a fraudulent attempt to cover up their mischief. Manuel, the son of one of CWIS’s founders (where I am an associate scholar), is an articulate and intelligent Indigenous advocate. He has since apparently parted company with NAIPC, but his betrayal of trust remains a black spot on his record.

Leanne seems to have more integrity than Manuel, and I hope she does not get seduced by the insidious forces of Wall Street. The NGOs corrupted by UN flattery and foundation funds are responsible for much of the turmoil taking place behind the scenes of the media spectacle in which 350.org’s Bill McKibben is a star, and promise to be a problem in the lead up to the WCIP in New York come September.

In many respects, Klein and McKibben are like the church missionaries that initially helped subdue the Indigenous Peoples of Canada and the US. Instead of the religion of Christianity, however, they proselytize on behalf of the faith in corporate philanthropy, all the while posing as pious champions of the environment, colonized and downtrodden. This is psychological warfare at its most repugnant.

Public Good Project’s role, as protectors and connoisseurs of conflict, is to expose the predators in order prevent their preying on the minds of the innocent. It is a role that rarely garners gratitude, but it is a necessary role if Indigenous Peoples are to prevail in their quest for human rights and environmental sanity.

 

[As an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal, Jay Taber has assisted indigenous peoples seeking justice in such bodies as the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations. Since 1994, he has served as the administrative director of Public Good Project.]

False Hope: Fossil Fuel Fantasies

Intercontinental Cry

July 25, 2014

by Jay Taber

wall-street

Fantasies about political power are hard to break. People want to believe that activism led by Wall Street stooges, funded by Wall Street derivatives, and promoted by Wall Street media is revolutionary. Where do they get such ideas?

If you want to stop the environmental destruction from mining Tar Sands bitumen, Powder River Basin coal, and Bakken Shale oil, you stop fossil fuel export. You don’t do XL protests at the White House, organize fossil fuel divestment on college campuses, or hold a climate change march in New York.

These ineffective strategies are great for making Wall Street titans like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates even more obscenely wealthy, but they do nothing for improving the environment. Yet, because activism is based on feeling good — as opposed to doing good — Americans are routinely led by Wall Street’s pied pipers into endless (and meaningless) “movements.”

Making Americans feel good about losing strategies is the main objective of Wall Street-funded NGO pooh-bahs. Keeping Americans distracted with pointless projects dissipates the energies of well-intentioned youth, creating cynicism and hopelessness over time. Meanwhile, Wall Street titans make money from fossil fuel pollution, hand over fist.

There are many ways to achieve energy independence, energy conservation, and energy security. None of them are supported by Wall Street.

 

 

[Jay Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and activists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations. Email: tbarj [at] yahoo.com Website: www.jaytaber.com]

Greenpeace Executive Flies 250 Miles to Work

Jun 23, 2014

By Emily Gosden

Environmental group campaigns to curb growth in air travel but defends paying a senior executive to commute 250 miles to work by plane

Greenpeace argues for curbs on “the growth in aviation” which it says “is ruining our chances of stopping dangerous climate change”. Photo: PA

One of Greenpeace’s most senior executives commutes 250 miles to work by plane, despite the environmental group’s campaign to curb air travel, it has emerged.

Pascal Husting, Greenpeace International’s international programme director, said he began “commuting between Luxembourg and Amsterdam” when he took the job in 2012 and currently made the round trip about twice a month.

The flights, at 250 euros for a round trip, are funded by Greenpeace, despite its campaign to curb “the growth in aviation”, which it says “is ruining our chances of stopping dangerous climate change”.

One Greenpeace volunteer on Monday described Mr Husting’s travel arrangements as “almost unbelievable”.

Another said they were cancelling their payments to support Greenpeace in the wake of the disclosure and series of other damaging revelations of of disarray and financial mismanagement at the organisation, in documents leaked to the Guardian newspaper.

Greenpeace was last week forced to apologise for a “serious error of judgment” after it emerged that it had lost £3m of public donations when a member of staff took part in unauthorised currency dealing.

Each round-trip commute Mr Husting makes would generate 142kg of carbon dioxide emissions, according to airline KLM.

That implies that over the past two years his commuting may have been responsible for 7.4 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions – the equivalent of consuming 17 barrels of oil, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

But Mr Husting defended the arrangement, telling the Telegraph that while he would “rather not take” the journey it was necessary as it would otherwise be “a twelve hour round trip by train”.

“I spend half my life on skype and video conference calls,” he said. “But as a senior manager, the people who work in my team sometimes need to meet me in the flesh, that’s why I’ve been going to Amsterdam twice a month while my team was being restructured.”

He said that from September he would switch to making the trip once a month by train due to “the work of restructuring my team coming to an end, and with my kids a little older”.

The head of Greenpeace in the UK on Monday denied that funding Mr Husting’s commute showed a lack of integrity.

Writing in a blog, John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said: “As for Pascal’s air travel. Well it’s a really tough one. Was it the right decision to allow him to use air travel to try to balance his job with the needs of his family for a while?

“For me, it feels like it gets to the heart of a really big question. What kind of compromises do you make in your efforts to try to make the world a better place?

“I think there is a line there. Honesty and integrity to the values that are at the heart of the good you’re trying to do in the world cannot be allowed to slip away. For what it’s worth, I don’t think we’ve crossed that line here at Greenpeace.”

But Richard Lancaster, who said he had been volunteering with Greenpeace since the 1980s, responded: “I volunteer with Greenpeace but work in the commercial world and if I took a job in another country I’d expect to move to where the job is and if I couldn’t for family reasons I wouldn’t take the job – so I find Pascal’s travel arrangements almost unbelievable.”

Another respondent to Mr Sauven’s blog – which also addresses concerns over Greenpeace’s management – wrote: “So disappointed. Hardly had 2 pennies to rub together but have supported GP [Greenpeace] for 35+ years. Cancelling dd [direct debit] for while.”

Greenpeace campaigns to curb the growth in polluting air travel and end “needless” domestic flights. In a briefing on “the problem with aviation”, the group says: “In terms of damage to the climate, flying is 10 times worse than taking the train.”

Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace’s top executive director, told the Guardian that while Mr Husting “wishes there was an express train between his home and his office… it would currently be a 12-hour round trip by train”.

“Pascal has a young family in Luxembourg. When he was offered the new role he couldn’t move his family to Amsterdam straight away. He’d be the first to say he hates the commute, hates having to fly, but right now he hasn’t got much of an option until he can move.”

Greenpeace argues that it does not want to “stop people from flying” but does “want to prevent the number of flights from growing to dangerous levels”.

It alleges that flying remains largely the preserve of the wealthy, citing a study showing “cheap flights haven’t created better access to air travel for the poor; they’ve just allowed people with more money to fly more often”.

WHAT IS THE “NON-PROFIT INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX”?

ceres-sachs-mckibben

Photo: May, 2013: “CalSTRS CEO Jack Ehnes, Generation Investment Management Co-Founder David Blood and 350.org’s Bill McKibben have a lively conversation about how investors can influence the transition to a low-carbon economy.” Ehnes also serves on the Ceres board of directors. McKibben opens his Ceres presentation with some welcome honesty, speaking of his long-standing friendships/relationships with many Wall Street darlings. Prior to co-founding Generation Investment Management, David Blood, speaking with McKibben, served as the co-CEO and CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Prior to this position Blood served in various positions at Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., including “Head of European Asset Management, Head of International Operations, Technology and Finance, Treasurer of the Goldman Sachs Group, L.P. and Head of Global Private Capital Markets. Mr. Blood was the first recipient of the John L. Weinberg Award in 1990, an award given to a professional in the investment banking division who best typifies Goldman Sachs’ core values.” [Source]

Center for Syncretic Studies

March 19, 2013

by Elliot Gabriel

(This is an excellent outline to understand a phenomenon within the US which is the internal component of the Gene Sharp/NGO model of ‘Human Rights’ Imperialism abroad, as discussed in our article Gene Sharp: From Berlin Wall to Arab Spring or The Politics of Counter-Revolution – JV Capone)

WHAT IS THE “NON-PROFIT INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX”?

The non-profit industrial complex (or the NPIC) is a system of relationships between:

• the State (or local and federal governments)

• the owning classes

• foundations

• and non-profit/NGO social service & social justice organizations

This results in the surveillance, control, derailment, and everyday management of political movements.

The state uses non-profits to:

• Monitor and control social justice movements;
• Divert public monies into private hands through foundations;
• Manage and control dissent in order to make the world safe for capitalism;
• Redirect activist energies into career-based modes of organizing instead of mass-based organizing capable of actually transforming society;
• Allow corporations to mask their exploitative and colonial work practices through “philanthropic” work;
• Encourage social movements to model themselves after capitalist structures rather than to challenge them

Moolah Boodle Lucre Simoleons

July 22, 2014
By Jay Taber

nonprofitindustrialcomplex

Wall Street’s vertical integration of controlling consciousness is based on five components: ownership of media, fabrication of news, integration of advertising with state propaganda, financing of foundations and brokerages, and co-option of NGOs. While many well-meaning people are channeled into the latter by the concerted collaboration of all the former, the corporate agenda that determines the policies, practices and projects of these NGOs is anything but benign.

Indeed, the distractions, distortions and deceit promoted by the scoundrels, malefactors and curs — working on behalf of Wall Street villains — to mesmerize the naive in order to lead them astray, pose a lethal threat to Indigenous Peoples and their desperate movement of liberation. Pretending otherwise, in order to coddle the credulous, accomplishes nothing noble. Indeed, it only perpetuates misperceptions that urgently need to be shattered.

Two months from now, in New York City, the Wall Street/NGO convergence around climate change, Indigenous Peoples human rights, and corporate derivative philanthropy, promises to be one of the super spectacles of the decade. Shining a light on that shadowy affair is something that simply has to be done. Unfortunately, there is no painless way of doing that, for it is way past time for an awakening.

Bedlam in Gotham, meanwhile, is going to be a three-ring circus:

  1. September 20-21 People’s Climate Change March
  2. September 22-23 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples
  3. September 24-26 World Summit on Indigenous Philanthropy

All the Ford and Rockefeller PR puppets from the non-profit industrial complex will be swarming for media attention to keep those grants flowing. Moolah, boodle, lucre, simoleons–a love fest for compromised NGOs, philanthropic brokerages and corporate foundations.

ICs position on the brokerages and foundations undermining the Indigenous Peoples Movement is non-negotiable: IC opposes the philanthropic system of assimilating Indigenous Peoples; this is core IC policy.

These editorials illustrate that policy in more detail:

The following definitions might be unsettling, but nevertheless useful:

CULTURE
Artistic and intellectual customs and achievements of a particular civilization. Refined appreciation of this.

IMBECILE
Person of abnormally weak intellect, esp. an adult with a mental age of about five.

CULTURE of IMBECILES
Ideological absence in which advertising has become the only active factor, overriding any preexisting critical judgment or transforming such judgment into a mere conditioned reflex. Inability to develop any political consciousness

[Jay Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and activists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations. Email: tbarj [at] yahoo.com Website: www.jaytaber.com]

Social Movements Need To Be Aware of Corporate Influence & Opportunists [#OWS]

BAWe have built our consultancy atop a dynamic for-profit contractor model designed to liberate activism from limitations to innovation. Our antecedents are commercial social change consultancies such as CANVAS, founded by the creative team behind Otpor!—the Serbian social movement that toppled Slobodon Milosovic—and Purpose, whose principals created Avaaz and GetUp!. – Boutique Activist Consultancy (BAC), Founder: Micah White

 

” And then there’s the boutique activism firm White’s started. The idea is to train activists and galvanize support for causes similar to online social and political movements like Avaaz.org and Purpose.com. But the difference is, his new venture is unabashedly for-profit.’“Occupy Wall Street generated tremendous money,’ says White. ‘This whole idea that activists should do it for free and all that bullshit is over. Like somehow I’m supposed to be a full-time activist and have zero income from it? It’s ridiculous.’” – April 28, 2014, Grist

 

truthout | Op-Ed

April 1, 2014 

By Anthony Scalise,

It’s been three years since the occupation of Zuccotti park and various other parks, city halls, and commons that were physically occupied by activists across the nation and around the globe. The central theme that has now become a part of national dialogue is the chant frequently repeated in street demonstrations, “We are the 99%” that brought to light the idea that a small wealthy elite, an immensely small fraction of the population, holds a share of wealth and power far out of proportion to their numbers. Occupy was seen as a reawaking of a largely immobile and apathetic public that was becoming more aware of the disconnect between public need and corporate political influence. As the camps began to grow and hold their ground for the initial few months, discussions about political endorsement were taking place. At around the same time as the Republican Party began their endorsement of the Tea Party, the idea was largely supported that Occupy should stay away from the “left” wing faction of the Business Party, otherwise known as corporate Democrats and be aware of its attempts to co-opt the movement.

It’s now 2014, the encampments are gone, but the activists’ message still remains, and issues of corruption and inequality are still being discussed. While there was no formal endorsement of the Obama Administration or the Democratic Party a new endorsement seems to have emerged from a small group of so called Occupy “founders.” In February of 2014, one of the few largely followed Occupy Wall St. Twitter accounts was “taken over” by one Justine Tunney – a software engineer for the Google Corporation. Tunney and others lay claim to being founders of Occupy, which one would assume is a bit late and serves little purpose other than to grant herself and her group of self-described “founders” some sort of legitimacy-yielding leadership role.

Revealing tweets also revealed their intentions to redefine the movement, stating that Occupy was not against any corporations, only against Wall Street – a significant departure considering the apparent anti-corporate stance in the “Deceleration of Occupation of New York city,” outlining the stance and positions of the movement.

As days pass and the tweets keep flowing, the spectacle is on continual display of Tunney and co. making themselves known figures to those watching. Tunney further displayed her true pro-corporate colors by setting up a White House petition calling for Google CEO Eric Schmidt to replace the seat of the president to be “CEO of America” and to turn over all authority to the tech industry.

The Occupywallst twitter account also promotes the links to the BAC or Boutique Activist Consultancy agency fronted by former AdBusters editor Micah White, also a fellow claimant to masterminding the Occupy movement. The BAC is self-described as a “social change consulting firm that serves a hand-picked international clientele of people’s parties, political celebrities, and emergent social movements.” They claim to “liberate” activism from limitations to innovation. One may ask how? Well, unsurprisingly, by providing workshops on how to use Google Glass in social movements.

It appears the forward thinking activists at GreenPeace were approached by Micah White to be the first activist group to use Google Glass, but ultimately denied the offer. Their conversation was apparently secretly recorded by White himself and is available to listen to here[https://soundcloud.com/micahwhitephd], although viewers should be aware White was kicked out of a Greenpeace training camp last week for refusing to stop filming private meetings with his GoogleGlass eyewear and this recording without consent could have been edited.

This brings to question the underlying players in this situation. We have now, three years since Occupy’s formation, a small group of people claiming to have founded a movement which was largely addressing the crisis of democracy in regard to immense corporate power and influence. Promoting a technology that will supposedly liberate the mass of the population from the clutches of the corporate elite and their political puppets, while also allowing a downloadable application that provides facial recognition, according to the creators of an upcoming app for Google Glass, “Utilizing some of the most accurate facial recognition software in the world, NameTag can spot a face using Google Glass’ camera, send it wirelessly to a server, compare it to millions of records and in seconds return a match complete with a name, additional photos and social media profiles.” The situation reeks not only of opportunism, but of Google’s long arm now attempting to embed a pro-corporate, pro-capitalist, and positive surveillance state narrative (with a first person point of view) into the Occupy movement – a narrative that suggests that multinational corporations like Google support peoples’ struggles against injustice and that we can have real social change alongside the profit motive of the capitalist system.

What will result if an active resurgence of the movement or one with a similar, hopefully more direct, perspective pours into the streets once again to challenge the powers that be? Will it be captured underneath Google technology? Allowing names and faces of participants and activists to be easily identified? Will it be more sympathetic to large multinational corporations and the endless quest to profit? Or was this a not so clever scheme of the newly claimed pro-corporate “founders” to divide and confuse those sympathetic away from the anti-corporate message the movement spread? The lesson here is to be aware of those who seek to exploit social movements of the future for their own personal gain and attempt to turn attention away from those who hold real wealth and power in society. This display has shown that not only political parties, but also private corporate power will also attempt to co-opt social justice movements, attempt to benefit from the hard work of activists and put profits over people.

 

HarvardPressRelease

WATCH: Animal Welfare v. Animal Rights Under Modern Capitalism

Uploaded July 16, 2014

“The sense of urgency is rising in proportion to the severity of the crisis. Increasingly, calls for legislative change, moderation, compromise, and taking the slow march through the institutions can be seen as grotesquely inadequate, as growing numbers of people gravitate toward more radical tactics of change. ‘Reasonableness’ and ‘moderation’ in the current situation seem to be entirely unreasonable and immoderate, as ‘extreme’ and ‘radical’ actions appear simply as necessary and appropriate.”- Dr. Steven Best

This is a video recording of the talk given by Dr. Steven Best in the opening plenary panel at the US National Animal Rights Conference, on July 10, 2014. Dr. Best was asked to speak on the meaning of animal rights, and he contrasted it to animal welfare, contextualized both in the setting of modern capitalism, and underscored the subversive and revolutionary nature of animal rights. We hope you enjoy it.

 

 

The Peace Industrial Complex (PIC) and the Failure of Movements

The Soapbox

August 14, 2014

by Cindy Sheehan, Editor in Chief

 

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

Dwight David Eisenhower, Farewell Address to the Nation, 1961

Military Industrial Complex: an informal alliance of the military and related government departments with defense industries that is held to influence government policy.

camp casie

Camp Casey II, August 2005

As I write this, it is eight years since I marched up Prairie Chapel Road in Crawford, TX on August 6th to demand a meeting with then (p)resident, George W. Bush. I, a Gold Star Mom, who was, and is still profoundly against war, had heard Bush say that the US troops who died in Iraq, gave their lives for a “noble cause.” Not one of the corporate media present at such an absurd pronouncement asked George, “What is that noble cause,” so I resolved to go to Crawford to ask the War Criminal myself.

Eight years later and with tons of blood passing under the bridge of Imperial doom, I am still asking that question. However, I know now as I probably did back then in 2005, that there is no “noble cause” for Empire expansion and the millions of people and trillions of dollars that are sacrificed on the altar of the Military Industrial Complex. The question that I and others repeatedly ask since then is, “why can’t our movements for peace and justice be effective?”

I think one of the reasons that our people and principle driven movements are ultimately destined to fizzle or fail, is that any movement that is perceived as powerful by the establishment, is immediately channeled into the black hole of US partisan politics. I have written extensively about that, but this political derailment could not be accomplished on the left without the help of the Peace Industrial Complex.

The Peace Industrial Complex (PIC) resembles its counterpart of the Military (MIC) sort by its very alliance with the Democratic wing of the War Party and must bear a great responsibility for the continuing war tactics of the Empire. Language is important, and just because the Democratic wing of the War Party calls its Imperial transgressions, “humanitarian interventions” does not make it right, or the lives lost any less tragically unnecessary and sad.

 

war-party-2008

Why do I tie in the idea of the PIC with my experience at Camp Casey? On one of the last days of the nearly month long peace encampment on Prairie Chapel Road, I was overwhelmed that Reverend Al Sharpton and Martin Sheen both came out, we had a wedding, and I was involved in a photo shoot for Oprah’s magazine. The wonderful activist Eve Ensler had pitched a story to the magazine and was told that she could do it as long as there was no, “Bush bashing.” This is still the problem, when one tells the her truth about the pain of burying her oldest child for absolutely no reason, except the he was killed in another war for profit based on lies, or actually gives facts, that person is perceived as “bashing.” Once the Empire shifted to being “led” by a Democrat, who was also a person of color, my heart truth and facts began to be characterized as “bitterness” by some of the very same people who joined me in “bashing” Bush at Camp Casey.

Oops, I got off the subject. Anyway, on that final Sunday of our first campout in Crawford, I was told by one of the leading members of the PIC, that I was the most “powerful woman on the planet.” Then, I was whisked away on a two-year adventure around the world and throughout the US where I believed I was bringing peace, but looking back, what I was really doing was being used by the PIC to deliver the House of Representatives back to the Democrats. After that was accomplished, and a few of us were still trying to hold the Democrats accountable to end the wars (by ending war funding and investigating the Bush regime), we were kicked to the curb like old garbage and the PIC found the language of the right useful in demonizing me and my cause.

In 2008, for example, for the 5th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, I was even told by United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) that there would be no mass demo in DC because it would “embarrass” the complicit Democrats and told by another organization that we had helped so much Iraq Veterans Against the War, that I was banned from attending its Winter Soldier event in DC in March of that year. Why? Because not all of the vets who would be testifying were “antiwar” and wouldn’t want to be seen associating with me. I was hurt, but not defeated, and vowed to always be in the principled struggle for peace, and not on the side where war is only wrong if a Republican regime is waging it.

I look back after nine years of very hard struggle and when I remember the power and serendipity of Camp Casey in 2005 I see that we have very little to show for it in regards to policy, or peace.  I recall how naïve I was when I said, “the wars will end and Bush will be impeached.” Heck, at the time, I even belonged to a “peace” organization that forbade us members from saying that Afghanistan was wrong because most Americans supported it because we were “attacked on 9/11.” We won’t end wars or hold USAian War Criminals accountable when we even have to overcome the obstacle of people we think are our comrades who block any kind of relevant action or analysis of Empire.

flag-draped-coffins-airplane

Another example, by October of 2005, the US was going to surpass the horrid milestone of 2000 troops lost in Iraq. Of course, the US troops killed in the “good war” in Afghanistan didn’t count, and the innocent people our troops killed never counted, either. So, an organization that I thought was in favor of peace, but now I know it only wants peace when a Republican is in the Oval Office, MoveOn.org, called for “candlelight vigils” to commemorate that sad number. I was in DC at the time, and I called for civil disobedience in front of the White House. MoveOn.org denounced that action and moved their candlelight vigil so as not to be near to the lawlessness of our action. MoveOn.org raised a lot of money and increased its membership dramatically when I was camped in Crawford and my break with MoveOn.org began while I was still camped there.

One hot Crawford day, two MoveOn.org operatives requested a meeting with me at Camp Casey, so we went to my trailer and they informed me that I should back a bill in Congress co-sponsored by two Democrats and two Republicans that was for a slow, phased withdrawal based on “progress reports” and conditions on the ground. One thing the affiliated organizations at Camp Casey did agree on was demanding “troops out, now,” and I told MoveOn.org that I could not endorse their “troops out, eventually” bill. That’s when MoveOn.org withdrew its support and the “help” of the Fenton P.R. agency, who were only there to try to point our protest only in the direction of the “Rs,” anyway.

Subsequently, when the Ds took over control of the House of Reps in 2007, the question of war funding came up and MoveOn.org polled its members with two questions, and the only alternative was to support the Democrats in continuing the supplemental war funding because MoveOn.org knew that PelosiCo would never stop the funding, so the energy of MoveOn.org is to give Democrats cover for any crimes they want to commit. MoveOn.org’s very livelihood (profit) derives from covering the crimes of the Democrats and diverting our attention away from those crimes and in blaming only one small part of the problem.

During Camp Casey, I had received some support from director/actor/movie producer, Rob Reiner, and his wife, Michelle. After Camp Casey closed up shop for the summer, I was invited to their home in L.A. to meet them and chat. In lockstep with MoveOn.org, Rob informed me that I should stop saying “troops home, now” because all of our troops couldn’t get “home now” and I sounded “loony” saying that. I was stunned because I can’t believe that people would think that the US Commander in Chief was some kind of djinn who could fold his arms and blink his eyes and get all the troops home in a matter of seconds. I presumed, and still do, that it takes planning and logistics and I reminded Rob that during the insanity of Vietnam, an Admiral was asked how the US could remove troops from Vietnam and he said, “by boat and plane, the same way they got there.”

I believe that we always advocate for the greatest good and the highest victory, because the incrementalism of the PIC guarantees failure and more heartbreak,  torture, and death. I was booted to the curb by the Reiners when I refused to support warmonger, Hillary Clinton because they told me she was our “only hope.” However, the Reiners did not mean she was our only hope to end Empire, but for the Democrats to regain the “prize” of the Blight House. Even that sell-out didn’t work out too well for them, did it?

Where would the MIC be without its wars and, similarly, where would the PIC be under the same circumstance?

I work my ass off to make my activism obsolete. I am not interested in perpetuating wars or political loyalty to make a buck, or gain influence with the very criminals that I loathe and protest. Organizations in the PIC seem to have unlimited resources to hire staff and open offices, where organizations like mine try to do the best we can with the limited resources and volunteers that we do have.

I was very new to activism in 2005 and now I know that there are establishment and revolutionary versions of every movement and that’s why movements, by and large, fail. For example, the Environmental Industrial Complex fails when it says, “Democrats, we want you to do X, but if you don’t, we’ll still vote for you.” How about focusing on principles and successful and honest ways to get there? The slimy Democrats deserve your support as much as do the equally slimy Republicans.

Peace and accountability will not happen unless we guard against the “unwarranted influence” of the Peace Industrial Complex.

A Culture of Imbeciles [or, The People's Climate March]

Intercontinental Cry

July 19, 2014

By Jay Taber

SoS

CULTURE
Artistic and intellectual customs and achievements of a particular civilization. Refined appreciation of this.

IMBECILE
Person of abnormally weak intellect, esp. an adult with a mental age of about five.

CULTURE of IMBECILES
Ideological absence in which advertising has become the only active factor, overriding any preexisting critical judgment or transforming such judgment into a mere conditioned reflex. Inability to develop any political consciousness.

[From the article titled: USA USA USA USA, October 19, 2006]

 

Guy Debord, author of The Society of the Spectacle, once remarked, “There are two parallel counterrevolutionary confusionist tactics: the partial cooption of new values, and a deliberately anticultural industrially facilitated production, the latter being a natural continuation of the imbecilization of young people begun in their schools and families. We have arrived at a stage of ideological absence in which advertising has become the only active factor, overriding any preexisting critical judgment or transforming such judgment into a mere conditioned reflex.”

I thought of this remark when reading that 350.org — the pied piper of pseudoactivism — is promoting a climate change march in New York City on September 21st. Parade of imbeciles would be a better description.

peoples climate march3

Four plus decades later, Debord’s 1967 treatise Society of the Spectacle remains one of the most profound analyses of modern humanity. Oblivious to the deepening separation of industrial civilization from reality, even scholars of ongoing social disintegration rarely mention Debord’s penetrating insights and ideas. As another generation of state-educated children lose the capacity to think for themselves, keeping the intellectual fires burning remains a formidable task.

Producing fantasy in Hollywood and Washington is by now such a prescribed art, that the psychological warfare conducted 24/7 against the minds of all Americans has become child’s play. Few even question their fantasies as such. NGOs like 350.org tap into these fantasies about political power, perpetuate and capitalize on them. Pooh-Bahs of the non-profit industrial complex, like McKibben, become their Messiahs.

Saturday Keynote Address by Bill McKibben at the Guiding Lights Weekend 2011.

Absent coherent analysis based on research, social networks become part of the spectacle. As political researchers know, little of progressive activism is based on research and analysis, and much is based on preconceptions or what is fundable. As any astute observer can see, dependence limits strategies.

Debord’s remarks on the early development of a culture of imbeciles illustrate that revolutions like the one led by 350.org become exercises in silliness. The fact that media brain-damaged Americans are incapable of withdrawing themselves from the spectacle’s spell, is cause for considerable worry.

Allowing oneself to be herded from panicked horror to panicked horror does nothing to end the cycle of destruction; for that one needs to keep one’s cool, and to devise means of disrupting the seamless spectacle that shadows us through our daily lives. Only then, can the awakening begin.

 

[Jay Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and activists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations. Email: tbarj [at] yahoo.com Website: www.jaytaber.com]

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