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Purpose Goes to Latin America

Purpose Goes to Latin America

August 8, 2018

by Cory Morningstar with Forrest Palmer

 

 “How do global powers orchestrate destabilisation and war? And how are propaganda constructs like the White Helmets brought to life? The only way to even begin to answer those questions is to follow the money, analyse the networks and interrogate the messaging. In ‘Purpose goes to Latin America’ Cory Morningstar, with Wrong Kind of Green’s Forrest Palmer, show how New Power exponents like Jeremy Heimans operate through elite networks, with seemingly endless incubations, to shape and capitalise upon ongoing destabilisation/humanitarian war/regime change. We are shown how Heimans and his networks are most concerned with the economics of behaviour change, attention metrics and shaping public narratives framed as giving “consumers” “opportunities to shape their own future”. We are shown how New Power exponents are socially engineering consent for the endless consumer economy, but sell themselves as pioneers of ‘change’ and builders of social movements for ‘the people’ when clearly it is neoliberal forces that call the tune. Morningstar and Palmer’s explication of the networks, funders, and talking points being deployed shows that the very same New Power exponents who delivered for the global elites in Syria are preparing to deliver more of the same in Latin America.”— Australian activist, Wrong Kind of Green Collective, Michael Swifte

 

Purpose website: “Purpose moves people to remake the world.”

Preface:

Both Avaaz and for-profit sister organization, Purpose, have been key players in building mainstream acquiescence both domestically and internationally for the destabilization of sovereign states.

This pattern goes back to at least 2004 when Avaaz co-founders campaigned for foreign intervention via a no-fly zone on Darfur under the auspices of Res Publica, an NGO founded by Tom Perriello (co-founder of DarfurGenocide.org, later U.S. Congressman), Ricken Patel (consultant for the United Nations, co-founder of DarfurGenocide.org) and Tom Pravda (U.K. diplomat, U.S. State Department). In 2007, these same individuals founded Avaaz in addition to Ali Pariser (MoveOn), Andrea Woodhouse (World Bank) and spouse David Madden (World Bank). Co-founders of Purpose include David Madden as well as James Sleezak. Purpose Europe was co-founded with Tim Dixon, who has co-founded seven organizations since 2010 including The Syria Campaign, The Rules, Movilizatorio (MOV) and the Jo Cox Foundation.

[To view the full bios and interlocking mind map, see Appendix I, attached to this report.]

In addition to the aforementioned individuals, Avaaz was also co-founded by parent organizations MoveOn and Res Publica with financing from George Soros’ Open Society Institute (OSI). Assistance was also provided by OSI’s Arych Neier. Aryeh Neier is President Emeritus of the Open Society Foundations and served as President from 1993 to 2012. He is the co-founder of Human Rights Watch (1988) which was founded in 1978 as the U.S. Helsinki Watch Committee, financed by the Ford Foundation.

“Other key elements of the international mobilization include Avaaz, which is already an OSI grantee and close collaborator.” — Memorandum, Cc: George Soros, Aryeh Neier, Jonathan Soros from Nancy Youman, “Recommended next steps for OSI on climate”, July 10, 2009; revised August 10, 2009

 

 “When we created Human Rights Watch, one of the main purposes at the outset was to leverage the power, the purse and the influence of the United States to try to promote human rights in other countries.” — Aryeh Neier [Source]

On January 16, 2007, the article Avaaz.org: MoveOn Goes International [Avaaz MoveOn Goes International] discloses the following: 1) MoveOn and Res Publica are the founding/parent NGOs of Avaaz, 2) the MoveOn model developed a new small-donor base for Democratic candidates, and helped win a number of key elections, 3) OSI was confirmed to have given financial backing to Avaaz for its start-up and, 4) there were no corrections or retractions by the author. Supporting evidence to the above is provided regarding the Avaaz launch by people integral to its conception. In the article, comments were made by Paul Hilder (recognized as an Avaaz co-founder at this early stage) and Lee-Sean Huang. Huang was a campaigner for Res Publica and Avaaz from 2006-2007. He then went on to Human Rights Watch (2007-2008), United Nations (consultant, 2013-2015) and Purpose (2009-2016) to his current role as “Head of Community” at New Power. Neither Hilder nor Huang disputed any of the authors findings.

In 2012 Wrong Kind of Green began to document the extensive research into the relationships and alliances behind Avaaz. This has resulted in two separate series. The first written  in 2012 and the second ongoing series commencing in 2017. (Side note: Although perhaps distressing, we implore citizens and activists alike, especially those in the Global South, to read both series.)

[September 10, 2012: Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War]

[July 27, 2017: AVAAZ: The Globe’s Largest & Most Powerful Behavioural Change Network]

The research demonstrates the nefarious and hegemonic role of NGOs within the world’s existing power structure. The non-profit industrial complex serves hegemony as a sophisticated fine-tuned symbiotic mechanism in a continuous state of flux and refinement. The ruling elite channel an immeasurable amount of resources and tools through these organizations to further strengthen, protect and expand existing forms of  power structures and global domination, inclusive of white supremacy. This forms a symbiotic relationship between the non-profit industrial complex and the hand that feeds.  The outcome is soft power in its most efficient form.

Foreign policy, neocolonialism, imperialism, and intervention are all instruments that must be utilized with sharp precision to achieve these goals. It is for this reason that NGOs such as Avaaz and Purpose are given the tools, support and funding required to continuously expand and multiply. As such, they are key force multipliers in servitude to the quest of western dominance.

“The UNHRC, and its supportive NGOs such as the US-staffed and Soros-funded Human Rights Watch, impose a singular, Eurocentric definition of democracy whose implementation has not only blocked popular and direct forms of democracy, but also directly contributed to the generation of inter-ethnic strife in many post-colonies of the periphery.” — FORCE MULTIPLIERS THE INSTRUMENTALITIES OF IMPERIALISM, Maximilian C. Forte, 2015

Taking it Global: Strengthening & Expanding Current Power Structures Utilizing the Language & Principles of New Power

If power dominated through hierarchy and coercion – the emergent “new power” model dominates with influence and persuasion. And while this has been achieved for some decades now by the NGOs that comprise the non-profit industrial, more and more  corporations, institutions and states, are now applying it to their business models. The key differences are that 1) the organizers remain invisible and 2), the populace is manipulated into believing that they control said movements.

At the helm of this new model is Avaaz/Purpose co-founder Jeremy Heimans. Purpose, the PR firm (with many arms) specializes in movement building and behavioural change.

Heiman’s vision is to organize “people not as citizens but as consumers” to further empower corporations and brands that he refers to as “the angels”. Partners include some of the world’s most powerful corporations, foundations and institutions including The Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, Unilever, Ikea, General Electric, Starbucks, TED, Oxfam, SEIU, WHO, Unicef, ACLU, British Telecom, the Concordia Summit and Nike. Collaborators include We Mean Business and The B Team which is registered to the address of Purpose New York. With strong ties and loyalties to many elite institutions and oligarchs such as Purpose partner the United Nations (where Heimans cut his teeth as in intern  in 1999), the Omidyar Network  a[1] and Virgin’s Richard Branson (founder of The B Team, The Elders, Carbon War Room, etc.), Purpose is now global with seven international offices operating in New York, San Francisco, London, New Delhi, Nairobi, Sao Paulo, and Sydney. This expansion is in line with new behavioural insight teams that are steadily proliferating in government buildings across the globe.

The New Power Structure, April 5, 2018, The New York Times:

“These organizations are often founded by what you might call disappearing organizers. Somebody comes up with a compelling concept, like TED or Black Lives Matter. The concept gives people a sticky group identity; many people think of themselves as Tedsters. The core idea is spreadable, actionable and connected — it allows participants to subcreate in local and flexible ways. Tedsters organize and attend over 20,000 local TEDx events. The founder doesn’t dominate the network so much as manage the community.”[Emphasis added]

Purpose Website

“The co-founder of GetUp! might be the most influential Australian in the world.” — The Monthly, April, 2018

March 31, 2018, Angels and Demons – Otherwise Known as the Conquerors and the Conquered:

The concept of “new power” has been named by CNN as one of ten ideas that can change the world. “Originally laid out as the Big Idea in Harvard Business Review and subsequent TED talk, new power offers a frame to understand the distributed and participatory models that are rising in business, life and society.” [OuiShareTV]

According to Heimans, “power traditionally functions as a currency, something valuable to which society wants to cling. The new power, on the other hand, works like a current: it is fluid. While the old forms of power are based on pyramidal forms and a power that goes from “top down”, the new power works in reverse, “as an “upload”. The new models of power are founded and inhabited by the coordination and agency of the masses, without participation these forms of power remain empty. These new models are collaborative platforms that need the active collaboration of their participants to survive.” [Source]

What the “new power” model actually represents is capitalism in its most efficient form. Citizens, en masse, are utilized, organized and mobilized to provide social media online content – which is then captured and exploited for increased corporate revenues – with no monetary compensation for their labour. Although such movements may appear to be “founded and inhabited by the coordination and agency of the masses” (Heimans) – they have been largely created, or co-opted, at or since inception. The “new power” “uploads” to an existing structure. The structure responds by “downloading” an illusion of capitulation in order to satisfy/empower the masses. Yet, by design, its true triumph is the achievement of the following: 1) creating/accelerating economic growth (i.e. market mechanisms),  2) consolidating added power into the hands of the West, 3)  the further insulating of the elite classes from all/any risk, 4) protecting and expanding the capitalist economic system, and 5) resolving issues only within the confines of the globe’s current power structures.

Never in history have such powerful conglomerates managed to foment and then seize the required labour to create billion dollar platforms and profits – for free, as they do today. Such fervor for the citizenry to bestow their labour to the elites classes is textbook “Brave New World.” Karl Marx’s theory of surplus labour is classically interpreted as the “extra labour produced by a worker for his employer, to be put towards capital accumulation.” It could be said (even in jest) that one good example of surplus labor in modern times is “the extra labour (physical) produced by the “prosumer”, the willing participants for the elite classes (via social media), to be put towards cultural appropriation and modification (in the form of social capital) with no ownership over the means of production (digital platforms).

Consider that while Western society criticizes the Bolivian government for legalizing child labour laws in order to protect working Bolivian children, it remains completely ignorant of the fact that the elite global corporatocracy is exploiting labour from their own Western children for free – via social media – in what we can call postmodern Western domination. A Brave New World model of “soft exploitation” – with no protection from adults whatsoever. [2] Hence while child labour is a respected part of Bolivia’s social conscience – the gross exploitation and manipulation of their own children and youth (that enriches corporations as opposed to enriching families) does not even register in our collective consciousness at all.

This direct line to youth via the cell phone surpasses all levels of social engineering on a scale never before imagined much less thought to be achievable. The art of storytelling, exploitation and manipulation, at once consolidated to create a youth populace in the image of superficiality and consumption. The Children of the West have been thrown to the wolves. A gift to our corporate gods.

As one of ten ideas that can change the world, embraced and highlighted by some of the world’s most powerful and elite  institutions, the false perception of grass roots mobilization seizing power (designed and financed by the oligarchs) is a strategic marketing maneuver designed to create a short-term euphoria that feels like victory. The perceived victory –achieved via “the deployment of mass participation and peer coordination” (Heimans) – is always made malleable to further protect – the identical powers. Hence, it is not “new power”, it is “old power” simply rebranded with more vapid methods of exploitation targeting and manipulating the target demographic, which is “millennials”.

According to Heimans what societies are experiencing and undergoing today is “a big war over values”. What is unspoken is whose values Heiman’s New York PR firm pledges allegiance to and is paid to expand: Western values.”

April 1, 2018, Forbes, Hashtag Movements Call for a New Type of Leader:

“Who “leads” #MeToo or #NeverAgain? It may not even be a relevant question. In New Power, out this week, Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms acknowledge Ms Burke but add: “The movement felt ownerless — and this was the source of its strength….” [Emphasis added]

 

 

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The world is on fire. Latin America is no exception. The world is on fire. Latin America is no exception. From Haiti, to Venezuela, to Honduras, to Brazil, to Paraguay, to Argentina, Ecuador, to Nicaragua, to Cuba, socialist or left leaning governments of sovereign states that resist foreign interference and persevere in their lawful right to self-determination have been relentlessly targeted for destabilization and coups by empire. Some have thus far courageously withstood imperial powers (Venezuela, Nicaragua) and some have tragically not. Many continue to fight. Disguised within these efforts is the 21st century Trojan horse – the NGO.

Perhaps no one can articulate the transition of tactics and accelerating crises better than Gustavo Borges Revilla, director of the Venezuelan media project Misión Verdad:

“In 2015 we said that this new model of intervention would be used in Nicaragua and we state here in Havana in 2018, that Cuba is a country that could be a candidate to suffer this model of intervention. Which is nothing less than a reconfiguration of countries’ cultural identities, and the hijacking of values and principles characteristic of the Left for many years. I’m talking about human rights, solidarity, youth, categories that are being reconfigured by bodies like, just to give one example, the Open Society Foundation.” — La izquierda está consumida por la propaganda occidental [The Left is Consumed by Propaganda], Gustavo Borges Revilla, director of the Venezuelan media project Misión Verdad during the 24th Sao Paulo Forum in Havana, Cuba held July, 2018 [Source]

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Purpose Goes to Latin America

Behance: Branding and web design for Movilizatorio, a citizen engagement lab for Colombia and Latin America incubated by Purpose. [Source]

“We’re a strategy consultancy, a creative agency and a social movement incubator. Purpose builds and supports movements to advance the fight for an open, just, and habitable world. We use public mobilization and storytelling to help the leading organizations, activists, businesses, and philanthropies engaged in this fight, and we create campaigning labs and new initiatives that can shift policies and change public narratives when it matters most. Purpose is a Public Benefit Corporation.” [Source: LinkedIn]

Image: Movilizatorio, Instagram

In March 2017, the city of Bogotá, Colombia, was home to the first Global Summit on Social Innovation:

“The event, hosted by The Rockefeller Foundation, the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank Group and its local partner, Compartamos con Colombia, convened more than 65 Social Innovation Organizations from 5 continents. Taking advantage of this unique opportunity, the hosts of the event commissioned Movilizatorio—a civic engagement and social innovation lab for Latin America incubated by Purpose—to carry out research aimed at understanding the challenges that SIOs [social innovation organizations] face today and, based on evidence, propose new ways to address them. To develop this research, they also identified a sample of 42 SIOs that were the focus and source of information during the project.”

From the 2017 report Boosting Collaborative Impact-The Momentum for Social Innovation (Inter-American Development Bank):

Purpose moves people to remake the world. Driven by people, enabled by technology: Purpose builds movements and new power models to tackle the world’s biggest problems. A certified B Corp, we create and launch our own ventures, collaborate with the world’s leading organizations, and develop technology, tools, and content that move millions to remake the world. From climate change and global LGBT rights, to the food system and gun violence in America, we’ve launched some of the biggest and most successful experiments in movement building and mass participation in recent years.” [Emphasis added]

At the helm of this new summit is the Rockefeller Foundation, the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF, or FOMIN as the fund is known in Spanish), and Compartamos con Colombia:

“THE TEAM: This project was possible thanks to the sponsorship, advice, and constant accompaniment of the teams from FOMIN, The Rockefeller Foundation, and Compartamos con Colombia… The final report was consolidated by a team from Movilizatorio and Purpose, composed of Jessy Tolkan, Juliana Uribe, Lina Torres, and Nadya Hernández.”[Emphasis added]

Meanwhile, in Brazil, Purpose has been working with the Greenpeace Mobilization Lab (Mob Lab) on campaigns that include the City of Dreams voting campaign, the 1.5C Campaign (#1.5C Olympics) with the World Bank, The Bus of Dreams campaign, campaign Resista and “Content in the Periferias”.  The Mob Lab offers services that include “creating a rapid response system that leverages repression for your cause“. Greenpeace is the founder of GCCA, better known as TckTckTck, the umbrella organization that grossly undermined the most vulnerable states (such as Bolivia) being impacted by climate change at the United Nations Conference of the Parties (Copenhagen, 2009). GCCA/Greenpeace also organized the 2014 People’s Climate March with Purpose. [Further reading: The Most Important COP Briefing That No One Ever Heard | Truth, Lies, Racism & Omnicide]

Images: Movilizatorio, Instagram

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Blatant Paternalism

In February 2018 Movilizatorio in partnership with ACDI / VOCA and USAID Colombia , launched a test “Let’s go down to the tonito” (translated as “let’s lower our tone”, a seeming implication  that it is the fault of the defenseless for not extending an olive branch to its oppressor). Utilizing the latest advances in “behavioral economics”, the Behavioral Insights Team UK designed a test for Colombians to measure their levels of aggression. Following the test recommendations are offered that  are supposedly focused on improving their reactions to stressful situations, thus “betting on a more tolerant Colombia”. [Source] As an aside, one can only wonder about the public comfort level if a test of this nature was administered by a foreign NGO at the behest of a state agency such as China’s New International Development Cooperation Agency in partnership with The Russian Federation’s Official Development Assistance, to American citizens.

Further blatant Western paternalism is found in the 2017 BuildPeace report on the conference organized by Movilizatorio and partner NGOs including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Heinrich Böll Foundation. [3]

Page 7 of 61 the report bears the subtitle “Not a White Man’s Burden”. It goes on to explain: “Every year at Build Peace, we bring up a concern about the articulation of innovation for peace as a new ‘white man’s burden’—in which it is the Global North that is the sole repository of knowledge, innovation and technologies for conflict transformation. That’s obviously not true, partly because capacities for peace exist in all contexts, but also because the problem of peace is one that is also relevant to the Global North.”

How gallant it is of the ruling elite to inform the global south that they ought not to be reliant on the peace directives of the Global North. The same Global North which has been responsible for world wars that have disaffected people who have no vested interest in the outcome and have been innocent victims by all participants.

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The report also highlighted the Build Peace Lab partnership between Build Up & Movilizatorio which has created the Build Peace Fellows program and Digital Steps – Supporting Syrian Innovators (both fellowship programs). The Digital Steps Fellowship is a collaboration between Build Up and the British Council Syria (Britain) and NaTakallam (We Speak), an initiative funded by the World Bank (via WeMENA) .

The Igarapé Institute (which will be discussed further in this report) also played a participatory if not leading role in the conference. [Source]

 

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Movilizatorio/Purpose: “Training Agents of Change in Latin America”

Image: Movilizatorio, Instagram

Movilizatorio (MOV) is co-founded by Tim Dixon, co-founder of Purpose Europe,  The Syria Campaign (White Helmets), The Rules (with Purpose co-founder Alnoor Ladha) and More in Common (Purpose). Australian born Dixon “trained as an economist and tech sector lawyer, built a leading Australian educational publishing business that was bought by Pearson in 2004 and worked as chief speechwriter and economic adviser for two Prime Ministers. He is/has served on the boards of the International Budget Partnership, the Jo Cox Foundation, Purpose Europe, The Syria Campaign, the Chifley Research Centre and faith-based justice organisation Sojourners.” [Source] Working between New York and London (and now Latin America) the World Economic Forum website credits Dixon to having led projects to build new social movements in more than 20 countries. [Source]


“MOVILIZATORIO is a citizen engagement and social innovation lab for Colombia and Latin America and is part of the Purpose Labs Network. We work to empower citizens and strengthen civil society organizations. We have an interdisciplinary team with experience in civic technology and have worked with organizations such as the Rockefeller Foundation, FOMIN, Compartamos con Colombia and the Swedish Cooperation Agency. Through our alliance with Purpose and The Behavioral Insights Team, we have access to international networks for research and development of civic technologies, as well as offices in Bogotá, Colombia and New York, United States.” [Source]

The Movilizatorio website cites the utilization of both mobilization and behavioural change as the key techniques to initiate change.[Source]

Allies include Purpose, Behavioural Insights Team (UK), Foundation CoronaAgencia Presidencial de Cooperación, Heart for Change and Compartamos Con Colombia. [Source]

Movilizatorio website

Movilizatorio, a “citizen engagement lab” (an alternative name applied to an NGO that utilizes studies in behavioural sciences) for Colombia and Latin America, is incubated by Purpose. By the end of 2016, Movilizatorio had gained a major presence in most of Columbia, built partnerships with major national and international organisations and NGOs and launched a digital platform for citizen participation that reached over 30k users within the first two weeks of launching. [Source]

Juliana Uribe Villegas is the Founder and Executive Director of Movilizatorio, the “citizen participation and social innovation laboratory of Purpose for Colombia and Latin America”. Prior to her role in Movilizatorio, Villegas was a Senior Strategist for Purpose, advising global entities such as Hewlett Foundation and Here Now (Purpose). Villegas is a graduate of Harvard University as a Master of Public Administration and Mason Fellow of the John F. Kennedy School of Government and of the University of Barcelona as Master Cum Laude in International Relations. [Source/full bio]

The project manager for Movilizatorio is Nadya Hernández Beltrán. During 2017, Beltrán was an International Center for Journalists Fellow at PeaceTech Lab in United States (November 14-16, 2017, US Professional Fellows Congress publication). [Bio]

Movilizatorio campaign leader Mario Alvarado is co-founder of Change.org in Colombia. [Bio]

Mariana Diaz Kraus is the Director of Partnerships and Strategy. Diaz is a lawyer and magister in political science. She holds a Master of Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (USA). [Bio] [Source]

Here we can pause to reflect on the ties of those stationed within the foreign NGOs that are proliferated throughout the Global South – to the prestigious universities, organizations and institutions that have been founded in the Western world. An interwoven network of relationships built upon centuries of colonialism and imperialism that continues to this day. In essence, a non-profit industrial complex equivalent of the *School of the Americas, where people from Latin America were/are schooled in the techniques of torture and humiliation in order to implement despotic rule for the purpose of enhancing the domination of the people for Western interests. The difference being that in this politically correct realm, the techniques of torture are replaced with the methods of soft-power. [*Now operating as Western Hemisphere Institute for Security cooperation (WHINSEC)]

In furtherance of its agenda, Movilizatorio has many projects and allies in place to meet  its objectives (assuredly influenced and/or managed by Purpose and other Western organizations).

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Avispero is the primary mobilization campaign for Movilizatorio. It is described as a community of agents of change (wasps) that transform behaviour.  As a sign of its establishment leanings, El Avispero received the Turner Award for Social Transformation in 2017, a satellite of the Nobel Peace Prizes name brand. [Source]

The second mobilization campaign is the designing of a social innovative network for the South. This project is being conducted in collaboration with MIF, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Rockefeller Foundation and involves 40 Labs from 5 continents.

The third campaign is the aforementioned Bajémosle al Tonito which focuses on testing the aggression of Columbians.

The forth is Diciendo y Haciendo, a project led by Movilizatorio across Colombia funded by Heart For Change (Purpose partner), the Embassy of Sweden and the United Nations Program for Development UNDP.

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More in Common

To demonstrate the interlocking directorate of the non-profit industrial complex, here it should be noted that Dixon’s More in Common co-founders include Gemma Mortensen and Mathieu Lefevre (CEO).

“More in Common is a non-profit organisation incubated by Purpose Europe. Purpose builds and supports movements to advance the fight for an open, just, and habitable world. The co-founders of More in Common are Brendan Cox, Tim Dixon, Mathieu Lefevre, and Gemma Mortensen.” — Executive Summart: Attitudes Towards Refugees, Immigrants, and Identity in France, July 2017, More in Common, Purpose Europe, the Social Change Initiative

Mortensen served as Change.org’s Chief Global Officer overseeing teams in 17 countries. Prior to this she held the position of Executive Director of Crisis Action, having led international campaigns on Iran, Burma, Gaza, and Sudan. Mortensen’s bio is extensive, having worked for the Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom to the United Nations in New York and the European Commission in Geneva and Sudan. [Bio] [Source]

Based in Paris, Lefevre, with a background in economics, is a Senior Advisor to Purpose. As with many of his peers, Lefevre attended the Harvard Kennedy School and worked for the United Nations. From 2005 to 2010, Lefevre worked for the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, serving in Lebanon and Afghanistan. [Source][Source]

Brendan Cox is a former Special Adviser to Prime Minister Gordon Brown whose wife Jo Cox (MP for Batley and Spen) was murdered on June 16, 2016. Former US President Barack Obama invited Brendan Cox and his two young children to the White House on September 23, 2016. Brendan Cox is yet another Purpose affiliate caught up in recent sexual misconduct allegations. “On February 17, 2018, Brendan Cox announced his immediate resignation from the Jo Cox Foundation and More In Common – the charities he launched to honour the memory of his wife – and apologised for the “hurt and offence” he has caused to women, saying he was “deeply apologetic” for his inappropriate behaviour.” [Source] The tangled web and exploitation of Joe Cox to benefit the Purpose construct, the White Helmets, continues to gain speed, in real life time. [The White Helmets, a 21st century NGO hybrid and “propaganda construct” (John Pilger), has been extensively researched and documented by independent journalists Vanessa Beeley, Eva Bartlett and a small handful of others.]

As an example of backgrounds that comprise NGOs marketed as “activist” in ideology, consider the qualifications of Rukmini Giridharadas, Senior Strategist, More in Common US:

“Rukmini Giridharadas previously worked at Google, Change.org, and in US military intelligence studying how social media plays a role in war and conflict. She was educated at Brown University and Harvard Business School.”

In fact, Giridharadas worked for the United States Department of Defense. From 2009 – 2012  Giridharadas: 1) worked on a team developing intelligence assessments on how social technologies used in conflict situations around the world. Reports used to inform US policymakers and military leaders, 2) won funding to create a tool that would help team forecast geopolitical events using real-time data, 3) was selected to join team producing morning brief for President Obama and advisors, 4) with a small team of 40 analysts from government and private sector, went on month-long assignment to forecast future of social media and geopolitical trends. From group chosen as briefer to report findings to White House and Directorate of National Intelligence. [Source: LinkedIn]

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Meet the New Power – The Same as the Old Power

“Whoever mobilizes is going to win. And if you are understanding new power you can end up on top. Welcome to the new power world.”

The above quote is taken from the marketing video for the book titled New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World–and How to Make It Work for You (released April 3, 2018). The book authored by Jeremy Heimans (Avaaz/Purpose) and Henry Timms (92nd Street Y, a 143-year-old institution located in New York City) follows their prior publications: New Power: How It’s Changing The 21st Century (2018) and Why You Need To Know and Understanding ‘New Power’ (Harvard Business Review, 2014).

Timms is the creator and co-founder of Giving Tuesday, “a classic new power movement” [Source] funded by such giants as The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Facebook.

Image: Movilizatorio, Instagram

Having attended Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Heimans interned for the United Nations where his career began in 1999. [Source] Heimans then cut his teeth with the management consultancy firm McKinsey & Company. In 2007 he co-founded Avaaz. Purpose would follow two years later although the year of Purpose’s beginnings has been challenged in Australian Parliament. [4] In 2009 Heimans hired the first Purpose team member Andre Banks. The list of achievements (i.e. clients) of Purpose includes the Women’s Marches following Trump’s inauguration in 2017 and a strong relationship with Black Lives Matters. [Source] Purpose clients and partnerships include many of the most powerful institutions, corporations and manufactured/managed movements on the planet such as the United Nations/UNHCR, Google, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ikea, Unilever, Black Lives Matter, etc.:

“Heimans says that Purpose embraces “pragmatic idealism” and doesn’t adopt purist positions. “We like to say we can speak the language of an Occupy activist, a Facebook product manager and a UN technocrat.” It also speaks the language of Unilever and Nike, two of its corporate partners, as well as that of #MeToo. If a partner “veers off course” and does things that nobody at Purpose can support, “then we have to fire them”. This is underpinned by Purpose’s status under American law as a public-benefit corporation, a new legal structure that mandates companies to serve the wider society rather than simply its shareholders, giving an economic value to philanthropy.” [Source]

Oxfam is a key partner of Purpose. To this day, the Oxfam partnership and logo continues to be proudly displayed on the Purpose website.Here it is vital to observe Heimans and Timms co-optation of #MeToo language/values supposedly adopted by Purpose. In December 2017, 92nd Street Y the organization run by Heiman’s New Power co-author, Executive Director Henry Timms , chose Ari Shavit to deliver the keynote address to mark Israel’s 70th anniversary:

“When I learned this week that the 92nd Street Y is advertising admitted sexual predator Ari Shavit as their keynote speaker to mark Israel’s 70th anniversary, it became unambiguously clear that the insulated, powerful, and tone-deaf Jewish boys’ club is still running the show, to the detriment of women and all victims of sexual assault. On the most basic level, this decision ignores women as consumers. The idea that women and sexual assault victims would be horrified by this choice apparently did not occur to the organizers. That we would never come to an event like this doesn’t seem to matter. Whoever the victims of sexual abuse are – women and men alike – we are irrelevant. We are not even considered as potential attendees. It is a stunning dismissal of victims from the community.” — Seriously, 92Y – Ari Shavit Should Never Have Been Invited In The First Place, December 15, 2017

In the trillion dollar philanthropy industry, this type of open hypocrisy is called “wewashing” – something those in the non-profit are typically extremely fearful to be accused of.

From the May 3, 2018 article published by The Center for Effective Philanthropy, Philanthropy’s “New Power” Challenge:

“There is also the danger of what the authors call “WeWashing,” citing a term coined by a friend of theirs that refers to the danger of “using the language of the crowd without having any meaningful interest in engaging with it.”

But this isn’t the only instance of “wewashing” demonstrated by NewPower authors Timms and Heimans. Consider the recent sexual exploitation scandal by Oxfam, which made international headlines. [February 16, 2018, The Independent: “Oxfam was told of aid workers raping and sexually exploiting children in Haiti a decade ago.”] Oxfam is a key partner of Purpose. To this day, the Oxfam partnership and logo continues to be proudly displayed on the Purpose website. Further allegations have since emerged involving Save the Children and the United Nations [source] , with United Nations being not only the key partner to Purpose & Timms co-founded “movements”, but the building block of the non-profit industrial complex as a whole.

So much for Heiman’s statement “[I]f a partner “veers off course” and does things that nobody at Purpose can support, “then we have to fire them”. The appropriation of the said movement #metoo – by individuals that condone sexual predators and sexual misconduct in their own tight knit circles – is as vulgar and cold as it is arrogant. This superficiality on display is so egregious, it is blinding.

Video. April 13, 2018, “‘New Power’ authors Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms discuss “authenticity” and how people can obtain power in the 21st century”:

 

 

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Perhaps nowhere is Jeremy Heimans crème de la crème status more visible as in the recent high level event at the United Nations: The 6th Biennial High-level Meeting of the Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) (United Nations Headquarters, New York, 21-22 May 2018):

“In a keynote address, Jeremy Heimans, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Purpose, noted that development cooperation was traditionally organized in an “old power” fashion, in which top-down dynamics were most prevalent.  In that structure, beneficiaries were not directly involved in the decision-making that would most affect their lives due to an unequal power dynamic and lack of agency.

 

Yet, a “new power” structure was emerging, he said, in which power was distributed more equally among stakeholders.  In that context, he underlined that more efforts must be undertaken to build institutions that fuelled citizens’ hunger to “take part”, pointing to online platforms as being highly effective at engaging people.  He noted that there was a lot that could be learned from such social movements, many of which were maximizing collective action dynamics.  In that connection, development cooperation should be shifted in a way that actively engaged people and gave them opportunities to shape their own future, he said.” [Source]

“Jeremy Heimans, Co-founder of Purpose, addresses the Development Cooperation Forum of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The theme of the forum is “The strategic role of development cooperation in achieving the 2030 Agenda: building sustainable and resilient societies. 21 May 2018, United Nations, New York”

Economic and Social Council 2018 session, plenary meeting
Development Cooperation Forum – Item 5 (c)
President /
DSG on behalf of SG
USG Desa
Keynote speakers

 

Economic and Social Council 2018 session, Plenary meeting
Development Cooperation Forum – Item 5 (c)
President /
DSG on behalf of SG
USG Desa
Keynote speakers

 

Designing a Network

On April 14. 2017 Open Ideo published the paper Mitigating the risk of conflict resurgence in Colombia through blended, structured finance and multistakeholder collaboration. The report focuses on funding the first stage of an investment-ready portfolio of outstanding community endeavours in Colombia via the creation/support of social enterprises.  The collaboration, in general terms seeks to “[C]onsolidate the integration and participation of [1] Government [2] the private sector and [3] the overall entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country and a curated group of global actors.” Partners for the project include the expansive network of http://www.elavisperomov.org (Movilizatorio/Purpose) and http://socialab.com owners of the largest open innovation platform in the world with over 475,000 users.

Sponsors of Open Ideo include UKAID, USAID, Nike, Unilever, The Rockefeller Foundation, and Water dot org to name a few. [See below chart.]

Purpose Partners with Concordia Summit

Scott Heiferman (right), co-founder of Meetup with Jeremy Heiman (left), Source: Avaaz co-founder David Madden, twitter account

Purpose board member Scott Heiferman is CEO and a co-founder of Meetup which was recently acquired by WeWork  for a reported $200 million. [Source] Heiferman is a long time ally of Heimans (who advises Meetup), co-authoring articles for AOL/Verizon/Oath’s  Huff Post (2011, 2017) and cross-promoting one another in orchestrated speaking engagements.

A key example of such cross-promotion is the Concordia Summit.

 

“New power: “The ability to harness the connected crowd to get what you want” – Jeremy Heimans, co-founder Purpose/Avaaz [Source]

Concordia website screenshot: New Power in A Multistakeholder World

October 5, 2015, Purpose Website:

“Purpose is proud to have served as a first time programming partner for the 2015 Concordia Summit. Now in its fifth year, the Summit convenes the world’s preeminent thought leaders and decision makers to address the most pressing global challenges by highlighting the potential that effective cross-sector collaboration can have in creating a more prosperous and sustainable future.

 

Purpose Co-Founder and CEO Jeremy Heimans co-moderated a panel discussion along with Henry Timms, the Executive Director of 92Y and Co-Founder of #GivingTuesday. Their session, “Introducing: New Power in a Multi-stakeholder World,” featured an exciting line-up of speakers, each pioneering change in their respective industries in innovative ways.”

“We are particularly excited by Concordia’s unique opportunity to redefine the power of partnership during the U.N. General Assembly at our 2017 Annual Summit in September and throughout the year.” — 2017: A YEAR OF STRATEGIC GROWTH FOR CONCORDIA, A letter from the Co-Founders [Source]

The Purpose session included Scott Heiferman, co-founder & then CEO of Meetup, Nancy Lublin, the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders in 2007 and one of Fortune’s “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” in 2014, Jenny Abramson, founder and managing partner at Rethink Impact, a venture capital fund that partnered with UBS Wealth Management Americas in 2017 and, Jonathan Greenblatt, National Director and CEO of the Anti-Defamation League and former Special Assistant to Barack Obama.

“Held on September 19th and 20th at the Grand Hyatt New York, the 2016 Annual Summit was our largest and most ambitious event to date, bringing together over 2,000 thought leaders from across sectors including General (Ret.) David Petraeus, former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, Prime Minister of Greece, H.E. Alexis Tspiras, and philanthropist George Soros.” — Concordia 2016 Annual Report, Building Partnerships for Social Impact

Having observed “the effectiveness of the formats of the Wall Street Journal CEO Council and the Clinton Global Initiative (“the intersection of the power to convene”) [Source] Mathew Swift (Chairman and CEO) and Nicholas Logothetis founded the Concordia Summit in February 2011 as a nonprofit organization that can identify a societies “readiness and need” to engage in public-private partnerships (P3s). Swifte is on the U.S. Department of State’s Advisory Committee on Public-Private Partnerships (SAP3) and serves on the Global Advisory Board of i2Co School of Transformational Leadership. Swifte studied under global “leaders” such as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and José María Aznar, the former President of the Government of Spain. [Source]

The first annual Concordia Summit on Tuesday, September 20, 2011, in New York. Photo by Ralph Alswang/The Concordia Summit

The 2011 keynote address for Concordia (cross-sector collaboration as a means of combating extremism and terrorism) was given by US President George W. Bush followed by former US President Bill Clinton in 2012 and Andrew Liveris, President, Chairman & CEO of The Dow Chemical Company in 2013. The 2014 annual summit focused on the future of American energy and economic growth in Latin America and featured a keynote conversation with former President George W. Bush and the “First Lady” Laura Bush.

The 2016 annual summit included Warren Buffett, Chief Executive Officer, Berkshire Hathaway,  Madeleine Albright, Chairman of the Board, National Democratic Institute and George Soros, Founder and Chair, Soros Fund Management and the Open Society Foundations. 2016 featured the launch of the Concordia Leadership Award. Purpose client/partner Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever was a recipient of the award.

Purpose Europe co-founder Tim Dixon, 2016 Concordia Summit

Joining those at the helm of the globe’s most powerful institutions, corporations, NGOs and states, as 2016 summit speakers is Per Heggenes the CEO of IKEA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of INGKA Foundation, the owner of the IKEA Group of companies and client/partner of Purpose and the NGO Here Now (Purpose). Purpose Europe co-founder  Tim Dixon also made his way into the massive roster of elite speakers for the 2016 summit as did United Nations Kathy Calvin (member of both The B Team and Unilever CEO Paul Polman’s Business & Sustainable Development Commission with Avaaz co-founder Ricken Patel). Of interest is that Calvin was a Senior Managing Director at Hill and Knowlton – the global public relations company commissioned to create the “incubator hoax” on the public that achieved acquiescence from the populace to wage the illegal war on Iraq before the deception was uncovered.

Kathy Calvin is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations Foundation. She is member of both The B Team (Purpose) and Unilever CEO Paul Polman’s Business & Sustainable Development Commission.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations H.E. Filippo Grandi, Founder and Chair, Soros Fund Management and the Open Society Foundations George Soros and Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada John McCallum attend 2016 Concordia Summit – Day 2 at Grand Hyatt New York on September 20, 2016 in New York City. Sept. 19, 2016, Ben Hider/Getty Images North America

This summit also highlighted the “crisis” (i.e. US destabilization) in Venezuela. [5] The summit also focused on restructuring Concordia from a convening organization to one that actively builds partnerships. Concordia is now a  global convener, campaigner, and innovation incubator with over 50 heads of state, 600 corporate executives and 300 press. Over 20 trillion in private sector assets are represented. [Source]

Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer of Unilever speaks at The 2017 Concordia Annual Summit at Grand Hyatt New York on September 19, 2017 in New York City. Riccardo Savi/Getty Images North America

“The ceremony also recognized the winner of the 2016 P3 Impact Award, a competition hosted by the University of Virginia Darden School Institute for Business in Society, and U.S. Department of State Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships, that recognizes best practices of P3s that are improving communities around the world in the most impactful ways. The winning team, Project Nurture, is a partnership between the Coca-Cola Company, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and TechnoServe that developed an innovative solution to challenges in East Africa’s fruit market. While farmers across Africa struggle to lift themselves out of poverty, food and beverage companies have a hard time sourcing the agricultural products they need…” — Concordia 2016 Annual Report, Building Partnerships for Social Impact

The acceleration of privatization (global in scale) is being achieved via the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

“Partnerships Week (GPW) Partnership Practitioners Forum, under the theme, “Leveraging Innovation in Partnerships.” Together with the Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships at the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Global Development Lab at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and PeaceTech Lab, Concordia co-hosted this flagship event to kick off GPW and brought together practitioners and global leaders to discuss the role of P3s in achieving the SDGs and explore their potential as shared value collaborators.”

 

[***Further reading on the privatization of the commons via the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: Building Acquiescence for the Commodification of the Commons Under the Banner of a “New Economy”***]

 

Aside from Purpose entering Latin American as a Trojan Horse, the goals of Purpose, in Columbia to start, for privatization are clear. Consider 2016 summit speaker Seth W. Miller Gabriel is the first Director of the Office of Public-Private Partnerships for the District of Columbia:

“AS PRESIDENT OF COLOMBIA, I HAVE SEEN FIRST-HAND THE POSITIVE EFFECTS AND IMMENSE EFFICIENCIES THAT [PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS] HAVE ON CHANGING THE WORLD AND IMPACTING COMMUNITY.” -ÁLVARO URIBE VÉLEZ, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF COLOMBIA

Also from the report:

“The issues of transparency and accountability were a main theme in Concordia’s programming throughout 2016. At both the Concordia Americas Summit in Miami and the Annual Summit in New York, we held discussions on corruption and governance, with a particular focus on Latin America. Additionally, at the Annual Summit, Concordia partnered with the National Democratic Institute to host a session highlighting the political and economic stability in the Middle East as an example for other democratic transitions in the region.”

Here it is vital to note the job description for the Purpose Campaigner in Columbia:

Responsible for finding moments of global political crisis and building a campaign strategy where people all over the world can take action to demonstrate the power of public opinion over the international decision making process.” [Emphasis added]

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Social Good

The creation of the Social Good Summit (launched in 2012) is attributed to Heiman’s co-author of New Power, Henry Timms (92nd Street Y) in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ericsson, the United Nations Development Programme, and Mashable.

Following the Social Good Summit was the launch of the SocialGood “community”.  The founding partners of SocialGood include The Bill & Melinda Gates  Foundation, the Case Foundation, Caterpillar, Cisco, Enactus, Mashable, the Rockefeller Foundation, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Foundation, and the 92Y. [Source]

“Progress in the next 15 years and beyond—including effectively setting and achieving the next set of global development goals—can’t just be left to the same old power players. Now you can actively involve people in shaping these goals, using new participatory, transparent, and bottom-up new power models.

 

Tune into this high-level discussion with speakers including Sir Richard Branson, Kathy Calvin, Gary White and Matt Damon, Chris Elias, Jeremy Heimans, Hannah Jones, JR Kerr, Kumi Naidoo and Hans Vestberg to explore how these emerging models can help us shape our world in coming decades and envision a bolder #2030Now.

New Power +SocialGood is presented by +SocialGood and Purpose” — [Source]

Inspired by the annual Social Good Summit, IVA and ICom launched the annual Social Good Brazil Program in 2012. Partners include the United Nations and SocialGood. The Social Good Brazil keynote for 2017 was delivered by Henry Timms with Heimans as one of the international speakers. The 2018 summit requires pre-registration for those wishing to attend. With a donation of 400.00 or more, attendees will receive a free a gift package which includes a copy of the New Power book. [Source]

 

Next: Purpose Goes to Latin America Part 2: “This is where the lines between NGOs, internet and militarism begin to overlap and blur.”

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Appendix I: AVAAZ Mind Map Last Updated August 7 2018

End Notes:

[1] A recent development for Avaaz/Purpose co-founder David Madden (World Bank, etc.) and founder of the PR firm Phandeeyar in Burma, is his new affiliation with the social ventures investment company and Purpose partner Omidyar Network: “I’m going to be spending the next six months as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Omidyar Network. Omidyar Network, the philanthropic investment fund established by ebay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, is one of Phandeeyar’s key supporters. Phandeeyar isn’t the first tech hub that Omidyar has backed and it probably won’t be the last.” [Source]

[2] May 26, 2016: “Teens are spending nearly nine hours a day consuming media. And children ages eight to 12 are spending nearly six hours a day doing the same thing. Let’s say the average teen wakes up at 7 a.m. and goes to bed at 10 p.m. — that means that nine of their 15 waking hours are spent on their phones, computers, or tablets.” [Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/teens-average-phone-screen-usage-2016-5] | January 4, 2017: ” Teens now spend up to nine hours a day on social platforms, while 30% of all time spent online is now allocated to social media interaction. And the majority of that time is on mobile – 60% of social media time spent is facilitated by a mobile device.” [https://www.socialmediatoday.com/marketing/how-much-time-do-people-spend-social-media-infographic]

[3] “Build Peace 2017 was possible thanks to the generous support of the people of the United States through their Agency for International Development (USAID), as well as Andes University, the PeaceNexus Foundation, the Heinrich Böll Stiftung, New Markets Advisors, the Greater Bogotá Convention Bureau, the Agency of the GIZ in Colombia, and the United Nations in Colombia. The event was co-organized by Build Up and Policéntrico, with the support of Bogotá’s Town Hall through the Center for Memory, Peace and Reconciliation, the SOLE Colombia Foundation, the Ideas para la Paz Foundation, Peace Startup, TIC4GOOD, Movilizatorio, La Metro, INNpulsa Colombia, and Appiario.”

[4] “On the 13 April 2005, Purpose Campaigns, cofounded by Heimans and Madden, posted an ad describing itself as a new, progressive, political campaigning organisation. Noting the Win Back Respect campaign, the ad said: ‘Purpose Campaigns was established in 2005 to continue campaigning on important progressive issues, especially in the area of foreign policy, national security and global justice issues. Purpose Campaigns is currently involved in a variety of entrepreneurial political activities, including establishing a rapid response campaigning organisation designed to explode the myth of Republican primacy of national security.'” Source: https://www.openaustralia.org.au/senate/?gid=2016-09-13.16.3

[5] “The Summit was historically significant as it marked the first-ever meeting between Luis Almagro Lemes, Secretary General, Organization of American States, and Venezuelan human rights activist, Lilian Tintori, who spoke about the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. As a result of the Summit, Mr. Almagro affirmed the Carta Democratica which outlines provisions and strategies for change in the country’s electoral process and, in turn, its fundamental rights.” [Source]

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[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, and Counterpunch. 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.]

You can support the work of Morningstar and Palmer at Patreon.

 

 

 

The New Humanitarianism: The Imperative to ‘Act’ and to ‘Act Now’

April 14, 2018

 

An Excerpt from the book Celebrity Humanitarianism – The Ideology of Global Charity by Ilan KapoorFirst [2013]

 

‘Ilan Kapoor’s stunning new book exposes the most appealing – and thus most dangerous – sacred cows of contemporary ideology: the humanitarian actor, the billionaire philanthropist, and the NGO. Kapoor shows that it is precisely where we feel most emotionally satisfied that we must be most suspicious. Celebrity Humanitarianism represents a landmark in the critique of ideology and a decisive blow in the struggle against apolitical ethics.’ — Todd McGowan, University of Vermont, USA

 

Since the end of the Cold War, there has been an explosion of international NGOs, particularly development and humanitarian ones, leading to the rise of what is termed ‘global civil society’. In large measure, this is due to the ascendancy of neoliberalism, which has seen NGOs fill the many gaps created by government cutbacks and privatization. But in part, it is also the result of the intensification of globalization and the information economy, which has opened up possibilities for greater  borderlessness’. Not content with doing only aid and development work, NGOs have carved out an increasingly more activist and interventionist role for themselves in the global arena. This trend is what has been called ‘the new humanitarianism’.

Central to the new humanitarianism is a security discourse, which divides the world, not so much along the lines of wealth vs. poverty as it used to, but more in terms of stability vs. threat. Mark Duffield argues that the security discourse is constructed on the basis of the metaphor of the ‘borderlands’ (i.e. the Third World), an imagined geographic space of instability, excess, and social breakdown, which poses a threat to the metropolitan areas (2001: 309).

The borderlands are depicted as violent and unpredictable, or at least always a  potential danger; they are the source of many of the problems seen to plague global security, including drug trafficking, terrorism, refugee flows, and corrupt/weak/rogue states.

Accordingly, the point of international intervention is to tame and manage instability. In this scenario, poverty, corruption, and refugee flows are to be feared much more than alleviated. Development and humanitarianism are seen not as problems of reducing inequality or protecting the most vulnerable, but as technologies of security, which function ‘to contain and manage underdevelopment’s destabilizing effects’ (Duffield 2007: ix, 24).

The practical outcome of this new humanitarianism is a significant shift away from respecting national sovereignty and towards external intervention in the Third World: it means neglecting international law, or obeying the ‘higher’ moral law of humanitarianism, under the guise of the ‘responsibility to protect’ (cf. Mamdani 2009: 274; Watson 2011: 5). In other words, new humanitarianism has increasingly become neoimperialism, allowing the West to ‘transform conflicts, decrease violence and set the stage for liberal development’ (Duffield et al. 2001: 269). Not just a Third World country’s foreign policy, but now also its domestic economic or human rights situation is seen as a credible threat (Duffield 2001: 311), recalling colonialism’s ‘civilizing mission’ to eradicate ‘barbaric’ Third World cultural practices such as widow-burning or infanticide. More often than not, the form of external intervention is military, that is, armed intervention parading as humanitarian rescue mission. The post- 9/11 War on Terror has only escalated this trend, enabling the possibility of ‘unending war’ to secure the borderlands (e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan) (Duffield 2007: 131). Illustrative of unending war is the following list, compiled by Watson (2011: 4), enumerating the countries for which humanitarianism has been used to justify military intervention in recent years: Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Angola, Mozambique, Kosovo, East Timor, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Zaire, Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

NGOs are firmly enmeshed in this security–humanitarian network. For the past two decades particularly, the private–public linkages between Western states, UN agencies, private firms, militaries, and NGOs has grown. In fact, as Duffield puts it, the securitization of development/humanitarianism ‘has been of central importance for legitimising the growing involvement of non-state actors’ (2001: 312; cf. Watson 2011: 3–4). And NGOs have become not just accomplices in this network, but key players. Mamdani goes so far as to argue that the new humanitarianism is the ‘twin of the War on Terror’ (2009: 274), with groups such as Save Darfur as pivotal facilitators. NGOs have pushed for and capitalized on the vast resources directed at emergency and security operations around the globe. Many such operations (e.g. in Afghanistan, Haiti, Bosnia) have been ambitious and well coordinated, with relief agencies working alongside military or peacekeeping campaigns.

 

Above: Res Publica (Avaaz) calling for a Darfur intervention and criminal indictment. August 3, 2004 screenshot: “Only one thing will stop the killing in Sudan: an immediate international intervention” … “Click here to sign a petition calling for humanitarian intervention Darfur” [WKOG screenshot]

 

The imperative to ‘act’ and to ‘act now’ is central to these NGO campaigns.

To be sure, beginning mainly in the post-World War II era, organizations such as Oxfam, ActionAid, and MSF were created to respond to global crises, ranging from armed conflicts and epidemics to ‘natural’ or man-made disasters. Whether we are talking about the 1949 Palestinian refugee situation, the 1967 Nigerian civil war, the 1984–85 Ethiopian famine, or the more recent 2005 Pakistan earthquake, emergencies have become an opportunity for humanitarian NGOs to function and even expand. Indeed, they have been able to justify and aggrandize themselves based on what Duffield refers to as a ‘permanent emergency regime’ (2007: 25, 47–49, 219). All of them rely on a ‘threaturgency narrative’ to ‘legitimize their functions’ (Watson 2011: 9); it is this narrative that allows them to identify and categorize the disaster (e.g. as an impending famine or a pressing refugee crisis), as well as publicly highlight the humanitarian duty to save lives or assist ‘populations in distress’, as MSF puts it (http://www.msf.org).

One of the most poignant recent examples of the construction of emergency discourse is that of the Save Darfur Coalition, especially during the 2004–7 period. The Coalition relied on highly charged rhetoric to issue its emergency call for international intervention. The first move, as Mamdani underlines (2009: 64–65), was to categorize the conflict in the Darfur region as racially motivated: the government-armed ‘Arab Janjaweed militia’ were reportedly perpetrating violence against ‘black-skinned non-Arabs’. Such stereotyping became pervasive in Western public discourse and was often repeated by the mainstream press, including The Washington Post (Mamdani 2009: 64; cf. Hassan 2010: 98). Mamdani notes (2009: 6) that this ethnicized/racialized framing has its origins in the colonial tradition of racializing the peoples of Sudan for political purposes (i.e. as a divide and rule strategy); it is a framing that, in the contemporary global conjuncture, only served to reinforce the discourse of the War on Terror, demonizing Islam and Arabs, and pressing for immediate counter-terrorist action.

Above: Res Publica (Avaaz) March 8, 2005 screenshot: “Sign a petition below … over 18,000 signatories in the last week!” [WKOG screenshot]

 

The Coalition’s second discursive move was to characterize the Darfur situation as ‘genocide’ (despite evidence to the contrary, as we shall see below). It is the deployment of this culturally and politically charged term that, almost single-handedly, brought together such a large and diverse range of US-based organizations that made up the Coalition (see above), while catching the attention of the media and politicians alike (cf. Save Darfur Coalition 2011). After Save Darfur’s ‘genocide alert’ in 2004, events quickly gathered pace: a student-led divestment campaign was organized, a large Save Darfur Rally To Stop Genocide was held in Washington, DC, and an impassioned plea (by George Clooney) was made to the UN Security Council for international intervention. In 2007, the rhetoric was ratcheted up. The Coalition criticized China for its strong support of the Sudanese government, with a campaign that included taking out full-page advertisements in The New York Times and Mia Farrow denouncing the upcoming Beijing Olympics as the ‘Genocide Olympics’.

The overall effect of this emergency discourse was to exercise tremendous pressure on political leaders in the US and around the world. Secretary of State Colin Powell testified in front of the Senate Relations Committee that genocide was being committed in Darfur. The US Congress agreed, pushing for political and economic sanctions for Sudan. Meanwhile, the UN Security Council referred the Darfur case to the International Criminal Court, sent UN peacekeeping troops to Sudan, and following China’s change of position on the Council in the face of public pressure, established a larger joint UN–African Union peacekeeping mission, with financial support from the US Congress (cf. Flint and de Waal 2008: 181, 280; Haeri 2008: 35–37).

One of the most troubling features of this NGO emergency discourse is its tendency towards militarization and war. The imperative to act ‘now’ tends to provide added impetus and rationale for militarized intervention. We are familiar with NGOs providing relief work in war zones, in which they must sometimes coordinate with warring factions to deliver aid programs. We are also familiar with the use of army troops in non-military crises such as the Asian Tsunami in 2004 or Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (to keep law and order, or help NGOs distribute food aid). Increasingly, as Watson argues, ‘states and the international community have institutionalized a militarized response through the establishment of specialized military entities such as the United States Foreign Disaster Assistance or the Canadian Disaster Assistance Response Team’ (2011: 9).

But what is relatively new and noteworthy is the call by humanitarian NGOs for military intervention – a phenomenon described by the paradoxical concept, ‘humanitarian war’. It is a concept that, as Vanessa Pupavec notes, NGOs themselves helped legitimate, especially through their demands for military intervention in the Balkans during the 1990s (2006: 263). Thus, MSF appealed for military action in Bosnia in the mid-1990s, while Save the Children lobbied Western governments for armed intervention in Kosovo in the late 1990s (Pupavec 2006: 255). Since that time, several other similar calls have been made. Of particular note are Oxfam’s demand, in relation to the Darfur situation, for a broader interpretation of the UN Charter on the principle of non-interference to include intervention, and Save Darfur’s outright plea for a no-fly zone and Western military action. In fact, ‘Out of Iraq and Into Darfur’ became a common Save Darfur slogan. Pupavec points out, in this regard, that NGOs were quick to criticize the failure to obtain UN Security Council authorization for military intervention in Iraq, but were only too willing to ignore such authorization when they demanded military  ntervention in Kosovo and Darfur (2006: 266).

Above: Res Publica (Avaaz): “SUCCESS!! – Humanitarian Intervention in Darfur” … “SUCCESS!! – International Criminal Court to Prosecute Architects of Genocide in Darfur” [February 10, 2006 screenshot]

 

If rhetorical demands for action raise the stakes, resulting in the militarization of the new humanitarianism, so do media demands for spectacle. The mediatization of NGO emergency work – that is, the drive not just to act now, but also to be seen to be acting now – adds greater urgency. NGOs may well be responding to save lives, but they are also playing to the global media and public. MSF’s témoignage (witnessing) after all, is about witnessing not just on behalf of disaster victims, but also for the media/public. This recalls our earlier arguments about the entertainmentization of humanitarianism – the pressures to create ‘megaspectacles’, to satisfy seemingly insatiable appetites for suffering, death, and disaster. The militarization of emergency work only supplies further fuel to this fire, aiding and abetting the spectacularization of violence and war. In this regard, Henry Giroux contends that we are witnessing a new phase in the society of the spectacle, that of the ‘spectacle of terrorism’ (2006: 26).

According to him, a ‘visual culture of shock and awe has emerged’, which celebrates violence in the form of night bombing raids, hostage takings, and beheadings, or the destruction of public buildings (2006: 21, 24).

The pressure to create spectacle, then, means that spectacular NGOs are not simply observers or objective relays in delivering humanitarian aid; they are full-fledged actors, identifying emergencies and constructing them for public consumption (cf. Keenan 2002: 5). Add militarization to this mix, and you move from the imperative to act now and be seen to be acting now, to an imperative to be seen to be acting now, militarily if needs be (or preferably?).

The systemic and symbolic violence of spectacular NGOs

Three friends are having a drink at the bar. The first one says, ‘A horrible thing  happened to me. At my travel agency, I wanted to say “A ticket to Pittsburgh!” and I said “A ticket to Pissburgh!”’ The second one replies, ‘That’s nothing. At breakfast, I wanted to say to my partner “Could you pass the sugar, honey?” and what I said was “You dirty fool, you ruined my life!”’ The third one concludes, ‘Wait till you hear what happened to me. After gathering the courage all night, I decided to say to my spouse at breakfast exactly what you said to yours, and I ended up saying “Could you pass me the sugar, honey?”’

(adapted from Žižek 2004b: 61)

Often, the most traumatic situations are not necessarily the outwardly perceptible ones (i.e. the gaffes of the first and second interlocutors in the joke), but the less obvious ones (i.e. the repressed content in the outward politeness of the third). As Paul Taylor suggests, telling are the moments ‘in which nothing of substance is said… in that non-utterance resides all manner of psychologically destructive forces’ (2010: 93).

And so it is with spectacular (humanitarian) NGOs: it is most often in these organizations’ non-utterances that ideological violence is to be found. The spectacle of NGO humanitarianism is revealing not simply for what it shows, but more importantly for the violence it often ignores, takes for granted, or disavows. Žižek distinguishes two types of violence: (i) ‘subjective violence’, which is directly visible and identifiable (e.g. emaciated babies, physical destruction in the wake of a hurricane); and (ii) ‘objective violence’, which is less immediately perceptible (2008a: 1–2). Objective violence is itself made up of ‘systemic violence’, which refers to our often slow yet steady social oppressions  (e.g. gender exclusion, wage discrimination, the daily grind of alienating work), and ‘symbolic violence’, the violence inherent in our systems of representation (e.g. the way in which an image of a starving child can hide as much as it reveals). The crucial point for Žižek is that objective violence is what is required for the ‘normal’ functioning of our social and economic systems. In other words, systemic and symbolic violence is the background against which subjective violence happens: objective violence ‘may be invisible, but it has to be taken into account if one is to make sense of what otherwise seem to be “irrational” explosions of subjective violence’ (Žižek 2008a: 2). Accordingly, I’d like to highlight the systemic and symbolic violence of humanitarian NGOs, violence which serves as backdrop to their spectacle.

The systemic violence of humanitarian NGOs stems, at least in part, from the very nature of their work – short-term emergency operations that attempt to rescue people from immediate danger, but make no attempt to address the broader or underlying causes of such danger. As MSF’s James Orbinsky readily admits, MSF action ‘takes place in the short term’ with limited objectives in the wake of a crisis, ‘but does not itself attempt to solve the crisis’ (2000: 10). The problem is that such an approach is premised on what was earlier denoted as a ‘permanent emergency regime’: rather than working themselves out of a job, NGOs depend (and count) on more and more crises.

They have every interest in global neoliberal capitalism’s continued production of emergencies, which enables and legitimizes their spectacular humanitarianism. In this sense, the NGO-ization of humanitarianism (and development) may have less to do with finding effective solutions to problems than a way of keeping the humanitarian business in business.

True, some humanitarian NGOs do carry out broader ‘development’ programming, alongside their short-term relief and advocacy work. For example, MSF organizes a campaign to make cheaper generic drugs more readily available to Third World countries (cf. http://www.msfaccess.org), and Oxfam runs a host of projects in gender equality, health, and education around the world (cf. Oxfam UK 2011). But as pointed out in Chapters 1 and 2, most of these initiatives are depoliticized; they steer clear of, say, anti-capitalist/anti-racist critique, or unionization of workers (or women), in favour of tamer and nonthreatening areas such as mainstream human/gender rights and education. As Issa Shivji contends, in Sub-Saharan Africa issues of equality and equity are banished to the ‘realm of rights, not development’; that is, rights are a question of NGO ‘advocacy’, ‘not a terrain of people’s struggle’ (2006: 35). Moreover, many NGO development projects (e.g. job training, micro-credit) are ultimately an attempt at integrating subaltern groups into global capital; as James Petras puts it (1999: 432), they help corner ‘a new segment of the poor’ (e.g. young people, marginalized women, landless farmers, the urban poor), binding them to market entrepreneurialism. The result once again is a reaffirmation of the status quo, whose systemic violence is the basis for humanitarianism. And so the cycle continues … (I am not, of course, suggesting that humanitarian advocacy/relief and development should not happen, or that people must not be assisted in disasters; the problem is the significant institutional interests in people’s ongoing suffering or dispossession, and the enormous investments made in addressing the symptoms rather than the cure.)

This myopic and status quo approach is integral to the symbolic politics of humanitarian NGOs, too. The spectacularization of their relief and advocacy work is notable for what it includes as much as what it excludes. There is, first, the tendency (underlined earlier) to ‘sell’ stories and images that are visually and sound-byte friendly. Spectacles involving celebrities, poverty-stricken people, crying   mothers/children, gun-toting soldiers, or war-ravaged landscapes tend to be given priority. Most often, the resulting sensationalized images/stories are serialized and repeated to achieve maximum public and media spread and exposure. As one NGO media person puts it, ‘the misery of the victims of famine, flood, war, and plague must be underlined, perhaps even exaggerated, if [the organization] is to attract sufficient public attention’ (quoted in DeChaine 2002: 361). In this regard, MSF has been criticized for its sensationalized stories, causing some to pejoratively characterize the organization’s press officers as ‘catastrophe babes’, ‘whose motives are said to be driven more by the market than by the crises’ (DeChaine 2002: 360). Such tendencies  illustrate well the symbolic violence noted above, fetishizing and commodifying the outwardly visible (i.e. ‘subjective violence’) in the service of the society of the spectacle.

More often than not, the stories and commodity-images produced by NGOs resort to classic hero narratives, in which the NGO-as-hero/celebrity overcomes adversity (obstacles, enemies, crises) to save hapless victims. All the characters are clearly identifiable: the saviour-heroes are the aid workers, human rights advocates, and volunteer doctors/nurses; the enemies/adversaries are ‘natural’ disasters, or corrupt and authoritarian governments/leaders (e.g. the Janjaweed militia and President Al-Bashir, in the case of the Save Darfur narrative); and the victims are women, children, and dispossessed communities. Robert DeChaine states, for instance, that MSF’s credibility as a humanitarian agency hinges at least in part on ‘its ability to establish a perception of its volunteers as courageous, ideologically pure, morally committed agents of change. They are saviors, champions of the voiceless, who knowingly and willfully face the morally unrighteous enemies of humanity’ (2002: 362).

The creation of victims is key, and the humanitarian spectacle manages to never run out of them. Debrix argues that what transnational humanitarian NGOs such as MSF create when they intervene across state boundaries are ‘spaces of victimhood’, both spatial and symbolic: ‘Under the guise of reaching “victims” the world over, MSF constructs new spaces – humanitarian zones – inside which individuals in distress are identified as “victims”, are sorted out, and become recognisable as generalised examples of human drama’ (1998: 827).  The establishment of refugee camps, famine sanctuaries, and the like, are meant to clearly demarcate these spaces, so that the victims can be triaged, categorized, treated, managed.

The people shepherded into these zones tend to be constructed as passive beneficiaries. Rarely do they have a voice; most often, it is the NGOs that speak and ‘witness’ for them. In the Darfur debacle, for example, there was a notable absence of any articulate Sudanese or indeed Darfurian voices; as Salah Hassan points out, the discourse was dominated by ‘Western celebrity activists, aid workers, and other self-appointed experts and spokespersons, thus reconfiguring the “white man’s burden” in a significant way’ (2010: 97). Faced with such persistent victimization, it should hardly be surprising that NGO saviourheroes have sometimes been received by disaster ‘victims’ with hostility rather than thanks, as in the case, for example, of Somalia in 1992 or Iraq after the 2003 invasion (Watson 2011: 14).

Kate Manzo (2008) underlines how often humanitarian NGOs resort to the use of child iconography (usually close-ups of single children’s faces). Think of the 1960s ‘Biafra child’, the 1980s ‘Ethiopia child’, or the current-day Plan/World Vision/Save the Children poster child. Child imagery has become the face and brand of NGO humanitarianism (cf. Chapter 1). Here too, the child tends to be depicted as victim, with children’s commodity-images deployed to evoke innocence, dependence, suffering (Manzo 2008: 636). Frequently, the child is meant to stand for the Third World, crying out to be helped and saved.  Such paternalism only reproduces colonial tropes of infantalization of the colonies to rationalize Europe’s ‘civilizing mission’.

The production of these black-and-white stories and images, with plainly identifiable heroes, adversaries, and victims, makes for the ideal humanitarian morality tale. Drama and sensationalism permit clear and simplified messaging, enabling the audience to take sides, claim moral indignation at the situation, and feel good about its support for NGO humanitarianism. Mamdani likens this to a kind of pornography, which in the case of Save Darfur yielded a highly moral movement that appealed to people’s self-righteousness rather than political analysis (2009: 56–57; cf. Flint and de Waal 2008; DeChaine 2002: 358–59). Moral campaigns tend towards depoliticization, opting (as we have seen) for short-term, managerial, and emergency/militarized solutions. Pupavec contends that moral advocacy avoids ‘the stresses and  responsibilities of implementing assistance programmes on the ground … In other words, advocacy can in some cases represent a disingenuous flight from responsibility for social problems, rather than deeper engagement with them’ (2006: 266).

The problem with the moral spectacle is precisely that it is less concerned with analysis and understanding than with taking sides and issuing calls to action. Manichean tales simplify, mystify, and ignore the often highly complex politics of emergencies. The focus on the outwardly visible and the spectacular, on special effects and sound-bytes, avoids layered, substantive, and mediaunfriendly investigation. Sensationalized media reports tend to decontextualize and homogenize, telling the story for its universal message, not its specific content: thus, for instance, earthquake ‘victims’ stand as ‘global victims’, so that the disaster ‘is made into the general condition of humankind’ (Debrix 1998: 841, 843). Media/NGO stories tend to linger on the photogenic, privileging physical destruction. In the case of the 2004 Asian Tsunami, Watson finds that the disaster was presented in the media as ‘natural’, ‘unpreventable’, ‘indiscriminate’, or ‘random’, when in fact the physical destruction and human suffering had as much to do with human activity and social systems (e.g. use of poor building materials, especially in poorer neighbourhoods): ‘the physical evidence is used to tell a particular story – one that, in essence, speaks for itself in a way that is de-historical and de-political’ (2011: 14–15).

 

Above image from the Avaaz website: “Libya No-Fly Zone: As Libyan government jets drop bombs on the civilian population, the UN Security Council will decide in 48 hours whether to impose a no-fly zone to keep Qaddafi’s warplanes on the ground.” [Emphasis in original]

 

What is left out of the NGO/media stories are the un-photogenic details, the ‘boring’ particulars of the daily grind of people’s lives, the recurring patterns of alienation or marginalization. Historical knowledge is a no-no: ‘spectacular time’ militates against ‘historical time’, because the former must organize information ‘through the media as dramatic events that are quickly displaced and forgotten’ (Stevenson 2010: 162). When there is interest in details, the media usually home in on the personal (i.e. issues of identity, individual tragedy, etc.) or the gory (i.e. violence), rather than broader politics. In the 2004 Asian Tsunami, Watson finds that the media tended to fetishize human-interest stories (e.g. personal and family tragedies), devoid of any social or political context, and to sometimes suggest that ‘victims’ were responsible for their own plight (2011: 14). Moreover, all tsunami ‘victims’ were treated the same, ignoring the fact that local residents and Western tourists were differently impacted, and that local women and children, in particular, were the worst affected: the ‘human-tragedy component served to tie all the human victims together: Westerners and locally affected populations … [thus obliterating] the different sources of vulnerability for the two groups’ (Watson 2011: 14–15). Similarly, in the Hurricane Katrina crisis, Tierney et al. (2006) find that the media focused almost exclusively on issues of looting, poverty, and racial tensions, and had almost nothing to say about recurring state cuts for infrastructure and social services in the worst affected, low-lying, and mainly poor black neighbourhoods. Concentrating on ‘secondary malfunctions’ and ‘subjective violence’ – poverty, crime, corruption, individual trauma – as opposed to the ‘objective violence’ of, say, inequality and broader political economy, is a recurring ideological strategy that we have observed before. ‘Under the guise of exposing global trauma and injustice in spectacular detail, genuine consideration of the key political and economic causes is displaced’ (Taylor 2010: 131).

 

Such tendencies to ignore key details or broader contexts are integral to the types of photos or films produced by NGOs. Invariably, these are either largescale images (i.e. aerial or wide-angle shots) of landscapes and neighbourhoods, or close-ups of individuals and faces. This toggling between the bird’s eye view and the shrunk/miniaturized view, as Jim Igoe argues,

allows for the simultaneous presentation of problems that are so large they demand the attention of the whole of humanity, while identifying specific groups of people who are their perpetrators … Missing from these presentations are the complex and messy connections and relationships that are invisible in both the open-ended vastness of spectacular [landscapes] and the compelling specificity of prosperous villagers. (2010: 382)

It is not just the broader contexts of emergencies that spectacular humanitarianism ignores; it is also that some emergencies tend to be neglected altogether. During the Asian Tsunami, for example, the Western press focused almost exclusively on known tourist locations across the region, overlooking the devastation in ‘lesser-known countries and localities’ (Cottle and Nolan 2007: 879). The other, more telling recent example here is the Congo, where over four million people have died over the last decade, but which has received little attention from the press. Žižek writes in this regard that:

The Congo today has effectively re-emerged as a Conradian ‘heart of darkness’. No one dares to confront it head on. The death of a West Bank Palestinian child, not to mention an Israeli or American, is mediatically worth thousands of times more than the death of a nameless Congolese. (2008a: 3; cf. Mamdani 2009: 63)

The various manifestations of symbolic and systemic violence outlined above are revealing of the ideology of spectacular NGOs. For what is ideology, in the Žižekian sense that we mean it, other than the production of spectacular images and smooth spaces (i.e. humanitarian zones) to cover up the Real (broader political economy, long-term political alternatives, Western complicity)? The glossy photos and sensational headlines help create pure, untarnished, and moral humanitarian fantasies to be commodified and sold. The smooth spaces (refugee camps, etc.) help manufacture artificial humanitarian sanctuaries where ‘victims’ are categorized, controlled, and ultimately served up as advertisements for the likes of MSF, Save Darfur, or Save the Children (cf. Debrix 1998). The NGO/media spectacle helps to unify and stabilize reality, disavowing anything that disturbs the humanitarian dream-fantasy, is discomforting to the public, or threatens the neoliberal global order. Outwardly visible, subjective violence may well be shown, or even fetishized, but that it is symptomatic of a dirty underside, a broader underlying objective violence, is glossed over.

Of course, spectacular NGOs hide behind their faux objectivity and nonpartisan humanitarianism to repudiate any accusations of political ideology. Yet, as we have seen, their very presentation of reality through their stories and images is already an ideological construction of it (cf. Taylor 2010: 83). They create (the public view of ) emergencies and disasters in advance, so that ‘reality’ and the audience’s perception of it are one and the same (cf. Žižek 1994b: 15). Thus, Debord writes, ‘For what is communicated are orders: and with perfect harmony, those who give them are also those who tell us what they think of them’ (1990: 6).

 

[Ilan Kapoor is a Professor of Critical Development Studies at the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University. He teaches in the area of global development and environmental politics, and his research focuses on postcolonial theory and politics, participatory development and democracy, and more recently, ideology critique. He is the author of The Postcolonial Politics of Development (Routledge 2008), and more recently, Celebrity Humanitarianism: The Ideology of Global Charity (Routledge 2013). He is currently writing a book on psychoanalysis and development.”]

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Minister orders Oxfam to Hand Over Files on Haiti Prostitute Scandal

The Times

February 9, 2018

By Sean O’Neill

 

Roland van Hauwermeiren, Oxfam country director for Haiti, admitted using prostitutes after the disaster in Port-au-Prince

The government has ordered Oxfam to hand over files on charity staff who paid for sex in earthquake-torn Haiti. The demand follows an investigation by The Times that revealed Oxfam covered up the use of prostitutes by senior aid workers.

Matt Hancock, the culture secretary who is responsible for charity regulation, said: “These allegations are deeply shocking and Oxfam must now provide the Charity Commission with all the evidence they hold of events that happened in Haiti as a matter of urgency.

“The reported historic behaviour of senior aid workers is abhorrent and completely unacceptable. Charities must ensure that they have the highest standards of transparency and safeguarding procedures in place to protect vulnerable people and maintain the trust of the public.”

Times investigation found that Oxfam, which receives £300 million a year in British government funds and public donations, allowed three men to resign and sacked four for gross misconduct after an inquiry into sexual exploitation, the downloading of pornography, bullying and intimidation.

A confidential report by the charity said that there had been “a culture of impunity” among some staff in Haiti and concluded that children may have been among those sexually exploited by aid workers. The 2011 report stated: “It cannot be ruled out that any of the prostitutes were under-aged.”

Oxfam was part of a massive international relief effort in Haiti after the earthquake in Port-au-Prince in 2010, which killed 220,000 people, injured 300,000 and left 1.5 million homeless.

The revelations have caused international concern and triggered widespread coverage in the press throughout Europe. This morning Liz Truss, the chief secretary to the Treasury, called the revelations “shocking, sickening and depressing”.

Gavin Shuker, Labour MP for Luton South, said: “In case you were wondering, teenage girls, in one of the poorest countries in the world, immediately following an earthquake don’t by any measure ‘choose’ prostitution.”

One of the men allowed to resign without disciplinary action was Oxfam’s country director there, Roland van Hauwermeiren. The report said that Mr Van Hauwermeiren, 68, admitted using prostitutes at the villa rented for him by Oxfam with charitable funds.

Despite the admission, the charity’s chief executive at the time, Dame Barbara Stocking, offered the Belgian “a phased and dignified exit” because sacking him would have “potentially serious implications” for the charity’s work and reputation. After the internal inquiry, two other men in management were able to resign while four were dismissed for gross misconduct, including over the use of prostitutes at the apartment block where Oxfam housed them.

Oxfam allowed staff to resign to avoid damaging the charity’s reputationJONATHAN TORGOVNIK/ GETTY IMAGES

A number of sources with knowledge of the case said they had concerns that some of the prostitutes were under age. One said that men had invited groups of young prostitutes to their guesthouse and held sex “parties”. The source claimed to have seen footage from a night there that was “like a full-on Caligula orgy”, with girls wearing Oxfam T-shirts. The charity is understood to have no record of the footage being given to the investigation.

Prostitution is illegal in Haiti and the age of consent is 18. Paying for sex is against Oxfam’s staff code of conduct and in breach of United Nations statements on the behaviour of aid workers, which the charity supported. Oxfam said that it did not report any of the incidents to the Haitian authorities because “it was extremely unlikely that any action would be taken”. None of those accused has been arrested or faced any criminal charges.

The charity said that it disclosed the sexual misconduct to the Charity Commission but the regulator told The Times last night that it never received the final investigation report and Oxfam “did not detail the precise allegations, nor did it make any indication of potential sexual crimes involving minors”. The commission said that it was asking Oxfam to review what happened and “provide us with assurance that it has learnt lessons from past incidents and is taking all necessary steps to ensure risks are minimised”.

An appendix to the investigation report raised a lengthy list of management concerns over the situation in Haiti and asked: “How far back and why did the culture of impunity in Haiti develop . . . Were there signals that could have been picked up earlier?”

The charity acknowledged that staff in Haiti had felt intimidated and unable to raise the alarm. Sources with knowledge of the investigation alleged that the report had been “watered down” and one claimed that Oxfam bosses “deemed it unnecessary to pursue some of the allegations if we could get enough to simply dismiss the individuals”.

Oxfam announced in September 2011 that a small number of staff had left after a misconduct investigation. It stressed that the issues did not concern fraud over its £70 million aid budget in Haiti but did not disclose sexual misconduct. The charity said yesterday: “Oxfam treats any allegation of misconduct extremely seriously. As soon as we became aware of a range of allegations — including of sexual misconduct — in Haiti in 2011 we launched an internal investigation. The investigation was announced publicly and staff members were suspended pending the outcome.” It added that the allegations “that under-age girls may have been involved were not proven”.

Oxfam was founded by Quakers, social campaigners and academics in Oxford in 1942. It is Britain’s fifth largest charity, with an income of £392 million last year. Its British arm employs 5,300 people worldwide and works with 22,000 volunteers.

The Humanitarian Industrial Complex School of Thought | A Fish Analogy

Wrong Kind of Green

June 29, 2017

By Cory Morningstar with Forrest Palmer

 


The humanitarian industrial complex (HIC) is separate and distinct from the charity/aid industry. The oligarchs, institutions and NGOs that comprise the HIC are not interested in the feeding frenzy they create that takes place below them. They want the whole pie. The want the prize they came for. They want the country they have targeted – in its entirety and nothing less than that.

This creates a pathological system. And like the capitalist economic system – dependent on infinite growth – at the expense of ecology and all life, which places the planet itself at the bottom of the food chain – the continuity of perpetual war must also grow infinitely for the entities constructed within this system to thrive (or even survive). This system, like a cancer, must multiply or die.

Let’s think of it in terms of hungry fish. We have three groups of fish:

  1. “biggest most powerful fish”
  2. “big fish”
  3. “small fish”

Groups 1 and 2 represent the HIC. Group 3 represents the charity/aid industry. Some NGOs belong to more than one group. An example would be Avaaz & it’s counterpart Purpose, which belong to both the HIC  and the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) because  of its diverse alliances and activities. These groups of fish are pink in colour to denote the physical and visual aspects of domination that are a prerequisite for power. Many non-pink fish are sadly fixated on striving to assimilate into the pink fish, something they can never attain since the privileges of pinkness itself is becoming more difficult to sustain. Fish that reside in the non-imperial parts of the ocean are brown. They are considered adversaries by the pink fish.

These groups (“big fish”) are NGOs like International Crisis Group, They seek access, recognition and approval from the groups that represent empire (“the biggest, most powerful fish”): World Bank, International Monetary Fund, United Nations, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Council on Foreign Relations, the Rockefeller dynasty, monarchies, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Goldman Sachs, etc. etc. Some of the International NGOs in the “big fish” group are Avaaz, Purpose, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Brookings Institution, Center for American Progress, The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Refugees International, etc. These NGOS are all financed by “the biggest, most powerful fish”, and in most all cases (unbeknownst to the public at large) they have also been created by “the biggest, most powerful fish” themselves.

The “big fish” are positioned right below the top tier of the HIC hierarchy. They swim in the same circles as “the biggest, most powerful fish” who are positioned at the very top of the hierarchy. All the fish below dream of finding a position within this group.

The fish positioned at the top of the hierarchy constitute the hegemonic power. The fish on the bottom comprise the bottom feeders. The middle class is a false construct.

The White Helmets are a 21st century NGO hybrid. A combination of soft power (the perception of altruism) and hard power (actual actions outside of the mainstream narrative), terrorism, identity theft, manufactured heroism, violence and celebrity. For a moment, consider the timing of the new superhero movies now flooding the cinemas. For Americans with a pathological fetish for violence and celebrity, these key attributes are a potent cocktail. The White Helmets were constructed exclusively to destabilize the Syrian government, thus it belongs to the HIC. It is a “big fish” and a real-life yet falsely stylized hero organization that whets the appetite of the masses that lust for such a story, be it fictionalized or a reality of our own making. Behavioural changes public relations firms such as Purpose identify this longing and exploit it via a powerful and manipulative 21st century marketing strategy referred to as “storytelling”.

Now think about what happens when “the biggest, most powerful fish” attacks a brown fish in a leadership position, that is minding its own business. The brown fish adversary lives in a specific area in the ocean where nature has provided rich resources with lots of other fish  – and as necessitated under the current global system, the “the biggest, most powerful fish” want it and must acquire it. They don’t respect sovereignty. And being so greedy and wasteful, “the biggest, most powerful fish” never have enough. So they call on the “big fish” underneath them to help launch the attack. This is akin to a psychological pre-strike.

Far in advance to the a psychological pre-strike, the “biggest most powerful fish” instruct the “big fish” to infiltrate and disperse within the targeted area. The big fish are financed to bait and hook naïve brown fish living within the targeted areas utilizing soft power methods (providing laptops, monies, etc.). They target brown fish who have become enamoured with the spectacle and pinkness. They form fish schools financed by the “biggest most powerful fish”. Where there are no existing divisions to exploit, the big fish create them. This creates the pathways necessary to destroy whole cultures from within.

The “big fish”  are tasked with framing  public perception and building/creating mainstream acquiescence. The “big fish”, created and financed by the “the biggest, most powerful fish”, start the mechanisms of war through propaganda. To do this, they also seek assistance from their alliances in both the mass media and the NPIC. They all swim in the same circles. They too are all financed by, owned by, or created by, or have become dependent on “the biggest, most powerful fish”. This symbiotic relationship sets the stage. This is not an attack to destroy the big, powerful fish (now hated and demonized by those that reside in the imperial parts of the ocean) in order to steal the abundance of rich resources, this is a “fishtarian” intervention by the pink fish to save the poor brown fish that live the with the brown fish adversary leader under its “regime”.

Upon the first attack ordered by “the biggest, most powerful fish”, the blood and flesh of the brown fish disperse in the waters. This is where the “smaller but hungry fish” appear. They live in the imperial parts of the ocean and are happy with their subservient relationship to power in that realm since they benefit from it. They are smaller, but hungry – and they have been waiting. If there is no kill from the  “the biggest, most powerful fish” – there is no feast for “the smaller but hungry fish.” These  fish include groups like Oxfam, Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. These NGOs represent a trillion dollar industry. They are massive corporations with million dollar budgets, huge rents and huger salaries.  And if “the biggest, most powerful fish” are not killing – the “smaller but hungry fish” are not going to be eating.  The pink “small fish” understand full well that the sovereign “poor brown” fish will not be saved, that they will die, that indeed these “interventions” are nothing but a ruse. But, they need the millions of dollars in aid money. In addition, many of these pink fish are Machiavellian in ideology, with any traces of empathy altogether eradicated by their belief that by colour alone, they are superior.

“The biggest, most powerful fish” are the literal lifeline of those constructed below them. And this is why, no matter how grotesque or vapid the killings, the “smaller but hungry fish”, dependent on “the biggest, most powerful fish” – will ALWAYS go along with anything “the biggest, most powerful fish” does. The “smaller but hungry fish” will always look away because their very existence depends on the “the biggest, most powerful fish” killing – infinitely.

If this cycle should ever end – “the biggest, most powerful fish” attacking brown fish adversary – the house of cards will collapse.

But imagine ….

The house of cards as still intact.

What happens to the “biggest most powerful fish” and the “big fish” if the “small fish” were no longer existent?

The “biggest most powerful fish” and the “big fish” would no longer be able to dominate.

And this is why, the “small fish” – that of the aid/charity industry in fin with the mass-media and the NGOs that comprise the non-profit industrial complex must be annihilated. Because these groups are the very foundation that empire cannot exist without. They cannot be reformed.

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, and Counterpunch. 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.]

Blood Money

Fourth World Eye

January 15, 2016

by Jay Taber

president-Francois-Hollande-tours-africa-1140x641
2013: Francois Hollande with the Senegalese President Macky Sall

The French Treasury is receiving 500 billion dollars per year from African countries based on colonial debt they are forced to pay. Without this support extorted from Africa, France would be a Third World country. Watch The Utilization of Western NGOs for the Theft of Africa’s Vast Resources.

 

 

[Jay Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and activists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations. Email: tbarj [at] yahoo.com Website: www.jaytaber.com ]

 

WATCH: The Utilization of Western NGOs for the Theft of Africa’s Vast Resources

Original Video Published January 26, 2015

The following in an excerpt from a lecture given by Mallence Bart Williams in 2015 (TEDxBerlin). 

Chanel Celebrity Fetish

 

Above: Mademoiselle Privé: “The fabric-lined room is a truly sensory experience… Surrounding the room with portraits of modern-day Chanel muses, from Lily Collins to Lily-Rose Depp, you will be enraptured by the beauty that is Chanel.” [source]

One thing that keeps me puzzled, despite having studied finance and economics at the world’s best universities, the following question remains unanswered. Why is it that 5,000 units of our currency is worth one unit of your currency where we are the ones with the actual gold reserves? It’s quite evident that the aid is in fact not coming from the West to Africa but from Africa to the Western world. The Western world depends on Africa in every possible way since alternative resources are scarce out here. So how does the West ensure that the free aid keeps coming? By systematically destabilizing the wealthiest African nations and their systems, and all that backed by huge PR campaigns — leaving the entire world under the impression that Africa is poor and dying and merely surviving on the mercy of the West.

Well done Oxfam, UNICEF, Red Cross, Live Aid, and all the other organizations that continuously run multi-million-dollar advertisement campaigns depicting charity porn to sustain that image of Africa globally. Ad campaigns paid for by innocent people under the impression to help, with their donations. While one hand gives under the flashing lights of cameras, the other takes in the shadows. We all know the dollar is worthless, while the Euro is merely charged with German intellect and technology and maybe some Italian pasta. How can one expect donations from nations that have so little?

Chanel Diamonds

Mallence Bart Williams

How super sweet of you to come with your colored paper in exchange for our gold and diamonds. But instead you should come empty-handed, filled with integrity and honor. I want to share with you our wealth and invite you to share with us. The perception is that a healthy and striving Africa would not disperse its resources as freely and cheaply, which is logical. Of course, it would instead sell its resources at world market prices, which in turn would destabilize and weaken Western economies established on the post-colonial free-meal system.

Last year the IMF reports that six out of 10 of the world’s fastest-growing economies are in Africa, measured by their GDP growth. The French Treasury, for example, is receiving about 500 billion dollars year in year out, in foreign exchange reserves from African countries based on Colonial Debt they force them to pay. Former French President Jacques Chirac stated in an interview recently that we have to be honest and acknowledge that a big part of the money in our banks comes precisely from the exploitation of the African continent. In 2008 he stated that without Africa, France will slide down in the rank of a third-world power.

This is what happens in the human world. The world we have created.

Have you ever wondered how things work in nature? One would assume that in evolution, the fittest survives. However in nature any species that is overhunting, over-exploiting the resources they depend on as nourishment, natural selection would sooner or later take the predator out, because it upsets the balance.

 

 [Mallence Bart-Williams was born in Cologne, Germany. She is a Sierra Leonean writer and filmmaker and a German fashion designer. She pursued her studies in economics and finance in Paris, Singapore, and Great Britain. She is the founder and creative director of the Freetown-based creative collective FOLORUNSHO, a ‘SHARITY’ (with no financial donations or aide) that she initiated with street kids in Sierra Leone.]

 

Celebrity “Activists” Change Everything: UN Forum to Adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

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]

The United Nations Private Sector Forum 2015 was held in New York on September 26. The forum was presented by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon and 350 leaders from the public and private sectors:  German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Naomi Klein, Angel Gurría (OECD), Jeffrey Sachs (Natural Capital/privatization of nature), George Soros, Al Gore, Mark Zuckerberg, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bono (U2), the CEO of Unilever, Paul Polman, Greenpeace International, WWF and many others. This exclusive event is by invitation only.

Held one day after the UN member nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, on September 25, this global forum focused on the role of the private sector in implementing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) included in the agreement.

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EGADE Business School, Tecnológico de Monterrey

September 25, 2015

Mexico City

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (centre) speaks with Angela Merkel (left), Chancellor of Germany, and Bono, activist and lead singer of the rock band U2, at the United Nations Private Sector Forum 2015, organized by UN Global Compact. (UN Photo/Kim Haughton)

Excerpts:

Dr. María de Lourdes Dieck Assad, dean of EGADE Business School, Tecnológico de Monterrey, was chosen—as the leader of an institute for higher education—to participate last Saturday, September 26, in the United Nations Private Sector Forum 2015, organized by the United Nations Global Compact and the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon. Participation at this exclusive event is by invitation only and includes leaders of key organizations. EGADE Business School was included because of its commitment to promoting corporate sustainability and responsible business education, seen in the Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative, which the school cofounded….

The Private Sector Forum—which the UN secretary general convenes every year with the goal of bringing the voice of the private sector to intergovernmental debates—is of special importance in 2015, because it is taking place during the historic UN Sustainable Development Summit to adopt the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, which includes the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a global commitment that seeks to eradicate extreme poverty, fight inequality, and combat climate change throughout the world.

This global forum brought together a select group of more than 350 leaders from the public and private sectors and from civil organizations, to launch formally the SDGs for the private sector. Besides the UN secretary general, other high-level leaders from around the world participated, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel; French President François Hollande, King Philip VI of Spain and the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Durao Barroso; the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Unilever, Paul Polman, the president of Walmart, Mike Duke, Helge Lund, CEO of Statoil, and the investor George Soros; and Al Gore, president of The Climate Reality Project Change, Angel Gurría, secretary general of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Jeffrey Sachs, president of the Earth Institute, Mary Robinson, Special Envoy for Climate Change of the United Nations, Peter Bakker, President and CEO of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation founder, the renowned journalist of The Nation Naomi Klein and Klaus Schwab, Founder and Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), among other global leaders. In addition, investors and leading multinational organizations like Unilever, Lego, MasterCard, IKEA, Pearson and Oxfam International, among others, announced their strategies and objectives for the implementation of ODS in their business.

Read the full article here: http://www.itesm.mx/wps/wcm/connect/ebs/egade+business+school+nd/news+home/news/news284

Global Goals 10

 

 

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.

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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]

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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

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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.

Bill+McKibben+Marisa+Tomei+23rd+Annual+Environmental

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

Bill+McKibben+United+Nations+Equator+Prize+fX0ulmRx9VTl

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]

Patel Puma Awards

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)

opportunity green

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

Khrizantemy-Chrysanthemums-Yevgeni-Bauer-Vera-Karalli-(10)-Vera-flower-drop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

bono clinton 2007

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

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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]

 

 


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

+++

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.]

Democracy in Reverse | Non-Profit Disaster Capitalism on the Gulf Coast

July 11, 2013

by Elizabeth Cook 

GulfOilSpill2

The most recent public meeting of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, held in Belle Chase on June 12, was an exercise in democracy in reverse.(1)

It is an undemocratic process that is largely for political theater, in my view, so I used it as such. I was as dramatic as possible in presenting the most important points, in my view, of the reality on the Gulf. People have only three minutes to speak. The funding is a long way off, so why not have round table discussions, that can go on all day, where people wander in and out depending on their schedule? No, in three minutes, you have to state all of your concerns about the gulf, BP, oil, the Corexit (2), bioremediation or the lack thereof in the marshes, the dying marshes (3), the culpability of the government in the use of Corexit (4), the fact that the Feds want to expand drilling to Florida (5) and the Corexit is being stockpiled all up and down the Gulf coast (6). If there another major oil well blowout in the Gulf and the Corexit is used in massive quantities again, then this restoration process will have to start all over. Common sense folks (yes, I did say that).