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WATCH | Eritrea: On the Hit-list of the West Because it Serves Eritreans Instead of Serving Empire

Eritrean Open Mic Interview – Mr Andre Viltcheck – Novelist – Filmmaker

Video uploaded December 6, 2014

To compliment this interview, the following is an excerpt from the Counterpunch article “Eritrea – African Ideological Ebola for Imperialists” (Weekend Edition December 12-14, 2014) by ANDRE VLTCHEK:

In the car, I am thinking about what Mr. Omar defined as ‘human rights’. Here, it is in direct contrast to what the expression stands for in the West. In the United States and in Europe, ‘human rights’ were created as an ideological tool, a weapon in the Cold War period. In Eritrea, it has a very simple meaning: feeding the people, giving them free education and medical care, building new roads, supplying them with electric power….

Eritrea is under fire; it is clearly on the hit-list of the West, because it serves its people, and because it is refusing to aid the Empire and the corporate world.

 

The West is using its toxic propaganda to the maximum, in order to smear the country.

 

It is also systematically boosting, financing and manufacturing ‘the opposition’, as it does all over the world.

 

Periodically, huge campaigns from the BBC and other sources of Western propaganda get pointed, directly, at Asmara.

 

For instance, at the height of the “coup” that never was (January 2012), African Strategies served as a defying force that helped patriots around the world counter the barrage of disinformation regarding Asmara and the Government of Eritrea spread by the so-called “experts”.

 

That is the time when the Western news channels and Al-Jazeera were reporting on the ‘rebellion’ in the capital city.

 

My local camera-person, Mr. Azmera, summarized the event:

 

“As the ‘coup’ was taking place, I was just leaving the Presidential compound, after working there for some time. I walked out, ate lunch… Then at 4PM I was called and told: ‘Al-Jazeera is reporting that there was a coup in Asmara!’ I just ignored them, and walked home.”

 

Read the full article: http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/12/african-ideological-ebola-for-imperialists/

 

***

 

 

[Andre Vltchek is a novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. The result is his latest book: Fighting Against Western Imperialism‘Pluto’ published his discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. His critically acclaimed political novel Point of No Return is re-edited and available. Oceania is his book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about post-Suharto Indonesia and the market-fundamentalist model is called “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. His feature documentary, “Rwanda Gambit” is about Rwandan history and the plunder of DR Congo. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and Africa. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.]

 

A New Version of an Old Christmas Song Is Going Viral — But You Shouldn’t Listen to It

Music.Mic

November 18, 2014

Decades after the first “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” collected world-famous musicians to pity Africans, song cowriter Bob Geldof admitted that it was one of the worst songs in history. But four years later, Geldof resurrected the song — this time to help Africans dying of the Ebola virus. Released Monday, this latest version is still terrible.

Leave it to the cofounder of Live Aid to replicate what’s become an insanely damaging charity cliche during the past few decades. Geldof rounded up One Direction, Bono and more than a dozen other pop stars (Adele reportedly refused) to re-record the 1984 song and reinforce the idea that Africa really just needs some Western star power to make things right. The feel-good project is directed toward a good cause, but it’s so culturally tone deaf that it actively reduces the diverse experiences of African people to a basic racial trope: They live on a dark continent, waiting to be saved.

Source: YouTube

“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” asks a question about a holiday that the majority of people don’t even celebrate in countries affected by the Ebola virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the three West African countries with widespread Ebola transmission include Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia — two of which are predominately Muslim, so the holiday probably isn’t on the top of their minds. And the Christians in those countries say they do, in fact, know it’s Christmas.

But for Geldof and Midge Ure, the two white men from the United Kingdom who wrote the song, it’s easy to assume that everyone around the world is or should be paying close attention to a commercialized Christian holiday — and that if they aren’t, they’re in need of help. For a composition that’s purportedly supposed to help Ebola-ridden countries, that’s a shocking lack of actual awareness about the people you’re saving.

The song was originally written to address issues of famine and hunger, especially in Ethiopia. The lyrics painted a culturally diverse continent rich in various natural resources as one monolithic wasteland filled with doom and gloom. Africa was described as a place where nothing ever grows and where the “only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears.” Bono even belted, “Tonight, thank God it’s them instead of you.”

This time around, words that recall images of famine were instead replaced with sentiments rooted in common fears about Ebola. The stars sing of West Africa as a place where “a kiss of love can kill you, and there’s death in every tear.” It’s indeed true that Ebola can be transmitted through direct contact with various bodily fluids, but that doesn’t mean death is in every tear from a West African person. Sometimes, people just cry.

Source: Band Aid via YouTube

Adding insult to injury, images of aid workers in Hazmat suits carrying away an unknown, unconscious and barely clothed African woman from a bed soaked in fluids are sharply contrasted with rich and healthy pop stars emerging from flashy vehicles, pushing past the lights of the paparazzi and moving toward a recording studio — a place where their love can save, and there’s only compassion in every tear.

Source: Band Aid via YouTube

Raising money for Ebola is a good thing — if it were necessary, raising awareness about Ebola would be good too. But “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” is just as problematic now as it was 30 years ago. And in the process, Geldof and his collaborators perpetuated what Nigerian author Teju Cole has dubbed the “white savior industrial complex.” Instead of focusing directly on the needs of West African communities and encouraging people to support them, the song reflects a thoughtless attempt at intervening in an otherwise complicated public health issue.

It’s emblematic of a long-standing issue with Western humanitarianism that just won’t go away — and it’s an important reminder to be a lot more intentional before helping others who are suffering. Because if we haven’t moved past this in the last 30 years, then there’s a lot more the West should be worrying about than the tears of African men and women.

Correction: Nov. 24, 2014
An earlier version of this article implied that Liberia is a majority-Muslim nation. The population of Liberia is 85% Christian.

[Derrick Clifton is a Staff Writer at Mic covering identity, culture and politics. A news commentator and reporter on race, gender, feminism and LGBT issues, Derrick is also a master’s candidate at the Medill School of Journalism. He’s also writing his first book, HEART WERK, a autobiographical collection of essays about navigating life and love within multiple marginalized identities]

Voluntourism as Neoliberal Humanitarianism

Zero Anthropology

September 3, 2014

by Maximilian Forte

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The following is an extract from Tristan Biehn’s chapter, “Who Needs Me Most? New Imperialist Ideologies in Youth-Centred Volunteer Abroad Programs,” published in Good Intentions: Norms and Practices of Imperial Humanitarianism (Montreal: Alert Press, 2014), pp. 77-87:


Overview: Tristan Biehn examines the new imperial ideologies present in narratives manufactured by the websites of youth-centred volunteer abroad organizations. These narratives serve to instil neoliberal, capitalist understandings of the issues of global inequality and poverty in prospective volunteers, resulting in the depoliticization and decontextualization of such issues. Biehn finds that ideas of “change” and “good” are ubiquitous and yet are left undefined, that claims of “helping” and “immersion” are questionable, and that the utility of international student volunteering lies not in the benevolent donation of unskilled western youth labour to underprivileged communities, but in the production of ideal neoliberal subjects. The nebulous concepts of help and change are commodified and made the responsibility of individuals—the prospective volunteers—who are inundated with the message that actions taken to end global inequality will also benefit them personally. As Biehn explains, such programs contribute to the neoliberal project of redirecting efforts from the pursuit of larger structural changes or solutions to these issues.

International Student Volunteers, Inc. (ISV) is a US-based, non-profit organization which boasts of being the world’s highest-rated student volunteer program (according to the average rating given by over 30,000 student participants). ISV has over ten years of experience, has 32 members of the US Senate and Congress who serve on their Board of Reference (endorsing their global efforts), and has been named, “one of the Top Ten Volunteer Organizations by the US Center for Citizens Diplomacy in conjunction with the US State Department” (International Student Volunteers, Inc. [ISV], 2014d). ISV was founded in 2002 by Randy Sykes, growing from his wish to develop “a volunteer program to help address the tremendous needs around the world while providing an opportunity for young people to travel with a purpose; to give of themselves and contribute to something meaningful, educational and fun” (ISV, 2014a). I selected ISV as my second case study due to its internationally recognized, award-winning status.

How ISV Practises Responsible Tourism

ISV’s website emphasizes its ties with local communities and “grassroots” organizations. It also claims to offer “the highest quality projects that are safe, meaningful, sustainable and achievable” which are formulated to appeal to students with an emphasis on “combining life-changing volunteer work with adrenaline filled adventure travel” (ISV, 2014d). In their description of “Responsible Tourism,” ISV states that they, “aim to bring about positive economic, social, cultural and environmental impacts” (ISV, 2014b). What is meant, specifically, by such statements? While it is easy to dismiss such terms as mere buzzwords, it would be a mistake to do so. An examination of the ISV’s use of these terms, and the messages surrounding them, serves to illustrate the problematic ideologies present in their projects, the ways they seek to create the expectations of an ideal student volunteer experience, as well as issues of expense and the manufactured need for international volunteers.

Safety Concerns, Cost, and the Inexperienced Volunteer

ISV addresses the issue of a students’ safety by listing various precautions taken by the organization on behalf of prospective volunteers. Their website describes the potential volunteer’s position: “You’ll be participating on [sic] tasks you may not be trained in, possibly in a foreign speaking country [sic], you may not have much international travel experience and therefore many questions about vaccinations and other safety concerns” (ISV, 2014c). This anticipates a volunteer’s position as inexperienced and unprepared. One may wonder why inexperienced individuals would be shipped around the world to take part in various activities for which they are not properly trained. If an individual must be trained to take part, why are locals not trained to work in their own communities? Why are Western youths flown across the globe, at great expense, to temporarily fill these positions? ISV goes to great lengths to address imagined safety concerns, listing support structures, supervision, and routine risk assessment and site inspections of supported local projects (ISV, 2014c). These support structures are another expense made necessary by the movement of western youth to these communities.

A standard four week “volunteer and adventure tour program” with ISV will cost nearly $4,000. This amount varies (slightly) depending on program and country, and does not include airfare, half of one’s meals during the “adventure tour” portion, or the required travel insurance package. In the section entitled “What am I Paying For,” ISV provides a break down of where a volunteer’s money goes, in helpful bullet point form. Administration, volunteer recruitment, volunteer support, volunteer management, volunteer supervision, meals and accommodation, transport, in-country support staff, connections between organizations, and finally the project itself are listed (ISV, 2014e). Most of these expenses, obviously, are only required because of the insistence on international volunteer labour. Since this is a significant amount of money, particularly for students, ISV suggests ideas for fund raising. A volunteer blog offers examples of how individuals, following ISV prescriptions, attempt to raise thousands of dollars for their trips abroad. A young Australian woman details her plans of “raising funds through a blog, and…planning on having a trash and treasure sale, movie night, pyjama party and exercising my creative writing skills to obtain exposure about my cause in my local news paper” (Katieannie09, 2014). There are many such descriptions of similar efforts, including an assortment of commercial enterprises such as selling chocolates and doughnuts. Friends and family are enlisted to contribute to these efforts, as well as strangers who can be reached through media outlets and the internet. All of this time, energy, and money (valuable commodities by any capitalist reckoning) go toward financing a student’s vacation. Volunteering is presented as the “good” being done by the student in order to justify such expense. Donors are thanked for their “generosity” and updates on one’s progress are provided via ISV’s blog. How do these donors, and the volunteers themselves, come to see such efforts as necessary or beneficial?

This necessity is presented in the persuasive narratives of international volunteer organizations. ISV assumes the need of communities for foreign volunteers, stating (in reference to local NGOs), “these organizations rarely have the funding required to recruit and support international volunteers themselves. To help recruit international volunteers, many local NGOs partner with volunteer service organizations” (ISV, 2014e). They do not attempt to explain why international volunteering is a good way to address global inequalities. In fact, much effort is made to convince prospective participants that international volunteering is worth doing (as evidenced by the constant bombardment of the reader with messages of “making a difference” and “positive impact”). In a section explaining the difficulties of volunteering independently, ISV unintentionally highlights the problematic nature of this assumption, asserting that, “the difficult part is finding an organization you want to work for that meets your needs as a volunteer, will support you should something go wrong, and is willing to accept you as a volunteer” (ISV, 2014e). They note that local organizations may be seeking volunteers with specific skill sets, thus making many potential volunteers unwanted. However, if a volunteer joins an organization such as ISV, suddenly there is a plethora of need and want for their service. How then do such organizations respond to charges that they themselves create this need? Additionally, even if we uncritically accept the proposal that “underprivileged” communities must be helped to “develop,” surely there are more efficient methods that can be imagined to achieve this.

References

International Student Volunteers, Inc. (ISV). (2014a). Our Story.
http://www.isvolunteers.org/our-story

????? . (2014b). Responsible Travel.
http://www.isvolunteers.org/responsible-travel

????? . (2014c). What to look for in a Volunteer Provider.
http://www.isvolunteers.org/what-to-look-for-in-a-volunteer-provider

????? . (2014d). Why Students All Over the World Prefer ISV’s Volunteer Program.
http://www.isvolunteers.org/why-isv

????? . (2014e). Why Pay to Volunteer?
http://www.isvolunteers.org/why-pay-to-volunteer

Katieannie09. (2014). Overwhelmed with Generosity.
http://isvolunteers.goabroad.net/Katieannie09/journals/7261/overwhelmed-with-generosity


GOOD INTENTIONSGOOD INTENTIONS

Norms and Practices of Imperial Humanitarianism

Edited by Maximilian C. Forte

Montreal, QC: Alert Press, 2014

Hard Cover ISBN 978-0-9868021-5-7
Paperback ISBN 978-0-9868021-4-0

Smooth Talkers: Marketing Imperial Civil Society

Skookum

Sept 29, 2014

By Jay Taber

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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.]

CONFORMITY IS UNITY [DOWNLOAD the POSTER]

September 26, 2014

 

conformity-is-unity-LG

Poster courtesy of Mark Gould

conformity-is-unity2

Two Minute Hate

A Culture of Imbeciles

 

In George Orwell’s novel 1984, he writes about a future dystopia, where ubiquitous government-controlled telescreens pump propaganda into every home and office. One of the daily programs that was required viewing in this dystopia was the Two Minute Hate, where fictitious evil monsters are demonized on screen, and viewing audiences participate in mandatory rants to exhibit their social conformity.

Fast forward thirty years to 2014, and the Two Minute Hate — thanks to social media — has become a 24/7 toxic wasteland, where any idiot with an opinion can join others in ganging up on thoughtful writers, or in echoing propaganda absorbed from NGOs functioning as fronts for Wall Street and the Pentagon. Having established these mind control operatives of the non-profit industrial complex for the purpose of social engineering, the American aristocracy can with the push of a button mobilize swarms of social media imbeciles in support of war, environmental destruction, or racism–all in the name of humanity.

In her article Syria: Avaaz, Purpose & the Art of Selling Hate for Empire, Cory Morningstar examines how one of the most powerful NGOs on the planet — using the social media equivalent of the Two Minute Hate — herds mindless consumers to rally behind crimes against humanity. With its specialized teams devoted to capitalist imperialism, privatization, and ecological exploitation, Avaaz (also a main organizer of the climate week charades in New York) and its PR partner Purpose are arguably the ultimate psywar combination of all time. As Wall Street creations, they have managed to co-opt 350 and many pseudo activists claiming to be promoters of civil and human rights.

RacistAvaazAd

The June, 2012, Avaaz “Good Versus Evil” campaign for the Rio Summit. Above: A downloadable poster as found on the Avaaz Press Centre published in the Financial Times. Vilification: Note the dark cast/ugly sky behind the leaders Avaaz would wish you to believe are “evil,” versus the light and sun shining through over the Imperialist, obstructionist “leaders” that Avaaz is attempting to convince you are “good.”

[Source: SYRIA: Avaaz, Purpose & the Art of Selling Hate for Empire]

 

This Changes Nothing. Why the People’s Climate March Guarantees Climate Catastrophe

The following  contains excerpts from McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street | Part VII: The Wolves of Wall Street, to be published on Counterpunch.

September 15, 2014

By Cory Morningstar

Available formats: PDF | PDF – as double-sided A4 foldover booklet | EPUB

As the following information will demonstrate, The People’s Climate March and supporting discourse is about protecting capitalism, not protecting the world’s most vulnerable people from climate change.

this-changes-nothing-xlg (2)

Image courtesy of Mark Gould

The People’s Climate March in New York City is a mobilization campaign created by Avaaz and 350.org, with 350.org at the forefront.

The oligarchs do not bankroll such a mobilization (via millions of dollars funnelled through foundations) without reason.

There is an agenda. The information that follows makes the agenda very clear and the only thing green about it is the colour of money. The term “green”, in reference to environment is, officially dead.

PURPOSE?

Vision: “Purpose is a global initiative that draws on leading technologies, political organizing and behavioral economics to build powerful, tech-savvy movements that can transform culture and influence policy.”

 purpose-logoavaazlogo

 “Purpose was born out of some of the most successful experiments in mass digital participation. Our principals are co-founders of Avaaz, the world’s largest online political movement with more than nine million members operating in 14 languages, and the creators of Australia’s GetUp!, an internationally recognized social movement phenomenon with more members than all the country’s political parties combined….” [Source]

Background

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Above: Jeremy Heimans of Purpose at The Economist’s Ideas Economy: Human Potential conference. | Photo: Taylor Davidson

Avaaz and GetUp co-founders Jeremy Heimans (CEO) and David Madden are also founders of the New York consulting firm, Purpose Inc. Avaaz co-founder James Slezak is also identified as a co-founder and CEO of Purpose at its inception in 2009.

From October 2011–October 2012 the“Managing Director of Partnerships” for Purpose was Marilia Bezerra. From 2006 to 2011 Bezerra held an integral position within the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) executive leadership. [1]

The secret behind the success of both Avaaz and Purpose is their reliance upon and expertise in behavioural change. While the behavioural change tactics used by Avaaz are on public display, double-breasted, for-profit Purpose, with its non-profit arm, sells their expertise behind the scenes to further the interest of hegemony and capital.  Whether it be a glossy campaign to help facilitate yet another illegal “humanitarian intervention” led by aggressive U.S. militarism (an oxymoron if there ever was one), or the creation of a new global “green” economy, Purpose is the consulting firm that the wolves of Wall Street and oligarchs alike depend upon to make it happen.

 “We’ve been talking in a broader way about the future of consumer activism, of organizing people not as citizens but as consumers.Jeremy Heimans when asked how he was going to use the $100,000 he received from the Ford Foundation

Purpose Inc. (with its co-founders) is a favourite of high-finance websites such as The Economist and Forbes and sells its consulting services and branding/marketing campaigns to Google, Audi, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and many others that comprise the world’s most powerful corporations and institutions. In 2012, it raised $3m from investors. “Ford Foundation, which has given Purpose’s non-profit arm a grant, reckons it is shaping up to be “one of the blue-chip social organisations of the future.” [Source] Purpose, like many other foundations, such as Rockefeller (who initially incubated 1Sky which merged with 350.org in 2011), also serves as an “incubator of social movements.” [Further reading on Purpose]

Purpose Action’s Board of Directors includes the former campaign director at Avaaz, Brett Solomon and brand strategist Douglas Atkin. Atkin is a Purpose Fellow and previously Partner at Purpose. He is co-founder of Yackit, Meetup Fellow, founder of The Glue Project (“Are they like me?” “Will they like me?”) and author of “The Culting of Brands: Turn Your Customers into True Believers.” He’s helped relaunch such brands as Lipitor, Mercedes, BMW, Mastercard and many others. [Source]

“Once a brand achieves cult status, it becomes almost impossible for a competitor to dethrone it. The Culting of Brands will reveal the secrets of fierce customer identification and, most important, unbreakable loyalty.” The Culting of Brands: Turn Your Customers into True Believers,” Amazon

Make no mistake, the Yale (for example, Avaaz co-founder and former U.S. Representative *Tom Perriello) and Harvard graduates that comprise the “Avaaz boys” (many having been groomed by McKinsey and Company) are considered “the dream team” by the globe’s most powerful capitalists, including those at the United Nations and the World Bank. Avaaz co-founder Andrea Madden works for the World Bank in Burma [Myanmar]. Her husband is Avaaz co-founder David Madden who has taken up residence in Burma. [March 23, 2013: Western Media Celebrates Faux Progress in Myanmar] Madden has co-founded a marketing firm, Parami Road in Myanmar: “Our clients are mostly international companies entering Myanmar and they demand an international standard of work.”

“After years of isolation, Myanmar is opening up. Opportunities abound. However international companies have little experience here and local firms have little experience working with them. Parami Road meets this need.” – Parami website

[*Full profile on Avaaz co-founder Tom Perriello: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section I [Link]

One should note that in the case of many NGOs, on 990 tax forms it appears as though those at the helm are paid minimally, if at all. Rather than salaries, many founders of institutions make immense fees via consulting services where their names are not identified on 990 forms. In the case of Avaaz, co-founder Ricken Patel does take a salary (approx. $190,000.00 per year) plus consulting fees. Consulting fees must be considered the bread and butter of many “progressives” whose incomes rival CEOs of multinational corporations. The salaries and incomes are incredible when one accounts for the fact that many NGOs, such as Avaaz, rake in millions of dollars in donations from well-intentioned and hard-working citizens who are at or below the poverty line.

[Full profile of Ricken Patel: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section I [Link]

Heimans, the Avaaz front man of Purpose, is a darling of the high-finance corporate world. “In 2011, Jeremy received the Ford Foundation’s 75th anniversary Visionaries Award. The World Economic Forum at Davos has named him a Young Global Leader, and the World e-Government Forum has named Jeremy and Purpose co-founder David Madden among the “Top 10 People Who Are Changing the World of the Internet and Politics.” [Source]

On the Rockefeller Foundation website under the article titled How to Scale Up the Impact? Heimans is identified as a panelist for “scaling community conservation solutions at the World Wildlife Fund’s Annual Kathryn Fuller Symposium.” (Incidentally, to illustrate the link between the faux green economy and its infusion with current consumer principles, Heimans is empanelled with an associate from retail giant, Costco Wholesale, at the symposium.) WWF’s subservience to Monsanto and the oligarchs as a whole – at a cost to vulnerable campesinos and all life on the planet – is well-documented in the eye-opening and explosive documentary  WWF – Silence of the Pandas.

The many facets of Purpose:

1) Purpose (tax identification number 68-0607622) is a for-profit certified B-corporation “that uses an innovative model to pool some of the world’s leading experts and practitioners in order to fund, launch and accelerate the growth of new social movement organizations.”

2) Purpose Action (tax identification number 45-2451509), the non-profit arm of Purpose, is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit advocacy organization “focused on changing policy.” Purpose Action Board of Directors includes Brett Solomon, executive director of Access, former campaigns director at Avaaz, former executive director of GetUp! [2]

3) Purpose Foundation (tax identification number 27-3106760) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization “focused on education and changing culture.” [3]

4) Purpose Campaign (tax identification number 68-0607622) “Develops social and consumer movements.”

Heimans, like his co-founders at Avaaz, has close relationships with those at the helm of the push toward the illusory green economy, including Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace and Richard Branson who has founded the B Team, of which Heimans serves as a “team member“. [Further reading on The B Team can be found in an upcoming segment of this investigative report.] Note that Avaaz and 350.org were the first two NGOs signed on to the 2009 Havas Advertising campaign TckTckTck. TckTckTck succeeded in successfully undermining the radical emissions reductions required, put forward by the State of Bolivia and the G77 at COP15. More recently Avaaz, 350.org and Greenpeace joined hands to form the NGO SumOfUs. [Further reading: SumOfUs are Corporate Whores | Some Of Us Are Not]

Like so many other left “progressives” jumping on board the “socially responsible investment” industry, Heimans is no exception, serving on the advisory board of Leap Frog Investments. [Source] On September 29, 2012 a media release announced “The Vital Few” – a new social media platform for The Asset Owners Disclosure Project, an online forum to link individuals who are concerned about their pension fund investments directed towards the fossil fuel industry. The release included statements from both Kelly Rigg (TckTckTck) and Heimans. Supported by the head of the global trade union movement and other key civil society groups the platform, called ‘The Vital Few,’ will allow pension fund members to drive transparency and accountability in a $60 trillion industry that has become the largest pool of investment capital in the world…. The Vital Few initiative, by starting with the issue of climate risk, is a milestone in helping restore genuine ownership to capitalism.”

The Strategy of “Changing Everything”

Stephanie McMillan Pupose Inc.

Illustration courtesy of Stephanie McMillan

In the video published on November 21, 2012, Heimans discloses that the “demand for the green economy is in a rut” during a lecture on Purpose’s innovative model of “movement entrepreneurship.” He states:

“…how else could movement building and mass participation help transform society? And that’s what we’re working on at Purpose. We’re thinking at Purpose not just how you build political movements but now what are some of the insights from that, that can be used to do things like scale demand for the green economy? Right? Demand for the green economy is in a rut. There isn’t large-scale demand it. What if we tried to build a movement around that and organize people in a systematic way….”

In the following Tedx talk (published September 7, 2012) the goal and the campaign to achieve the goal is made clear: kill “green” marketing (including the key term “green economy,” in order to push forward the green economy – without saying as much.

Heimans states:

“…Well, the results of our research really have two main conclusions I want to share with you today, and the first is a little startling and it may create a little bit of a disequilibrium… and that is that I think we need to kill the language and imagery and green in order to have any real shot at scaling sustainable consumption. Sustainable consumption just isn’t working right now as we’ll talk about in a moment. We’re going to have to kill green as a frame for consumers in order to try to rework that problem.”

It is worth repeating:

“Sustainable consumption just isn’t working right now as we’ll talk about in a moment. We’re going to have to kill green as a frame for consumers in order to try to rework that problem.”

Hence – you have the new terminology agreed upon and already being employed by both the foundations and the non-profit-industrial complex: The “new economy.”

Heimans continues:

“So they like the idea of green, it’s kind of a value they are happy to cloak themselves in, you know it’s a brand value, but the reality is market share just isn’t there because as soon as it’s even slightly difficult they’re out the door. So what do we do? So here’s some things that I think we can do that might up-end this situation and as I said it does require starting with killing green as a friend. We can’t lead with green, because most of the green products that are out there start by knocking on the front door and hitting you on the head and saying you know ‘We’re green, do the right thing.’ We need a radically different approach to the way we introduce this issue to consumers. We need to put green aside.”

Heimans summarizes the methodology.

“… the answer we think is to get behind the businesses that are at this intersection of mass participation where you can get lots of people in a network, you can grow market share very quickly of the new forms of businesses that are green, but don’t knock on the door and announce themselves as green. If we can do this, if we can create a new economy that takes these models that can very quickly acquire market share and we can give people a sense they’re part of something much bigger, we’ll build the green economy, we just won’t talk about it and we won’t say that we’re doing it.”

Heimans’ last remark is key: “If we can do this, if we can create a new economy that takes these models that can very quickly acquire market share and we can give people a sense they’re part of something much bigger we’ll build the green economy, we just won’t talk about it and we won’t say that we’re doing it.”

 

 

2013-12-20-eco-capitalism

Illustration courtesy of Stephanie McMillan


Subservience to Empire and Hegemony

Disruption_New_School_Slide_2-REVISED

Above: A Disruption movie marketing poster (from The New School). “Green” is out. “New” is in. This is the strategy that is to change everything.

Clearly, the shift of emphasis is toward this “market share”. Note the following statement on the September 4, 2014 350.org press release, World Premiere of “Disruption,” New Climate Documentary with Van Jones, Chris Hayes, Naomi Klein, and More:

This is not a green issue, this is an all of us issue,” says Ricken Patel, executive director of the 38-million member civic organization, Avaaz. Avaaz is mobilizing its members around the world to take part in solidarity actions along with the march in NYC. [Emphasis added]

“Green” is out. “New” is in. This is the strategy that is to change everything.

Also from the press release:

“The world premiere of Disruption in New York City is the flagship for hundreds of screenings taking place around the country on Sunday. A panel discussion will follow the premiere.

“Panelists will include (more detail at base of email):

  • Ricken Patel – Executive Director – Avaaz.org
  • Eddie Bautista – Executive Director – New York City Environmental Justice Alliance
  • Keya Chatterjee – Director, Renewable Energy and Footprint Outreach – WWF

“‘In the past, masses of people have taken the wheel of history and turned it,’ says author Naomi Klein in the film. ‘We have a responsibility to rise to our historic moment.'”

The film features Avaaz’s Ricken Patel, WWF‘s Keya Chatterjee and 350.org board member Van Jones. Note 350.org’s relentless co-opting of the civil rights movement leaders, who are utilized to market their campaigns at the beginning of the trailer. It is somewhat fitting is that at 12 seconds in CIA’s Gloria Steinem is featured. The trailer and film seeks to inspire the global mobilizations that Purpose has been funded to create.

It is incredible (as in, difficult to believe) that today’s biggest shills for the Empire of the 21st century double as the iconic symbols of progressive change and activism for the so-called left. Aldous Huxley often expressed a deep concern that citizens could become subjugated via refined use of the mass media. His fears were most prophetic. There is little doubt that if he were alive today, even he would be taken aback by the sheer “success” and madness of it. [Further reading: On the Eve of an Illegal Attack on Syria, Avaaz/350.org Board Members Beat the Drums of War]

Citizens who claim they wish to protect our shared environment must educate themselves on the role of foundation funding and the key NGOs (350.org, Avaaz, Purpose, WWF, etc.) being heavily financed to implement the illusory green new economy. Joan Roeloff’s exceptional book, Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism, is a good place to start. If we are unwilling to do this work collectively, perhaps we deserve everything the oligarchs are designing for us and intend for us in the future. There will be tears.

As an example of Purpose’s work to build acquiescence and a normalization of the green new economy, we can look at Purpose’s work for Audi. The task at hand is how to take the human right to access clean water, and turn it into a commodity market that the public will embrace: “[Purpose Inc.] helps them to build mass movements to support their favourite causes. Audi, for example, wants to design and promote machines to dispense clean water in India, a market where it hopes to burnish its car brand.” Media is utilized to present the water ATM as an affordable benefit for the disenfranchised, underprivileged and poor: “The perception that rural people won’t pay for quality services is wrong, says Anand Shah, CEO of Sarvajal, an initiative by the Piramal Foundation to find mass-market solutions to India’s water crisis. “They want to be part of modern society. After a water ATM is set up, 15-20 % of the people immediately start buying water. They like to claim ‘we have a water ATM.'” The idea of clean fresh water for all, as a human right, rather than an “affordable” commodity, will quickly disappear as fast as the drinking fountains one used to find in our communities not that long ago. One must note that today, we find corporations writing many of their own articles for media, who in turn present them as journalism. Round and round we go.

 

“Purpose also hopes to develop a business promoting ‘new economy’ products such as solar energy. It will recommend to its members that they buy solar power from such-and-such a provider. In return, it will charge a referral fee.” – The Economist, The business of campaigning, Profit with Purpose, Jan 26, 2013

 

We can assume this business model will be employed across the board. Purpose tells the story that entices the purchase, Purpose mobilizes the movements building on the foundation of the story, and Purpose receives their referral fee in the mail.

What you are about to witness is the global mobilization of “consumers” to be ushered into the green economy, without SAYING it is the green economy. The climate parade in NYC, coinciding with the release of 350’s Naomi Klein’s new book, is the launching pad.

The kings and queens of hegemony have rolled the dice and placed their bets on Avaaz, 350.org and Naomi Klein (350.org board member) to usher in the illusory green economy under the guise of a so-called “new economy.” Their winning bet is that author Naomi Klein’s latest book will be the vehicle that ignites their new economy, and thus “changes everything.”

It is not by accident that foundation-financed “progressive” media and those within the non-profit industrial complex are heavily promoting Klein’s upcoming book release with multiple side events. It is not by accident that Avaaz’s latest petition titled The Global People’s Climate March has strategically modified the This Changes Everything book title to “Join to Change Everything” and “To change everything, it takes everyone.” Note the similar language employed by WWF: “To change everything, we need everyone.”

The tragedy is that Americans appear incapable of building a legitimate movement on a foundation of knowledge and disciplined, resolute minimalism. There is no better example of this than the lifestyle of former left-wing guerrilla and current president of Uruguay, José Mujica. Rather, as a culture cultivated on greed and individualism, we swallow the illusion (lie) that the only way out of our suicidal economic system is through more consumption – with consumption this time around being branded with an ethical veneer. It’s as though consumption has devoured our psyche and we are unable to escape it. Like sadistic prisoners of our own doing, we have trapped ourselves in a cage as “consumers” (the term Purpose Inc. uses for citizens) and have chosen to throw away the key.

The goal must be to weaken and sabotage the existing power structures until they collapse. When we lend our voices to the non-profit industrial complex, by extension we strengthen hegemony, capitalism and imperialism, ensuring our continued enslavement and, ensuring the annihilation of most all life on our shared planet.

We need to start thinking, stop consuming, and start living.

+++

 

The Behavioural Change Dream Team:

·         Full profile of Jeremy Heimans: Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section II [link]

·         Full profile of David Madden: Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section II [link]

·         Full profile of James Slezak: Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section III [link]

Further reading on behavioural change: Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section II [link]

 

 

[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation, Political Context, Counterpunch, Canadians for Action on Climate Change and Countercurrents. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia.]

 

Endnotes:

[1] As Clinton Global Initiative director of commitments, Bezerra led the redesign of member engagement and commitments services into a year-round operation. From 2007 to 2008, Bezerra held the position of sponsorship manager of the Clinton Global Initiative where she directly managed five major sponsorship accounts, including Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Procter & Gamble, valued at over $2 million dollars. From 2006 to 2008, Bezerra held the position of Commitment Development Senior Manager for the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2009, Bezerra was Deputy Director of Commitments for the Clinton Global Initiative. Bezerra took a central role in building the Clinton Global Initiative from its start-up. The Clinton Global Initiative was integral to the creation and funding of the Rockefellers’ incubator project 1Sky, now merged with 350.org (which was also integral to the creation of 1Sky). The CGI is a partner to 350.org/1Sky. Bill Clinton is recognized as a notable ally.

Bezerra is the CEO and Founder of Aldeia Works, board member of Breakthrough and serves as an advisor to Inspiring Capital. In New York, Bezerra also served as the business and financial manager for AEA Consulting, “a management consulting company with a client base of leading nonprofit cultural organizations throughout Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Bezerra is a board member of Rhize, (March, 2014 to present; http://www.rhize.org/) whose stated mission is “building a global community driving peoplepowered democracy around the world.” She also serves on the board of Atikus Insurance (January 2014 to present; http://www.atikusinsurance.com/) and as a “Strike Team Member” of the ForeSight Group.

[2] Purpose Action Board of Directors: Jon Huggett, founding chair of Social Innovation Exchange, former partner at The Bridgespan Group and Bain & Company; Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange.org and former senior director of media programs at GLAAD; Brett Solomon, executive director of Access, former campaigns director at Avaaz, former executive director of GetUp!; Douglas Atkin, director of community at Airbnb, former chief community officer of Meetup, author of The Culting of Brands; Andre Banks, executive director of Purpose Foundation, former strategy director at Purpose and former deputy director of ColorOfChange.org; Jeremy Heimans, co-founder & CEO of Purpose, co-founder of Avaaz and co-founder of GetUp! [Source]

[3] Purpose Foundation Board of Directors: Carla Sutherland, research scholar at Columbia University’s Gender and Sexuality Law Center’s Engaging Tradition Project, former program officer at Ford Foundation and Arcus Foundation; Jeremy Heimans, co-founder & CEO of Purpose, co-founder of Avaaz and co-founder of GetUp!; Michael Evans, president of Moynihan Station Development Corporation and former chief of staff to the Lieutenant Governor of New York State. [Source]| Purpose Foundation’s organizational documents and annual reports on Form 990 can be found here.

 

ERITREA: The Modern Day Carpetbaggers and Scalawags-Final

From Where I Sit…

September 13, 2014

Sophia Tesfamariam

On 5-7 September 2014 Jay Taber’s Counterpunch article, “Imperial Civil Society, False Fronts for Wall Street”, Taber writes about “compromised NGOs” such as Avaaz and Amnesty International, the foundations and other entities that fund them,  and how they have become “imperial civil society” cow towing to Wall Street, and being used to “justify privatization, austerity, and military aggression by NATO and the US”.

In his article, Taber writes about the relationship between these international NGOs, Corporate America and the Government. The two salient points presented are:

  1. “…With corporate and government funding, often laundered through banks and foundations, international NGOs inspire pathos by constantly producing images of despair—thus allowing them to dominate discourse from an emotional vantage point. As a market-oriented institutional apparatus, this vast bureaucracy works hand in hand with military and finance authorities, thus functioning as Trojan horses on a par with transnational organized crime…As a fifth column of fascism, imperial civil society – funded by such entities as Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Ford Foundation, and Soros Open Society Institute – operates worldwide (in tandem with official false fronts like USAID, National Endowment for Democracy, and U.S. Institute for Peace) to subvert sovereignty and derail democracy in favor of US hegemony…”
  1. “…Overthrowing and destabilizing governments, using NGOs like Avaaz as provocateurs, puts authentic non-profits and journalists at risk. Indeed, the imperial network of financiers like Soros makes NGO entrepreneurs in the pro-war champagne circuit accomplices in crimes against humanity. As frontline opportunists in the psywar waged against public consciousness, these false fronts legitimate “humanitarian warfare” and “free-market environmentalism,” employed against indigenous peoples and independent states…”

So the reader might be asking what or how that has anything into do with Eritrea and in this sitting, the author will present the facts and allow the readers to make their own determinations…

The Carpetbaggers

Carpetbaggers and Scalwags collage 2The bulk of the articles, reports, books that advance the narrative on Eritrea disseminated through academia, media and policy making institutions in the United States and Europe have been generated by a handful of individuals and the “NGOs” that they are associated with. There may be others, but these are the repeat offenders…and the “wonks” who have made Eritrea their forte-lucrative one at that…and who work and collaborate with each other on the Eritrean Project…

  • Tricia Redeker Hepner- Funded by the Social Science Research Council and the Wenner-Gren Foundation began her research of Eritreans in the Philadelphia area and today, as Eritrea expert at Amnesty International has been at the forefront of the anti-Eritrea campaign. Her involvement with Eritrean politics is fishy from the get go. How is it that a young American college graduate on her very first trip to Eritrea finds herself entangled in Eritrean politics?
  • Dan Connell- Grassroots international, RootsNet and the Cape Ann Forum and Freedom House-Recipient of several grants including the MacArthur Foundation. This is the same Foundation that funds Human Rights Watch and other “NGOs”.
  • Frank Smyth-Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ)-Too numerous to list here-Annual Report[1] has details of the individuals and corporations that fund this outfit-with Dan Connell, is a staple in the Eritrean political scene
  • David Bozzini-self professed expert on Eritrea- Funded by the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, which is funded by the federal and the 16 state governments of Germany
  • Victoria Bernal- Bernal has been the recipient of grants and fellowships from Wenner-Gren, Fulbright, the Rockefeller Foundation and others
  • Maryan Van Reisen-European External Policy Advisors (EEPA)-self professed expert on Eritrea-Clients include the European Parliament, various organs of the UN, various NGOs[2] including Caritas, Human Rights Watch, Action Aid, Save the Children etc. etc. Might explain the reluctance of the UN to conduct an independent investigation into the trafficking of Eritrea’s youth. As we shall see later, Van Reisen, like her counterparts, also has an interest in prolonging the agony of asylum seekers and Eritrean migrants.
  • Jennifer Riggan-Came to Eritrea through the Peace Corps as an “English Teacher” in 1995-but now is an expert on Eritrea, and like the others “prepares affidavits and testifies on behalf of asylum seekers. Eritrea’s education system is her main target
  • Sara Dorman-Came to Eritrea as an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Asmara.  The new graduate claims “They needed a political scientist and I needed a job. It seemed like a great way to bridge the transition from student-hood to the real world”.  Today, she “studies” the behavior of Eritreans in social media and judging from the papers produced about Eritrea in the past, she will insist on painting a bleak picture of Eritrea and its leadership.
  • Kjetil Tronvoll-A Norwegian researcher with the  Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights (OCPHR) is in a new “Struggle for Freedom in Eritrea”, and has worked closely with the EQL-His papers, books and articles on Eritrea are too numerous to list here. He is also one of the first western anthropologist to enter Eritrea in 1991-to conduct “research”. An avowed anti-EPLF westerner, he insists on defining Eritrea and the needs of her people.

Those who have followed developments in Africa and especially the Horn of Africa for the last 25 years are familiar with these agencies and their “work” in Africa, but none has experienced as an aggressive campaign by groups funded by the “false fronts”, as the State of Eritrea and its people…(Zimbabawe comes close)

The carpetbaggers, dual hatted researchers, “anthropologists” by day, and “hired intellectuals” by night, have become a staple at every conference, forum, meeting, seminar, workshop etc. held about Eritrea. The many “by invitation only” conferences and presentations are made at academic institutions and forums and are never known with the Eritrean people in Eritrea or in the Diaspora. The idea is to “sensitize” the American and European public so that any actions of their governments will then become easily accepted.

Sometimes, one gets the feeling that Eritrea is a European state… as those around the table are almost always Caucasians, with the members of the Eritrean Quislings League (EQL) serving as the “Eritrean faces”. Most of the papers are placed in “academic journals” and other repositories not easily accessible to the general public, and if they were, the Eritrean public was not aware of their existence. Heck, even the Eritrean Studies Association is run by scalawags and carpetbaggers…hence its slow demise.

False Hope

Fourth World Eye Blog

September 7, 2014

by Jay Taber

Communications-in-Conflict-

 

The globalization of poverty through privatization initiatives and austerity measures — enforced by the IMF and World Bank on behalf of Wall Street — would never have been possible were it not for the psychological warfare waged against public consciousness over the last three decades. As concepts, humanitarian warfare, indigenous capitalism, and free market environmentalism would have been laughed out on their ear forty years ago.

Through coordinated consolidation of news ownership, advertising campaigns and educational privatization, Wall Street was able to turn black into white, night into day. Using derivatives laundered by foundations, aristocratic families like Ford and Rockefeller, and financial barons like Gates and Soros helped to defeat the New Deal liberalism of FDR, and supplant it with the neoliberalism of Clinton. Under neoliberalism, Orwellian prophecies have come to pass: war is peace; assimilation is freedom; earth is a commodity.

In the IC Magazine publication Communications in Conflict, is noted a new form of psychological warfare termed “false hope”. False hope, as a tool for subverting social movements, is unparalleled in its effectiveness. What once was crudely accomplished through political repression, censorship, educational indoctrination and misleading propaganda, is now supplemented, if not surpassed, through vertical integration of the non-profit industrial complex. Where Wall Street once had to rely on threats and bribery to intimidate or corrupt social movements, it now has a vast army of neoliberal foundations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and social media at its disposal.

By marshaling neoliberal funders, co-opted activists, and writers masquerading as agents for change, Wall Street can literally politicize, organize and mobilize citizens concerned about peace, indigenous peoples or the environment to do its bidding. As evidence of this, we only have to look at the fake revolutions and so-called humanitarian warfare endorsed by Amnesty International, the attack on indigenous governing authorities by Ford-funded activists sabotaging the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus gathering, or at the fossil fuel divestment campaign promoted by Rockefeller darling 350.org.

While NGO celebrities like Amnesty International’s Suzanne Nossel, First Peoples Worldwide’s Rebecca Adamson, and 350.org’s Naomi Klein generate press releases supporting Obama’s neoliberal State Department, Pentagon and Wall Street initiatives — thereby subverting social solidarity and undermining authentic activism — their lasting harm is in creating a seamless spectacle that diverts young peoples’ energy, devotion and commitment away from democratic community-building toward tyrannic social disintegration. As we advance toward the World Indigenous Peoples Conference at UN headquarters September 22-23 2014, the charades of Clinton, Soros, Rockefeller, Ford and Gates Foundation-sponsored public relations puppets continue to disrupt civil society, and to distract public attention from where it should be focused.

Until we are able to have a discussion about such things as the dysfunctional relationship between indigenous nations and modern states, the neoliberal UN Millenium Development Goals, and implementing Indigenous peoples human rights — in fora uncontrolled by capitalist institutions — no amount of bromides issued by the non-profit industrial complex is going to change a thing. Until we start defending democracy against the philanthropists in our midst, social engineering by Wall Street will continue to promote war, undermine indigenous liberation, and wreak havoc on the environment.

Welcome to the rave new world.

 

Left-White Solidarity?

On the New Face of 21st Century Neo-Fascism

Counterpunch

April 02, 2014

by AJAMU BARAKA

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

– George Santayana

Some years ago Italian anarchist Camillo Berneri suggested that while not always visible in the social practices of everyday European life, the racist foundation for European fascism was still present, safely confined to a space in the European psyche but always ready to explode in what he called a racist delirium.

Today, white workers and the middle classes in Europe and the U.S., traumatized by the new realities imposed on them by the decline of the Western imperialist project and the turn to neoliberalism, are increasingly embracing a retrograde form of white supremacist politics.