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

September 17, 2014

by Cory Morningstar

 

 “The Ivy League bourgeoisie who sit at the helm of the non-profit industrial complex will one day be known simply as charismatic architects of death. Funded by the ruling class oligarchy, the role they serve for their funders is not unlike that of corporate media. Yet, it appears that global society is paralyzed in a collective hypnosis – rejecting universal social interests, thus rejecting reason, to instead fall in line with the position of the powerful minority that has seized control, a minority that systematically favours corporate interests.” — From the article Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part I, Section I, Sept 10, 2012

The organization Avaaz was instrumental in building public approval for the No Fly Zone for the illegal invasion of Libya in 2011. The NATO-led destabilization/illegal war in Libya resulted in the annihilation of a formerly sovereign country that has since descended into brutal chaos. Tens upon thousands of Libyans died and the most savage ethnic cleansing that the mind can imagine has been widespread. The destruction of Libya has been nothing less than a full-scale bloodbath.

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Above image from the Avaaz website: “Libya No-Fly Zone: As Libyan government jets drop bombs on the civilian population, the UN Security Council will decide in 48 hours whether to impose a no-fly zone to keep Qaddafi’s warplanes on the ground.” [Emphasis in original] [Further discussion of the flag within this Avaaz image can be read in the epilogue.]

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Above image: Avaaz takes credit for the implementation of the Libya No Fly Zone. [Further Reading: Did Libya’s Citizens Demand Foreign Intervention?” A ridiculous question, yet according to Avaaz, the answer is yes.]

When Avaaz rolled out the same rinse, lather and repeat campaign for the seizing of Syria, the public did not fall prey as easily. The campaign failed. Below are three separate links to the Avaaz campaign calling for a no-fly zone over Syria.

http://www.avaaz.org/en/syria_the_last_straw_a/ (June 4, 2013) (Avaaz utilizing the “chemical attack” that has since been discredited.)

Avaaz Syria NoFlyZone

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/syria_the_last_straw_0/ (June 14, 2013) (Avaaz alleges a “rape crisis” committed by soldiers of the Syrian army – the same tactic used to incite hatred against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi that was later discredited.)

Avaaz NoFlyZone Syria

http://web.archive.org/web/20130825092136/https://secure.avaaz.org/en/syria_no_fly_zone/ (Again, utilizing the “chemical attack” that has since been discredited)

AvaazSyriaScreenshot

 

Of the Avaaz campaigns pressing for a no-fly zone (air strikes) over Syria that flourished in June of 2013, at least two employed the use of chemical weapons to incite fear and hatred toward the Assad government. It does not take much stretch of the imagination to consider Avaaz had inside knowledge of the upcoming chemical attack that would take place in outer Damascus approximately 10 weeks later. Considering Avaaz co-founder Tom Perriello’s connection to the Obama administration and its well known war criminals, it is entirely plausible that Avaaz was churning out propaganda that would lead up to and sensationalize a false flag attack.

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Photo: Avaaz co-founder and Congressman Tom Perriello with war criminal, General David Petraeus (far left). Under this Flickr photo the caption reads: “Passing the Baton, United States Institute of Peace” [2009] [Photo: Jon-Phillip Sheridan | Source] [In July, 2011, “General David Petraeus was approved as CIA Director by both the Senate Intelligence Committee and then the full Senate, whose vote was an astounding 94-0, astounding because this is a man who was deeply implicated in war crimes, including torture.” Source] [Welcome to the Brave New World – Brought to You by Avaaz, Sept 13, 2013]

The August 30, 2013 article “On the Eve of an Illegal Attack on Syria, Avaaz/350.org Board Members Beat the Drums of War” documents Avaaz links imploring a no-fly zone on Syria – both public links have since been removed. The article also featured 350.org board member Van Jones calling for air strikes on Syria. (Adding twisted irony, Van Jones also serves as co-founder and executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. The co-opting of deceased civil rights revolutionaries to advance the goals of hegemony has become common practice within these foundation-financed projects.)

Screenshots of an email from co-founder of Avaaz, Ricken Patel to Avaaz subscribers dated August 27, 2014 can be found here (1) and here (2). The email from Patel represented a last-ditch effort to garner support for a no-fly zone as the US prepared to launch an attack on Syria.

One year earlier, in 2012 Avaaz was allegedly sponsoring fabricated videos of civilian massacres, to back deeper foreign intervention in Syria. Fact-checking and videos appear to collaborate these claims.

Jump forward to 2014.

In the September 8, 2014 article Pentagon Planning Points to Possible Anti-Syria US Military Campaign, author Stephen Gowans observes:

“Now, it appears that Washington is on the cusp of pressing ahead with its planned campaign of military action. The New York Times has reported that ‘Pentagon planners envision a military campaign’ to destroy ISIS ‘in its sanctuary inside Syria’ that could last ‘at least 36 months.’ According to The Wall Street Journal, airstrikes would support anti-Assad fighters unaligned with ISIS, who would be bankrolled by $500 million in US funding, and backed by a global coalition, including the UK and Australia, that would ‘provide a range of assistance, including humanitarian aid and weapons.’ These countries could also join the United States in an air-war over Syria.”

It should not be considered a coincidence that at the same time, a polished, sophisticated and highly financed “Save Syria” campaign is being created in the board rooms of the Empire’s favourite Harvard boys.

Where, under the organization Avaaz, the public hasn’t acquiesced to an air strike on Syria, the New York public relations firm Purpose Inc. has stepped in.

Purpose is a for-profit enterprise that is marketed to appear like a non-profit. Their area of expertise is behavioural change.

 “[Purpose] has a non-profit arm, which incubates protests and accepts donations. This is cross-subsidised by its for-profit arm, which makes money in a variety of ways. It sells consulting services to big companies such as Google and Audi, and to charities such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union.” – The Economist

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GetUp, Avaaz and Purpose co-founder Jeremy Heimans, 2010.

Purpose Inc.: The Crème de la Crème Agents of Behavioural Change

Purpose  | Avaaz Co-Founders

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.”

Avaaz and GetUp co-founders Jeremy Heimans (CEO) and David Madden [2] are also founders of the New York consulting firm, Purpose Inc.

Avaaz was created in part by MoveOn, a Democratic Party associated Political Action Committee (or PAC), formed in response to the impeachment of President Clinton. Avaaz and MoveOn are funded in part by convicted inside-trader and billionaire hedge fund mogul, George Soros.

Avaaz co-founder James Slezak is also identified as a co-founder and CEO of Purpose at its inception in 2009.

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.

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

Another key co-founder of Avaaz is none other than pro-war, pro-Israel, U.S. Democrat Tom Perriello, former U.S. Representative (represented the 5th District of Virginia from 2008 to 2010) and founding member of the House Majority Leader’s National Security Working Group. As demonstrated in the 2012 investigative report on Avaaz, Perriello’s curriculum vitae, built upon privilege within elite circles, is quite extensive.

[*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]

The former Managing Director of Partnerships for “Purpose” is Marilia Bezerra. From 2006 to 2011 Bezerra held an integral position within the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) executive leadership. 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.

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]

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]

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]

The New York public relations firm Purpose has created at least four anti-Assad NGOs/campaigns: The White Helmets, Free Syrian Voices [3], The Syria Campaign [4] and March Campaign #withSyria.

“Who are we? Three years after the peaceful uprising in Syria, politicians and the media have largely forgotten what the UN calls ‘the greatest humanitarian tragedy of our time.’ But we haven’t.” — Front page of “The Syria Campaign” and the “White Helmets / Syrian Civil Defence” website

The March Campaign #withSyria | Over 130 Partners

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Purpose’s March campaign #withSyria website (which doubles as a hash tag for Twitter) partners include: Open Society Foundation (George Soros), Amnesty International, Christian Aid, Care, Friends of the Earth, Oxfam and many more of the largest “humanitarian” NGOs within the non-profit industrial complex which makes up a billion dollar industry. [Full list of partners: http://marchcampaign.withsyria.com/partners0]. Utilizing the consumer culture’s celebrity fetish to sell war (and the illusory “green economy“) is a vital marketing strategy of Purpose. In the case of #withSyria, famed street artist Banksy has reworked his “Young Girl” famed graffiti stencil in support of the campaign. On the main page of this website the behavioural change strategists at Purpose promote a slick, emotive video of a white child (in America) slowly becoming traumatized by the violence in Syria. No doubt, Purpose’s marketing executives have taken this avenue because they know that the majority of Euro-Americans with privilege simply are not moved by images of suffering children that are non-Caucasian. Non-White children being slaughtered by imperial states became normalized for most Euro-American citizens long ago.

WithSyriaHashtag PURPOSE CROPPED

And of course corporate media is not far away to promote the cries for war peace. Consider today, on September 17, 2014, ABC “reports“:

“What if we could reverse the explosion of a bomb? A group of 130 organizations from around the world, known collectively as the ‘With Syria’ campaign, released a video Wednesday that shows just what that would look like. The campaign hopes to bring attention to the violence in Syria. (video) Warning: Contains disturbing imagery. In the video, the act of a bomb exploding near children playing is reversed: The blood returns to their heads, the children stand back up, run in reverse and continue the game they were playing. A message says, ‘We can’t reverse what’s happened in Syria, but we can change how the story ends.'”

Indeed Purpose is being paid to bring about the ending that the elites have hired them to ensure.

“Even more impressive than her military, America has built the most sophisticated propaganda machinery the planet has ever seen.” – Garikai Chengu

Free Syrian Voices partners include Amnesty International, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, FIDH, Front Line Defenders, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders and “other international, regional and Syrian organizations” – which conveniently go unnamed.

Such emotionally charged campaigns are critical tools for empire. They have become critical (and successful) in building the acquiescence required for “humanitarian interventions” (aka regime change with extensive “collateral damage” thrown in for good measure).

“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.” — Jay Taber, False Hope, September 6, 2014

It is important to note that Purpose is a for-profit business strategically presented as though it is a non-profit (similar to the Change.org petition site). This begs the question of who is financing the Syrian campaigns. The fact that a group of wealthy elites from Harvard living privileged lifestyles in New York City (and abroad) decide, via glossy marketing campaigns, who will live or die on the other side of the world is the ultimate representation of whitism and racism – an egregious affront to people everywhere. [Further reading on Purpose]

“If there is any doubt concerning the nefarious undertones of subversiveness in these NGO dealings, [National Endowment for Democracy] NED founder reportedly said the following in the 1990s: ‘A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.’ What was once done at night under the cloak of ‘imperialism’ is now done during the day under the guise of ‘humanitarianism.'” WKOG 30-point Primer

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! [5]

3) Purpose Foundation (tax identification number 27-3106760) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization “focused on education and changing culture.” [6]

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

US Military Utilize NGOs to Induce Pacification & Advance Western Ideologies on Iraqi Citizens

The video below captures highlights from the 2004 Princeton Colloquium on Public and International Affairs and should that be at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs – The Role of NGOs in Global Governance and Society. Attention to the title is key: “NON-governmental organizations in global GOVERNANCE.” [Note the use of the term “guerrilla” (4:13) in describing any citizen/person resisting the occupation/assault by US military on Iraq soil.] Since the filming of this video, accelerating regime change operations are being conducted by Western militaries, hand in hand with Western NGOs throughout the globe. [See more: http://www.interventionism.info/en/Re…]. In essence, NGOs have become an indispensable instrument of destabilization and regime change for imperial states and hegemonic interests. NGOs also serve as the primary agents to implant neoliberal policies and western ideologies in targeted states to advance and protect the interests of the NGOs’ funders.

 

The Hate Campaign

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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.”

 

 “‘You have to investigate the supply of hatred,’ Glaeser continues. ‘Who has the incentive and the ability to induce group hatred? This pushes us toward the crux of the model: politicians or anyone else will supply hatred when hatred is a complement to their policies.'” — The Behavioural Economics of Hatred

 

Heiman’s work been recognized in publications like The New York Times and The Economist. In The Economist, Heiman states he chose his career path when “in 2001, a college student named Eli Pariser created an online petition calling for a multilateral response to the ‘9/11 terrorist attacks.'” Over a decade on, with civilian deaths that amount to millions, I’m sure the Iraqis are most grateful. It must be noted that Eli Pariser, too, is a co-founder of Avaaz and Co-Founder and Executive Director of MoveOn.org (Avaaz founder) PAC.

The Syria Campaign Facebook PURPOSE Screenshot

Above: The Syria Campaign, Non-profit Organization, created by Purpose, launched March 7, 2014.

 

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“We were afraid the regime would fire another rocket, as they always come back to the area of attack when people come to rescue to bomb them, so we started evacuating people in a hurry so no more lives would be lost. This picture was taken then! That boy holding my neck like that was one of the moments in which I knew why I am a civil defender!” — Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm

Purpose Inc. strategically employs images, carefully worded text and slick video that provoke intense emotion. Key language includes children, refugees, regime, and their work “in the most dangerous place in the world.”

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 “A year ago today, the Syrian government used Sarin gas against its own people killing over a thousand, many of them children. The world was outraged and demanded Assad destroy his stockpile of chemical weapons. Today chlorine gas is still being used on civilian neighbourhoods, rolled out the back of helicopters in rusty ‘barrel bombs.’” — Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm, Image by Designer : FaDi zyada whose work is also featured on the Heinrich Von Arabien Foundation website. This same website features an absurd photo of Syrians holding up a poster that features a “thumbs up” illustration for USA and the UN.

[***Reference list for deconstructing the myth that Syrian army + “dictator” used chemical weapons in August 2013 by Susan Dirgham: http://australiansforreconciliationinsyria.org/reference-list-chemical-attack-in-damascus-august-2013/]

Exploiting the death of Syrian children to provoke air strikes and military aggression demonstrates that such agencies go to any extreme to further American foreign policy. Note that the very carnage described above: “killing over a thousand, many of them children” is par for the course for the U.S. military, which carries out such atrocities on innocent civilians, including children, on a daily basis, all over the world. But don’t expect an Avaaz or Purpose campaign against the Obama Regime any time soon. They will be too busy under the guise of their NGO MoveOn, working on his re-election.

The following quote represents the real purpose of Purpose:

The media may have turned away from what’s unfolding daily in Syria but today we all have the tools to tell the world the truth. Please share widely and remember the children of Syria in your thoughts today.”

The lapdog media have not turned away, but much of the public has. It’s the job of Purpose to employ netwar methods (“a form of low intensity conflict, crime, and activism waged by actors using social networking services” according to Wikipedia) on the public (targeting Euro-Americans) that will instill hatred toward the democratically elected Bashar al-Assad.

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“It’s past time for President Obama to present a plan for dealing with the humanitarian crisis in Syria.” — Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm

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“Today we remember the more than 1,300 who lost their lives in the Ghouta chemical weapons attacks. Let’s also remember those +150,000 who face torture and death while being detained.” — Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm

Let’s not mention Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and a mile long list of the Obama administration’s involvement in torture, shall we? Syria certainly demonstrates that the first casualty of war (in this case a destabilization effort) is truth. The following excerpt is from the article Foley & Sotloff’s Reporting Show Why the US Should Stop Its Proxy War on Syria, which lays bare that “both journalists documented the reality of Free Syria Army”:

“While in Turkey Sotloff broadcast news of Syrian rebels being found and arrested with chemical weapon Sarin gas.  He used Twitter to send out the Turkish news report.  That was in May, three months before the August 21 2013 chemical weapons deaths in outer Damascus. The Syrian rebels were arrested by Turkish police but quickly released, giving evidence to claims of Turkish government support for Nusra. Sotloff was puzzled why the mainstream media was not giving this event coverage.”

SotloffTweetNusra

 

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“This Thursday marks the one year anniversary of the chemical weapons attack that took the lives of over 1,000 Syrians. Since then tens of thousands more have been killed by different methods. Starvation is one. But the international media and world leaders still haven’t come together to put an end to it.” — Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm

Above image: Another call for “world leaders” to “come together to put an end to it.” Yet while Purpose may cry crocodile tears over the starvation of Syrians, Avaaz has asked for tough sanctions against Syria. Purpose and Avaaz want to “have their cake and eat it too” – while Syrian lives are destroyed by the oligarchs that both Purpose and Avaaz serve.

http://www.avaaz.org/en/syria_end_the_terror/

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The High Gloss Veneer

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The following video highlights human rights investigator and award-winning journalist, Keith Harmon Snow, detailing the corrupt NGOs and their portrayal of Africa in order to illicit funds. Snow must be considered one of our finest Western reporters for obtaining true independent, grassroots news from the continent of Africa. Within the lecture, Snow discusses the psyops/propaganda strategically orchestrated behind the “Save Darfur” campaigns/movements which, in 2004, began to saturate the populace. At the helm of this “movement” was “The Center for American Progress.”

The Center for American Progress is closely connected with the same players that founded and financed Avaaz. Today, with Avaaz at the forefront, the non-profit industrial complex has been appointed trusted messenger of a grotesque and disturbing ideology; nothing less than a complete reflection and validation of the U.S. administration’s rhetoric intended to justify the annihilation and occupation of sovereign states under the false pretense of “humanitarian intervention” and “responsibility to protect.” [7]

 

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The Syrian government has been dropping ‘barrel bombs’ on civilian areas despite a UN order to stop, targeting schools and hospitals. Those too poor to flee their homes can only hope that if the bomb drops, the White Helmets will be there to help get them out.… Let’s tell the world about the White Helmets and help get them the support they need.” — Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm

“Know multiple languages? We need you! Help us get as many eyeballs on the Miracle Baby video by translating the subtitles into as many languages possible here: http://bit.ly/1tKSmrz” — Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm

Firms and agencies such as Purpose write and develop the scripts and design the sets. They bring the stories to life, strategically exploit and manipulate our emotions, ultimately ensuring we come to accept and partake in their politically acceptable means of discourse – discourse sanctioned (and financed) by the empire.

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“Syrians welcome Iraq’s Yazidi refugees into their country with warm meals, giving them their clothes and in some cases opening up their homes.” – Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm

The above quote is representative of perhaps one too many spin doctors, for who is allowing Iraq’s Yazidi refugees into Syria, if not the Assad government? Indeed, Assad’s government has accepted more refugees per capita than any other country in the Middle East.

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“In the wake of Robin Williams’ death, the people of Idlib remember the actor/comedian with a quote on freedom.” — Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm

This image takes absurdity to a new level. Recap: In the midst of being bombed, starved, and rained on by chemical weapons, Syrians take time to pay homage to an American actor/comedian (because the love of the America that is destroying the Middle East is so great), by quoting a line from a genie in a bottle from a scene in an animated Disney movie and creating a banner in the English language.

 

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“Understand what this infographic says, and you’ll understand why The Syria Campaign exists. And why you and your friends need to join. http://bit.ly/VlYOsi” — Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm

In the infographic above, Purpose deliberately keeps the stats limited to 2014. Otherwise they would have to visualize the millions of Iraqi citizens who have been murdered due to the U.S. illegal war and occupation in Iraq. Further, Purpose gives no attention to the deaths in Ukraine, Honduras, Libya, Haiti, Congo (millions) and all of the other countries being decimated by Imperialism and foreign interference.

 

Syria Voices FB photo Obama 

“Tell Obama we need a plan set forth to address the worsening humanitarian crisis in Syria. bit.ly/1nITTtO” — Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm

The message is clear. Purpose wants the green light for military intervention in Syria, well-cloaked under the guise of humanitarianism – an oxymoron if there ever was one.

“How were you to know you were approving posts from one of the world’s most violent dictators? A man who’s ordered the dropping of bombs on hospitals and primary schools?” — Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm

“Syrian dictator Bashar Assad has been re-elected and he can thank Facebook for being a propaganda platform.” — Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm

“It is critical to note that the imperialist powers (inclusive of the UN) do not criticize or demonize or withdraw their support from such leaders on any ethical or moral ground. Denunciation of state leaders and emotive language is merely theatre. Rather, the imperialist states strategically set out to destroy any state leader that is unwilling to be controlled by US interests and foreign policy. A case in point is unwavering support of the Saudi royal family responsible for atrocious human rights violations to which the imperialist countries turn a blind eye.” (from Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part I, Section I)

 

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]

Further reading on Avaaz and Purpose: This Changes Nothing. Why the People’s Climate March Guarantees Climate Catastrophe

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Epilogue

Consider that the colour of the national flag of the Libyan Jamahiriya (from 1977 to 2011; The Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) was pure green in colour. Unlike the one featured in the Avaaz campaign. The green colour traditionally symbolizes Islam. In Libya, green was also a colour traditionally used to represent the Tripolitania region (commonly referred to as Tripoli) that NATO forces fought to seize. The iconic green flag was chosen by Libyan leader/brother Muammar Gaddafi to symbolize his political philosophy (after his revolutionary Green Book). On 10 March 2011, France was the first state to recognize the council as the official government of Libya, as well as the first to allow the Libyan embassy staff to raise the red, black, green and white flag that would replace the green flag of the Libyan Jamahiriya. On 21 March, the “new” flag was flown by the Permanent Mission of Libya to the United Nations and appeared on their official website … this flag, which reigned prior to the Libyan Jamahiriya, is now the only flag used by the United Nations to represent Libya. According to the following UN statement: “Following the adoption by the General Assembly of resolution 66/1, the Permanent Mission of Libya to the United Nations formally notified the United Nations of a Declaration by the National Transitional Council of 3 August 2011 changing the official name of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to “Libya” as well as a decision to change Libya’s national flag to the original.” [Wikipedia]

On August 24, 2011 it is reported by yet another mouthpiece for empire that:

As Libyan rebels take over, embassies worldwide have been replacing the old Libyan flag with a new one…. But starting in February, a new flag – red, black, and green with a white star and crescent in the center – has been hoisted at Libyan embassies around the world, from Switzerland to Bangladesh. It is the same flag being flown by the jubilant rebels themselves as they descend on Tripoli.”

In the article, the words “U.S. funded mercenaries” have been replaced with “the jubilant rebels.” It would be well worth investigating who ordered, manufactured and paid for thousands of these new flags (prior to or commencing in February of 2011) and ensured they would replace the national flag of the Libyan Jamahiriya that flourished from 1977 to 2011.

 

Further Reading:

 

·         The Grotesque and Disturbing Ideology at the Helm of Avaaz, March 7, 2012

·         Sostenere il governo USA senza saperlo: il grave esempio di “Avaaz,” March 8, 2012

·         SPEAKING TRUTH: A Profound Message to Avaaz from Poet Gabriel Impaglione of Argentina, March 12, 2012

·         Argentine Journalist Stella Calloni Denounces Avaaz | Latin American Unions Follow Her Lead, March 12, 2012

·         Avaaz: Empire Propaganda Mill Masquerading as Grassroots Activism, June 9, 2012

·         Avaaz’s War on Syria: Soros Sponsored Sorrow Pleads for Foreign Intervention, June 14, 2012

·         Rio Summit “Good Versus Evil” Advert Displays Blatant Racism and Imperialism at Core of Avaaz, June 22, 2012

·         Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part I, Section I, Sept 24, 2012

·         Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part I, Section II, Sept 24, 2012

·         Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part I, Section III, Sept 24, 2012

·         Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section I, Sept 24, 2012

·         Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section II, Nov 1, 2012

·         Welcome to the Brave New World – Brought to You by Avaaz, Sept 13, 2013

 

Endnotes:

[1] Jeremy Heimans on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jeremyheimans

[2] David Madden on Twitter: https://twitter.com/davidmadden

[3] Job Detail for Social Media Intern, Syrian Voices Movement Job Location: Purpose Inc, New York, NY, 10176: http://jobs.climber.com/jobs/Media-Communication/New-York-NY-10176/Social-Media-Intern-Syrian-Voices-Movement/55687863

[4] Purpose is hiring: Join the Syria Campaign: http://www.purpose.com/were-staffing-up-on-the-syria-campaign/]

[5] 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]

[6] 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.

[7] December 29, 2004: “Over two days in early December approximately three-dozen religious activists met at the Washington office of the Center for American Progress, a recently formed think tank headed by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta. The Res Publica-driven agenda for the closed-door gathering included sessions on “building the movement infrastructure” and “objectives, strategies and core issues.” Res Publica was founded by Tom Perriello, Ricken Patel and Tom Pravda. Avaaz was founded by Res Publica, MoveOn.org, Executive Director Ricken Patel, Tom Perriello, Tom Pravda, Eli Pariser (MoveOn Executive Director), Andrea Woodhouse (consultant to the World Bank) Jeremy Heimans (co-founder of GetUp! and Purpose), and Australian entrepreneur David Madden (co-founder of GetUp and Purpose). Avaaz co-founder Tom Perriello is now President and CEO of Center for American Progress. Perriello and Patel also co-founded and co-directed DarfurGenocide.org which officially launched in 2004. “DarfurGenocide.org is a project of Res Publica, a group of public sector professionals dedicated to promoting good governance and virtuous civic cultures.” Today, this organization is now known as “Darfurian Voices”: “Darfurian Voices is a project of 24 Hours for Darfur.” The U.S. Department of State and the Open Society Institute were just two of the organizations funders and collaborating partners. Other Darfurian Voices partners include Avaaz, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), International Centre for Transitional Justice, Darfur Rehabilitation Project, Humanity United, Darfur People’s Association of New York, Genocide Intervention, Witness, Yale Law School, The Sigrid Rausing Trust and the Bridgeway Foundation. Despite the carefully crafted language and images that tug at your emotions, such NGOs were created for and exist for one primary purpose — to protect and further American policy and interests, under the guise of philanthropy and humanitarianism. Of all the listed partners of DarfurGenocide.org, with exception of one located in London England, all of the entities involved are American and based on US soil.

10:10:10 – Marketing, Manipulation, and the Status Quo

Published on United Progressives October 8th, 2010 | http://bit.ly/aiCAZg | http://bit.ly/dhSXCx | http://bit.ly/am8Tot

As we stand on the edge of apocalypse, we must wake up and acknowledge that what the big greens are not saying is far more important than what they are saying.

By Cory Morningstar, with  Gregory Vickrey

CODE GREEN: “The good intentions of participants of 350 aside, requesting world leaders to reduce carbon emissions is unfortunately not going to work. Bill McKibben asserts that world leaders will listen “if we’re loud enough,” but that’s simply untrue. If we stick with symbolic action, the destruction will become progressively worse, and we will continuously lose ground and be reduced to begging for mercy that will never be granted. Those in power (and their political representatives) will only stop destroying the planet if they are forced to do so. The immediate threat of social disorder and economic disruption will make them listen. An immediate and serious threat to their wealth and well-being will make them listen.”

Understanding 10:10:10

All big greens and little greens alike are promoting the latest climate change campaign, 10:10:10, on the front page of every website and in every email. Two of the main promoters of 350.org’s 10:10:10 ‘Global Work Party’ are none other than corporate darling TckTckTck and, of course, Greenpeace International. Making the intimate link between the two, Kumi Naidoo is the Executive Director of the organization and chairs the Global Campaign for Climate Action, the group behind TckTckTck.

The escalating climate crisis – scientists now refer to it as the ‘6th extinction’ – has now been transformed to a party.

10:10:10 states, “A strong and vibrant climate movement will create the political space for our champions to lead; take-on the big polluters and bought-off politicians who are blocking progress; and help us implement innovative climate solutions from the ground up.” Completely ignoring the intent of their own rhetoric, some of the top ideas on the 10:10:10 website for the party are: organize a tree planting, work on a community garden or an organic farm, go for a bike ride, or do a trash cleanup. Once again, the emphasis of this latest symbolic big green campaign avoids the root causes of climate change; the current state of accelerating climate change according to the latest science; the false solutions being sold as just goods; and a stark, deafening silence on the People’s Agreement constructed in Cochabamba, Bolivia, April 2010. (It is important to note here that this is the only agreement to date that has the potential to save humanity from suicidal extinction. This last, despite 350.org’s presence in Cochabamba, with its own representatives positioned as ‘presidents’ of several working groups.)

The 10:10:10 campaign does not demand that all nations and all non-government organizations (NGOs) formally acknowledge the world is far beyond dangerous interference with the climate system. Why not? Leading scientist John Holdren has been explaining this since 2006. Holdren is advisor to President Barack Obama for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

The 10:10:10 campaign does not demand that nations and NGOs declare a global climate state of emergency. Why not? NASA climate scientist James Hansen has appealed for such a declaration since 2008. Further, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that civil society must be the organ to make this declaration – yet those who claim to represent civil society — as 350.org often does — spew rhetoric instead of reality.

Nature’s Razor

The greatest danger to survival of life lies within combined Arctic feedback cycles, all of which are now operational. None of the climate models used by IPCC include any of the Arctic feedbacks below. This makes all projections of potential increase in global temperature, as well as any contrived limits on human emissions, dangerously misleading.

Arctic sea ice volume has reached the lowest level ever recorded, prompting the director of the National Snow & Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, Mark Serreze, to state, “The Arctic summer sea ice cover is in a death spiral. It’s not going to recover…I hate to say it but I think we are committed to a four- to six-degree warmer Arctic.”

Methane release from melting permafrost is the most dangerous amplifying feedback in the carbon cycle. Earlier this year we were witness to a science stunner. Scientists found that the vast Siberian Arctic shelf methane stores are now destabilizing and venting. National Science Foundation issued our world a wake-up call: “Release of even a fraction of the methane stored in the shelf could trigger abrupt climate warming.”

Scientists have discovered that the seas are acidifying ten times faster today than 55 million years ago when a mass extinction of marine species occurred. The increasing acidity reduces the amounts of calcium carbonate available to plankton and other species which require it to form shells and skeletons. Studies show phytoplankton have died off more than 40% since 1950 and continue to do so at an accelerating rate. “This is an almost unprecedented geological event,” stated Andy Ridgwell, an earth scientist at the University of Bristol.

Making matters significantly worse for humanity, food security manifests itself as a second state of emergency intimately connected with climate.

The worst ever environmental and health catastrophe is now inevitable, and we must render a comprehensive global emergency response. Nations and NGOs who refuse to acknowledge destructive climate interference and the inherent state of global climate emergency are, in effect, supporting and perpetuating the status quo: a general state of denial of, and inaction toward, the worst crime ever committed against humanity.

In the presence of fact and a recognizable path to global extinction, the only target that now matters is zero carbon. To save humanity, fossil fuels must be completely abandoned. Every other target, without distinction, leads to irreversible climate catastrophe.

Yet we are told to throw a global day of action for 24 hours each year (this year, 10:10:10), no matter the challenges science purports and reality verifies. And somehow this party will grow into a new movement to take on these challenges, and this reality that no one discusses.

Symbolism must be an omnipotent force.

“Get to Work” – 350.org

“One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.” – Chinua Achebe – Nigerian Writer

For too long, the environmental movement – led by the big greens – has locked the climate movement into a two-pronged strategy comprised of lobbying partisan, corrupt politicians, and climbing into bed with any – and nearly every – corporate power, in the pursuit of symbolic victories, the ecstasy of the illusion of power, and to integrate the DC cocktail circuit. Even in this, the movement has failed.

After the largest oil spill in history earlier this year, the movement and its most powerful leaders did not call for a ban on all offshore drilling; instead, they urged citizens to demand a temporary moratorium on new offshore drilling. Having no ability in the art of negotiation, and displaying an approach that was sophomoric, at best, they failed to properly secure the half-solution they sought, and the loopholes continue the cataclysmic trends that existed before the Deepwater Horizon entered our consciousness. Epic fail.

Nearly two decades after the first climate convention in Rio, global emissions are up over 40% and planetary boundaries are being crossed. We now stand on the cusp of humanity’s most dangerous moment. For those two decades the big greens have been flirting and sleeping with the enemy, and no matter their willingness are still shamed come morning, because the BPs of the world are welcome to plant their decadent seed in any of the big greens, and the governments around the globe besides, without any recourse.

What more evidence do we need to see in order to accept that backroom lobbying and symbolic campaigning has not worked and will not work?

“Politically feasible.”
“Politically possible.”
“Reasonable.”
“The best we can get.”
“Win-win.”

Big greens can’t yet comprehend the concept of morning remorse. It takes a spine to accept the guilt.

Fossil fuels must be completely abandoned. We have already stated that, from the perspective of reality. Let us say it again. Fossil fuels must be completely abandoned. Nature won’t be giving us a pat on the back or boost our resumes for what we deem politically feasible, and the physics of nature is not about to come to the table for negotiations on entropy. Better is not better when better still means dead. Massive climate emergency movements in every country are the only forces with the potential to drive politicians toward effective action against greenhouse gas emissions. That is the only way to win time for our Earth – and ourselves.

Symbolism

 

Image from Keith Farnish’s ‘The Unsuitablog’:

“it is an utterly pointless task trying to make Industrial Civilization sustainable or “environmentally friendly”, because the nature of civilization is to destroy, to take what it wants to achieve its aims and only stop when it runs out of energy, people or space. It only stops when it collapses – it never stops of its own accord.”

Thus, we find ourselves in yet another bizarre situation and ready to party on 10:10:10 with international climate change organization TckTckTck; with Greenpeace; with 350.org; with World Wildlife Federation (WWF); with more than 350 other dance partners; and, not without significance, with Havas Worldwide, the world’s sixth largest advertising company, and creator of the TckTckTck campaign. Havas clients include Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Pfizer, BP and several other multinational conglomerates who indiscriminately rape and pillage our Earth, while exploiting the most vulnerable communities, cultures, and societies around the globe, in exchange for nothing more than financial profits and cash windfalls, seeking infinite gains on a finite planet.

When we fight multinationals, we call them corporate criminals. When we take their money, we call them partners.

The climate change movement is said to oppose oil giants controlled by Rockefeller and friends. Yet the foundations and charities of Rockefeller and friends generously fund progressive environmentalists with the purpose being to ultimately oversee and influence various and significant activities.

Recall the fairytale in which the witch decorates her home as a gingerbread house in order to entice the children inside and ultimately cook them to kibble in a pot of boiling water. We are those children – and we are being manipulated to admire the grand illusion of democracy set before us as we march as one towards our own demise.

Not so bad, says 10:10:10 and friends. We can throw a party along the way, and the conscientious among us can pre-order caskets made of green, sustainable bamboo manufactured in a Chinese sweatshop.

Last year, on 350.org’s Global Day of Action (October 24, 2009), TckTckTck was shiny, new and present. In Canada, on Parliament Hill, between 1,000 and 2,000 people assembled throughout the morning and afternoon. The crowd received instructions to move apart, and individuals were then told reach their hands to the sky and pretend they were clocks. Next, they were told to chant “TckTckTck!” while rotating arms in analog fashion. TckTckTck … TckTckTck … faster! Faster! It is no stretch of the imagination to envision Havas and their corporate CEO friends – friends who push for more nuclear power, more genetic engineering, more cloning, more water privatization, more growth, more consumption – sitting back and laughing their asses off at those of us at Parliament Hill and all around the globe that day, people-clocks chanting their corporate branded slogan TckTckTck as the world burned.

Denialism

Big greens want us to believe that we will fall into a pit of despair once we accept the situation as dire and will become immobilized. Is this true? No. In fact, history demonstrates time and time again that when faced with cataclysmic emergencies, people and communities pull together. Facing disaster, citizens of nations have shown they can unite for the common good. Sure, when we face the facts that now exist, despair is only human. The question is whether acknowledging our circumstances will immobilize us or give us the truth we need to face a daunting task. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche distinguished between what he called the “pessimism of strength” and the “pessimism of weakness”. “Pessimism of weakness” means succumbing to apathy in the face of overwhelming odds. “Pessimism of strength” means facing up to the facts, acknowledging the danger fully, and making a decision about how best to act. In other words, fear is good, and these parameters define our sense of responsibility.

Big greens are certainly aware that we are now in a death-spiral brought about by the capitalist, consumptive, and corporate domination of society. Yet they actively choose to remain muzzled on the subject. Power structures in place today do not act, and never will act, to stop climate change, because the changes so desperately needed by those most vulnerable on the planet are in direct conflict to the needs and rapacious desires of capital. Capital has no empathy. Capital has no children to love and protect. Capital has only one imperative, and that is to grow. Under the current economic system, the penultimate measure of success is profit. Corporations exist to maximize profits while externalizing costs. That is their nature. They cannot behave otherwise. Spewing greenhouse gases, toxins, and chemicals into the environment is a fundamental feature of capitalism employed by modern corporations and governments, and accounts for most of the pollutants directed into our air, water, and earth. Waste, pollution, and ecological destruction are built into the system.

Retribution

September 27th, 2010. From Chris Hedges Column on TruthDig:

“Nemesis was the Greek goddess of retribution. She exacted divine punishment on arrogant mortals who believed they could defy the gods, turn themselves into objects of worship and build ruthless systems of power to control the world around them. The price of such hubris was almost always death. Nemesis, related to the Greek word némein, means “to give what is due.” Our nemesis fast approaches. We will get what we are due. The staggering myopia of our corrupt political and economic elite, which plunder the nation’s wealth for financial speculation and endless war, the mass retreat of citizens into virtual hallucinations, the collapsing edifices around us, which include the ecosystem that sustains life, are ignored for a giddy self-worship.”

Are we ready for such reflection? Is it past time to start talking about the core issues, the root causes of climate change? Is it past time to start questioning why those who claim to speak for civil society refuse to discuss these very issues?

The most provocative tool for comprehending abject behavior we have learned as climate justice activists is this: when issues are not being tackled by directly addressing the root of the problem, one must ask why.

To answer this question, this “why”, we have discovered there is one tactic which uncovers more information than any other single tactic.

It is this:

Follow the money.

Funding 10:10:10

This 350.org project, 10:10:10, in whole or in part, is funded by Global Greengrants Fund (GGF), an entity which works with, and receives funding from, the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation and others, including ‘1% for the Planet’ (slogan: “Keep Earth in Business”). On July 21, 2010, GGF announced a partnership with 350.org: “Greengrants is excited to launch a new initiative of the Greengrants Climate Fund: the 350 Project Fund. Led by 350.org, the campaign to build a global movement for climate solutions, this initiative builds momentum and funds for climate solutions worldwide.”

Who is Global Greengrants? GGF states: “Our advisers and partners are currently focusing on REDD and REDD+ efforts around climate mitigation. REDD stands for ‘Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and (forest) Degradation’. It is one of the areas of discussion at COP15 where some believe the most positive movement was made.”

In fact, REDD is one of the most contentious false solutions being fought by Indigenous peoples and grassroots climate activists all over the world. GGF has announced that through the establishment of their new pro-REDD ‘Climate Fund’, they were, and remain, involved in sponsoring delegates to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conferences such as COP15. This has proven to be a very successful formula for ensuring that anti-REDD Indigenous voices have been silenced from international conferences and climate talks, conveying to the general public the falsehood that REDD has been embraced far and wide. Those with no financial means to attend COP quite effectively have their mouths gagged and therefore become invisible on the global stage.

Those who agree with false solutions continue to be funded. Those who do not are replaced.

From the Rockefeller site:
RBF grantee Sustainable Markets Foundation’s 350.org launched its new web site, gearing up for “10/10/10, the Global Work Party” on October 10, 2010. Organizers are encouraging individuals worldwide to do something to combat global warming in their communities. More than a thousand groups in over 100 countries already have registered their events with 350.org, which include a bicycle repair day in New Zealand, planting thousands of trees in Uganda, and installing solar stoves for a carbon-neutral picnic in Bolivia.

These are all nice events, and are likely being organized by well-intentioned individuals. Unfortunately, none of them – or any semblance of them – will save us from catastrophic climate change.

Has the climate crisis (d)evolved into a mere Earth Day event to be held on an annual basis – a festive party to be celebrated? The symbolic Earth Hour, organized by industrial nonprofit complex World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), is now held each spring. 350.org a.k.a. Sustainable Markets Foundation a.k.a. 350.org Project a.k.a. 10:10:10 now claims a global climate party in the fall. Perhaps if we participate in Earth Hour or the Global Day of Action (or both!), and recycle our cans, bottles, and paper products at home, we can all feel we did our part until next year.

The Rockefellers certainly would like us to think so.

The Rockefeller family – think big oil (as big as oil gets) – is another primary funder of 350.org (Sustainable Markets Foundation). The Rockefellers, with other members of the plutocracy such as the Clinton family, were also instrumental in the creation of 1Sky, sister of 350.org. An organization which pushes false solutions and grossly inadequate climate legislation under the guise of ‘grassroots’ democracy, 1Sky is a prime example of an NGO created for the power elite. It operates as a think tank where past, present, and future policy analysts, high-ranking government officials, business leaders and CEOs, intellectuals, journalists, and conservative activists come together to develop political vision and strategy. Many well-intentioned, well-respected individuals are manipulated into lending their involvement to such institutes, which in turn lends credibility to 1Sky, 350.org, and their ilk when they deserve none.

We would like to name every foundation and corporate entity that funds 350.org and 10:10:10, and how many hundreds of thousands of dollars they receive to implement the tactics of manipulation put forth by their corporate partners, but they choose not to respond to our requests for information. Likewise, they refuse to share the information on their websites, or in any other public forum.

Why it Matters

“It’s difficult to get a man to understand something if his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” Upton Sinclair

Whether directly or indirectly, industry and industry-linked foundations steer environmental organizations away from grassroots movements and create an elite-structured caviar class of environmentalists financially motivated to pursue ‘business as usual’ solutions. Today there is a deafening silence as well as cries for censorship on this critical topic, even within the climate justice movement itself.

Silence kills and silence is complicity in the escalating climate disruption, climate emergency and climate genocide that is predicted to kill billions this century. Earth and paleoclimate scientist, Dr. Andrew Glikson of the Australian National University states that “informed people are now staring into the abyss”.

Pablo Eisenberg at Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute has stated, “although we know that our socioeconomic, ecological, and political problems are interrelated, a growing portion of our nonprofit world nevertheless continues to operate in a way that fails to reflect this complexity and connectedness.” This unwillingness to confront the broader issues of climate change such as militarism, livestock, and the capitalistic practices inherent in the current corporatocracy, is at the heart of the crisis of the climate change movement. Behind closed doors, the organizations manipulating and exploiting 10:10:10 know and understand the dilemma created by their infatuation with the corporate power structure. Yet the big greens refuse to advance these fundamental issues. And to be fair, they can’t. For if they were to be effective, in a meaningful way that actually started a paradigm shift, they would quickly be cut off from their generous ‘partners’. These groups have become barriers to the movement. They no longer represent civil society, but stand as walls to protect the system. They utilize the coercive tactic of inviting supposed leaders of civil society into sanitized circles of power, and simultaneously repress the rank and file climate movement.

Why are the big greens and compromised NGOs spewing out meaningless targets for legislation which do nothing more than ensure a death sentence for humanity? It is because they have become corporations themselves. They are, in essence, subsidiaries of the very corporations that they claim to oppose. There can be no meaningful mass movement when dissent itself is generously funded by those same corporate interests who must be targets of the protest movement.

In this short RSA Animate, radical sociologist David Harvey asks if it is time to look beyond capitalism, towards a new social order that would allow us to live within a system that could be responsible, just and humane. (View his full lecture at the RSA).

Reading Between the Lies

We must start turning off the faucets of the propaganda machine. Information flows from dominate forces that keep our society passive, dumbed down and stupefied. Humans display a universal propensity to deny uncomfortable realities—we actively repress intelligence and reason. Big Greens now employ marketing strategists to poll the public in order to ensure any messaging is palatable before campaigns and campaign messages are rolled out. This ensures the sad fact that the mainstream movement no longer leads, but rather capitulates to the status quo. The movement is now being shaped by marketing executives rather than activists. Big greens simply tell the public what they (the big greens) calculate the public wants to hear while at the same time protecting the system upon which they (the big greens) feast. Unfortunately, for ourselves and for our children, such denialism will ensure humanity’s certain famine – and ultimate demise.

“The masses have never thirsted after truth. They turn aside from evidence that is not to their taste, preferring to deify error, if error seduce them. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim” – Gustave Le Bon 1895.

“For us to maintain our way of living, we must… tell lies to each other, and especially to ourselves… the lies act as barriers to truth. These barriers… are necessary because without them many deplorable acts would become impossibilities” – Derrick Jensen 2000.

Now we have three partners slithering out of the rot of the decayed carcass that was the climate change movement: 350.org, Greenpeace, and Rainforest Action Network (RAN) have joined hands to sing a new version of Kumbayah with the grand illusion of waking the dead, and anyone can join the circle of song – provided we adhere to their guidelines. God forbid we challenge the system for what it is – a rapacious beast devouring humanity in the name of capitalism. Doing that doesn’t provide the win-win type of ‘solution’ these groups and their funders demand. Don’t begin to consider surprise actions that challenge corporate elites and the political structure directly. Don’t be provocative. Don’t plan for the potential need for self-defense. Don’t disturb dinner plans. Don’t miss yoga class.

Follow the lead of Bill McKibben (350.org), Phil Radford (Greenpeace USA), and Becky Tarbotton (RAN) and put three additional nails into the coffin of humanity. The Earth is beyond reacting to the tactics employed by those controlled by corporations, shared by tweets, and defined by actions that happen on a Saturday afternoon and end just in time for the next episode of Law and Order.

Aggressive action is required.

Mario Savio and Peter Camejo knew this. In the 1960’s they galvanized the souls of Berkeley into a force that would not be denied, and would not be repressed.

Those of us in the climate fight must not be denied, and we must not be repressed.

“Who raises money to protect rainforests yet greenwashes their first time logging? Who celebrates their 25th anniversary twice? Who has no scientists yet sets policy it refuses to defend? Rainforest Action Network @RAN of course.” – Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet

Climate reality dictates that there are no solutions within our cushy envelopes of political negotiation. We no longer have the luxury of playing nice and limiting sacrifice. There is no reason for our favorite big environmental groups to sit down with industry and hammer out a compromise; the Earth is already screaming at us that half-measures won’t work. There is no reason to believe that if we change a bunch of light bulbs or recycle all those plastic bottles or rock our Prius on the way to a Global Work Party we are part of the solution. We aren’t. We must strive for what defeatists and their enablers deem impossible. The science dictates a systemic upheaval that will shock us all, and we can choose to endure, or choose to die.

The alarms are sounding. All 5 of them. And we ask you this: if your neighbor’s house is burning, and you called 911 twenty minutes ago, and there has been no response, what would you do? Would you fill a bucket from your sink, toss the water on the blaze, pat yourself on the back, and conclude you’ve done your part? Would you throw a party next to the blaze with other neighbors, cheering the fact that they also brought their buckets of water? Or would you realize the structure, as it once stood, is now lost, and it is time to rebuild a better one, perhaps resistant to flame?

None of the placating, enabling, corrupt entities herein is prepared to tell you the truth. Most of them recognize it, as they have seen the same science we have. They understand the deadly consequences of ocean acidification, plankton kills, methane releases, ice shelf deterioration, and temperature extremes; yet their agenda, cozy as it sounds through rhetoric and repetition, does nothing to curtail this reality: the truth will hurt.

We have no time to argue over strategy and tactics. We have limited time (and only the planet really knows what hour it is) to implement massive, global changes. And we have a system in place that will refuse and refute every critical mode for the required paradigm shift part and parcel. That leaves little choice for those of us alive today.

The carbon economy must end. An optimist should say we have until 2020 to accomplish that. By every means necessary we must bring it to an end. We believe that requires an absolute refusal on the part of us, the masses, to continue to participate in it.

Pick a date, and after? Don’t participate.

Attend the Global Work Party. And when you realize the effort is going nowhere, let that uncomfortable reality demonstrate that we should attend a Global Work Shutdown.

The truth is not, and will not be, televised. We must collectively recognize that the solution set we must enact is far more complex than any one of us currently believes, or can rightly handle within the constructs of current society. Tactics that generate financial upheaval, such as refusal to pay debts to banking institutions, must be employed. Corporations must be exorcised through aggressive carbon taxation in the short-term, and severed from the subsidizing bonds to governments of the people. Criminal prosecutions against complicit individuals, corporations, and countries must take place. The car must die. Corporate media and irrelevant distraction must be abandoned. The insatiable, commodified narcissism poisoning our culture must fade. As it does, an new age of creativity and imagination must reawaken with fervor, re-energizing both the spirit and the means of our global community.

Wake up. Tear down. Rise Up.

“Humans claim to be uniquely capable of logical thought, forward planning and moral judgment. None of these unique capabilities are evident in the mainstream international dialogue on responses to climate change. The time has come to rise above primitive tribal instincts and exercise our full human capacities in confronting climate change. The time has come to act with intelligence, foresight and compassion for the mutual benefit of all.” – William Rees – originator of the “ecological footprint” concept and co-developer of the method.

Clicktivism is Ruining Leftist Activism

Published on Thursday, August 12, 2010 by the Guardian/UK

Reducing activism to online petitions, this breed of marketeering technocrats damage every political movement they touch

by Micah White

A battle is raging for the soul of activism. It is a struggle between digital activists, who have adopted the logic of the marketplace, and those organizers who vehemently oppose the marketization of social change. At stake is the possibility of an emancipatory revolution in our lifetimes.

The conflict can be traced back to 1997 when a quirky Berkeley, California-based software company known for its iconic flying toaster screensaver was purchased for $13.8m (£8.8m). The sale financially liberated the founders, a left-leaning husband-and-wife team. He was a computer programmer, she a vice-president of marketing. And a year later they founded an online political organization known as MoveOn. Novel for its combination of the ideology of marketing with the skills of computer programming, MoveOn is a major center-leftist pro-Democrat force in the US. It has since been heralded as the model for 21st-century activism.

The trouble is that this model of activism uncritically embraces the ideology of marketing. It accepts that the tactics of advertising and market research used to sell toilet paper can also build social movements. This manifests itself in an inordinate faith in the power of metrics to quantify success. Thus, everything digital activists do is meticulously monitored and analyzed. The obsession with tracking clicks turns digital activism into clicktivism.

Clicktivists utilize sophisticated email marketing software that brags of its "extensive tracking" including "opens, clicks, actions, sign-ups, unsubscribes, bounces and referrals, in total and by source". And clicktivists equate political power with raising these "open-rate" and "click-rate" percentages, which are so dismally low that they are kept secret. The exclusive emphasis on metrics results in a race to the bottom of political engagement.

Gone is faith in the power of ideas, or the poetry of deeds, to enact social change. Instead, subject lines are A/B tested and messages vetted for widest appeal. Most tragically of all, to inflate participation rates, these organizations increasingly ask less and less of their members. The end result is the degradation of activism into a series of petition drives that capitalize on current events. Political engagement becomes a matter of clicking a few links. In promoting the illusion that surfing the web can change the world, clicktivism is to activism as McDonalds is to a slow-cooked meal. It may look like food, but the life-giving nutrients are long gone.

Exchanging the substance of activism for reformist platitudes that do well in market tests, clicktivists damage every genuine political movement they touch. In expanding their tactics into formerly untrammeled political scenes and niche identities, they unfairly compete with legitimate local organizations who represent an authentic voice of their communities. They are the Wal-Mart of activism: leveraging economies of scale, they colonize emergent political identities and silence underfunded radical voices.

Digital activists hide behind gloried stories of viral campaigns and inflated figures of how many millions signed their petition in 24 hours. Masters of branding, their beautiful websites paint a dazzling self-portrait. But, it is largely a marketing deception. While these organizations are staffed by well-meaning individuals who sincerely believe they are doing good, a bit of self-criticism is sorely needed from their leaders.

The truth is that as the novelty of online activism wears off, millions of formerly socially engaged individuals who trusted digital organizations are coming away believing in the impotence of all forms of activism. Even leading Bay Area clicktivist organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to motivate their members to any action whatsoever. The insider truth is that the vast majority, between 80% to 90%, of so-called members rarely even open campaign emails. Clicktivists are to blame for alienating a generation of would-be activists with their ineffectual campaigns that resemble marketing.

The collapsing distinction between marketing and activism is revealed in the cautionary tale of TckTckTck, a purported climate change organization with 17 million members. Widely hailed as an innovator of digital activism, TckTckTck is a project of Havas Worldwide, the world’s sixth-largest advertising company. A corporation that uses advertising to foment ecologically unsustainable overconsumption, Havas bears significant responsibility for the climate change TckTckTck decries.

As the folly of digital activism becomes widely acknowledged, innovators will attempt to recast the same mix of marketing and technology in new forms. They will offer phone-based, alternate reality and augmented reality alternatives. However, any activism that uncritically accepts the marketization of social change must be rejected. Digital activism is a danger to the left. Its ineffectual marketing campaigns spread political cynicism and draw attention away from genuinely radical movements. Political passivity is the end result of replacing salient political critique with the logic of advertising.

Against the progressive technocracy of clicktivism, a new breed of activists will arise. In place of measurements and focus groups will be a return to the very thing that marketers most fear: the passionate, ideological and total critique of consumer society. Resuscitating the emancipatory project the left was once known for, these activists will attack the deadening commercialization of life. And, uniting a global population against the megacorporations who unduly influence our democracies, they will jettison the consumerist ideology of marketing that has for too long constrained the possibility of social revolution.

© 2010 Guardian/UK

Micah White is a contributing editor at Adbusters and an award-winning activist. He lives in Berkeley and is writing a book about the future of activism. His website is here

Saving Trees and Capitalism Too

By Michael Barker

“Describing a group funded by the world’s leading capitalist elites as grassroots demonstrates how desperately well-meaning environmentalists cling to the illusion that by working with capitalists (not the grassroots) they will be able to counter the destruction wrought on the planet by capitalists (evidently for the benefit of the grassroots).”

Capitalism requires trees, but trees do not need capitalism. Following this logic, one can opt to save trees by promoting a thoughtful capitalism that protects limited parts of the natural environment to ensure sustained economic growth, or one can promote an alternative to capitalism adopting an ideology not premised on endless economic growth. The former approach conserves capitalism (and some trees), while the latter envisages the creation of an alternative political system that counters the present environmental catastrophe posed by capitalism. Applying the same idea to a related matter; capitalism requires workers, but workers do not need capitalism. Consequently, during the Progressive Era longsighted robber barons recognized that the most effective way to save workers for capitalism would be to encourage the growth of work-place rights via their support of corporate-backed unions and the like. Capitalists still of course waged direct attacks on organized labor (most especially anti-capitalist radicals), [1] much in the same way that capitalists ostensibly concerned with saving trees simultaneously destroy many more trees than they protect. Sadly the historical lessons that should have been learned from the Progressive Era have not penetrated popular consciousness, and so many overworked citizens who are concerned with the destruction of the environment have ended up supporting proponents of neoliberal environmentalism. Capitalism is yet again undergoing a miraculous rebranding, and the robber barons of old are now the saviours of the planet, now being widely touted as the Eco Barons. [2] By reviewing the activities of leading tree protectors, the Rainforest Action Network, this essay will demonstrate how the activism promoted by eco barons though such groups ultimately works to conserve capitalism and create the powerful illusion of progressive social change.

Formed in 1986, the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) was the brainchild of environmental activists Randall (Randy) Hayes and Mike Roselle who created it to “protect rainforests and the human rights of those living in and around those forests.” Of the group’s two founders, Roselle was the more experienced environmentalist having previously cofounded Earth First! in 1979; Hayes on the other hand was a relative latecomer to environmentalism, bursting onto the scene to establishment acclaim in 1983 when as a student of environmental planning he co-produced the award-winning documentary The Four Corners. [3] Informed by the consumer activism of the 1970s, and emulating the muckraking journalism of the Progressive Era, from their outset RAN adopted a reformist position by choosing to focus public attention on individual corporate malfeasance. In a recent interview when asked to explain RAN’s interest in targeting corporations not governments, Roselle noted how:

The government has not been willing to do anything. They are so big and bureaucratic and so political that they are often hard or impossible to move. Corporations on the other hand have customer bases, they have advertising they invest a lot in burnishing their brand. So what we try to do is take the luster off of it, affect their bottom line, and then we can get them to the bargaining table. [4]

Roselle has long been a vocal critic of corporate environmentalism, most especially the activists of the “Big Green” groups, so it is perhaps a sign of the times that an ostensibly radical group like RAN should now be working in partnership with the very groups they once critiqued so vehemently. For instance, one of RAN’s first actions “highlight[ed] the destructive lending practices of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and global ‘free trade’ agreements.” This is significant because Hayes now serves on the board of directors of a free-market group called Forest Trends, whose staff includes many World Bank representatives (including not least their current president and CEO). Another curious example of RAN’s “success story” (taken from their Web site) occurred in 1998, as they point out how years of campaigning resulted in “Mitsubishi Motor Sales America and Mitsubishi Electric America pledging to end use of old-growth forest products and phase out use of tree-based paper and packaging products in favor of alternative fibers.” [5] One might assume that Mitsubishi has now improved their environmental credentials, especially given their representation on the board of directors of Forest Trends, but unfortunately only two American Mitsubishi subsidiaries were forced into making environmental concessions. As Boris Holzer observes…

the American subsidiaries are probably two companies with only minor involvement in timber activities. Their positive approach is basically in line with their long-standing efforts to improve their environmental records. Thus, the agreement did not necessarily hit the most destructive parts of the Mitsubishi Group. [6]

This example provides an elegant illustration of the problems associated with single issue, media-driven campaigns that target individual “bad” corporations. [7] Indeed while similar RAN campaigns have regularly come under criticism from conservative think tanks, among less rabidly free-market friendly liberal elites such activism is popular precisely because it does not pose a serious threat to capitalism. In this respect RAN is akin to many of the big green corporate environmentalists that it rhetorically sets itself apart from. One need only delve into their latest annual report to see their major donors include the Roddick Foundation and the Sandler Family Supporting Foundation, and minor funders like the Tides Foundation, with 74 per cent of their $4.4 million annual budget derived from such grants, and only 18 per cent supplied via public support and membership. [8]

Other notable major funders of RAN – that is philanthropic bodies that have given them more than $100,000 in any given year – include the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Wallace Global Fund, and the Rudolf Steiner Foundation. Money talks, as RAN activists well understand; although RAN activists are perhaps not quite as conversant with the cooptive influence of liberal philanthropy as that of conservative foundations. As Joan Roelofs observes “almost all civil rights, social justice, and environmental organizations” are dependent on “corporate and foundation funding.” While the various recipients of corporate monies may not feel pressured to conform to elite priorities, all the same “funders are anxious to help radical protesters and oppressed minorities while transforming their goals and removing any threat to corporate wealth and power.” On this point Roelofs notes that when former Ford Foundation president, McGeorge Bundy (1966-79), was testifying before Congress in 1969, he was asked why Ford supported radicals, he replied:

There is a very important proposition here that for institutions and organizations which are young and which are not fully shaped as to their direction it can make a great deal of difference as to the degree and way in which they develop if when they have a responsible and constructive proposal they can find support for it. If they cannot find such support, those within the organization who may be tempted to move in paths of disruption, discord and even violence, may be confirmed in their view that American society doesn’t care about their needs. On the other hand, if they do have a good project constructively put forward, and they run it responsibly and they get help for it and it works, then those who feel that that kind of activity makes sense may be encouraged. [9]

To be fair, many environmental activists are not aware of, or choose to ignore, the deradicalizing influence of liberal philanthropy, and a good example is provided by popular environmental writer George Monbiot. [10] Thus it is ironic that many of the groups that RAN has pressured into adopting socially responsible practices are intimately connected to such liberal philanthropists. So in 2004 RAN “declare[d] victory after a four-year campaign” when Citigroup announced “its ‘New Environmental Initiatives’, the most far-reaching set of environmental commitments of any bank in the world.” This activist victory is particularly intriguing as in the same year Citigroup recruited the president of the Rockefeller Foundation, Judith Rodin, to their board of directors. Likewise Alain Belda, who has served as a board member of Citigroup since 1997 and had acted as a trustee of the Ford Foundation board member from 1997 until 2009; while longstanding Citibank board member Franklin Thomas was the president of the Ford Foundation from 1979 until 1996. More recently, in 2009, Thomas retired from Citibank’s board of directors, and their new board chair was none other than Richard Parsons, an individual who presently serves as an advisory trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Similarly, in 2005 RAN took credit for JPMorgan Chase releasing a “comprehensive environmental policy that takes significant steps forward on climate change, forest protection, and Indigenous rights.” Yet from 1969 until 1980 David Rockefeller – liberal philanthropist extraordinaire – had served as the CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank, a bank that was merged with J.P. Morgan & Co. in 2000 to form JPMorgan Chase. These examples are not meant to imply that most RAN activists were not sincerely engaged in vigorous efforts to encourage financial giants like JPMorgan Chase and Citibank to support green capitalist ideologies, but the fact of the matter is that some of the liberal elites managing these corporations were the same people who have expressed a longstanding commitment to coopting the environmental movement to serve capitalist interests. Viewed in this light it should come as no surprise that in 2005 RAN boasted that by “[w]orking closely” with Goldman Sachs it became “the first global investment bank to adopt a comprehensive environmental policy”.

Goldman Sachs’ commitment to capitalist conservation was clearly not entirely due to RAN activism, as the former chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs (1999-2006), and subsequent Secretary of the US Department of the Treasury, Henry Paulson, served as the chair of the Nature Conservancy’s board of directors from 2004 until 2006 (a noted member of the “Big Green”). [11] In addition, Paulson had served as the chair of the Peregrine Fund, an environmental group he had been connected to since 1990. The close working relationship between Goldman Sachs and the Nature Conservancy continues to this day, and since 2008 former Goldman Sachs managing director, Mark Tercek, has served as the president of the Nature Conservancy. Likewise, Tercek’s commitment to free-market environmentalism means that he presently sits on the steering group of the Prince of Wales Rainforest Project, on the board of directors of Resources for the Future, and serves on the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Chilean advisory council. [12] Tercek’s latter service, with regard to Chile, is particularly noteworthy as prior to heading up the Nature Conservancy he had headed the Goldman Sachs Center for Environmental Markets and its Environmental Strategy Group. This is significant because in late 2004 Goldman Sachs donated a sizable chunk of Chile to the Wildlife Conservation Society – using land which it had obtained by purchasing defaulted bonds from US forestry company Trillium Corporation. On these Chilean conservation efforts Tercek would have worked closely with the current chair of Resources for the Future, Lawrence Linden, who while based at Goldman Sachs worked in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society to create a massive 735,500 acre nature preserve on the island of Tierra del Fuego, Chile.

Here it is appropriate to introduce American multimillionaire Douglas Tompkins, as this key bankroller of environmental activism (and the “dean” of the new eco barons) has similarly bought hundreds of thousands of acres of forest land in southern Chile though his Conservation Land Trust to create a reserve called Parque Pumalin. Over the years Tompkins’ Foundation for Deep Ecology (which was formed in 1989) has been an important funder of forest activism including, to name just a few, the work of RAN, Earth First!, and Amazon Watch. Indeed, in 2008 at RAN’s 14th annual World Rainforest Awards Ceremony, Tompkins and his wife Kristine were honoured as environmental heroes. Consequently it is of more than passing interesting that an influential critic of deep ecology, the late Murray Bookchin, was of the opinion that with regards to deep ecology, “no other ‘radical’ ecology philosophy could be more congenial to the ruling elites of our time.” [13] To take just one example, the interest of leading “humanitarian” capitalists in deep ecology was illustrated when Tom Brokaw penned the foreword for Tom Butler’s book Wild Earth: Wild Ideas for a World out of Balance (Milkweed Editions, 2002). [14]

Wild Earth author, Tom Butler, presently serves as the editorial projects director for the Foundation for Deep Ecology, but had formerly been the editor of Wild Earth magazine (1997-2005). Launched in 1990 Wild Earth magazine was set up by Earth First! founder Dave Foreman, former Earth First! journal editor John Davis (1986-89), Reed Noss, David Johns, and Mary Byrd Davis. [15] John Davis served as the founding editor of Wild Earth until he passed the reigns to his life-long friend Tom Butler (in 1997), so John could serve as the biodiversity and wildness program officer for the Foundation for Deep Ecology. Not surprisingly John has served on the board of directors of Tompkins’ Conservation Land Trust; a group who’s most notable current board member is Peter Buckley, who is the chair of the David Brower Center – a center whose other board members includes RAN cofounder, Randall Hayes. While for many progressive activists the environmental career of the late David Brower (1912-2000) is beyond criticism, it is worrisome that like his deep ecologist counterparts he apparently became fixated on Malthusian analyses that blame procreation, not capitalism, for environmental devastation. I say this because Brower was a former member of the advisory board for a controversial group called Californians for Population Stabilization. [16] The current president of Californians for Population Stabilization, Diana Hull, serves on the advisory board of two more openly racist groups, NumbersUSA and Federation for American Immigration Reform. [17]

Deep ecology is of course an important ideology that has helped popularize concern with human population growth, so it should come as no surprise that RAN’s advisory board has been host to a host of leading environmental Malthusians. Two particularly noted individuals are Norman Myers, who is a patron of Optimum Population Trust, and former Sierra Club treasurer (1999-2000) Anne Ehrlich, who is married to Optimum Population Trust patron Paul Ehrlich, the author of the book The Population Bomb (Sierra Club, 1968).

Such Malthusian (mis)reasoning has long been popular within the environmental movement and is exemplified by a recent statement by Paul Watson, the founder and president of the Tomkins backed Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. (Tompkins is an avid supporter of the Sea Shepherd work having recently spent Christmas and New Year on the Antarctic high seas, as their vessels acting quartermaster.) Returning to Watson’s comment: writing in 2005, in response to the famous essay ‘The Death of Environmentalism’, Watson wrote that while global warming “will certainly be a major contributor to this mass global extinction [facing the Earth] … it is a problem caused by the first major threat and that is escalating human population growth.” [18] While certainly problematic, this capitalist-friendly argument sounds eerily reminiscent of the populationist views of the Sea Shepherd’s land-based counterpart, Earth First!; opinions that Watson and Foreman no doubt internalized during their “environmental” forays with the Sierra Club during the 1970s. Like their radical environmental “offspring” the Sierra Club to this day remains embroiled in immigration controversies stemming from their long-term commitment to Malthus. Watson himself played an important role in this propagating such Malthusianism as he served a board member of the Sierra Club from 2003 until 2006, and was the endorsed candidate of anti-immigration body, Sierrans United for US Population Stability. [19]

As one might expect the Shepherd Conservation Society and RAN share more in common than the eco baron and social engineer Douglas Tompkins, as Watson and Randall Hayes both sit on the advisory board of a philanthropic body known as the Fund for Wild Nature. This Fund’s president, Marnie Gaede, is a former director of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, while other notable Fund for Wild Nature board members include Mary Anne Hitt (who is the deputy director of the Sierra Club’s national ‘Move Beyond Coal’ campaign), and former Fund president Dave Parks (who has been involved in political campaigns with both Earth First! and RAN). Other interesting Fund for Wild Nature advisors include Louise Leakey, who additionally serves as a Sea Shepherd advisor, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s (Republican-California) environmental appointee, Terry Tamminen. [20] Incidentally, Tamminen served for five years as executive director of the Environment Now, a group whose four key staff members include two former Foundation for Deep Ecology employees, Caryn Mandelbaum and Fund for Wild Nature board member Douglas Bevington. The latter individual’s backgrounds emphasize the cognitive dissonance that resonates within many of the staffers of the organizations that have been discussed in this article as Bevington recently completed a PhD in sociology for a dissertation titled ‘The Rebirth of Environmentalism: Grassroots Activism and the New Conservation Movement, 1989-2004? (University of California, Santa Cruz, 2007). Thus although Bevington cites the current literature that demonstrates how liberal philanthropists regularly co-opt social change agents via funding, he writes in his study that the grassroots organizations he examined “relied primarily on grants from philanthropic foundations.” [21] (Bevington’s thesis was published in September as The Rebirth of Environmentalism: Grassroots Activism from the Spotted Owl to the Polar Bear (Island Press, 2009).)

One of the primary groups examined in Bevington’s study was the Center for Biological Diversity (formed in 1989), [22] and which in 2008 received support from elite philanthropic bodies that included the Foundation for Deep Ecology, the Environment Now Foundation, Tides Foundation, ExxonMobil Foundation, The New York Times Company Foundation, and even the “big green” environmental outfit, The Wilderness Society. Corporate funders of the “grassroots” Center for Biological Diversity included the likes of Goldman Sachs, the Bank of America, and Microsoft. [23] The fact that Bevington describes a group funded by the world’s leading capitalist elites as grassroots demonstrates how desperately well-meaning environmentalists cling to the illusion that by working with capitalists (not the grassroots) they will be able to counter the destruction wrought on the planet by capitalists (evidently for the benefit of the grassroots). [24] Needless to say it is hardly surprising that the Center for Biological Diversity was pleased by the fact that Edward Humes’ “devot[ed] a fourth of his book” Eco Barons to their history and achievements. [25]

Considering the depths of elite intrusion into the heart of US-based activism it is critical to ask: how has this situation been ignored by so many critical and progressive intellectuals and researchers for so long? The answer cannot simply be that progressive historians are too busy to undertake research into the influence of liberal philanthropy on the processes of social change, as no historian in their right mind could accidentally forget to examine so big a topic. There is no doubt that critical researchers have been correct to focus on the influence of for-profit corporations on society, producing research which is necessary to undergird any successful attempts to hold corporations accountable to the public. However, although writers have noted the powerful influence wielded by conservative not-for-profit corporations (like the John M. Olin Foundation), they have totally neglected the equally important liberal side of the philanthropic equation. Thus, leaving aside conservative commentators, who have provided what seems like an endless volume of criticisms of liberal philanthropy, critiques of liberal philanthropy from the political Left are almost invisible. For instance, there have been no critical investigations of the background of one of the Left’s most important coordinating and funding bodies, the RAN connected International Forum on Globalization.

The International Forum on Globalization is a particularly important group to study within the confines of this article as it was formerly headed by RAN cofounder Randall Hayes, who now presently serves as their senior strategist. Furthermore, the International Forum on Globalization has been heavily supported by Douglas Tompkins’ eco-philanthropy, and former Foundation for Deep Ecology staffer, Victor Menotti, presently serves as their executive director. Formed in 1994, the Forum’s Web site notes that it was set up because of a “shared concern that the world’s corporate and political leadership was rapidly restructuring global politics and economics on a level that was as historically significant as any period since the Industrial Revolution.” The key person involved in establishing this critical Forum was Jerry Mander, a former president of a major San Francisco advertising company and ‘Grateful Dead’ promoter who decided to turn his talents at manipulating symbols and images to protecting the environment in the late 1960s (initially working with David Brower while he was based at the Sierra Club). In addition to Mander’s work at the International Forum on Globalization, he also found the time to briefly serve as a program director for the Foundation for Deep Ecology. Perhaps Mander’s most influential book, vis-à-vis the alter-globalization movement was his co authorship with Edward Goldsmith of the edited volume, The Case Against the Global Economy and For a Turn Toward the Local (Sierra Club Books, 1996) – some of the many contributors to this book included Maude Barlow, Richard Barnet, Wendell Berry, John Cavanagh, William Grieder, David Korten, Ralph Nader, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Jeremy Rifkin, Kirkpatrick Sale, and Vandana Shiva.

The year following Mander and Goldsmith’s edited collection, Sierra Club Books published another powerful and widely read book, Joshua Karliner’s The Corporate Planet: Ecology and Politics in the Age of Globalization (Sierra Club Books, 1997), which contains radical criticisms of liberal elites like Maurice Strong, whom Karliner writes insists that business, not environmentalists, must act to “redefine environmentalism in its own way if the world is to resolve the immense problems it faces.” However, while Karliner is opposed to “top-down, technocratic, managerial solu¬tion[s]” he is not opposed to top-down funding of activist organizations. [26] Indeed, Karliner’s work on this book catalysed the formation (in 1996) of CorpWatch – a group that he headed from 1996 until 2002 – that has, with the strong support of elite funders, steadfastly refused to submit not-for-profit corporations to the same critical scrutiny that they apply to their for-profit counterparts. [27] Thus it is hardly surprising that two CorpWatch advisory board members, Andre Carothers and Allan Hunt-Badiner, both sit on RAN’s board of directors (the former as RAN’s board chair).

Carothers is also a board member of International Rivers, a group whose Latin America campaigns are directed by Glenn Switkes, the former coordinator of RAN’s Western Amazon oil campaign. International Rivers board is chaired by Martha Belcher (who directed the recent creation of the David Brower Center), but their most intriguing board member is David Pellow, co-editor with Robert Brulle of the book Power, Justice, the Environment: A Critical Appraisal of the Environmental Justice Movement (MIT Press, 2005). This is because Pellow and Brulle’s book contains powerful warnings about the cooption of radical environmental groups: for example, within the book Robert Benford writes:

On the one hand, the problems diagnosed and attributions proffered by the environmental justice movement represent a radical critique of entire social systems at the local, regional, national, and global levels. On the other hand, by framing solutions primarily in terms of “justice” the [Environmental Justice Movement] places its faith in the efficacy of using extant legislative and judicial systems to remedy problems – an ironic commitment to, and reaffirmation of, the systemic status quo. Audre Lorde, a famous black feminist, eloquently outlined the pitfalls of seeking to transform such a corrupt system from within: “For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.” [28]

International Rivers’ even includes Drummond Pike, the treasurer of one of the master’s leading democracy-manipulating tools known as the Democracy Alliance, on their US advisory board. Finally, it is interesting that former International Rivers executive director, Juliette Majot, presently serves with Josh Karliner on the steering committee of Environmentalists against War, alongside others like International Forum on Globalization staffer, Claire Greensfelder, and the RAN’s executive director Michael Brune.

Somewhere along the line progressive activists seem to have forgotten that to undertake radical analyses one needs to dig to the root of the sinews of power that comprise the capitalist system. Thus the limited reformist agenda of supposedly radical activists like those based at RAN and International Rivers has been adequately vocalized by RAN’s executive director Michael Brune, who observed in 2007:

I sometimes like to think of RAN as “hopeful skeptics”; we believe that corporations and governments can transform themselves, and can actually play an important role in slowing down climate change and protecting forests and the rights of their inhabitants. At the same time, we won’t be fooled by double-speak and false promises of future action. This attitude is the motivation behind much of our work. [29]

The sad irony is that many activists, like Brune, are already being fooled by the double-speak and false promises of not-for-profit corporations. So while Kenny Bruno – who co-authored two books with Joshua Karliner (in 1999 and 2002) – is well-known in progressive circles for producing the seminal critique of corporate greenwashing, the tables have turned and he is now acting as corporate greenwasher in his capacity as the campaign director for Corporate Ethics International. [30] The executive director of this greenwashing initiative is none other than former RAN board member Michael Marx (see footnote #6), an elite conservationist who was recently critiqued in Macdonald Stainsby and Dru Oja Jay’s excellent self-published report, “Offsetting Resistance: The Effects of Foundation Funding and Corporate Fronts,” (July 2009). [31] Marx’s organization Corporate Ethics International, ties many of the groups examined so far together through its project known as the Business Ethics Network, which includes Amazon Watch, CorpWatch, and RAN.

Such connections should hardly be unexpected when one casts a quick eye over RAN’s board of directors, which includes Anna Hawken McKay (who is the wife of Rob McKay, the founder of eco baron hangout, the Democracy Alliance), and James Gollin (cofounder of the Social Venture Network, a group which is “committed to building a just and sustainable world through business”). Yet the most interesting RAN board member is Martha DiSario, who is the secretary of ActiveMusic, an activism marketing group with “ties to the music community [that] saw music as a means to draw people to the causes they were working with.” ActiveMusic’s cofounder, Richard Wegman, manages Global Green USA’s finances and administration, and in addition to this stellar connection to the eco barons, ActiveMusic’s vice chair, Brian Wesley Ames, is a division chief in the African department of the International Monetary Fund (yes that’s right the IMF!), while one of ActiveMusic’s advisory board members is none other than RAN cofounder, Randall Hayes. [32]

RAN’s connection to ActiveMusic is most appropriate given that RAN considers image manipulation to be a vital part of its activism, so their honorary board of directors draws upon the celebratory prestige of five well-known entertainers: former singer with the Grateful Dead, Bob Weir, American blues singer-songwriter Bonnie Raitt, former drummer for The Doors, John Densmore, actress and Yoga-guru Ali McGraw, and actor Woody Harrelson, who recently starred in the film Battle in Seattle (2007). Harrelson’s link to the latter film is important, as David Solnit, one of the organizers with the Direct Action Network that was involved with preparing for the real Battle of Seattle, observed that the film was hardly supportive of activism: and he wrote the “movie implies that the activists ‘won’ because police were caught by surprise, were too lenient, and waited too long to use violence and chemical weapons, and to make arrests.” [33]

Here it is important to recall that the Ruckus Society (which was cofounded by RAN’s Mike Roselle) “provided the first physical forum for the Direct Action Network which coordinated the [Battle of Seattle] demonstrations, and itself trained many of the participants.” [34] Moreover as John Sellers, the former Greenpeace activist and former head of the Ruckus Society points out: “When we first started, it was almost entirely folks from Greenpeace or Rainforest Action Network, with a few EarthFirsters.” (Greenpeace having disbanded its direct-action office in 1991.) According to Sellers, after Ruckus was founded in 1995, the former CNN boss cum eco baron, Ted Turner, “carried Ruckus on his back” for their first few years. Thus Sellers who is well-known for saying: “F–k that s–t! You’re corporate sellouts!” to journalists “just to gauge their reaction,” evidently does not see how ironic his litmus test of corporate cooption really is. Likewise greenwash guru, Kenny Bruno, who currently acts as the media and strategic campaigning trainer for the Ruckus Society, appears to see no contradiction in working for an organization whose former long serving trustee is corporate greenwasher extraordinaire, the late Anita Roddick.

In summary, the Rainforest Action Network and its related cohorts have been highly profitable investments for the world’s leading capitalists. Not only has their small financial commitment to the environment promoted the conservation of capitalism, it has also protected some trees, but only those it does not need. Perhaps more valuably though, this “radical” investment has helped sustain the illusion that capitalism can be green and good for the environment – a win-win-win scenario for capitalism, but not for us. Quite expectedly such good fortune has not been visited upon the environment, and capitalism has barely missed a beat in its profitable consumption of planet earth. That said we should be thankful that capitalism has so far only been able to conserve its ideological domination in the short-term, and with a little genuine grassroots funding alongside popular activism the tables can be turned all too easily. In this manner, it will be possible to expose the delusions that undergird capitalist conservation efforts so we can strive to render capitalists extinct. Such work will enable concerned citizens to protect the planet and the real living organizations that inhabit it, not the ideologies that are destroying it.

 

Michael Barker is an independent researcher who currently resides in Australia. His other articles can be accessed at michaeljamesbarker.wordpress.com.

 

Endnotes

1. Graham Adams, Jr., The Age of Industrial Violence, 1910-1915 (Columbia University Press, 1966); James Weinstein, The Corporate Ideal in the Liberal State, 1900-1918 (Beacon Press, 1968).

2. Edward Humes, Eco Barons: The Dreamers, Schemers, and Millionaires Who Are Saving Our Planet (HarperCollins, 2009).

3. The Four Corners (1983) was directed by Christopher McLeod, and produced by Christopher McLeod, Glenn Switkes and Randy Hayes.

4. Interview, ‘Radical Environmentalism with Mike Roselle and Josh Mahan’, GritTV (2009), see 4.01 min. http://vodpod.com/watch/2270716-radical-environmentalism-with-mike-roselle-and-josh-mahan Mike Roselle was being interviewed about his new book Tree Spiker: From Earth First! to Lowbagging: My Struggles in Radical Environmental Action (St Martin’s Press, 2009).

5. Rainforest Action Network, ‘Twenty Banner Years: Annual Report 2004-2005?, 5-6.
http://ran.org/fileadmin/materials/comms/mediacontent/annual_reports/RAN_AnnualReport2005.pdf
For a detailed critique of Forest Trends, see Michael Barker, ‘When Environmentalists Legitimize Plunder’, Swans Commentary, January 26, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker12.html

6. Boris Holzer, ‘Transnational Protest and the Corporate Planet: The Case of Mitsubishi Corporation vs. The Rainforest Action Network’, In Leslie King and Deborah McCarthy, eds., Environmental Sociology: From Analysis to Action (The Scarecrow Press, 2005), 362; The International Boycott Mitsubishi Campaign was designed and then directed by Michael Marx.

7. Michael Barker, ‘Conform or Reform? Social Movements and the Mass Media’, Fifth-Estate-Online – International Journal of Radical Mass Media Criticism, February 2007.
http://www.fifth-estate-online.co.uk/criticsm/conformorreformsocialmovements.html

8. Rainforest Action Network, ’2008 Annual Report’; Recent annual reports also demonstrate that RAN’s total funding has been steadily increasing since at least 2004 when their total income was $1 million. The executive director of the Tides Foundation, Idelisse Malave, is a former RAN board member.

9. Joan Roelofs, ‘Networks and Democracy: It Ain’t Necessarily So’, American Behavioral Scientist, 52 (March 2009), 997.

10. Michael Barker, ‘George Monbiot and the Population Myth’, Swans Commentary, November 2, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker34.html

11. Henry Paulson’s son, Merritt Paulson, is a trustee of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Exhibiting a similar commitment to free-market environmentalism, David Blood, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management (1999-2003), serves on the four-person strong board of New Forests, a “forestry investment management and advisory firm currently managing $200 million in assets throughout Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and the Asia Pacific region.” Chairman and founder of New Forests, David Brand, sits alongside Randall Hayes on the board of the aforementioned Forest Trends, and serves on the board of directors of Environment Business Australia – a “business think tank” that is chaired by the former president of WWF Australia (1999-2006).

12. For criticisms of all these influential free-market environmental outfits see:
http://michaeljamesbarker.wordpress.com/environment/

13. Dave Foreman and Murray Bookchin, Defending the Earth (South End Press, 1991), 129; For a summary of the differences between Foreman and Bookchin, see Michael Barker, ‘When Environmentalists Legitimize Plunder’, Swans Commentary, January 26, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker12.html

14. Tom Brokaw is a board member of two groups that promote what has been referred to by critics as humanitarian imperialism; these are the International Crisis Group and International Rescue Committee. See Michael Barker, ‘Imperial Crusaders for Global Governance’, Swans Commentary, April 20, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker18.html

15. Reed Noss is the consulting editor of the Society for Conservation Biology’s journal Conservation Biology, and it is significant to observe how after attending the 2007 annual meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology, Bram Buscher explained within the pages of the Society’s journal that “Conservation biology is actively reinventing itself to fit the neoliberal world order.” Bram Buscher, ‘Conservation, Neoliberalism, and Social Science: a Critical Reflection on the SCB 2007 Annual Meeting in South Africa’, Conservation Biology, 22 (2), 229; Writing for Save the Redwoods League, Reed Noss published The Redwood Forest: History, Ecology, and Conservation of the Coast Redwoods (Island Press, 2000); For criticisms of Save the Redwoods League, see Michael Barker, ‘Laurance Rockefeller and Capitalist Conservation’, Swans Commentary, October 19, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker33.html

16. Other than David Brower the only two emeriti advisory board members of Californians for Population Stabilization are the late Garrett Hardin (1915-2003), and his co-author and wife Jane Hardin (1922-2003). Professor Eric Ross has undertaken a valuable task in tracing the evolution of Garrett Hardin’s work and suggests that when his work is considered in its entirety one can see how this book “embodies all the cardinal qualities of Cold War Malthusian thinking: it is anti-socialist, anti-democratic and eugenic.” Unfortunately, although the myth of the tragedy of the commons has now been discounted, it still remains popular, no doubt in part because of its compatibility with elitist concepts of environmental management. See Eric Ross, The Malthus Factor: Population, Poverty, and Politics in Capitalist Development (Zed Books, 1999), 73-78.

17. Alfredo Martin Bravo de Rueda Espejo, ‘The charming racism of NumbersUSA’, Daily Kos, June 6, 2009.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/6/7/739587/-The-charming-racism-of-NumbersUSA

For a similarly exhaustive critique of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, see their Right Web profile:
http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/Federation_for_American_Immigration_Reform

18. Paul Watson, ‘Report on the Death of Environmentalism is Merely Wishful Thinking’, Lowbagger News, February 2005.
http://lowbagger.org/watson.html

19. Nicolas Rangel, Jr., ‘The Greening of Hate?: Rhetoric in Sierra Club’s Internal Division on Immigration Neutrality’, American Communication Journal, 2008.
http://www.acjournal.org/holdings/vol10/04_Winter/articles/rangel.php

20. Louise Leakey is the daughter of Richard Leakey – a pioneer of “coercive conservation” – thus it is appropriate that Louise’s husband, Emmanuel de Merode, is the chief executive of Wildlife Direct, a group who founder and chair is Richard Leakey and includes among their board members Walter Kansteiner III, the former US assistant secretary of state for African affairs. For a discussion of the principles of coercive conservation, see Nancy Lee Peluso, ‘Coercing Conservation’, In Ken Conca and Geoffrey Dabelko, eds., Green Planet Blues: Environmental Politics from Stockhold to Kyoto, 2nd edn. (Westview Press, 1998), 350-1.

Terry Tamminen is a trustee of Waterkeeper Alliance, a environmental group who board of directors is chaired by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who is in turn the vice chair of a New York-based environmental organization simply known as Riverkeeper – a group that works closely with the Natural Resources Defense Council. Incidentally, Alex Matthiessen, the president of Riverkeeper and board member of Waterkeeper Alliance, formerly served as RAN’s grassroots program director. So in keeping with RAN’s own tight connections to liberal philanthropists, Riverkeeper’s board is awash with elite conservationists, like for example, Jeff Resnick (who is a managing director at Goldman Sachs), Renee Rockefeller (who is a trustee of the Rockefeller Family Fund), Hamilton Fish (who currently serves as president of The Nation Institute, the foundation associated with The Nation magazine), and their board chair George Hornig (who is the chief operating officer of Credit Suisse First Boston Private Equity). Finally, Harrison Ford serves as the Riverkeeper’s first airborne watchdog: for a detailed critique of Ford’s environmental resume, see Michael Barker, ‘Hollywood’s Corporate Conservation Collaborators’, Swans Commentary, February 23, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker14.html

21. Douglas Bevington, ‘The Rebirth of Environmentalism: Grassroots Activism and the New Conservation Movement, 1989-2004?, (PhD Thesis, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2007), 15. His advisors for this thesis were Andrew Szasz (Chair), Barbara Epstein, and Richard Flacks; The most critical book that Bevington cites with regard to the negative impacts of foundation funding is INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, eds., The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex (South End Press, 2007).

22. Center for Biological Diversity cofounder, Todd Schulke, presently serves as their forest policy analyst, and also serves as a board member of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance – a group on whose board Dave Foreman had formerly served.

23. Center for Biological Diversity 2008 Annual Report.
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/publications/reports/AnnualRpt2008.pdf

24. Another illustration of the manner by which concerned activists trust that elite funders will fund revolutionary social change is provided by the Center for Biological Diversity’s climate campaign coordinator, Rose Braz. This is because Braz helped found and was the campaign and media director for Critical Resistance, a group seeking to bring an end to the Prison Industrial Complex with funding derived from George Soros’ Open Society Institute. This relationship shows exactly how underfunded and desperate such radical activists are, especially given that Critical Resistance regularly work with INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence (see note #21). For a deeper and more critical analysis of the same issues, see Joan Roelofs, Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism (State University of New York Press, 2003).

25. Eco Barons
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/eco_barons/index.html

26. Joshua Karliner, The Corporate Planet: Ecology and Politics in the Age of Globalization (Sierra Club Books, 1997), 32; Karliner seeks to obtain “democratic control over corporations and economies” by utilizing a small proportion of their overall profits for activist purposes, not by working to abolish capitalism.

27. An unaffiliated British organization with the similar name Corporate Watch, although predominantly focused on for-profit corporations, recently devoted a special issue of their newsletter to a critical investigation of not-for-profit corporations. See Corporate Watch, ‘The Art of Funding’, Issue 43, June 2009.
http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/?lid=3397

28. Robert Benford, ‘Diffusion, and Stagnation’, in David Pellow and Robert Brulle, eds., Power, Justice, the Environment (MIT Press, 2005), 51; More specifically, with reference to funding issue, Robert Brulle and Jonathan Essoka note that if environmental…

“movement organizations are not authentic community representatives, this limits and compromises the independence of these movement organizations. The mobilization of citizens to create political demand for change can easily he replaced in professional organizations to targeted advocacy activities. Members become seen as something to be managed and as a source of funds solicited via mass mailings. Foundation funding also becomes an appealing source of funding. As the source of fund¬ing shifts, the social movement organization is increasingly controlled by external organizations with their own agendas. So instead of serving as all authentic voice of the community, a social movement organization can become subordinated and controlled by external organizations. This can limit the civic capacity and political power of the organization.” (216)

Robert Brulle later worked with J. Craig Jenkins to co-author the book chapter, ‘Foundations and the Environmental Movement: Priorities, Strategies, and Impact’, in Faber, D., and McCarthy, D., eds., Foundations For Social Change: Critical Perspectives on Philanthropy and Popular Movements (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005).

29. Rhett Butler, ‘Savvy Environmentalists Challenge Corporations to Go Green: An Interview with Michael Brune, Executive Director of RAN’, Mongabay.com, January 29, 2007.
http://news.mongabay.com/2007/0130-ran.html

30. Kenny Bruno and Joshua Karliner, EarthSummit.Biz: The Corporate Takeover of Sustainable Development (Food First Books, 2002); Kenny Bruno, Joshua Karliner and China Brotsky, Greenhouse Gangsters vs. Climate Justice (TRAC-Transnational Resource & Action Center, 1999); Kenny Bruno and Jed Greer, Greenwash: The Reality Behind Corporate Environmentalism (Third World Network, 1996).

31. Macdonald Stainsby and Dru Oja Jay, ‘Offsetting Resistance: The Effects of Foundation Funding and Corporate Fronts’, July 2009.
http://s3.amazonaws.com/offsettingresistance/offsettingresistance.pdf

32. For a detailed critique of Global Green USA and the World Future Council – a group at which Randall Hayes has directed their US Liaison Office (since July 2008) – see Michael Barker, ‘Who Wants A One World Government?’, Swans Commentary, April 6, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker17.html

33. David Solnit, ‘The battle for reality’, Yes! Magazine, Fall 2008.
http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/purple-america/the-battle-for-reality
For an alternative activist-produced record of the Seattle protests, see This is What Democracy Looks Like (2000) – a film narrated by ‘actorvist’ Susan Sarandon.

34. John Sellers, ‘Raising a Ruckus’, New Left Review, July-August 2001.
http://newleftreview.org/A2334

http://www.stateofnature.org/savingTrees.html

Who is Craig Bennet? Co-Director of the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change – Formerly, the Head of the Corporates, Trade and Globalisation Campaign at Friends of the Earth

Craig Bennet

Craig is a Deputy Director at the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL), and, in this role, is also the Co-Director of the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change (CLG).  In 2007 he led the CLG’s work on the Bali Communique which brought together 150 of the world’s largest companies in support of a comprehensive, legally binding UN framework to tackle climate change.  Prior to joining CPSL, Craig was the Head of the Corporates, Trade and Globalisation Campaign at Friends of the Earth. He also sat on the Executive Committee of Friends of the Earth International, the Steering Group of the Corporate Responsibility (CORE) Coalition and was a Board Member of the Trade Justice Movement (TJM).

http://www.stakeholderforum.org/sf/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=61%3Aboard-member-biogs&catid=12&Itemid=15

Friends of the Earth – Irish Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change

Irish Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change

The Irish Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change is an initiative of Business in the Community, Friends of the Earth and Vodafone.

Currently the 12 members companies are Arup Consulting Engineers, Bewley’s, Bord na Móna, BT, Diageo, Intel, KPMG, NTR, PwC, Siemens, Zurich and Vodafone.

The group lanuched its first communique on Monday 21st September and presented it at a meeting to Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

Download the full communique here.

Download a one page summary on the group here.

Read the launch press release here.

The mission of the group is through leadership, to collaborate to trigger the step-change in policy and action needed both to meet the scale of the threat posed by climate change, and to grasp the business opportunities created by moving to a low climate risk economy. The corporate leaders will use their position of influence to work with government and consumers in making the vision of a sustainable, low-carbon society a reality.

Commenting on the launch, Friends of the Earth Director, Oisín Coghlan said “For too long the voices of business that were heard on climate change policy were those saying ‘not this, not us or not now’. What’s so good about the Irish Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change is that here is a group of business leaders saying ‘yes this, yes us and yes now”.”

http://www.foe.ie/climatechange/corporateleaders.html

TckTckTck & The Copenhagen Communiqué: A Right Royal Greenwash

Corporate Communique

(This is a guest post by David McKay, environmental activist and writer)

The Greenwash presses have been running over time recently with the Copenhagen climate talks ever present in the news. Apart from the greenwash provided by the conference itself to its participants, companies have been keen to use the opportunity to claim that they, too, want to see a ‘good deal for the climate’. Apart from the very obvious nature of Hopenhagens attempt, as has been shown in previous posts on this blog, there have been some less obvious campaigns. One that caught my eye recently is ‘The Copenhagen Communiqué’, which has recently appeared as a stamp in the corner of many companies newspaper adverts and websites. Given that these companies included such luminaries as EDF energy, this stamp needed some investigation.

The Copenhagen Communiqué is a project of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders’ Group on Climate Change, a group of ‘business leaders’ the prince has got together who supposedly all care a lot about climate change, along with The University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership. They’ve also issued a communiqué for both the Bali and Poznan conferences, so are quite an established group. For many established readers of the Unsuitablog, the concept of business leaders issuing advice on climate change might already raise a few eyebrows, especially as the many signatories include BAA, Shell, BP, Asda, Rio Tinto, Unilever, Adidas, Statoil, Nestle, Coca Cola… just about all the corporations with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo of consumerism and industrial civilisation all in one list. Here’s what they say:

This communiqué is being issued by the business leaders of over 500 global companies. It calls for an ambitious, robust and equitable global deal on climate change that responds credibly to the scale and urgency of the crises facing the world today.

Earlier this year, the world’s twenty largest economies (G20) came together and agreed an unprecedented, coordinated response to the global economic downturn. At the London Summit, the leaders of the G20 pledged to do “whatever is necessary” to restore confidence and growth to the economic system.

World leaders now need to demonstrate the same level of coordination and resolve to address climate change. Economic development will not be sustained in the longer term unless the climate is stabilised. It is critical that we exit this recession in a way that lays the foundation for low-carbon growth and avoids locking us into a high-carbon future.

Within the first few paragraphs the intention of the communiqué is already clear – that their primary goal is not to protect the victims of climate change, and the earth’s biosphere but to protect their prosperity and profits. Some might argue that as long as this helps stop climate change that this isn’t a problem, but will these corporations really support the action necessary to combat climate change, or just appear as such and take advantage?

…it will create the conditions for transformational change in our global economy and deliver the economic signals that companies need if they are to invest billions of dollars in low carbon products, services, technologies and infrastructure.

Note how these ‘leaders’ are simply asking the government to make it profitable for them to invest in these new technologies, not taking the initiative themselves. Only if the taxpayer can guarantee them profits will they do anything. But why do they care so much about these low-carbon technologies if the old dirty ones continue to be profitable?

Action at the sector level will help accelerate the large-scale deployment of clean technologies through robust funding solutions, technological transfer and capacity building. The least developed economies need additional assistance including increased and adequate financing, and expanded cooperation to help them adapt to and join the new low-carbon economy.

Here it becomes clearer. The corporations will create the new technologies if the government subsidises them, then they will sell them to the poorer nations in order for them to meet their targets, and those poorer nations will use money from western governments in order to purchase these technologies, money which no doubt they will end up paying back at a later date.

Measures to deliver a robust global greenhouse gas emissions market…

They also ask for carbon markets, which corporations could then use carbon markets as they have done with the European trading scheme, lobbying and persuading governments to issue too many permits, resulting in low carbon prices and effecting their operations very little.

Measures will be needed; to deliver a step-change in energy efficiency, to promote the rapid development, demonstration and wide deployment of low-carbon technologies and also to stimulate new markets for low-carbon goods and services. These measures will include ambitious performance and efficiency standards, bold public procurement commitments, and the development of incentives. Robust intellectual property protection as well as other enabling policies are key.

Communique Signatures

It is clear what these corporations are seeing in this text is not so much a bold statement on how to prevent dangerous climate change, but how to develop themselves new markets using taxpayer money and subsidies from government, and increase the dependence of poor nations upon them. However, this aim is neatly covered up with environmental rhetoric, with noble-sounding statements on limiting temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius, helping poorer nations adapt and limiting deforestation elsewhere in the text. But these are being used to mask the real mission behind these companies – to make money from climate change.

http://thesietch.org/mysietch/keith/category/methods/campaigns/

Who is the TckTckTck.org Partner – ‘The Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change’?

Below you will find the following statement;

The inclusion of the CEOs of E.ON UK and BAA as signatories to the letter drew a scathing response from Ben Stewart, the Greenpeace communications director. “This is hypocrisy of the purest strain…”

Perhaps then Greenpeace would understand the hypocrisy of tcktcktck.org – partnering with ‘The Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change’ seeing as Kumi Naidoo is the Chair of TckTckTck, as well as the Executive Director of Greenpeace International.

Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change

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This is part of the Center for Media & Democracy’s climate change project.

The Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change (CLG), a group hosted by the University of Cambridge’s Programme for Industry, describes itself as comprising “business leaders from major UK, EU and international companies who believe that there is an urgent need to develop new and longer-term policies for tackling climate change.”[1]

The University of Cambridge, which hosts the group, states that there are UK and EU sub-groups which “are cross-sector, encompassing energy producers, manufacturers, banks, retailers, utilities and others. They have been active since 2005 in progressing action on climate change, working with national governments, international fora and within the business community.”[1]

Contents

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Lobbying Letters

In September 2008 18 corporate executives signed a letter from the UK CLG to the leaders of the three largest UK political parties — Gordon Brown from the Labour Party, David Cameron from the Conservative Party and Nick Clegg from the Liberal Democrats — supporting the UK Climate Bill before the parliament and support for the European Union adopting a target of a 30% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.[2]

In the letter, the executives stated that “climate change poses global social, environmental and economic risks and demands a transformational change in how we manage our economy. Incremental change will not do.” It further stated that “we must deliver deep and rapid cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate severe climate change, and must adapt our economy, environment and infrastructure to cope with the climatic changes we are already predicted to face” and welcomed the “Climate Change Bill and the cross-party consensus that lies behind it.”[3]

Anticipating pessimism in some circles that a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol may not be agreed to at the COP15 meeting in Copenhagen, the CLG UK proposed that “the UK should start planning for success in the international climate change negotiations and should adopt a working assumption that a legally-binding international framework will be agreed in Copenhagen next year, implying that the European Union should cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2020, not 20%.”[3] While stating that “targets and budgets should be guided primarily by science, not short-term concerns over economic cycles” the group does not make clear on how it arrived at the 30% reduction goal.

In the letter, the UK CLG stated that, in the context of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme, it supported[3]:

  • “additional funding” for “mitigation and adaptation strategies”; the group doesn’t specifically state what the funding should be for other than some of it for “capacity and technology support for developing countries to change their emission pathways”;
  • the annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions allowances should be 1.74% per annum between 2013 and 2020; (Friends of the Earth in the UK argued that, in the context of the UK climate bill, the reduction target should be 3% a year.[4]
  • unspecified “existing technologies must be deployed rapidly and a range of new technologies must be brought to market”. (Some companies in the power sector argue for major public spending researching as yet unproven Carbon Capture and Storage technologies for coal-fired power stations. E.ON, one of the signatories to the letter, is touting a raft of new power stations it is proposing across Europe as being “CCS-ready”.)
  • “the inclusion of adaptation in the draft Climate Change Bill and the Government’s Adapting to Climate Change Programme” and that government departments should “work to remove” unspecified “barriers to effective adaptation”.

The inclusion of the CEOs of E.ON UK and BAA as signatories to the letter drew a scathing response from Ben Stewart, the Greenpeace communications director. “This is hypocrisy of the purest strain. It’s astounding that E.ON would call for action on climate change when they’re agitating to build Britain’s first coal-fired power stations in decades. It makes an environmentalist’s jaw drop to see the BAA logo on this letter when they’re trying to expand airports across the nation,” he told the Guardian. “This is like Howard Marks [a convicted drug smuggler] calling for a crackdown on pot. If the executives of these companies want action on climate change they should immediately lock themselves in their boardrooms and not come out until Kingsnorth and Heathrow expansion have been dropped.”[5]

Members

The CLG lists its membership according to whether they are involved with the UK CLG, the European CLG or its international activities. However, the membership between the three subgroups overlaps.

UK CLG Members

On its website, the CLG lists the members of the UK CLG, as of September 2008, as being[6]:

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. ? 1.0 1.1 The Prince of Wales Business and Environment Programme, “Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change”, University of Cambridge, accessed September 2008.
  2. ? “UK CLG Letter to UK Party Leaders”, Media Release, September 19, 2008.
  3. ? 3.0 3.1 3.2 “Re: Cross-party effort needed to deliver low climate risk economy”, Letter to Gordon Brown et al, September 19, 2008.
  4. ? Alison Benjamin and Hilary Osborne, “Q&A: Climate change bill”, Guardian, October 29, 2007.
  5. ? “Business chiefs urge action on climate change”, Guardian (UK), September 19, 2008.
  6. ? “Member Companies”, University of Cambridge, accessed September 2008.

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Corporate_Leaders_Group_on_Climate_Change