Sept 29, 2014
By Jay Taber
After the Vietnam War, big dogs in the Democratic Party transitioned from belligerent blowhards to smooth talkers. The party of cold warriors became hot stuff. Capitalizing on the popular subculture of peace and love, the Democrats under President Clinton initiated the era of “humanitarian” war. As such, American hegemony could be repackaged as philanthropic.
Ironically, the breakthrough in marketing imperial civil society came about as a result of Clinton’s misadventures with his Oval Office intern Monica Lewinsky. When Big Dog got caught with his pants down, the Democratic Party turned to social media for support. Mobilizing support through the NGO MoveOn, Democrats were able to turn a national embarrassment into an organizing opportunity. As time went on, social media would prove to be a useful tool for social engineering.
As servants of Wall Street, the Democrats — through MoveOn — began what would become a tsunami of deceptive devices, from Avaaz to Purpose. As pro-war promoters, these NGOs were able to divert attention from high crimes and focus public attention on false pretenses, in turn used to justify perpetual militarism. With the capture of boards at nominally progressive NGOs like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, the neoliberals represented by Clinton introduced a sophisticated new psychological warfare element to the public arena.
With laundered funding aplenty — available through neoliberal foundations like Clinton, Gates, Soros, Ford and Rockefeller — Wall Street (with help from Madison Avenue) has managed to consolidate its war-making portfolio of investments, while simultaneously acquiring a controlling interest in big international NGOs. As civil society institutions (living on pre-coup residual creds), the NGOs, in turn, legitimate the neoliberal incarnation of fascism.
As the architect of NAFTA, Clinton’s bonafides on Wall Street are rock solid. While his star faded as a result of the 1999 WTO Ministerial in Seattle, the Clinton Global Initiative to implement Wall Street’s Millenium Development Goals seems to have resurrected his pathetic leadership to gold. Perhaps — like his Wag the Dog war in Sudan — in time, the memory of Clinton sucking up to the daughter of Uzbekistan’s president (known for boiling his political opponents alive) in order to finance his foundation (on proceeds from slave labor) will be forgotten.
[Jay Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Fourth World Eye, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as the administrative director of Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and activists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples seeking justice in such bodies as the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations.]
Amnesty International, Avaaz, Human Rights Watch, Humanitarian Agencies, Imperialist Wars/Occupations, Purpose, The International Campaign to Destabilize Syria, The International Campaign to Destabilize Venezuela, The War on Libya - There Was No Evidence, Whiteness & Aversive Racism
Sept 23, 2014
by Jay Taber
It’s fine that Hedges and DeChristopher decry frauds like Jones, but given 350’s many hoaxes funded by Wall Street (i.e. KXL, Clean Energy, Divestment, New Economy), when are independent journalists going to examine Klein and 350, itself a Big Green NGO on the payroll of Rockefeller Brothers and Warren Buffett. If you’re going to investigate major fraud, you might want to get real about the agenda of Avaaz, Purpose and 350. Skirting around the issue of hijacked activism that 350 represents aids Wall Street, not Main 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: Website: www.jaytaber.com]
NGOs Are Cages
We really need to understand the methods used by NGOs* to undermine radical political organizing efforts and divert us into political dead ends. The People’s Climate March is a good case study because it’s so blatant.
In South Florida, we saw the exact same process after the BP oil spill. Once the NGOs came in to the organizing meetings and were given the floor, all potential resistance was blocked, strangled, and left for dead. NGOs will descend on any organizing effort and try to take it over, dilute it, and bring it eventually to the Democratic Party. We can also see an identical set-up with the established labor unions and many other organizations.
If organizers are being paid, usually they are trapped in this dynamic, whether or not they want to be. While combining a job with organizing to challenge the system sounds very tempting and full of potential, it’s overwhelmingly not possible. They are two fundamentally incompatible aims, and those funding the job definitely do not have the aim of allowing its employees to undermine the system — the very system that allows the funders to exist, that they feed off of. Capitalists aren’t stupid, and they know how to keep their employees chained to a post, even if the leash feels long. With NGOs, capitalism has set up a great mechanism for itself both to generate revenue, and to pacify people who might otherwise be fighting to break the framework. “The unity of the chicken and the roach happens in the belly of the chicken.”
Another problem is that the rest of us attending an activity or a demonstration have to wonder: when organizers are being paid to say whatever it is they’re saying, how do we know whether or not they believe it? They follow a script, and can’t reveal their true feelings. They attempt to promote their cause in a convincing way, but if their funding was cut off, would they still be involved? Would their orientation still be the same? It’s hard to believe anything said by a paid spokespuppet – it’s like interacting with an embodied list of talking points. There can be no real trust, that the person could be relied upon when the money is no longer there.
Of course people need jobs, and NGOs provide them. I’m not blaming those who work for NGOs any more than who work for any other capitalist institution. We’re all trapped in the enemy’s economy. Instead, what I’m arguing for is to be aware of the nature of it, its severe limitations, and to do real political work outside the framework provided by the job.
We should attend demonstrations like the climate march, because a lot of sincere people will be there who want to make a difference. But we should remain autonomous within them, bringing our own message targeting capitalism as the root of the problem, exposing the uselessness of working within the political frameworks it sets up for us, and building our own organizations with the people we meet.
To challenge, weaken and ultimately destroy capitalism, we need to build a strong, organized, broad, combative mass movement outside the influence of capitalist interests.
[Stephanie McMillan is a cartoonist and the author of seven books, most recently the “Resistance to Ecocide” (graphic novel) and “Capitalism Must Die!” (cartoons plus theoretical text). Please visit stephaniemcmillan.org]
* (NGO: Non-Governmental Organizations, or “non-profits,” usually in fact funded by governments and/or corporate foundations).
Sept 18, 2014
Photo: April 2010, A Bolivian Quechua native carrying her son, attends the inauguration ceremony
As Rudolph C. Ryser observes at Fourth World Eye, the call for environmental sanity that works for people and the planet — coinciding with the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples — is a chance for leaders from indigenous nations to press for the protection of Mother Earth. Indeed, the indigenous Aymara leader and President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, is responsible for making the world conference possible.
The People’s Agreement — adopted at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth that took place in Cochabamba, Bolivia in April 2010 — is the only realistic basis for seriously reducing fossil fuel dependency. While modern societies can hardly abandon fossil fuels altogether without suffering social collapse, there are ways of achieving effective solutions. None of which are being promoted by 350, Avaaz and other agent saboteurs of imperial civil society.
After failing to sabotage the Cochabamba accord, 350 has subsequently been busy hijacking activism on behalf of Wall Street. If anything lasting is to be accomplished on climate change, it will come from re-igniting the People’s Agreement from Cochabamba, led by indigenous governing authorities–not by falling prey to the Charms of Naomi.
Sept 22, 2014
One of the recurring scenes in the iconic comic strip Charlie Brown is the one where his sister Lucy holds the ball for Charlie to kick, promising not to move the ball at the last second, thereby causing Charlie to tumble backward when she always does. Humiliated time after time by Lucy’s sadistic antics, Charlie — trusting soul that he is — never fails to fall for Lucy’s promise, that this time she won’t pull the same trick as before.
I thought of Charlie Brown and Lucy reading the announcement of “major commitments” on the eve of the UN Summit on Climate Change. Having moved the ball at Poznan, Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban — thus causing progressive greens to take a tumble — the UN, Wall Street, and big international NGOs (BINGOs) are now asking recently enraptured climateers to give them another chance to prove themselves trustworthy.
After successfully bewitching the greens into falling for college campus fossil fuel divestment in the US — which helped Wall Street consolidate its fossil fuel control — Wall Street, et al are now cooking up an international carbon copy of this hoax to capitalize on the euphoria of climate week. Aiding such nefarious groups as Avaaz, Purpose and 350 in this blissful deception are some good people (like Desmond Tutu) — recruited for his celebrity and credibility — as well as frauds like Bill Clinton.
The Divest-Invest shell game — like the COP meetings, REDD carbon market fiasco, and the Keystone XL charade — requires suspenion of disbelief (once again), and determined engagement in wishful thinking. When they begin swooning over oil tycoon heirs as their new heroes, the greens demonstrate their boundless capacity for self-delusion.
As we saw with the enchanting Charms of Naomi, the mystique of mass hypnosis is a simple matter of the prescribed art of social engineering. Having captivated a gullible audience, in a state of ecstasy after their euphoric march in blue, makes beguiling the credulous child’s play. Like they say, ignorance is bliss.
Wrong Kind of Green
Sept 21, 2014
In his 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman — American media theorist, humanist and cultural critic — noted that “new technology can never substitute for human values.”
In American society today, our social amusements have come to occupy not only our pastimes, but everything about our lives, politics, values and beliefs. Even our most heartfelt emotions and concerns have been hijacked by the amusement industry, penetrating so deeply into our collective psyche, that we have become social robots.
Capitalizing on this corrosion of civil society, Wall Street marketing agencies like Purpose and Avaaz — sponsors of campaigns to support “humanitarian war” and the “new economy” — have designed and exploited an advertising niche to make money from this social pathology.
While American faith about the truth in advertising might suffer as a result of these amusements, the deaths that result take place mostly in the Third and Fourth World. As Americans are herded into waving signs and marching around Manhattan wearing the color blue, millions around the world are dying from starvation, disease and murder resulting from American consumerism.
As a professor of Culture and Communication, Postman taught a course called Communication: the Invisible Environment. While he was concerned primarily with the decline in the ability of mass communications to share serious ideas, Postman was aware that the turning of complex ideas into superficial images — that become a form of entertainment — leads to a society where information is a commodity, bought and sold for entertainment, or to enhance one’s status. In contemporary society, mediated by technology, individuals will literally believe anything.
When the NYC Purpose marketing agency finds spare time from selling hate for empire [Two Minute Hate] and creating mass mobilizations for their clients that will ignite the illusory green economy, the Avaaz co-founders of Purpose are busy working on campaigns like the one below.
“Hop the Scotch” for the continued annihilation of species. Balance on a handrail rail for unprecedented ocean acidification and collapse of ecosystems. Walk the moonwalk for continued genocide of Indigenous peoples. Walk in fancy shoes for unprecedented venting of methane and melting permafrost. Do a flip in the air for disappearing ancient glaciers.
As we stare vacantly at the multiple crises that comprise the greatest threats to all life on the planet, greater than anything that our species has ever faced, we find ourselves on the doorstep of complete madness and idiocy. Yet, oddly, and tragically, Euro-Americans continue to be enraptured by the spectacle, hypnotized by their false prophets.
8 ways people are walking the walk on climate change
World leaders are meeting in New York City next week for a historic UN summit on climate change.
Using the slogan “catalyzing action,” the UN is bringing together world leaders to “focus on tangible climate actions.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper isn’t the only one who can’t make it, so NYC-based Purpose has launched the #WalkTheWalk campaign for those who can’t march themselves at the People’s Climate March on Sunday in the lead-up to the UN meeting.
Here are eight must-see short #WalkTheWalk videos:
In fancy shoes:
In ski boots:
Or penguin feet:
Or why not hop the scotch?
Try balancing on a handrail (talk about a balanced approach!) :
Or moonwalking the walk:
Meanwhile, others aren’t satisfied to just “walk the walk” on climate change. They think our whole approach to climate needs a backflip:
And hey, look, Desmond Tutu is walking the walk:
The People’s Climate March, preemptively billed as “the biggest climate march in history”, will take place in NYC on Sunday, September 21st and will precede a UN Summit on Climate Change by two whole days. The march was called for by some of the most recognized names in North American mainstream environmentalism, Avaaz and 350.org. Both organizations along with others involved in promoting and coordinating the event such as The Sierra Club, Energy Action Coalition, and Greenpeace (to name a few) are a part of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex (NPIC). The NPIC has been defined by activist, author, and professor Dylan Rodriguez as: “a set of symbiotic relationships that link political and financial technologies of state and owning class control with surveillance over public political ideology, including and especially emergent progressive and leftist social movements.”Put another way, The NPIC is how state and corporate interests use colonial and exploitative practices (branded as social movements) to manipulate and control the ways that dissent from the public manifests and operates. In her essay, “In The Shadow Of The Shadow State” – which details the relationship between state and non-profits as well as names the NPIC as the corollary to the Prison Industrial Complex– scholar, activist, prison abolitionist and co-founder of Critical Resistance, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, states: “…when it comes to building social movements, organizations are only as good as the united fronts they bring into being.” With this in mind consider that the People’s Climate March lists The Green Zionist Alliance as one of the organizations that is part of a coalition of partners organizing the event.
A wide variety of smaller grassroots organizations are involved in the organizing of this march, many from frontline communities. Their energy and efforts towards building power – both in their communities and for the march – should be valued and respected. The position of power the NPIC possesses through controlling resources and visibility for traditionally marginalized and underrepresented communities should also be considered. Many individual organizations and organizers participating in the event have publicly spoken out against the inclusion of Zionist organizations yet still the Green Zionist Alliance remains a partner in the People’s Climate March.
While this may be perceived by some as a reflection of “tolerance” or “diversity” towards the creation of a broad movement to confront climate change, this “inclusion” has the effect of greenwashing the violence committed in the name of Zionism. Never mind the fact the Israeli army’s recent escalation in genocidal violence is in part fueled by a move towards further exploitation of fossil fuels in Gaza. In any case, given the Palestinian call for a campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) targeting the Israeli occupation, it is particularly politically irresponsible to cross an internationally recognized picket line by collaborating with organizations supportive of the Israeli state.
The Green Zionist Alliance is a North American based 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization operating primarily out of New York City. The Green Zionist Alliance’s website openly quotes and praises Theodor Herzl, the founder of political Zionism. Zionism advocates the theft of indigenous Palestinians’ lands for the purpose of constructing Israeli settlements and establishing and maintaining Israel as a settler colonial state. The Green Zionist Alliance is a member of the American Zionist Movement who, according to their mission statement “Acts on behalf of Israel… and defends Israel’s cause with vigor and confidence”. The American Zionist Movement is a federation of Zionist groups affiliated with the World Zionist Organization which was founded by Theodor Herzl. In the book “Der Judenstaat”, which translates to “The Jewish State” Herzl wrote: “Supposing, for example, we were obliged to clear a country of wild beasts … we would organize a large and active hunting party, drive the animals together, and throw a gelignite bomb in their midst,”
2014 marks the 47th year of Israeli colonial occupation of indigenous Palestinians’ lands. For 50 days over the summer of 2014 Israeli forces seized the Palestinian city of Gaza bombing, kidnapping, sexually assaulting, maiming, shooting, and otherwise torturing Palestinians who were trapped in what was repeatedly described by Palestinians as an open air prison. Over 2,100 people, a large percentage children, were murdered. According to the Department of Culture and Information in the Palestinian Liberation Organization, more than 99% of “Area C” in the West Bank is now under control of the Israeli government for the purpose of expansion of Israeli settlements following this most recent round of vicious acts against humanity in Palestine. Palestinian civilians were deliberately targeted and systematically killed; acts of genocide were committed. The buildings of Gaza now lie in massive mountains of rubble, four million tons of rubble and debris contaminating water, food supplies, and air, four millions tons of Palestinians’ homes, schools, places of worship and gathering.
When we construct an idea of what “the environment” actually is beyond the basic popular mainstream conception of the environment as simply consisting of vast wilderness and pristine nature we can come to the more realistic conclusion that the environment is in fact the land and earth that sustains plant, animal, and human life. For Palestinians, the thousands murdered and the tens of thousands displaced, Gaza was their environment. For those who survived the most recent relentless assaults on life, Gaza is their environment. The concept of environmental justice defines the environment to include public and human health concerns. Surely genocide is a public and human health concern.
Acts of genocide and structures of colonization that the indigenous peoples of Palestine are being forced to endure are similarly a part of the very construction and foundations of the settler colonial nation states of the so-called United States and Canada. Given that the Green Zionist Alliance has not only been included in the coalition of organizers for the march but also defended by PCM organizers and supporters/attendees it should come as no surprise that there is no mention on any of the promotional materials for the event that the Manhattan borough, in what is now known as New York City, sits upon stolen and occupied indigenous land. Buried underneath the concrete that 100,000 plus people will march upon are the ancestral homelands of the Lenni-Lenape. Ironically The People’s Climate March will begin at Columbus Circle.
Ultimately the People’s Climate March is being controlled by the Big Greens. Make no mistake, the green branch of the non-profit industrial complex is at the helm, making top down decisions to include Zionist organizations and manipulating, controlling, and dictating what they have repeatedly referred to as “the movement of movements”. As part of the NPIC, the Big Greens funding and facilitating logistics of the main event CAN NOT incorporate intersectional and anti-colonial analyses necessary for collective liberation.
Instead these Big Greens contribute to the maintenance of structural social inequalities and work to quell effective, meaningful alliance building and resistance. This includes working closely with the world’s seventh largest standing military, also known as the NYPD, as stated on the PCM’s website. The NYPD is well known for stalking, harassing, and inciting psychological fear in Muslim communities through widespread surveillance programs. These unconscionable tactics never returned any proof that Muslim communities in NYC constitute any threat to their fellow community members and neighbors whatsoever. The NYPD are also notoriously racist and anti-Black. They specifically target Black and Brown people through a form of legalized racial profiling and harassment called Stop & Frisk. Through the program the NYPD terrorize these communities and work to funnel people of color into the Prison Industrial Complex (remember Ruth Wilson Gilmore named the NPIC as the natural corollary to the PIC).
Environmental justice does not look like Big Greens controlling resource distribution to grassroots organizations or using their political and social capital to push false solutions and narratives that conveniently exclude connections between environmental and social justice issues. People’s Climate March organizers who insist that “solving the climate crisis” looks like working with the NYPD or Zionist organizations supporting genocide and colonization in Palestine are not only dangerous but reveal an alarming level of ignorance regarding the concept of justice itself.
Refusal (whether active or passive) to acknowledge that large forces and structures work together to ensure increased attacks on the lives and sovereignty of indigenous peoples worldwide – as well as the continued commodification of the earth for the purposes of industrial capitalism – is really nothing other than a refusal to work for any kind of justice, climate or otherwise. There can be no climate justice without justice for Palestine. There can be no environmental justice without a serious understanding of the ways that settler colonialism, white supremacy, anti-Black racism, border imperialism, cis-hetero-patriarchy, militarism, orientalism, and other systems/structures collectively inform, facilitate, and sustain environmental degradation and resource extraction and create and contribute to climate change.