Friday, June 22, 2012

Reforming an Abomination

Wrong Kind of Green exposes the nexus of white supremacy propaganda and high-tech genocide. Examining demonization, psychological warfare, the behavioral economics of hatred, and the marketplace of perceptions, they reveal the consumer-oriented complexities of promoting capitalist activism as an antidote to the evils of capitalism. In critiquing the illusion of reforming an abomination, Wrong Kind of Green details the methodology of capital in subverting citizenship, substituting meaningless consumer activities led by capitalist-funded fronts like SumOfUs, 350 and MoveOn.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Total War

With war as America's largest export, it should perhaps come as no surprise that warmongers with experience in government, or even the war-making industry, should end up in executive roles in the non-profit sector. After all, they're in academia and media, and occasionally get awards like the Nobel Peace Prize, so why not the leadership of human rights NGOs?

Of course, capturing and consolidating media in order to promote war as a way of life was expensive, but given the constant flow from the US Treasury through the corporations that now own both mainstream media and the armaments factories, money really isn't a problem. With the bailout of Wall Street investment firms that are heavily invested in fossil fuels and military weapons, their ability to purchase governments abroad and humanitarian organizations at home is essentially unlimited for the foreseeable future.

As noted at Wrong Kind of Green, even the executive director at Amnesty International USA is now an insider from the halls of institutionalized aggression posing as humanitarian relief.  Under such scenarios as this, we should anticipate synchronized propaganda in the form of advertising that advocates war as the highest and noblest calling. Indeed, Amnesty International USA has already begun such a campaign in support of NATO.

Given that NATO is the "humanitarian war" enforcement arm for US/UN/EU joint aggression, the psychological warfare conducted in education, advertising and social media can now focus on infiltrating and corrupting human rights organizations--leaving only civil society networks and Indigenous liberation activists as a viable opposition. How viable they remain, of course, depends on their ability to strategically outmaneuver the Government/Wall Street/BINGO Axis.

Key to this resistance, I would note, is freeing our imagination. Playing by the old rules of the game is a losing proposition. If our enemies are pulling out all the stops in order to destroy humanity in their perverted psychodrama, then total war is all that is left. How we conduct that war will make all the difference.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Undermining Indigenous Liberation

The Corbett Report interviews Global Research associate Andrew Gavin Marshall about the history of foundation philanthropy established by the American robber barons -- e.g. Ford, Vanderbilt, Carnegie, and Rockefeller -- as engines of social engineering to create "consent to the hegemony of the ruling class." As funders of think tanks and universities in order to create a managerial elite over the last century (through the design of social sciences for social control), the foundations, says Marshall, make the world safe for capitalism by channeling criticism away from fundamental change. In what he describes as recolonizing the world today through social genocide, Marshall notes that foundation funded NGOs function as capitalist missionaries, extending the imperial project worldwide, and thereby undermining Indigenous liberation.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Prone to Corruption

There are some general things that can be said about democracy. Democracy first and foremost is a process, but not all democracies are the same. Some disperse power broadly, while others concentrate power to varying degrees--the more dispersed, the more democratic.

Voting, elections, and representative democracy -- a system imposed on Indigenous societies by European colonial powers -- is about halfway on the spectrum between full democracy where everyone has a say, and tyranny, where they have none.

Democracy is also a discursive process, where problems and solutions are discussed openly and at length, giving everyone a chance to speak, listen, learn and otherwise contribute. The abbreviated version, where only a few have full access to knowledge and information and decide among themselves what to do, is prone to corruption, and indeed is the reason modern states worldwide are in failure.

Indigenous societies, in general, operated by consensus, not by majority rule obtained through voting and representative democracy. This enabled them to make decisions with the consent of the people. By contrast, modern states, at best, adopt policy without the consent of the people, thereby setting the stage for conflict, distrust, and incremental tyranny. Even when consent is obtained through such mechanisms as referendum, it is often overruled by anti-democratic institutions like the IMF, WTO and World Bank.

As Indigenous societies attempt to liberate themselves from colonial institutions, they will inevitably have to address the imposed processes that have divided and conquered their peoples. Making their views on democracy known will help to protect them from attack by dominant institutions like federal ministries and corporate news.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Accelerated Christian Education

While state monopolies on education are problematic, state support of pseudo-education is tragic. As Bruce Wilson reports on the new voucher program in Louisiana, religious schools there are filling children's minds with nonsense and bigotry. While the Accelerated Christian Education curriculum denies the science of evolution, it is the distortion of racism by their fellow travelers at A Beka and Bob Jones University that is most disconcerting. As Wilson notes, portraying the Ku Klux Klan as a respectable agent of social reform, construing South Africa's apartheid as multiculturalism at its best, and praising the Trail of Tears forced march of Cherokees from Appalachia to Oklahoma as a blessing that led these heathens to Christ, is a bit much to swallow.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Black Vanguard

In James Forman's book The Making of Black Revolutionaries, the former organizer of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) -- that led the sit-ins against American apartheid, and risked their lives in support of Black communities in Mississippi Freedom Summer -- recalled the challenges of working with the established Black elites of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) who wanted to control the activists.

Writing today in Black Agenda Report, Bruce A. Dixon examines how corporate funding has corrupted Black establishment organizations like the Urban League, NAACP and SCLC, to the extent that they have become neutralized in conflicts over environmental racism. Having bought themselves a generation of Black politicians like Barack Obama, the nuclear power industry -- and other corporate sectors heavily reliant on public treasury largesse -- have now found reliable toadies in the conventional Black vanguard.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Choice and Force

In another post from Traffick Jamming, Free Irish Woman writes about the distinctions and commonalities of trafficking and prostitution, and the gender slavery they are a part of. As she astutely observes, we need to examine what we understand about the concepts of choice and force.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pet Protestors

In April of this year, Wrong Kind of Green posted a Counterpunch article titled Manufacturing Dissent, in which the author dissected the astroturf organizations posing as environmental activists under the cover name Tar Sands Action. In this article, the Keystone Pipeline charade in Washington, D.C. -- staged by Democratic Party fronts, and funded by Tides Foundation -- was exposed as nothing but political theater, albeit a pricey one. Then again, what's a measly ten million dollars to the oil industry?

As a pro-Obama drama, choreographed to give the big O an environmental win in the run-up to his re-election contest, throwing Tides' pet protestors a bone that could later be yanked away like Lucy's football before a baffled Linus in the classic Peanuts cartoon, was all the more tragic in light of the president's earlier betrayals--betrayals that include his deregulation of offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico (that caused the largest oil spill in US history), his endorsement of drilling in the Arctic (which threatens to annihilate that ecosystem), and his unbridled support for coal and nuclear power.

In September 2009 I wrote about how the Alberta Tar Sands is the largest and arguably dirtiest, carbon-generating industrial project in human history. So how do the oil companies go about defeating the First Nations and bona fide environmental networks opposed to the project? The answer according to Macdonald Stainsby and Dru Oja Jay, authors of Offsetting Resistance: the effects of foundation funding and corporate fronts, is to buy their own environmental group to negotiate with the government on their behalf.

That organization, Tar Sands Coalition (part of the Tides' Tar Sands Action project), can then be counted on to help smother the grassroots environmental movement. As oil corporations like Tar Sands investor Sunoco look to defeat environmentalism and indigenous peoples from the Arctic to Patagonia, giant multi-billion dollar foundations like Pew Charitable Trusts are critical.

Using money-laundering operations like Tides to help them, Pew (same family that owns Sunoco), Rockefeller, Ford and Hewlett Foundations — all benefactors of the San Francisco-based Tides Foundation — can then effectively greenwash corporate fronts masquerading as environmental organizations. When organizations like The Nature Conservancy, Greenpeace, and Sierra Club can be bought off by big oil, the only thing to do is expose the colossal fraud. In their remarkable report, messrs. Stainsby and Jay, I noted, have done just that.

In September 2005, I was reading Michael McFaul's article Political Charades in the Moscow Times one morning, in which he reviews Andrew Wilson's book Virtual Politics: Faking Democracy in the Post-Soviet World.

In the book, says McFaul, Wilson shows how "PRshchiki, or political technologists, became the main actors in elections, not political parties. Their trade largely consisted -- and consists to this day -- of creating the illusion of normal electoral politics. As this industry grew, many of our Russian discussion-group participants, originally trained as academics, stopped trying to analyze the nonexistent institutions and organizations of a democratic Russia, and instead joined the lucrative business of staging virtual politics."

Virtual Politics, says McFaul, is the first truly comprehensive account of the sophisticated industry of political technology that has emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union, which Wilson carefully documents the wide array of methods used by political technologists, both in and out of the government, to destroy political enemies, invent pro-government parties and personalities, and even create, manipulate and control so-called opposition parties.

As McFaul observes, "At first glance, an American reader would find something familiar about the methods used to fake politics in Russia...K Street in Washington is filled with firms specializing in the invention of grassroots movements that pressure the government to pass legislation or stop regulation on behalf of the people, while actually supporting corporations ..."

McFaul also notes Wilson's point about the one fundamental difference from the American model: the role of the state. "In the United States, this industry is still a private one. In Russia, it is becoming increasingly nationalized." But then, I ask, if the illusion-makers and the illusion-fakers are all in bed together, what real difference does it make?

Which brings me back to the title of McFaul's article, and the notion of charade as it is enacted in the American street, not to mention the White House or halls of Congress. I mean, what do the plethora of 501-C-3 do-gooders in turtle costumes or Che berets, waving signs to save this or stop that, really have to do with authentic democracy? In truth, shouldn't their radical academic courses in activism and social change be relocated from political science departments to that of theatre arts?

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Defenders of Oligarchs

Writing at Dissident Voice, Collin Harris discusses the police and Occupy with Our Enemies in Blue author Kristian Williams. As the armed defenders of oligarchs, the menacing and ubiquitous presence of police, says Williams, serves as counterpoint to Occupy's movement against inequality. As the perceived legitimacy of the police is waning, he notes, we need to find ways of insuring public safety without ubiquitous surveillance and routine violence. As he says,

A fair, just, and equal society is not one that will have anything like our present police institution.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

What's Going On

Discussing how technological weapons are now being used against civilian populations, Julian Assange interviews leading analysts from Europe and the US about total communications surveillance, privatized secret police, and how the popular use of the Internet is changing the narrative of what's going on.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Beyond Their Wildest Dreams

Collective amnesia and social attention deficit often erase the memory required to understand where new phenomena like green greed came from. Of course, greed isn't new, nor is fraud, but this particular combination might be new to those just encountering it. It's why we have memory systems like archives, stories and films.
In the 20th century, industrial extraction was unapologetically brutal--hiring propagandists, ideologues, field agent provocateurs and thugs to silence critics and crush opponents. They still do that, but now they deny it, or conceal it with confusing cover stories.
Likewise, they always co-opted less committed critics, but not to the present degree of comprising vertically-integrated industries where they have their own green NGOs and news services that enable them to promote green greed as sustainable, even humanitarian.
Initially, the Wise Use movement in the 1980s sought to intimidate community activists opposed to environmental destruction, literally threatening and assaulting them. After Congressional hearings on this extraction industry-financed thuggery in the 1990s, they trotted out the concept of Free-Market environmentalism, whereby extraction industries and  real estate developers could cash in on public environmental sentiments with minor concessions--often little more than public relations gimmicks. With the development of climate change scams like REDD -- perhaps the epitome of green greed -- securities traders and other sectors of the financial services industry are now getting in on the action.
Looking at the lineup of players involved, the overlap between REDD and Wise Use is remarkably consistent; even the usual suspects in the bank bailouts that led to global austerity measures have a continuous presence.
One interesting aspect of REDD and Wise Use is the fact that both are anti-democratic by design -- thereby corrosive of accountable governance -- and both view Indigenous peoples rights and Fourth World sovereignty as targets to be strategically undermined and destroyed. In the 1980s and 1990s, extraction industry-financed organizations and networks were used to foment racism and violence against American Indians over treaty-protected resources. The same funding went to political campaigns to elect anti-Indian officials willing to thwart federal law on behalf of the industries.
Building on their earlier success, they have now corrupted international institutions like the United Nations, facilitating the development of anti-democratic, anti-Indigenous, anti-environmental programs under the guise of saving the planet--a public relations ploy perhaps beyond their wildest dreams as little as a decade ago. Then again, maybe not.