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Fundacion Pachamama is Dead – Long Live ALBA [Part VII of an Investigative Report]

The Art of Annihilation

February 9, 2015

Part seven of an investigative report by Cory Morningstar with Forrest Palmer

Fundación Pachamama Investigative Report Series [Further Reading]: Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VIPart VII  • Part VIII [Final Segment]


A Playground for the Rich

“No other industry so flagrantly prospers off of colonialism – none penetrates and threatens Indigenous cultures so deeply.” — Is the Sacred for Sale: Tourism and Indigenous Peoples

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Above: Zoë Tryon, ambassador for Amazon Watch and Fundación Pachamama. Photo from the article “Escape From the Amazon: A Gringo Adventure,” October 7, 2013

Zoe went on to explain that she had done the ritual with over 100 people. ‘What people?’ I asked. ‘Mainly Jewish bankers who had come to exorcise their Wall Street demons and mommy issues,’ she replied in a matter of fact wayA glimpse into further insanity and the western commodity culture that now permeates the Achuar ethnicity is beyond embarrassing. June 6, 2008, The Daily Mail: “Looking at Zoë (Tryon), she is the physical embodiment of this linking of worlds, dressed today for our three-hour canoe ride to the Achuar village in a designer dress by Wheels and Dollbaby (an Australian label she is keen to let me know is stocked in Harvey Nichols), wellington boots and chunky jungle-made jewellery. The respect she has gained among the Indigenous people is remarkable; the Achuar president tells me that he regards Zoë as his people’s ambassador: ‘She is our mother and our sister. We want her to prick the conscience of the world and awaken them to the importance of the rainforest and its people.'”

A glimpse into some of those who visit the Achuar territory can be easily accessed via the internet. In one such article, a guest of “the honorable” Zoë Tryon’s tribal journeys (Tryon formerly resided with Pachamama co-founders, Lynne & Bill Twist) is refreshingly both candid and vulgar, summarizing the full ignorance of an average American traveler. The very traveler we are to believe will be “transformed” by their experience and have their conscience “pricked” (Awakening the Dreamer so to speak) prior to flying back home to save the world. On October 1, 2013, Zoë’s guest to the jungle writes:

“Nick was a billionaire real estate mogul from LA who was going through a divorce from his actress wife…. He told me that his trip to the jungle was a ‘spiritual’ quest…. I told him I was there on a spiritual quest to boost my Facebook and Twitter ‘cred’ and that I hoped to get a bikini shot underneath a waterfall. Zoe went on to explain that she had done the ritual with over 100 people. ‘What people?’ I asked. ‘Mainly Jewish bankers who had come to exorcise their Wall Street demons and mommy issues,’ she replied in a matter of fact way…. The next morning, the shaman got in his canoe and paddled home…. ‘I need to get out of here.’ ‘Where do you need to go?’ she laughed. ‘Back to Quito. To a mall. I need a manicure. A pedicure. I need ice cream. I need Zara and diet coke.’ She looks at me like I’m not serious and then realizes I am totally serious. We organize a plane and I anxiously wait at the end of the dirt runway until it got there. Four hours later we were finally eating ice cream and having our nails done.”

In 2012 Tyron established her own non-profit, One of the Tribe, establishing partnerships with U.S. based Amazon Watch, Fundación Pachamama and Creative Visions. Tyron also serves as an Ambassador for Amazon Watch and Fundación Pachamama.

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Above: Zoe Tyron relaxing at Kapawi Eco Lodge. Photograph:Clare Kendall

The rare exclusiveness, for those who can afford it, is not lost on the elite, rather it is marketedContact with the Earth’s last remaining and most isolated Indigenous peoples must be considered an extraordinary privilege. One could argue that for the elite few who experience such a rare “encounter,” there is little to differentiate between this encounter and most all other colonial conquests in Earth’s history. The rare exclusiveness, for those who can afford it, is not lost on the elite, rather it is marketed: “We will have the rare privilege of interacting with the Achuar People in the early stages of their contact with the modern world.” [Source] The exclusivity and desire of the Euro-American elite is heightened with the understanding that they are among the chosen few to experience, perhaps for the last time, what little remains of pristine nature and Indigenous cultures. The very same pristine nature and Indigenous cultures the West has been destroying for centuries via predatory industrialization and the rabid genocide of Indigenous peoples. Such tourists, having just stepped into the Anthropocene, comprise the very, very few who will encounter the exotic and bear witness to the living vanishing prior to planetary ecological collapse. Not unlike witnessing the last rhino on Earth or any other last remaining species to walk the planet – this “rare privilege” of interaction must be considered one of many ultimate accomplishments for the bourgeoisie’s own personal “bucket list.” The more rare the spectacle, the higher the cost, the more coveted the experience becomes.

As citizens who were spoon-fed the myth of American exceptionalism, it seems likely that collectively, we as Euro-Americans have become so desperate to escape ourselves, we now find ourselves attempting to latch onto Earth’s last authentic living/breathing cultures. Simply for no other reason than we can no longer tolerate who we have become. The atrocities committed in our names have become far too egregious for any respectable citizen to further hide behind a feigned ignorance and blindness. Thus, starved for true meaning, the “otherness” of Earth’s living ecosystems and authentic Indigenous cultures is not internalized or understood – rather, it is voraciously consumed.

It is critical to note that interaction between foreign women and local men has been known (and documented) to cause community conflicts (Tapuy, 1996). One can safely assume bikini-clad foreign women being guided in canoes (by Achuar men) for leisure creates such conflict (and most likely intense jealousy) considering it has been documented that valuable time spent away from families and family responsibilities causes stress and conflict amongst many of the Achuar families/communities. Further, it has been documented that the Achuar are very jealous people, which is said to be a common trait in their culture. To understand the emotions that such selfish actions will undoubtedly evoke, yet still choose to fulfill one’s own personal wants and interests, is beyond the pale.

Cannibal Tours

Cannibal Tours

“[The film] affords a glimpse at the real (mostly unconsidered or misunderstood) reasons why ‘civilised’ people wish to encounter the ‘primitive.’ The situation is that shifting terminus of civilisation, where modern mass-culture grates and pushes against those original, essential aspects of humanity; and where much of what passes for values in western culture is exposed in stark relief as banal and fake.” — Dennis O’Rourke

Of course one does not have to read hundreds of papers via academia (another sector targeted and utilized by foundations/oligarchs) in an attempt to understand how members of isolated tribes might actually feel as fetishized “subjects” of fascination by the middle/upper class, predominantly white tourist. In some rare instances, the “subjects” speak for themselves with their thoughts, insights and feelings, unedited – shared by way of film. Such is the case in the understated masterpiece “Cannibal Tours” in which the interview of a village elder by the name of Camillus is woven throughout the film. Director Dennis O’Rourke (now deceased) communicates the commodification of human interactions (and relations) by simply filming people in their natural state. The raw honesty captured, in particular the thoughts of Camillus (unknown – 1987), is so tender and veracious, the film is almost unbearable to watch. Feelings of confusion, discontent and frustration as felt by the local native people are transparent; the superiority and ignorance of the tourist, demonstrated in effortless candour, is ugly and biting.

 “The commodification of human relations is highlighted through such photography of the locals, whereby the tourists (‘equipped with their essential “weapon”-camera’) assign monetary values to the interactions with the locals by payments. This action also introduces the element of power inequality between tourists and the natives, whereby the tourists are viewed as the one with monetary power, and the power to ‘control’ the locals, even to the extent that the locals, in the attempt to meet the tourists’ expectations, will alter certain elements of their cultures or rituals just to cater to the tourists’ likings. Through such examples, the notion of ‘re-colonisation’ can be seen whereby the whites (tourists) are seen as the wealthy and powerful group, whereas the locals are seen as the powerless with little wealth, that they have to rely on the money gained through tourism to keep their economy going.” — Commodification of culture and human relations [Source]

Although the documentary is filmed in Sepik River in Papua New Guinea (released in 1988), almost 30 years later we can recognize parallels. Note the scrappy Coca-Cola truck situated in the village (27:20). Just as Coca-Cola, having conquered the globe, has ventured into isolated jungles in the quest to unearth new untapped markets (as market share must grow indefinitely), industrialized/globalized and parasitic capitalism, having also conquered the globe, must also find new markets. As a response to this predatory economic system, we witness the targeting and sophisticated seduction of the last peoples remaining in isolation – within pristine natural settings, ripe for commodification. Note the face-painting (formerly reserved for traditional ceremonies), turned into a marketing component and an exotic novelty for the Euro-American tourist. Today, Indigenous peoples are rapidly abandoning their enviable subsistence economies – in exchange for impromptu, makeshift markets on the airstrips as the wealthy tourists descend. In a desperate attempt to sell their wares, they are in pursuit of the greenback – the greenback, backed by nothing.

“[A] Luxury top class tourist lodge with opportunity to encounter Achuar culture” — Trip Advisor Website

One could argue that since the filming of this documentary, the Euro-American has become more enlightened, with ecotourism NGOs and managers more cognitive of “politically incorrect” behaviour. Yet New York Times art critic Ken Johnson disagreed with such an assumption. Johnson once stated that if Voltaire were still around to tell the story of globalization, two of his principal character types would be “the enlightened, transnational citizen of the world and his imbecilic twin, the tourist.” It is crystal clear which character type the movie Cannibal Tours captures, yet what is not clear is the fact that under the system of industrialized capitalism, in tandem with Western ideologies of privilege and consumerism sweeping the globe, the choice of which type of traveller one wishes to emulate has already been decided.

“O’Rourke’s camera shoots the whole of a social relation that is taking over the world, the relation between the seeing and the seen. This double anthropology subtly shows how connoisseurship and condescension are linked, and how little the Western tribe of tourists understand their own culture.” — Camera Work Website

Cannibal Tours – Dennis O’Rourke’s 1988 documentary (Running time: 1:08:06)

Cannibal Economics

“The desire for profit without exploitation runs so strong, like that for ‘true love,’ even intellectuals can trick themselves into finding it where it does not exist, where… it can never exist.” — Cannibal Tours by Dean MacCannell

Consider the following study notes on Posada Amazonas eco-lodge, built in 1998. It is owned by the Indigenous Ese-Eja community of Infierno (Peru) in partnership with Rainforest Expeditions:

“[A] capitalist mindset has not only been introduced to Infierno but […] it also in some ways has been imposed upon them… this paradigm shift among community leaders whose conversations now include discussions of cost benefit analyses, product quality control, and marketing niches. The ethnographic literature also suggests a connection between ecotourism and the adoption of the Ecologically Noble Savage paradigm… this paradigm shift stemming from the commodification of the rainforest where the previous practical traditional use has been transformed into an instrumental tool for conservation and commodification for sale…. [There is] evidence not only of the adoption of the Ecologically Noble Savage stereotype in the Community, but the people’s active appropriation of it.” [Source: Take a Picture with a “Real Indian”: (Self-) Representation, Ecotourism, and Indigeneity in Amazonia, 2011]

In other words, evidence suggests that today, many formerly isolated Indigenous have learned (taught via the Euro-American) to successfully exploit the West’s idea/stereotype of the “ecologically noble savage” and effectively manipulate the tourists thereby fulfilling the exact function of branding and marketing agencies. In effect, the ecologically noble savage persona/stereotype is a growing commodity created specifically for foreign consumption, via ecotourism.

Kapawi: A Gift of Debt

“Neither the travel company nor the Achuar made a profit, and in 2008 Canodros transferred ownership of the lodge back to the Achuar. The future of this eco-jewel is now at risk.” [Source]

“Allí está el progreso, confía, sin embargo, por ahora extrañan el aporte mensual que Canodros les entregaba puntualmente hasta el 2007, por el arriendo de su territorio.” — April 18, 2010

“It has been enormously successful as a social experiment, and as a means of attracting external funding for conservation, health, communications, transportation and education, but not as a money-making venture….” [1]

According to a World Bank resource document (written by Nature Conservancy in partnership with USAID), the Kapawi development commenced with a stunning initial investment of USD $1.8 million by USAID.

While the document states clearly that “logging, oil exploitation and intensive agricultural projects had not been developed in the area when the Kapawi project was initiated in 1994 (Koupermann, 1997),” it is also quite clear from existing documents that many Achuar were convinced/came to believe that the ecolodge was the only way forward if the tribes were to resist oil development from destroying their communities.

“As my Achuar friend Domingo Peas said, ‘We are not business people, we never did it in the past… but we must learn in order to protect our territory and our forest,’ says Paulina Rodriguez, operations manager of the Kapawi Ecolodge and Reserve.”

There is no doubt that the descriptive and emotive text coupled with the sensual, prototypical rainforest imagery (utilized to “sell” Kapawi) conveys to the audience that it is only by way of ecotourism, and ecotourism alone, that the Achuar can continue their mission of conservation. This is in stark contrast to the fact that the Achuar practised truly sustainable conservation for centuries before colonization began only decades ago. This constructed message is also in stark contrast to the fact that tourism has greatly contributed to and continues to exacerbate an ever accelerating planetary climate crisis.

According to the El Universo newspaper (ironically founded by El Universo heir Perasso who conceptualized the Kapawi development with Kouperman):

“Pachamama, a vital ally: Pachamama Foundation, dedicated to accompany the Indigenous peoples in defense of their territory, is supporting the tourism operation in Kapawi since its inception eleven years ago. ‘We will continue to work with them when they take control of the ecolodge, for which they provide training and alternatives for sustainable development,’ said Belen Paez, executive director of the Ecuadorian arm of this entity headquartered in San Francisco (California, USA). In addition, the German Reconstruction Bank allocated 3.5 million euros (about $ 4.9 million) to the sustainable development of the Achuar people, a portion of which will be for Kapawi.” [El Universo, October 21, 2007, Source. Emphasis added.]

It is not clear where or how the 3.5 million euros designated to the sustainable development of the Achuar people (a portion for Kapawi) by The German Bank for Reconstruction (Kredietanstalt für Wiedraufbau – KfW) was spent … or how it was/is to be re-paid. [Note that the bulk of this loan appears to be for “the zoning and protection of Indigenous territories, via Fundação Nacional do Índio (FUNAI) applied in the framework of ‘debt-for-nature swaps’ (e.g., in Ecuador).”] It is critical to note that the normalized concept of “debt-for-nature swaps” – “offered to” the very resource rich/poverty stricken states who have suffered under centuries of colonization and gross exploitation – must be considered the most nefarious of injustices. [From 2004-2011, KfW funded €3.58 million for the Tropical Forest Conservation Morona-Pastaza project in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and the Nacionalidad de los Achuar en Ecuador (NAE). Source]

 “The western economy has eroded the traditional economy. An example is in the sale of chichi [a homemade drink]. Now, many Achuar are less inclined to work or support each other without pay.”

The Kapawi development appears to have transitioned from a Western-perceived independence and freedom, to a global and very real indebtedness, liability and perpetual servitude. Considering that the results mirror our very own entrapment within the industrialized capitalist system, it is safe to assume that this was the plan from inception.

“With up to 45% of their total income coming from direct employment in Kapawi and a further 21% deriving from handicraft sales (Rodriguez 2000:3), ecotourism is now a vital factor in the local economy. The problem is that while the community may eventually be able to control the enterprise, it has no control over the market. If Canodros, the company managing and financing Kapawi, with its experience and connections in the travel business, cannot bring in the tourists it needs in order to break even, it is unlikely the Achuar will be able to, especially when faced with growing competition from other operations in the region and in neighboring countries.” [1]

It is publicly stated of the Kapawi development that “the initiative’s board is composed of five people – representatives of Achuar com­munities both from the province of Pastaza and from the province of Motona Santiago, and a President of the Achuar Nation of Ecuador (NAE) – all of whom are Achuar. The board meets every six months to carry out an analysis of the project.” [Dec 20, 2012] However, again, the reality appears to be somewhat different.

“Mr Crespo is also on the board of the Kapawi Lodge, an internationally famous, pioneering tourism project. Deep in the Ecuadorean Amazon, rainforest warriors from the Achuar people now manage a luxury ecotourism resort, supported by the board.” World Finance Website

On The Business Year website, it is disclosed that economist and director general of Analytica, Ramiro Crespo, is currently Vice-President of the Paideia Foundation and Director of the Kapawi project. [“After receiving a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, Ramiro Crespo went on to pursue a Master’s in Economic Development at Georgetown University. He was an economic commentator for four years at Radio Bolívar. In addition to holding the position of Director General of Analytica, he is currently Vice-President of the Paideia Foundation and Director of the Kapawi project.” The Business Year – October 2012 | Bio]

Analytica is an investment bank in Ecuador specializing in debt restructuring, research, mergers and acquisitions, and trading. Analytica also sponsors a university in Quito, Universitas Equatorialis, offering degrees in environmental engineering, with Fundación Natura, the local chapter of the World Wildlife Fund.

“Analytica is among the hundred most important companies in the world in 2010 according to British magazine World Finance. Recognition ‘World Finance 100’ list rigorous nomination and selection, Analytica places with companies like Apple, BMW, ING Bank, Citigroup, Coca-Cola and Toyota. Between 35 institutions worldwide including HSBC, Deutsche Bank and Citigroup, Analytica is the only company in the list of a country in Latin America specializing in financial services. The merit of the professional team of Analytica evidence the increasing sophistication of regional financial sector. The premiere was announced in Davos, Switzerland, during the World Economic Forum meeting held in late January 2011. The annual list of the best companies and individuals in the year, ‘World Finance 100’ accompanies the publication of the World Finance Magazine, January / February 2011, essential source for global investors with its look to emerging markets.” Analytica Website

The amount of debt that Kapawi has incurred (so it appears) could be staggering even by Western standards. Consider that Pachamama administers Aerotsentsak, the airline corporation created, operated and eventually to be owned by FINAE. The costs associated with maintaining an airport, airplanes and an airstrip, even if small, must be intense. What of the original loan ($1.9 million) by USAID? What of the money invested by Conodros Tourism Corporation? What of the 3.5 million euros allocated by the German Bank for Reconstruction (KfW)? Was this withdrawn as initially agreed upon when the project was “given” fully to the Achuar approximately four years ahead of schedule? [“After this period, Canodros will withdraw all investment and the Achuar will manage the entire operation.”][Source] As part of the contract that would allow Canodros to transfer full ownership to the Achuar four years earlier than originally agreed upon, Conodros agreed to create a two-year trust fund and pay for extensive upgrades/renovations. [2] That Conodros would invest a further substantial amount of money in Kapawi – in order to terminate a contract – suggests that ending the partnership, even at a significant cost, was still a far better business transaction than maintaining the contract for four more years.

A sad irony is that the bulk of the monies received [3] from the Kapawi development (before being “given” full ownership) were spent on the never-ending maintenance of the airstrip and the school/education (“The School of Ecotourism”). Further, for four full years, the little monies allocated to the Kapawi communities were taken by one family. [“Because of the poor use of funds (40% for the community of Kapawi), and because of people who took advantage of the Achuar trust, good faith and naiveté, there is money [missing] from four years, and no one knows how or on what it was spent.”][Source]

“Meager profits flow back into the surrounding Achuar communities, which have been able to build schools; they allow lodge guests to visit.” – Travel and Leisure

Today Kapawi is desperate to increase the volume of wealthy tourists, whom they are now dependent upon. New high-end excursions that added to the resort’s itinerary include “Private Canoe River Cruise by Candlelight,” “Romantic Ceremony at Kapawi,” “Achuar Wedding in the Community,” and the “Natem Ceremony.” [Natem ceremony: “Interestingly, a day before, the shaman mentioned that he is now a catholic, which is [an] oxymoron.” Source]

It would appear that, tragically, the Achuar Indigenous peoples (among countless other Indigenous communities no doubt), in good faith yet via coercion, have inadvertently subjected themselves to loss of full control over their territories. One must contemplate how these massive bank loans are secured, considering the only asset (albeit most valuable) the Achuar could offer as guarantee would be pristine rainforest/land. Through heavy debt and financial obligations and a relatively new, strategically developed dependence on the global economy (via the necessity for an infinite stream of wealthy foreign tourists), Indigenous communities now participate in the continued colonization, or in the case of REDD (the UN’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation program), the neocolonialization of Indigenous resources and people.

“Colonial Mentality” critics argue that “people, once subject to colonial or imperial rule, latch onto physical and cultural differences between the foreigners and themselves, leading some to associate power and success with the foreigners’ ways. This eventually leads to the foreigners’ ways being regarded as the better way and being held in a higher esteem than previous Indigenous ways. In much the same fashion, and with the same reasoning of ‘better-ness,’ the colonised may over time equate the colonisers’ race or ethnicity itself as being responsible for their ‘superiority’…. [I]mportation or continuation of cultural mores or elements from former colonial powers may be regarded as a form of neo-colonialism.” [Source]

“As profit outweighs protection, the sustainability of nature is rewritten as the sustainability of capital; the protection of nature is inverted to be the protection of profits; and the morality of democratic multigenerational planning is transmogrified into the pursuit of competitive advantage in the free market of nature.” Managing the Other of Nature: Sustainability, Spectacle, and Global Regimes of Capital in Ecotourism [Source]

Although it is said (by NGOs and foundation-financed academia) that eco-tourism projects such as Kapawi were conceived as a means to employ the Achuar and to provide revenue to combat the pressures of multinational corporations, one must wonder how this would in fact keep the multinationals at bay, then, or today. Of course, NGOs were not about to say back then what they will not say today nor will say in the future: that the key reason for involvement is ultimate control of the land and soft-power colonization of the people with their integration into the industrialized capitalist system. Like the multinationals, corporate NGOs also froth at the mouth over the prospect of exploiting these same territories – the NGOs financed by the very same multinationals, via tax-exempt foundations. Like circling vultures, the rapacious capitalists – even the self-proclaimed “compassionate capitalists” – leave no stones unturned. As discussed prior, if those in power of vulnerable states do not walk the delicate tightrope of somewhat satisfying the insatiable system, they will soon face the consequences of the West taking what they will not give willingly. Nature finds herself surrounded by predatory capitalist pathology.

“An insider who is employed by a leading green group explained to the journalist Johann Hari the motivations: ‘It’s because they will generate a lot of revenue this way. If there are national targets, the money runs through national governments. If there are subnational targets, the money runs through the people who control those forests – and that means TNC, Conservation International and the rest. Suddenly, these forests they run become assets, and they are worth billions in a carbon market as offsets. So they have a vested financial interest in offsetting and in subnational targets, even though they are much more environmentally damaging than the alternatives. They know it. It’s shocking.'” — Some Key REDD+ Players

Consider that if on average there are 1,000 visitors at Kapawi per annum (a number cited in several documents), at an average rate of US$3,000 per tourist, this equates to a revenue stream of $3 million per year. Now consider there is no mortgage, no property tax, no utility bills. One must contemplate why there is no profit. After lawyers, consultants, auditing technologies, eco-services, audits, environ­mental impact assessments, marketing agencies, advertising, tourist agencies, teachers, biologists, experts, accountants, engineers, travel expenses, one must contemplate how much of this income finds its way back to imperial states versus how much remains in the community. The answer is likely a reprehensible one that few wish to acknowledge.

While on the surface, CBE (community-based ecotourism) projects support traditional knowledge and cooperation, in real-life, Indigenous communities are told they must be competitive as international tourism is pushed as imperative to survival along with other free-market prescriptions. Ultimately this amounts to cultural assimilation – or annihilation. As yesterday’s missionaries instilled the fear of God, today’s modern-day missionaries instill the fear of operating losses. Further, as Lebanese-Australian professor Ghassan Hage (Future Generation Professor of Anthropology and Social Theory at the University of Melbourne) demonstrates, accumulation of capital underpins an ideology of race, in which multiculturalism works best when citizens yearn and strive to achieve Whiteness. [4]

Considering that foundations such as Rockefeller et al strategize for the protection/expansion of hegemonic power decades in advance, one could reasonably hypothesize that community-based ecotourism was developed and incremented as a deliberate stop-gap measure to control rainforests (via said protection) until a solid economic system/infrastructure for the commodification of all nature was firmly in place. Although such a theory may seem a bit far-fetched, it is not inconceivable considering foundations and “think-tanks” lead in the intense study of, and shaping of, behavioural change. The time involved in commercializing all aspects of society until saturation was achieved amongst the populace (ensuring tomorrow’s “consumers” would submissively acquiesce to an ideology of mass-commodification and privatization) would have been well-understood by foundations and think-tanks alike. Considering the 21st century explosion of land grabs, in tandem with the race to privatize and commodify the Earth’s remaining commons with little focus remaining on ecotourism, such a theory is deserving of further investigation.

DIRECT ACTION –THE ONLY TACTIC THAT HAS EVER WORKED

And although Americans, passive by decades of conditioning, may believe that integration into the industrialized economic system may be the only “solution” against the short-term “temptations” that present themselves when multinationals arrive to plunder for the First World, further reading tells us that the Achuar have far more effective methods than we do. Consider the blog post on February 28, 2008 written by a Kapawi tourist. In the post, the author writes that “Recently, Ecuador’s Minister for Energy arrived here in Achuar territory. He was accompanied with armed men and came representing the Burlington oil company to make an ‘offer’ to buy the Achuar’s land for oil development. The Achaur swiftly refused the deal and to prove their point, kidnapped the Minister for several days before returning him to Quito unharmed. The story went unreported in the national press.” This is not an uncivilized act (as both the colonial and modern-day missionaries would have you believe), rather, it is a no-nonsense act of self-defense. Despite the access to information made possible via the internet, similar success stories of true direct action that are truly effective continue to be grossly marginalized if not censored altogether in most all media. [June 7, 2013: Colombian guerilla group holding Canadian mining executive hostage takes aim at Ottawa; August 27, 2013: Kidnapped Canadian mining exec freed by Colombian rebels (“Last month, Toronto-based Braeval Mining Corp. said it was pulling out of Colombia.”)]

Further, the Achuar’s neighbours to the north, the Targaretti tribes (in the central Ecuadorian rainforest) have managed to stay isolated from industrialized “civilization” (industrialized civilization being the most uncivilized way of living that has ever existed). The Targaretti are the last tribes in Ecuador to refuse contact with Western civilisation and continue to live a traditional and nomadic way of life. One could argue that this tribe has no means of protecting/obtaining legal claim to their ancestral lands (because they have no monetary means of obtaining legal representation, etc.) and that this fact leaves them in a most precarious position, unable to defend themselves against the bulldozers and oil companies who are now encroaching upon their lands. Yet, the simple truth of the matter is that the Targaretti peoples fully understand what privileged Euro-Americans collectively refuse to acknowledge: the state only fears what it cannot control.

“On the one hand, eco-tourism has been presented as a negotiated response to the imperatives of ecological preservation within an ecocidal system of global capital. On the other hand, it is an insidious and largely unsuccessful attempt at articulating the social misery of global capital with(in) distinct cultural and environmental limits.” — Kerala: Exploring Future Frontiers in Tourism Development, 2000 [Source]

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Next: Part VIII (to be published in 2016)

 

[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation, Counterpunch, Political Context, Canadians for Action on Climate Change and Countercurrents. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can follow her on twitter @elleprovocateur]

[Forrest Palmer is an electrical engineer residing in Texas.  He is a part-time blogger and writer and can be found on Facebook. You may reach him at forrest_palmer@yahoo.com.]


EndNotes:

[1] Paper: Community-Based Ecotourism in Ecuador and Its Contribution to the Alleviation of Poverty

[2] As part of the agreement to transfer the Kapawi ownership early, at the end of 2007 Canodros committed to create a trust fund that would hold autonomous assets of US$296,512 with CEKSA (Complejo Ecoturistico Kapawi S.A.) as the beneficiary. This trust was to cover the working capital, the air transportation operation and the payment of labour. The trust fund was to last two years until December 2009 with any funds not dispersed being transferred to CEKSA. As well, Canodros S.A. committed to the reconstruction of the facilities. This additional investment was reported to be US$748,056.05. Reconstruction included new cabin foundations, roofs, complete renovations of bathrooms, repairing the boardwalk, and an updated/improved sewage system. The main assets for Kapawi were also replaced. This included canoes, outboard motors, refrigerators, freezers and kitchen equipment. As well, an update and improvement of the photovoltaic system was undertaken that would allow for a savings of 1500 diesel gallons per year. (The October 2001 appraisal valued Kapawi assets at US$1,036,690 (infrastructure US$826,034; equipment, furniture and household goods: US$210,656.)

[3] Kapawi development income according to a 2003 report published in 2005 (prior to the Achuar being “given” the establishment): (US funds)

  • The income from the $10.00 per guest fee that went directly to Achuar territory based on an average 1,800 tourists amounted to an average of $18,000 per year
  • The income from the monthly rent/concession fee as per agreement by Canodros Tours was approximately $3,400.00 per month which amounted to about $40,000 per year. [This amount was renegotiated and increased to a higher amount in the midst of the contract when the Indigenous noticed a substantial increase in tourists with no increase in payment.]
  • The estimated annual income to Achuar from Kapawi was approximately $58,000 and broken down as follows:
  • 40% ($16,320) to one community: Kapawi (10 Quichua & 13 Achuar families)
  • 40% ($16,320) to one association: Amunday Association of six communities
  • 5% ($2,040) to FINAE for administrative costs
  • 15% ($7,120) shared among 53 Achuar communities

The community of Kapawi spent their money (40%) on:

  • Maintenance of the 800-metre airstrip through manual labour (“work that never ends”).
  • Health: In case of emergency, such as a bad case of malaria, funds are offered, 50% as a loan, and 50% as a donation.
  • Education: $80 per month. The School of Ecotourism in the community of Kapawi can be reached in 50 minutes by canoe from the lodge. They use funds to buy books, pay teachers, and for transportation. [It is not clear who the teachers (teaching tourism) actually are. It is unlikely that the teachers are Achuar.] In this document, Cristina Serrano of Canodros Tourism is cited as the leader/representative of the Ecotourism School.

The community of Amunday Association spent their money (40%) on:

  • $150 monthly to two communities
  • $100 monthly to three communities
  • $30 for education in the School of Education

 

[4] Ghassan Hage, expanding on Pierre Bourdieu’s theory, theorized on the notion that multiculturalism is a “field of accumulating whiteness,” adding that multicultural cohesion exists primarily when Black and Black bodies gain cultural and symbolic capital – by accumulating Whiteness. [White Nation: Fantasies of White Supremacy in a Multicultural Society] Hage aligns a desire for cultural capital with a yearning to accumulate Whiteness, which he ardently differentiates from being White: “‘Whiteness’ is an everchanging, composite cultural historical construct. It has its roots in the history of European colonisation which universalised a cultural form of White identity as a position of cultural power at the same time as the colonised were in the process of being racialised…. As such, no one can be fully White, but people yearn to be so. It is in this sense that Whiteness is itself a fantasy position and a field of accumulating Whiteness.”

New World Order—Same Old Crimes

Wrong Kind of Green Op-Ed

December 21, 2015

by Jay Taber

Robinson-SG-COP21-NOV2015

November 2015: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with Mary Robinson and Ricken Patel, Executive Director of Avaaz at “One Heart One Tree: Lighting of the Eiffel Tower”. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

In terms of relevance to the indigenous nations often referred to as the Fourth World, the rollouts from the COP21 gathering of UN member states, Wall Street-funded NGOs, and the global financial elite resemble colonial initiatives undertaken as a result of similar 19th Century gatherings to carve up the world for capitalism. Then, as now, indigenous territories and resources were targeted for expropriation through coercion, with Africa being a prime target.

cop21

Photo: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (fourth from left) and Christiana Figueres (centre), Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), meet with “Civil Society Leaders” at the Le Bourget-Paris exhibition site, for Cop21. From left: Jagoda Munic, Chairperson, Friends of the Earth International; Ricken Patel, President and Executive Director, Avaaz; Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation; Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director, Greenpeace International; May Boeve, Executive Director, 350.org; Wael Hmaidan, Director, Climate Action Network International; and Bridget Burns, Administrator on Climate, Global Gender and Climate Alliance.

As statements emanating from COP21 by Wall Street-driven entities like the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Breakthrough Energy Coalition were tailored to seduce the naïve into believing that First World consumption of indigenous territories and resources for luxury goods could continue unabated under the pretext of saving the planet, the agenda of the financial elite at Paris was to subsume human rights to the all-encompassing ‘clean energy’/New Economy regime.

Global Goals -PrivateProperty

A look at the ‘clean energy’ Ponzi scheme — led by magnate Bill Gates, and promoted by Havas – reveals two key attributes of the plan are 1. Expanding nuclear power development and 2. Privatizing public process and policy. Indeed, privatization of the planet, which led to the indigenous revolution in Bolivia and elsewhere, is a core component of the Natural Infrastructure for Business launched at COP21.

lithium mexico

“Clean” energy: Lithium mining in Mexico

lithium chile

“Clean” energy: Lithium mining in Chile

While the allure of the ‘clean energy’ chimera is appealing to First World consumers of electronics and energy storage devices such as electric car batteries, the Fourth World reality in Africa, Asia and South America – where resources for these technologies are mined — is one of utter devastation. Indeed, it has been convincingly argued that the recent misadventures of AFRICOM, NATO, and the UN in Libya, Mali and the Great Lakes region of Africa are aimed at securing these minerals for the US and the EU.

mckibben patel AOSIS-Press-Conference

COP15, 2009: Bill McKibben of 350.org, Ambassador Antonio Lima of Cape Verde (Vice-President of AOSIS), and Ricken Patel, Avaaz Executive Director

The NGOs and PR firms behind the social engineering used to drum up support for Wall Street’s privatization plan — Avaaz, Havas, Purpose and 350 — are key to saving the planet for the financial elite. While their choreography of the climate drama has resulted in lots of moral theatrics, the failure of 21 years of lobbying and protesting suggests something more serious is needed. Organizing for political power requires challenging these Wall Street-funded fronts. ‘Civil society’ does not equal NGO.

 

FURTHER READING

BREAKTHROUGH BOONDOGGLE

CLEAN ENERGY PONZI SCHEME

COP21: SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE

MARCHING FOR MONSANTO

PRIVATIZATION STRATEGY

RAVE NEW WORLD

WANTED FOR DESTROYING OUR FUTURE: AVAAZ

 

 

 

Climate Opportunists

Skookum

December 18, 2015

by Jay Taber

McKibben paris spotlight

 

 

klein paris spolight

 

True to form, Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein — the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker of climate evangelism — are exhorting their mindless followers to double down on ‘activist’ charades in the wake of COP21. Unlike the disgraced televangelists, however, the climate opportunists probably won’t face a Federal grand jury probe or do any time for fraud. As the loyal ‘opposition’ of the financial elite, they will stick with the Wall Street script, keeping their devotees busy whining but ineffective in confronting the power politics of their billionaire paymasters.

 

COP21: Society of the Spectacle

Center for World Indigenous Studies

December 12, 2015

by Jay Taber

Pied-piper-businessman-slide-full

 

We Mean Business, the latest roll-out by the financial elite, is unpacked at Wrong Kind of Green. Joining the Wall Street creations Avaaz, Ceres, Purpose and 350, the goal of We Mean Business is turning citizens into mere consumers. The successful mass mobilization through social engineering — deployed by Wall Street-financed pied pipers like Naomi Klein — indicates they may have already won.

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The “Purpose” of “Consumer Activism” & COP21 – “We Mean Business”

Wrong Kind of Green

December 11 2015

We Mean Business Logo

 

“The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images.” — Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle

The most critical of ecological nightmares – the key driving forces of climate change, those being first world consumption:

 

Interwoven with exploitation of Earth and her most vulnerable citizens and sentient beings, the continued genocide of Indigenous peoples as the caretakers of our lands and forests, the continued meltdown of Fukushima, are problems from a different world, a different lifetime.

They have no place amongst the negotiations led by 1% of the Earth’s population creating 50% of the global greenhouse gas emissions.

The ultimate goal of course has now been achieved, the non-profit industrial complex (and those it feeds) having not only succeeded in establishing the global acquiescence for a third industrial revolution under the guise of “clean energy”, it manufactured a global demand – saving a suicidal economic system teetering on the verge of collapse. Rather than recognizing this is a  unique and rare opportunity in our history to allow and ensure this lethal economic system fails, all radical resistance (as activism) is now passé. In vogue is “activism as choice” for what technological solutions (i.e further consumption/growth) can “save” the humans species (of privilege).

On September 15, 2014, one week prior to the People’s Climate March in New York, Inside Climate News published the article Only $1 Trillion: Annual Investment Goal Puts Climate Solutions Within Reach. From the article:

“Leading up to the UN Climate Summit next week in New York, business groups and investors who manage trillions of dollars published reports and held meetings to call for action. Last week, investment groups publicized the creation of We Mean Business, an umbrella organization of investors urging world leaders to agree on a plan for fighting climate change.”

From the Climate Group (incubated by Rockefeller as in-house project that later evolved into a free-standing institution) website:

“The Climate Group is a proud partner of We Mean Business – a coalition of organizations working with thousands of the world’s most influential businesses and investors.”

The founding partners of We Mean Business are:

  1. Business for Social Responsibility (BSR)
  2. CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project)
  3. Ceres
  4. The B Team (founded by Richard Branson)
  5. The Climate Group
  6. The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG)
  7. World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) [Further reading: http://bit.ly/1lBgbU0]

Together these organizations represent thousands of the worlds most powerful corporations and investors.

We Mean Business Network partners:

  1. Asset Owner Disclosure Project (AODP)
  2. CEBDS
  3. Climate Leadership Council (CLC)
  4. WWF Climate Savers
  5. EPC, Japan-CLP
  6. National Business Initiative
  7. Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)
  8. The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)
  9. United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI)

We Mean Business working partnerships were formed with the following organizations:

  1. Carbon Tracker
  2. Carbon War Room
  3. Climate & Clean Air Coalition
  4. Climate Markets & Investments Association
  5. E3G
  6. Forum for the Future
  7. Global Alliance for Energy Productivity
  8. International Emissions Trading Association
  9. Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC/Ceres)
  10. Rocky Mountain Institute (now partnered with the Carbon War Room)
  11. The Business Council for Sustainable Energy
  12. The New Climate Economy
  13. The Shift Project
  14. United Nations Global Compact
  15. World Bank Group
  16. World Resources Institute

[Further reading: Building Acquiescence for the Commodification of the Commons Under the Banner of a “New Economy”]

Ceres, a founding member of We Mean Business is a key partner of the 350.org divestment campaign which was created in consultation with the organizations “friends on Wall Street“. Ceres, 350,org, B Team, Avaaz, The Climate Group, We Mean Business and CDP are all “Earth to Paris” partners. (“Earth To Paris, a coalition of partners helping to drive awareness about the connection between people and planet as well as the need for strong climate action, announced it will host “Earth To Paris—Le Hub” a two-day, high-impact, live-streamed summit on 7 and 8 December in Paris during COP21 — the United Nations climate conference to deliver a new universal climate change agreement.”) [Source]

The ideologies espoused by “We Mean Business” are transparent in the following (01:40) interview with Avaaz & Purpose co-founder Jeremy Heimans by We Mean Business.

“We’ve been talking in a broader way about the future of consumer activism, of organizing people not as citizens but as consumers.” — Jeremy Heimans, Purpose, 2011

September 15, 2014, This Changes Nothing. Why the People’s Climate March Guarantees Climate Catastrophe:

“What you are about to witness is the global mobilization of “consumers” to be ushered into the green economy, without SAYING it is the green economy. The climate parade in NYC, coinciding with the release of 350’s Naomi Klein’s new book, is the launching pad.

 

The kings and queens of hegemony have rolled the dice and placed their bets on Avaaz, 350.org and Naomi Klein (350.org board member) to usher in the illusory green economy under the guise of a so-called “new economy.” Their winning bet is that author Naomi Klein’s latest book will be the vehicle that ignites their new economy, and thus “changes everything.”

 

It is not by accident that foundation-financed “progressive” media and those within the non-profit industrial complex are heavily promoting Klein’s upcoming book release with multiple side events. It is not by accident that Avaaz’s latest petition titled The Global People’s Climate March has strategically modified the This Changes Everything book title to “Join to Change Everything” and “To change everything, it takes everyone.” Note the similar language employed by WWF: “To change everything, we need everyone.”

The fact that the Peoples Climate March was designed and orchestrated as a mass mobilization social engineering experiment financed by the oligarchs to”change everything” (expand capital and existing power structures) is captured in the (01:40 minute) video titled We Mean Business Momentum:

“And hundreds of thousands of people marched in New York City and all across the world. The momentum became contagious.”

 

The dystopian focus on perpetual growth via consumption as the solution to climate change is clear in the following We Mean Business video (3:40). Also note the reference to “Natural Capital” which is code for the global privatization of nature via payments for ecosystems services (PES) which is currently being implemented into policies behind closed doors.

“It won’t be about sacrifice. It will be about a new era of clean abundance.” — Steve Howard, Ikea

Activist Kevin Hester writes: “It is always worth looking for pearls of truth where the hubris and arrogance of the spin doctors lets them down… ‘the future of consumer activism’ … there you have it, the scam laid bare, they can never disown the market.”

This begets the question: is “the future of consumer activism” (under the guise of a “new economy”) already here?

sacrilege-2 (2)

Klein OECD

Photo: 24 November 2015: Naomi Klein (left) and Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In January 1998 Mexican President Zedillo appointed Jose Angel Gurria as Minister of Finance. “One top official at Nomura Securities summed up Wall Street’s euphoria upon hearing of Gurria’s appointment. ‘He’s one of ours.’” Gurría also negotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which came into force on January 1, 1994. [Further reading: Our “Man in Mexico” and the Chiapas Massacre]

Indeed the foundation has been laid. After all, Naomi Klein’s book and film project (financed by the same oligarchs who bestow billions of dollars upon the non-profit industrial complex) was not made available for free in an exclusive online format. The book, a #1 international bestseller is being translated into 25 languages. Millions of books, driving and flying to international climate events/parades, social metrics, and a multitude of other foundation financed “activist” activities, all assist in the propping up of a capitalist economic system that is “flying at close to stall speed“. 

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[Further reading: The Increasing Vogue for Capitalist-Friendly Climate Discourse]

 

Arundhati Roy: Things that Can’t be Said, Tamed Tigers & the Missionaries of the “New Economy”

gates frow rich

“Grow Rich – Help Others” – “Indian Children’s Role Model – Uncle Bill: School children wear masks to celebrate the birthday of ‘Uncle Bill’ , the Microsoft founder and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates on the occasion of his 60th birth anniversary celebration in Chennai.” October 29, 2015  [Source]

WKOG admin: In the May 11, 2015 article Life in the Celebrity Circuit author Jay Taber writes:

“The American aristocracy has long fostered activist charades as a prophylactic against democracy, but the wholesale choreography of fossil-fueled puppets is unprecedented. Arundhati Roy’s blurb on the cover of This Changes Everything is thus particularly disturbing.

I wonder what kind of incentive was provided to Roy. What we know is that Arundhati is bright enough to comprehend Naomi Klein’s fraud, and that her name on the cover of Klein’s book functions as a shield for Naomi, and increases her prestige among the 350 cult.

Roy already has significant prestige herself, so the question is why she would publicly support a vapid sell-out who is undermining what Roy purportedly stands for. Was it bribery, extortion, or a misguided sense that Klein’s Wall Street-funded revolution could be hijacked by socialists? It doesn’t make sense.”

After reading the provocative interview published on November 30, 2015 (excerpts below), Taber’s questions are more compelling than ever. Do “the things we can’t talk about in a civilised society, if you’re a good, domesticated house pet” include discussing the role of appointed “leaders” within the non-profit industrial complex, who ultimately serve to protect both capital and state? We have found that this is a critical issue that no one with far reach on “the left” will touch (Hedges, Pilger, etc.).

“The structure and organisation of the climate cartel can be compared to a toadstool. 350.org is the cap of the fruiting body, very visible, poisonous, and laden with spores, This Changes Everything (TCE); book, social movement, and documentary form the stalk expanding and reinforcing key messages, and TckTckTck/Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA) – a coalition of 20 key international organisations including 350.org, Avaaz, WWF, and Greenpeace form the mycelium stretching vast distances and connecting to other fruiting bodies and other vast networks. The soil it has grown from is the NPIC with it’s phalanx of institutes and think tanks feigning care for the earth while plotting the future for the oligarchs.” —Metrics as a Proxy for Social Change: The Climate Cartel, Impact Funding, and the Abandonment of Struggle [Source]

In the interview below Roy states: “When you look around and see how many NGOs are on, say, the Gates, Rockefeller or Ford Foundation’s handout list, there has to be something wrong, right? They turn potential radicals into receivers of their largesse – and then, very subtly, without appearing to – they circumscribe the boundaries of radical politics.”

So what do we make of Roy’s glowing endorsement of Klein’s book (and film) project financed by the very elites Roy so articulately deconstructs?

Consider that Susan Rockefeller is the Co-Executive Producer of the documentary film This Changes Everything and founding partner of Louverture Films, the production company for the documentary film This Changes Everything in partnership with The Message Productions, LLC / Klein Lewis Productions. The fiscal sponsor of this endeavour was New York-based Sustainable Markets Foundation (SMF). SMF is financed by foundations such as Rockefeller Family Fund, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Energy foundation, Park Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Schmidt, Global Wallace Fund, Tides, etc. In addition, Tides receives millions in funding from Warren Buffett laundered through the Buffett family Fund NoVo. [Source: Financing “The Message” Behind Naomi Klein’s ‘This Changes Everything’ Project]

For now, we will leave the last word to Roy who states in the interview below: “We’re all being managed, and we don’t even know it… They have so much money, they can fund everything, very bad things as well as very good things – documentary films, nuclear weapons planners, gender rights, feminist conferences, literature and film festivals, university chairs…anything, as long as it doesn’t upset the “market” and the economic status quo.”

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animalsindian31

Tiger Approaching a Waterhole, Kotah, c. 1790. Watercolor and opaque watercolor

AlterNet

November 30, 2015

by John Cusack and Arundhati Roy

Excerpt from part 1: John Cusack in conversation with Arundhati Roy.

JC: So, what do you think? What do we think are the things we can’t talk about in a civilised society, if you’re a good, domesticated house pet?

AR: (Laughs) The occasional immorality of preaching nonviolence? (This was a reference to Walking with the Comrades, Roy’s account of her time spent with armed guerrillas in the forests of central India who were fighting paramilitary forces and vigilante militias trying to clear indigenous people off their land, which had been handed over to mining companies.)…

Excerpt from Part 2: “We Brought You the Promise of the Future, but Our Tongue Stammered and Barked” by Arundhati Roy

“Our tragedy today is not just that millions of people who called themselves communist or socialist were physically liquidated in Vietnam, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, not just that China and Russia, after all that revolution, have become capitalist economies, not just that the working class has been ruined in the United States and its unions dismantled, not just that Greece has been brought to its knees, or that Cuba will soon be assimilated into the free market – it is also that the language of the Left, the discourse of the Left, has been marginalised and is sought to be eradicated. The debate – even though the protagonists on both sides betrayed everything they claimed to believe in – used to be about social justice, equality, liberty, and redistribution of wealth. All we seem to be left with now is paranoid gibberish about a War on Terror whose whole purpose is to expand the War, increase the Terror, and obfuscate the fact that the wars of today are not aberrations but systemic, logical exercises to preserve a way of life whose delicate pleasures and exquisite comforts can only be delivered to the chosen few by a continuous, protracted war for hegemony – Lifestyle Wars….

But seriously – what is one couple doing with that much money, which is just a small percentage of the indecent profits they make from the corporation they run? And even that small percentage runs into billions. It’s enough to set the world’s agenda, enough to buy government policy, determine university curricula, fund NGOs and activists. It gives them the power to mould the whole world to their will. Forget the politics, is that even polite? Even if it’s “good” will? Who’s to decide what’s good and what’s not?…

JC: What is the meaning of charity as a political tool?

AR: It’s an old joke, right? If you want to control somebody, support them. Or marry them.
(Laughter)

JC: Sugar daddy politics….

AR: Embrace the resistance, seize it, fund it.

JC: Domesticate it….

AR: Make it depend on you. Turn it into an art project or a product of some kind. The minute what you think of as radical becomes an institutionalised, funded operation, you’re in some trouble. And it’s cleverly done. It’s not all bad…some are doing genuinely good work.

JC: Like the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)….

AR: They have money from the Ford Foundation, right? But they do excellent work. You can’t fault people for the work they’re doing, taken individually.

JC: People want to do something good, something useful….

bill gates getty

AR: Yes. And it is these good intentions that are dragooned and put to work. It’s a complicated thing. Think of a bead necklace. The beads on their own may be lovely, but when they’re threaded together, they’re not really free to skitter around as they please. When you look around and see how many NGOs are on, say, the Gates, Rockefeller or Ford Foundation’s handout list, there has to be something wrong, right? They turn potential radicals into receivers of their largesse – and then, very subtly, without appearing to – they circumscribe the boundaries of radical politics. And you’re sacked if you disobey…sacked, unfunded, whatever. And then there’s always the game of pitting the “funded” against the “unfunded,” in which the funder takes centrestage. So, I mean, I’m not against people being funded – because we’re running out of options – but we have to understand – are you walking the dog or is the dog walking you? Or who’s the dog and who is you?”

JC: I’m definitely the dog…and I’ve definitely been walked.

tigers

Bengali scroll painting. Painted scroll on paper mounted on cotton. Murshidabad School, Eastern India, 19th C.

AR: Everywhere – not just in America…repress, beat up, shoot, jail those you can, and throw money at those whom you can’t – and gradually sandpaper the edge off them. They’re in the business of creating what we in India call Paaltu Sher, which means Tamed Tigers. Like a pretend resistance…so you can let off steam without damaging anything.

JC: The first time you spoke at the World Social Forum…when was that?

AR: In 2002, I think, Porto Alegre…just before the US invasion of Iraq.

JC: In Mumbai. And then you went the next year and it was….

AR: Totally NGO-ised. So many major activists had turned into travel agents, just having to organise tickets and money, flying people up and down. The forum suddenly declared, “Only non-violence, no armed struggles….” They had turned Gandhian.

JC: So anyone involved in armed resistance….

AR: All out, all out. Many of the radical struggles were out. And I thought, fuck this. My question is, if, let’s say, there are people who live in villages deep in the forest, four days walk from anywhere, and a thousand soldiers arrive and burn their villages and kill and rape people to scare them off their land because mining companies want it – what brand of non-violence would the stalwarts of the establishment recommend? Non-violence is radical political theatre.

JC: Effective only when there’s an audience….

AR: Exactly. And who can pull in an audience? You need some capital, some stars, right? Gandhi was a superstar. The people in the forest don’t have that capital, that drawing power. So they have no audience. Non-violence should be a tactic – not an ideology preached from the sidelines to victims of massiveviolence…. With me, it’s been an evolution of seeing through these things.

JC: You begin to smell the digestive enzymes….

AR: (Laughing) But you know, the revolution cannot be funded. It’s not the imagination of trusts and foundations that’s going to bring real change.

JC: But what’s the bigger game that we can name?

AR: The bigger game is keeping the world safe for the Free Market. Structural Adjustment, Privatisation, Free Market fundamentalism – all masquerading as Democracy and the Rule of Law. Many corporate foundation-funded NGOs – not all, but many – become the missionaries of the “new economy.” They tinker with your imagination, with language. The idea of “human rights,” for example – sometimes it bothers me. Not in itself, but because the concept of human rights has replaced the much grander idea of justice. Human rights are fundamental rights, they are the minimum, the very least we demand. Too often, they become the goal itself. What should be the minimum becomes the maximum – all we are supposed to expect – but human rights aren’t enough. The goal is, and must always be, justice.

BBC answers 4

October 8, 2015, BBC: Can you cost the Earth? Play our fun game and find out.

JC: The term human rights is, or can be, a kind of pacifier – filling the space in the political imagination that justice deserves?

AR: Look at the Israel-Palestine conflict, for example. If you look at a map from 1947 to now, you’ll see that Israel has gobbled up almost all of Palestinian land with its illegal settlements. To talk about justice in that battle, you have to talk about those settlements. But, if you just talk about human rights, then you can say, “Oh, Hamas violates human rights,” “Israel violates human rights.” Ergo, both are bad.

JC: You can turn it into an equivalence….

AR: …though it isn’t one. But this discourse of human rights, it’s a very good format for TV – the great atrocity analysis and condemnation industry (laughs). Who comes out smelling sweet in the atrocity analysis? States have invested themselves with the right to legitimise violence – so who gets criminalised and delegitimised? Only – or well that’s excessive – usually, the resistance.

JC: So the term human rights can take the oxygen out of justice?

AR: Human rights takes history out of justice.

JC: Justice always has context….

AR: I sound as though I’m trashing human rights…I’m not. All I’m saying is that the idea of justice – even just dreaming of justice – is revolutionary. The language of human rights tends to accept a status quo that is intrinsically unjust – and then tries to make it more accountable. But then, of course, Catch-22 is that violating human rights is integral to the project of neoliberalism and global hegemony.

JC: …as there’s no other way of implementing those policies except violently.

AR: No way at all – but talk loud enough about human rights and it gives the impression of democracy at work, justice at work. There was a time when the United States waged war to topple democracies, because back then democracy was a threat to the Free Market. Countries were nationalising their resources, protecting their markets…. So then, real democracies were being toppled. They were toppled in Iran, they were toppled all across Latin America, Chile….

JC: The list is too long….

AR: Now we’re in a situation where democracy has been taken into the workshop and fixed, remodeled to be market-friendly. So now the United States is fighting wars to instal democracies. First it was topple them, now it’s instal them, right? And this whole rise of corporate-funded NGOs in the modern world, this notion of CSR, corporate social responsibility – it’s all part of a New Managed Democracy. In that sense, it’s all part of the same machine.

JC: Tentacles of the same squid.

AR: They moved in to the spaces that were left when “structural adjustment” forced states to pull back on public spending – on health, education, infrastructure, water supply – turning what ought to be people’s rights, to education, to healthcare and so on, into charitable activity available to a few. Peace, Inc. is sometimes as worrying as War, Inc. It’s a way of managing public anger. We’re all being managed, and we don’t even know it…. The IMF and the World Bank, the most opaque and secretive entities, put millions into NGOs who fight against “corruption” and for “transparency.” They want the Rule of Law – as long as they make the laws. They want transparency in order to standardise a situation, so that global capital can flow without any impediment. Cage the People, Free the Money. The only thing that is allowed to move freely – unimpeded – around the world today is money…capital.

JC: It’s all for efficiency, right? Stable markets, stable world…there’s a great violence in the idea of a uniform “investment climate.”

Democracy Masquerade: Uniform investment climate. A phrase interchangeable with Massacre.

AR: In India, that’s a phrase we use interchangeably with “massacre.” Stable markets, unstable world. Efficiency. Everybody hears about it. It’s enough to make you want to be pro-inefficiency and pro-corruption. (Laughing) But seriously, if you look at the history of the Ford Foundation and Rockefeller, in Latin America, in Indonesia, where almost a million people, mainly Communists, were killed by General Suharto, who was backed by the CIA, in South Africa, in the US Civil Rights Movement – or even now, it’s very disturbing. They have always worked closely with the US State Department.

JC: And yet now Ford funds The Act of Killing – the film about those same massacres. They profile the butchers…but not their masters. They won’t follow the money.

AR: They have so much money, they can fund everything, very bad things as well as very good things – documentary films, nuclear weapons planners, gender rights, feminist conferences, literature and film festivals, university chairs…anything, as long as it doesn’t upset the “market” and the economic status quo. One of Ford’s “good works” was to fund the CFR, the Council of Foreign Relations, which worked closely with the CIA. All the World Bank presidents since 1946 are from the CFR. Ford-funded RAND, the Research and Development Corporation, which works closely with the US defence forces.

JC: That was where Dan worked. That’s where he laid his hands on the Pentagon papers.

AR: The Pentagon papers…. I couldn’t believe what I was reading…that stuff about bombing dams, planning famines…. I wrote an introduction to an edition of Noam Chomsky’s For Reasons of State in which he analyses the Pentagon papers. There was a chapter in the book called ‘The Backroom Boys’ – maybe that wasn’t the Pentagon papers part, I don’t remember…but there was a letter or a note of some kind, maybe from soldiers in the field, about how great it was that white phosphorous had been mixed in with napalm…. “It sticks to the gooks like shit to a blanket, and burns them to the bone.” They were happy because white phosphorous kept burning even when the Vietnamese who had been firebombed tried to jump into water to stop their flesh from burning off….

JC: You remember that by rote?

AR: I can’t forget it. It burned me to the bone…. I grew up in Kerala, remember. Communist country….

JC: You were talking about how the Ford Foundation funded RAND and the CFR.

AR: (Laughs) Yes…it’s a bedroom comedy…actually a bedroom tragedy…is that a genre? Ford funded CFR and RAND. Robert McNamara moved from heading Ford Motors to the Pentagon. So, as you can see, we’re encircled.

JC: …and not just by the past.

AR: No – by the future, too. The future is Google, isn’t it? In Julian Assange’s book – brilliant book – When Google Met WikiLeaks, he suggests that there isn’t much daylight between Google and the NSA. The three people who went along with Eric Schmidt – CEO of Google – to interview Julian were Jared Cohen, director of Google Ideas – ex-State Department and senior something or other on the CFR, adviser to Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton. The two others were Lisa Shields and Scott Malcolmson, also former State Department and CFR. It’s serious shit. But when we talk about NGOs, there’s something we must be careful about….

JC: What’s that?

AR: When the attack on NGOs comes from the opposite end, from the far right, then those of us who’ve been criticising NGOs from a completely different perspective will look terrible…to liberals we’ll be the bad guys….

JC: Once again pitting the “funded” against the “unfunded.”

AR: For example, in India the new government – the members of the radical Hindu Right who want India to be a ‘Hindu Nation’ – they’re bigots. Butchers. Massacres are their unofficial election campaigns – orchestrated to polarise communities and bring in the vote. It was so in Gujarat in 2002, and this year, in the run-up to the general elections, in a place called Muzaffarnagar, after which tens of thousands of Muslims had to flee from their villages and live in camps. Some of those who are accused of all that murdering are now cabinet ministers. Their support for straightforward, chest-thumping butchery makes you long for even the hypocrisy of the human rights discourse. But now if the “human rights” NGOs make a noise, or even whisper too loudly…this government will shut them down. And it can, very easily. All it has to do is to go after the funders…and the funders, whoever they are, especially those who are interested in India’s huge “market” will either cave in or scuttle over to the other side. Those NGOs will blow over because they’re a chimera, they don’t have deep roots in society among the people, really, so they’ll just disappear. Even the pretend resistance that has sucked the marrow out of genuine resistance will be gone.

 

Read the full article at Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/world/john-cusack-and-arundhati-roy-things-can-and-cannot-be-said

 

 

Truth between the Lines: The “BREAKING: Keystone XL pipeline rejected!” announcement circulated by 350.org

Wrong Kind of Green

November 8, 2015

 

Wrong Kind of Green responses follow 350.org remarks in bold red text. Emphasis have been left as in the original 350.org text.

 

From: Bill McKibben and 350.org’s Keystone XL Team <350@350.org>
Date: Fri, Nov 6, 2015 at 11:17 AM
Subject: BREAKING: Keystone XL pipeline rejected!
Friends,

We just made history together. 4 years to the day after we surrounded the White House, President Obama has rejected the Presidential Permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline! WKOG: Framing: This introduction implies symbolic state sanctioned protests are effective in the war against genocide.

This is huge. WKOG: This has had no impact on the production of crude oil which continues to break records.

A head of state has never rejected a major fossil fuel project because of its climate impacts before. WKOG: The fossil fuel project was not rejected for its climate impacts. This is simply political posturing as the pipeline is not needed. The sections of the Keystone XL pipeline that were needed were built and put into operation long ago (June 2010, February 2011). Alternate pipelines have been approved with little to no dissent from the non-profit industrial complex. The President’s decision sets the standard for what climate action looks like: standing up to the fossil fuel industry, and keeping fossil fuels in the ground. WKOG: The fossil fuel industry is alive and well (as there remains zero focus on consumption), the fossil fuels are not being kept in the ground. They continue to be produced and brought to the market by rail and alternate pipelines.

“Now, under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.  (Applause.)  That’s important to know.  Over the last three years, I’ve directed my administration to open up millions of acres for gas and oil exploration across 23 different states.  We’re opening up more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources offshore.  We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high.  We’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some..” — US President Barack Obama, March 22, 2012 [Source]

Make no mistake: this victory belongs to us, the movement. President Obama’s courage today is a reflection of the courage shown by thousands of people who have sat in, marched, organized, (and opened a lot of emails) across North America against this pipeline. WKOG: Framing Obama as courageous is disingenuous (or delusional) at best. Those who deserve credit, gratitude and respect (those on the front lines) continue to be impacted by pollution, toxins, prostitution, drugs and the many negative aspects of oil booms and industry. This fight started with First Nations in Canada where the tar sands are extracted, and spread to farmers, ranchers and tribal nations along the pipeline route. Since then people from all walks of life have joined hands against Keystone, and the 830,000 barrels per day of destructive tar sands oil it would have carried through the country to be burned. WKOG: The victory does not belong to 350 et al., an arm of the elites by whom they are financed. Rather, the non-profit industrial complex co-opts the legitimate fight of those on the front lines only in to project faux credibility and faux legitimacy. The timing is both strategic and critical as this faux credibility is needed by 350 et al. as they take our hand and lead us to the future of assigning value to nature (payments for ecosystem services or PES) under the guise of climate solutions and a “new economy” as we approach COP21, Paris. Further, the “830,000 barrels per day of destructive tar sands oil it would have carried through the country to be burned” are being transported via rail having resulted in the deaths of 47 people in Lac Megantic, Quebec, Canada and two deaths in a separate crude via rail derailment (who join those on the front lines as the invisible). Crude via rail derailments, which have been staggering in number, has also caused untold destruction to our already deteriorating ecosystems.

Together, we have shown what it takes to win: a determined, principled, unrelenting grassroots movement that takes to the streets whenever necessary, and isn’t afraid to put our bodies on the line. WKOG: 350, a multi-million dollar international NGO is not a grassroots movement. This is yet another prime example of co-optation. Only those on the front lines have ever put their “bodies on the line”. The “win”, the “victory” belongs to industry whose rape and pillage continues uninterrupted with a public thinking they have “won”. To believe we have “won” without tackling consumption of fossil fuels and the western lifestyle (which is a detriment to the world), is a win for those who finance the non-profit industrial complex and depend on both expansion of capital and perpetual growth.

Politicians in Washington DC didn’t make this happen. Our movement did. We want to thank everyone who has been a part of this campaign — from calling Congress to getting arrested on the White House fence. WKOG: This move was strategic by both state and industry. It was not the state bending or bowing to the will of the people. This does not mean those on the front lines who fought do not deserve credit. They do. Yet reality and truth must be acknowledged if we are to truly win our struggles and ultimately end genocide. State sanctioned arrests are simply PR for organizations such as 350.org.

You can join us in appreciating everyone who made this day possible by co-signing our thank you card to the movement — we’ll deliver personalized versions of the card with your messages to everyone who has led or attended an action against Keystone XL since 2011. Click here to sign the thank you card to the #NoKXL Movement.

Powered by our organizing, the tide is turning against the fossil fuel industry — every major new project they propose is being met by organized opposition on the ground, and politicians are lining up to stand behind our movement and say that we must keep the vast majority of fossil fuels underground. WKOG: Powered by the organizing of the NPIC at the bequest of their funders, society is assisting in the expansion of capital while being led to believe the opposite. This is true in the case of “renewable energies” which are not clean, are carbon based and carbon dependent (to be used by the wealthy 1% creating 50% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is to say, anyone who can afford to get on a plane). This is also true of the “new economy” now being implemented, whereby we assign monetary value to Earth’s remaining resources and assign corporations as the new “stewards” of our natural environment. To say “politicians are lining up to stand behind our movement and say that we must keep the vast majority of fossil fuels underground” as the United States leads in the destabilizing, illegal invasions and full out annihilation of sovereign states throughout the Middle East, Africa, and the globe, for oil, rare earth minerals and Earth’s natural resources, is nothing more than dangerous propaganda denying (and at the same time highlighting) racism and class.

Resistance is growing because the fossil fuel industry is more reckless than ever: from Texas where the Southern leg of Keystone XL pumps toxic tar sands, to Alberta where Big Oil foolishly plans to expand its mines, to California where they want to frack during a historic drought, to the enormous coal pits of Appalachia and Australia. WKOG: The intent behind marketing the idea that “resistance is growing because the fossil fuel industry is more reckless than ever” is to lead society to a third industrialized revolution, that of “renewable energy” in a world where growth has stagnated and capitalism, dependent on perpetual uninterrupted growth, is in trouble. Both a global transition to “renewable energies” and payments for ecosystem services create potential mass markets for capitalism to continue unabated. Note that 350 never mentioned the key sections of KXL that were built and in operation until it became common knowledge due to the perseverance of grass roots activists and those on the front lines. Also note that crude via rail was rarely if ever mentioned by the NGOS within the non-profit industrial complex (including 350.org) until after the Lac Megantic tragedy. One can safely assume this is due to the 26 million dollars (2003-2011) funneled into the Tides Foundation (which distributes funds to the tar sands campaigns) via the Buffett families NGO NoVo. Also note zero reference to the enormous lithium pits which are imperative to “renewable energy”.

We have more tools than ever to work with. A strong fossil fuel resistance is already taking shape across the globe. Since we began fighting Keystone XL, the movement for divestment from fossil fuels has grown into a global powerhouse able to move tens of billions of dollars and undercut the social license of the fossil fuel industry. Fracking bans have stopped drilling in towns, counties and now whole states across the country. Communities are seizing their energy futures by demanding 100% renewable power in record numbers. WKOG: Fracking bans were won by the hard work of grassroots groups who resisted the co-optation by the NGOS within the NPIC. NGOs serve their funders first and foremost. Recall that 1Sky (which merged with 350 in 2011) was a incubator NGO of Rockefeller Foundation which, with the United Nations Global Compact has launched a new framework to address climate change. The NPIC is assigned and financed to have society acclimatize and acquiesce to the solutions that protect power and capital. Solutions already designed and agreed upon that patiently await implementation by the elites.

And when world leaders meet in Paris later this year, they’ll do so knowing what our movement can do, and what climate action really looks like: keeping fossil fuels in the ground. WKOG: Bolivia, the G77 and other nations on the front lines of climate change demonstrated what “climate action really looks like” back in 2009 at COP15 when they demanded the radical emission targets necessary in order to keep their citizens alive. These positions were grossly undermined and made invisible by the non-profit industrial complex. In 2010 Bolivia’s Indigenous Peoples were again undermined by 350.org at The World People’s Conference on Climate Change hosted by the state of Bolivia. The declaration traduced by this conference was also buried by the non-profit industrial complex. Further, world “leaders” such as Obama, serve capital not people. They respond to force and threats to capital and growth, not passiveness and admiration. “Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.” — Assata Shakur

Today we can approach all of our work with new eyes. We know that we can fight, and we can win.

This isn’t just a victory for the climate movement — it’s a victory for everyone who believes in the power of organized people, from the streets of Missouri, to the border crossings of Arizona, to the hills of South Dakota and Nebraska. WKOG: Note that there is not a single reference in this announcement to the crude via rail 21st century empire built by Barrack Obama’s financial advisor and billionaire Warren Buffett (while all eyes were on the KXL). Note not a single reference to the consumption/lifestyles by those of privilege (350 target audience) as though the oil being produced simply has vanishes into mid air after it is produced and delivered to market. Nor does 350/McKibben address the capitalist economic system that perpetuates the consumption and enslaves us all. Via spectacle, 350 et al perpetuate society’s accelerating decline into a culture incapable of employing the critical thought process so desperately needed at this juncture.

Click. Like. But don’t think. It’s divisive.

Together, we’re on the path to real, substantive change.

With joy, and immense gratitude,

The 350.org Keystone XL pipeline fighting team:

Bill, Cam, Clayton, David, Deirdre, Duncan, Jamie, Jason, Joshua, Linda, Matt, May, Phil, Rae and Sara

 

McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part XIII of an Investigative Report] [The Increasing Vogue for Capitalist-Friendly Climate Discourse]

The Art of Annihilation

September 24, 2015

Part thirteen of an investigative series by Cory Morningstar

Divestment Investigative Report Series [Further Reading]: Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VIPart VIIPart VIIIPart IXPart XPart XIPart XIIPart XIII

 

“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.” Frantz Fanon, in Black Skin, White Masks

 

Prologue: A Coup d’état of Nature – Led by the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

It is somewhat ironic that anti-REDD climate activists, faux green organizations (in contrast to legitimate grassroots organizations that do exist, although few and far between) and self-proclaimed environmentalists who consider themselves progressive will speak out against the commodification of nature’s natural resources while simultaneously promoting the divestment campaign promoted by the mainstream groups allegedly on the left. It’s ironic because the divestment campaign will result (succeed) in a colossal injection of money shifting over to the very portfolios heavily invested in, thus dependent upon, the intense commodification and privatization of Earth’s last remaining forests (via REDD, environmental “markets” and the like). This tour de force will be executed with cunning precision under the guise of environmental stewardship and “internalising negative externalities through appropriate pricing.” Thus, ironically (if in appearances only), the greatest surge in the ultimate corporate capture of Earth’s final remaining resources is being led, and will be accomplished, by the very environmentalists and environmental groups that claim to oppose such corporate domination and capture.

Beyond shelling out billions of tax-exempt dollars (i.e., investments) to those institutions most accommodating in the non-profit industrial complex (otherwise known as foundations), the corporations need not lift a finger to sell this pseudo green agenda to the people in the environmental movement; the feat is being carried out by a tag team comprised of the legitimate and the faux environmentalists. The public – wholly ignorant and gullible – has no comprehension of the following:

  1. the magnitude of our ecological crisis
  2. the root causes of the planetary crisis, or
  3. the non-profit industrial complex as an instrument of hegemony.

The commodification of the commons will represent the greatest, and most cunning, coup d’état in the history of corporate dominance – an extraordinary fait accompli of unparalleled scale, with unimaginable repercussions for humanity and all life.

Further, it matters little whether or not the money is moved from direct investments in fossil fuel corporations to so-called “socially responsible investments.” All corporations on the planet (and therefore by extension, all investments on the planet) are dependent upon and will continue to require massive amounts of fossil fuels to continue to grow and expand ad infinitum – as required by the industrialized capitalist economic system.

The windmills and solar panels serve as beautiful (marketing) imagery as a panacea for our energy issues, yet they are illusory – the fake veneer for the commodification of the commons, which is the fundamental objective of Wall Street, the very advisers of the divestment campaign.

Thus we find ourselves unwilling to acknowledge the necessity to dismantle the industrialized capitalist economic system, choosing instead to embrace an illusion designed by corporate power.

+++

 

The Increasing Vogue for Capitalist-Friendly Climate Discourse

“…there comes with celebritus politicus a kind of ‘plausible deniability’ – similar to … ‘conspicuous redemption’ – in the context of climate change celebrities – that gets turned into a kind of caring deniability designed to set loose the philanthropic sensibilities and materialities of celebritus politicus that very often work to hide the systematic and subjective violences upon which neoliberal capitalism are based.” — Age of Icons, Exploring Philanthrocapitalism in the Contemporary World, 2013

 

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“We can expect more with her new book, which focuses on climate politics and is due for release in September 2014, well timed to intervene in the debates surrounding the big UN talks in New York. Klein offers an alternative amongst the increasing vogue for capitalist-friendly climate discourse, though her 2011 article Capitalism vs the Climate may be showing its age.” — Road to Paris Website, 20 Women Making Waves in the Climate Change Debate, ICSU website. [1]

Road to Paris 2

Road to Paris 1

“It is a bitter irony of source journalism … that the most esteemed journalists are precisely the most servile.” — Lee and Solomon, 1990

Note the above reference to Klein’s book “This Changes Everything” and its September 2014 release date as “well timed to intervene in the debates surrounding the big UN talks in New York.” Indeed, This Changes Everything was the springboard for the “new economy” sought by Wall Street and empire. Note the framing of a new ideology around the word capitalism: “the increasing vogue for capitalist-friendly climate discourse” as well as “capitalist-friendly discourse”.

“Basically your ministers are not people who go in for decisions on the part of people, I don’t know whether you realize it or not…they had been looked upon as saviors.” – Ella Baker [Beyond MLK]

The simple reality that we kill capitalism – or capitalism kills us – does not draw billions in advertising revenue nor does it allow for the obtainment of public acquiescence to the financialization of Earth’s remaining commons. Thus, the framing of capitalism itself is most critical: “[Klein] leaves too much wiggle room for capitalism to escape a definitive condemnation…. She seems clear enough in the analysis that pervades the book that it is capitalism, yet she repeatedly qualifies this position by decrying ‘the kind of capitalism we now have,’ ‘neoliberal’ capitalism, ‘deregulated’ capitalism, ‘unfettered’ capitalism, ‘predatory’ capitalism, ‘extractive capitalism,’ and so on.” [When History Knocks, December 2014]

Capitalist friendly climate discourse has only become increasingly vogue because that’s what global media, on behalf of their owners, wish to sell us. And they have succeeded. The storyline has been swallowed, hook, line and sinker.

Klein’s contributions have not threatened capitalism; rather her efforts are utilized to not only protect it, but strengthen it.

Klein Reformist Capitalism 1

The United Nations Global Biodiversity Outlook 4 document states that “with concerted efforts at all levels, we can achieve the goals and targets of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020.” (Note again the re-occurring references to the year 2020 in this report.) This is identified as critically important, as the world/UN intensifies its actions to meet the Millennium Development Goals, and “craft a successor agenda for sustainable development, and adopt a meaningful legal climate change agreement – all by the year 2015.”

And although the targets are not being met (the UN did not meet its Millennium Development Goals by 2015, for example; nor did nations adopt a legally binding climate change agreement that impact climate change), it matters little as the key goal is not mentioned in articles (such as those published in the Guardian) that focus solely on biodiversity loss. The Strategic Plan includes a set of 20 targets (the Aichi Biodiversity Targets) [2], most of which are supposedly to be achieved by 2020, with the overarching goal “ultimately aimed at achieving a 2050 vision of a world where biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people.”

2015: On the Road to Paris

This Changes Everything: The 2015 TckTckTck

Based on the premise that “in December 2015, the world will get a new climate deal at the COP21 meeting in Paris,” it follows that the UN and those whose interests it serves had a vested interest in ensuring that the campaign “This Changes Everything” superseded the last campaign of this scale, which was the 2009 TckTckTck campaign leading up to COP15 in Copenhagen.

“This Changes Everything, initiated by an independent and growing network of young activists and campaign groups, aims to support the global movement against climate change by building bridges with social justice movements and the science that supports them. We want to raise awareness and participation, launching a wave of protest and direct action in the run up to December’s UN climate summit in Paris – and beyond.” [See screenshot below]

This Changes Everything Campaign Screenshot

TckTckTck was a corporate-driven communications campaign from its very inception. TckTckTck’s gross undermining of the world’s most vulnerable states that fought to defend the Earth will one day be understood as one of the greatest crimes against humanity the world has ever known. The following text is from a press release obtained from Havas advertising:

As its co-founder and co-creator, David Jones has led Kofi Annan’s ‘Tck TckTck Campaign for Climate Justice’ and is Global CEO of Havas Worldwide, running all creative, marketing and design companies throughout the network of more than 300 offices. Kate Robertson is one of the co-founders of the TckTckTck campaign and has been Chairman of the Euro RSCG Group since 2006.”

It is critical to note that 350.org, Avaaz , Greenpeace and Oxfam are the first NGO signatories to have partnered in this effort (as well as founding members of Global Campaign for Climate Action) with many of the planet’s most powerful corporate entities such as EDF (owns/operates three of the world’s top ten nuclear power plants by capacity), Virgin Group and Lloyds Bank. According to Hoggan and Associates Public Relations Firm (a venture of the DeSmog Blog co-founder, Jim Hoggan), during the 5 months of the campaign, TckTckTck and its partners registered 15.5 million names worldwide on an online petition. Also note that GCCA/TckTckTck was the leading NGO behind the 2014 People’s Climate March.

Consider the cunning and exhaustive marketing endeavour to re-frame the corporate global capture of nature’s commons (ecosystem services) as holistic, honest and ethical. Thus, one could reasonably hypothesize that the foundations and institutions that brilliantly strategize for the protection and expansion of hegemonic power would gladly welcome, and far prefer, the “This Changes Everything” campaign. A multi-million dollar “Tck-esque” campaign, financed by the United Nations, is as old and tired as the “green economy.” The patina is damaged. A citizen-led mobilization lends much needed legitimacy – for the most fraudulent agenda to ever be realized by the world’s most powerful psychopaths.

With the 350.org divestment movement and Klein at the helm, in addition to its partnership with The Guardian (which has also partnered with Klein personally outside of 350.org) and endorsement from the UN, 350.org et al have a position in the media to create mobilizations on cue, simply by calling out its army of divestment students, now global in scope. In the This Changes Everything website it should be noted that within Klein’s bio, 350.org continues to be referred to as a global grassroots movement – disregarding the fact that 1Sky (which merged with 350 in 2011) was an incubator project of the Rockefeller Foundation; it is still an NGO whose annual incomes exceeds millions; and it rewards staff with six-figure salaries. Due to its now global size (not to mention its oligarchic origins), 350.org is very far removed from the true concept of grassroots. The word disingenuous, in regard to this claim, is an immense understatement.

The Message

Of course. disingenuous is to be expected when one looks at the financing behind Klein’s This Changes Everything book and film project, formerly referred to as The Message.

Susan Rockefeller is the Co-Executive Producer of the documentary film This Changes Everything and founding partner of Louverture Films, LLC. Louverture is the production company for the documentary film This Changes Everything in partnership with The Message Productions, LLC / Klein Lewis Productions.

The fiscal sponsor of this endeavour was New York-based Sustainable Markets Foundation (SMF). SMF is financed by a multitude of foundations including Rockefeller Family Fund, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Energy Foundation, Park Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Schmidt, Global Wallace Fund, Tides, etc. In addition, Tides receives millions in funding from Warren Buffett laundered through the Buffett family foundation NoVo.

“‘The Message’ is a multi-platform project on climate change. The first part of the project is a non-fiction book expected for release in fall 2014 by Naomi Klein, to be followed by a documentary currently in production. In 2011 and 2012, SMF received donations for and distributed grants to ‘The Message.’ Specifically, in 2011, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund gave SMF $50,000 for ‘The Message,’ Wallace Global Fund gave SMF $75,000 for ‘The Message,’ and Schmidt Family Foundation gave $40,000 to SMF ‘to support development of a film titled, The Message.’

 

“While those donations total $165,000 in 2011, that year SMF gave $112,360 – the difference seemingly represents SMF’s fiscal sponsor fee. The following year, the Schmidt Family Foundation gave SMF $100,000 ‘to support “The Message” film.’” [Source: United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Minority Staff Report, July 30, 2014]

SusanRockefeller-2066-676x450

Photo: Susan Rockefeller at her home on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, New York, on Sept. 8, 2015. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

“But what appears as a natural property of the charismatic celebrity is actually produced by discourses of celebrity. (Matt Hills, 2005:151) The capitalist system uses celebrities to promote individualism and illusions of democracy (the ‘anyone can do it’ myth) […] capitalism retains its hold on society, by reducing all human activity to private ‘personalities’ and the inner life of the individual.” (Giles, 2000:19 and 72)

NAOMI KLEIN

“Credible celebrity endorsers can be deadly efficient in cutting into the toughest markets and combating the fiercest consumer resistance.” —Celebrity Culture, 2006

 

 

“Any account of celebrities must be predicated on the recognition that ‘the interests served are first of all those of capital.’” — Celebrity Culture, 2006 citing Graeme Turner

 

When promoting her 2000 book, No Logo, in an interview with the Guardian, Klein claimed that Apple and other corporations were selling the consumers’ own ideas back to them (by tapping into their aspirations and dreams). Klein stated: “People are drawn to these brands because they are selling their own ideas back to them. They are selling the most powerful ideas that we have in our culture such as transcendence, and community, even democracy. These are all brand meanings now.” Her observation was dead-on. This begs the question of how an individual, once astute, can 15 years later, be blind to the parallels: an almost identical global marketing scheme now being applied to the populace in order to capture and privatize the natural environment. Today, Wall Street and other corporations are selling back to consumers their own ideas by tapping into their aspirations and dreams.

Just as hopes and dreams can now be bought and sold by advertising moguls, states and corporations, nature will be bought and sold by states and corporations, in large part made possible by the same social media that serves as the gateway for unprecedented manipulation, coercion, social engineering, and distraction. People are drawn to the manufactured illusions and false promises (renewable energy for all, a green utopia, etc.) precisely because they are being sold their very own ideas (embodied in aspirations and dreams). Indeed, as Klein herself stated, “They are selling the most powerful ideas that we have in our culture such as transcendence, and community, even democracy. These are all brand meanings now.” The difference is that Apple and other corporations delivered on ideas embodied in aspirations and dreams via singular consumer products. But the “new economy” that Klein et al advocate for has every intention of delivering on our ideas embodied in aspirations and dreams – in relation to our future within the natural world – by further expanding capital and commodifying the whole of Earth’s natural commons. Klein and her ivory tower cohorts provide the hope and dreams (“The convenient truth is that we can seize this existential crisis to transform our failed system and build something radically better,” said Klein in This Changes Everything) while the world’s most powerful institutions and oligarchs provide the predetermined solutions – “solutions” that the nonprofit industrial complex (NPIC) ensures remain shrouded in darkness behind the façade of solar panels, wind mills and co-operatives.

Some things don’t change. Two things that don’t change are 1) permanent/continual economic growth is a non-negotiable imperative of the capitalist economic system, and 2) capitalists will stop at absolutely nothing to grow/expand their capital. It is only through the acquisition of the labour of “visible minorities,” the oppressed and colonized peoples (via racism, classism, imperialism, colonialism and patriarchy) that the privileged can cling to their belief that the current crisis is somehow salvageable. With this in mind, the strategy is to have a global populace not only simply acquiesce to, but also demand that global leaders roll out “sustainable capitalism” (in other words, payment for ecosystems services, which is marketed, and consequently interpreted by the public, as nothing more than the “new economy,” sold by McKibben, Klein and others under the guise of vogue, capitalist-friendly climate discourse).

This strategy must be considered the most brilliant hoax since Buffett’s KXL. The people taking to the streets, demanding what the establishment decided upon long ago, is surely worth a toast of champagne on Wall Street as the world’s most powerful capitalists laugh all the way to the bank.

The paradox of having been blinded by the spectacle is the cult-esque faith that the new economy will save us, even as it further propels us to complete and absolute annihilation.

“We will tell you what you want to hear. You need not ever look in the mirror. We are your moral alibi. Love us. Protect us. We are you.” —Ivory Tower Saviours

+++

While Klein writes that “What the climate needs now is a contraction in humanity’s use of resources; what our economic model demands is unfettered expansion”, her push on divestment promises us the exact opposite. The “renewable energy revolution” (for those of privilege) based upon and dependent upon infinite and unfathomable amounts of steel, cement, aluminum and copper (all to be pillaged from an already exhausted planet), represents just one aspect of a goal grounded in denial. Further, when one takes into account that approx. 70% of all wind turbine supplies are manufactured by just 10 corporations, we can better comprehend a global campaign whose goal is to further empower the technocratic elite classes and strengthen corporate dominance. In the paper Fetishisms of Apocalypse, the author observes the pervasive framing of what mirrors the divestment ideology: “ruling elites have to be persuaded to act in their own interest now… forcing a wholly separate Society to homogenise itself around elite managers and their technological and organisational fixes.”

billionairesmeeting

Branding the Bourgeoisie

While Oprah Winfrey’s goal/vision is to divert protesters into Martin Luther King’s “strategic” model, Klein’s efforts divert protestors into the establishment’s “strategic” model. Klein’s celebrity partner Russell Brand (at the forefront of the 21st century trend of the bourgeoisie-revolutionary), makes his revolutionary stance clear (This Changes Everything UK, March 28, 2015) when he instructs his followers that “a facility for the will of the people [is] to be represented… so we have the ability to influence the institutions that control us….” Unfortunately, Brand has not been privy to a simple fact articulated by legitimate revolutionary voice, Assata Shakur, who warned long ago that “nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.” Brand adds that “if we can’t influence those institutions, then the institutions have to go.” Yet, the reality is that institutions are merely bureaucracies “whose very functions are, first: to make money, and second: to pacify the masses by diverting their discontent into compromises with capital.” [Source] In Brand’s urging to create a facility “so we have the ability to influence the institutions that control us,” he reinforces both the system’s authority and the illusion of democracy.

The following observation is quickly becoming most prophetic as the populace continues to be enraptured by the spectacle:

“These historical distortions aren’t just academic: they affect how we view militancy and moderation today. If activists and supporters aren’t aware of the contribution that rowdy non-nonviolent marches made to the campaign, they might instead chalk it up to King’s horse-trading, and thus submit to elite calls for tighter leadership and a cooling-off period – a course that would undermine the crucial momentum of the movement. (Selma producer Oprah Winfrey has said it’s precisely her intention to divert protesters into King’s ‘strategic’ model.) If they come to associate the archetype of the well-funded, well-connected leader with strategic wisdom, they may find themselves embracing the next faux messianic figure who emerges to channel revolutionary energies into reformism, despite the fact that decades of liberal church leadership have brought real losses to the black community, including rollback of the Voting Rights Act.” Beyond MLK

Poet and writer Ryszard Kapuscinski once offered that “oil is a resource that anaesthetizes thought, blurs vision, and corrupts.” Perhaps this anaesthetization also lends itself to the origins of infinite growth as sacrosanct, coupled with a collective and insatiable thirst for artificial needs and false prophets – which seemingly cannot be quenched. Like the 17th century mad hatters poisoned by mercury, perhaps the thought processes of today’s productivist environmentalists have been anaesthetized, blurred and corrupted – by oil.

Embracing Our Icons of Privilege

“Celebrities are developed to make money.” — Graeme Turner, 2004

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Vogue Magazine (August 26, 2014: “Naomi Klein on This Changes Everything, Her New Book About Climate Change”)

 

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Getty Images

“A high-profile sports star like Michael Jordan or David Beckham can become a one-man super brand (Naomi Klein, 2001), able to move his audiences into new regimes of consumption.” — Understanding Celebrity, 2013

It is not mere coincidence that the progressive left’s most cherished idols are white, privileged, lucratively financed, climate/environmental “activists” that continuously jet-set around the globe. This is the same progressive left addicted to their Starfuck lattes, semi-annual vacations, cottages and shiny new cars. Rather, they love their idols – because they identify with them. Take a day to listen to likes of activists such as Dhoruba bin Wahad, Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin, or Omali Yeshitela, and one quickly realizes that today’s white, privileged, lucratively financed appointed “leaders” are as flimsy, weak and homogenized as a loaf of Wonder Bread.

Even if our progressive left crowd stumbles across radical and critical thinkers – even when facts hit our progressives between the eyes – they do not dismiss their false prophets. Rather, insulated within their own identities and obscured by privilege, the liberal left is quick to dismiss any and all factual information and rush to their idols’ defense. Never before has it been so easy for pied pipers to lead the credulous astray.

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Actress Marisa Tomei, honoree Bill McKibben and wife Sue Halpern arrive at the 23rd Annual Environmental Media Awards and after party, presented by Toyota and Lexus at Warner Bros. Studios on October 19, 2013 in Burbank, California

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350.org co-founder Bill McKibben speaks on stage during the United Nations 2014 Equator Prize Gala at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center on September 22, 2014 in New York City. Partners behind the celebrity-fetishized event include Conservation International, Nature Conservancy, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Foundation, and USAID.

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Honoree Bill McKibben at the 23rd Annual Environmental Media Awards and after party, presented by Toyota and Lexus at Warner Bros. Studios on October 19, 2013 in Burbank, California.

It is not mere coincidence that most liberals admire those that tend to reflect their own lives, those with whom they can identify. Until recently, 350.org board member Naomi Klein lived between two homes in Canada; one home in Metropolitan Toronto and one on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. Klein is an author. Klein is married to a documentary film-maker. She is a jet-setter. Her fan base is somewhat similar in status. The same holds true for McKibben with homes in both the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks: A beautiful custom-built home with panoramic views of red pines on land once owned by the poet Robert Frost (Vermont) complete with a wood-fired hot tub. A second home in Johnsburg, New York, deep in the beautiful Adirondacks [Source]. Cars, travel, famous friends and a good job. Both McKibben and Klein are appointed and given celebrity status by the establishment, in a culture that feeds on celebrity fetish. It is safe to say that everyone who believes in them already lives like them – or wants to live like them. They do not identify with someone like Omali Yeshitela, whose rightful anger is not hidden, and who constantly is subjected to harassment by cops, on behalf of the state. Nor do they identify with any Indigenous radicals other than the tiny token handful who are stamped and certified by the NPIC. How can they identify with Indigenous radicals who face increasing suicide rates, impoverishment, lack of access to clean drinking water, and worse, on a daily basis? The critical thinkers and thought leaders in these unpopular realms would only invoke guilt for the privileged supporters of 350.org, etc. – most with good jobs and ample money and who very much want to keep their aforementioned privilege, good jobs and ample money. The liberal left embraces those who make them feel good and deserving of their privilege.

McKibben 1990 Wood Fired Hot Tub Nixed for Climate

Sarasota Herald-Tribune, February 7, 1990: “Faced with his belief that the world is literally going to hell, McKibben decide not to construct a wood-fired hot tub in his backyard. Instead he bought thermal-pane windows… And so it seems it has come to this…. That forsaking hot tubs and powerful leaf blowers and environmentally unsound communication is simply not enough. We must do more.”

McKibben 2012 Decides on Hot Tub

What a difference a day makes… The Boston Globe, January 22, 2012. “McKibben is no Luddite: His house near Middlebury College has indoor plumbing, a microwave, and a wood-fired hot tub.”

“Clearly activism is not what it used to be. Resistance was never what it was understood to be. And, capitalism is always reinventing itself. The power of capitalism as a global force has always been in the capacity of a system to adapt, incorporate and expand. Yet the prevailing sense that capitalism is undergoing a new phase in relationship to activism and resistance is palpable. [It is] in this shifting, murky, hard to define terrain, that critical consumer studies has emerged as an important new field of study.” — Commodity Activism: Cultural Resistance in Neoliberal Times, 2013

The “new economy” promises that this is possible. And that is what people of privilege want (and need) to hear. Who wants to ride a bike or take public transit when you can be seen in your new Tesla wearing your Prada scarf – a latte in one hand and the latest smart phone in the other?

Video: Ac”CLIMATE”izing Society to the “New Economy” featuring “actress” (celebrity) Michelle Rodriguez (running time 1:30)

 

 

Why should the 1% creating 50% of the global greenhouse gas emissions give up flying – when you can simply “fly clean,” dismissing the fact entirely that 95% of the world’s population have never flown. (“Air travel hit new records as well: in 2004, 1.9 billion passengers traveled 3.4 trillion kilometers. Yet only 5% of the world’s population has ever flown.” [Source]) With so many innovative consumer products, and collaborations that promise a sustainable future as pitched by the green new economy (designed exclusively for the wealthy), why give up anything at all? It is little wonder that the status quo have fallen in love with the illusion that the new economy will miraculously save us.

“In this, these markets of emotion and care come into their own: celebritis politicus is used to sell causes, contributions, concerns and socially responsible consumerism through a competitive market for poverty and enviro-tainment designed to develop, capture, and ‘use’ the fans of this poverty and enviro-tainment towards progressive ends.” — Commodity Activism: Cultural Resistance in Neoliberal Times, 2013

The irony is that while nature requires our colossal consumption to come to a grinding halt, the signals embedded in our messengers and subtexts (celebrities, sponsors, advertising, false hope and minimizing of reality, etc.) ever so subtly and skillfully demand the opposite. Collectively, the cognitive dissonance (in all political spectrums: left, centre and right) stemming from our disregard as a species for Earth’s natural limits guarantees the destruction of the shared biosphere and most likely, all life within it. Adding to this multifaceted psy-war is the fact that if fossil fuels were actually to be removed from the equation, whole societies would quickly collapse and cease to exist. As seductive as clean energy tales are as told by the UN, the NPIC and the media – at the bequest of the oligarchs, on whom they depend – there are no new Lexuses, Toyotas or Teslas, designer clothes, Vanity Fairs or jet travel in a fossil fuel-constrained world. Such desires will have to be wrestled from the hands of the privileged. Voluntary curtailing of consumption by those that consume the most is mere fantasy. Alas, such a fantasy is not only the last thing the elites would wish for, but indeed their greatest nightmare.

“Celebrities offer peculiarly powerful affirmations of belonging, recognition and meaning.” — Chris Rojek

Akin to how Halo cars serve to, first and foremost, capitalize the brand (Bloomberg: “The Beauty and Logic of the Million-Dollar Car”), our celebrity “leaders” are constructed in the same way: to capitalize the “new economy” (or “next system,” etc.) brand. The same holds true for the privileged left – those with purchasing power. The real value is in the association … the tapping into the elite aura emitted by the upper-echelon luminaries who have been appointed as the messengers for the environment. “[T]he everyday drivers of the lower-tier cars get to feel like they’re part of the correct club.” Indeed, “…celebrity culture can be visualized as a form of corporate incarceration, confining consumers in a tight social space in which they can aspire to the Good Life and find gratification only by following the imagined lives of others and striving to emulate them. If this is a prison, then it is one where the prisoners are ‘busily keeping the walls intact.’” [Source]

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Avaaz founder Ricken Patel (left) and Zadie Smith (celebrity/author). PUMA Impact Award, The Times Center, November 13, 2013, NYC (Photo by Lauren Colchamiro)

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Left to right: Avaaz co-founder Ricken Patel, celebrity Susan Sarandon, and author/celebrity Zadie Smith for the PUMA Impact Award, The Times Center, November 13, 2013, NYC

Kumi Puma

Executive Director of Greenpeace Kumi Naidoo (left) and celebrity/actor Djimon Hounsou (right) at the 3rd Puma Creative Impact Award. Radialsystem V, Berlin, Germany, 13 Nov 2012 (photo: Zucker Kommunikation)

Olivia Zaleski, Kate Dillon, Michael Brune, Summer Rayne Oakes== RAINFOREST ACTION NETWORK Hosts the Opening Night Party for The GreenShows ECO Fashion Week== King of Greene Street, NYC== September 15, 2009== ©Patrick McMullan== Photo - WILL RAGOZZINO/PatrickMcMullan.com== ==

Left to right: Kate Dillon, Olivia Zaleski, Michael Brune and Summer Rayne Oakes, at RAN’s Don’t Bag Indonesia’s Rainforest campaign launch at the GreenShows, New York Fashion Week, December, 2009. Prior to his position as executive director working for the Sierra Club, Michael Brune was the executive director of the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) for seven years. Prior to his employment at RAN (1998-2010), Brune worked for Greenpeace as a public outreach director. Photo credit: Rainforest Action Network

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Amy Goodman (L) of Democracy Now and Susan Sarandon. PUMA Impact Awards at Times Center, November 13, 2013, New York City. (Photo: Robin Marchant)

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Avaaz and Purpose Inc. co-founder, Jeremy Heimans (far right) in Opportunity Green panel discussion for the “green economy,” with celebrity spokesperson Don Cheadle (second from left) (2011)

As author John Stauber observes: “Liberals need to believe reform is possible, liberal oligarchs need investments, liberal politicians need votes, liberal activists need jobs, and it all is done in acceptance of a corporate oligarchy which needs to make sure no real threat arises to its status quo. So we have many marriages of convenience.”

Those of privilege will not make leaders of non-white activists who identify privilege and whiteness as systemic constructs of an institution structured to maintain and expand the privileges of tyrannical powers – a system, within a structure, that promises nothing more than the acceleration of our global, ecological crisis, unparalleled in magnitude. Nor will those of privilege accept as their mentors those who accurately warn that the very structure and systems that protect and maintain privilege must be dismantled (and other ugly truths we refuse to acknowledge). There is a reason why Indigenous activists such as Kat Yang-Stevens take Rockefellers’ poster boy, Bill McKibben, to task – while 350’s Naomi Klein, in partnership with the Guardian, presents McKibben as a 21st century deity.

The truth is, we’re not going to talk about avoiding the catastrophic temperatures we’ve already allowed to transpire 1) because it is more than likely no longer possible to avoid them and, more importantly, 2) because collectively, the 1% creating 50% of the global greenhouse gas emissions will not willingly risk or give up their privilege. The wealthy minority, largely Euro-Americans of the western and northern hemispheres, will never voluntarily stop over-consuming energy – or anything else. The system demands that we continue. A contrived, false belief system rewards us for doing so. All necessary, disruptive, difficult and radical pathways are avoided by embracing illusory fantasies of a world where our privilege stays intact, simply by adding more infrastructure and expanding capital markets. Thus, we embrace the environmental “leaders” that the oligarchs have sanctioned / pre-approved for us, those with whom we, the privileged, identify and made iconic via the media, their most vital asset.

“Spectacle celebrities like Naomi Klein, while raising valid (albeit hypocritical) criticism of the complex, count on infantile consumers to maintain their activist credentials. Serving as proxies for consumer rage, yet asking nothing serious of them as citizens, makes these capitalist activists popular and profitable PR puppets. (I especially love Ms. No Logo’s logos.)” — Degrees of Evil: Savoring the nuances of co-optation, September 6, 2013, Intercontinental Cry

The Art of Conflation

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Chrysanthemums (translit. Khrizantemy; 1914): a conflation of art, performance, and death  [Source]  

 

conflation
verb from “conflate”
occurs when the identities of two or more individuals, concepts, or places,
sharing some characteristics of one another, seem to be a single identity
— the differences appear to become lost.

 

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2007: “Former President Bill Clinton and musician Bono appear on stage during ‘Giving – Live At The Apollo’ presented by the MTV and Clinton Global Initiative at the Apollo Theater on September 29, 2007 in New York City.”

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2008: “U2 singer Bono speaks with Al Gore during the opening session of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) on September 24, 2008, in New York City. Gore attended the fourth annual meeting of the CGI, a gathering of politicians, celebrities, philanthropists and business leaders to discuss pressing global issues.” (Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

 

In the October 12, 2007, CNN article The Bono-ization of Activism, Klein (rightly) criticizes the “Bono-ization” of the protest movement:

“…the new style of anti-poverty campaigning, where celebrities talk directly with government and business leaders on behalf of a continent (such as Africa) is another form of ‘noblesse oblige’ where the rich and powerful club together to ‘give something back.’ They are saying we don’t even need government anymore, it’s the replacement of nation states with corporate rule — this Billionaires Club, including Bill Clinton, that gets together to give a little something back.”

And yet, eight years later, Klein has fully immersed herself in this same (yet even more powerful) “Billionaires Club,” having replaced nation states with corporate rule. If anyone could be characterized as embracing “another form of ‘noblesse oblige’” it is Klein, the 350.org NGO she serves, and the climate cartel they run with – inclusive of Wall Street.

In 2007, Bill McKibben launched the national ‘Step It Up’ campaign (Clinton Global Initiative Commitment 2007) targeting members of the U.S. Congress to be ‘real leaders’ on climate change. Presidential candidates including Senators Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton attended Step It Up events and issued statements of support for 1Sky’s goals. Step it Up then morphed into 1Sky. 1Sky was an incubator project of the Foundation at its inception. [Further reading: Rockefellers’ 1Sky Unveils the New 350.org | More $ – More Delusion] At the 2007 Clinton Global Initiative, then President Clinton announced the 1Sky campaign. [Video, September 29, 2007: 1Sky at Clinton Global Initiative published by Step It Up][Clinton Foundation Press Release, September 27, 2007: “Working with partners 1Sky will raise $50 million to advocate for a simple set of goals and policy proposals to improve the federal government’s policies on climate change.”]

Four years (2011) after voicing very strong criticisms of the anti-poverty campaign’s engagement with Bill Clinton, a campaign that coincided with the 2007 Step It Up and 1Sky alliances with the Clinton Foundation, Klein would choose to serve on the 350.org board of directors as it officially merged with 1Sky.

“What’s complicated about the space that Bono and Geldof (Bob Geldof, founder of Live Aid) are occupying is that it’s inside and outside at the same time – there’s no difference. What’s significant about the Seattle movement (the WTO protests in 1999 and 2000) is that it’s less the tactics but the fact that it identifies that there are real power differences, winners and losers in this economic model.” [Klein: The Bono-ization of Activism]

In similar fashion, the space that 350.org and the NPIC “are occupying is that it’s inside and outside at the same time” – they are part and parcel of the same elite power structures Klein criticizes. “There’s no difference.” Like Bono’s Live Aid that Klein condemned, the divestment campaign, which Klein actively promotes, deliberately avoids the fact that “there are real power differences, winners and losers in this economic model” (i.e., the divestment model).

“Klein believes when celebrities such as Bono engage in talks with world leaders at forums such as Davos they are legitimizing the structures in place, and the inequalities that arise from these structures, rather than promoting any radical change. ‘The story of globalization is the story of inequality. What’s been lost in the Bono-ization is ability to change these power structures. There are still the winners and losers, people who are locked in to the power structures and those locked out.’” [The Bono-ization of Activism]

The official Road to Paris website cites Klein as one of the top twenty influential women in respect to this year’s “Road to Paris, United Nations Conference of the Parties” (with McKibben being cited as one of the top influential men). Like Bono lending legitimacy to Davos, Klein’s and McKibben’s luminary (and manufactured) status is being fully utilized in the same fashion: legitimizing the structures in place and the inequalities that arise from these structures. While Klein spoke to Bono’s legitimizing of globalization and inequality, 350’s partnership with the United Nations is stealth marketing that serves to whitewash the United Nations’ pivotal role as part of the finance/credit cartel subverting state sovereignty and undermining Indigenous autonomy. [Absence of the Sacred]

Failure to publicly expose and condemn the third pillar of the new economy – the commodification of nature via implementation of ecosystem services accounting – not only legitimizes the current power structures in place, but expands them and shields them from reproach. The inequalities that arise from this one single, and most critical, false solution (of many) not only legitimizes inequalities, it guarantees the finish line for the ongoing genocide – nothing less than total annihilation – of the world’s Indigenous peoples. The NPIC, as the third pillar of contemporary imperialism [3], which Klein has submerged herself in, ensures current power structures are not only kept intact, but strengthened and insulated.

Of course, this is not the first time 350.org has taken to subverting state sovereignty and undermined Indigenous autonomy.

“Bono’s Red initiative is emblematic of this new Pro-Logo age. He announced a new branded product range at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last year called Product Red. American Express, Converse, Armani and Gap were initial partners, joined later by Apple and Motorola. The corporations sell Red branded products, with a percentage of profits going to Bono-approved causes. In this Pro-Logo world there is an irony of consuming to end poverty. Perhaps an even bigger irony: through initiatives like the Red card, consumer culture and branding is buying a stake in anti-globalization and alleviating poverty movement.” [The Bono-ization of Activism]

The global divestment campaign (as was the Stop the KeystoneXL! campaign) is emblematic of the increasingly sophisticated 21st century Pro-Logo age. Today, Bono’s 2008 branded product range promoting his Product Red has been replaced in the public realm with the divestment campaign’s ‘Fossil Fuel Free’ Funds and portfolios (while in the background, hedge funds and private investments comprise the portfolios of the ultra wealthy). Responsible Endowments Coalition, Energy Action Coalition, Sierra Student Coalition, As You Sow, Better Future Project (financed by Wallace Global Fund) and Ceres were initial partners, joined later by the Guardian and the United Nations. In this “capitalism vs the climate” world, there is a strengthening/expanding of capital markets to counteract capitalism. Perhaps an even bigger irony: through initiatives like the global divestment campaign, investment (which furthers consumption/consumer culture) is buying a stake in the anti-capitalist and environmental movements.

“What they’ve tapped into is a market niche. There’s nothing that’s inherently wrong with these initiatives except when they make radical claims that it’s going to end poverty. There’s a long history of radical consumption – what’s pretty unbelievable about this (the Red Label) is that they say it’s revolutionary and it’s going to replace other forms of politics.” [The Bono-ization of Activism]

What the divestment campaign has tapped into is a market niche. While the future will bear witness that there is / was everything inherently wrong with the divestment (dis)course, the framing that the campaign is in service to the fight against climate change is more than insulting. Remix: There’s a long history of “radical” consumption – what’s pretty unbelievable about this current version (the divestment campaign) is that they say it’s revolutionary and it’s going to replace other forms of politics.

In the 2007 article, Klein argued that Bono’s supporters believed he was being constructive because his camp was engaging with power, which she disagreed with. Yet eight years later, Klein has aligned herself with some of the most powerful oligarchs and institutions in the world.

Toward the end of the 2007 article, the author quotes an unidentified activist who stated charity concerts were a way to recorporate the issue. The parallels are striking, for who could disagree that the divestment campaign does perform the exact same function – “a way to recorporate the issue”?

In a single quote that serves to be most prophetic, the unidentified activist added: “It changes nothing.”

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Kiki de Montparnasse, Man Ray (Radnitzky, Emmanuel)

 

Klein’s partnership with the Guardian newspaper; her placating of 350.org’s foundation funding; her chosen decision to remain silent on warmonger NGOs such as 350.org’s strategic partner Avaaz (in large part responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands in Libya [4], which they seek to be repeated in Syria); her silence on the NPIC undermining of vulnerable states at COP15 (with Greenpeace, 350 and Avaaz being the first signatories of TckTckTck); her acceptance of 350’s undermining of a sovereign state and the world’s Indigenous peoples; her scant, almost non-existent references to the military-industrial complex in relation to its massive (and exempted) contribution to both climate change and ecological devastation (case in point, consider the US Air Force (USAF) is the single largest consumer of jet fuel in the world – the avoidance of this subject is even more unconscionable considering US President Barack Obama is one of the most (if not the most) militarily aggressive US presidents in history, authorizing various airstrikes and military operations in at least seven Muslim countries); her silence on industrialized factory framing (livestock stats); and her failure to disclose the relation between 350’s KXL campaign and Buffett’s 21st century oil by rail dynasty, etc. — all demonstrate Klein’s own “noblesse oblige.”

Klein’s most glaring “noblesse oblige” is the exclusion of ecosystem services accounting in her international best seller, This Changes Everything. The promotional description reads: “The really inconvenient truth is that it’s not about carbon – it’s about capitalism.” The solution is delivered in the next line: “The convenient truth is that we can seize this existential crisis to transform our failed system and build something radically better.” The elites are indeed seizing this existential crisis to transform our failed system – it’s the financialization of the Earth’s commons referred to as “valuing ecosystem services.”

Consider that in a 505-page book written on climate and capitalism not a single chapter, or even a single page, explores the most pathological intent of the 21st century. One is tempted to conclude that investigative journalist Klein has simply overlooked another critical issue pertaining to the climate. Or perhaps Klein simply has no knowledge of this scheme. However, the word financialization does garner one vital mention – buried in the acknowledgements: “Two years ago, Rajiv and I were joined by Alexandra Tempus, another exceptional and diligent journalist and researcher. Alexandra quickly mastered her own roster of topics, from post–Superstorm Sandy disaster capitalism to financialization of nature to the opaque world of green group and foundation funding to climate impacts on fertility. She developed important new contacts, uncovered new and shocking facts, and always shared her thoughtful analysis.” (The single reference to ecosystems services within the book is found within one sentence on p. 34: “Nor have the various attempts to soft-pedal climate action as compatible with market logic (carbon trading, carbon offsets, monetizing nature’s “services”) fooled these true believers one bit.”)

Further consider an Earth Island Institute “Conversation” with Naomi Klein (Fall 2013) during which Klein is asked a direct question on monetizing ecosystem services. Interviewer to Klein: “It’s interesting because even as some of the Big Green groups have gotten enamored of the ideas of ecosystem services and natural capital, there’s this counter-narrative coming from the Global South and Indigenous communities. It’s almost like a dialectic.” Klein’s response is not only incoherent, she evades the question altogether:

Klein:

“That’s the counternarrative, and those are the alternative worldviews that are emerging at this moment. The other thing that is happening … I don’t know what to call it. It’s maybe a reformation movement, a grassroots rebellion. There’s something going on in the [environmental] movement in the US and Canada, and I think certainly in the UK. What I call the “astronaut’s eye worldview” – which has governed the Big Green environmental movement for so long – and by that I mean just looking down at Earth from above. I think it’s sort of time to let go of the icon of the globe, because it places us above it and I think it has allowed us to see nature in this really abstracted way and sort of move pieces, like pieces on a chessboard, and really lose touch with the Earth. You know, it’s like the planet instead of the Earth.

 

“And I think where that really came to a head was over fracking. The head offices of the Sierra Club and the NRDC and the EDF all decided this was a “bridge fuel.” We’ve done the math and we’re going to come out in favor of this thing. And then they faced big pushbacks from their membership, most of all at the Sierra Club. And they all had to modify their position somewhat. It was the grassroots going, “Wait a minute, what kind of environmentalism is it that isn’t concerned about water, that isn’t concerned about industrialization of rural landscapes – what has environmentalism become?” And so we see this grassroots, place-based resistance in the movements against the Keystone XL pipeline and the Northern Gateway pipeline, the huge anti-fracking movement. And they are the ones winning victories, right? I think the Big Green groups are becoming deeply irrelevant. Some get a lot of money from corporations and rich donors and foundations, but their whole model is in crisis.”

 

Noblesse oblige indeed.

Klein’s contributions have not threatened capitalism; rather her efforts are utilized to not only protect it, but strengthen it.

Perhaps this is the icing on the cake that is the Rockefeller and Clinton 350.org/1Skye project: Participation in the Clinton Global Initiative is by invitation only. The membership fee is $20,000 ($19,000 tax deductible) per year. 2014 annual meeting sponsors include HSBC, Barclays, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Coca-Cola Company, Ford Foundation, Monsanto, Proctor and Gamble, The Rockefeller Foundation, Blackstone, Deutsche Bank, Dow, Exxon Mobil, and others. Clinton Global Initiative University includes McKibben’s Middlebury College within its network. (“These 70 schools have pledged more than $800,000 to support CGI U 2015 student commitment-makers.”) Thus, it is of little surprise to find that in December of 2014, Global CEO cites both McKibben and Klein as those within the top ten list of “inspirational CSR leaders” as voted by their readers.

Identified in the 2007 Clinton Global Initiative membership along with princes, baronesses, heads of states, and CEOs are none other than:

  • Mindy Lubber, President of Ceres (in 2013, Morgan Stanley created the Institute for Sustainable Investing – Lubber serves on the Institute’s Advisory Board, which is chaired by Morgan Stanley’s Chairman and CEO James Gorman), Stern Citi Leadership & Ethics Distinguished Fellow
  • Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation (Chair/president of Greenpeace and TckTckTck aka GCCA, International Advisory Council for 350.org and SumofUs)
  • Billy Parish, Coordinator and Co-Founder, Energy Action Coalition (1Sky Board of Directors)
  • Betsy Taylor, Chair 1Sky Campaign (Ceres Board of Directors, Greenpeace Board of Directors, President of Breakthrough Strategies and Solutions, SumofUs Advisory Board)
  • Lynne Twist, Trustee of The John E. Fetzer Institute (Pachamama Alliance founder)
  • Timothy Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation (Next System Initial Signatory)

 

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Markets and Corporations: The Appointed Stewards of Nature

“Recognizing that public awareness of the economic value of ecosystems and biodiversity and the fair and equitable sharing of this economic value with the custodians of biodiversity are key incentives for the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components ….” [COP 10 Decision X/1, 2004]

Over the last decade, and in particular since Rio+20 in 2012, the goal to implement payment for ecosystem services (PES) has been further developed and expedited by UNEP, the World Bank, the UK Government, TEEB for Business Coalition, WBCSD, and a wealth of other institutional and organizational actors.

The promise of the “new economy,” in which the “biosphere economy” will play a pivotal if not leading role, can perhaps be best understood simply by carefully absorbing the following direct quotes. The quotes are taken from the report titled The Biosphere Economy: Natural Limits Can Spur Creativity, Innovation and Growth – a 2010 paper by Volans, Business for the Environment (B4E) and Tellus Mater. (Volans and Tellus Mater are discussed later in this series). Note that the new economy of ecosystem services, markets and corporate entities will be considered the custodians (as referred to at COP10) or stewards of Earth’s “natural capital.”

“…issues that governments, policy-makers and regulators should be considering as a matter of urgency: 1 Steward national natural capital. Take early steps towards the reshaping and eventual regulation of financial markets and business, based on their role as stewards of ‘national natural capital.’

 

 “This has led the Global Canopy Programme (GCP) to create the concept of tropical rainforests as ‘Eco-Utilities.’

 

“New markets are emerging in the ecosystems space, with marketplace intelligence provided by firms like the Katoomba Group and Ecosystems Marketplace, both part of Forest Trends. The biggest market is for carbon, with the world market growing from $11 billion in 2005 to $32 billion in 2006, $64 billion in 2007, $126 billion in 2008 and being forecast to reach $170 billion in 2010 and $3.1 trillion dollars in 2020, with $1 trillion of that value relating to the USA.”

 

“Other growing ecosystem-related markets include: $3.4 billion of regulated biodiversity offset transactions per year, water ($500 million in 2010), and ‘forest carbon’ ($149.2 million in 2008). Currently, there are at least 40 local water quality market experiments in the USA.”

 

“Mainstream banks already playing into this space include JP Morgan, which bought both the carbon broker Ecosecurities (for $130 million) and the offset intermediary Climate Care. Goldman Sachs is also increasingly active through its GS Sustain, while a steady trickle of new investment firms, among them EKO Asset Management Partners, are being formed to work in this space.”

 

“While most of these markets are still voluntary, and many focus on offsetting business impacts, other experiments are emerging that aim to direct capital flows to sustain ecosystem services. One example focuses on the creation of ‘forest bonds,’ driven by an agreement between UK-based Canopy Capital and the Government of Guyana. The central idea is to channel capital to preserve forest services such as rainfall generation, moderation of extreme weather, carbon storage and biodiversity maintenance. The shape of things to come?”

 

“Already, global economic losses due to the degradation of ecosystems and biodiversity from deforestation alone is estimated to be running at somewhere between $1.9 and $4.5 trillion – every year…. On the positive side of the coin, however, the market opportunities likely to be created by the shift in the prevailing market paradigm are likely to be at least as extraordinary.”

Among the “innovators” tailoring “ecosystem metrics for business” is Gretchen Daily, co-founder of the Natural Capital Project (NCP), a 10-year joint venture of Stanford University with the Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund.

Keep in mind that the Nature Conservancy and WWF represent two of the most corporate of all NGOs within the NPIC. The Nature Conservancy is in partnership with Monsanto and Lockheed Martin (to name just two). WWF is partnered with and greenwashes corporations such as Coca-Cola (responsible for the murder of union leaders in Columbia and Latin America) while actively advancing the agenda of Monsanto (invested in by Gates). The “green” capitalists who are proponents of a commodified ecosystem share Monsanto’s and WWF’s disturbing genetic engineering ideology. A said solution as designed by Natural Capital Project is the Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVest) software:

“InVEST quantifies the ecological assets in a region – and models how their value will change under alternative scenarios. The metrics developed to assess the biophysical and economic value of ecosystem services are intended for integration into business strategy and policy decisions.” [Shaping Climate-Resilient Development: A Framework for Decision-Making, a Report of the Economics of Climate Change Adaptation Working Group by The ClimateWorks Foundation, Global Environment Facility, European Commission, McKinsey & Company, The Rockefeller Foundation, Standard Chartered Bank and Swiss Re, 2009.]

 

“Introduce natural assets as a key area of value across the C-Suite agenda. Map and understand your company’s critical dependencies on ecosystem services – and the early actions that can be taken to create a better balance between your business and nature. Again, pick high-powered partners, such as Global Footprint Network, the Natural Capital Project, the World Resources Institute, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, TEEB (the Economics of Biodiversity and Ecosystems) project team, or WWF.”

 

“Take Pavan Sukhdev, former managing director of the Markets Division of Deutsche Bank – who later in 2010 will launch the findings of the TEEB study, the acronym standing for ‘The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity,’ an initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The focus of his work – and of a growing number of economists – is the creation in the coming decades of what we will call here the ‘Biosphere Economy.’ And the evidence suggests that this will be as profound in its impacts as the original Industrial Revolution, with the critical difference that this time the economy will be working with the grain of the biosphere, rather than against it.”


‘As NCP economists began preparing to include a value for ‘natural capital’ in Britain’s GDP calculations by 2020,” they recognized this concept as a move that promises to be the greatest change in national accounting practices since their creation 70 years ago. [Source: Whipple, 2012]

The Bank of Natural Capital is an “educational initiative” of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity project (TEEB), the brainchild of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); the European Commission; the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety; and the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. [5]

Like climate, biodiversity is no longer about ecology – it’s about economics.

“The ‘biodiversity treasure trove’ provides the global economy with an invaluable and extensive potential for innovative products and processes that is still widely untapped.” — Sigmar Gabriel, Environment Minister of Germany, leading up to the Potsdam Initiative [6], March 9, 2007

+++

Who will be the Bill Gates of Ecosystem Services?

“The financial value at stake is mind-boggling – and the business opportunities likely to be created by the shift in the prevailing market paradigm are astonishing…. Who will be the Bill Gates of ecosystem services?” — The Biosphere Economy, 2010

The February 19, 2015 Stockholm Resilience Centre (Stockholm University) article, Time to Reconnect to the Biosphere, represents a brilliant example of how to skillfully and ever so subtly manufacture public acquiescence for payment of ecosystem services under the guise of ethics:

“Too many consider environmental issues to be an obstacle for development. But the conflict between financial growth and ecological sustainability is nothing but a mental construction…. It is time to realise that societies and economies are integral parts of the biosphere and start working on more adaptive ways of governing our natural capital, not for the sake of the environment only, but for our own development. Poverty alleviation and future human development cannot take place without a wider recognition of nature’s contribution to our well-being, health and security.” — Stockholm Resilience Centre, February 19, 2015

Johan Rockstrom, executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre [5], is a leading advocate for the valuation/payment for ecosystem services, the key pillar of the “new economy.” Rockstrom panders to the most powerful foundations, institutions and capitalists on the planet.

The Great Transition Initiative provides an example of how NGOs create the illusion of democracy and feigned concern, as detailed in the August 2014 article Monetizing Nature: Taking Precaution on a Slippery Slope. The article concludes the following: “Even though the trend toward the privatization of public goods has been pervasive over the past decades, we should not acquiesce so easily in allowing the privatization of the most basic public good of all – nature itself. We must meet the grave environmental challenges of the twenty-first century with boldness and prudence, using the precautionary principle, along with the principles of fairness and democracy, to set boundaries that human action must not transgress.”

Such articles give the illusion that NGOs will fight to ensure “democracy” is adhered to, with “boldness and prudence.” The reality is that such fence-sitting articles that feign concern are instrumental in the normalization, slowly over time, of specific language, terminologies and corporate ideologies in order to create acquiescence to further the corporate capture of nature and further the corporate domination of our minds. The objectification of Nature becomes normalized; both anthropocentrism and speciesism are strengthened. This is the identical strategy utilized for creation and gradual acceptance of the carbon trading mechanism REDD/REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries). [Further reading: Fundación Pachamama is Dead – Long Live ALBA | Part II]

When the public became aware of REDD, scores of NGOs spoke out against it, as did the Indigenous people across the globe. Yet while publicly the environmental “movement” appeared to be against REDD, behind closed doors, an army of NGOs and jet-setting climate “activists” were quietly and effectively building public consent, which was being sought by the foundations, corporations and the UN. As the Bolivian delegation stood alone on the world stage opposing carbon markets and REDD/REDD+ (while also developing and presenting alternatives), behind the marketing and branding veneer of the non-profit industrial complex, some realities were made crystal clear: “In September 2011, the 64th Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference took place in Bonn, Germany. About 1,500 people from 70 countries turned up. On the third day of the meeting, a remarkable thing happened. Not a single participant at the conference put up their hand to disagree with a declaration which promotes REDD as a carbon trading mechanism.” [Source]

“No one raised their hand to object to a single word in the declaration text. In an email distributing the document, Dodd states that, ‘The Declaration was accepted unanimously by the 1500 NGOs and other stakeholders present.’” Manufacturing Consent on Carbon Trading, Chris Lang

A similar strategy can be identified in respect to divestment.

Lock up the Treasury.

 

+++

One of the most human-centric beliefs of all those in pursuit of commodifying the commons must be accredited to Julia Gray, Head of Sustainable Development and Environmental Management, Allianz Group, who states: “It is clear that our man-made infrastructures and Nature’s ecological infrastructures are becoming increasingly interdependent.”

Nature’s ecological “infrastructures” (formerly known as ecosystems – and before that, forests, meadows, Nature’s gifts, etc.) have never and will never become dependent – in any way – on manmade infrastructures. Considering the Earth is billions of years old, and humans have been in existence for a mere blink of an eye, such a belief is nothing less than distressing. Yet so is the unceasing belief in the global economic capitalist system that is slowly but surely destroying us. The idea that nature needs humans in any way, shape or form must be considered human narcissism at its most extreme.

Carbon Disclosure Project

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a special project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors in New York [Source: Unilever website], is cited as an independent not-for-profit organization, formed after an initiative led by the institutional investor community. [Source] CDP has 501(c)3 charitable status through Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors in New York and is a registered charity in the United Kingdom. [Source]

According to the Natural Edge Project, the Carbon Disclosure Project began in *2003 with a group of 87 institutional investors with assets of over US$9 trillion under management who wrote to the 500 largest quoted companies in the world, asking for the disclosure of investment-relevant information concerning their greenhouse gas emissions. [Source] [*Other sources show CDP was formed in 2002.]

By 2007, five years after its inception, CDP had morphed into a coalition of over 315 global investors with more than $41 trillion in assets. [Source: Unilever website]

In 2010, CDP was called “The most powerful green NGO you’ve never heard of” by the Harvard Business Review. [Source] A powerful alliance was formed that would engage with international bodies that implement policy described in the following way:

“The four regional climate change investor groups – IIGCC, INCR, IGCC and AIGCC – also announced today the formation of the Global Investor Coalition on Climate Change (GIC) to represent the international investment community on climate change policy and investment issues at a global level. The GIC, which will be working closely with other networks including UNEP FI (Finance Initiative), Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), will provide a focal point for engagement with international policy-making bodies.” — Principles for Responsible Investing, UNEP Financing Initiative, November 20, 2012

Note that the five institutions above (IIGCC (Europe), INCR (North America), IGCC (Australia and New Zealand), AIGCC (Asia) and GIC (Global Investor Coalition) are all Ceres NGOs.

By 2014 CDP’s coalition had again more than doubled: “More than 767 institutional investors support the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). In total, these investors manage assets worth more than US$92 trillion, thus owning a stake in the majority of the world’s listed companies with the highest revenue.” [Source: Seimens Press Release]

Paul Dickinson is a co-founder of CDP, with Tessa Tennant and the financier Jeremy Smith. Prior to founding CDP (for which he continues to serve as executive chairman), Dickenson encountered the economist Dr. Hazel Henderson whose statement “turn your deepest purpose into a revenue stream” struck a chord with Dickinson. Dickinson is an author of numerous books, including Beautiful Corporations, which have been translated into six languages. [Source]

April 24, 2012, Ceres website:

“Tessa Tennant, President and co-founder of The Ice Organisation, has been awarded the fourth-annual Joan Bavaria Award for Building Sustainability into the Capital Markets. The announcement was made at Tuesday’s opening reception of the Ceres annual conference, which runs April 25-26 at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel in Boston, MA.”

Also a CDP co-founder, Tessa Tennant’s expertise in investment is extensive. Tennant co-founded The Ice Organisation, which “encourages consumers to purchase more sustainable products and services from a wide range of retail partners, mobilizing mass consumer purchase power to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change”; co-founded the UK’s first equity investment fund for sustainable development in 1988, now called the Jupiter Ecology Fund; is the chair and co-founder of the UK Social Investment Forum; co-founded the Association for Sustainable & Responsible Investment in Asia (ASrIA) in 2001 and remains on the board; served as a member of the UK Government’s Advisory Committee on Business and the Environment in the early nineties; assisted in the development of the HRH The Prince of Wales’s Business in the Environment initiative, which educates senior business executives on practical ways to integrate social and environmental solutions into their business operations; is chair of the Global Cool Foundation; and served as a World Wildlife Fund UK Ambassador and fellow of the Schumacher Society. [Source: Ceres]

Another CDP co-founder and financier, Jeremy Smith, is a Partner at Berkeley Energy, a private equity firm focused upon renewable energy projects and project developers in the emerging markets. Smith has worked in the investment and clean energy realm since 2000. Prior to Berkeley, Smith gained experience with Tersus Energy, Conduit Ventures, and Gartmore (acquired by Henderson Global Investors in 2011). Smith began his career with Credit Suisse First Boston in the International Mergers & Acquisitions Group. [Source]

CDP corporate partnerships include Siemens, Turkiye Sinai Kalkinma Bankasi, Dell, Hewlett Packard, L’Oréal, PepsiCo, Cadbury Schweppes, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Tesco, Unilever, Lloyds TSB, Amcor, Johnson Controls, Métro-Richelieu, Schneider Electric, NH Hoteles, and Ventas, Inc.

The so-called clean energy economy (recognized as the greatest “climate wealth opportunity” of our time) is in dire need of a massive cash injection. The required magnitude is colossal:

“Financing (of renewable energy) must double by 2020 and double again to $1 trillion by 2030 in order to avoid global warming of more than 2 degrees Celsius, reports Ceres, the host of yesterday’s conference…. The goal of quadrupling investment from its current state ‘is the right order of magnitude.’” — Ceres Press Release, January 16, 2014

It is critical to once again note that Ceres has been both a key partner and an advisor to the divestment campaign from inception. In summation, today’s leading social capitalists insist the world must quadruple its investments in “renewable” energy by 2030, which also means that climate change is the greatest opportunity to expand capitalism beyond its current limits.

Why the Oligarchs Have United in Pushing the Divestment Campaign

At a Glance:

 

  • The economic models of the 20th century are now hitting the limits of what is possible.
  • Assigning nature’s resources as monetary assets (ecosystem services/payment for ecosystem services) visible in national accounts and economic strategies is the key to growth in the 21st century.
  • The most vital pillar (of three) identified under the “new economy” is the valuing and mainstreaming of nature’s services (biodiversity) into national and international accounts.
  • Financial markets and business will be assigned as the new “stewards of national natural capital.”
  • Global growth has become stagnant, as identified by global institutions such as McKinsey: Can long-term global growth be saved? (January 2015, McKinsey and Company).
  • The IMF and World Bank Group identify a reduction in the growth of the global economy as a primary risk to the world (October 10, 2014).
  • The “greening of economies,” as recognized by the UN, is not a reduction in global economic growth, rather, it is considered a new engine of growth.
  • Changing the capitalist system is not to be considered (Generation Investment).
  • The three key dates are 2015 (international agreement), 2020 (sustainable capitalism and ecosystem services accounting in place), and 2050 (the Earth’s ecosystems and biodiversity to be fully commodified).
  • The mainstreaming of “sustainable capitalism” is to be in place by 2020 (Generation Investment).
  • Economists have been “preparing to include a value for ‘natural capital’ in Britain’s GDP calculations by 2020.”
  • The ideologies/concept behind the commodification of the commons began in earnest at least 25 years ago and likely far earlier than that.
  • $60-70 trillion over the next decade-and-a-half is required for planned mega-infrastructure projects [Source].
  • The biggest market is for carbon, with the world market growing from $11 billion in 2005 and being forecast to reach $3.1 trillion in 2020, with $1 trillion of that value relating to the USA.
  • A steady flow of new investment firms is expanding to exploit the emerging eco-systems markets.
  • Financing (of renewable energy) must double by 2020 and double again to $1 trillion by 2030; quadrupling investment from its current state is the stated goal.

 

From Part XI: 2 Degrees of Credendum | In Summary, Divestment as symbolism:

 

  • The Do the Math tour, as the precursor to the global Divestment campaign, established and reinforced the false premise that the world retains a “carbon budget” that enables us to safely keep burning for decades to come.
  • Like 1Sky/350, the campaign is top-down, not grassroots up as presented. Not only has this global “movement” been sanctioned by the elites, it has been developed in consultation with Wall Street and financed from inception by the world’s most powerful oligarchs and institutions.
  • The campaign successfully invokes a certain naiveté and innocence due to the said premise (a moral divestment imperative) of the campaign.
  • It provides a moral alibi and evokes illusions of white saviour/moral superiority of those that divest/divest-invest while the very people divesting are those that comprise the 1% creating 50% of all global GHG emissions (anyone who can afford to board an airplane). Shuffling their investments does not change this fact or alleviate/absolve one’s role in accelerating climate change and ecological destruction.
  • Protesting fossil fuels cannot and will not have any effect on fossil fuel consumption, production or destruction without legitimately and radically addressing Annex 1 consumption, economic growth under the capitalist system, human population (specifically in Annex 1 nations), the military industrial complex and industrial factory farming.
  • The chosen campaign of divestment rather than the boycott of fossil fuels in combination with proposed sanctions on fossil fuel corporations demonstrates the insincerity of the campaign and its true intentions as sought (and developed) by its funders.
  • Divestment effectively constructs the moral acceptance of “green” consumption. The global divestment campaign confirms that the “market” can be and is the solution.
  • The campaign constructs and further reinforces the falsehood that there is no need to change either the economic system (beyond reforming capitalism) or dismantle the power structures that comprise it; nor is it necessary to address the underlying values, worldviews, classism, racism, colonialism and imperialism that are driving this physical and psychic
  • It diverts attention away from the proliferation of private investments, hedge funds and privatization – key mechanisms in the “new economy.”
  • It provides a critical discourse to divert attention away from the most critical issue of the 21st century: the commodification of the commons (in similar fashion to how the Stop the KeystoneXL! campaign was instrumental in enabling Buffett’s rail dynasty, only far more critical in significance).
  • It builds on the 21st century corporate pathology “Who Cares Wins,” whereby “kindness is becoming the nation’s newest currency.” The pathology behind this intent is the corporate capture of “millennials” by manipulation via branding, advertising and social media.
  • Direct contact with “millennials” in colleges and universities around the world invokes pre-determined and pre-approved ideologies as sought after/controlled by hegemony while building loyalties: future NGO “members” / supporters, future “prosumers,” future “investors.”
  • The campaign draws attention to the statistic that “just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made emissions” while making no mention that a mere 1% of people are creating 50% of all the global GHG emissions – the very people that comprise their target audience.
  • Although highlighting the fact that “just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made emissions” is critical, this information is being conveyed and utilized only to implement the financialization of nature.
  • The campaign stigmatizes fossil fuel investments which, by default, protect the 1% creating 50% of the global GHG emissions from similar stigmatization.
  • Success is measured by the number of institutions divesting-investing, and “shares/likes” on social media, ignoring the fact that divestment does nothing to reduce emissions as the world burns.
  • The divestment campaign presents a capitalist solution to climate change, presenting, repackaging and marketing the very problem as our new solution. Thus, the global power structures that oppress us are effectively and strategically insulated from potential outside threats.

 

+++

“There is, of course, something contradictory in calculating a price for some­thing you do not wish to trade. Perhaps realising this, one ecological advocate of ecosystems valuation has tried to claim that: ‘Valuing ecosystem services is not identical to commodifying them for trade in private markets’ (Costanza, 2006: 749). That there is no commoditisation, or market-like exchange, implicit in ecosystem services valuation is plainly wrong. As the NRC report states: ‘The use of a dollar metric for quantifying values is based on the assumption that individuals are willing to trade the ecological service being valued for more of other goods and services represented by the metric (more dollars).’ This requires converting ecosystem functions into goods and services, and is clearly identical in approach to a model for trading commodities in a market. — Clive Spash, 2008 [Source]

Akin to those of privilege pretending their screen-addicted children are actually gifted computer geniuses, such are the lies we tell ourselves in order to believe in a system whereby we “benefit” at the expense of others and the destruction of nature.

 

Next: The final segments of this series will be published in 2016

 

 

[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation, Counterpunch, Political Context, Canadians for Action on Climate Change and Countercurrents. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can follow her on twitter @elleprovocateur]

 

 

EndNotes:

[1] ICSU’s principal source of “core” income is dues from members and a subvention from the host country, France. The other major sources of income are grants from various organizations and foundations. [Source]

[2] The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, and its 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, were agreed by the international community in 2010 in Nagoya, Japan, and have since been re-affirmed by the United Nations General Assembly and at the Rio+20 summit in 2012. [Source]

[3] “Accordingly, a nonprofit-corporate complex (based in international non-governmental organizations, NGOs) dominating an array of social services, many of which were performed by the state in the past, emerged as the third pillar of the triangular structure of contemporary imperialism during the 1980s. It represents a kind of “Third Way” on the part of capital that privatizes state functions and occupies key strategic points within civil society (co-opting social movements) while seemingly outside the realm of private capital – thereby enabling an acceleration of privatization and reinforcing the hegemony of monopoly-finance capital globally.” [Source]

[4] 500,000 dead, 30,000 in terrorist-run prisons, 2.5 million exiled, tens of thousands of refugees.

[5] The original TEEB study was launched by Germany and the European Commission in response to a proposal by the G8+5 Environment Ministers in Potsdam, Germany in 2007, to develop a global study on the economics of biodiversity loss.

[6] The Environment Ministers of the G8 countries and of Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa, the European Commissioner for the Environment and senior officials from the United Nations and the IUCN (The World Conservation Union) met in Potsdam in March 2007. The meeting resulted in, among other things, the announcement of a course of action for the conservation of biological diversity and for climate protection: “The clear message of this meeting is that we must jointly strengthen our endeavours to curb the massive loss of biological diversity. It was agreed that we must no longer delete nature’s database, which holds massive potential for economic and social development.” [Source]

 

 


McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part XII of an Investigative Report] [Building Acquiescence for the Commodification of the Commons Under the Banner of a “New Economy”]

The Art of Annihilation

September 24, 2015

Part twelve of an investigative series by Cory Morningstar

Divestment Investigative Report Series [Further Reading]: Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VIPart VIIPart VIIIPart IXPart XPart XIPart XIIPart XIII

 

“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.” Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks

 

Prologue: A Coup d’état of Nature – Led by the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

It is somewhat ironic that anti-REDD climate activists, faux green organizations (in contrast to legitimate grassroots organizations that do exist, although few and far between) and self-proclaimed environmentalists, who consider themselves progressive will speak out against the commodification of nature’s natural resources while simultaneously promoting the toothless divestment campaign promoted by the useless mainstream groups allegedly on the left. It’s ironic because the divestment campaign will result (succeed) in a colossal injection of money shifting over to the very portfolios heavily invested in, thus dependent upon, the intense commodification and privatization of Earth’s last remaining forests, (via REDD, environmental “markets” and the like). This tour de force will be executed with cunning precision under the guise of environmental stewardship and “internalizing negative externalities through appropriate pricing.” Thus, ironically (if in appearances only), the greatest surge in the ultimate corporate capture of Earth’s final remaining resources is being led, and will be accomplished, by the very environmentalists and environmental groups that claim to oppose such corporate domination and capture.

Beyond shelling out billions of tax-exempt dollars (i.e., investments) to those institutions most accommodating in the non-profit industrial complex (otherwise known as foundations), the corporations need not lift a finger to sell this pseudo green agenda to the people in the environmental movement; the feat is being carried out by a tag team comprised of the legitimate and the faux environmentalists. As the public is wholly ignorant and gullible, it almost has no comprehension of the following:

  1. the magnitude of our ecological crisis
  2. the root causes of the planetary crisis, or
  3. the non-profit industrial complex as an instrument of hegemony.

The commodification of the commons will represent the greatest, and most cunning, coup d’état in the history of corporate dominance – an extraordinary fait accompli of unparalleled scale, with unimaginable repercussions for humanity and all life.

Further, it matters little whether or not the money is moved from direct investments in fossil fuel corporations to so-called “socially responsible investments.” The fact of the matter is that all corporations on the planet (and therefore by extension, all investments on the planet) are dependent upon and will continue to require massive amounts of fossil fuels to continue to grow and expand ad infinitum – as required by the industrialized capitalist economic system.

The windmills and solar panels serve as beautiful (marketing) imagery as a panacea for our energy issues, yet they are illusory – the fake veneer for the commodification of the commons, which is the fundamental objective of Wall Street, the very advisers of the divestment campaign.

Thus we find ourselves unwilling to acknowledge the necessity to dismantle the industrialized capitalist economic system, choosing instead to embrace an illusion designed by corporate power.

+++

Enraptured by the Spectacle

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“We can’t destroy a system when we don’t understand its structure and our place in it. It’s impossible to defeat a dominating class if we don’t even perceive them as such.”Stephanie McMillan

The Guardian must be considered another key media empire that is subservient to corporate power under the guise of progressive liberalism. “Founded by textile traders and merchants the Guardian had a reputation as ‘an organ of the middle class’ (Engels, 1973), or in the words of C.P. Scott’s son Ted ‘a paper that will remain bourgeois to the last (Ayerst, 1971)'”. [Source ] The fact that the Guardian’s advocating of western Imperialism/military interventions is virtually impossible to differentiate from the right is lost amongst its ardent liberal supporters. The Guardian’s contempt for anti-imperialist movements was made clear in its 1961 coverage of the assassination of Congolese independence leader and revolutionary, Patrice Lumumba; a recurring theme through the Guardian’s history. [Even in death, the Guardian continues to whitewash imperialism and colonialism, and re-invent historical facts and European crimes: “Lumumba… was deposed in September 1960, and executed by firing squad on 17 January 1961. The Guardian, August 17, 2013] Thus, it is fascinating to observe their colossal effort in the unveiling and framing of its major series on the climate crisis (“Climate change: why the Guardian is putting threat to Earth front and centre”).

“With increasing frequency, we are party to a white liberal and “multicultural”/”people of color” liberal imagination that venerates and even fetishizes the iconography and rhetoric of Black and Third World liberation movements, and then proceeds to incorporate these images and vernaculars into the public presentation of foundation-funded liberal or progressive organizations. I have also observed and experienced how these organizations, in order to protect their non-profit status and marketability to liberal foundations, actively self-police against members’ deviations from their essentially reformist agendas, while continuing to appropriate the language and imagery of historical revolutionaries. Suffice it to say that these non-profit groups often exhibit(ed) a political practice that is, to appropriate and corrupt a phrase from Ruth Wilson Gilmore, “radical in form, liberal in content”. —Dylan Rodriguez

Witness the campaigns developed in consultation with Wall Street that are being pushed into the public realm by a corporate/liberal media (consider that six corporations control 90% of the media in America in the US alone) and also an alleged “progressive” media which, are all critically dependent on foundation financing with much of it owned by corporate media (example Huffington Post, an entity that was at one time considered laughably “independent” by liberals and not restricted to mainstream norms due to its private ownership, was eventually acquired by AOL Time-Warmer) in tandem with the non-profit industrial complex. Witness the language hammered into society’s psyche (carbon bubble, carbon budget, stranded assets, new economy, clean energy, natural capital). Witness author and 350.org board member Naomi Klein’s book (touting a supposed system change made palatable to the privileged since it is no change at all) being utilized as a key instrument to advance the “new economy”. Witness the desire “to change everything” being embraced by the same aforementioned institutions, including corporate greens like WWF (pushing forward the agenda of Monsanto) et al. Thus, it is critical to acknowledge what should be obvious, yet is not due to decades of indoctrination. The intended result of this global saturation has already been designed and decided upon by the oligarchs. There is no legitimate desire to advance an already devolving society that continues to devolve—faith in oligarchs to provide a solution to our multiple and overarching crises is proof of this. Rather, the only legitimate desire is to further expand capital markets, thereby expanding corporate dominance. The fact that the end-game strategy is presented under a guise of ethics, and delivered by false prophets, is part and parcel of the spectacle.

SoS3

“Capitalists, the stewards or servants of capital, are compelled to maximize surplus value by whatever means necessary.”Stephanie McMillan

The spectacle enables, coddles and most importantly, nurtures willful blindness. We turn away from the inevitable fact that long before the fantasy of a new economy comprised of a third industrial “clean energy” revolution begins to re-shape the planet, we will have completely exhausted the carrying capacity of our shared planet and will have at last exhausted the Earth’s final remaining natural resources.

On May 5, 2015, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund website posted the following:

“The Carbon Tracker Initiative won the award for Innovation in Communicating Sustainability at the Guardian Sustainable Business Awards on May 14, 2014. According to The Guardian, Carbon Tracker’s April 2013 report, Unburnable Carbon: Wasted Capital and Stranded Assets, reframed the climate debate by translating climate risk into energy demand and prices.”

One thing is true; the climate debate has been masterfully re-framed. When instruments of hegemony such as The Guardian give ample space and ample resources for the task of brilliantly executing memes such as the carbon budget, carbon bubble, and stranded (carbon) assets, we must ask ourselves not only why, but more to the point, who will benefit. The question then becomes why The Guardian and many of the world’s most powerful institutions, NGOs, media, think tanks and foundations (inclusive of the United Nations) have, in united fashion, so heavily invested all their resources to ensure this outcome. Akin to Emma Goldman’s incisive observation “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal”, if divestment changed anything, you would be hearing nothing about it in the vast network and channels controlled by global hegemony. So again, the question must be asked as to the underlying reason and true purpose regarding the actions envisioned, sought and financed by the world’s most powerful and pathological oligarchs.

“[The non-profit industrial complex] “represents a kind of “Third Way” on the part of capital that privatizes state functions and occupies key strategic points within civil society (co-opting social movements) while seemingly outside the realm of private capital—thereby enabling an acceleration of privatization and reinforcing the hegemony of monopoly-finance capital globally.” [Source]

Embedded within the success of this discourse, we have major corporations which comprise even more powerful conglomerates. The same corporations and conglomerates launder their massive wealth through foundations, legally evading taxes while buying influence and securing power, all under the guise of philanthropy. The institutions, think tanks, the non-profit industrial complex, the media-industrial complex, etc. are all vitally dependent upon the “philanthropy” (i.e. strategic investment) of their benefactors, to whom they are both absolutely dependent upon and accountable to. The creation of such dependence is not lost to foundations and the oligarchs they represent: editorial control is guaranteed without even asking, which is as politically correct, preferred and most effective form of self-censorship that has ever been devised in this world.

The Guardian serves an elite, privileged and affluent readership. It’s razor-sharp focus on advertising strategy for increased market share and revenues reflect as much. It follows that the more affluent the readers, the more advertising, and the more revenue. It also follows that the more affluent the readership, the higher the rates of advertising. Logic dictates that to increase affluent readership, the content within must convey a world view, that both reflects and gratifies the interests, needs, and perceptions of the corporation (that profits from selling a product), the affluent consumer, and the product itself.

Thus, it is par for the course that while liberals fawned over The Guardian’s unveiling and framing of its major series on the climate crisis on March 6, 2015, (“Climate change: why the Guardian is putting threat to Earth front and centre”), the following item went relatively unnoticed:

“The Guardian, CNN, Reuters, and more enter into a global ad alliance. Five of the biggest online news publishers in the world are joining up to form a supercontinent. For advertising.” — Pangae Alliance, March 18, 2015

The goal and methodology behind the alliance of the Pangaea Alliance, The Guardian, CNN International, Reuters, the Financial Times, and the Economist to form a supercontinent for advertising is to capture premium rates from brands. Pangaea’s partners claim that “the value of the alliance is that it brings together an influential and trusted global audience for advertisers.” Specifically, the alliance will allow advertisers to access 110 million unique readers (‘global influencers’). Pangaea will also disclose all data of it’s readers to corporations. Although they claim this information will be remain anonymous, the newspapers understand this data is of crucial value to those corporation they seeks as clients. The Wall Street Journal agrees:

“The data is crucial. One thing we can do together is share first-party data with each other and create unique, compelling audience segments,” [Tim Gentry, global revenue director at Guardian News & Media and leader of the Pangaea project] explained. For example, subscription information from one publisher might be combined with behavioral information from other to create a detailed profile of a user that an advertiser is willing to pay a premium to reach.”

Guardian 2

Above screenshot: Highlighting the obvious hypocrisy. The Guardian feigns concern for the climate – while simultaneously feeding desires to further expand high carbon western lifestyles via consumption and material wealth. Such constructive criticisms are conveniently dismissed by most.

This aspect is also most pertinent: “Pangaea is being led by The Guardian, with plans to launch in April with display ads and later expand into other formats like native advertising and publisher trading desks.” [Source] One can be forgiven if they do not know what “native advertising” is, as it’s a fairly recent advertising ploy:

“Sometimes you have to look pretty hard to see it, because it’s intentionally camouflaged to fit right into the flow of news on the page. It goes by different names, sponsored content, content marketing, branded content or promoted news, but these days most people in the trade are calling it “native advertising.”— Ads, Disguised As News (VIDEO) John Oliver Goes After “Native Advertising” , Feb 14, 2015

Of course the Guardian is not the only media outlet adored by the left that willfully exploits the trust and naiveté of their readers. “Alternet, Salon.com and Truthout have published material written by “Global Possibilities,” a special interest group funded in part by the oil company BP and a group of automotive and energy industrialists represented through The Energy Foundation (Global Possibilities, 2013)”[Source: Conjuring Clean Energy: Exposing Green Assumptions in Media and Academia]

Rebranding Productivism

Image: Rebranding productivism in mainstream media via philanthropy and funded groups

The scope of Empire’s boundaries is colossal. The toxic role of the industrial-media complex in promoting the voracious aims of private power is a given. With this simple truth in mind, consider the global media in their making of 350’s Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein (and also, recent hero on the left Russell Brand) into global superstars with icon status. In the March 2015 issue of Prospect Magazine, the article World thinkers 2015: the results describes number 3 recipient, Naomi Klein as follows:

“The New Yorker described her as ‘the most visible and influential figure on the American left,’ though her books are read around the world.”

Yet what is critical, and what both the industrial-media complex and global marketing executives understand as the most important aspect, is to what specific audience Klein appeals to. Notwithstanding its title, The New Yorker is read nationwide, with 53 percent of its circulation in the top ten U.S. metropolitan areas. According to Mediamark Research Inc., the average age of The New Yorker reader in 2009 is 47 (compared to 43 in 1980 and 46 in 1990). The average household income of The New Yorker readers in 2009 is $109,877 (the average income in 1980 was $62,788 and the average income in 1990 was $70,233). [Source: United States Census Bureau.]

Without question, media is the key instrument strategically utilized by the oligarchs/elites who own and control the media-corporate complex (it’s value, challenged only by that of the non-profit industrial complex), as the key apparatus toward global hegemonic power. It is exploited, with precision, to both instil and enforce illusions and discourses which are paramount to ensuring the global populace remains isolated from political processes such as the global expansion and implementation of environmental markets and payment for ecosystem services respectively. The Guardian’s March 6, 2015 article, “Climate change: why the Guardian is putting threat to Earth front and centre” signals the agenda has been set: the building of/creation of public acquiescence via social engineering. The policy documents that serve as the foundation for global implementation have been written and are now in place; the agenda is now in its final stages. This discourse effectively eradicates potential threats in the form of alternatives, criticisms, direct actions, hacktvism, and most importantly, a united demand and effort to completely dismantle the capitalist system. Citizens, including those on the left who consider themselves radical in nature, are manipulated to actively engage in and further their own domination. The hegemonic system, inclusive of media (and in this case led by the Guardian) and advertising firms, which equate social media with the second coming of Christ, now retain more insight and clarity into people’s wants, dreams and needs, than the people do themselves. This 21st century windfall has prompted corporations and advertising firms to re-name the enthusiastic brand-advocate consumer, the degrading term “prosumer”, with its representative youths, referred to as “millennials”, representing a 30 trillion dollar jackpot.

Earth day 2015 signalled the unleashing of the new psywar on behalf of market-oriented politics: “the sharing economy, the caring economy, the solidarity economy, the restorative economy, the regenerative economy, the sustaining economy, the resilient economy, and, of course, the new economy” (The Next System Project). Other terminology includes regenerative capitalism, transformation of finance, inclusive economy, transparent economy, natural systems, natural capital, third millennium economy, social capital, the next system, and many neologisms being tested for public acceptance. The media-industrial complex, in tandem with the Non-Profit Industrial Complex (NPIC), has rolled out the final phase in the global corporate capture of the commons: public acceptance. Here we will bear witness to the art of manipulation, coercion and social engineering.

Examples include: A Bee’s Invoice: The Hidden Value in Nature; Rapping For REDD: Will Ecosystem Services Go Mainstream This Earth Day?; Is Nature Ready to Transform Big Business? The Banking Nature-Trailer (December 2014) asks the question “Can markets succeed where politics has failed?” implying that markets are separate and distinct from politics. Whether intentional or not, framing such as this is a fine example of psywar at its best.

Note that the Capital Institute project (regenerative capitalism) (April 20, 2015 video: Reimagining Capitalism, full version) “was honored to be shortlisted in the Communications Category of the 2014 Guardian Sustainable Business Awards.”

Payment for Ecosystem Services

“He treats his mother, the earth, and his brother, the sky, as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep or bright beads. His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert.” — Chief Seattle, 1780-1866

The goal to commodify the commons under what has come to be known as “(payment for) ecosystem services” (as well as Natural Capital, Biosphere Economy, etc.) will look to the private sector for investment. The scheme promises corporations, private investors and the world’s most powerful financial institutions both ownership and control (i.e. expansion of power) of Earth’s natural resources, as the return on capital investment. We bear witness to an explosion of new environmental markets and ecosystem services products which are already being developed in order to capture the trillions of dollars to be made from the capture and exploitation of “natural capital”. The implementation of payment for ecosystem services will create the most spectacular opportunities that the financial sector has ever witnessed. New markets offer speculation that promises unimaginable profits.

This is a new mechanism for generating profits for the wealthy (those with financial capital on the top tier) via the global commodification of nature’s functions and services. In essence, the implementation of payment for ecosystems services represents an unprecedented coup: a privatization of the commons. A free-for-all for further corporate capture like nothing the world has yet witnessed. Corporations and the financial institutions are frothing at the mouth. Never before has neoliberalism witnessed such opportunity and scope as in the expansion of markets and capital. The commodification of most everything sacred, the privatization and objectification of all biodiversity and living things that are immeasurable, above and beyond monetary measure, will be unparalleled, irreversible and inescapable.

Of critical importance is the manufacturing of consent. Capitalism constructs and nurtures ideologies designed to appeal to and reabsorb its opponents; a circular and systematic means of maintaining existing power structures.

Lining the brick walls of the NPIC, environmental analysts and their peers demonstrate their resolute loyalty and complete subordination toward the oligarchs they serve and protect, and the neoliberal paradigm as a whole. Bear witness as they implore via the echo-chambers of the media-corporate complex, that the policies being drafted on global ecosystem services must be democratic, fair and just. In tandem with marketing executives, the liberal progressives will create the required obfuscations and deliver on what they are funded to do, represented by the following: create irrelevant discourse in the media (examples: debating the importance of stopping the Keystone XL pipeline in the past and the global divestment campaign to stop market financialization of fossil fuel corporations in the present); frame what is a political issue as a non-political issue; normalize/naturalize the monetization of ecosystem services ideology by highlighting the said “benefits” (which are scripted by the World Bank, the UN, think tanks, foundations and those who comprise the helm of the NPIC); build acquiescence by strategically utilizing environmental language to normalize a project that furthers privatization, market expansion/expansion of natural capital (as an adjunct to the divestment campaign in moving markets from the unsustainable fossil fuels to the commons in a new form of exploitation) and the intensification of neoliberalism; obscure the interests of those pushing forward the entire agenda; create necessary illusions to prolong belief in a failed and suicidal system; and finally, employ heavy rhetoric of Indigenous rights to counteract opposition that correctly foresees the future dispossession and eviction of Indigenous land throughout the world, in addition to the violence and brutality that this will invoke. The implementation of “ecosystem services” accounting effectively creates a new mechanism for “legal” land grabs (which are already proliferating due to recent “opportunities” for pensions, etc. via land agricultural investments.) As the only intelligent response to the amalgamation of this information, we should all consider the words of the Mohawk Warriors Society regarding what is sadly becoming the only retort to the ongoing omnicide: “They aren’t scared of us because we’re willing to take up arms. They’re scared of us because we’re willing to die.”

“This we know; the earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know.” — Chief Seattle, 1780-1866

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Capitalism Has Reached Its Limits

United Nation’s Financialization of Earth

First Phase Digital

UN Photo: March 25, 1947: “Trygve Lie, Secretary-General of the United Nations, accepts from John D. Rockefeller III, acting for his father, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., a check for $8,500,000 for the purchase of the 6-block Manhattan East River site where the United Nations will build its permanent headquarters. Mayor of the City of New York, William O’Dwyer, is seen at right. Ceremony took place on the first anniversary of the Security Council in New York. Empire State Building, New York.” (UN archives)

This particular segment of the divestment series, inclusive of quotes and references, is perhaps the most critical if one is to understand the financial-indicators and collective pathology behind the global goal to commidify (i.e., financialize, privatize, monetize), all of Earth’s natural resources. Let’s begin with the observation by the world’s most powerful institutions that the industrialized capitalist system has reached the limits of what is possible:

“Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, argues that the benefits of combating climate change include ‘new green jobs in clean tech and clean energy businesses up to ones in sustainable agriculture and conservation-based enterprises.’ Interestingly, too, he backs up his business case with an in-house financier. Recognizing that ‘the economic models of the 20th century are now hitting the limits of what is possible,’ Pavan Sukdhev, a senior banker from Deutsche Bank currently seconded to UNEP to lead the research, comments that, ‘Investments will soon be pouring back into the global economy – the question is whether they go into a new green economy.'”—Volans website, November 4, 2008

The three pillars of the green economy (a false dictation of an alleged full restructuring and reconstruction of the global economy) are the following: 1) valuing and mainstreaming nature’s services into national and international accounts; 2) employment generation via “green jobs” and policies; 3) instruments and market signals able to accelerate the transition from a carbon based economy to a supposedly green economy. In relation to the apparatus used by mainstream society to attain these objectives, think tanks, the media-corporate complex and the non-profit industrial complex, must be considered to be the key instruments of achieving these three pillars.

According to UNEP, “The Green Economy initiative has three pillars – valuing and mainstreaming nature’s services into national and international accounts; employment generation through green jobs and the laying out the policies; instruments and market signals able to accelerate a transition to a Green Economy.” — Volans website, November 4, 2008

One year later, Paris 2009:

“Investments will soon be pouring back into the global economy – the question is whether they go into the old, extractive, short-term economy or a new and more sustainable green economy that deals with multiple challenges while generating economic and social opportunities for the poor and the well-off alike. Mobilizing and re-focusing the global economy towards investments in clean technologies and ‘natural’ infrastructure such as forests and soils is the best bet for achieving real growth, combating climate change and triggering an employment boom in the 21st century” — Achim Steiner, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme, Business for the Environment (B4E) Global Summit 2009, Summary Report

At the helm of the corporate strategy to push forward and implement environmental markets (if in appearances only) is the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). The UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director is the charismatic and articulate Achim Steiner, former Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). As a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), the IUCN partners with corporations such as Shell and boasts “corporate green” members such as the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The IUCN acquired funding of approximately $100 million in 2010 with funding from the private sector having increased considerably.

Steiner is often credited with the ‘Green Economy’ scheme. From inception, this concept appeared to be perceived by environmentalists, largely as a euphemism for business as usual, with the appearance of collective resistance peaking at the Rio+20 Earth Summit in 2012. Since that time however, aside from the commendable efforts of a tiny group of smaller NGOs (Nature Not for Sale), one observes that, opposition to the monetization of nature, appears to have all but vanished as evidenced by schemes like REDD and its acceptance by the mainstream environmental movement. Regarding the response of the environmental movement or lack thereof, the silence is deafening. The increase in Steiner’s power-base is made evident via the recent unleashing of a full-scale psywar where the environmental NGOs and luminaries within or aligned with the NPIC, serve as signatories or advocates of the payment for ecosystem services that lie just below the surface of these newly launched, saccharine campaigns. The fact that “the green economy” has been killed, in order to save it (Purpose Inc.) is apparent in the waves of holistic language that brilliantly markets pathology as sustainability, as represented by the goals of organizations such as Purpose Inc.

A close associate of Steiner is Braulio F. de Souza Dias, Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) [1] secretariat. Regarding Steiner and his compatriot Dias, these two individuals (and the organizations they serve) comprise just two of the key architects behind the steadfast goal to transform every living thing on our planet—into a tradable service or commodity.

“As recently as this past June, at the Rio+20 summit on sustainable development, the Rockefeller Foundation and the United Nations Global Compact launched a new framework for action to help meet social and environmental needs.” — United Nations Press Release, September 10, 2012

[Video: Achim Steiner courting world’s elites. Published September 4, 2014 by The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) WBCSD is a CEO-led, global association of some 200 companies dealing exclusively with business and “sustainable development”. (Further reading on WBCSD: McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street | Part VIII: The “Social Capitalists”)

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The Key to Growth in the 21st Century

“If I had to put a label on the emerging paradigm, which I believe started to evolve from the early 1960s, I would call it the ‘Gaian’ or ‘Lovelockian’ Paradigm.  It speaks of a world in which humankind is forced to evolve profoundly different mindsets, behaviours and cultures.  A world in which BP’s original ‘Beyond Petroleum’ branding would make perfect market sense, indeed would be second nature. And a world in which the services delivered by our biosphere are no longer taken for granted, but instead are accurately valued by market exchange mechanisms.”

 

“In this context, May also saw the launch of another Volans report, The Biosphere Economy, sub-titled ‘Natural limits can spur creativity, innovation and growth’.  In the report we quote UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner to the effect that “The economic growth of the last two centuries has relied on the mismanagement of natural assets. Governments are starting to understand that making these assets visible in national accounts and economic strategies is the key to growth in the twenty-first century.”

In the June 14, 2010 Volans article, entitled ‘Getting into Deep Water‘, the author John Elkington highlights the challenges that lie ahead for the aforementioned “emerging paradigms”:

“Instead, the challenge is to shift our behaviours, our cultures and, ultimately, the prevailing paradigm.  One of our current generation of interns is helping us explore the behavioural change agenda.  In parallel, we are having stimulating discussions with a number of companies and agencies on the topic—with a potential longer-term action research project in the pipeline. But the scale of the culture change and paradigm shift challenges is mind-boggling.” [Volans is discussed later in this series]

Rebranding the Green Economy: The New Economy

rebrand 4

In December 2015, the world will get a new climate deal at the COP21 meeting in Paris.” —The official Road To Paris website

Avaaz co-founder Jeremy Heimans of Purpose Inc. (Avaaz’s for-profit public relations arm) explained how his firm would systematically organize people around a movement that encapsulated the green economy. This was crucial because as Heimans pointed out, the “green economy” was in a rut. In order to achieve the stated goal of re-emergence by rebranding yet in essence remaining the same, Heimans was clear on the critical strategy: Kill “green” marketing (including the key term “green economy”), in order to push forward the green economy of the mainstream environmental movement – without saying as much. The establishment would kill the green economy, in order to save it.

Heimans states:

“…Well, the results of our research really have two main conclusions I want to share with you today, and the first is a little startling and it may create a little bit of a disequilibrium… and that is that I think we need to kill the language and imagery and green in order to have any real shot at scaling sustainable consumption. Sustainable consumption just isn’t working right now as we’ll talk about in a moment. We’re going to have to kill green as a frame for consumers in order to try to rework that problem.”

Heimans summarizes the methodology:

“… the answer we think is to get behind the businesses that are at this intersection of mass participation where you can get lots of people in a network, you can grow market share very quickly of the new forms of businesses that are green, but don’t knock on the door and announce themselves as green. If we can do this, if we can create a new economy that takes these models that can very quickly acquire market share and we can give people a sense they’re part of something much bigger, we’ll build the green economy, we just won’t talk about it and we won’t say that we’re doing it.”


 

Jump forward to the present socially acceptable “new economy”– a necessary re-branding to achieve the stated goal to “systematically organize people around a movement that encapsulated the green economy mainstream.”

The oligarchs are most grateful to the army that comprises the NPIC. Without this army, who would cloud the dynamics at a juncture where clarity is essential? In terms of our society’s collective willingness, there resides an almost disturbing eagerness to be led astray, creating a ripe atmosphere for the accepted domination of the very oligarchs, false prophets and corporate entities that are the cause of the aforementioned omnicide. Those who have brought us to the ecological precipice are to be repackaged as environmentally conscious saviours.

To build acquiescence, and even demand, for “sustainable capitalism” and the initial gradual implementation of ecosystem services valuation/accounting by 2020 to facilitate this, a pathological mindset is simply embedded into the “new economy” (i.e. “green capitalism”) ideology, without saying as much. Regarding this implementation, the powers that be will expand capital markets and commence the implementation of (payment for) ecosystem services, they just won’t talk about it and they won’t say that they’re doing it.” What is marketed to the public as “the new economy” (sold to the public under the guise of a multitude of campaigns saturated in holistic language) is fully understood by the non-profit industrial complex and the world’s most powerful intuitions and elitists, as capitalism not only rebranded and protected, but propelled for its continuance. Consider that while the term ecosystem services saturates the public sphere (via the NPIC and media), the most critical aspect of the scheme, that of “payment for” services rendered, is rarely, if ever, mentioned in this regard. Welcome to the greatest psywar of the 21st century: a hegemonic, global concerted effort, unparalleled in scale and magnitude.

“Once you put a price on nature in order to protect it, you may find someone willing to pay slightly more in order to destroy it”— Neil Brown, Fund Manager, 2013, Counterbalance

If First You Don’t Succeed – Try, Try, Try Again

“Growth based on real, concrete value can fundamentally only be achieved by constantly increasing the rate of exploitation.” (the extraction of surplus value from the working class).”—Stephanie McMillan, Capitalism Must Die!

 

“We know that something is happening when Klaus Schwab the founder of the world economic forum said in his opening speech a few months ago that we were witnessing the end of capitalism…” —Bob Massie, 2012 Strategies for a New Economy Conference (video)

McKibben Massie Fullerton

From left to right: Bill McKibben (350.org), Mark Fullerton (Capital Institute) and Bob Massie (New Economy Coalition)

The President of Capital Institute in 2010, “a collaborative working to explore and effect the economic transition to a more just, regenerative, and thus sustainable way of living on this earth through the transformation of finance” is John Fullerton. Fullerton is director of the New Economy Coalition and advisor to Richard Branson’s Business Leader’s initiative (“B Team”). Fullerton is referred to as a “thought leader” in the “New Economy” and “financial system transformation”.” Prior to founding Capital Institute, Fullerton was a Managing Director of JPMorgan for two decades.  At JPMorgan, Fullerton managed various capital markets and derivatives businesses around the globe, before shifting focus to private investments and subsequently residing as the Chief Investment Officer of LabMorgan through the merger with Chase Manhattan before ultimately retiring from the bank in 2001. Fullerton writes the “Future of Finance” blog, which is widely syndicated on platforms such as The Guardian and the Huffington Post. [Full bio]

“The Capital Institute’s mission is predicated on the belief that capital markets can be transformed with the aid of enlightened public policy supported by a shift in societal awareness. We also hold the view that enlightened capitalists, through their collective actions, can lead the way to a more just, resilient, and sustainable economic system, even ahead of enabling public policy.”— Capital Institute, Can Nature Be Monetized?

The Capital Institute’s Board of Directors and advisors is mainly comprised of investment finance executives. Of special interest is the overlapping connections to Ceres, the Wallace Fund, George Soros, Richard Branson, the New Economics Foundation (sister organization (in America) of the New Economics Foundation, the New Economy Coalition which are all a general representation of environmental markets, natural Capitalism, ecosystem services valuation/accounting, and whiteness (an adjective most expressive of Western privilege and the physical phenotype representative of said privilege).

Robert A. Johnson, PhD, is the current Executive Director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking which is financed by the “liberal” George Soros. Johnson was previously a managing director at Soros Fund Management, where he managed a global currency, bond, and equity portfolio specializing in emerging markets. In addition, Johnson served as Chief Economist of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee and Senior Economist of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee. [Full bio]

Another member of the board is Peter Kinder, who also serves on the finance advisory committee of the Wallace Global Fund, as well as on the President’s Council of CERES – two key partners/backers of the divestment campaign. [Full bio]

In addition to the aforementioned individuals, the Board of advisors of The Capital Institute also include Lawrence Lunt , a member of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Global Leadership Council; Richard Zimmerman a Senior Vice President, Private Banker, for HSBC Private Bank in New York; Graciela Chichilnisky, is the author of the carbon market of the UN Kyoto Protocol that became international law in 2005; Hazel Henderson (“turn your deepest purpose into a revenue stream”); Hunter Lovins, President of Natural Capitalism Solutions (NCS), author of “The Way Out: Kickstarting Capitalism to Save Our Economic Ass (2012), sequel to “Natural Capitalism”, founder of Rocky Mountain Institute which partnered with Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room in December, 2014; Peter Victor (Capital Institute) Stewart Wallis, Executive Director of New Economics Foundation (NEF). Prior to NEF, Wallis was International Director of Oxfam [Full list of Board of Advisors]

Under Capital Institute’s “Brain Trust” section“, self-described as “Thought leaders of the regenerative economy”, a single project is highlighted: The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), an NGO “promoting a more transparent and efficient global impact investing market.” GIIN was created in 2009 under the fiscal sponsorship of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisor (more aptly described a capitalist incubator project for the “green economy”). The GIIN Investors’ Council is a comprised of institutions, private foundations, and institutional investors that collaborate to determine, refine and promote “best practices” for a faux green industry. Members include but aren’t limited to, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan. GIIN asset owners include entities such as Oxfam GB and Shell Foundation. GIIN Asset managers include Generation Investment Management, Leapfrog Investments, New Forests and many others while GIIN service providers include, but are not limited to, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), United Nations Capital Development Fund, and Environmental Defense Fund.

“In this paradoxical, nightmare-like scenario, where ruling class criminals throw back pennies and moral judgements to those whose lives they have destroyed in the name of capitalism, we begin to see the true meaning of capitalist charity.” — Michael Barker

In Capital Institute’s first GIIN profile, it is reported that GIIN’s first working group, Project Terragua, is “exploring ways to increase impact investment in sustainable agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa.” “A recent project of the Terragua Working Group has been the formation of Mtanga Farms (Tanzania, Africa) by GIIN Investor Council members, The Tony Elumelu Foundation and the Calvert Foundation in partnership with Heirs Holdings and Lion’s Head Global Partners” (a London investment bank, conceived by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation). Mtanga produces maize, soya and barley while pursuing an ambitious strategy in cattle and meat processing. It is working with Seed Co and Last Mile Alliance whose committed partners include, but are not limited to, Syngenta AG and Bayer CropScience. Via funding from sources such as NORAD, which are funneled through the Voxtra Foundation, there is a disserted effort on farmer training and recruitment to act as wholesalers and storage hubs for seed. The training and recruitment is implemented by those within the NPIC.

Another organization that is part of the GIIN network is TransFarm Africa (TFA), included in a group offering new inroads into capital markets in the Global South called the New Markets Lab, which was established in 2010. Originally incubated at the aforementioned William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the initiative was designed in large part, to persuade Africa’s small-scale farmers and entrepreneurs to rapidly transition away from subsistence farming toward market-oriented production systems. TransFarm Africa’s proof of concept, Mtanga Farms Limited, illustrates the innovative approach TFA pioneered combining investment and policy to unlock market potential.

“Basically, millions of small holder farmers have to go through a transformation from being subsistence to commercial producers”—It is the decade of agriculture in Africa. Food security will become the next tradable commodity [Source]

Investors Council

Figure 1 – GIIN Investors’ Council Members

By themselves, the GIIN’s inclusion of The Rockefeller Foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Ford foundation, as key architects of so-called Green Revolution, institutions which are leading proponents and financiers of transgenics (a new breed of genetically modified organisms which are a primary example of 21st century imperialism with impunity) speaks volumes about the nature of this new “regenerative” economy. [Further reading: The “Green Revolution”, Bill Gates, Philanthropy and Social Engineering]

By any honest estimation, this “new” (and in this case being falsely categorized as “regenerative”) economy is the continued and furthering of colonization and land grabs for foreign interests under the guise of ethics.

Up Next: The Next System Project

New System Project Signatories

Another related and recently launched effort in the emerging pyswar on behalf of market-oriented politics is The Next System Project. The Next System Project Website is registered to John Duda of Community-Wealth.org. The next system co-chairs are Gar Alperovitz and Gus Speth.

Alperovitz is a board member of the New Economy Coalition, a “thought leader” at the aforementioned Capital Institute, a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos, and Associate Fellow at the Tellus Institute (discussed further in this report).

Speth’s full bio of elite positions held within the non-profit industrial complex and to a more important extent, presidential administrations (as it portends Western global governance) is extensive. Under the Jimmy Carter administration, Speth was a member (and chair) of the U.S. President’s Council on Environmental Quality from 1977-1981. Also, Speth served as a senior advisor to President Clinton (1992) and is identified as a member on the Council on Foreign Relations (1987-1992, June 30, 1993-2000, 2001-2006). In addition, Speth is a founding board member of the New Economy Coalition and serves on the advisory board of the Capital Institute. Presently, Speth serves on the boards of 350.org (U.S. advisory council), 1Sky (which morphed into 350.org in 2011), the Natural Resources Defense Council (of which he was a co-founder), World Resources Institute (WRI) (founder), Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Institute for Sustainable Communities.

During Speth’s tenure at WRI (1982-1993), the organization focused on and pioneered the use of “natural resources accounting” (valuing ecosystem services) while simultaneously making tentative overtures to the corporate world —one of the first environmental NGOs to do so. Following the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, which called upon governments to develop national strategies for sustainable development, Speth left WRI to run the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). From 1993 to 1999 Speth served as Administrator of the UNDP where he was considered the highest-ranking American in the UN system, “in effect the No. 2 job at the U.N. next to the secretary general.” [Source] The concept of WRI’s efforts on valuing ecosystem services accounting culminated in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the first-ever global audit of ecosystem services, which was completed in 2005 in partnership with various U.N. agencies and most prominently the World Bank. More recently, in November of 2013, WRI and the Rockefeller Foundation—in collaboration with Forum for the Future and the Economist Intelligence Unitconvened a meeting in Bellagio, Italy on “The Future of Revaluing Ecosystems”, an illustration of the combination of the capitalist economy and environmentalism, the foundation of the “green economy.” [Source]

Comparable to Speth, another example of the merging of Western economic theory and conservationism is David W. Orr, a prominent member of the environmental movement. Orr (signatory of the previously mentioned The Next System Project) serves as an advisor to Capital Institute. Orr’s extensive bio includes serving as a former board member at the board Rocky Mountain Institute and trustee at the Worldwatch Institute. He has also served as board member of The New Economy Coalition.

Celebrity-driven

“Celebrity-driven campaigns can also be seen to work to responsibilize consumers and audiences as agents of change, through their targeting of audiences, publics, and private individuals; this often elides or willfully ignores, the offending structures, corporations, and/or other actors involved …” —Commodity Activism: Cultural Resistance in Neoliberal Times, 2013

To emphasize how entrenched the adherence of capitalist precepts are a necessary adjunct of mainstream Western acceptability, Initial signatories of The Next System Project include the aforementioned Orr Bill McKibben (350.org), John Fullerton (President of Capital Institute), Bob Massie (former President and CEO of the New Economy Coalition, former president of Ceres), Van Jones-The Dream Corps & Rebuild The Dream (350.org U.S. advisory council), May Boeve-350.org, Danny Glover, Noam Chomsky, Oliver Stone, Hunter Lovins (Natural Capitalism Solutions), Anna Galland (MoveOn.org Civic Action – a front-group for the Democratic Party), Lindsey Allen (Rainforest Action Network), (Timothy E. Wirth) United Nations Foundation and Better World Fund), Rev. Lennox Yearwood (350.org U.S. advisory council), Jill Stein (2012 Green Party Presidential Nominee) and many more names, the majority affiliated with leading NGOs within the NPIC.

Akin to the aforementioned ” regenerative system” which repackages white power seizing control of African lands and peoples as a successful example of ” regenerative capitalism”, The “Next System Project” is the 2008 “A Green New Deal – simply refurbished:

A Green New Deal is a report released on July 21, 2008 by the Green New Deal Group and published by the New Economics Foundation. The New Economy Coalition – is the sister organization (in America) of the New Economics Foundation. Authors of this paper include (but are not limited to) Larry Elliott, Economics Editor of the Guardian, Jeremy Leggett (Carbon Tracker), and two staff of Friends of the Earth (Friends of the Earth has held membership on the Ceres Board of Directors since inception).

The Green New Deal is a package of policy proposals to address climate change. Proposals of the Green New Deal generally reinforce the recommendations of Institutions ICLEI and TEEB, the NPIC, and the Basel II and similar monetary accords. Financial institutions, such as the Economist have consistently supported its general principles, those being: consistent support/demand for global carbon and emissions charges and a monetary value on nature’s services. Notable proponents included Jill Stein, the New Economics Foundation, and Van Jones. Consistent with this continuing recycling of the same policies with different nomenclature, The United Nations Environment Programme launched a Green Economy Initiative known as the ‘Global Green New Deal’.

Some countries cautioned that The Green New Deal would threaten national sovereignty over the control of their natural resources, such as Bolivia. Bolivia’s response to these machinations was clear: that the Green New Deal signaled a “privatization and commodification of nature.” In a subtle rebranding that is all too familiar in the press, both the media-industrial complex and NPIC, came to refer the “Green New Deal” as the “green economy”, the former being a term that had to be killed, in order for the latter as a construct to be saved. (“The NIBR-report provides an overview and critical assessment of the “Global Green New Deal” as an agenda for transition to a green economy.”)

New Economy Coalition

Consider that in June of 2012 Bill McKibben and Peter Buffet headlined the weekend conference, Strategies for a New Economy Conference. The entire press release reads like a list of “who’s who” in the world of elitist, classist, green bourgeoisie. The relationship between McKibben, the Ceres affiliates and the oligarchs they serve is laid bare for all to see. These are extremely interconnected, well-established relationships with strong alliances and loyalties bound together by privilege, philanthropy, and whiteness — the” Whole Foods” of the New Economy.

In March of 2012 Bob Massie was appointed as the President and CEO of the New Economics Institute, now known as The New Economics Coalition. The New Economics Institute (NEI) was established in 2012 as the U.S. counterpart of the UK based New Economics Foundation, established in 1986. This formation was led by the E. F. Schumacher Society and the UK NEF. In 2013, the New Economics Institute in turn merged with the New Economy Network (which included key Ceres associates such as Green America and Friends of the Earth) to create the New Economy Coalition “which would focus on connecting and amplifying new economy organizing across the U.S. and Canada”.

At the June 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, the Global Transition to a New Economy was launched. A collaboration between the UN Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Economy [2], New Economics Foundation, and the Green Economy Coalition, the project consisted of a user-generated global online map where anyone could self-identify with examples of the “new economy” ventures happening around the world. The Stakeholder Forum receives funding from governments, UN agencies, foundations and international financial institutions. In addition, the Green Economy Coalition (GEC) is collaboration of NGOs, research institutes, UN organisations, business to trade unions. Members include NEF, Natural Capital Coalition, WWF, UNEP, Philips, WBCSD [Full list]

16471623129_eaca2e6715

Just Transitions Tour with Bob Massie, March 2015

In further detailing the intertwined aspects of mainstream environmentalism and its capitulation to the continuance of the capitalist economy, Massie’s relationship with Ceres, the UN and the Divestment Campaign is extensive:

  • Former executive director/President of Ceres from 1996 to 2003
  • Ceres senior fellow; Ceres Board of Directors from 2001-2009
  • In 1998, in partnership with the United Nations and major U.S. foundations, he co-founded the Global Reporting Initiative with Dr. Allen White of the Tellus Institute, and served as its Chair until 2002. [Source] [White is also founder of Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings (GISR) – a joint project of Ceres and Tellus Institut [3]
  • Proposed and led the creation of the Investor Network on Climate Risk, a network of 110 institutional investors representing more than $13tn in assets
  • Received the Joan Bavaria [founder of Ceres] Innovation and Impact Awards for Building Sustainability in Capital Markets in 2009

 

In 1994, Bob Massie won the statewide primary election and became the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts. During his tenure as executive director of Ceres, Massie increased the Ceres organization’s size and revenue ten-fold. Massie’s inspiration comes from reading a paper about incompletely theorised agreements written by Cass Sunstein, husband of Samantha Power, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. [July 8, 2014]

In January 2011, Massie declared his candidacy for the United States Senate and began actively campaigning for the Democratic nomination for that office. McKibben actively supported Massie’s campaign utilizing his brand 350.org. [The following quote is in regards to a fundraiser with Bill McKibben, Founder of 350.org: “Mark your calendars: Thursday, June 2nd, Bill McKibben, a founder of the grassroots organization 350.org, is coming to Massachusetts to speak at a fundraiser for Bob’s campaign for US Senate.”]

In October, 2014 Massie stepped down from being the coalition’s president (Announced July 25, 2014). Shortly afterwards in December, 2014, McKibben stepped down as chair of the board at 350.org to become a ‘senior advisor. Massie’s departure from the New Economy Coalition and subsequent promotion of the “new economy” under the 350.org banner (as well as his 350.org tour) signals two things: 1) 350.org remains the more (and perhaps most) powerful force to successfully instil behavioural change, and 2) the global campaign to build both demand and acquiescence for the “new economy” is now the primary task assigned to the NPIC.

350.org Video: February 24, 2015. Bob Massie on A New Economy (Running time, 2:58)

New Economics Foundation (NEF) UK

NEF UK is one of the largest think-tanks in the UK today. NEF UK’s total income for 2013-14 was £3,556,076, the largest contributor being Oak Foundation. The Oak Foundation grants massive amounts of cash to some of the world’s most recognized NGOs. Examples include WWF International (USD 444,449/36 months and USD 3,000,000/34 months, 2014), 350.org (USD 1,500,000/36 months, 2014), Carbon Tracker Initiative (USD 940,800/36 months, 2014), Purpose, (USD 505,939/12 months, 2014), Climate Works (USD 2,400,000/4 years, 2012), NRDC (USD 1,500,000/3 yrs, 2012) Environmental Defence (USD 1,500,000,/3 yrs, 2012) TckTckTck (USD 600,000 2012 and 1,000,000 2yrs/2013), and a multitude of others. [Oak Foundation Annual Reports: 2012, 2013, 2014]

Oak’s funding to NEF UK is significant: USD 95,982 (2012), 93,380 (2013), USD 1,600,000 (2014) (36 months-to achieve systemic economic change in Europe), USD 360,654 (2014) (36 months “To provide economic arguments on the importance of the implementation of the European Common Fisheries Policy and the benefits for society as a whole if fisheries are sustainably managed.”)(hyperlink added)

To detect what current goals and policies are being sought to further serve corporate interests, one only has to observe the ebbs and flows of grants directed toward specific NGOs that will carry out specific campaigns. There is no better example of this than Oak Foundation funding of the TckTckTck (GCCA) campaign created by the global advertising firm Havas, and the UN in the lead up to COP15. The 2009 Annual report shows USD 5,000,000 (including a Special Interest grant of USD 2,500,000).

“The New Economy Coalition (NEC)(U.S) is a collaborative network of more than 120 organizations and businesses working to build the movement for just and sustainable future. Faced with interconnected ecological and economic crises, we believe it’s time for deep changes to both our economic and political systems. We believe it’s time for something new—a new economy.” [Source: CommonBound.org] New Economy Coalition Members include 350.org, Capital Institute, Natural Capitalism Solutions, New Economic Foundation, Patagonia, Trillium Asset Management. [Members]Sponsors include but are not limited to: Pax World Investments, Green Century Funds. [Source]

Major gifts and grants for NEC amounted to $1,390,000.00. Of special interest are the donations from Neva Rockefeller Goodwin (Ceres Board of Directors, 2001-2012) and NoVo Foundation (Buffett family) who gifted 100,000 or higher. Venture capitalist Farhad Ebrahimi and Rockefeller Brothers Fund gifted between 50,000-100,000.00. (2012-2014 support as of January 31, 2014)

Note that Gar Alperovitz, co-chair of The Next System, serves on The New Economy Coalition’s board of directors, as does John Fullerton, founder and CEO of Capital Institute. [The New Economy Coalition Board of Directors: David M. Abromowitz, Gar Alperovitz, Jessica Brackman, Farhad Ebrahimi, John Fullerton, Neva Goodwin, Hildegarde Hannum, Leah Hunt Hendrix and Will Raap. Note that Bill McKibben formerly served on the advisory board.]

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“Much like NGOs and other movements, celebrities have stepped into the gap of the growing democratic deficit both nationally and globally and attempted to fill this up in very interesting, private-led, ‘collectivized’ ways.” — Commodity Activism: Cultural Resistance in Neoliberal Times, 2013

Gone is the green economy. Welcome to the Next System, the Regenerative System, the New Economy, the Biosphere Economy, etc. A fusion of rhapsodic and mellifluous language that creates a sublime chrysalis to further expand capital markets. The second verse is the same as the first.

It’s almost as the world’s most powerful institutions and oligarchs, in a united effort of unparalleled dimension, want to sell us something.

And they do. All they needed were some charismatic spokespeople at the helm, sustained by the fifth column on the front line, to sell their product.

“When she [Ella Baker] left to help found SNCC in 1960, she warned the students about the phenomenon of the “charismatic leader…It usually means the media made him, and the media may undo him…such a person gets to the point of believing that he is the movement.”—Beyond MLK

 

Next: Part XIII 

 

[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation, Counterpunch, Political Context, Canadians for Action on Climate Change and Countercurrents. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. You can follow her on twitter @elleprovocateur]

 

EndNotes:

[1] The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) convened the Ad Hoc Working Group of Experts on Biological Diversity in November 1988 to explore the need for an international convention on biological diversity. In May 1989, it established the Ad Hoc Working Group of Technical and Legal Experts to prepare an international legal instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. By February 1991, the Ad Hoc Working Group had become known as the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee. Its work culminated on 22 May 1992 with the Nairobi Conference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The convention was opened for signatures on June 5, 1992 at the UN Conference on Environment and Development more widely known as the Rio Earth Summit. It remained open for signature until 4 June 1993, by which time it had received 168 signatures. The Convention entered into force on 29 December 1993. [Source]

[2] “Stakeholder Forum was founded in 1987 as UNED UK – United Nations Environment and Development UK (UNED UK), operating as the National Committee for UNEP in the UK. The organization continues to fulfil this function, but was renamed Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future in 2000 to reflect the broad range of activities that the organization undertakes. Stakeholder Forum played a key role in the preparations for and follow-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 and the 2012 Earth Summit (www.earthsummit2012.org). It is also the leading organisation in developing and facilitating global multi-stakeholder processes on sustainable development.”

[3]The directors included, but were not limited to, representatives from Deutsche Bank Group, Royal Dutch/Shell, Bob Massie for Ceres, and American Federation of Labor–Congress of Industrial Organizations.

 

 

Under One Bad Sky

TckTckTck’s 2014 People’s Climate March: This Changed Nothing

September 23, 2015

by Cory Morningstar

 

Walk the Walk

On September 21, 2014, the day of the so-called People’s Climate March, the #WalktheWalk campaign twitter account (@weareherenow) belonging to New York City public relations firm Purpose Inc., had a mere 167 followers (see screenshot below).

WalkTheWalkScreenshotSept212014

Yet, the screenshot below (September 20, 2014) clearly documents the #WalktheWalk hash tag shared (“tweeted”) by none other than the twitter account belonging to U.S. president, Barack Obama. [@BarackObama: “Say you’re ready to #WalktheWalk on climate change.” “—I— #WalktheWalk on climate change.”]

It is necessary to contemplate how the president of the United States would share and promote what was intended to become a powerful marketing meme that with a mere 167 followers, had yet to make any impact whatsoever.

ObamaTweet

For Purpose Inc. (a for-profit public relations venture created by the co-founders of Avaaz), there was no necessity to build any momentum at all in order for their social media campaign to become a “success”, due to the fact that they were already part and parcel of the elite establishment from the very onset. (The first tweet from the #WalktheWalk account was on September 14, 2014. As of September 25, 2014, there were 286 tweets in total.) Foundation funded “progressive” media (in the example below, Common Dreams), as per usual, was utilized to launch and promote the campaign. The usual suspects, comprised of entities such as the TckTckTck twitter account, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, and Desmond Tutu, were amongst the first to tweet #walkthewalk.

+++

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 – 5:00pm

Thousands To #WalkTheWalk Online During Historic Climate March

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, Desmond Tutu, Celebrities and Other Notables to Join Supporters Across The Globe in Videos Walking to Urge Climate Action

WASHINGTON –

**VIEW VIDEOS HERE: http://www.walkforclimate.com/**

New York, NY — As hundreds of thousands of people head to New York City this week to join the People’s Climate March this weekend, many more from around the world will be marching along with them across the internet.

“Politicians, Fortune 500 companies, large NGOs, as well as influential leaders such as UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, Desmond Tutu and other celebrities and notables to be announced, are joining in to spread the word and walk alongside thousands of other demonstrators both on and offline. Ikea will be calling on their global staff to #walkthewalk, and will be demonstrating public solidarity by changing their website banner leading up to the march.

#WalktheWalk is an ownerless, open-source social media campaign that provides a highly visual, easy, and personal way for people around the world who can’t be at the march or who want to take dynamic action online, to be at the march in spirit and send a message to world leaders that they care about climate change and want to see real action. It’s also a way for world leaders themselves and other high-profile individuals to express solidarity with the citizen effort. [Emphasis added]

The campaign officially kicks off Wednesday, September 17, and will run through the UN Climate Summit.

For more information please go to: http://www.walkforclimate.com/

Twitter: @weareherenow

Instagram: @wewalkthewalk

Vine: @walkthewalk

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The full press release (by Fitzgibbon Media) can be accessed here. ** [Domain expired: See archive page: https://web.archive.org/web/20140918001056/http://www.walkforclimate.com/]

To clarify, #Walk the Walk is a campaign of Here Now.

Here Now circles back to Purpose.

To further illustrate the fatuous aspects of the #Walk the Walk campaign regarding our ongoing environmental problems, consider the action of “Hop the Scotch” in response to the dire warning in 2012 by top Russia scientist, Natalia Shakhova, one of the world’s foremost experts on methane hydrates:

“The total amount of the methane (CH4) in the current atmosphere is 5 gigatons. The amount of carbon preserved in the form of methane in the East Siberian Arctic shelf is approx. 100’s-1000’s gigatons. Only 1% of this amount is required to double the atmospheric burden of methane (which is approx. 23x more powerful than CO2). There is not much effort needed to destabilize just 1% of this carbon pool considering the state of permafrost and the amount of methane currently involved. What keeps this methane from entering the atmosphere is a very shallow water column and weakening permafrost which is losing its ability to serve as a seal. It could happen anytime.”

Then consider that when CO2 Levels Doubled 55 Million Years Ago, “global temperatures rose by 5 degrees centigrade – all in the space of about 13 years.” [Source]

Since the 2012 interview with Shakhova, in August, 2014, it was discovered that hundreds of methane plumes are erupting along the east coast. And policy makers in tandem with NGOs and their branding executives urge the public to “Hop the scotch”? It appears that Sept 21, 2014 marked the day that 1984 and Brave New World finally collided. Surely something is amiss. It is glaringly obvious that Avaaz, Purpose and their financiers believe Americans are beyond stupid. Yet all signs point to the fact that they were sadly correct, since in response, Americans applaud.

TckTckTck remix: WalktheWalk

In the second paragraph, the description of #WalktheWalk as an ownerless, open-source social media campaign” echoes, almost verbatim, the TckTckTck campaign launched prior to 15th Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2009. The TckTckTck campaign was created by one of the largest advertising agencies in the world (HAVAS) in collaboration with the United Nations. Upon the launch of the media campaign on September 8, 2009, the Havas press release identified Avaaz, 350.org, Greenpeace and Oxfam (founding NGOs of Global Campaign for Climate Action) having partnered with many of the world’s largest multinational corporations such as EDF and the Virgin Group. Hundreds of NGOs would “sign on” and partner with the tcktcktck.org website and the TckTckTck open-source media campaign. By December 2009, the tcktcktck umbrella (over 200 NGOs) and its strategic/calculated weak messaging (a “fair and ambitious agreement”) would successfully come to dominate COP15 and strategically drown out the most radical positions put forward (specifically, by Bolivia and the G77) that the world so desperately needed, deliberately and knowingly sentencing whole nations to certain death.

Jump forward 5 years to September 2014 to the TckTckTck remix: WalktheWalk. The 3-syllable catchphrase, like the 3-syllable TcTckTck campaign is custom-made to feed and flourish a media-induced hypnotic trance — more commonly recognized as the stupefied Euro-American psyche.

Tweets from so-called “leaders” of a now synthetic environmental movement demonstrate how the strategic creation of memes such as TckTckTck and WalkTheWalk, are created with the intent and ardent anticipation that the said meme will successfully penetrate and infest all aspects of mainstream forms of vacuous protest:

Below video (running time: 0.39): Citizens are incited to perform as “ticking” human clocks for the branding-building of TckTckTck. [Climate Justice rally on Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, October 24, 2009, International Day of Climate Action]:

Video (running time 1:00) In a corporate culture consumed by celebrity fetish, celebrities are most always utilized to citizens to accept and embrace symbolism, TckTckTck – Oxfam Climate Change Campaign (Uploaded on Sep 2, 2009)

Below content and video (Millions Walked , running time: 1:30) at Upworthy (incidentally co-founded by Avaaz co-founder Pariser) is intended to compel citizens to “WalktheWalk” via the phrase “Watch some celebrities show you how they walk. It actually matters.” The Upworthy content cites text from a transcript released by Moment for Action (launched September 23, 2014), a collaboration of many participating NGO’s and foundations. Partners include but are not limited to United Nations, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Leonardo Dicaprio Foundation, Avaaz, WWF, Sierra Club, Amazon Watch and Carbon War Room.

“It’s time to do more than just talk about climate change. Watch me #WalkTheWalk. http://goo.gl/0W16io @Greenpeace@greenpeaceusaKumi Naidoo, Sept 20, 2014

Six years after the global TckTckTck campaign, it must be considered par for the course that Kumi Naidoo, executive international executive director of Greenpeace International and then chair/president of the TckTckTck/ Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA) would take a leading role in the unveiling and promoting of the 2015 WalktheWalk campaign:

Kumi Naidoo WalktheWalk Purpose 2

Kumi Naidoo WalktheWalk Purpose

Above screenshots represent just 2 two of Naidoo’s twitter posts being re-tweeted by various creative directors, special advisors and CEO/founder of Purpose Inc. The Naidoo tweet was “retweeted” 21 times and designated as a “favourite”14 times, with 2 twitter users having “asked not to be shown in this view”.

Purpose Inc: Entrenched in the Democratic Party

“Josh [Hendler] joins Purpose after having worked at the intersection of social good and technology throughout his career. His sweet spot is technology leadership roles in politics, having served as the technology chief for the Democratic National Committee and Organizing for America. During the 2008 campaign, he was a consultant to the Obama campaign, managing technology for distributed organizing efforts.” — Purpose Welcomes Josh Hendler as New CTO, September 15, 2014

 

“Henry [Donahue] spent most of the 1990’s on the road as a fund-raiser and consultant for local and national Democratic political campaigns, including U.S. Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).  He has worked for progressive candidates in New York City, Tennessee, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Kansas.” Purpose Website – Meet the Team on a Mission

Here Now Obama

The above screenshot /meme created by Purpose Inc. (under the guise of “Here Now”) makes clear that the job of Purpose Inc. is to ensure Barack Obama is seen in a most a favourable, positive and charming light and as a champion on “clean power”.

It is only by observing the relationships of the individuals that have worked toward the success of this meme, that we can understand the dynamics of the campaign. Dynamics that demonstrate a strong alliance between two key parties: Purpose Inc. and the US Democratic Party.

Naidoo’s tweet (as shown in the section above), is “re-tweeted” and shared by a multitude of Purpose Inc. staff, CEOs and participating organizations with many having prior or ongoing involvement with the US Democratic Party:

“Digital ads explicitly appealed to voters who may not have considered themselves especially climate-conscious. At a post-election briefing for Steyer on Wednesday, digital strategist Tara McGowan showcased a series of Web ads beginning with the text: ‘I’m no environmentalist …’ In each case, the sentence ended with something like: ‘… but droughts are ruining my farm’ or ‘… but science doesn’t lie'” — Inside a green billionaire’s Virginia crusade (Tom Steyer), Politico, 11/11/13

  • Jeremy Heimans, CEO of Pupose Inc. Co-founder of Avaaz, GetUp and AllOut. [Video: The Art of Manipulation: Brought to You by Avaaz, Purpose Inc. & 350.org] Heimans promotes the hashtag #newpower, and is his own biggest fan
  • We Are Here Now (a project of Purpose): “All over the world people are taking heroic action to save our climate. But a fight this big needs a breakthrough. Here now – everything changes.”
  • Robert Jay Ross, special advisor to the CEO of Purpose Inc. (Heimans). US Executive Director of Child Is Innocent a non-profit providing “leadership training to children living in Northern Uganda.”
  • Jennifer Edwards (tagline: “Champagne and Campaigns”), Digital Strategy Consultant for Purpose Inc, Sierra Club, The National Council of La Raza and Organizing for Action Digital (https://www.barackobama.com/)
  • Mercedes Gutierrez, head of sustainability at Ikea Spain
  • Galit Gun, senior strategy director at Purpose Inc., former global campaigner and founding staff member at Avaaz
  • Neeraj Narayan, regional director, South Asia, Nike Inc.
  • Santiago Gowland, general manager for The Nature Conservancy, Latin American Region
  • Radu Dumitra?cu, communications specialist at Ikea Foundation
  • Hannah Kreiswirth, creative director at Purpose Inc.

 

Mark R WalktheWalk 2

Above screenshot: Sept 19, 2014 tweet by Maggie Aker, Strategist at Purpose Inc.: “Well this is an adorable shuffle from @MarkRuffalo, esp since it’s for our climate. Who will #walkthewalk next?” This tweet was retweeted/favourited by both Anna Jane Joyner, Climate Strategist at We Are Here Now and Purpose Inc.

 “As a consultant for the Here Now campaign initiated by the innovative team at Purpose, Anna is part of a group testing new story-telling techniques for discussing climate change with evangelical Christians and other difficult-to-engage audiences.” — January 6, 2015, Source

WalktheWalk Tck 2

Above screenshot: @TckTckTck, Sept 18, 2014: “We are a part of the biggest climate march in history. Show us you #walkthewalk on climate change too: http://bit.ly/1qNnY17

Best WalktheWalk Tweets

As demonstrated in the above screenshots, TckTckTck took a leading role in promoting this particular campaign. As well, the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC), fully exploited 350 board member Naomi Klein’s book launch of “This Changes Everything” blanketing the virtual sphere in catch phrases utilizing and playing off of this meme. The above screenshots which read “to change everything, we need everyone” and “here now – everything changes” are prime examples.

Broadbent Inst.

Photo: The Broadbent Institute’s Training and Leadership program

The Purpose Inc. We Are Here Now twitter account follows the twitter accounts of Purpose Inc., United Nations, IKEA, WWF, Barack Obama, Barack Obama Action Committees/Official Organizing for Action (OFA CA, OFA CO, OFA VA, OFA TX), Energy Action Coalition, RAN, the Broadbent Institute , Next Gen (Tom Steyer), Tom Steyer, Greenpeace, UN Foundation, Sierra Club, TckTckTck, Climate Reality (Al Gore) 350.org, 350.org divestment groups, Bill McKibben, The Syria Campaign (destabilization/demonization campaign), and many more of influence.

Those of influence include Paul Hilder, co-founder of Avaaz who now serves as executive director of Here Now. [Hilder background]

The account also follows Tim Dickson, the co-founder of the Syria Campaign, who is also founder of the aforementioned Groundswell Communications. Dickson’s contribution to the Democratic Party is most extensive dating back to 1980. Dixon, former senior political strategist for two Australian prime ministers, now serves as the managing director for Purpose Europe. [Dixon bio]

Avaaz and Purpose Co-founder Jeremy Heimans has made the vision of for-profit Purpose Inc. clear from inception:

Vision: “Purpose is a global initiative that draws on leading technologies, political organizing and behavioral economics to build powerful, tech-savvy movements that can transform culture and influence policy… [Purpose] creates 21st century movements. We look for ways that movements can help solve major global problems. To do this, we work with some of the most exciting players in the new green and social economy to help them get to scale faster and some of the world’s biggest brands to mobilize their consumers for significant social impact….” [Further reading on Purpose: Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section II]

That goal continues to be expanded upon in an Orwellian manner with corporations now utilizing CSR [corporate social responsibility] to evolve the brand by empowering their customer (“prosumers”) to become activists:

“On Thursday, November 20th, the Social Innovation Summit held its bi-annual conference in the San Francisco Bay area. The summit brought together some of the most influential innovators and leaders in the business and social impact communities. Representatives from Google, Facebook, PwC and others came together to share and discuss new models businesses can use to transform communities and inspire action. Purpose’s very own Senior Strategist, Max Steinman, moderated a discussion entitled ‘The Rise of the Activist Brand.’ The panel explored how brands are evolving their CSR [corporate social responsibility] efforts by empowering their advocates to become activists.” [Source]

We Are Here Now Tweet 1

We Are Here Now Tweet 2

Above @weareherenow screenshots: The promise of perpetual economic growth for corporate America is key

TckTckTck – “How to Herd Cats”

In 2009, global civil society was cleverly seduced into sleeping with the enemy via the TckTckTck campaign. [Further reading: EYES WIDE SHUT | TckTckTck exposé]. In 2014, not one to learn from the past, civil society, would yet again sleep with the enemy. GCCA, an initiative that began in Bali (2007) with a $300,000 funding commitment from the Quebec government, is a “coalition of twenty key international organizations” including Avaaz, 350.org, Greenpeace , Kofi Annan’s Global Humanitarian Forum, OXFAM, WWF, World Council of Churches, Union of Concerned Scientists, Equiterre, Global Call to Action against Poverty (also co-chaired by Kumi Naidoo), and the Pew Environment Group. [Source]

While GCCA/TckTckTck working hand in hand with 350.org, Avaaz and Greenpeace undoubtedly far surpassed the United States United Nations expectations for the 2009 TckTckTck campaign, it would repeat a similar stunning performance for the United Nations just 5 years later with the popular 2014 Peoples Climate March, again uniting citizens with corporate interests:

“GCCA worked behind the scenes for over a year to prepare for the biggest date in 2014, leveraging every possible asset and contact to rally around the historic Peoples’ Climate March in the run-up to the UN Climate Leaders Summit…. In the preceding months, GCCA convened weekly calls with key partners 350.org, Avaaz, USCAN and Climate Nexus to catalyse activities and identify gaps…. Everything came together on the day as we bore witness to the world’s biggest ever climate march, and inspiring events across the globe, with world leaders, business people, activists, parents and artists walking shoulder-to-shoulder.” — GCCA Annual Report 2014

Kelly Rigg Varda Group

Kelly Rigg, Founding Director, Varda Group, US: The Economics of Sustainable Development, 16-19 June 2012 | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Photo: International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) website

Based on the UN driven spectacle and 3-syllable catchphrase (WalktheWalk) that mirrored TckTckTck in 2009, perhaps then it should be of no surprise that Kelly Rigg, former executive director of TckTckTck (Global Campaign for Climate Action) and senior campaign director for Greenpeace International, was identified by Forbes (September 25, 2014) as the key organizer of the People’s climate parade creating yet another umbrella group comprised of approx. 1300 NGOs. Rigg is also a founding director and business manager of The Varda Group consulting firm founded in 2003 with Rémi Parmentier, also with an extensive Greenpeace history:

“Rémi Parmentier has been involved in the process of Rio +20 from the start. He participated in the intersession meetings and the Preparatory Committee in New York with “informal consultations” on behalf of various international organizations and alliances. Previously, as the Political Director of Greenpeace International, in the Summit of Johannesburg in 2002, Parmentier was the negotiator and protagonist of the agreement between the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and Greenpeace International on the Kyoto Protocol.” [Source]

Parmentier also serves as Deputy Executive Secretary for the Global Ocean Commission which was launched in February 2013. Inés de Águeda who serves as the communications officer for the Global Ocean Commission is also an associate at the Varda Group.

“With Kelly, Inés and Rémi, the Varda Group was almost complete this week at the meeting of the Global Ocean Commission in New York.” — Varda Group Facebook page

Commissioners of the Global Ocean Commission include José María Figueres (co-chair), President of Costa Rica from1994 to 1998; President of the Carbon War Room, David Miliband, John Podesta (chair of the Center for American Progress and a former White House Chief of Staff ), Sri Mulyani Indrawati ( Managing Director at the World Bank), Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation and other high profile individuals.

The link between most, if not all of these commissioners is the shared desire for carbon markets and/or the implementation of payments for ecosystem services (PES).

From the Global Ocean Commission Report 2014, The Value of the High Seas:

“One of the first questions asked by the commissioners was: can we place an economic value on what the high seas provides for our planet? While the science of ‘natural resources accounting’ is still relatively new, work we commissioned made clear that the high seas generates a wide variety of benefits to people and the planet,4 all of which must be considered before recommendations for action can be made.

 

The high seas supports major categories of vital ecosystem services, including: air purification, waste treatment and lifecycle maintenance; high seas carbon capture and storage; high seas ‘provisioning’ of fish and other seafood; genetic and ornamental resources; and tourism, leisure and recreation. While not all of them can be valued using current data, these ecosystem services do all have demonstrable economic value. Research carried out for the Commission has produced estimates of the economic value of two key high seas ecosystem services – carbon storage and fisheries – showing that they each generate tens of billions of dollars of value to society annually.

 

The ocean has been responsible for the capture and storage of more than half of the carbon dioxide produced by the burning of fossil fuels and a third of the total produced by humankind. This ability of the ocean to capture and store carbon reduces the rates of increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide and can slow changes in global temperature and other consequences associated with climate change. It is estimated that nearly half a billion tonnes of carbon, the equivalent of over 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, are captured and stored by the living components of high seas ecosystems every year. Based on current calculations of the economic cost of additional carbon in the atmosphere, the value of the carbon storage by high seas ecosystems is estimated at US$148 billion a year (with a range of US$74 to US$222 billion for mid-estimates). By comparison, the entire global Official Development Aid outlay for 2013 was US$134.8 billion.”

Rigg is included within the extensive acknowledgments noted in this report (page 84). Rigg is also acknowledged in the 2006 paper Casting the Net Broadly: Ecosystem-based Management Beyond National Jurisdiction.

“Finally, a World Ocean Public Trust that unites governance of the high seas and the Area into one regime under an EBM [Ecosystem-based Management] framework should be established throughout the world’s oceans in areas beyond national jurisdiction.” — Casting the Net Broadly: Ecosystem-based Management Beyond National Jurisdiction, 2006

Considering oceans store 50 times more carbon dioxide than the atmosphere and approx. half of all the carbon dioxide produced by humans since the industrial revolution, and accepting the Earth’s water sources will only continue to diminish, it is not surprising that the elite establishment seeks to appoint and lock in a small body of special interests in the creation of a single global regime to fully control and exploit the high seas. Water will be secured by privatization and a global government regime that oversees the planet (which is approx. 70% water), the Earth’s remaining and quickly diminishing forests will be secured by the carbon market mechanism REDD, valuable land (thus food) will be secured via land grabs while payment for ecosystems services allows the oligarchs to catch and seize everything that falls between the cracks. Managing oceans ties control into all adjacent life. The non-profit industrial complex is the bitch that makes it all possible, the bitch that makes the dreams of the rich and powerful come true.

This elite regime (with “payments for ecosystems services” as an embraced ideology) is based on further entitlements for the entitled: the desire for private property-type rights under the guise (and subsequent marketing) of custody and stewardship. The Brave New World scheme takes refuge behind the cloak of the much utilized phrases “polluter pays principle” and “externalizing costs” which slowly and meticulously builds the collective acquiescence of ordinary citizens. The goal, which is the blatant monetization of nature, sits relatively concealed, just outside the frame. Such enticing language, catch phrases and holistic imagery are necessary and critical if the elite are to succeed in the most cunning, coup d’état in the history of corporate dominance. In reality, the polluter pays only what the polluter decides he should pay, in exchange for owning/controlling Earth’s final remaining natural resources. It’s not a slap on the hand, it’s literally the rich rewarding themselves with full control of the Earth, a sick scheme created by psychopaths with god complexes.

Current and past clients of The Varda Group include: Amnesty International, Ceres, USA, Conservation International – Marine Programme, Friends of the Earth UK,Friends of the Earth US,Global Call for Climate Action (TckTckTck campaign),Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC),Greenpeace International, Markets for Change, Australia, Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC), USA, Oceana, Oxfam-Novib, The Netherlands, Pew Environment Group, UNAIDS, UNEP, WWF and countless others. [Full list as published on the Varda website]

Rigg is also identified as the chair of the recently created UN Momentum for Change Advisory Panel.

Below video: Momentum for Change – Change for Good by UN Momentum for Change. Note that actor Mark Ruffalo lends himself (yet again) in order to incite interest and exhilaration exploiting a pathological celebrity fetish that consumes western societies. The core and unstated message by the UN, delivered by Ruffalo is that those with privilege can retain it as the “new economy” will magically make such privilege benign. Also in regards to the video, it is important to note the language. The word “change” used twice in one sentence, which is the obvious utilization of the title/theme of Klein’s book This Changes Everything.

The key areas of focus for the UN Momentum for Change are the following: 1) the Urban Poor, implemented with the financial support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation [Further reading: The “Green Revolution” Bill Gates, Philanthropy and Social Engineering], 2) Women for Results, implemented with the financial support of The Rockefeller Foundation [Further reading: 35% of Puerto Rican Women Sterilized], 3) Financing for Climate Friendly Investment, implemented in partnership with the World Economic Forum and 4) ICT Solutions, implemented in partnership with the Global e-Sustainability Initiative.

Forbes, Sept 25, 2014: Leadership Lessons from The People’s Climate March:

With that as her model of leadership it is perhaps no surprise that so many cats have been so successfully herded. But there is more. The other leadership lesson is putting project before person.”

Truer words were never spoken. As in Africa under the TckTckTck campaign where economic growth was valued as being more important than the life of Africans, such projects (as referred to above), have a singular common thread. They are all based on more of the same perpetual growth; perpetual growth that is dependent upon and interwoven with exploitation and environmental degradation – perpetual growth which society has collectively deemed more important than life itself.

The free-market-based “solutions” have already been designed by the United Nations (think Millennium Goals), leading green-house-gas omitting obstructionist states, think tanks and institutions (think Clinton Global Initiative and 350.org’s “friends on Wall Street” divestment scheme). The NGOs are financed to the tune of billions to build normalization and acquiescence to the “new economy“, also referred to as “sustainable capitalism”. An integral aspect of “sustainable capitalism” (as if there is such a thing), includes the commodification of all Earth’s remaining natural resources to be mainstreamed by the year 2020. [“Mainstreaming Sustainable Capitalism by 2020 will require independent, collaborative and voluntary action by companies, investors, government and civil society, which we hope to accelerate by advancing the discourse on the economic benefits of sustainability.” – Sustainable Investment Paper, Generation, Feb 15, 2012, Generation Investment founded by Al Gore and Goldman Sachs David Blood]

A key area of work being done at a global level today on behalf of oligarch financiers, is the imposing of western values throughout the world via soft power. No one is in a better position to accomplish this more successfully than those at the helm of the non-profit industrial complex. Both Avaaz and 350, perhaps the most influential (thus most powerful) founding members of GCCA, have successfully spread their tentacles across the globe, having become international in scope. Such soft power not only acclimatizes foreign countries to western (non)values and (corporate)culture, it lends itself to the strategies devised for destabilizations and continued imperialism and colonization by imperial states. Money flows from the corporations and oligarchs, through the foundations (tax free) to the NGOs, to training sessions and workshops set up in countries where the western influence (and authority) subtly seeks to embed itself. The fact that the target audience is youth is not coincidental; rather it is very much strategic.

“A five-day Beautiful Trouble training session for 25 young climate activists was organised jointly with 350.org and Avaaz in September with participants from Belarus, Hungary, Montenegro, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine. GCCA provided expertise, outreach, logistical support and part of the funding for the session, while the group shared an innovative methodology that has proved successful at bringing people out on the street and encouraging them to join the global movement. As a direct result of this session, youth groups organised Peoples’ Climate March actions on 21st September in both Budapest and Warsaw, and successfully used these tactics to take a visible stand against a government squeeze on civil society space in Hungary. GCCA will continue to support the groups involved as they work to mobilise citizens across the region.” — GCCA Annual Report 2014 [Emphasis added]

As the aforementioned avalanche of social media regarding the so-called Climate March demonstrates, Avaaz co-founder Ricken Patel certainly was accurate in his guidance to harness the power of social media via mobile phones in his 2007 report for the Gates Foundation. [Prospects for e-Advocacy in the Global South: A Res Publica Report for the Gates Foundation | Source]

Social Media & the Cellular Savior

In the report, Paten states the following under the heading “The Cellular Savior”:

“The mobile phone is changing the way the global south communicates. Even as the number of landlines grows slowly, the growth of mobile phones is sky-rocketing, changing the connectivity potential for the planet…. What these figures indicate is that mobile phones are a great opportunity for e-advocates who want to reach a mass audience, and the applications are endless. [p. 18]

 

… After the successful implementation of SMS [text messaging] campaigns at the national level, the Gates Foundation might decide to fund an international SMS campaign. Unlike the local SCO partners of the pilot programs, an international campaign would partner with international advocacy organizations with strong technology programs like Greenpeace, Oxfam, and the new international e-advocacy organization Avaaz.” [p. 41] [highlighted text in original document]

If nothing else, the #WalktheWalk campaign devised by Purpose Inc. must have been a refreshing change from the multiple hate campaigns unleashed by Purpose Inc. that were created to build public acquiescence for illegal U.S. led airstrikes to commence on Syria. [Further reading: SYRIA: Avaaz, Purpose & the Art of Selling Hate for Empire]

Syria Voices FB photo Obama

State of Play on the People’s Climate March

The Climate Spectacle in New York City was overseen/managed by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund from the onset. The members only “State of Play on the People’s Climate March event listed by the Environmental Grantmakers Association Website (posted August 20, 2014 – 1:00pm) stated the following:

“An unprecedented 550 organizations from labor, faith, environment and justice movements are coming together to make the September 21st People’s Climate March the largest ever public mobilization on climate. Join us to learn why such a huge diversity of organizations, networks, and individuals are mobilizing at this key moment, just days before the Climate Leaders Summit hosted by Ban Ki-moon. We’ll discuss how organizations are working together to bridge movements, as this effort not only seeks to raise awareness for climate impacts, but also open a significant political narrative about economic and environmental justice.

Speakers:

  • Irene Krarup, Executive Director, V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation (moderator)
  • Emma Ruby-Sachs, Campaigns Manager, Avaaz
  • Jamie Henn, Political and Communications Director, 350.org
  • Eddie Bautista, Executive Director, NYCEJA”

“This will be the first of a series of two calls – the second will be a funder-only conversation during the first week of September. If you are unable to make either call and still want to learn more, please feel free to contact Stephanie Bencivenga of Rockefeller Brothers Fund (sbencivenga[at]rbf.org) or Irene Krarup of V.K. Rasmussen Foundation (ikrarup[at]vkrf.org).” [Emphasis added]

Tom Steyer #Walks the Walk

Steyer Walk the Walk

“@*TomSteyer and @NextGenClimate #WalkTheWalk on climate change. Will you?”Next Gen Climate, Sept 18, 2014

Do the Math Tour Tom Steyer

Camaraderie tours: Right: Bill McKibben, left: Tom Steyer

The environmental movement is strategically sought by (and controlled by) the very members of the same 1% whose privileged lives are not only predicated off continued reliance on a carbon based economy, but profit from its continuance: “Notably, the President of 350.org, Bill McKibben, is a close friend of Tom Steyer. Steyer is a billionaire hedge fund manager and founder of Next Gen Climate. In 2012, McKibben and Steyer hiked through the Adirondack Mountains, where the two men bonded and McKibben encouraged Steyer to become active in environmental causes, including opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline.” [Source: “How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EP”] In addition, this following excerpt from a Time magazine article illustrates how the elite not only influence NGOs, but government itself: “So when Barack Obama appeared at Tom Steyer’s San Francisco home for a fundraiser last year, the President had to know there would be an ask. The 56-year-old Steyer is a hedge-fund billionaire and a major-league Democratic donor.” [Source]

McKibben and Steyer March-7

Photo: People’s Climate March, 2014. Bill McKibben (350.org founder) with Tom Steyer, hedge fund billionaire and founder of Generation Next

Flood Wall Street | Fitzgibbon Media

The #WalktheWalk press release was conducted by the high-profile PR agency Fitzgibbon Media. Fitzgibbon Clients include 350.org, SumOfUs, Purpose, MoveOn (an Avaaz co-founder), Credo, The Nation Institute and Amnesty International to name a few.

Note that the Flood Wall Street press coverage is also featured on the Fitzgibbon website (under the “coverage” section).

Fitzgibbon attributes the “alternative, direct action”, branded “Flood Wall Street” (supposedly independent from the largest climate spectacle in history) media coverage to their client, Energy Action Coalition.

Energy Action Coalition (“a coalition of 50 leading youth organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada.”) partners include The Responsible Endowments Coalition, Southern Energy Network (a founding member of the Energy Action Coalition), Green for All (a Ceres partner; 350.org’s Van Jones is co-founder of Green for All and serves as president) and Groundswell (It is important to note the White House Office and 350.org connections/advisors. Supporters include David Rockefeller Fund, Rockefeller Foundation , Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Calvert foundation (a Ceres partner). Groundswell Board of Directors includes Jessica Bailey, Program Officer for the Rockefeller Brother Fund’s global and domestic Sustainable Development program.

That the “notable” speakers highlighted in the Flood Wall Street media release (Monday September 22, 2014), were an all-white liberal cast (inclusive of 350.org’s Klein and McKibben) is completely lost on society at large is nothing less than a tragedy – classism and racism so normalized that it goes virtually unnoticed. Indeed, the non-profit industrial complex is built on a foundation of white privilege and liberalism with the mainstream populace identifying with those in the ivory towers rather than those being pissed upon down below.

The Flood Wall Street twitter account demonstrates that those at the helm did not choose to take cues from radical activists, nor those oppressed and marginalized, but rather a slew of liberal sycophants and big greens including Bill McKibben, 350.org alliances, Energy Action Coalition, Green For All, Nature Conservancy, WWF, TckTckTck /TckTckTck alliances, Al Gore/Gore Alliances, etc.

After Party Peoples Climate March

Photo: The after-spectacle party with Bill McKibben (350.org) on left and Van Jones (350.org Board, Green for All, etc.) on right. Note the servers and wine glasses in the background.

And while the champagne undoubtedly over-flowed at the A-list celebration that followed the spectacle from afar, a 63 year-old man from Chicago, IL missed his flight as he sat over-night in jail with other well-meaning citizens/protestors that were arrested at the Flood Wall Street action.

Well intentioned Flood Wall Street protestors chanted “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?” The problem is that their questions were directed to the wrong group of people.

A Groundswell of Revolving Doors

“Climate change affects struggling communities first and worst. Yet, working families are all too often priced out of being part of the solution. By making clean energy simple and affordable at the community level, Groundswell is paving the way for a strong-and inclusive-clean economy.” – Van Jones, Adviser to Groundswell

Groundswell’s theory of change is that of “civic consumption.” A model to save the planet by further consuming: “When we join together, we can drive prices down and give more business to the companies that are doing the greatest good.” (Emphasis in the original.) [Source] It’s important to note that 350.org & Avaaz are simply the behavioural change agents at the front of the stage. It’s behind the curtain where the future is being designed, by NGOs and institutions further up the food chain of hierarchy (Groundswell, B-Team, Generation Investments, Clinton Global Initiative, United Nations, etc. etc.) This is the paradigmatic design of the NGOs at the forefront and why they are paid to build acquiescence to through financial support. The need to normalize insanity – actions that will change nothing – is paramount.

The revolving door between the foundations and the NGOs they finance can best be demonstrated by the career path of Jessy Tolkan. Tolkan served as the Political Director for Green For All. Green for All was officially launched in September 2007 at the Clinton Global Initiative (as was 1Sky). Prior to her role at Green For All, Tolkan served as Executive Director for Energy Action Coalition. In addition, Tolkan serves/served on the Steering Committee of Rockefeller incubator project 1Sky (merged with 350.org in 2011), as well as the 350.org Board of Directors, Groundswell, and many many others. Tolkan also serves as the Global Director of Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Development for two muliti-national automakers Renault and Nissan. Today, joining in the footsteps of a multitude of other establishment “environmentalists” such as Rigg (The Varda Group), Tolkan is the President of Tolkan & Co., strategy firm with clients ranging from the Working Families Party to the Renault-Nissan Corporation.

“SXSW Eco speaker Tolkan has impeccable environmental and social justice credentials. In 2008, she was arrested in front of the White House. By 2011, she was inside, meeting with President Obama to discuss the Keysone XL pipeline. She arrived at the Austin enviro conference fresh from the recent #FloodWallStreet protest. But her presentation, “The Road to Environmental Revolution … Powered by Consumers” wasn’t about public protests. It was about direct action of another kind, the kind determined by where you put your dollars….” — October 15, 2014, Advancing the Electric Car Revolution One Voting Consumer At a Time

The capture of any and all grass roots movements that may gain traction (against all odds) is also a task of paramount importance. The non-profit industrial complex, to which such agencies are part of, are expected to bring radical movements into the fold of “reason”, that is not necessarily spoken but rather just understood:

When we collaborated on a #blacklivesmatter Die-In at the NYC City Council on December 8, 2014, Groundswell successfully insured our action graced the front page of the New York Times.” – Groundswell Website

Flood Wall Street | Bomb Syria

 conformity-is-unity-3

Wag the dog. Flood Wall Street. Bomb Syria! Image courtesy of Mark Gould

On September 22, 2014, the day following Obama’s regurgitated message “I #Walkthewalk on climate change”… while all eyes were on “Flood Wall Street”, the Obama administration began bombing Syria. With yet another illegal attack/invasion, this would be his 8th war on Muslim states, making former war criminal George Bush look like a school boy in comparison. Yet, as per usual, the “progressive greens” would not attack Obama on his latest illegal attack on a sovereign country, rather, they would respond with the following comment posted alongside the image featured on the 350.org Facebook page. The date was September 23, 2014; a full day after the Obama administration began bombing Syria:

“Wondering if President Obama was listening this weekend? Here’s what he said when he went to the UN today:”

The above comment with the image (below) was posted on September 23, 2014 on the 350.org Facebook page. A full day after the Obama administration began bombing Syria.

10320604_10201667307919336_1704242470411838922_n

As of September 25, 2014 (9:53am) 4,910 others “liked” this and 3,316 shared it. The commencement of yet another country being bombed by the U.S. government all while the U.S. fails to meet the needs of its own citizens appears completely lost on 350.org followers.

Yet, buried within the comments under the graphic above that captures the delusional 350.org hopium and branding of Obama is a comment that actually does reflect our existing reality:

“fuck his bourgeois imperialist ass, no surprise with all those damn capitalist ngos “marching”….we need a real mass movement not this clownery” – Ricardito Ramos

Sadly, it doesn’t take much these days for a PR campaign to successfully transform the world’s greatest war criminal/terrorist into a hero while simultaneously portraying a leader of a sovereign state, who refuses to be a puppet to the U.S., as yet another crazed “dictator”.

Nor does it take much to sell the white Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio, fossil-fuel glutton/consumer extraordinaire,   as the United Nation’s “new voice for climate advocacy” and voice of Indigenous Peoples – while Bolivia’s first Indigenous President, Evo Morales (whose 2009 demand for the Earth not to exceed 1C was crushed by the NPIC) and Uruguay President Jose Mujica, a model for voluntary disciplined minimalism, go ignored by the NPIC and the media in tandem.

20 September 2014 – As the eyes of the world turn to New York City, where thousands of people are expected to gather tomorrow for a massive march in advance of a United Nations climate summit, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed UN Messenger of Peace, Leonardo DiCaprio, who he has hailed as the world body’s “new voice for climate advocacy.”

Edward Bernays applauds.

The phrase “actions speak louder than words” has no room in a culture intoxicated with celebrity fetish.

Leo - Indigenous Hero

People’s Climate March. Celebrity fetish.

“When a strong, powerful and passionate unabashedly INDIGENOUS LEADER [Evo Morales] becomes PRESIDENT of his homelands and uses that to push the notion that Mother Earth is a Living Being and has rights as humans do AND makes a passionate speech the same day as a European/American celebrity [Leonardo DiCaprio] does the same and the European/American celebrity is declared a hero around the village fires there is nothing left to discuss except how assimilated Indigenous people’s minds really value white beauty standards over Indigenous integrity, strength and power. SMDH” – Rosstopher Sirhc

give a fuck DSC_0137 copy

While 350.org et. al. appeal to the populace to place their energy and “hope” into begging to their “leaders”, a dose of reality may be in order. They don’t give a fuck about the planet. They don’t give a fuck about Iraqis. They don’t give a fuck about Ukrainians. They don’t give a fuck about the Congolese. They don’t give a fuck about Syrians. They don’t give a fuck about Haitians. And they DON’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT YOU. Not today, not tomorrow. The sooner we acknowledge this, the better off we will be.

Bromides, Platitudes, and Cliches: Defending those that Protect Capital

“See, I’ve been reading these threads [that pertain to the investigation into the People’s Climate March], and when I ask pertinent questions, what I keep getting is bromides, platitudes, and cliches… I can’t help but ask myself, isn’t that what this march is about? If it weren’t, it seems to me that there would be more substance to the responses I keep getting, and reading.” – Tom Frank, Sept 17, 2014, FaceBook

Who could argue that 400,000 citizens working hand-in-hand with their children, family and neighbours, transforming 400,000 (grass) lawns, boulevards and public spaces into beautiful food gardens (a political act in itself) would have had far more effect in establishing a path to self-sufficiency and energy efficiency than burning fossil fuels and energies to partake in a spectacle – a spectacle created only to build acquiescence to further collective insanity.

Until there is no more bread, finally leaving one too hungry to be entertained by the circus any longer, we will not see the take-down of those who oppress us nor will we bear witness to the necessary destruction of the industrialized capitalist system built upon patriarchy, racism, classism, imperialism, colonialism and ecological devastation. Decades of indoctrination, obedience, pacification and overindulgence has left us docile and incapable of mustering up the necessary courage for meaningful, difficult, real resistance … the kind that puts the fear of “god” into the state. The privileged – until no longer privileged and famished – will not participate in a revolution. National Endowment for Democracy (NED) financed “revolutions” do not count. And this is our reality. This is what we must face – if we are to change the writing on the wall in any regard.

Excerpt from End Game:

“I just got home from talking to a … longtime activist. She told me of a campaign she participated in a few years ago to try to stop the government and transnational timber corporations from spraying Agent Orange, a potent defoliant and teratogen, in the forests of Oregon. Whenever activists learned a hillside was going to be sprayed, they assembled there, hoping their presence would stop the poisoning. But each time, like clockwork, helicopters appeared, and each time, like clockwork, helicopters dumped loads of Agent Orange onto the hillside and onto the protesting activists. The campaign did not succeed. “‘But,’ she said to me, ‘I’ll tell you what did. A bunch of Vietnam vets lived in those hills, and they sent messages to the Bureau of Land Management and to Weyerhauser, Boise Cascade, and the other timber companies saying, ‘We knows the names of your helicopter pilots, and we know their addresses.’ “I waited for her to finish. “‘You know what happened next?’ she asked. “‘I think I do,’ I responded. “‘Exactly,’ she said. ‘The spraying stopped.'”

 

 

[Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation, Political Context, Counterpunch, Canadians for Action on Climate Change and Countercurrents. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia.]