The following excerpts from the article Harnessing People Power Continued – The 99% Spring and the “Professional Left” are written by Edmund Berger. The article, in its entirety, can be read on Swans Commentary where it was published May 21, 2012.
(Swans – May 21, 2012) “Astroturfing” is a term that has entered the popular lexicon of the politically educated, referring to the ability of largely unseen actors to mold and direct grassroots social movement. Awareness of this phenomenon is a direct fallout from the ascendancy of the Tea Party, as it became rapidly apparent that its transition from a protest movement to a legislative powerhouse was guided with the help of the now-renowned Koch brothers. These conservative-minded billionaire philanthropists, working through their interlocking family foundations, had invested vast sums of money into intermediary organizations that helped plan, facilitate, and execute successful protests, rallies, and political campaigns. Yet those who flaunt the term “astroturfing” — namely, those on the left of the spectrum — have shown a certain reluctance to acknowledge the fact that this same method is being applied to progressive grassroots movements as well, re-concentrating disenfranchisement with the dominant institutions of power into a manageable opposition capable of acting as a voting base. This is not a recent development; it dates back to the “Progressive Era” of American political history, and it forms a central apparatus of US foreign policy abroad under the non-descript diplomacy of “democracy promotion.”
“In all affairs, it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.” – Bertrand Russell
I am always happy to get feedback about my radio show, Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox, even if it’s bad—because I am happy that someone is listening—we work really hard to produce a relevant show.
Recently, I featured a young author/activist named, Edmund Berger, who has written two thought-provoking pieces that featured something that I am very interested in: the co-option, or “astro-turfing” of movements and I received some very hostile comments from readers/listeners who were offended that Berger could criticize some icons of “Liberaldom” (my word, not theirs).
First of all, the thought that anyone is above analysis and criticism is wrong, especially people who make a living from notoriety. For example, it’s one thing to attack a person for perceived character or physical flaws, but when one points out iffy connections to foundations with known and deep ties to the establishment, that is, in my opinion, fair game.
Everyone makes mistakes…everyone, with no exception. However, a line is crossed when that person, or organization, leads others astray by not being totally honest about from where the money comes or where partisan political loyalties lie. I will quote examples for some of the seemingly inscrutable ones that I got in trouble for allowing to be criticized. (Apparently, and thankfully, I am highly “scrutable.)
Again, why is the messenger being crucified instead of the information being read and analyzed with some balance instead of some people “pedestalizing” others with knee-jerk adoration?
If we want to have any success as movements and people, we need to realize that there are forces loyal to the Democratic Party that glom on to people and movements to steer what could be actually affective towards electoral politics, usually in favor of the Democrats on the Liberal side of the political spectrum.
There were especially two Inscrutable Icons of Liberaldom that my listeners were offended about being analyzed by my guest, Edmund Berger: Naomi Klein and 350.org. We’ll start with 350.org because Ms. Klein is now on the national board of that NGO.
The below is from my friend and radical environmentalist (integrity of vision and not co-opted by foundation money), Gregory Vickrey, of Wrong Kind of Green, about the establishment environmental groups:
President Obama has a bevy of support from environmental groups, many of whom (like the Sierra Club) have already endorsed him for a second round of degradation and destruction. This fawning for a Democratic President is certainly not without precedent, but it is particularly egregious when one looks at Obama’s environmental record.
Unlike his over-arching abilities to pre-emptively criminalize the common protester, this President has neither the wherewithal nor the spine to hold BP to account in the ongoing Gulf of Mexico tragedy. Rather, he continues to exacerbate the destruction, fast-tracking oil and gas leases in Alaska and additional deep water drilling in the Gulf.
Notwithstanding the rhetoric over a temporary suspension of the final phase of the Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama gave an enthusiastic pass to a significant portion of the tar sands pipeline (already operational) in 2009, shortly after being inaugurated.
And he (Obama) is more effective than a denier when it comes to climate change, avoiding or stalling mandatory mitigation and adaptation practices that should have been deployed years ago.
His inaction-with-a-purpose preserves the status quo for his corporate, corrupt base of financial support, thus making him the greatest enabler of environmental destruction on the planet, and no resonant speech from on high changes that reality.
And here I must correct myself – stating above that the President has an “environmental record” is almost as recidivist as the man himself.Not to be outdone by the Sierra Club and other corporate-environmental organizations who have endorsed President Obama and his despicable policies, faux “grass-roots” organizations such as the Rockefeller (think oil) funded 350.org likewise lift President Obama up whenever he tosses a rhetorical bone their way. 350 and its corporate marketing arm were quick to praise the President with the Keystone XL delay (“We won! What a brave man you are, Mr. President!” author’s note: there’s a far more complex story behind this), but never utter a word about the realities on the ground of, say, fracking in New York; Or mountaintop removal in West Virginia; Or $2 Billion in coal subsidies to the President’s home state of Illinois; Or those fast-tracked wells in the Gulf; Or those leases in Alaska. Like their partners at Sierra Club and elsewhere, at the end of the day, 350 are nothing more than a faux-roots front for the President and his party, insane environmental policies be damned.
The first organization to be looked at is 350.org, a climate change awareness advocacy organization launched in 2007 by the author and environmentalist Bill McKibben. McKibben’s approach to environmentalism is positioned firmly in the ideology of “green capitalism,” advocating a return to localized market economies while eschewing the notions of collectivization or wealth redistribution. Halting catastrophic climate change, he argues, “will not mean abandoning Adam Smith” and “doesn’t require that you join a commune or become a socialist.” Espousing this moderate viewpoint has led 350.org’s subsidization by large liberal philanthropies, primarily, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF). This is an important connection, as RBF’s current president, Stephen Heintz, is the founding executive director of Demos: A Network for Ideas & Action, a “non-partisan public policy research and advocacy organization committed to building an America that achieves its highest democratic ideals.” Deepening the ties, Demos, funded by the RBF and Ford Foundation, hosts 99% Spring material on their website and also counts Rebuild the Dream founder Van Jones on its advisory board. Furthermore, in 2011 350.org merged with another environmental coalition, 1Sky, where Jones can be found yet again on its director board.
350.org is what it is, but, please, let’s stop pretending that it is on the side of revolutionary change.
I know Naomi personally and I think she is a sweet person and she has contributed a lot to the world’s understanding of neo-liberalism. There’s no doubt about it, she’s brilliant, but when it comes to being on the board of 350.org and Obama, in my opinion, she is off the track.
In a speech Naomi gave at Loyola University in February of 2009, she was advocating for “collectivism” and “nationalization,” but, as pointed out above her alliance with 350.org is at odds with those goals.
Here is Berger’s analysis of Klein’s connection to 350.org:
However, a close reading of The Shock Doctrine reveals her glaring refusal to attack capitalism’s production modes; instead, she prefers to refer to her “emergent Keynesianism” and waxes poetically about the days when “young men from Ivy League schools sat around commanding table… having heated debates about the interest rate and the price of wheat.” This vision of a benevolent technocracy is at odds, certainly, with the desires for true democracy that she expresses elsewhere in the text, and her longing for Ivy League-directed economics should be contrasted with the sociological analyses of the liberal contingencies of the elite establishment as presented by C. Wright Mills and G. William Domhoff. While Klein’s critique is undoubtedly vital to helping undermine the grand narrative of neoliberalism, it is ultimately deflective in nature — did imperial ambitions (the Vietnam War, for example) not exist during the “heyday of Keynesianism,” and was this economic system not wrought with its own internal tensions and structural flaws? Regardless, her discourse is completely compatible with viewpoint of the moderate American left.
Most critics of the war believe the notion of exporting democracy to a hostile Arab country was doomed in its conception. Some war supporters counter that the occupation could have succeeded, but bungling and incompetence caused it to fail. Klein is staking out a third, esoteric, highly original position. She says that the occupation could have succeeded, but the Bush administration did not want it to succeed. She is explicit about this:
“Had the Bush administration kept its promise to hand over power quickly to an elected Iraqi government, there is every chance that the resistance would have remained small and containable, rather than becoming a countrywide rebellion. But keeping that promise would have meant sacrificing the economic agenda behind the war, something that was never going to happen.”
My question is “small and containable” to whom? In the beginning of the US plague on Iraq called, Shock(ing) and Awe(ful), tens of thousands of Iraqi were killed—war is never “containable.”
On November 11, 2011, despite Obama’s delaying tactic (until 2013, after the 2012 elections, conveniently) Naomi Klein touted a “victory” on the show of another Inscrutable Icon of Liberaldom, Amy Goodman:
Environmental activists are claiming victory after the Obama administration announced Thursday it will postpone any decision on the proposed 1,700-mile Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline until 2013. The announcement was made just days after more than 10,000 people encircled the White House calling on President Obama to reject the project, the second major action against the project organized by Bill McKibben’s 350.org and Tar Sands Action. In late August and early September, some 1,200 people were arrested in Washington, D.C., in a two-week campaign of civil disobedience. “We believe that this delay will kill the pipeline,” says the Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein. “If it doesn’t, if this pipeline re-emerges after the election, people have signed pledges saying they will put their bodies on the line to stop it.” Klein notes that, “I don’t think we would have won without Occupy Wall Street… This is what it means to change the conversation.”
But guess what? This from a news article on March 12, 2012:
Barack Obama will speed up approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline during his “all of the above” energy road trip, White House officials said.
The president will use a stop in Cushing, Oklahoma on Thursday morning to announce an executive order directing government agencies to speed up permits for the southern US-only segment of the pipeline, running from the town to Port Arthur, Texas…
The article also claims the environmental groups were “angry,” but in searching the internet, I see that there was no angry response from Klein, McKibben, or 350.org to the speech Obama gave in Cushing, Oklahoma. Parts of the pipeline were in construction long before the “protests” in front of the White House last year, anyway. Apparently Obama is more afraid of his puppet-pay masters and the Republican Party than a group of activists who make light demands on him with no consequences attached to Obama’s non-compliance.
There are many other “Inscrutable Icons” of Liberaldom who range from being nearly perfect, in my view (ie, Noam Chomsky), to almost always being an astro-turfer for the establishment (ie, Van Jones)…and I would like my readers to put on their Critical Thinking Caps and research anything that anyone says. That’s not being “divisive,” it’s being responsible.
Tom Goldtooth, head of the Indigenous Environmental Network talks to The Africa Report about the manipulation of carbon trading data and the double standards assumed by richer countries.
“The carbon certificate, that says one corporation somewhere in the world now controls and owns what in our culture cannot be owned – land, air, the trees”- Tom Goldtooth/Photo/Reuters
Goldtooth expresses his misgivings about agriculture being included as part of the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD). Arguing that “REDD is going to be the largest legal land grab the world has ever seen”, the indigenous North American warns of colonialism and forced privatisation. And according to him “those with the most money and power can – by remote control, lock up the largest land areas in developing countries”. “They are happiest to work with the most corrupt because it is easiest that way,” he says.
The Africa Report: How do indigenous peoples, such as yourself, perceive REDD?
Tom Goldtooth: There are a number of reasons for profiling REDD as a false solution. For indigenous peoples, and as an indigenous organisation that specialises in environmental issues, and which has consulted with many indigenous peoples from the North of the world to the South, from the East to the West, one of the biggest issues is escalation of global warming. In Alaska, melting ice has forced entire villages to relocate, there is coastal land erosion. It is not an easy situation to pull up your entire life – as a community – and move, especially with the other issues involved like settlers with private land rights. So the biggest issue we feel, is putting a stop to climate change by shutting the valve of GHG. It is a matter of life and death.
So we are very concerned that the second round of the Kyoto Protocol is being held back by the powerful governments of the world, including my own government, the US. Any real mitigation is welcome with open arms because we are the people who are most vulnerable and desperate for a solution. But is REDD a real solution? Already, there has been manipulation of the data, displacement of peoples, narratives driven by industry-funded scientists. We are concerned that the same people who caused the problem are now shaping the solution to fit with their agendas – which is making a profit using the same principles that caused the problem. Look at how it is being implemented as well – corporations know that it is easy to exploit the peoples of the South given the state of their governments, the lack of land rights, the violation of human rights, through that piece of paper – the carbon certificate, that says one corporation somewhere in the world now controls and owns what in our culture cannot be owned – land, air, the trees. How can this belong to a one financier when it belongs – and has a right to belong, to the earth?
Give us your perspective on the US government’s position in the climate talks?
In our country, there has been the expansion of fossil fuel development, so even while they are talking a green policy view, they are expanding dirty industry right in our backyards, which is also the homeland of indigenous peoples. Look at the tar sands in Northern Alberta, Canada – this is within the traditional homelands of the Dine’ people – I’m a Southern Dine’. Another group, the Namate, live downstream and with the immediate zone. They are about 22 corporations – many of them state-funded, including Statoil from Norway, and Total from France. The companies involved are not only polluting the atmosphere and the earth, but they’re depleting water, and the same companies are involved with clearing away the boreal forest. It is a viable option now that the price of fuel is going up. Yet Canada, which has not come close to meeting their commitments and is a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, has gone ahead with tar sands. These are the governments that are supposed to provide the solution?
Has there been any co-option of the indigenous leadership through corporatising policies such as Alaska’s ‘native corporations’?
Yes – there are many shams, precisely like the native corporation. At the top, our allies in the UN tell us they are still wondering whether it can even scientifically work or not – offsetting biotic carbon in trees for the carbon mine from the earth and burnt through combustion. In the long term, we pay the price. The indigenous peoples in Alaska are very concerned about the destruction of their leadership through the native corporations that was a mechanism by the US government and politicians to gain title to buy them out with money through forming these corporations, which also locates negotiating tactics within these capitalist structures. We work with the Alaskan organisation Redoil – some have resisted becoming part of it and still call themselves traditional governments, they are not part of the regional corporation structures. Some have sold their shares. Others still participate to try and make a difference. These corporations are lobbied and collaborate with the business-as-usual fossil fuel leaders. It has taken us away from our traditional principles and values which is the opposite of commodifying, privatisation resources that are destructive and spell a death sentence. The native corporation heads – we see them in meetings, wearing designer suits, and talking designer talk. We don’t talk because their agenda is the same lethal talk that has caused a global crisis.
If we look at the way in which the UN is structured, is there legitimacy to this UNFCCC event – should it be delegitimised or engaged with?
It is a two-way street for us. Certainly, the UN is what you say. But look – we tried to use it as a way of lifting up issue of human rights, social and environment justice, and bring that to the framework. We know that the first Kyoto Protocol had many problems including that the emissions target that Annex 1 (developed) nations were signatories too, was the bare minimum. It was very hard for us to accept the compromise. Some of the bigger organisations said, ‘Tom Goldtooth – this is the first step, we can strengthen it later.’ But here, it is ‘later’ and the issue of relevant binding agreements holding industrialised countries accountable has to happen. But as indigenous peoples, we cannot wait for another international agreement to be negotiated – another wasted decade. You have petroleum companies now that are investing millions to offset their pollution by owning the environment. Our people end up as renters. But what happens when the carbon market falls apart or collapses? Who is liable? Who pays the price? We are told to safeguard and trust the process, but the advisors in the UN and World Bank, have even admitted that it is going to be very weak.
There is a lot of risk. We fear that at the end of the day, with agriculture now being included as part of REDD, REDD is going to be the largest legal land grab the world has ever seen. Back to colonialism, back to forced privatisation, especially for forest communities. Those with the most money and power can – by remote control, lock up the largest land areas in developing countries. And they are happiest to work with the most corrupt because it is easiest that way.
Do you have representation through large green political muscles – and if so, how, if not, why not?
“When indigenous peoples started to call into question the false solutions, we were attacked by large environmental organisations, saying that we were not looking at the bigger picture, at the benefit of REDD. We saw a campaign mounted to disrupt us, and to marginalise what we’re saying. But indigenous people no longer are able to stand back and let the ‘good intentioned’ voices speak on our behalf. In 1999, it used to be five or six people, at most, holding the line. Only when REDD became part of the picture, did indigenous peoples begin to stand up and actively resist. Corporations that fund some of the green organisations know how to play the game, and the organisations play back, to stay in business. The corporations know there is money to be made from investing in privatised trees, and that it looks good in paper. If you look at the NGOs, these are European ‘white’ NGOs, and there is tremendous racism and classism woven into that. When an ethnic person speaks up, they get offended they don’t want a solution from the marginalised. They want to devise the solution they feel is best for the whole system – and we have to ask ourselves what the system they actually represent, entails.
Many have proposed ‘eco-socialism’ and other similar models as the solution. Renowned Marxist David Harvey says it may be necessary to separate indigenous-type peoples living in the commons, like the Amazon, from the ‘natural’ commons – what is he advocating and from what standpoint?
“The white-is-right dogma – where they don’t care to understand what the reality is and the culture and beliefs, of indigenous peoples, all over the world, especially the most marginalised, the forest peoples. We are the ones most anxious to protect, our cultures are principles on the belief that we cannot own and abuse the earth for our short-term benefit.”
Youth from all over the world have flown in – yet many lack understanding of the political economy of pollution, both problem and solution. Why is this?
“Look at the role of the WWF-type organisations. These are educators. Al Gore – pushing for the carbon market, he is an educator on the environment and climate. They are slumming it out in Durban, it is fashionable for a young white kid from the US or UK to be concerned about a global poverty issue, not the reality in their own backyards, but somewhere where they can be special, become heroes. We challenged the big organisations with environmental racism – the top ten movements, including Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, to bring our voices to the board, to the way in these campaigns are shaped. They resisted us. Even when they do appoint a person of colour, it is usually from within the mentality of surburbia, so that they are never questioned or taken out of the comfort zone where ‘white is right.’ And these organisations and their narratives are so popular – you have young kids coming, getting their hands dirty. They leave, feeling vindicated, slumming around – as if they have done their share. But this is our life, and that parachuting in and out of communities, the ruckus society, is destructive and presents the distorted reality. We have challenged, and become very unpopular, for raising the issue of classism which is source of the problem and requires an economic analysis if the environmental and climate narrative is to be truthful…. Look at 350.org – we had to challenge them to bring us to stand with them on the pipeline issue. Bill McKibben, the ivory tower white academic, didn’t even want to take the time to bring people of colour to the organising. We managed a negotiation that allowed for both groups to unite.
Concerning celebrated activist voices like Naomi Klein – they appear to come from a specific formula – What are your thoughts?
“Well, it is always the case with the media that ‘white is right’ or that global issues affecting people of color on the frontline should be represented by the type of voices that don’t engage, in a threatening way, the realities of capitalism. There are also many fashionable voices that become part of the establishment in the sense that while they do espouse the truth, it is not pose a threat for change, for ending the system, because someone has adopted a cause that they were not born into. The communities that live in the cancer hotspots, in the immediate environment, their voices are too real, too threatening. Meanwhile, infiltration continues – how the corporations lend their money to the media – how the media shapes the tones and get the right voices to provide just the right amount of dissent. Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg donated millions to the Occupy Wall Street. We need a systems change, not an isolated trendy environmental change. The organisations that speak need to have a real constituency – they need to be accountable to the people they represent. There is no time for egos and games anymore.
As Navaho people, as Dakota people, we are struggling to understand how the problem that created the problem becomes the solution? In our language, we have no translation of ownership for the air – or carbon. One of my elders told me, if you ever have a hard time translating something into your language, beware that it may lack the truth.
“Only death will save us. Mediocrity begets mediocrity. It is tragic that the conditioning of civil society is so deep – that most everything relevant beating them on the head is received as nothing more than a cool breeze.” — Harold One Feather
What are the underlying motivations and loyalties of the social and political forces involved in the Tar Sands Action campaign, and, indeed, the bourgeois environmental movement as a whole? In our inability to avert an oncoming ecological collapse, coupled with what appears to be an insurmountable climate genocide, we must understand how the forces we seek to resist constantly absorb opposition, through compromised NGOs and other means. Never underestimate the strategies and mechanisms of the global elites for retaining their power, control, and domination of Earth and her inhabitants.
Cognitive dissonance compromises environmental activism. We must open our eyes, even if the ugliness is difficult to accept. Many seemingly credible activists who are paid to “lead” environmental organizations cannot admit to themselves that they have caved into the very systems they purport to oppose; there is no acceptable excuse for such lack of judgement and foresight – for if it is ignorance, it is willful. It is no longer singular individuals who create and shape our systems. Instead, the plutocrats construct and mould the systems and sustain illusory movements. As the majority of environmentalists and citizens who support such movements are not fully conscious of the role they play in propping up the industrial machine, this article attempts to inspire the courage to break free, re-organize, and move forward.
“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” — Elwyn Brooks White
Remix version 2011:
“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to enjoy the world and a desire to tear down the systemic structure that is destroying the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”
Prologue — Lambs to the Slaughter
“As with any pathologically-based manifestation, hegemonic pacifism in advanced capitalist contexts proves itself supremely resistant – indeed, virtually impervious – to mere logic and moral suasion.” — Ward Churchill, Pacifism as Pathology, 1984
Holding hands, singing songs, and forming circles has little effect beyond making individuals feel good about themselves. Of course, this is the main objective of the mainstream NGO: to appeal to one of our ugliest human traits – that of individualism, which our toxic culture celebrates. Such niceties also serve as fine fodder for media and for rounding up donations.
To have falsely promoted what was at best an educational campaign (which did not speak to the root causes of climate change) as “civil disobedience” was disingenuous, if not fraudulent. Yet, the NGOs continue to promote their publicity stunt under this guise. And it worked. Branding agencies and marketing executives will take note of this latest “success.” In truth, this (in)action merely succeeded in having seduced the public into a false belief that this system, into which violence is inherently built, can be overcome with moral suasion. At the eleventh hour, campaigning to build upon such a notion is not only incredibly deceiving – it is incredibly dangerous.
Organizations both within and outside of the nonprofit-industrial complex continue to unabashedly further the idea that passiveness, obedience and submissiveness to the corporatized state – which has made the conscious decision to allow billions to suffer and die – is the only moral choice. They insist that we must dismiss reality (that the Earth and her inhabitants are being killed all around us) while they dismiss the fact that moral suasion cannot stop this. They insist that we embrace their delusion at any cost. Tragically, such a suicidal position only serves to further weaken our own position as it strengthens the position of the corporate state tenfold. Like lambs, we are being led to the slaughter with stops all along the way for refreshments and photo ops. It’s the final step in the art of annihilation that the NGOs have adherently become so skilled at. The puppet masters are shaking in their boots, not with fear but with derisive laughter.
Those who know better, who choose to lend legitimacy to such organizations by way of supporting or promoting such grand spectacles of illusion, are in fact biting their own foot. Some of the statements heard echoing off the walls of delusion are “But where would we go?” and “Yes, I know, I agree, but it’s better than nothing.” Yet subduing and disempowering citizens is not better than nothing. And silence is complicity.
A “better than nothing” approach for a campaign such as Tar Sands Action is deeply flawed. By supporting / promoting compromised organizations and/or leaders of such compromised organizations, one provides a tract of general legitimacy for those who continue to prop up the malignant, capitalistic system and guarantee planetary demise while undermining the grassroots. Right or wrong, when we vocalize support or otherwise endorse such sanitized “actions” and the players behind them, we are seen as sanctioning them on the whole, and it makes walking the fine line of organizing an effective movement much more difficult.
Directing thousands of well-intentioned citizens to follow a false god with the last name of McKibben – whose organization (350.org/1Sky) is funded, overseen and partnered with the planet’s most powerful corporations and families – only ensures that society will be led to believe in the false illusion of “green capitalism” – what the corporate enviros have termed “climate wealth.” In McKibben’s own words: “Greed Has Helped Destroy the Planet – Maybe Now It Can Help Save It.” A vision based on rejecting ethics while further nurturing one of the worst human traits is one that any sane person working towards a just world must automatically reject. A vision based on the very same system that has now brought us to the precipice is a fool’s game, a deadly game that flies in the face of logic.
Many of the corporate greens can demonstrate strong points in regard to many issues – this is of little surprise as it is imperative for them to retain a level of credibility. Furthermore, they have millions of dollars available for specialized reports, which makes it easy. Of course, rarely will they campaign on such reports when they are released (quietly in most cases) to the public. We have to accept the fact that much of the environmental movement is now funded primarily with Rockefeller Family money (McKibben himself now states this proudly after a somewhat embarrassing incident on Climate Challenge TV) and corporate funnelled foundation money, which defines (dilutes) success in increments that, in the grand scheme of things, mean little. We can’t tolerate another 6,000 mW of coal active in FL, for example, but that is a victory to the Beyond Coal campaign because they managed to stop another 13K mW. In the next cycle, industry will again ask for 20K mW, and will get 5-8k mW. And that will be labeled another victory. At which point are these victories pyrrhic?
We felt that this was not an issue of semantics, that this was deliberately being taught to our peoples, our youth and our communities by the interests of government and corporations, who we began finding out more and more, were actually helping to fund well-paid activists who ran well-funded workshops, training and retreats on “non-violence” and “civil disobedience.” Some of this was traced back to funding which came from “ethical oil” strategies, and that’s when we started realizing the sickening accuracy of our premonitions…. We believe in honouring the dreams of women, in freeing ourselves from judgement and bias, decolonizing our minds and our hearts. We believe in being action-oriented, not paper-oriented. We don’t need Canada’s approval or consent, and we don’t need government or corporate funding. We have always had what we will always need: the Kaianerenkowa, the Medicine Wheel, our teachings, our clan systems, our languages, our ceremonies…. We can empower ourselves, we don’t need to wait for an NGO or a suit to tell us how to feel empowered. We aren’t the ones who need “non violence training”; the ones who need to stop using violence are the ones in power: police, government and corporations.
In the article “A Tar Sands Partnership Agreement in the Making?” social justice activist and journalist Macdonald Stainsby writes: “Many other foundations – most but not all American – now play the same game of social manipulation in the environmental field. Foundations such as Rockefeller Brothers, Ford and Hewlett have not only entered into the fray in a major way, in the case of the tar sands campaigns, they have collaborated with the Pew to take social manipulation to a new level.”
What the manipulated public does not understand, is the fact that, while these environmental groups have had years to unite behind a sane, comprehensive, unified energy policy that would have included opposition to tar sands and oil shale, and other false solutions, they have done nothing to this effect.
The money powers (who fund our “movement”) have decided that clean, zero-carbon, everlasting energy will not take over from fossil fuel energy or even increase its market share (see International Energy Agency World Energy Outlook 2010). The money powers do this consciously, in the face of evidence that the failure to make such a transition spells the end of the world. The insane logic behind such policy is that, as fossil fuel resources run out, corporations will increase profits. The devastating consequences for the biosphere are ignored.
We are hence warned once again that the campaigns dominating our movement are nothing more than impromptu, “whatever is popular at the moment,” laissez-faire, feel-good public relations escapades. This is not a movement that has any chance of staving off guaranteed climate genocide on top of multiple global crises, all happening simultaneously.
Corporate environmentalism is merely a movement designed to make us feel good today – much like capitalism – while killing us slowly.
From climate change, to the BP oil spill, then onto the tar sands bandwagon, these symbolic campaigns are orchestrated and echoed throughout the faux environmental movement.
Is the Left Suffering from Stockholm Syndrome?
Hooray for Change!
“Somehow we need to get back the President we thought we elected in 2008. We are just now finishing up the largest civil disobedience in this country in this century. We won’t attack the President. We will only hold him to the standard he set in 2008. We have been arrested for two weeks straight, but without bitterness or hate. Only joy and resolve.” — Bill McKibben
To believe Obama or the state will be moved by moral suasion as bombs are dropped on occupied countries including Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya while covert U.S. wars are underway in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia – murdering untold numbers of men, women and children – all in the name of resource exploitation (under the egregious auspices of democracy and liberation) is nothing more than delusion bordering on insanity.
Let’s break this down.
“Somehow we need to get back the President we thought we elected in 2008.”
First of all, the president that the people “thought” they elected in 2008 has proven himself (beyond a doubt) a mere voicebox for the plutocracy and a bona fide war criminal.
“We are just now finishing up the largest civil disobedience in this country in this century.”
Secondly, the Tar Sands Action must not be considered true civil disobedience when it was sanctioned by the state, while demonstrating to the state absolute compliance. It is only a massive withdrawal of compliance that actually has any possibility of even slight effect. Civil disobedience draws its strength from open confrontation and noncooperation – not from evasion or subterfuge. History has proven this time and time again. Demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of citizens have failed in a world of corporate-dominated government. Case in point would be the protests against the illegal invasion of Iraq by the U.S. and Britain. This was the largest global civil disobedience in our history. Citizens numbered in the millions. Yet the occupation continues to this day. As citizens, we can only retain as much power as we refuse to relinquish to the state. If one insists on calling the Tar Sands Action in Washington, D.C. a true civil disobedience, it is a sad reflection on what the meaning and intent of true civil disobedience has been reduced to.
Third, to call 1253 trained protesters (with the exception of the first day, all who were arrested over the course of the two weeks were released within an hour or two – approximately 90 people per day including the elite “leaders” and staff of a slew of mainstream NGOs) “the largest civil disobedience in this country in this century” is delusional. There have been protests against globalization in the U.S. in which citizens numbered in the thousands.
“We won’t attack the President. We will only hold him to the standard he set in 2008.”
Fourth point – citizens are extremely fortunate to have John Pilger and others who will attack the president openly, as the public needs and deserves to hear the truth. Why would any rational person hold Obama to a fantasy standard, when we know, based on his actions to date and our knowledge of corporate dominance, that Obama will never meet any standard that could stop the ongoing ecocide?
“We have been arrested for two weeks straight, but without bitterness or hate. Only joy and resolve.”
Fifth point – We should be bitter, pissed off, furious and sickened that our planet is being killed and that our children are going to not live long enough to reach old age. The myth that emotions such as bitterness, hate and anger are destructive prevents us from trusting our own intuition based on our life experiences. As we stand on the precipice, bitterness, hate and anger are all normal feelings upon coming to the full realization that the corporate state has chosen economic growth over life itself. Those who protect it are deserving of our bitterness and hatred. And if you’re not angry that our planet is being raped before our eyes – then perhaps you have forgotten what love is.
“In the run-up to the UN climate change conference in December 09, an advertising industry initiative, ‘Hopenhagen,’ was supported by Coca-Cola, DuPont and BMW, among others. Clearly, some organisations do not grasp the concept of irony. Nevertheless, more than six million people from around the world signed up. Hamilton wonders when such well-meaning individuals will begin to think ‘I have been doing the right thing for years, but the news about global warming just keeps getting worse.’ In other words, when will the dreadful reality hit home?
“…Clinging to hopefulness becomes a means of forestalling the truth. Sooner or later we must respond, and that means allowing ourselves to enter a phase of desolation and hopelessness, in short to grieve.
“…Painful though it is to do so, we come to terms with grief and loss. We mourn, we feel periods of shock and anger; slowly, we adjust. Adjustments may be unhealthy – denial, as we have seen, or apathy or nihilism. A healthy adjustment involves accepting the loss, making it part of who we are and what we will become.”— Clive Hamilton, Requiem for a Species: Why we resist the truth about climate change
Of course McKibben (and his disciples, whom he apparently believes he speaks for) have no bitterness or hate, only joy and resolve as their greatest sacrifice (by only a handful) was 48 hours in jail while the rest paid a hundred bucks and were home in time to watch themselves on the 4 o’clock news. One can appreciate the good intentions of citizens who are no doubt desperate to somehow make a difference. Yet at the same time it must be acknowledged that we are becoming completely out of touch with reality if we choose to lend the words “sacrifice” and “courage” to educational outreach media blitz campaigns.
One must wonder if McKibben would feel such “hope” for the president if his family was murdered in one of the occupied countries Obama continues to pummel with bombs. One must wonder if McKibben would be such a kind and kindred spirit to Obama if he was on the other end of the stick of industrialized capitalism – working in a mine developing lung cancer in order to feed his children one meal a day. If the Left is buying into this charade – and it appears they are – we must the conclude that the emasculated Left is indeed suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.
In psychology, Stockholm syndrome is a term used to describe a real paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness. (Source: Wikipedia)
“In concrete terms, this means … civil disobedience; and life and death confrontations with the powers that be. Like King, we need to put on our cemetery clothes and be coffin-ready for the next great democratic battle.” — Cornel West, Dr. King Weeps From His Grave, New York Times, 26 August 2011
It’s time we remove our comfortable cocoons of self-righteousness and moral superiority and fully recognize / acknowledge that we are all participating in a culture where violence is now inherently built into the system. Thus we all have blood on our hands and there can be no denying this fact.
The movement must choose for what type of future we wish to fight. A future of the people, by the people, for the people? Or a future of the corporations (i.e. corporations via foundations), by the corporations, for the corporations (i.e., commodification of the last remaining elements of nature; continued violence until the remaining elements of nature are destroyed, or mass extinction by way of climate genocide a.k.a. green capitalism)?
We must choose one. We cannot have both.
Choosing the first provides a future for all life our Earth graciously sustains. It will not be given. It must be taken.
Further, the future we resolve to claim must be articulated.
Meanwhile in the real world of activism (being eclipsed by the state-sanctioned Tar Sands Action and its negotiated arrests), more Amazon Rainforest activists receive death threats as assassinations escalate. Closer to home, in Messina, New York, on 11 August 2011, Larry Thompson, a Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) man was arrested. Thompson, “sick of waiting for a General Motors Superfund site cleanup that will never happen,” took a backhoe to a toxic landfill site. “Thompson drove onto the notoriously polluted mound, scooped up contaminated soil and loaded it into railroad cars that were waiting to cart away debris from the GM building that is being torn down in the wake of bankruptcy proceedings…. Larry was given this order by the Clan Mother. She directed him to do this. So he had to do it. No matter what, she is the supreme law of the land.” Of course, the criminals that poisoned the land (i.e. those responsible for the violence) continue to walk free.
A Very Civil Civil Disobedience
“I believe it’s a crime for anyone being brutalized to continue to accept that brutality without doing something to defend himself.”— Malcolm X
“When, in the course of human development, existing institutions prove inadequate to the needs of man, when they serve merely to enslave, rob, and oppress mankind, the people have the eternal right to rebel against, and overthrow, these institutions.” — Emma Goldman
20 August 2011: The article “A Very Civil Civil Disobedience” said it all. Anything other than submissive obedience to the police state is not to be considered “civil.” The word “civil” is loaded. How “civilized” is a society whose very existence is dependent upon the violent and relentless assault on the planet, while simultaneously exploiting the struggling classes?
Organizing citizens to get themselves peacefully arrested in order to “appeal to the better nature of Obama” are based on a delusional strategy. Appeals to Obama and other members of the ruling class serve to distract us from the unwillingness of states to change their practices without being forced to do so. Mainstream environmentalists’ calls for “rolling sit-ins” (10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. daily) and other passive tactics would be considered by many to be an insult to activists throughout the world who have fought against state and police repression with their very lives.
Who knew you would have to RSVP to the “revolution,” agree to the conditions, be trained by God himself, and that a dress code would be in effect? On 28 August 2011, a participant to the Tar Sands Action sent out a mass email to her lists. Within the communiqué she states, “The action was relatively simple, to be honest, and I don’t feel super brave for ‘risking arrest’ when it was a simple procedure and a $100 fine. (A ‘post and forfeit’ thing, similar to a traffic violation, not a misdemeanor or anything that would be likely to taint a record). It was fun to ride in the paddy wagon with 15 other awesome activists, kinda like a sauna. The cops were nice to us and some of us helped educate them on why we were there. (The organizers are encouraging everyone to cooperate and pay the fine, to seem dignified in the media, and to keep the story on the pipeline rather than on ‘us vs. them’ with the parks police. Yet they did say that, if we’re not listened to here, perhaps for a future action the strategy may be different.)”
And although the McKibben show pumps out headlines loaded with words such as “terrified”, “scared out of my mind”, “risk arrest”, and on and on, Darryl Hannah (the ultimate triumph for any campaign in today’s celebrity-obsessed culture) topped them all off, proclaiming “Sometimes it’s necessary to sacrifice your freedom for a greater freedom.”?These words/descriptions are so over-the-top (to be kind), they are ludicrous. Let’s be honest – most of us cannot even begin to comprehend what real sacrifice means. Here is another much more honest commentaryposted on September 1, 2011:
“Getting arrested in the Tar Sands Action was fun and it felt like the right and responsible thing to do. The scariest part of it was navigating the D.C. Metro. No, that’s not exactly true. It was the anticipation of navigating the D.C. Metro that terrified me, not the actual navigation. … The female officer took my ID but stuffed my money back in my bra. Then they took my mug shot, handed me my ID and squeezed me into the paddy wagon with Kidder. It was very hot and close in there but we joked around with the cute police officers, told stories and had a pretty good time…. I was released at 12:46 p.m.” (The author notes she was arrested at 11:33 a.m.)
Question: Does this demonstration have a permit, or are we by attending breaking a regulation?
Answer: As long as you are on the sidewalk in front of the White House and keep moving you aren’t breaking any regulations. The action organizers have applied for permits to be on the sidewalk in front of the White House for the entirety of the action.
Question: What should we do if there are opponents trying to disrupt the action or people who start to act outside of the agreed Action Guidelines?
Answer: Dealing with inappropriate escalation (or confrontation from our opponents) is going to be a main duty of the support team that will be on site for every action. They’ll be ready to talk with folks who seem to be getting out of hand and to help direct energy to the more strategic, productive parts of the action.
Did Rosa Parks obtain a permit from the state before she decided she would sit at the front of the bus? Why do citizens choose to submit to an authority who that tells us / convinces us that we must seek approval to stand on a public sidewalk, a sidewalk that has been paid for by the people themselves?
State Sanctioned “Civil Disobedience” & Propaganda Wars
20 August 2011: The article “Tar-sands protesters in jail longer than expected” states:
In negotiations with the police prior to the action that began on Saturday, the police were very clear that what would happen after people were arrested was the vast majority would get what’s called “post and forfeit,” where you put up $100, get released from jail after several hours, and you don’t have to come back again. It’s basically like a traffic ticket.
The article continues:
But this is not what they did. Instead, after arresting the first day’s 70 people, they decided to hold most of them, all those not from within a 25-mile radius of Washington, D.C., in jail until a Monday afternoon arraignment. This works out to 48 or more hours in jail before being released. [Emphasis added]
We can sense that the author is appalled the police did not honor their pre-arranged deal. He appears to be outraged that middle class citizens were inconvenienced for 48 hours or more. The author continues that another “action” earlier this year ran into a similar situation where “despite many weeks of communication between the protest organizers and various state, county and local government officials, agreements to camp overnight were revoked.” Such comments reveal how state-sanctioned “civil disobedience” has become normalized. But no worries, the author plans to hope and pray that the tar sands “action” will “rise to the occasion” – whatever that means in real life.
In a true act of civil disobedience, one adopts a position of absolute non-cooperation with the state, the perpetrator of both violence and oppression. No prior negotiations. No obedience.
Adding further Orwellian bizarreness, it was announced in a media advisory issued 1st September 2011, by the Indigenous Environmental Network what would occur on the following day: “Native Americans and First Nations to be arrested at White House protesting TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline.”
Recognizing that this protest involved several hundred well-intentioned individuals looking for direction and a way to make a difference, the Washington, D.C. “civil disobedience” cannot truly be considered disobedient when it has been organized with the very state they are supposedly resisting. Prior to the action, the organizers fully engaged / conversed with police in order to find out exactly what risk they would be susceptible to in undertaking such a protest in Washington, D.C. en masse. We see this over and over again. It is only once it is established that the “approved” action will be most benevolent with trivial consequences (no real risk) that the privileged classes then build upon such campaigns. The ruling class does not fear such campaigns in the least.
Yes … the state will undoubtedly be so moved by our arguments and our good behaviour that it will voluntarily, someday soon, overthrow itself and join us in a circle of sing-songs.
States only fear acts of civil disobedience and direct actions when they threaten to disrupt the system through a demonstration of overwhelming strength. They do not respond to appeals to morality or guilt. When a protest is controlled, sanctioned and supported by the state, the action will not be feared, because the state will never fear what it can control. Planting seeds of love is a beautiful thing, yet on their own, in the absence of struggle and true sacrifice, such seeds of love have never won any revolutions.
Tar Sands Action Civil Obedience Campaign
Naomi Klein under state sanctioned arrest.
Naomi Klein should be mortified at promoting and participating in such a staged event – as she knows better. In her book “No Logo: Taking Aim at Brand Bullies” (2000), Klein remarks: “Since the days when Abbie Hoffman and the Yippies infused self-conscious absurdity to their ‘happenings,’ political protest had lapsed into a ritualized affair, following a fairly unimaginative grid of repetitive chants and scripted police confrontation.”
Nine Nobel Peace Laureates including “Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama” have written to President Obama, urging him to reject the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. A media release states that “the opposition to the pipeline has surged in recent weeks as more than 1,250 people were arrested in 14 days of sit-ins at the White House – perhaps the largest wave of civil disobedience ever for an environmental cause in the U.S…. In asking you to make this decision we recognize the thousands of Americans who risked arrest to protest in front of the White House between August 20th and September 3rd. These brave individuals have spoken movingly about experiencing the power of nonviolence in that time.”
And there is the language, the sound bites, highlighted yet again to further pacify our public as our multiple crises escalate: references to religion and the “power of non-violence” when speaking to civil disobedience and arrests. McKibben and friends had to have recognized and taken solace in the fact that the public is severely naïve to have even attempted to pass off the state-sanctioned orchestrated event as true civil disobedience.
What kind of civil disobedience is it where the police themselves carefully fold up protesters’ banners (with weapons completely exposed) and collect the protest signs prior to the arrests? It is telling that the “Park Police” were placed in charge of the daily 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. rolling sit-ins. It appears that the only exception was the initial week-end, commencing Saturday, August 20th, the first day of arrests (which included McKibben) when the D.C. police arrested the protesters and held the non-resident arrestees until Monday.
It also appears that no one other than McKibben and participants from his group ever went to jail. (A media bonanza that legitimized McKibben). All other trained arrestees for the remaining 2 weeks were police-escorted (motorcycle escorts with sirens wailing) to the Anacostia station of the Park Police where they simply paid a $100 fine. During training, the organizers instructed the participants to pay the fine rather than opt to go to jail – stating that otherwise, the police would get angry and treat subsequent arrestees less courteously. The multiple references comparing this “civil disobedience” to the sacrifice and bravery demonstrated during the civil rights movement, as well as references to Martin Luther King throughout this campaign, are abominable. In reality, in direct contrast to civil disobedience, this “action” must be considered an act of passive civil obedience.
How is it that North America has become so completely removed from reality? How is it that such weak and cowardly leadership – so out of touch with what is happening all over the world – can be considered noble, rather than what it really is – an embarrassment?
The photos below from the Tar Sands Actions Flickr account tell a story far more revealing than anything anyone can attempt to reveal in a piece of writing. The intention was to include photos of people smiling and laughing when placed under arrest. Unfortunately it is not possible, simply because there are too many that fall under this description. In fact, this action may be the happiest and most enjoyable “civil disobedience” to have ever been presented to the public. Let’s have a look:
Organized! Police set up a convenient processing station on the site.
Protesters were trained to march up to the front of the fence. The protesters lined up and were then adjusted by the organizers. Citizens were permitted to walk into the front area, however, they were not permitted to remain in this area as it was reserved for tourists and media to take photographs. The police gave three warnings for the protesters to leave or be arrested. Citizens who did not wish to be arrested left the area. It was at this point the police assisted in carefully gathering up the signs and banners and placed barricades at all sides of the arrestees (the back is a fence). Processing was done on site (see above). Then the arrestees were driven for approximately ten minutes to the Anacostia station of the Park Police where they finalized paperwork, paid a $100 fine and were released (with the exception of August 20th). The yellow tape reads ‘Police Scene – Do Not Cross’.
Confronting the state.
A policeman taking photos.
Policeman folds banner with much care.The officer, apparently under extreme duress and fear, has forgotten he has a gun on his side belt in reach of the “resistance.”
A 350 supporter is arrested by the Park Police. The first people arrested, including McKibben, were turned over to the D.C. police who unexpectedly kept them 48 hours (as this is not what the organizers had negotiated in advance). Following this initial arrest it was then managed by the Park Police who were apparently very nice. They handcuffed and took the trained protesters to a tent where they were frisked. The arrestees were then brought inside the tent where their photo was taken. They were then given a number and placed on a bus or wagon. (The buses were air conditioned and the wagons were hot). Arrestees were then police escorted to a station where the Park Police removed the plastic zip handcuffs, checked ID once more, took the money, and then sent the released protestors off towards the Metro. We can only hope the approx. $130,000 raised by the police, goes to the park to assist with the trees dying from polluting ozone. We can only assume the police escort was necessary in order to prevent any real protesters from trying to beat some sense into them.
Image of Park Police.
Everyone is in great spirits including the Park Police.
Compare the Tar Sands Action to civil disobedience in other countries who are being brutally oppressed and exploited by the violent system we participate in on a daily basis. Apathy in the face of injustice is also a form of violence.
Photo above: An indigenous woman holds her child while trying to resist the advance of Amazonas state police who were expelling the woman and some 200 other members of the Landless Movement from a privately-owned tract of land on the outskirts of Manaus, in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, March 11, 2008. The landless peasants tried in vain to resist the eviction with bows and arrows against police using tear gas and trained dogs, and were evicted from the land. (REUTERS/Luiz Vasconcelos-A Critica/AE)
Another real act of confronting and resisting the state is the G2O protests.
Two leaders of civil disobedience in North America: Betty Krawczyk and the late Pacheedaht warrior Harriet Nahanee/Tsibeotl (above).
The Tar Sands Action organization, initiated and led by 350/1 Sky spokesperson Bill McKibben, actually has no plan in place for when the Keystone pipeline is approved by Obama. What escalating tactics will be pursued? What does the state have to fear?
Intoxicated by the idea that Obama can be won over with moral persuasion and reject a pipeline which promises billions in projected profits, and which will enable his crumbling empire to control North America’s oil this action is merely an educational campaign to draw attention to the appalling tar sands. And this is where the problem lies. Citizens are being led to believe that pre-negotiated civil disobedience – one that assures no sacrifice or risk will be endured by citizens as long as they abide by the rules of the state – can stop the violence being waged upon our shared Earth. Not so. We know it will not. It never has, and never will. (See Pacifism and Pathology, by Ward Churchill, 2007 Version.)
We cling to our deep belief of business-as-usual. The inertia makes this easy. The gradual systemic violence upon us is a gentle, slow kill. This month feels no different than last month, therefore everything must be okay. Our intense desire for non-disruption in a life we perceive as non-violent traps us into a false belief system.
“Doublethink, a word coined by George Orwell in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, describes the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts. It is related to, but distinct from, hypocrisy and neutrality. Its opposite is cognitive dissonance, where the two beliefs cause conflict in one’s mind.” (source: Wikipedia)
[Doublethink is] “To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself — that was the ultimate subtlety; consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.”
“The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them….To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.” – George Orwell, George (1949). Nineteen Eighty-Four. Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd, London, part 1, chapter 3, pp 32
Wikipedia: “Orwell explains that the Party could not protect its iron power without degrading its people with constant propaganda. Yet, knowledge of this brutal deception, even within the Inner Party itself, could lead to collapse of the state from within. Though Nineteen Eighty-Four is most famous for the Party’s pervasive surveillance of everyday life, this control means that the population of Oceaniaall of it, including the ruling elitecould be controlled and manipulated merely through the alteration of everyday thought and language. Newspeak is the method for controlling thought through language; doublethink is the method of directly controlling thought.
Moreover, doublethink’s self-deception allows the Party to maintain huge goals and realistic expectations.
Since 1949 (when Nineteen Eighty-Four was published), the word doublethink has become synonymous with relieving cognitive dissonance by ignoring the contradiction between two world viewsor even of deliberately seeking to relieve cognitive dissonance. Some schools of psychotherapy, such as cognitive therapy, encourage people to alter their own thoughts as a way of treating different psychological maladies.”
“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Fair warning to those who continue to support “the new” 350.org
In April of this year, 1Sky and 350.org announced their “official” merger, even though they were already intertwined from the outset.
As documented in the expose Rockefellers 1Sky Unveils the New 350.org | More $ More Delusion,today, having possibly reached peak delusion, we now actually have the Rockefellers at the helm of our faux climate movement and even the most intelligent people have chosen to embrace it. Even anti-capitalist websites are promoting Bill McKibben’s latest piece asking for civil disobedience and signed by McKibben, Naomi Klein, Maude Barlow and others including prominent 1Sky members.
Make no mistake that civil disobedience is absolutely imperative and that yes, the tar sands must be considered a death knell to the planet in relation to climate change, which continues to escalate at a rapid rate. And yes this call to action is certainly orders of magnitude more important than anything that McKibben has demonstrated in the past.
The question is why globalist plutocrats, such as the Rockefellers, fund the majority of the mainstream environmental movement and establish an organization that now calls for civil disobedience and the halt of tar sands expansion into the US? If the true meaning of climate justice were in fact to be realized, it would mean nothing less than the stripping of wealth of these very families and corporate entities. The very system which ensures global monetary wealth and power stay securely in the hands of the privileged few today is absolutely dependent upon and cannot succeed without continuous expanding raping, pillaging and degradation to our Earth and relentless exploitation of those most vulnerable.
Since these families and corporate entities have come to fund the mainstream environmental movement, we can safely conclude that they do not fear it. The reason is simple the climate justice “movement” represents no real threat to the globe’s wealthiest and most powerful. The global elites including the dominant Rockefellers shape, define and ultimately control the movement itself. Yet these big names do lend credibility to an organization whose legitimacy is essentially non-existent.
The carefully worded “call out” from McKibben even places restrictions on the participants:
“We will do it in dignified fashion, demonstrating that in this case we are the conservatives, and that our foes who would change the composition of the atmosphere are dangerous radicals.”
Framing the term “radical” as dangerous (radical is derived from the Latin word rdclis – having roots, from Latin rdix – a root, designed to act on or eliminate the root or cause of a pathological process), McKibben exhorts would-be participants to wear business attire and show support for Obama:
“Come dressed as if for a business meeting this is, in fact, serious business. And another sartorial tip if you wore an Obama button during the 2008 campaign, why not wear it again? We very much still want to believe in the promise of that young Senator who told us that with his election the ‘rise of the oceans would begin to slow and the planet start to heal.’ We don’t understand what combination of bureaucratic obstinacy and insider dealing has derailed those efforts, but we remember his request that his supporters continue on after the election to pressure the government for change. We’ll do what we can.”
McKibben’s message on aggressive non-violence?
“One thing we don’t want is a smash up: if you can’t control your passions, this action is not for you.”
On 30 June 2011, Jeff Goodell wrote in the Rolling Stone article, Politics: Time For Climate Activists to Get Tough:
“Interestingly, organizers are asking demonstrators to ditch Birkenstocks, torn jeans and tie-dyed T-shirts for button-down, business attire. ‘We need to be able to get across to people who the conservatives are and who the radicals are,’ McKibben said. ‘People need to understand how radical it is to change the composition of the atmosphere.’ By marching in button-downs, rally organizers are clearly borrowing a page from the Mississippi Freedom Riders of the 1960s, who, by arriving in the South as well-dressed, respectable students and citizens, helped expose the moral savagery of the white power establishment.
It may be a shrewd and effective strategy, but inviting a comparison between climate activists and the Freedom Riders only underscores how tame the fight against global warming has been so far. The Freedom Riders proved the power of peaceful action, but they also showed astonishing courage and a willingness to risk their lives to change the world. Buses were firebombed. Some of them were attacked by police dogs. Others were beaten bloody, had bones broken, skulls cracked. But their suffering inspired people. ‘If those kids are wiling to lay all that on the line, I should be able to screw up at least a little courage in order to support the movement,’ one person says in Breach of Peace, Eric Etheridge’s excellent book of portraits of Freedom Riders.”
If people wish to delude themselves that 1 Sky/350.org/McKibben is our saviour that will help us avoid our own self-annihilation, I guess they can go ahead and do so. This will prove to be a massive mistake for those who claim to work towards climate justice and claim to be opposed to the commodification of Earth’s final remaining natural resources. This misguided trust will also prove to be lethal to future generations, including today’s children.
Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, spoke March 19, 2010 at Innovative Philanthropy for the 21st Century: Harnessing the Power of Impact Investing: In this second phase of philanthropic innovation, our Rockefeller Foundation predecessors helped establish the non-governmental organization sector as the missing middle between giving and direct impact. This included support for entities we call them RINGOS, Rockefeller Foundation Initiated NGOs.
1Sky was a Rockefeller-initiated NGO an incubator project so to speak. Although I have documented this relationship extensively, the majority of people are only willing to see and believe what they want to see and believe. Cognitive dissonance, denial and Orwells doublespeak has proven to be a most effective strategy in the co-opting of an entire movement. On the website post below written by 1Sky Garth Brooks it is stated unequivocally that Rockefeller Brothers is a 1Sky strategic partner.
“It makes me feel better, but I suspect others feel differently. Some even questioned if there was a movement. In their Grist piece, authors Kelsey Wirth, Rockefeller Family Fund’s Larry Shapiro, and Greenpeace USA’s Philip Radford put it bluntly on why the grassroots failed to help deliver a strong bill(Note: Rockefeller Brothers is a 1Sky donor and strategic partner).”
Rockefeller Fund manages approximately US$1 billion for descendants of John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil Co., predecessor of U.S. oil giants Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips, all of which are tar sands developers.
Such “campaigns” are superbly planned and executed using all tools available, with a heavy emphasis on distraction, language and manipulation using advanced and sophisticated psychology.
If the environmental movement and notable environmental leaders who speak out against capitalism (the root cause of climate change) and the fatal illusion of “green” capitalism believe that partnering and promoting an organization led by the Rockefellers, the Clintons, TckTckTck (supported/partnered with the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, which includes members such as Shell) is not insane … then we really are in for a FAR WORSE situation than we realize.
Many will have taken notice by now of the big greens pushing REDD REDD being just one of the many market mechanisms the Rockefellers, with the industrial machine, have worked towards and funded with many a big green NGO to assist.
“Rockefeller was a donor to colleges all over the country and helped found the University of Chicago. Huntington, of the Central Pacific, gave money to two Negro colleges, Hampton Institute and Tuskegee Institute. Carnegie gave money to colleges and to libraries. Johns Hopkins was founded by a millionaire merchant, and millionaires Cornelius Vanderbilt, Ezra Cornell, James Duke, and Leland Stanford created universities in their own names. The rich, giving part of their enormous earnings in this way, became known as philanthropists.
These educational institutions did not encourage dissent; they trained the middlemen in the American system-the teachers, doctors, lawyers, administrators, engineers, technicians, politicians- those who would be paid to keep the system going, to be loyal buffers against trouble.” Howard Zinn from the book History is a Weapon, A Peoples History of the United States, Chapter 11 Robber Barons and Rebels
The illusion of democracy and good will is breathtaking.
Announcement on the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Website April 21, 2011
This month marked the exciting marriage of 1Sky and 350.org two grantees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s Sustainable Development program. The announcement comes as environmental policy is hitting a new low in Washington: the House of Representatives just voted to deny the science of climate change; the recently passed federal budget cuts climate change-related programs by $49 million (including a ban on funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Service); the White House has opened up wide areas of the West for coal mining; and the environmental community is being forced to put everything it’s got into protecting the Clean Air Act a bill passed decades ago! These are challenging times for those of us working to advance solutions to climate change.
Despite the news coming from Washington, the announcement to merge 1Sky and 350.org two of the biggest movements on climate into a single organization under the banner of 350.org, gives me hope that we just might build a people-powered movement strong enough to protect this planet. 1Sky and 350.org were born around the same time and involved many of the same leaders. Bill McKibben, who has been a 1Sky board member and will chair the new 350.org board, once referred to 1Sky as the U.S. Embassy for 350.org and 350.org as 1Sky’s foreign legion. 1Sky was founded to support ambitious environmental action in the United States that would keep emissions targets to scientifically defendable levels, stop new coal-fired power plants, and build a green economy strong enough to create five million new green jobs. 350.org was founded to embed the concept of a wonky carbon emissions concept (350 ppm is the level of emissions in the atmosphere that scientists believe is safe) into the international negotiations in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate summit. While 1Sky didn’t deliver bold national policy and 350.org didn’t deliver a global treaty, both organizations have made significant progress in widening the tent of grassroots support for climate action. With the new political reality, it makes all the sense in the world to bring them together. Matching 350.org’s talent for mass mobilization and online action with 1Sky’s advocacy and field campaign experience is tremendously exciting. Mergers are tough, and I applaud the leaders in both organizations for recognizing they’d be stronger together.
The new 350.org has an aggressive plan to mobilize millions of people in a tech-savvy, citizen-driven movement that can finally build the support necessary for real climate action. The good news is they have a solid running start. The new campaign will have over 600,000 active supporters, thousands of volunteer community organizers in every state, and hundreds of partner organizations.
Let’s hope this happy union gives the climate movement the jumpstart it needs to compel our country to act on climate change before it’s too late.”
“Some even believe we (the Rockefeller family) are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the USA characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure—one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.” – David Rockefeller
In April 2011 congressman Ron Paul, sent a stark message this week to ruling elite “internationalists” attempting to expand globalism via the Western military industrial complex “you will fail”.
Will they fail?
Certainly not unless we finally make an uncompromised decision to face reality dead-on.
If you are in support of “green” capitalism meaning BAU (business as usual) and keeping the world’s monetary wealth and power in the hands of a select few the furthest thing from climate justice then just keep supporting the new 350.org/1Sky, along with the other corporate greens. It is so grossly blatant, it is difficult to accept that people are choosing to be blind to it. If you believe the Rockefellers (and the handful of other elites who control the globe) wish for a new global economy based on any kind of justice and a re-distribution of wealth and power, you’re in seriously dangerous denial.
We don’t need Rockefeller and corporate mouthpieces planning our actions, “training” us to be passive and obedient, and telling us what we can and cannot do, what is appropriate versus what is not. We need civil disobedience but it must come from the grassroots up, not from the plutocrats down.
Today’s youth, Indigenous peoples of the world, indeed all the men and women alive today, have every right to rebel against and destroy the current power structures that exist. This is necessary in order to salvage what is left of a raped and pillaged planet on the brink of ecological collapse. Martin Luther King once said that “you cannot commit an act of violence against a non-sentient object.” The real violence is what is being allowed to happen on a daily basis to our Earth Mother and global and local ecosystems, to which we have chosen to turn a blind eye. Today, police states and corporate-controlled governments protect property, corporate interests, and industrialized economic growth over life itself. Drastic times require drastic measures; thus, all peoples have the right to destroy the suicidal structures now threatening humanity. Echoing the words of Malcolm X, they must defend that right “by any means necessary.”
Refuse to be silenced. Go forward in self-defence. Do not negotiate life. Reject all compromise.
Reject all attempts for the industrial machine to smother, rehabilitate, co-opt, or psychologically marginalize our actions.
Attack the economic system as this is the only language those most powerful, who control the world’s monetary wealth, understand.
It is past time to start enacting civil disobedience on a massive scale. Knowledge is the weapon and it is time to arm the masses using all organizational tools in existence. This must be a united movement. Fuel distribution centres, pipelines, dams, roads, the industrial-military complex, banks, the stock exchange, politicians, CEOs: all must be targeted.
And for fuck’s sake, don’t wear a tie unless you really want to.
Image: Corporate media’s poster boy for the environmental movement, Bill McKibben.
“Nations and peoples are largely the stories they feed themselves. If they tell themselves stories that are lies, they will suffer the future consequences of those lies. If they tell themselves stories that face their own truths, they will free their histories for future flowerings.” – Ben Okri, Nigerian poet and novelist
It continues to both concern and baffle me that those within the movement who coined the term “climate justice” continue to promote a false prophet who believes/hopes and promotes that greed can save us (see McKibben’s The Greenback Effect: Greed Has Helped Destroy the Planet – Maybe Now It Can Help Save It). Greed, of course, being one of the ugliest traits in the human species. Greed being the pivotal factor behind the “success” of capitalism. Greed being the reason the world’s wealthiest 15% contribute 75% of all global greenhouse gas emissions (Professor Stephen Pacala) on the backs of the poor and most vulnerable while simultaneously decimating and raping the Earth.
Throughout history, greed has proven to be lethal. Greed and justice cannot co-exist.
The premise that “greed can save us” is void of all ethics. It stems from either desperation or denial, or perhaps both combined.
Perhaps McKibben’s 350.org/1Sky partner – Climate Solutions (who McKibben praised/promoted in a recent article) – will soon see their wish list of “sustainable aviation,” biofuels and carbon offsets morph into a global reality. 350.org/1Sky partner Climate Solutions was a key player in the creation of 1Sky – an incubator project of the Rockefellers, who are pushing/funding REDD (the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation program) and many other false solutions that ensure power and monetary wealth remain exactly where it is – in the hands of the few.
Of course, James Hansen’s magic wand (which Hansen himself sometimes refers to) will be most imperative for such false solutions to succeed in cooling the planet and stopping the eradication of most life on Earth.
Do we reject biofuels, carbon offsets, the greenwash and delusional concepts like “sustainable aviation”? Or do we reject these false solutions only when promoted directly by industry and government? If we do reject false solutions outright, why do those who claim to seek climate justice turn a blind eye when our “friends” and “partners” support these false solutions that we must fight against?
Perhaps it is a good time to reflect upon the concept of living well, proposed by Bolivia, which describes the capitalist system and the effects of greed that it perpetuates like this:
“We suffer the severe effects of climate change, of the energy, food and financial crises. This is not the product of human beings in general, but of the existing inhuman capitalist system, with its unlimited industrial development. It is brought about by minority groups who control world power, concentrating wealth and power on themselves alone. Concentrating capital in only a few hands is no solution for humanity, neither for life itself, because as a consequence many lives are lost in floods, by intervention or by wars, so many lives through hunger, poverty and usually curable diseases. It brings selfishness, individualism, even regionalism, thirst for profit, the search for pleasure and luxury thinking only about profiting, never having regard to brotherhood among the human beings who live on planet Earth. This not only affects people, but also nature and the planet. And when the peoples organize themselves, or rise against oppression, those minority groups call for violence, weapons, and even military intervention from other countries.”
It must be remembered that McKibben, 350.org/1Sky and most all other “big greens” have rejected the People’s Agreement of Cochabamba rather than unite behind it, in favour of the false illusion of “green” capitalism.
I, for one, choose not to promote organizations or individuals who embrace such a system so unfair that it is systematically destroying all life, nor those who purposely and continually reject and undermine the Cochabamba People’s Agreement. I leave this to the likes of Naomi Klein, who recently joined 350.org/1Sky and other key 350.org/1Sky messengers … celebrated individuals who have warned us of the dangers of unfettered capitalism, yet have chosen to embrace the “green” capitalist entity, 350.org/1Sky.
Over a decade ago, Klein brilliantly educated the public on the growing trend of corporations hijacking public entities, including our universities and museums. In a statement on BP’s sponsorship of the Tate Museum, to which Klein is listed as the first signatory, she/they write: “Corporate sponsorship does not exist in an ethical vacuum.”
Yet, hypocritically, when it comes to corporate power funding the entire mainstream environmental movement, Klein and others have not only failed to speak out against it – they have lent their names to it. In the environmental movement, it has been decided by Klein and others that corporate funding sponsorship does indeed exist in an ethical vacuum, thereby lending legitimacy and credibility to an organization that promotes and protects the branded logo 350 – and little else. As much as Klein and other celebrated anti-capitalists such as Vandana Shiva passionately deliver us the imperative truth, when it comes to 350.org/1Sky and pro-free market McKibben, they turn a blind eye to a movement shaped and funded by the industrial machine itself. As the push towards an illusory “green economy” and “climate wealth” strengthens, even those within the climate justice movement itself are covertly being estranged from the truth.
The videos below shed light on our free markets at work. These people represent only a glimpse of those who suffer at the hands of our current economic system. Climate “justice” or any kind of justice just cannot and can never exist in our capitalist economic system, as this system is dependent upon not only continued growth, but continued violence, oppression and exploitation of perhaps 85% of humanity – who emit a mere 25% of all emissions. This way of life is coming to an end. This system is destined to ultimately collapse – or kill us – whichever comes first.
If the definition of justice is “the quality of being just or fair” – our current economic system, that being capitalism, is the furthest thing from any kind of justice. The idea that we can avert climate genocide by embracing “green” capitalism is an illusion. It is a lie whereby the consequences will prove to be lethal beyond anything our species has ever witnessed. Those who truly seek justice must think long and hard about maintaining faith in a system that has finally brought us to the precipice. We may be trapped within it – but that does not mean we cannot fight like hell to break free.
Testimony of Rosa Elbira: Gang-rapes at a Canadian-owned mine in Guatemala:
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” – George Orwell
On 6 April 2011 it was announced that the RINGO (Rockefeller initiated NGO) 1Sky and their sister organization 350.org have ‘officially merged’ into one mass climate movement – the ‘NEW’ 350.org.
Let the Vatican preach, hallefuckinglujah, as we double-up on the soma followed by a double shot of absinthe burning like the embers of hell. Thank you Rockefellers, Clintons, McKibben and friends. Make way for the onslaught of illusion in which green capitalism and false solutions will somehow save us. In one last final performance – the elites will now perform their final magical act that defies all logic. Drum roll please … ladies and gentleman … we will now embrace the same system which is systematically destroying us – splash it with a green patina … and now … this same system will magically save us. Justice for all! The illuminated signs flash toward the audience … applause! applause! applause!
Follow the Money
An example of what two prominent environmental groups, 1Sky and 350.org, receive from the Rockefeller foundations alone:
Step it Up and 350.org (Sustainable Markets Foundation)
· $100,000 for 1 year awarded on March 13, 2008 to support its project, Step it Up’s new initiative called Project 350
· 40,000 2008 RFF Sustainable Markets Foundation | 350.org
· $100,000 for 1 year awarded on March 3, 2009 for its Project 350
· $200,000 for 1 year awarded on March 12, 2009 for its climate accountability project, The Sustainable Market Foundation
· $75,000 for 1 year awarded on November 7, 2009 for its project 350.org
· $25,000 for 1 year awarded on March 22, 2010 for its Eco-Accountability project
· $100,000 for 1 year awarded on June 17, 2010 for its 350.org project
1Sky Education Fund
· $1,000,000 for 2 years awarded on December 13, 2007
· $20,000 for 1 year awarded on November 17, 2008 for an alignment meeting of U.S. climate change leaders
· 200,000 2008 RFF
· 45,000 2008 RFF
· $250,000 for 1 year awarded on June 18, 2009
· $30,000 for 1 year awarded on April 9, 2009 to support a consultant to coordinate the alignment of U.S. climate change leaders and large grassroots organizations
· $250,000 for 1 year awarded on November 2, 2009
· $250,000 for 1 year awarded on November 19, 2009
· 50,000 2009 RFF
· 15,000 2009 RFF
· 20,000 2009 RFF
When 350.org, whom founder Bill McKibben describes as a ‘scruffy little outfit’, was requested to disclose their financial statements and provide complete list of funders in 2010, they responded via email that they would discuss this via a phone communication. The email communication can be read here. To date, they have not responded further. Karyn Strickler of Climate Challenge Media asked McKibben, in a 2010 interview, similar questions regarding the funding. You can listen to his response in the Strickler interview here:
This interview is unique as Strickler actually pins McKibben down on perhaps the first policy statement McKibben has offered – zero carbon by 2030. Yet, although McKibben admits in the Strickler interview that it is imperative to achieve zero emissions, you will not find this vital information, nor any other roadmap on what must occur in order to achieve 350 ppm on the 350.org website. 350.org, 1Sky, and friends have yet to speak to the media or the US Congress on the imperative of zero carbon, nor have they declared this position in their numerous communications with supporters and the general public. When it comes to the fact that we are: 1) already beyond dangerous climate interference (as declared by leading scientist John Holdren in 2006), 2) in a global planetary emergency (as declared by world-renowned climate scientist James Hansen in 2008) and 3) zero carbon is the only solution to our escalating climate emergency (as recognized by the IPCC) – the silence pounding within the walls of the non-profit industrial complex is deafening.
According to annual reports and internal revenue service reports collected by Climate Shift, 350.org’s revenue for 2009 was $1,661,440 and 1Sky’s revenue for 2009 was $3,425,549.
“I believe there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those doing the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the system of exploitation. I believe that there will be that kind of clash, but I don’t think it will be based on the colour of the skin.” – Malcolm X
In the Rockefeller Family Fund 2007 annual report, it is clear that 1Sky is an actual Rockefeller-initiated NGO. Such incubator projects are common within powerful foundations, although the public has little knowledge of such practices. An example of a Rockefellers’ incubator for an in-house project that later evolved into a free-standing institution is The Climate Group, launched in London in 2004.  This practice allows corporate-funded foundation boards to exert influence on the policies and intent of projects. Such projects should be independent of corporate influence if the projects are truly intended to benefit the interests of civil society.
“In December 2007, the Fund received a pledge from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Inc. in the amount of $1,000,000, designated to 1Sky, a project of the Fund, for which the Fund provides fiscal and legal oversight. As of December 31, 2007, $100,000 has been received by the Fund towards this pledge, with the remaining $900,000 receivable expected to be collected during 2008.”
At the same time of the 10:10:10 launch, 350.org revealed its first order of business – that of business. In 2011, the Green Market website published an article titled “350.org and Business.” The website promotes the 350 campaign to ask businesses to leave the US Chamber of Commerce in response to climate change; however, it neglected to critically analyze why such a campaign can only fail. The reality is that incrementalism in the face of a planetary emergency dooms humanity to failure. No amount of justification excuses any organization, large or small, to play politics in the face of our daunting climate reality. Yet 350.org is doing exactly that. Many may consider this a strong step and the greenwashing cabal will applaud; after all, if you have the token voice of the climate movement praising sweat-shop driven, mining-dependent Apple, you’ve won the day. However, the reality is this: No matter how many businesses leave the Chamber, they will still be doing what they do. Apple continues to abuse those most vulnerable while simultaneously destroying the environment for the sake of profit. Nike still manufactures shoes in China. A campaign such as this will never extricate these corporations from the business model they worship that enables several barrels of oil to be burned for the sake of the Swoosh through symbolic campaigning and the mighty victory this campaign seeks. No amount of symbolic campaigning will accomplish anything remotely close to a solution to the current planetary emergency. Such a campaign makes for good press for the times; however, in terms of outcomes, it will provide nothing of consequence to the solution set. It’s nothing less than delusion, if not a crime against humanity, that those who understand the science actually believe such campaigns are helpful beyond our psyches. Tragically, this undoubtedly will become more obvious rather soon.
The 2011 Power Shift conference is closing with no defined significance within the context of a required movement to mitigate an escalating global planetary emergency. The big green diversion makes it much easier to keep focused on the real agenda. The task at hand. Keeping the wealth and power in the hands of a few. As long as the elites control the Non-Profit Industrial Complex we will never defeat the climate crisis. Not ever. As long as the elites control the Non-Profit Industrial Complex, we will never stop the exploitation of neither people nor our shared environment. This is why we have no choice now but to walk away from the big green lie. A paramount victory for 2011 would be for citizens, climate justice activists, and community groups willing to deal in reality, to reject 350.org/1Sky outright. This would send an absolute message that the neo-liberal funded, non-profit industrial complex does NOT represent civil society. Such rejection states that Rockefeller and the ruling classes do not own us. Such rejection states that we reject the system that is successfully destroying us. This is the only way to take back the control which has hijacked the true grass-roots groups of the climate justice movement who are effectively marginalized and whose voices are drowned out. The non-profit industrial complex ensures this remains so.
Today |Orwellian Madness
Political Corruption and corporate dominance have reached dimensions of unparalleled magnitude.
The plutocracy has stolen approximately 40 trillion dollars from the people, leaving ordinary citizens to fight for imaginary scraps at the bottom of the barrel. The wealthiest 10% control 85% of the worlds monetary wealth, while the wealthiest 1% control 40%.
General Electric, the 4th most profitable corporation in the world in 2010, has successfully avoided all federal income taxes on its $14.2 billion profits, while 18 children starve to death every 60 seconds.
With the launch of 112 Tomahawk missiles on Libya, the US has now begun its fifth concurrent war/occupation. As award winning veteran journalist John Pilger so concisely states: “The Euro-American attack on Libya has nothing to do with protecting anyone; only the terminally naive believe such nonsense.”
Comprehensive coverage of Japan’s nuclear meltdown catastrophe and radiation levels around the world have disappeared from mainstream media.
Canadians have had their privacy rights stripped away in December 2010 via the quiet passage of Bill C-36. The bill essentially destroys the rule of law in Canada with its ability to bypass parliamentary procedures. Few noticed.
More African American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, even though crime rates are now at historical lows.  The ‘war on drugs’ is cited as a most significant reason, all while the pharmaceutical industry reaps in the profits ($500 billion each year), while quietly obtaining complete liability protection from vaccine injuries and deaths caused from government mandated vaccines. 
Actual criminals with psychopathic tendencies run rampant, receiving lavish bonuses and securing esteemed positions to protect the elitist circus, they are presented as successful and respected icons by corporate media and their subordinates.
And like the pharmaceutical industry thrives and depends upon sickness, fear, and disease, the military-industrial complex can only thrive and exist through new wars and occupations. It, too, is dependent upon the successful marketing of fear, passivity, and a society embedded with apathy. Inherently, destructive industries are absolutely dependent upon these factors.
To be clear, multi-national corporations are not in the business of protecting the environment or your family; they are in the business of making the maximum profit possible via the highest available rate of return. Those who think this is not true would be well-advised to think again. (Mainstream news footage which appeared on national television in 2006 revealed the Bayer corporation had knowingly sold Aids tainted blood overseas. The US government had full knowledge yet did nothing: http://youtu.be/spnEaO3yumk) The current system feeds upon the most negative and most vulnerable character traits in our human family. In contrast, a physically and emotionally healthy society is the greatest threat to corporate wealth and domination. Likewise, a movement towards zero carbon societies based on liberation, empowerment, autonomy and self-determination leading to the formation of decentralized publicly owned energy systems, is the greatest threat to the fossil fuel industry and fossil fuel based economy that exists today.
Meanwhile, climate change is so far gone, scientists and professional activists have essentially accepted a 4C temperature rise as early as 2050, at which point Professor Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research believes we may have 10% of the global population remaining – approximately half a billion people. Methane hydrates have begun venting. Denialism runs deep.
“Included in the financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2007 are the activities of the Environmental Grantmaker’s Association (EGA), a project of the Fund over the past two decades. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has granted EGA its 501(c)(3) status and as such, EGA became completely independent of the Fund effective January 1, 2008. For the first nine months of 2008, the Fund provided fiscal and legal oversight to 1Sky, another project of the Fund, and as such, the activities of 1Sky from January 1, 2008 through September 30, 2008 are included in the Fund’s financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2008. During 2008, the IRS granted 1Sky its 501(c)(3) status, and 1Sky became completely independent of the Fund effective October 1, 2008.
“In December 2007, the Fund received a pledge from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Inc. in the amount of $1,000,000, designated to 1Sky, a project of the Fund, for which the Fund provides fiscal and legal oversight. The Fund received $100,000 in 2007 toward this pledge and the remaining commitment of $900,000 was received in 2008.”
“The Environmental Grantmaker’s Association (EGA), a project of the Fund over the past two decades, was granted its 501(c)(3) status by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and as such, EGA became completely independent of the Fund effective January 1, 2008. For the first nine months of 2008, the Fund provided fiscal and legal oversight to 1Sky, another project of the Fund, and as such, the activities of 1Sky from January 1, 2008 through September 30, 2008 are included in the Fund’s financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2008. During 2008, the IRS granted 1Sky its 501(c)(3) status, and 1Sky became completely independent of the Fund effective October 1, 2008.”
Rockefeller | Getting REDDy to Cross the Finish Line
The following text appears 8 March 2010 in an article titled Getting REDDy to Cross the Finish Line, Two Decades in the Making: “It’s hard to imagine with all the progress REDD has achieved, that it all started less than 20 years ago with the Rio Summit in ’92, when the makings of a global sustainability architecture in the form of a climate treaty began to take shape. But a forestry treaty had yet to happen … With over 20 years of experience in the forestry sector, Michael Northrup, Program Director of Sustainable Development at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, was invited by the Pinchot Institute for Conservation to give a Distinguished Lecture, ‘After Copenhagen: Implications for U.S. Climate, Energy, and Forest Policy’ at the high brow, exclusive Cosmos Club. Northrup casually described to the 30 or so people in the room where we are with REDD today and how we got here. Plus he played the “name game” as he knew most of the people in the room.”
Of course, Rockefeller is not alone in its quest to lead and dominate on the promise of ‘green capitalism’; other members of the elites will not be left behind to feed on the breadcrumbs. For example, The Climate and Land Use Alliance, whose member foundations include the ClimateWorks Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, have joined forces to push forward the false solution of REDD. Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environment Network: “The carbon market solutions are not about mitigating climate, but are greenwashing policies that allow fossil fuel development to expand.” The Declaration created at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth clearly condemned REDD, stating that it violates “the sovereignty of our Peoples.”
In October 2011, Rockefellers’ Northrup will be speaking at a forum to be held in China titled “Emission Trade toward Green Economy”.
On 1 May 2006 on the Climate Change Capital website, an article titled The Gold Mine in the Greenhouse publishes an abstract published in Environmental Finance by Michael Northrop and David Sassoon explaining how the Kyoto Protocol and EU Emissions Trading scheme, are laying new foundations for an international market directing capital to tackle climate change: “The port of Shenzhen in China faces south towards Hong Kong across a 35-kilometre stretch of water. Home to a mere 20,000 people in 1979, today you’ll find 12 million people there, a bursting economic development zone, a microcosm of the new China. Look a little closer and you’ll find the landfill that receives 600 truckloads of garbage a day. The piles grow ever higher and rot in the coastal sunshine. But even this refuse is now generating serious income.”
Yes, the more degradation to our Earth, the more money there is to be made by the wealthy few. This is what the plutocracy, inclusive of the Rockefellers, describes as climate wealth. The climate wealth plutocracy is funding the world’s token climate movement and utilizing, through manipulation, the naïve, well-intentioned individuals to set in place the necessary climate legislation – they have essentially written themselves. There is a reason why the legislation is completely inadequate and focused on false solutions and commodification of Earth’s final remaining natural resources. And when the ‘protesters’ show up on Capitol Hill to ‘demand’ the solutions – already written and agreed upon by the wealthy elites, they just sit back and laugh. The joke is on us. And what a cruel joke it is: short-term comfort and sanctioned denial in exchange for the lives of our children.
1Sky Science is Grossly False
Today, 1Sky proclaims itself one of the largest national campaigns in the country, with support of 605 organizations, 200,932 advocates, 4,230 volunteer ‘Climate Precinct Captains’ covering more than 394 congressional districts in 50 states, and a team of 38 including 21 organizers in 26 states working to mobilize constituent support. 1Sky states that “the scientific bottom line is that we need to cut carbon at least 25% by 2020 and at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. It’s what is necessary, and what is right.” This statement is grossly false. The carbon budget presented by Hans Schellnhuber at the 4 Degrees & Beyond Conference in September 2009 stated that the high emitters including the US and Australia will have used up their entire carbon budget by 2019. At the time this budget was created it was stated that even if this target was achieved, it only gives the world a 67% chance at staying under a lethal 2C. When Schellnhuber briefed US President Obama on the fact that the US and friends have only years to reach zero carbon – just for the world to avoid a deadly global 2C – Obama chided Schellnhuber stating that this imperative was not grounded in ‘political reality’. Unfortunately for humanity, nature is not concerned with our political realities in the slightest and will not compromise. Keep in mind that today, at under 1C, we are advised by James Hansen that we have no cushion left. A recent study in 2010 discovered that even though the Pliocene Epoch (5.3 to 2.6 million years ago) was approximately 19ºC warmer than today, CO2 levels were only slightly higher than they are today.
Institutions such as 1Sky, many whom present themselves as grassroots, while labelled as ‘non-profit’ are manufactured and funded to serve the system and create a false pretext of dissent. And as long as such organizations refuse to focus on and examine the fundamental relationship between green capitalist logic and ecological disaster, they simply serve as nails in the coffin of humanity and nothing more than brilliantly executed distractions that allow us to embrace the comfort of denial. Yet one things remains certain – better is not better when better means dead.
Step it Up
In January 2007, Bill McKibben launched ‘Step It Up’, a national campaign calling on the US Congress to cut carbon emissions 80% by 2050. ‘Step It Up 2: Who’s a Leader?’ sent 14,000 messages to members of Congress to urge them to be ‘real leaders’ on climate change. Presidential candidates including John Edwards, Governor Bill Richardson, and Senators Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton attended Step It Up events and issued statements of support for the campaign’s goals.
Step it Up Morphs into 1Sky
1Sky is registered to John Fogerty, 1Sky executive director and director of the New Energy Economy.
James Gustave Speth isdirector of 1Sky, trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, trustee of Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Director of World Resources Institute as well as holding many other esteemed positions.
1Sky states it emerged from 3 retreats which took place in 2007. The first was said to have taken place in April of 2007 at the Garrison Institute. Funding of 10,000.00 was provided by the Rockefeller’s Brothers Fund.
The BIG ASK Climate Retreat was held from11-13July 2007. The programs relevance was promoted as sustainable development for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities.
‘Leaders’ from across the climate movement joined with experts in the field of communications, branding, online organizing, and messaging to turn an idea into a campaign. Putting the pieces in place to spark this movement was the mandate for a meeting at Rockefeller Pocantico Centre. At this meeting, a presentation by Brand Taxi led to the selection of a name for the campaign: 1Sky. Presentations by the founders of Facebook.org and meetup.org helped refine an online organizing strategy. Conversations about communications strategy flowed from a presentation by J. Walter Thompson (JWT). Detailed discussions about the heart of the campaign – the policy platform around which it would be hubbed – led to the finalization of the ‘big ask.’ JWT is one of the largest advertising agencies in the United States and the fourth-biggest in the world. JWT Clients include the richest and most powerful corporations such as Shell. Finally, “the magic of Pocantico helped assure that each participant in the meeting became a partner in the campaign”. The 1Sky communications strategy was created by Fenton Communications, the nation’s ‘foremost media/communications firm’ for the non-profit industrial complex.
“We still have a long way to go, but we are very proud of our early achievements. Those accomplishments stem from the dedication and hard work of many leaders. The initial gathering in April 2007 and two subsequent retreats, the early strategic plan, the 1Sky Solutions, the early investments and the day-to-day efforts that launched 1Sky were executed by several people, but above all by KC Golden of Climate Solutions [K.C. Golden is Policy Director for Climate Solutions, a research and advocacy organization pioneering practical and profitable solutions to global warming], Jessica Bailey of Rockefeller Brothers Fund, John Fogarty of New Energy Economy and myself [Betsy Taylor – President of Board of Directors- Taylor is also founder of Center for a New American Dream] . Others who played absolutely essential roles include Jamie Henn, May Boeve, Will Bates and Bill McKibben of Step It Up/350, Bracken Hendricks of Center for American Progress, Van Jones of Green For All, film producer Marshall Herskovitz, Steve Smith of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Jessy Tolkan and Billy Parish of Energy Action Coalition, Eli Lee of Center for Civic Policy, Sarah Jaynes of Washington Progress Alliance, Jonathan Rose of the Garrison Institute, Kelly Gallagher of the Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs, Greg Haegele of Sierra Club, Larry Schweiger and Jeremy Symons of National Wildlife Federation, Bill Becker of Presidential Climate Action Project, Emily Figdor of Environment America, Rev. Sally Bingham of The Regeneration Project, Kevin Knobloch of Union of Concerned Scientists, Mike Tidwell of Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Michael Noble of Fresh Energy, Harriet Barlow of HKH Foundation, Jesse Fink of MissionPoint Capital, Jon Isham of Middlebury College, Pam Johnson, and Robert Gass, facilitator and retreat designer par excellence. John Grace and Arthur Congdon of Brand Taxi, Inc. donated time and effort to create our name and brand. Garrison Institute donated staff and board time to help support two retreats. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund supported our second gathering at the Pocantico Conference Center and provided us with a bold early investment that leveraged grants from other key donors. The Clinton Global Initiative and Power Shift 2007 helped put us on the map, and EchoDitto donated time to help launch our interactive website. When we hired Gillian Caldwell as Campaign Director in September 2007, things rapidly accelerated forward. Indeed, the growth trajectory of this campaign has been breathtaking.”
In August of 2007, an article titled ‘Bill McKibben: Creating the World’s Biggest Grassroots Movement’ was published by Grist. (McKibben also serves on Grist’s Board of Directors). McKibben states: “In April, at 1400 iconic places across the nation, we made history and united around a common call to action. Then in November we came together under 1 Sky to present our leaders with the climate solutions that science and justice demand. Now it’s up to all of us keep this movement moving.” Bill exclaims:“When they get there, organizers will present them with the platform drawn up over the summer by One Sky, a new coalition of climate campaigners from around the country.”
The 1Sky donors list is massive. One donor, the Wallace Fund refer to 1Sky as the 1Sky Campaign/Rockefeller Family Fund. Sponsors during the first year of operations included the Rockefeller Family Fund, the Garrison Institute, and Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities. Monies from foundations and corporations for the first year totaled $1,973,381 while ‘individuals’ contributed $374,450.
In early 2008 climate code red authors David Spratt and Philip Sutton, asked direct questions on why the most pertinent information regarding climate change was not being shared with the public. In response to the questions raised, a comment suggests: “It’s time to ask: what if the “big ask” is actually B.S.?”
McKibben was not creating the ‘World’s Biggest Grassroots Movement’, he was in fact creating the world’s most heavily funded token movement tightly controlled by world’s most powerful ruling classes. This was a movement bought and paid for by the plutocrats for the peasants. 1Sky and all of the other interconnected heavily funded organizations are little more than convenient messengers for the ruling classes who continue to excel in ensuring ‘all the ducks are in a row’. Nothing is left to chance. Big Greens are a mere business expense in building up the empire. Further, they are a tax write-off.
Access to immense funding, the ruling classes and corporate media will ensure your message gets heard.
At the 2007 Clinton Global Initiative, President Clinton announced the 1Sky campaign. Clinton personally congratulated the 1Sky campaign’s commitment to accelerate bold federal policy on global warming. Rockefeller Brothers Fund President Stephen Heintz; Betsy Taylor, 1Sky Chair; and Jesse Fink, Mission Point Capital Partners, joined President Clinton on stage in recognition of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund commitment to 1Sky. The Rockefeller family contributed at minimum 1-5 million to the Clinton Foundation.
It’s common sense to understand that ‘government leaders’ are not going to feel pressured or threatened, no matter how many people show up on their doorstep, when the ‘platform’ McKibben speaks of is one that the very government with the ruling classes devised themselves and funded.
1Sky Year Two | 2008-2009
The National Teach-In on Global Warming Solutions
“Whether you believe in climate change or not, it doesn’t matter. If your goal is profitability, you’ll act as if you do.” – Promotion of the book Climate Capitalismby Hunter Lovins
On 31 January 2008 in an event titled “Focus the Nation” and 9 February 2009 in an event titled “Solutions for the First 100 Days”, 1Sky organized national days of engagement, involving over 2500 educational institutions and a million Americans. In 2009 the ‘National Teach-In’ was comprised of four opportunities to ‘engage your school or community in critical climate dialogue’. The second opportunity held on October 22, 2009 was a 350 teach-in which promoted a one hundred year global goal: stopping global warming. The advisory board for the National Teach-In included Hunter Lovins, President, Natural Capitalism Solutions, Gillian Caldwell, 1Sky Campaign Director, Billy Parish, co-founder of the Energy Action Coalition, Jessy Tolkan, Executive Director of Programs for Rockefeller funded Energy Action Coalition. Billy Parish is also on the board of directors of 1Sky as well as having integral involvement in Its Getting Hot In Here. In April of 2011, Lovins launched her new book; Climate Capitalism – Capitalism in the Age of Climate Change. Carbon War Room acclaimed: “Climate Capitalismis a must-read for entrepreneurs, investors, industry experts, and corporations interested in capitalizing on the greatest wealth-creation opportunity of our lifetime…”
On 3 April 2008 the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Awarded $1 Million to 1Sky.The total take from foundations and corporations reached $3,061,500 (89.5%) with ‘individuals’ totaling $246,707.60 (7%). On page 6 of the 1Sky 2nd annual report it features a photo of McKibben. Under the photo caption it states: “350/1Skys Bill McKibben”. Also in the report: “350.org and 1 Sky have been close partners ever since our common origins in the Step it Up Days of action in 2007. On November 18th 2008, 1 Sky and 350.org partner with the Energy Action Coalition to recruit over 4,000 grassroots activists.”
Most all of these groups and names listed thus far are signatories, if not playing influential roles within the Presidential Climate Action Plan Institution. A Rockefeller project. This is just a taste in a massive web of compromise, deceit, delusion and manipulation. The advisory committee of this influential Rockefeller project looks somewhat more progressive than the typical elite climate projects of the past. This is no accident. In order to have maximum effect, it is critical that these groups have credible, high-profile individuals who have demonstrated in the past they have the ability to engage citizens. Such individuals successfully help the project deflect criticism and minimize skepticism. One of the most corporate and compromised big green of all, NRDC, is featured on the front page of the PCAP website. Bill Becker, the Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project was integral in the creation of 1Sky.
We can be absolutely certain of one thing. If we do have a revolution, a war time mobilization if you will to avert the climate crisis, not only will it not be televised but you can bet your life that it certainly isn’t going to be funded by the elites in the ruling classes, the Rockefellers of the world. They are anything but stupid. They are not about to fund the crucial changes that will enable us to shift the paradigm, rather, they are controlling the entire movement, ensuring the imperative changes, that threaten their very existence, will never occur. We are allowed to participate only in the illusion of real change. Citizens can be manipulated to believe they’re doing their part and have a voice in shaping such a revolutionary change. That’s why the plutocracy initiates it. However, the shape has already been formed – it is the shape of a big S with a line through it and it looks like this: $
From the article Can the climate bill’s death help build a living climate movement? The Rising can defeat the pirates of the new age written by Gary Lipow 7 Aug 2010: “In 2009, 1Sky celebrated the Waxman-Markey’s passage along with Greenpeace. Greenpeace nominally opposed the Waxman Markey bill initially yet remained and remains a member of 1Sky. It is believed that an ‘updated’ analysis of the Waxman Markey bill was posted the 1Sky website only after receiving much criticism and not on 6/4/09 as 1Sky claimed. If we do accept that the 1Sky analysis existed beforehand, then why were the deficiencies not made clear to 1Sky supporters? 1Sky claimed the proposed changes would ‘strengthen’ the bill while admitting that the reductions the bill would deliver would only be 28% emission reductions by 2020, with a 2005 baseline opposed to 1990.” Perhaps such riddles can be explained by the fact that the CEOs of the top ten green groups in the US rake in from $308,000 to $496,000 per year. (Remember that the next time they call you for a donation, needed to push corporate hand-out suicide pacts, passed off as “win-win” legislation.)
Other members of 1Sky read like a who’s who of Rockefeller grantees including the Rainforest Action Network who has been under attack by the real grassroots climate justice groups for their involvement in the selling out of the Boreal Rainforest with other ENGOs such as Greenpeace. The public was also left in the dark while the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA) was negotiated in secret between nine environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) and 21 forestry companies. Indigenous governments and organizations were left out of the creation of the CBFA agreement. Most recently, Sandra Odendahl of Royal Bank Canada (RBC), finished giving a whirlwind tour of Trinidad where she proclaimed that the RBC agreement with RAN allows her to unveil investment plans for RBC in the country of Trinidad, thanks to the deal they obtained “in the oil sands”. RAN and others paved the way for this.
Do we really believe that the Clintons and the Rockefeller family had a whole Earth economy concept in mind when they pushed the 1Sky agenda forward? Do we really believe that elites had a vision to commence the deconstruction of the existing system and initiate a transition towards building an alternative system which would redistribute the wealth equally amongst citizens of the world? Do we believe the plutocrats would seek, let alone willingly abandon, dismantlement of the capitalist system which has brought our species to the precipice of self-annihilation. Do we believe the wealthy elites would celebrate and embrace the self-determination struggles of the planets citizens and indigenous peoples for their economic, social and cultural liberation? If we truly want to save some resemblance of a livable planet for our children, we must confront and reject the non-profit industrial complex, who in reality, cannot and will not bite the hand which feeds them – the hand upon which they depend, in order to continue to exist.
A People’s History of American Empire by Howard Zinn
April 20th, 2011 will mark the 97 year anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre resulted in the violent deaths of 19 people including 2 women and 11children were asphyxiated and burned to death during an attack on 1,200 striking coal miners. One of the 3 largest companies involved was the Rockefeller family-owned Colorado Fuel & Iron Company. Howard Zinn has described the Ludlow Massacre as “the culminating act of perhaps the most violent struggle between corporate power and laboring men in American history”.
Training the Puppets Art of Leadership Retreat
1Sky bourgeoisie attended the Art of Leadershipretreat workshop for social change leaders from the nonprofit, philanthropic, labor and ‘socially responsible’ business sectors facilitated by Robert Gass, facilitator and retreat designer par excellence. Each participant receives a “360-degree” performance evaluation to clarify areas for skills development. In the Art of Leadership, professional trainers deliver a curriculum that provides leaders with (a) clarity of vision in their work; (b) partnership skills, including listening, speaking, conflict resolution and negotiation; (c) “personal mastery” and emotional intelligence skills; (d) teamwork development skills; and (e) performance skills. What to expect? A four-day intensive residential seminar led by nationally recognized facilitators and held in a beautiful retreat setting.
1Sky also partnered with NYPIRG.
The 1Sky and 350.org PIRG Connection
350.org is registered by Sustainable Markets Foundation (SMF). Who is on the SMF Board of Directors? Of three board members cited, one name is listed. Her name is Elizabeth Hitchcock. Hitchcock is public health advocate for US PIRG and the US PIRG Education Fund. Hitchcock researches and conducts advocacy campaigns. Prior to becoming public health advocate, she served for eleven years as the Communications Director for US PIRG, working with the program and field staffs of the state PIRGs to release reports to the national and local media. Prior to joining the US PIRG staff in 1990, she worked on a number of environmental campaigns with PIRGs in Massachusetts, New Jersey, California, and Florida.
The 350.org domain belongs to that of a Jay R. Halfon.An associate of Rockefeller, Jay R. Halfon is also listed as the executive and Director & General Counsel of Sustainable Markets Foundation.
Halfon was executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), with over 25 offices throughout New York State, for a decade ending in 1997.
Halfon is a practicing attorney specializing in the law of tax exempt organizations and a public policy strategist. He represents tax-exempt organizations, including public charities, private foundations, advocacy groups and political entities. From May 1998 to December 2001 Mr. Halfon served as executive director and general counsel of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. He has a broad range of experience influencing public policy in both Congress and state legislatures. He is the director of Earthworks and former Director of TechRocks. TechRocks came into play from the merged operations of the Rockefeller Technology Project and Desktop Assistance.
The US Public Interest Research Group known as PIRG is a political lobby non-profit organization. The first PIRG was a public interest law firm started by Ralph Nader in Washington, D.C. and was far different from the modern conception of PIRG. The State PIRGs emerged in the early 1970s on college campuses across the country. After students organized on college campuses for nearly 10 years, the different State PIRGs established the D.C. arm, the US PIRG, to advocate for change on the national level. Nearly simultaneously, the PIRGs founded the Fund For Public Interest Research (FFPIR), the fundraising and citizen outreach arm of the PIRGs. Since the early 1990s, the fund has also canvassed for other groups, working very closely with the big green Sierra Club, and many others institutions within the non-profit industrial complex.
In the book Activism, Inc: How the Outsourcing of Grassroots Campaigns Is Strangling Progressive Politics in America by Columbia University sociologist Dana Fisher, Fisher writes that the outsourcing of grassroots organizing by groups like the Sierra Club and Greenpeace to organizations like the Fund has led to the decay of grassroots infrastructure and opportunities for involvement on the left. In response to the criticisms by Fisher and others, the PIRG Fund created a website, Canvassing Works. The site includes testimony by former fund staff who have moved into leading roles in other institutions within the non-profit industrial complex and testimony of big greens within the elitist circles, such as Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope and Randy Hayes of the Rainforest Action Network.
PIRG also receives Rockefeller foundation money while at the same time stating that they avoid any funding directly from corporations, stating that such funding would restrict their autonomy. No one is in a better position to tap into and influence the impressionable youth across North America than that of PIRG.
1Sky Steps it Up | 350.org
14 April 2008: In the same post where ‘Step It Up’ announces they have helped form 1Sky, 350.org is announced: “Meanwhile, the science around climate change has continued to darken. We all watched the Arctic melt last summer, and an ice shelf the size of Connecticut crumple in the southern ocean this winter. James Hansen, our foremost climatologist, has just issued the most important scientific assessment of global warming in many years, which you can read here. Basically, it calls for limiting carbon concentrations in the atmosphere to below 350 parts per million. In fact, Hansen says: “If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm. Therefore, our organizing team is launching a new venture: 350.org. The final website won’t be ready for a few weeks, but since you’re family we’re letting you know now. In fact, we hope very much that you’ll visit the preliminary website that we’ve set up and start figuring out how to help.
On 15 April 2008 Bill McKibben writes: “Don’t let it distract you from pressuring your Senator or from working with 1Sky — that remains crucial. In fact, think of us as the global arm of 1Sky. We just need this commitment to international action to be another part of your hard work on climate change. You can’t believe how encouraged people in other parts of the world are to find that Americans are working on these questions — it breaks down their sense that our country has turned its back on the rest of the world.”
In another article published 15 April 2008 McKibben ends with: “P.S. Some people have asked us if they can help financially in this new effort. The answer, of course, is yes — we could really use the money to hire organizers all around the globe. Some people, in fact, are committing to sending us $350 from the ‘economic stimulus’ checks the government is mailing out. You can donate online at http://www.350.org/donate but if you’d rather mail a check make it out to the Sustainable Markets Foundation. Sustainable Markets Foundation is the official name used (sometimes hyphenated with 350.org) for registering events with the United Nations climate talks. The 2007 990 tax filing shows total revenue as $2099699, fundraising as zero, total expenses as $1250902, and $1118006 in net assets.
A fiscal sponsor must be a non-profit and must have a mission that aligns with the project or organization being incubated. This is an IRS requirement. There are complexities to such an agreement. Fiscal sponsorship is more than a “money conduit” role, as the sponsor’s board assumes significant responsibility for the managed project. While day-to-day program management is handled by the incubating organization or project, the sponsor accepts both legal and financial liability for that group’s activities in addition to funds management.
350.org’s symbolic 10:10:10 campaign was funded by Global Greengrants Fund (GGF), a pro-REDD entity which works with, and receives funding from, the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation. 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.” Yet, Indigenous groups across the world continue their struggle in opposition of REDD which aims to commodify the worlds remaining forests.
To date, McKibben/350.org refuse to endorse or promote The People’s Agreement, agreed upon during the World’s People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth on April 22nd, 2010, in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The People’s Agreement is the first agreement, democratically written by global civil society, to uphold substantive positions on a range of policies, as well as demanding the necessary targets based on the realities nature and climate science demand.
In contrast, McKibben continues to highlight the 350.org campaign which claims to include over 100 of the most vulnerable countries signed onto the 350 ppm target, which 350.org presented in Copenhagen (COP15). Yet, privately, McKibben states, “The list of countries changes all the time, but I think this is the latest. It’s long – the trouble is, it only represents about 7% of total global emissions, Hence not much political power. Hence, much more work to do.” This statement is powerful. McKibben clearly equates the amount of emissions produced to the amount of political power one has. This statement that McKibben provides exemplifies why the current system is grossly unjust; yet he neither acknowledges nor attempts to critically analyze the meaning behind his own words. A global economic system, where over 100 countries represent a mere 7% of all global emissions, is a failed and unjust system. McKibben is clear: the lowest greenhouse gas-emitting states have no power – no matter how many they number. The major greenhouse gas-emitting, obstructionist states retain all power. In this capitalist system, the more destruction achieved, the more monetary wealth accumulates – money being the mechanism and the epitome of power. McKibben as much admits the capitalist system is blocking all progress – yet this is the very system he protects or otherwise condones – at all costs.
Manipulating the Well-Intentioned Youth | Power Shift
As with PIRG the Energy Action Coalition taps into youth across the US and Canada. The work of Energy Action is focused on four strategic areas: campuses, communities, corporate practices, and politics. It is part of the Global Youth Climate Movement. The Energy Action Coalition was founded in June 2004 at a meeting of representatives from almost 20 ENGOs in Washington, D.C.
In the fall of 2007, Step It Up partnered with Power Shift 2007. The first national youth climate conference, Power Shift ’07, took place from November 2 to 5, 2007 with between 5,000 and 6,000 students and young people in attendance. The aim of the conference was to: “urge elected officials to pass legislation which would include three planks taken from the platform of the climate advocacy coalition 1Sky.” Keynote speakers included Bill McKibben, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
In 2008 Powervote was a featured project of Bill Clinton’s Clinton Global Initiative, and hosted Al Gore in a live nationwide webcast. Over 350,000 young people got involved in the movement as climate voters and ‘new leaders’.
Power Shift 2009
Energy Action held a second national youth climate summit, Power Shift 2009 which took place February 27 through March 2, 2009 in Washington, D.C. The event drew over 12,000 student and youth climate activists, representing all 50 U.S. states, all Canadian provinces, and 13 other nations including Brazil, Austria, the United Kingdom. The goal of the conference was to “push the Obama administration and Congress to pass ‘bold, comprehensive, and just national climate legislation’ before entering international climate negotiations in December 2009.
Power Shift 2009 turns Orwellian
Meeting with key strategic members in Congress, these young activists were told that congress was ready to start promoting the essential legislation to achieve the just energy future we all deserve. The youth were told Power Shift needed a mobilization (they specifically asked for an “army”) on the ground spreading the word and gaining support. So, at Power Shift ’09 they gathered in record numbers, 12,000 plus, to demonstrate that the youth climate movement is that “army.” Power Shift claims the 2009 conference was the largest gathering of young people to solve the climate crisis in history. The Power Shift ’09 summer campaign seized the momentum from the conference and worked to organize the “army,” behind a highly strategized and unified national effort to pass climate and energy policy in 2009. During fall of 2009 there were 11 regional Power Shifts. Power Shift states: “There couldn’t have been a more important time for these summits; the Senate was working on a much needed climate and energy bill and President Obama needed such legislation to head to the International Climate Negotiations in Copenhagen with the tools necessary to lead the world toward a ‘fair, ambitious & binding global treaty’.” If this slogan sounds familiar … “A Fair, ambitious & binding global treaty” … it should. It is the infamous corporate TckTckTck slogan which demands essentially nothing.
The critical questions we must ask ourselves are these: With access and opportunity to thousands of students, why were students not educated on the what the real climate targets are that must be achieved, and the fact that nature does not compromise regardless of our politics? Why were students not educated on false solutions? Why were students not made to understand the fact that the cost of the emergency measures that we must undertake, at break-neck speed, requires a non-negotiable diversion of the trillions of dollars from global military expenditures to environmental mitigation?Why did they not use their ‘army’ to demand real targets reflective of reality and climate science as opposed to grossly inadequate, watered down legislation?
‘It’s Getting Hot in Here’ (I’ll say)
“There is no doubt that the Capitalist class will blast and Burn this world before it leaves the stage of history. But it is we the workers who built these palaces and cities, who toiled the fields and worked the factories, and we can build them again, better than before. We are not afraid of ruins” – Buenaventura Durruti
The McKibben article titled Step It Up, Power Shift, and 1 Sky: A United Movement was featured on the website It’s Getting Hot in Here. It’s getting Hot in Here is registered to the ‘Energy Action Coalition’ (EAC) under the registrants name of Danny Marx. EAC states it is comprised of 50 youth-led environmental and social justice organizations including ‘Earth Day’, most noted recently for their repulsive climate wealth dinner event in 2010. Danny Marx is also the managing editor on Powershift09.org. Powershift is a project of the EAC. The team for It’s Getting Hot in Here is comprised of the following people; Matt Leonard ( RAN, TckTckTck climate insider, Greenpeace), Richard Graves (TckTckTck climate insider, online campaigner for the Global Campaign for Climate Action – A.K.A TckTckTck), Scott Parkin from RAN, Jamie Henn (co-coordinator of 350.org), Morgan Goodwin (TckTckTck climate insider, Avaaz), Juliana Williams (co-founder of the Cascade Climate Network) and Zoë Caron (TckTckTck climate insider, Board of Directors of Sierra Club Canada, founding member of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition and climate policy and advocacy specialist for World Wildlife Fund Canada). The late Godfrey Rockefeller was a founder of WWF and a former executive director.
Confused? That’s o.k. – you’re supposed to be. And remember, this is just a tip of the iceberg.
Like the Ku Klux Klan did not fund the civil rights movement, like the right-wing Christian fundamentalists did not fund the movement for gay rights, like the big oil Harper Government (formerly known as the Canadian government) is not going to fund the movement to abolish fossil fuels, the plutocracy is not about to fund any movement whose actions would could actually serve to deconstruct the current economic system, destroying the elites power to dominate and control.
Civil Society. Manipulation. Till death do we part.
As Jacque Fresco states unequivocally: “This shit has got to go.”
 The Climate Group:The Rockefeller Brothers Fund also acts as an incubator for in-house projects that later evolve into free-standing institutions – a case in point being ‘The Climate Group’, launched in London in 2004. The Climate Group coalition includes more than 50 of the world’s largest corporations and sub-national governments, including big polluters such as energy giants BP and Duke Energy, as well as several partner organizations, one being that of the big NGO Avaaz. The Climate Group are advocates unproven carbon capture and storage technology (CCS), nuclear power and biomass as crucial technologies for a low-carbon economy. The Climate Group works closely with other business lobby groups, including the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), which works consistently to sabotage climate action. The Climate Group also works on other initiatives, one being that of the ‘Voluntary Carbon Standard’, a new global standard for voluntary offset projects. One marketing strategist company labeled the Climate Group’s campaign ‘Together’ as “the best inoculation against greenwash”. The Climate Group has operations in Australia, China, Europe, India, and North America. It was a partner to the ‘Copenhagen Climate Council’.
 There are approximately 2 million inmates in state, federal and private prisons throughout the country. According to California Prison Focus, “no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens.” The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world’s prison population, but only 5% of the world’s people. From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the jail population grew to 2 million by the year 2000. In 1990 it was one million. Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit 360,000, according to reports. (Global Research)
Critical questions to ask before supporting any environmental organization to determine if they are the right people to represent your goals (suggested by the New York Climate Action Group):
· What are their demands and what clear steps are they proposing to obtain them?
· Do their actions match their purported goals?
· What are their measures for quantifying any “realistic” effective compromise they have/would accept short of obtaining their goals?
· Do they state consequences for all politicians responsible (not just the Republicans) for failure to work for what’s necessary effectively?
· Do they take money from corporations or corporate-funded foundations?
On the occasion of its ten-year anniversary, the antiglobalization movement has been brought out of its slumber. This is to be expected, as anniversaries and nostalgia often trump the here and now in political action. What is troublesome, though, is not the celebration of a historical moment but the attempted resurrection of this movement, known by some as the Global Justice Movement, under the banner of Climate Justice.
If only regenerating the zeitgeist of a radical moment was as simple as substituting ‘Climate’ for ‘Global'; if only movements appeared with such eas! In fact, this strategy, pursued to its fullest extent in Copenhagen during the UN COP15 Climate Change Summit, is proving more damaging than useful to those of us who are, and have been for the past decade, actively antagonistic to capitalism and its overarching global structures. Here, we will attempt to illustrate some of the problematic aspects of the troubled rebranding of a praxis particular to a decade past. Namely, we will address the following: the financialization of nature and the indirect reliance on markets and monetary solutions as catalysts for structural change, the obfuscation of internal class antagonisms within states of the Global South in favor of simplistic North-South dichotomies, and the pacification of militant action resulting from an alliance forged with transnational NGOs and reformist environmental groups who have been given minimal access to the halls of power in exchange for their successful policing of the movement.
Many of these problematic aspects of the movement’s rebranding became apparent in Copenhagen during the main, high-profile intellectual event that was organized by Climate Justice Action (CJA) on December 14 . CJA is a new alliance formed among (but of course not limited to) some of the Climate Camp activists from the UK, parts of the Interventionist Left from Germany, non-violent civil disobedience activists from the US and the Negrist Disobbedienti from Italy.
The event, which took place in the "freetown" of Christiania, consisted of the usual suspects: Naomi Klein, Michael Hardt, and CJA spokesperson Tadzio Mueller, and it was MCed by non-violent activist guru Lisa Fithian. In their shared political analysis, all of the speakers emphasized the rebirth of the anti-globalization movement. But an uncomfortable contradiction was overarching: while the speakers sought to underscore the continuity with the decade past, they also presented this summit as different, in that those who came to protest were to be one with a summit of world nations and accredited NGOs, instead of presenting a radical critique and alternative force.
Ecology as Economy and Nature as Investment Capital
"What’s important about the discourse that is so powerful, coming from the Global South right now, about climate debt, is that we know that economic debt is a tool of domination and enforcement. It is how our governments impose their neoliberal capitalist policies around the world, so for the Global South to come to the table and say, ‘Wait a minute, we are the creditors and you are the debtors, you owe us a huge debt’ creates an equalizing dynamic in the negotiations."
Let’s look at this contemporary notion of debt, highlighted by Naomi Klein as the principal avenue of struggle for the emerging climate justice movement. A decade ago, the issue of debt incurred through loans taken out from the IMF and World Bank was an integral part of the antiglobalization movement’s analysis and demand to "Drop the Debt." Now, some of that era’s more prominent organizers and thinkers are presenting something deemed analogous and termed ‘climate debt’. The claim is simple: most of the greenhouse gases have historically been produced by wealthier industrial nations and since those in the Global South will feel most of its devastating environmental effects, those countries that created the problem owe the latter some amount of monetary reparations.
The idea of climate debt, however, poses two large problems.
First, while "Drop the Debt!" was one of the slogans of the antiglobalization movement, the analysis behind it was much more developed. Within the movement everyone recognized debt as a tool of capital for implementing neoliberal structural adjustment programs. Under pressure from piling debt, governments were forced to accept privatization programs and severe austerity regimes that further exposed local economies to the ravages of transnational capital. The idea was that by eliminating this debt, one would not only stop privatization (or at least its primary enabling mechanism) but also open up political space for local social movements to take advantage of. Yet something serious is overlooked in this rhetorical transfer of the concept of debt from the era of globalization to that of climate change. Contemporary demands for reparations justified by the notion of climate debt open a dangerous door to increased green capitalist investment in the Global South. This stands in contrast to the antiglobalization movement’s attempts to limit transnational capital’s advances in these same areas of the world through the elimination of neoliberal debt.
The recent emergence of a highly lucrative market formed around climate, and around carbon in particular cannot be overlooked when we attempt to understand the implications of climate reparations demands. While carbon exchanges are the most blatant form of this emerging green capitalist paradigm, value is being reassigned within many existing commodity markets based on their supposed impact on the climate. Everything from energy to agriculture, from cleaning products to electronics, and especially everything within the biosphere, is being incorporated into this regime of climate markets. One can only imagine the immense possibilities for speculation and financialization in these markets as the green bubble continues to grow.
The foreign aid and investment (i.e. development) that will flow into countries of the Global South as a result of climate debt reparations will have the effect of directly subsidizing those who seek to profit off of and monopolize these emerging climate markets. At the Klimaforum, the alternative forum designed to counter the UN summit, numerous panels presented the material effects that would result from a COP15 agreement. In one session on climate change and agricultural policies in Africa, members of the Africa Biodiversity Network outlined how governments on the continent were enclosing communally owned land, labeling it marginal and selling it to companies under Clean Development Mechanisms (CDMs) for biofuel cultivation. CDMs were one of the Kyoto Protocol’s arrangements for attracting foreign investment into the Global South under the guise of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. These sorts of green capitalist projects will continue to proliferate across the globe in conjunction with aid given under the logic of climate debt and will help to initiate a new round of capitalist development and accumulation, displacing more people in the Global South and leading to detrimental impacts on ecosystems worldwide.
Second and perhaps more importantly, “Climate Debt” perpetuates a system that assigns economic and financial value to the biosphere, ecosystems and in this case a molecule of CO2 (which, in reductionist science, readily translates into degrees Celsius). “Climate Debt” is indeed an "equalizing dynamic", as it infects relations between the Global North and South with the same logic of commodification that is central to those markets on which carbon is traded upon. In Copenhagen, that speculation on the value of CO2 preoccupied governments, NGOs, corporations and many of the activists organizing the protests. Advertisements for the windmill company Vestas dominated the metro line in Copenhagen leading to the Bella Center. After asserting that the time for action is now, they read "We must find a price for CO2". Everyone from Vestas to the Sudanese government to large NGOs agree on this fundamental principle: that the destruction of nature and its consequences for humans can be remedied through financial markets and trade deals and that monetary value can be assigned to ecosystems. This continued path towards further commodification of nature and climate debt-driven capitalist development runs entirely antithetical to the antiglobalization movement that placed at its heart the conviction that "the world is not for sale!"
The Inside in the Outside
One of the banners and chants that took place during the CJA-organized Reclaim Power demonstration on December 16 was "Whose summit? Our Summit!". This confused paradigm was omnipresent in the first transnational rendezvous of the Climate Justice Movement. Klein depicted her vision of the street movements’ relationship to those in power during her speech in Christiania as follows:
"It’s nothing like Seattle, there are government delegations that are thinking about joining you. If this turns into a riot, it’s gonna be a riot. We know this story. I’m not saying it’s not an interesting story, but it is what it is. It’s only one story. It will turn into that. So I understand the question about how do we take care of each other but I disagree that that means fighting the cops. Never in my life have I ever said that before. [Laughs]. I have never condemned peoples’ tactics. I understand the rage. I don’t do this, I’m doing it now. Because I believe something very, very important is going on, a lot of courage is being shown inside that center. And people need the support."
The concept that those in the streets outside of the summit are supposed to be part of the same political force as the NGOs and governments who have been given a seat at the table of summit negotiations was the main determining factor for the tenor of the actions in Copenhagen. The bureaucratization of the antiglobalization movement (or its remnants), with the increased involvement from NGOs and governments, has been a process that manifested itself in World Social Forums and Make Poverty History rallies. Yet in Copenhagen, NGOs were much more than a distracting sideshow. They formed a constricting force that blunted militant action and softened radical analysis through paternalism and assumed representation of whole continents.
In Copenhagen, the movement was asked by these newly empowered managers of popular resistance to focus solely on supporting actors within the UN framework, primarily leaders of the Global South and NGOs, against others participating in the summit, mainly countries of the Global North. Nothing summarizes this orientation better than the embarrassingly disempowering Greenpeace slogans "Blah Blah Blah, Act Now!" and "Leaders Act!" Addressing politicians rather than ordinary people, the attitude embodied in these slogans is one of relegating the respectable force of almost 100,000 protesters to the role of merely nudging politicians to act in the desired direction, rather than encouraging people to act themselves. This is the logic of lobbying. No display of autonomous, revolutionary potential. Instead, the emphasis is on a mass display of obedient petitioning. One could have just filled out Greenpeace membership forms at home to the same effect.
A big impetus in forging an alliance with NGOs lay in the activists’ undoubtedly genuine desire to be in solidarity with the Global South. But the unfortunate outcome is that a whole hemisphere has been equated with a handful of NGO bureaucrats and allied government leaders who do not necessarily have the same interests as the members of the underclasses in the countries that they claim to represent. In meeting after meeting in Copenhagen where actions were to be planned around the COP15 summit, the presence of NGOs who work in the Global South was equated with the presence of the whole of the Global South itself. Even more disturbing was the fact that most of this rhetoric was advanced by white activists speaking for NGOs, which they posed as speaking on behalf of the Global South.
Klein is correct in this respect: Copenhagen really was nothing like Seattle. The most promising elements of the praxis presented by the antiglobalization movement emphasized the internal class antagonisms within all nation-states and the necessity of building militant resistance to local capitalist elites worldwide. Institutions such as the WTO and trade agreements such as NAFTA were understood as parts of a transnational scheme aimed at freeing local elites and financial capital from the confines of specific nation-states so as to enable a more thorough pillaging of workers and ecosystems across the globe. Ten years ago, resistance to transnational capital went hand in hand with resistance to corrupt governments North and South that were enabling the process of neoliberal globalization. Its important to note that critical voices such as Evo Morales have been added to the chorus of world leaders since then. However, the movement’s current focus on climate negotiations facilitated by the UN is missing a nuanced global class analysis. It instead falls back on a simplistic North-South dichotomy that mistakes working with state and NGO bureaucrats from the Global South for real solidarity with grassroots social movements struggling in the most exploited and oppressed areas of the world.
Enforced Homogeneity of Tactics
Aligning the movement with those working inside the COP15 summit not only had an effect on the politics in the streets but also a serious effect on the tactics of the actions. The relationship of the movement to the summit was one of the main points of discussion about a year ago while Climate Justice Action was being formed. NGOs who were part of the COP15 process argued against taking an oppositional stance towards the summit in its entirety, therefore disqualifying a strategy such as a full shutdown of the summit. The so-called inside/outside strategy arose from this process, and the main action, where people from the inside and the outside would meet in a parking lot outside of the summit for an alternative People’s Assembly, was planned to highlight the supposed political unity of those participating in the COP15 process and those who manifested a radical presence in the streets.
Having made promises to delegates inside the Bella Center on behalf of the movement, Naomi Klein asserted that "Anybody who escalates is not with us," clearly indicating her allegiances. Rather than reentering the debate about the validity of ‘escalating’ tactics in general, arguing whether or not they are appropriate for this situation in particular, or attempting to figure out a way in which different tactics can operate in concert, the movement in Copenhagen was presented with oppressive paternalism disguised as a tactical preference for non-violence.
The antiglobalization movement attempted to surpass the eternal and dichotomizing debate about violence vs. non-violence by recognizing the validity of a diversity of tactics. But in Copenhagen, a move was made on the part of representatives from Climate Justice Action to shut down any discussion of militant tactics, using the excuse of the presence of people (conflated with NGOs) from the Global South. Demonstrators were told that any escalation would put these people in danger and possibly have them banned from traveling back to Europe in the future. With any discussion of confrontational and militant resistance successfully marginalized, the thousands of protesters who arrived in Copenhagen were left with demonstrations dictated by the needs and desires of those participating in and corroborating the summit.
Alongside the accreditation lines that stretched around the summit, UN banners proclaimed "Raise Your Voice," signifying an invitation to participate for those willing to submit to the logic of NGO representation. As we continue to question the significance of NGO involvement and their belief that they are able to influence global decision-making processes, such as the COP15 summit, we must emphasize that these so-called participatory processes are in fact ones of recuperative pacification. In Copenhagen, like never before, this pacification was not only confined to the summit but was successfully extended outward into the demonstrations via movement leaders aligned with NGOs and governments given a seat at the table of negotiations. Those who came to pose a radical alternative to the COP15 in the streets found their energy hijacked by a logic that prioritized attempts to influence the failing summit, leaving street actions uninspired, muffled and constantly waiting for the promised breakthroughs inside the Bella Center that never materialized.
NGO anger mounted when a secondary pass was implemented to enter the summit during the finalfour days, when presidents and prime ministers were due to arrive. Lost in confusion, those demonstrating on the outside were first told that their role was to assist the NGOs on the inside and then were told that they were there to combat the exclusion of the NGOs from the summit. This demand not to be excluded from the summit became the focal politic of the CJA action on December 16. Although termed Reclaim Power, this action actually reinforced the summit, demanding "voices of the excluded to be heard." This demand contradicted the fact that a great section of the Bella Center actually resembled an NGO Green Fair for the majority of the summit. It is clear that exclusionary participation is a structural part of the UN process and while a handful of NGOs were "kicked out" of the summit after signing on to Reclaim Power, NGO participation was primarily limited due to the simple fact that three times as many delegates were registered than the Bella Center could accommodate.
In the end, the display of inside/outside unity that the main action on the 16th attempted to manifest was a complete failure and never materialized. The insistence on strict non-violence prevented any successful attempt on the perimeter fence from the outside while on the inside the majority of the NGO representatives who had planned on joining the People’s Assembly were quickly dissuaded by the threat of arrest. The oppressive insistence by CJA leaders that all energy must be devoted to supporting those on the inside who could successfully influence the outcome of the summit resulted in little to no gains as the talks sputtered into irreconcilable antagonisms and no legally binding agreement at the summit’s close. An important opportunity to launch a militant movement with the potential to challenge the very foundations of global ecological collapse was successfully undermined leaving many demoralized and confused.
Looking Forward: The Real Enemy
As we grapple with these many disturbing trends that have arisen as primary tendencies defining the climate justice movement, we have no intention of further fetishizing the antiglobalization movement and glossing over its many shortcomings. Many of the tendencies we critique here were also apparent at that time. What is important to take away from comparisons between these two historical moments is that those in leadership positions within the contemporary movement that manifested in Copenhagen have learned all the wrong lessons from the past. They have discarded the most promising elements of the antiglobalization struggles: the total rejection of all market and commodity-based solutions, the focus on building grassroots resistance to the capitalist elites of all nation-states, and an understanding that diversity of tactics is a strength of our movements that needs to be encouraged.
The problematic tendencies outlined above led to a disempowering and ineffective mobilization in Copenhagen.Looking back, it is clear that those of us who traveled to the Copenhagen protests made great analytical and tactical mistakes. If climate change and global ecological collapse are indeed the largest threats facing our world today, then the most important front in this struggle must be against green capitalism. Attempting to influence the impotent and stumbling UN COP15 negotiations is a dead end and waste of energy when capital is quickly reorganizing to take advantage of the ‘green revolution’ and use it as a means of sustaining profits and solidifying its hegemony into the future.
Instead of focusing on the clearly bankrupt and stumbling summit happening at the Bella Center, we should have confronted the hyper-green capitalism of Hopenhagen, the massive effort of companies such as Siemens, Coca-Cola, Toyota and Vattenfall to greenwash their image and the other representations of this market ideology within the city center. In the future, our focus must be on destroying this reorganized and rebranded form of capitalism that is successfully manipulating concerns over climate change to continue its uninterrupted exploitation of people and the planet for the sake of accumulation. At our next rendezvous we also need to seriously consider if the NGO/non-profit industrial complex has become a hindrance rather than a contribution to our efforts and thus a parasite that must be neutralized before it can undermine future resistance.
Tim Simons and Ali Tonak can be reached at: anticlimaticgroup