Foundation Funding: Tightening the Bonds of Our Own Oppression

February 15, 2013

Author/illustrator Stephanie McMillan of Minimum Security writes:

The awareness of capitalism’s core mechanisms (as opposed to its effects) is so crucial because the system has numerous methods of assimilating our struggles, and we have to make sure we don’t get sidetracked. It diverts discontent into forms that reinforce its own institutions. These are very sophisticated and persuasive – they make people feel that they are making a difference when in fact they’re tightening the bonds of their own oppression.
Lisa Inti, WKOG, adds:
It seems that when one attempts to engage in a critical discussion regarding the political problems of working with these and other foundations, and especially when one is interested in naming them as the gently repressive “evil” cousins of the more prototypically evil right-wing foundations, the establishment Left becomes profoundly defensive of its financial patrons. I would argue that this is a liberal-progressive vision that marginalizes the radical, revolutionary, and proto-revolutionary forms of activism, insurrection, and resistance that refuse to participate in the Soros charade of “shared values”, and are uninterested in trying to “improve the imperfect.” The social truth of the existing society is that it is based on the production of massive, unequal, and hierarchically organized disenfranchisement, suffering, and death of these populations who are targeted for containment and political/social liquidation –a violent social order produced under the dictates of “democracy,” “peace,” “security,” and “justice” that form the historical and political foundations of the very same white civil society on which the NPIC Left is based.

If we take seriously, for the sake of argument, the political analysis articulated by Palestinians struggling against the Israeli occupation, or that of imprisoned radical intellectuals/activists and their free-world allies desperately fighting to dismantle and abolish the prison industrial complex, or that of Indigenous peoples worldwide who, to paraphrase Haunani-Kay Trask, are literally fighting against their own planned obsolescence, then it should become clear that the Soros philosophy of the Open Society, along with other liberal foundation social imaginaries, are at best philanthropic vanities. At worst, we can accuse the Soros, Ford, Mellon, and Rockefeller foundations, and their ilk of NGOs and non-profit organizations, of accompanying and facilitating these massive structures of human domination, which simply cannot be reformed or “reconciled” in a manner that legitimates anything approaching a vision of liberation or radical freedom.” –Dylan Rodriguez (The Political Logic of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex)
McMillan adds:

Elections, corporate-funded nonprofits, NGOs and CBOs, personal change, political pressure, culture-jamming, tinkering with the economy, green jobs, withdrawing our support, symbolic protests – all are offered up as options for dissent. None of them are sufficient; on the contrary, they serve to reinforce the system’s authority and the illusion of democracy.


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