Sunday, November 18, 2012

Too Good to be True


In their June 2012 Cultural Risk Alerts for Corporate Leaders, First Peoples Worldwide highlights a UN report that says media campaigns against individual corporate miscreants is counterproductive to affecting systemic change, suggesting instead that indigenous peoples should work within the system, relying on the UN and its agencies like the World Bank to protect their interests. If one was to take FPW's pronouncements at face value, corporations like Shell Oil, Exxon Mobil, BP, Conoco Philips and Suncor have seen the light, and with UN guidance are leading the way to a bright new future.

First Peoples Worldwide, an NGO funded by foundations, corporations and multilaterals, uses all the heartwarming neoliberal nomenclature well. So well, I suspect, that many innocent indigenous peoples are led to believe it is the answer to their prayers. But, as with all things that seem too good to be true, the first thing to check on is where they get their money. Sweet talk is one thing; who they actually work for is another.

FPW's IRS form 990 does not name the source of its half million dollars in annual revenue, but it's a safe bet it's dirty money. I don't know if their employee Nick Pelosi is related to the former US Speaker of the House, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (he's not one of her children), but it wouldn't surprise me. His article about Indians harnessing the economic potential of oil field and refinery development fits well with the Corporate Social Responsibility theme neoliberals love so well.

Looking at the FPW blog, the buzz about Corporate Social Responsibility touted on the home page is reinforced by this post on FPW promoting World Bank and UN co-optation of indigenous peoples through their fraudulent gatherings aimed at undermining the indigenous movement. Something Intercontinental Cry magazine has covered extensively.

A cursory review of the First Peoples Worldwide website reveals one of their Board of Directors to be Gloria Steinem, renowned feminist publisher and CIA operative, currently working to promote humanitarian warfare by the US and NATO, allegedly to "liberate women" in Arab Spring countries. As a recipient of Soros Open Society and Ford Foundation funding (no friends of indigenous peoples), Steinem's organizations help legitimize foreign coups by the US State Department.

The reason I chose to expose FPW is that they are serving to undermine key concepts vital to indigenous sovereignty, thus furthering the neoliberal model of development Clinton, Gates and Ford support through UN initiatives like the Millenium Development Goals--neocolonialism by another name. By engaging in the war of ideas on the side of the financial industry, FPW becomes fair game for criticism--especially when they sell their soul to the forces of privatization.

Promoting capitalism and assimilating indigenous peoples into the capitalist system in the process might be in tune with FPW's funders and institutions like the World Bank, but privatization of indigenous communal property rights is integral to destroying their cultural continuity. And as reported at Mother Earth Journal, the capitalist model of development comes with a social, environmental and cultural cost. As the late Chief George Manuel once remarked, "Assimilation is annihilation."

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