Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fording the river: Co-opting Indigenous peoples

Ford Foundation is an ideological supporter of the World Bank (a mega co-developer of dams, mining and plantations in Indigenous territories), and a UN Millenium Development Goals supporter -- along with Gates and Clinton -- to do the same. Co-opting Indigenous peoples is a key objective of their neoliberal privatization project. Taking money from Ford Foundation is thus equivalent to taking money from Shell Oil, Rio Tinto or Monsanto.

Ford Foundation is known for funding NGOs promoting civil rights, while simultaneously supporting the state and corporate neglect of Indigenous human rights.  Civil rights do not conflict with capitalism, while human rights do.

Anti-Indian organizations in the US believe tribal governments should be abolished, and work toward that end. Their main argument is that civil rights guarantee equality under domestic law, ignoring the fact that international law recognizes the human rights of Indigenous nations to make their own laws.

Protecting their territories and properties requires Indigenous nations to invoke international law and treaties that supersede domestic civil law. By undermining the implementation of Indigenous human rights law, Ford Foundation abets racism and religious bigotry against Indigenous peoples.

As Indigenous nations and modern states prepare for the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in September 2014, corporations like Shell Oil and foundations like Ford are spreading money around to co-opt Indigenous activists and NGOs. While this bribery ensures Indigenous NGOs will be in attendance at the UN event, these partnerships and dependencies ensure they will not challenge the capitalist system in anything but moral theatrics.

Indeed, some of the recipients of Ford Foundation money have already demonstrated a willingness to attack Indigenous governing authorities in order to protect their state-approved, foundation-funded privileges at the UN. Ford Foundation funded brokerages include International Funders for Indigenous Peoples and the Seventh Generation Fund.

Because Ford Foundation funds academic institutions or NGOs or conferences does not mean that anyone working at these institutions or NGOs or attending their conferences supports neoliberal philosophy. What Ford tries to do is shape public opinion in favor of neoliberalism; supporting capitalist-oriented humanitarianism is essential to that psychological warfare.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Cleaning Brand Obama

Jim Lobe's article on rapidly escalating U.S. militarization of Latin America is valuable in illuminating the nature of the U.S. military as an industry unresponsive to international and even domestic law, but that said, Lobe's failure to challenge the false image of the Obama Administration as progressive on human rights brands him as an apologist. Having lifted the ban on U.S. support to Indonesia's military death squads now on a rampage of murder in West Papua, Obama needs apologists to keep his brand clean. Liberals like Lobe seem eager to oblige.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

People Land Truth 2013

PLT 2013, a special publication of Intercontinental Cry Magazine, is now available in digital and print formats.


On the eve of destruction of Damascus, Jason C. Bivins writes on religious enthusiasm, the public imagination and the American apocalyptic. As prelude to the second coming, says Bivin, the emotional resonance and exclusive certitudes of the End Times mediasphere certify only one thing: anomie.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Constraining Hate

How to constrain hate campaigns is the subject of a recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights. While the ruling regarding Hungarian fascist associations and their threatening behavior toward Roma (Gypsies) is not an indigenous issue, it contains discussion applicable to hate crimes and hate campaigns against indigenous peoples. As I noted in my comment on the article at Minorities in Focus, outlawing threatening behavior, be it in print or on the street, seems more effective than banning associations or political parties. Seizing financial assets involved in promoting hate crimes thus becomes a useful deterrent, justified as a response to unlawful rather than merely offensive behavior.