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Bloodless Lies

The New Inquiry

November 2, 2016

By Lorenzo Raymond

56bloodless-social

This is an Uprising, a widely celebrated new book about how social movements change history, distorts their histories to celebrate non-violence

The black revolt of 2014 was a turning point in how Americans discussed the use of force in social movements. In the pages of the Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates acknowledged that “violence works.” Rolling Stone and the Huffington Post echoed much the same sentiment. Laci Green–a YouTube star and one of the “30 most influential people on the Internet,” according to Time–posted a popular video drawing favorable comparisons between the Ferguson riots and the revolution depicted in The Hunger Games. This sea change was led by the movement itself as African American youth in Ferguson rejected Al Sharpton and other older leaders, partly due to disagreement on strict nonviolence.

this-is-an-uprising
Mark Engler and Paul Engler, This Is an Uprising. Nation Books. 2016. 368 pages.
The notable exceptions to this trend were those who spoke for the state. These parties advocated for nonviolent action in a most conspicuous way. On the eve on the announcement of the non-indictment of Officer Darren Wilson, the killer of Mike Brown, Attorney General Eric Holder solemnly intoned that “history has shown us that the most successful and enduring movements for change are those that adhere to non-aggression and nonviolence.” In an ABC interview on the same day, President Obama urged that the “first and foremost” responsibility for Americans reacting to the verdict was to “keep protests peaceful.”

It shouldn’t be necessary to remind people of major public discussions from two years ago, but America is a notoriously forgetful nation. And when it comes to matters of protest, politics, reform, and revolt, many people are invested in this kind of forgetting. The stated purpose of Mark and Paul Engler’s new book This Is an Uprising (2015) is to work against this historical amnesia. The Engler brothers profess to build “a healthy movement ecology [which] preserves the memory of how past transformations in society have been achieved.” This is a worthy goal, and the brothers appear well-placed to realize it: one is a professional community organizer while the other is a fixture of progressive publications including Dissent and Yes! Magazine. The book has been praised effusively by lefty celebrities, including Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein, as the new authoritative text for mass civil disobedience. Yet rather than building on the nuanced understanding of street tactics that developed in the wake of Ferguson, the Englers selectively distort social movement history in a blind commitment to a particular kind of direct action.

The opening chapters are an introduction to the modern history of tactical pacifism as embodied in the practice of Martin Luther King’s Birmingham campaign and, later in the 1960s, by the theories of political scientist Gene Sharp. The authors contend that both these figures abandoned religious nonviolence to develop a rational, realist praxis known as “civil resistance,” not “pacifism.” The principle reason for this name change is that Gene Sharp rejected the P-word, arguing that the term only applied to private individuals operating from spiritual inspiration. The Englers affirm that Sharp’s “politics of nonviolent action” are distinct from pacifism because the latter is essentially apolitical.

What the Englers fail to acknowledge, however, is that virtually all the 20th century activists whom Sharp and his school hold up as role models did call themselves pacifists. A.J. Muste, Bayard Rustin, Martin Luther King, and even Daniel Berrigan (who for a time defied strict Gandhism by fleeing imprisonment after an act of property destruction) all called themselves pacifists. When scrutinized, the switch from “pacifism” to “nonviolent action” appears to be a case of re-branding in response to the poor reputation pacifism had among young people by the end of the 1960s. This was hardly the first time pacifism was renamed rather than critically challenged: Leo Tolstoy referred to the use of civil disobedience without violence as “non-resistance.” Gandhi rejected that name, but employed essentially the same strategy; Tolstoy and Gandhi exchanged correspondence and agreed on practically all points.

In the 21st century, the term du jour is “civil resistance” and sometimes “people power,” yet the method’s founding father is still considered to be Gandhi. It also seems significant that in spite of “breaking from the earlier traditions of moral pacifism,” as the Englers put it, many of the major proponents of civil resistance, from Gene Sharp to George Lakey to Bill Moyer to Chris Hedges, come from highly religious backgrounds.

In addition to a re-branding, “civil resistance” is also a misbranding. The term is adopted from Thoreau’s 1849 essay “On Resistance to Civil Government,” but his use of “civil” referred to the type of domestic government being resisted, not to the method of civility deployed. Thoreau himself later said that John Brown’s violent lack of civility was the best thing that ever happened to the abolitionist movement.

These contradictions aside, the Englers trace how “civil resistance” has become increasingly accepted in mainstream political science. To demonstrate this, they introduce us to Erica Chenoweth, now one of the most celebrated social movement theorists working in the field. Chenoweth got her start producing the widely cited study Why Civil Resistance Works (2011) in collaboration with Maria J. Stephan of the U.S. State Department. According to the Englers, the study proved that “nonviolent movements worldwide were twice as likely to succeed as violent ones.” But the sample size of the study is far too narrow to prove such a sweeping claim. There are no civil rights or labor struggles included in the Chenoweth data set, which is focused exclusively on regime change. And, as Peter Gelderloos pointed out in his book The Failure of Nonviolence (2013), the outcomes of the nonviolent revolutions cited by Chenoweth have little to do with social justice or liberation. At best they replace one oligarchy with another, with no radical change in social relations or even net gains in quality of life.

At one point, the Englers note that the same political science prize that Chenoweth won–the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award–was previously bestowed on Henry Kissinger. This, for them, is the height of irony: Chenoweth is, after all, the opposite of the Kissingers of the world. But while they may represent different sides of the aisle in terms of American political divisions, Chenoweth’s work is, in many ways, just as useful to the U.S. empire.

At the height of the Cold War, the government used Kissinger’s work to justify the “hard power” of the arms race and violent intervention against communist regimes. Today Chenoweth’s work helps to justify–and in this case, mystify–Obama’s “soft power” agenda of “democracy promotion” exercised through seemingly benign agencies like the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United States Institute of Peace (USIP)–the former organization was recently caught covertly organizing against the Castro government in Cuba. And while direct U.S. government involvement with pacifist academics is a relatively new development–emerging in the mid-2000s, around the same time that Gelderloos first observed that “nonviolence protects the state”–their financial relationship goes back at least to Gene Sharp’s first doctoral work in the late 1960s, which was funded by the Department of Defense.

But if the American empire promotes strictly nonviolent movement-building to overthrow its enemies, wouldn’t that demonstrate that it’s as powerful a method as its proponents say it is? The short answer is no. When civil resistance works–and when the U.S. government deploys it abroad–it’s almost always in combination with more violent forms of pressure. To illustrate this, one need look no further than the Yugoslav movement to unseat President Slobodan Miloševi?, which figures prominently in Chenoweth’s famous study and takes up more than thirty pages in This Is an Uprising. In the Englers’ version, this regime change is primarily attributable to Otpor, a “leaderless” student group from Serbia. Otpor promoted nonviolence in the Sharpian model, with an official policy to submit to arrest and abjure any kind of self-defense, even when the police physically abused them. In this way, they won the sympathy of the public and even the Serbian establishment.

But Otpor didn’t operate in a vacuum. Not only did they overthrow Miloševi? in the period when he had just lost a war with NATO, but also, in the midst of Otpor’s campaign, Miloševi? was being challenged by the armed insurgency of the UÇPMB (successor group to the Kosovo Liberation Army). On top of this, militant groups in Montenegro threatened to secede if he was re-elected. The Englers quote Otpor veterans’ claims that the NATO raids undermined the opposition and strengthened the regime, but the record shows that Otpor prospered in the aftermath of the bombing. One prominent civil resistance study acknowledges that “a number of middle and higher-ranking police and army officers made secret pacts with the democratic opposition and helped the movement forward.” Furthermore, Otpor’s victory was not strictly nonviolent: Anti-Miloševi? protesters rioted in October 2000 when the president refused to concede the election. The Englers admit, in passing, that things “got a little out of hand,” but they fail to describe the full extent of the insurrection: not only was there arson and other property destruction in Belgrade, but also the fact that an Otpor supporter killed a civilian by driving over him with a bulldozer.

This cherry-picked example of civil resistance winning its demands occurred in a context where both NATO and an armed guerilla group simultaneously made the same demand. And yet, under today’s political science taxonomy, this is what’s considered a nonviolent victory. Such dubious classification is common in the civil resistance world: Peter Ackerman, the venture capitalist who has funded much of Gene Sharp’s work, once claimed that Ukraine’s Euromaidan movement should be considered nonviolent because only a minority of the protesters threw firebombs and brandished guns.

A good faith argument for pacifist success in such cases would credit the intervening factors as a diversity of tactics supporting a nonviolent core, or attribute it to what is known in social movement theory as the “radical flank effect,” which argues that the presence of radical militants in a social movement helps make the less militant actors seem reasonable and worthy of having their demands met. Yet not only do the Englers undervalue such phenomena, they actively denounce them.

In spite of primarily advocating for nonviolent direct action, the Englers express support for electioneering, stating that while it is a separate tactic, it can complement civil resistance. If they are genuinely non-ideological strategists, they should take the same position towards guerilla activity. But, while the Englers repeatedly speak of the need for movements to “escalate,” they jerk back from any overlap with property destruction. This flinching is excused with a fable of the radical environmental advocacy movement Earth First! in the 1990s. The Englers paint the picture of a movement with a macho fetish for violence that was set right by the influence of the more moderate feminist Judi Bari, who enforced nonviolence and built the populist Redwood Summer campaign of 1990, winning political victories against logging in the Pacific Northwest. This success, the Englers claim, was in marked contrast with the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), the monkeywrenching eco-saboteurs who left defected from Earth First! after the rise of Bari.

The ELF is portrayed as a gang of clowns who accomplished nothing besides getting themselves imprisoned. Yet the Englers also tell us that “in the end, Redwood Summer did not produce immediate legislative gains.” The best they can claim for the nonviolent campaign is “a 78 percent drop in logging in national forests.” The ELF began carrying out its arson and sabotage attacks on the logging and tourism industries in the Pacific Northwest in 1996; these years of victory were among ELF’s peak years of activity, when it was clearly functioning as the radical flank of Earth First! But the Englers’ attitude towards militants is eliminationist, not just separatist: the ELF shouldn’t have just left Earth First!, they should have ceased to exist at all. Such absolutism is completely contrary to Bari’s actual policy: “Earth First!, the public group, has a nonviolence code,” she wrote in 1994, “monkeywrenching is done by [the] Earth Liberation Front […] Civil disobedience and sabotage are both powerful tactics in our movement.”

The double standards that the authors apply between violent and nonviolent actors undermine their claims of unbiased pragmatism. When pacifist organizers provoke violent repression, the Englers regard it as a necessary cost of the campaign–“leading proponents of civil resistance emphasize that strategic nonviolent action […] may result in serious injuries and even casualties”–but when black blocs draw repression, it’s completely unacceptable. ACT UP are praised as “desperate, aggressive, and often exceptional young men,” who had the courage to risk “potentially alienating the very people that advocates want to win over.” The ELF, on the other hand, are pictured as fanatics with no strategy. When the civil rights movement employed “often unpopular” tactics, generating “overwhelmingly negative” reaction in public opinion polls, this was admirable; when the Weather Underground and other Vietnam-era militants defied public opinion, they were simply out-of-touch adventurists (even though the latter’s action led to massive troop withdrawals and a constitutional amendment to lower the voting age).

The Englers, it must be noted, have attempted to apply their precepts, not merely theorize them. In the wake of Occupy Wall Street, they helped organize the 99% Spring campaign, a coalition dominated by Moveon.org that aimed to put “hundreds of thousands” of people in the streets to change foreclosure policy. Coalition spokesman and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) executive Stephen Lerner promised to “engage the millions of people we need to do [sic] to build the kind of movement we need at this time in history.” According to him, this was a job that Occupy was not capable of doing without their guidance. In the end, the 99% Spring mobilized a few thousand people–far less than Occupy did nationwide–and had no impact on banking foreclosure policies, which remained abysmal. More recently, the brothers were involved with a nearly identical coalition–Democracy Spring/Democracy Awakening–based around campaign-finance reform. Initially, Democracy Spring seemed more tactically ambitious with a program of organizing mass civil disobedience at the Capitol Building. However, press coverage of the arrests turned out to be so meager that most of the campaign’s supporters were left distraught.

As historians and theorists of social movement, the Englers might have been able to see this failure coming, since they actually describe a precedent for their ineffectual campaigns in This Is an Uprising. In his 1962 project in Albany, Georgia, Martin Luther King and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) left a yearlong campaign with no tangible civil rights advances achieved. King had been thwarted by Chief of Police Laurie Pritchett, who capitalized on SCLC’s nonviolent strategy by avoiding any appearance of brutality and de-escalating conflict between police and protesters, thereby pre-empting any dramatic scenes that could draw national attention. King’s reputation within the movement declined until the spectacular victory of the following year’s Birmingham campaign. The Englers spend over twenty pages on Birmingham, promising to demonstrate just why it succeeded while Albany failed, but they never do.

In truth, the Birmingham campaign benefitted from having both a police force and a protest movement that was markedly less peaceful than in Albany. King wasn’t able to get consistent media coverage until after protests became, as Taylor Branch put it, “a duel of rocks and fire hoses.” One of King’s aides, Vincent Harding, later acknowledged that the black youth who came to dominate the campaign’s street action were “the children of Malcom X” and that their escalation to “a burning, car-smashing, police-battling response” marked Birmingham as “the first of the period’s urban rebellions.” Historian Glenn Eskew wrote that “the aftermath of national protest, international pressure, and inner-city riot convinced a reluctant Kennedy administration to propose sweeping legislation that, once passed as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, marked a watershed in race relations.”

Yet these events of the Birmingham campaign are never mentioned in the Englers’ book in any form. It is here that the brothers step into outright dishonesty: they know very well that the scholarly consensus on Birmingham is that the violent protesters made an invaluable contribution (Eskew’s book is one of their sources). Yet in spite of spending a tenth of their book’s text on Birmingham, they refuse to even acknowledge the violent protesters’ existence.

Such historical censorship rationalizes the choreographed civil disobedience that the Englers help organize today, which quarantines “good protesters” from “bad protesters.” This, in turn, enables the same counter-strategy that Laurie Pritchett employed so effectively against King in Albany. What the Englers call “discipline” is actually de-escalation that facilitates police crowd control. Indeed, there is now a fully developed police doctrine known as “negotiated management” based on the avoidance of direct conflict with protesters. The National Lawyers’ Guild official, Traci Yoder, has written that negotiated management “is in many ways more effective […] in neutralizing social justice movements” than overt state repression.

But while the brothers focus on the SCLC at length, they fail to discuss the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) who, the brothers passingly admit, pushed SCLC into its most productively confrontational actions. This is not only because the history of SNCC began with Gandhian practice, but also because it rapidly progressed beyond it. Although its militancy is sometimes attributed to Black Power-era missteps, SNCC’s commitment to a genuinely grassroots politics led it to work with openly armed African Americans as early as 1961 in Monroe, North Carolina, as well as with more discreetly armed black peoples all over the South. By spring 1964, SNCC associates in Cambridge, Maryland were having gunfights with the National Guard and one of the group’s advisers, Howard Zinn, noted that the movement had reached “the limits of nonviolence.” But it was crucial that those limits were reached, or there wouldn’t have been a Civil Rights Act.

In spite of its name, SNCC’s principles always had less to do with nonviolence than with organizing from the bottom-up. The group’s guiding light was Ella Baker, arguably the most important African American leader of the 20th century. As many have noted, Baker preached neither strategic nonviolence nor strategic violence. Drawing from her decades of experience, Baker counseled SNCC organizers to distance themselves from institutional power; they might maintain dialogue with the establishment left–trade unions and NGOs tied into what she called “the foundation complex”–but they should be wary of entering into partnerships with them. Instead they should follow the lead of working-class communities on the ground. This repeatedly led SNCC organizers away from nonviolence. Then as now, serious movements make serious enemies (think of the shootings last year in Charleston and Minneapolis) and self-defense quickly becomes paramount for frontline activists. Baker’s longtime friend and biographer Joanne Grant recounted that as pacifism faded away in SNCC, Baker “turned a blind eye to the prevalence of weapons. While she herself would rely on her fists […] she had no qualms about target practice.” At the same time, the failure of peaceful reform logically led oppressed communities towards insurrection.

It is often said that without the guidance of an anti-authoritarian and non-ideological figure like Ella Baker, the Black Power militants of SNCC began to lose perspective. Yet it can equally be said that the pacifists lost their way as well. The cause of social justice in America has been suffering from believing the former but not reckoning with the latter for the past forty years.

 

[Lorenzo Raymond is an independent historian and educator living in New York City. Lorenzo blogs at Diversityoftactics.org]

 

‘Activism’: The Lies We Have to Tell Ourselves

World News Trust

June 21, 2016

by Mickey Z.

 

Photo credit: Mickey Z.Photo credit: Mickey Z.

Almost exactly four years ago, I wrote an article that opened with this, um, “anecdote”:

As part of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) Summer Disobedience School, I was marching with my fellow occupiers through Times Square in early June 2012. While skirting the edge of the demo to take photos, I passed a group of young men in business attire. On the surface, they appeared “mainstream” — right out of Central Casting, in fact.

One man was clearly confused by the boisterous march — the signs, the drummers, the costumes, and so much more. “What are they doing?” he pondered aloud. The largest man in the group — his face pinched into an expression of scorn — bellowed: “I’ll tell you what they should be doing. They should be looking for a fuckin’ job.”

He looked so self-satisfied with his parroting of the corporate media line that I couldn’t help taking him down a notch. I stopped walking, positioned myself about three feet away — directly in his line of sight — and glared into his eyes. 

When he looked at me and saw my “99%” button and the Red Square affixed to my t-shirt, Alpha Male was suddenly confronted with the uncomfortable reality that those he was mocking weren’t the skinny hippie pacifists he’d read all about on the interwebs.

His eyes met mine and I held my squinty stare. In a matter of seconds, his self-confidence waned and he diverted his gaze downwards. (#winning) With a smirk, I turned and moved off to catch up with my OWS tribe.

Pardon me while I curl into the fetal position and weep in shame for the next three hours. 

I can still recall how unabashedly excited I was to participate in the event described above (and so many others like it) but now — armed with four-plus years of painful but essential hindsight — it makes me cringe that my exuberance tricked me into thinking we were doing anything even remotely effective or “making a difference.” 

Before I can allow myself to simply look back with a sense of nostalgia at a fun afternoon with some upbeat folks who, um, occupied my life for a brief moment in time, I must first expose, address, and own up to the arrogance and denial on display that afternoon.

What we were doing… 
I’ve already wasted enough ink on the “get a job” canard so let’s instead focus on the extreme validity of the first dude-bro’s question: “What are they doing?” Think about it. Why wouldn’t he or anyone be puzzled? There was literally no rational reason why passers-by would understand the show we were putting on for ourselves (and the cops).

If you asked me “What are you doing?” at the time, I likely would’ve spouted off a whole lot of nonsense about “revolution.” Ask me now though. Please. Ask me now about OWS and its various spin-offs and spectacles.

Even better, if I could somehow track down the guy who confusedly wondered what we were doing that Saturday afternoon in Times Square four summers ago, here’s some of what I’d tell him: 

We were entertaining ourselves. Mic checks, hand signals, carefully crafted performances, a ridiculous overemphasis on “outsmarting” the “pigs,” and virtually no perception of or interest in what might potentially lure in mainstream New Yorkers. This counterproductive tendency to perform for each other progressed rapidly and virtually guaranteed failure. 

We were doing in ZERO outreach. I can remember commenting on how curious and interested the tourists in Times Square appeared to be about us and the issues we were raising. What the fuck was I thinking? Of course they watched and took photos and videos. That’s what tourists do! They weren’t becoming “woke af.” Just the other day, while standing near the entrance to Bryant Park, I witnessed two homeless men in a screaming match that almost became violent. Glancing around, I saw tourists staring at them and filming them with the exact same facial expressions as those watching my “OWS Tribe” in the exact same spot four years earlier. 

We were engaging in the classic “take the streets” nonsense. It takes an incredible amount of denial and privilege for a mostly white crowd of “activists” to taunt cops, disobey street-related laws, and perceive such silliness as rebellion. Meanwhile, on the same day described above, when the march reached Bryant Park, the NYPD predictably singled out a black man from the crowd. He was stopped and frisked right in front of us. We chanted and took photos and “showed our solidarity” with people of color and when he was let go without being arrested, we also managed to convince ourselves that somehow, his freedom was thanks to the presence of OWS. (insert deep sigh here)

Photo credit: Mickey Z.Photo credit: Mickey Z.

We were congratulating ourselves afterwards. Once inside Bryant Park, the “occupiers” broke into small groups to analyze that day’s event and discuss “important issues” (student debt, radical theory, and yes: stop and frisk!) — as if anything we were doing could have even an iota of impact beyond our echo chamber. Meanwhile, a different set of on-lookers took photos of what must’ve appeared as a freak show. 

We were partaking in a social media ego-fest. I don’t have a smart phone but many, many others were uploading images and videos in “real time,” all day. Later, folks like me got busy posting photos and videos, tagging, sharing, and creating yet another insular circle jerk of delusion. #winning!

We were wasting our own precious time and energy. As I documented in this article, despite all the smoke and mirrors, nothing of sustained value has been accomplished by OWS and its offshoots since September 17, 2011. Really. Please. READ THIS ARTICLE. For now, I’ll offer a snippet: 

“The damage is relentless and ongoing and impervious to Occupy-related tactics and self-perception. None of our exhibitionist acting out or our Instagram selfies or our clever memes or our accumulation of social media notifications or our sign waving and petition signing and drum banging got us any closer to the root causes and certainly no where near to creating sustainable social change.”

“What are they doing?” that bewildered bro begged. Since it would be far too flattering to simply say “nothing” (“worse than nothing” = way more accurate), please allow me to amend the cringeworthy recollection with which I began:

One man was clearly confused by the boisterous march — the signs, the drummers, the costumes, and so much more. “What are they doing?” he pondered aloud. So, I stopped walking, positioned myself about three feet away — directly in his line of sight — and replied: “We’re doing what ‘activists’ do, of course. We’re willfully lying to ourselves. What does it look like we’re doing?”

Repeat after me: The people united will never be defeated!

Further reading:

“Activism”: How to Lose Friends & Influence Nobody

 

[Mickey Z. is currently writing his fourteenth book, How to Lose Friends & Influence Nobody: My Life as an “Activist.” In the meantime, he can be found here.]

 

FLASHBACK: If He Can’t Lie, It’s Not His Revolution: Chris Hedges vs. Emma Goldman

Affect

November 6, 2013

by Lorenzo Raymond

emma-goldman

Most people I know who actively work for social justice make an effort to ignore Chris Hedges.  When he puked up a nasty little screed demonizing militancy in the Occupy movement last year, Hedges –  in the words of Occupy Wall Street organizer Amin Husain – “almost derailed us” [1]  (Sadly, Amin was wrong about the “almost” part).  But it’s hard to look the other way when Hedges drags the name of several generations of anarchists through the dirt, as he did in a recent column; and it is perilous to ignore the fact that he represents a powerful network of liberal recuperators who have been undermining resistance in this country for years while claiming to promote it.

A few weeks ago, Hedges wrote a column entitled “Sparks of Rebellion,” which was one of his periodic forays into Grand Movement Strategy. [2]   He opens with a shallow intellectual history of modern radicalism in which virtually none of the statements are true, particularly in regards to anarchists: Kropotkin was not a gradualist but a revolutionary – hence his autobiography is called Memoirs of a Revolutionist; Bakunin did not elevate déclassé intellectuals above the proletariat (or anyone else), but envisioned all oppressed classes making the revolution [3] –  and so on and so forth.  Hedges clearly believes his Pulitzer prize gives him entitlement to stuff a book’s worth of assertions into a paragraph without any supporting evidence.

Equally disconcerting is that once Hedges gets to introducing his own propositions about revolution, none of them are coherent:  We’re told that a modern revolt must not be “reliant on the industrial or agrarian muscle of workers”, but will rely on “the dispossessed working poor”, but “It is not the poor who make revolutions.”, but “service workers and fast food workers…will be one of our primary engines of revolt.”  Does anyone have any questions?

In the end, all this name-dropping and sophomoric analysis is a bait-and-switch for what Hedges really wants to talk about: the importance of pacifism – which he finally gets to in paragraph six.  Hedges evokes the much-touted and under-scrutinized Harvard study by Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan which “examined 100 years of violent and nonviolent resistance movements and concluded that nonviolent movements succeed twice as often as violent uprisings.”  To judge how accurate this study is, one might want to note that the authors omitted all civil rights and labor struggles from their data set. [4] Even more problematic is Chenoweth’s meaninglessly amorphous criteria of nonviolence which has no relationship to the strictures that Gandhi, Gene Sharp or Chris Hedges would impose on us: One of the study’s featured cases is the Philipine revolt of 1986 which originated as an armed coup, and climaxed with a bomb dropped on the presidential palace. [5] In the wake of the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, Chenoweth took to publishing commentaries praising the Egyptian rebellion for its nonviolence even as hundreds of police stations firebombed by protesters were still smoldering. [6]

But the foulest aspect of Hedges’ scribble is the attempt to divide the present generation of militant anarchists from their respected classical forebears.  The liberal journalist has never retracted a word of his “Cancer in Occupy” meltdown, and takes another passing shot at “the Black Bloc” in this article.  In contrast to the cancerous youths, Hedges holds up a mature, mythologized Emma Goldman who “came to be very wary of…the efficacy of violence.”

The tendency of pacifists to co-opt every conceivable radical icon into their ideology never ceases to amaze; thus the new school of pacifist history portrays the Russian Revolution as nonviolent[7]  – even though at least as much property was destroyed there as in Egypt [8] – and now Red Emma is assimilated as an apostate from militancy.  How Goldman could also have been, in the last decade of her life, a key information officer for anarchist militias which executed fascist commanders with regularity isn’t explained. [9]  Her correspondence during the Spanish Civil War shows distaste for the bloodshed, but it also records her explicitly rejecting Gandhian strategy as hopelessly naive.[10]  Goldman was as nonviolent as Sherman was when he lamented that “war is hell” just before he burned down Atlanta – a common sense human impulse, not a strategic analysis; she was wary of every aspect of force except the efficacy of it.  But if Hedges can’t lie, it’s not his revolution.

The grotesque irony here is that Emma Goldman rejected this game of demonize-and-assimilate whenever it was applied in her own time.  Hedges claims to be “reading and rereading the debates among some of the great radical thinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries,” but somehow he missed the debate between Goldman and V.I. Lenin during the Russian Civil War.  In her autobiography, Goldman recounts how she and Alexander Berkman went to the Kremlin to protest the mass arrests of anarchists during the Bolshevik terror.  Lenin dismisses the objections saying responsible anarchists like her are respected in Russia, and he only attacks “bandits” and “Makhnovtsy” (supporters of militia leader Nestor Makhno).  Goldman recognizes the psychology of counterinsurgency immediately –

Imagine,” I broke in, “capitalist America also divides the anarchists into two categories, philosophic and criminal. The first are accepted in highest circles; one of them is even high in the councils of the Wilson Administration. The second category, to which we have the honor of belonging, is persecuted and often imprisoned. Yours also seems to be a distinction without a difference. Don’t you think so? [11]

Reading this passage, it’s striking how little has changed.  It isn’t difficult to imagine, say, Rebecca Solnit – “philosophic” anarchist and Obama campaigner [12] – being feted at the White House in reward for her work bashing radicals, while at the same time “criminal” anarchists like Marie Mason and Oso Blanco rot in prison.

The revolution may not start tomorrow, and we hope it won’t be a bloodbath when it does.  But diverse tactics are needed to end the assaults on the water, the air, the climate, on all our lives and dignity.  The moribund pacifism of the establishment left has failed, and the failure is so terminal that they must stoop to falsifying history in order to even make a case for themselves.

 

[Lorenzo Raymond is an independent historian and educator living in New York City.]

 

Notes:

1. Democracy Now, “No Work, No Shopping, Occupy Everywhere”, May 1, 2012 – http://www.democracynow.org/2012/5/1/no_work_no_shopping_occupy_everywhere

2.  https://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/09/30-6

3.   As Paul Avrich has noted, Bakunin had a “conception of an all-encompassing class war.”  This definitely included “fervent, energetic youths, totally declasse, with no career or way out,” but they were only one part of an ” ‘all-embracing’ revolution… including, besides the working class, the darkest elements of society…the unemployed, the vagrants and outlaws…the instinct of rebellion was the common property of all the oppressed classes of the population.”  Avrich also writes that, “While entrusting the intellectuals with a critical role in the forthcoming revolution, Bakunin at the same time cautioned them against attempting to seize political power on their own…On this point Bakunin was most emphatic.” Paul Avrich, The Russian Anarchists (1967)  – http://www.ditext.com/avrich/russian/1.html

4. Note 35 of Chenoweth, Stephan “Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict”  International Security, Vol. 33, Issue 1, Summer 2008 – http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/isec.2008.33.1.7

5. Monina Allarey Mercado, Francisco S. Tatad, People Power: Eyewitness to History (James B. Reuter, S.J., Foundation, 1986) p202-209

6. Erica Chenoweth, “Give Peaceful Resistance a Chance” The New York Times, March 9, 2001-  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/10/opinion/10chenoweth.html?_r=0  ;  David D. Kirkpatrick, “Mubarak orders crackdown with revolt sweeping Egypt” The New York Times, January 28, 2011;  Lorenzo Dubois, “PEACE AND FIRE: Diversity of Tactics in the Egyptian Revolution (Jan-Feb 2011)” -http://boston.indymedia.org/feature/display/214110/index.php

7. Jonathan Schell, The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People (Metropolitan, 2003) p169-170

8. Richard Stites, Revolutionary Dreams : Utopian Vision and Experimental Life in the Russian Revolution  (Oxford University Press, 1988), p67

9. David Porter, editor, Vision on Fire: Emma Goldman on the Spanish Revolution (AK Press, 2006) p226 – http://zinelibrary.info/files/Goldman%20-%20Vision%20on%20Fire%20-%20Emma%20Goldman%20on%20the%20Spanish%20Revolution.pdf

10. Goldman wrote to a young US anarchist in 1936: “…the organized force used against the followers of Gandhi has finally forced them to use violence, much to the distress of Gandhi…Most important of all is that mechanized warfare and violence used by the state make non-resistance utterly futile.  What do you think non-resistance could do during bombardment from the air – a daily occurrence in Spanish cities and towns?”  She concludes that “…as a method of combating the complex social injustices and inequalities, non-resistance cannot be a decisive factor.”  David Porter, Vision on Fire, p239-240;  Goldman also attributes the collapse of the social revolution to the CNT “suddenly turning pacifist” when it came to resisting internal repression from the Stalinists.  “Gandhi could not have done better,” she notes with bitterness. Vision on Fire, p228 – –    http://zinelibrary.info/files/Goldman%20-%20Vision%20on%20Fire%20-%20Emma%20Goldman%20on%20the%20Spanish%20Revolution.pdf

11.  Emma Goldman, Living My Life (Alfred K. Knopf, 1931), p766 – http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/goldman/living/living2_52a.html

12. http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175598/

Why Are We Afraid of Naming and Confronting Capitalism? [OWS]

Black Agenda Report

January 15, 2015

by Ajamu Nangwaya

 

“The ideological deficiency, not to say the total lack of ideology, within the national liberation movements — which is basically due to ignorance of the historical reality which these movements claim to transform — constitutes one of the greatest weaknesses of our struggle against imperialism, if not the greatest weakness of all.”[1] – Amilcar Cabral

“Let’s make this clear, all forms of capitalism are unacceptable and revolting to justice, solidarity and equity.”

What is it about the term “capitalism” that inspires many of us to not call its name in vain and in the public square? Why is it that many of us will openly and forcefully critique “classism” but enthusiastically shy away from condemning capitalism in the same way? After all, we do publicly name and slam racism, homophobia or heterosexism, ageism, patriarchy or sexism and ableism. How effective will we be in organizing and rallying the oppressed against economic exploitation without naming the system that is brutalizing the majority?

 

 

It is rather telling that Occupy Wall Street’s first public document studiously refrained from explicitly naming the system that is the source of economic exploitation and domination:“As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.”[2]

Some of the oppressive facts of the economic system outlined in Occupy Wall Street’s Declaration of the Occupation of New York City can be reformed, in the eyes of many people, without destroying capitalism. Therefore, most participants and supporters of the Occupy Movement did not see their embrace of its “We are the 99%” slogan as an indictment of capitalism:

“…the results of our 453 interviews at seven Occupy locations indicate that OWS movement demands are not mutually incompatible with capitalism. Moreover, for the most part, the OWS movement is neither calling for abolishing capitalism, nor is it demanding a massive overhaul of capitalism as an economic system — less than 5% of all the respondents we interviewed in the seven Occupy locations made any reference to ending, abolishing or getting rid of capitalism. Instead, the key demands we kept hearing in this regard are: elimination of corporate personhood; the need for campaign finance reform and getting money out of politics.”[3]

There were other voices early on in the movement who realized that many supporters of this protest movement had no grievance with capitalism, but were upset with “corporate greed” or the excesses of the “corporate forces.” Ha-Joon Chang, an open supporter of capitalism had this to say about the London occupiers, “It is routinely described as anti-capitalist, but this label is highly misleading. As I found out when I gave a lecture at its Tent City University last weekend, many of its participants are not against capitalism. They just want it better regulated so that it benefits the greatest possible majority.”[4] William Bowles noted Occupy Wall Street’s focus on “capitalist criminals rather than criminal capitalism” as well as the general avoidance of mentioning “socialism” “except from the tiny Left contribution itself.”[5]

“How effective will we be in organizing and rallying the oppressed against economic exploitation without naming the system that is brutalizing the majority?”

The tenuous claim or perception of the Occupy Movement being ideologically committed to placing capitalism in the dustbin of history was promoted by many media outlets.[6] On the international front, the Occupy Movement was also seen as an entity with a strong anti-capitalist outlook.[7] It is quite instructive that a movement whose spokespersons did not indict capitalism as the perpetrator or “person of interest” in the economic suffering of the working-class was still seen as an anti-capitalist phenomenon. This state of affairs speaks to the “ideological deficiency” or lack of understanding of the nature of capitalism that exist in society.

Based on the manner in which some political progressives frame their critique of capitalism, one could reasonably form the opinion that there are benign or redeeming forms of capitalism. Let’s make this clear, all forms of capitalism are unacceptable and revolting to justice, solidarity and equity.

There are moments when critics denounce “unfettered capitalism,”[8] “corporate capitalism,”[9] “crony capitalism,”[10] “finance or financial capitalism”[11] or “unregulated capitalism”[12] as the source of the current economic and social exploitation experienced by the masses or societies across the globe.

These erstwhile critics of capitalism are implicitly or unwittingly suggesting that capitalism is not the main problem. As such, the actual message being communicated to the people is that the derivative forms of this dog-eat-dog economic system are the real issues of concern to the people’s well-being.

Sam Gindin, former Researcher Director of the Canadian Auto Workers (now Unifor after a merger with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada) and current adjunct professor, recently called attention to the above problem in his review of Naomi Klein’s book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate:

“Klein deserves enormous credit for putting capitalism in the dock. Yet she leaves too much wiggle room for capitalism to escape a definitive condemnation. There is already great confusion and division among social activists over what “anti-capitalism” means. For many if not most, it is not the capitalist system that is at issue but particular sub-categories of villains: big business, banks, foreign companies, multinationals.

“Klein is contradictory on this score. 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. These adjectives undermine the powerful logic of Klein’s more convincing arguments elsewhere that the issue isn’t creating a better capitalism but confronting capitalism as a social system.”[13]

NAOMI KLEIN

“William Bowles noted Occupy Wall Street’s focus on ‘capitalist criminals rather than criminal capitalism.’”

Many individuals and organizations have taken the above pragmatic approach to critiquing capitalism, because we do not want to come across, in the eyes of the people and the ruling elite, as too radical, irresponsible or “ideological.” In the case of the Occupy Movement, the use of its widely popular slogan “We are the 99%” pandered to the ruling-class’s ideological bill of goods that Europe and North America are predominantly middle-class regions with the working-class being a minority.[14] The 99% category feeds into the narrative of a largely middle-class population being confronted with greedy bosses and politicians who have deviated from the social and economic practices that defined the golden age (1945-1974) of the capitalist social welfare state.

With the capitalist ruling-class reduced to a mere 1% of society and isolated as the specter haunting the rest of us, the working-class and liberal petty bourgeoisie were not forced to confront and interrogate their own ideological support for capitalism. The ruling-class has imposed its economic and political ideologies onto the consciousness of the oppressed as natural, self-evident ways of seeing reality.

It is for the above reason 86% of Americans could support the Occupy Movement’s position that lobbyists and the economic elite have too much influence in Washington, while 71% of the people wanted the prosecution of business officials who caused the Great Recession, and 68% of them desired the rich to pay more taxes[15] without being opposed to capitalism.

The Occupy Movement unwittingly advocated class collaboration by including members of the ruling-class within its 99% category. In 2012, it was reported that the 1% pulled in a yearly average income of $717,000 while those outside of that income bracket generated $51,000.[16] President Barack Obama is a member of the ruling-class but the combined 2012 income of he and Michelle Obama totaled $608,611.[17] The employment income levels of the American Supreme Court justices, the Vice-President and members of Congress are below $300,000.[18] Are we to believe that Obama, the Supreme Court judges and most of the politicians in Congress are members of the 99%?

“The 99% category feeds into the narrative of a largely middle-class population being confronted with greedy bosses and politicians.”

If we use net worth to determine inclusion within the 1%, many members of capitalist ruling groups would find themselves within the 99%. The 2010 average net worth of the 1% stood at $16.4 million[19], while the median net worth of the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate came in at $1,008,767 in 2012.[20] The Obamas’ net worth was estimated at $1.8 – $6.8 million in 2012.[21] Some members of Congress are clearly within the top 1% of wealthy Americans.

It is only an uncritical grasp of political economy or an underdeveloped class analysis that would put Barack Obama, the Supreme Court justices, all members of Congress and even many chief executive officers within the ranks of Fanon’s “wretched of the earth.” How is it possible for the political and economic foxes of American capitalism (ruling-class elements) to be placed in the same henhouse as the chickens (the 99%)? We do not need to wonder about the identity of the group that is going to end up as breakfast, lunch or dinner in such a Kumbaya-like scenario!

Many progressive individuals and organizations seek acceptance as credible voices or representatives of the people in their attempt to get a seat at the negotiation table of the oppressors. There are political actors who are infatuated with the common sense adage “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”  Therefore, they will not publicly name and confront capitalism as a system of class exploitation and economic oppression in the global North.  It is foolhardy of individuals and organizations that want social change to crave the blessings of the forces of oppression by throwing ideological softballs at capitalism and other systems of domination.

The above path will only lead to collaboration, betrayal and the undermining of movements for social emancipation. It is fundamentally necessary to speak truth to power and the powerless, because it is needed in our organizing, mobilizing and educational work to end capitalist exploitation. Further, the agents of revolutionary transformation ought to play the long game, and not ponder to opportunism and pragmatic politics.

“It is foolhardy of individuals and organizations that want social change to crave the blessings of the forces of oppression by throwing ideological softballs at capitalism.”

In many, if not most, social movement organizations, there is a tendency to give insufficient attention to the systematic ideological development of their members. In order to get around the low level of class analysis or understanding of capitalism, it is necessary to organize study groups to correct this area of ideological deficiency. Furthermore, the public education work that is carried out with and among socially dominated groups ought to develop creative ways to foster class consciousness, class solidarity and a sound understanding of capitalism.

The forces for social change ought to approach the process of revolutionary engagement with the oppressed with disciplined patience, robust ideological clarity and an infatuation with truth-telling. They must be clear in their understanding and articulation of the basic fact that capitalism is the problem as expressed below by the Black Left Unity Network (notwithstanding the reference to the 1%):

“The Black left is fighting on all fronts against all forms of oppression.  A central point of unity is that all of our struggles can advance only to the extent that we mount a full assault on the capitalist system.  Capitalism is the basis for the 1% control of this society and the source of our misery.”[22]

 

[Ajamu Nangwaya, Ph.D., is an educator and an organizer. He is an organizer with the Network for the Elimination of Police Violence and Campaign to End the Occupation of Haiti.]

 

Amilcar Cabral, “The Weapon of Theory,” Marxist.org, January 1966. Accessed January 4, 2015, https://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/cabral/1966/weapon-theory.htm

Occupy Wall Street, “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City,” Occupy Wall Street, September 29, 2011. Accessed January 4, 2015, http://occupywallstreet.net/policy/declaration-occupation-new-york-city

Ali Hayat, “Capitalism, Democracy and the Occupy Wall Street Movement,” Huffington Post, November 29, 2011. Accessed January 4, 2015, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ali-hayat/occupy-wall-street-capitalism_b_1119247.html

Ha-Joon Chang, “Anti-capitalist? Too simple. Occupy can be the catalyst for a radical rethink,” The Guardian, November 15, 2011. Accessed January 4, 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/nov/15/anti-capitalist-occupy-pigeonholing

[] John Bowles, “Can Capitalism be Reformed? Occupy Wall Street Movement (OWS) in a Bind: Doesn’t Want to Mention the S-Word,” Global Research, October 30, 2011. Accessed January 4, 2015, http://www.globalresearch.ca/can-capitalism-be-reformed-occupy-wall-street-movement-ows-in-a-bind-doesn-t-want-to-mention-the-s-word/27371

Zaid Jilani, “Memo To The Media: It’s Not ‘Anti-Capitalist’ To Protest An Industry That Was Saved By Trillions Of Taxpayer Dollars,” ThinkProgress, October 4, 2011, Access January 5, 2015, http://thinkprogress.org/media/2011/10/04/335360/not-anti-capitalist-to-protest-wall-street/

Adam Gabbatt, Mark Townsend and Lisa O’Carroll, “’Occupy’ anti-capitalism protests spread around the world,” The Observer, October 15, 2011. Accessed January 4, 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/oct/16/occupy-protests-europe-london-assange;

John Nichols, “The Pope Versus Unfettered Capitalism,” The Nation, November 30, 2013. Accessed January 5, 2015, http://www.thenation.com/blog/177414/pope-versus-unfettered-capitalism#

Ralph Nader, “The Myths of Big Corporate Capitalism,” Common Dreams, July 12, 2014. Accessed http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/07/12/myths-big-corporate-capitalism

Nicholas Christoff, “Unrest in Indonesia: The Roots; Suharto’s Stealthy Foe: Globalizing Capitalism,” New York Times, May 20, 1998. Accessed January 5, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/1998/05/20/world/unrest-in-indonesia-the-roots-suharto-s-stealthy-foe-globalizing-capitalism.html

Michael A. Peters, “The Crisis of Finance Capitalism and the Exhaustion of Neoliberalism,” Truthout, July 21, 2013. Accessed January 5, 2015, http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/17536-the-crisis-of-finance-capitalism-and-the-exhaustion-of-neoliberalism

Paul Buchheit, “5 Ways That Raw, Unregulated Capitalism Is Acting Like a Cancer on American Society,” AlterNet, May 5, 2013. Accessed January 5, 2015, http://www.alternet.org/economy/5-ways-raw-unregulated-capitalism-acting-cancer-american-society; Joseph E. Stiglitz, “The evils of unregulated capitalism,” Al Jazeera, July 10, 2011. Accessed January 5, 2015, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/07/20117714241429793.html

Sam Gindin, “When History Knocks,” Jacobins, December 30, 2014. Accessed January 5, 2015, https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/12/naomi-klein-capitalism/

Mario Pezzini, “An Emerging Middle Class,” OECD Observer, 2012. Accessed January 5, 2015, http://www.oecdobserver.org/news/fullstory.php/aid/3681/An_emerging_middle_class.html

Time Magazine, “Topline Results of Oct. 9-10, 2011, TIME Poll,” Time. Accessed January 4, 2015, http://swampland.time.com/full-results-of-oct-9-10-2011-time-poll/

Alan Dunn, “Average America vs the One Percent,” Forbes, March 21, 2012. Accessed January 5, 2015, http://www.forbes.com/sites/moneywisewomen/2012/03/21/average-america-vs-the-one-percent/

Daily Mail Reporter, “Obama’s income has plummeted from $5million a year to just $481,000 since becoming President,” Daily Mail, April 12, 2014. Accessed January 5, 2015, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2603135/Obamas-income-plummeted-President-tax-return-shows.html

Robert Longley, “Annual Salaries of Top US Government Officials,” About News. Accessed January 5, 2015, http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/governmentjobs/a/Annual-Salaries-Of-Top-Us-Government-Officials.htm; James Rowley, “Federal Judges in U.S. See $25,000 More as Salary Freeze Falls,” Bloomberg, January 13, 2014. Accessed January 5, 2015, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-13/federal-judges-in-u-s-see-25-000-more-as-salary-freeze-falls.html

Tami Luhby, “The wealthy are 288 times richer than you,” CNN, September 11, 2012. Accessed January 5, 2015, http://money.cnn.com/2012/09/11/news/economy/wealth-net-worth/ 

Eric Lipton, “Half of Congress Members Are Millionaires, Report Says,” New York Times, January 9, 2014, Accessed January 5, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/10/us/politics/more-than-half-the-members-of-congress-are-millionaires-analysis-finds.html

Associate Press, “Obama Net Worth Between $1.8M And $6.8M, Owes Money On Mortgage On Chicago Home,” Huffington Post, May 15, 2013. Accessed January 5, 2015, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/15/obama-net-worth_n_3281555.html; Erin Carlyle, “Obama’s Worth Nearly $6 Million — See Why He’s Down Since Last Year,” Forbes, May 16, 2012. Accessed January 5, 2015, http://www.forbes.com/sites/erincarlyle/2012/05/16/obamas-worth-nearly-6-million-see-why-hes-down-since-last-year/

Black Left Unity Network, “Draft Manifesto for Black Liberation,” Black Left Unity. Accessed January 5, 2015, http://www.blunblog.org/2015/01/all-concerned-blackfolk-are-invited-to.html

SYRIA: Avaaz, Purpose & the Art of Selling Hate for Empire

September 17, 2014

by Cory Morningstar

 

 “The Ivy League bourgeoisie who sit at the helm of the non-profit industrial complex will one day be known simply as charismatic architects of death. Funded by the ruling class oligarchy, the role they serve for their funders is not unlike that of corporate media. Yet, it appears that global society is paralyzed in a collective hypnosis – rejecting universal social interests, thus rejecting reason, to instead fall in line with the position of the powerful minority that has seized control, a minority that systematically favours corporate interests.” — From the article Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part I, Section I, Sept 10, 2012

The organization Avaaz was instrumental in building public approval for the No Fly Zone for the illegal invasion of Libya in 2011. The NATO-led destabilization/illegal war in Libya resulted in the annihilation of a formerly sovereign country that has since descended into brutal chaos. Tens upon thousands of Libyans died and the most savage ethnic cleansing that the mind can imagine has been widespread. The destruction of Libya has been nothing less than a full-scale bloodbath.

The-Avaaz-campaign-for-no-007

 

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] [Further discussion of the flag within this Avaaz image can be read in the epilogue.]

screenshot-www-avaaz-org-2014-08-31-09-08-35

Above image: Avaaz takes credit for the implementation of the Libya No Fly Zone. [Further Reading: Did Libya’s Citizens Demand Foreign Intervention?” A ridiculous question, yet according to Avaaz, the answer is yes.]

When Avaaz rolled out the same rinse, lather and repeat campaign for the seizing of Syria, the public did not fall prey as easily. The campaign failed. Below are three separate links to the Avaaz campaign calling for a no-fly zone over Syria.

http://www.avaaz.org/en/syria_the_last_straw_a/ (June 4, 2013) (Avaaz utilizing the “chemical attack” that has since been discredited.)

Avaaz Syria NoFlyZone

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/syria_the_last_straw_0/ (June 14, 2013) (Avaaz alleges a “rape crisis” committed by soldiers of the Syrian army – the same tactic used to incite hatred against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi that was later discredited.)

Avaaz NoFlyZone Syria

http://web.archive.org/web/20130825092136/https://secure.avaaz.org/en/syria_no_fly_zone/ (Again, utilizing the “chemical attack” that has since been discredited)

AvaazSyriaScreenshot

 

Of the Avaaz campaigns pressing for a no-fly zone (air strikes) over Syria that flourished in June of 2013, at least two employed the use of chemical weapons to incite fear and hatred toward the Assad government. It does not take much stretch of the imagination to consider Avaaz had inside knowledge of the upcoming chemical attack that would take place in outer Damascus approximately 10 weeks later. Considering Avaaz co-founder Tom Perriello’s connection to the Obama administration and its well known war criminals, it is entirely plausible that Avaaz was churning out propaganda that would lead up to and sensationalize a false flag attack.

Perriello1

Photo: Avaaz co-founder and Congressman Tom Perriello with war criminal, General David Petraeus (far left). Under this Flickr photo the caption reads: “Passing the Baton, United States Institute of Peace” [2009] [Photo: Jon-Phillip Sheridan | Source] [In July, 2011, “General David Petraeus was approved as CIA Director by both the Senate Intelligence Committee and then the full Senate, whose vote was an astounding 94-0, astounding because this is a man who was deeply implicated in war crimes, including torture.” Source] [Welcome to the Brave New World – Brought to You by Avaaz, Sept 13, 2013]

The August 30, 2013 article “On the Eve of an Illegal Attack on Syria, Avaaz/350.org Board Members Beat the Drums of War” documents Avaaz links imploring a no-fly zone on Syria – both public links have since been removed. The article also featured 350.org board member Van Jones calling for air strikes on Syria. (Adding twisted irony, Van Jones also serves as co-founder and executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. The co-opting of deceased civil rights revolutionaries to advance the goals of hegemony has become common practice within these foundation-financed projects.)

Screenshots of an email from co-founder of Avaaz, Ricken Patel to Avaaz subscribers dated August 27, 2014 can be found here (1) and here (2). The email from Patel represented a last-ditch effort to garner support for a no-fly zone as the US prepared to launch an attack on Syria.

One year earlier, in 2012 Avaaz was allegedly sponsoring fabricated videos of civilian massacres, to back deeper foreign intervention in Syria. Fact-checking and videos appear to collaborate these claims.

Jump forward to 2014.

In the September 8, 2014 article Pentagon Planning Points to Possible Anti-Syria US Military Campaign, author Stephen Gowans observes:

“Now, it appears that Washington is on the cusp of pressing ahead with its planned campaign of military action. The New York Times has reported that ‘Pentagon planners envision a military campaign’ to destroy ISIS ‘in its sanctuary inside Syria’ that could last ‘at least 36 months.’ According to The Wall Street Journal, airstrikes would support anti-Assad fighters unaligned with ISIS, who would be bankrolled by $500 million in US funding, and backed by a global coalition, including the UK and Australia, that would ‘provide a range of assistance, including humanitarian aid and weapons.’ These countries could also join the United States in an air-war over Syria.”

It should not be considered a coincidence that at the same time, a polished, sophisticated and highly financed “Save Syria” campaign is being created in the board rooms of the Empire’s favourite Harvard boys.

Where, under the organization Avaaz, the public hasn’t acquiesced to an air strike on Syria, the New York public relations firm Purpose Inc. has stepped in.

Purpose is a for-profit enterprise that is marketed to appear like a non-profit. Their area of expertise is behavioural change.

 “[Purpose] has a non-profit arm, which incubates protests and accepts donations. This is cross-subsidised by its for-profit arm, which makes money in a variety of ways. It sells consulting services to big companies such as Google and Audi, and to charities such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union.” – The Economist

4993854353_a258ef01b0_z

GetUp, Avaaz and Purpose co-founder Jeremy Heimans, 2010.

Purpose Inc.: The Crème de la Crème Agents of Behavioural Change

Purpose  | Avaaz Co-Founders

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.”

Avaaz and GetUp co-founders Jeremy Heimans (CEO) and David Madden [2] are also founders of the New York consulting firm, Purpose Inc.

Avaaz was created in part by MoveOn, a Democratic Party associated Political Action Committee (or PAC), formed in response to the impeachment of President Clinton. Avaaz and MoveOn are funded in part by convicted inside-trader and billionaire hedge fund mogul, George Soros.

Avaaz co-founder James Slezak is also identified as a co-founder and CEO of Purpose at its inception in 2009.

The secret behind the success of both Avaaz and Purpose is their reliance upon and expertise in behavioural change.

While the behavioural change tactics used by Avaaz are on public display, double-breasted, for-profit Purpose, with its non-profit arm, sells their expertise behind the scenes to further the interest of hegemony and capital. Whether it be a glossy campaign to help facilitate yet another illegal “humanitarian intervention” led by aggressive U.S. militarism (an oxymoron if there ever was one), or the creation of a new global “green” economy, Purpose is the consulting firm that the wolves of Wall Street and oligarchs alike depend upon to make it happen.

Make no mistake, the Yale (for example, Avaaz co-founder and former U.S. Representative *Tom Perriello) and Harvard graduates that comprise the “Avaaz boys” (many having been groomed by McKinsey and Company) are considered “the dream team” by the globe’s most powerful capitalists, including those at the United Nations and the World Bank. Avaaz co-founder Andrea Madden works for the World Bank in Burma [Myanmar]. Her husband is Avaaz co-founder David Madden who has taken up residence in Burma. [March 23, 2013: Western Media Celebrates Faux Progress in Myanmar] Madden has co-founded a marketing firm, Parami Road in Myanmar: “Our clients are mostly international companies entering Myanmar and they demand an international standard of work.”

“After years of isolation, Myanmar is opening up. Opportunities abound. However international companies have little experience here and local firms have little experience working with them. Parami Road meets this need.” – Parami website

Another key co-founder of Avaaz is none other than pro-war, pro-Israel, U.S. Democrat Tom Perriello, former U.S. Representative (represented the 5th District of Virginia from 2008 to 2010) and founding member of the House Majority Leader’s National Security Working Group. As demonstrated in the 2012 investigative report on Avaaz, Perriello’s curriculum vitae, built upon privilege within elite circles, is quite extensive.

[*Full profile on Avaaz co-founder Tom Perriello: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section I [Link]

The former Managing Director of Partnerships for “Purpose” is Marilia Bezerra. From 2006 to 2011 Bezerra held an integral position within the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) executive leadership. As Clinton Global Initiative director of commitments, Bezerra led the redesign of member engagement and commitments services into a year-round operation. From 2007 to 2008, Bezerra held the position of sponsorship manager of the Clinton Global Initiative where she directly managed five major sponsorship accounts, including Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Procter & Gamble, valued at over $2 million dollars. From 2006 to 2008, Bezerra held the position of Commitment Development Senior Manager for the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2009, Bezerra was Deputy Director of Commitments for the Clinton Global Initiative.

One should note that in the case of many NGOs, on 990 tax forms it appears as though those at the helm are paid minimally, if at all. Rather than salaries, many founders of institutions make immense fees via consulting services where their names are not identified on 990 forms. In the case of Avaaz, co-founder Ricken Patel does take a salary (approx. $190,000.00 per year) plus consulting fees. Consulting fees must be considered the bread and butter of many “progressives” whose incomes rival CEOs of multinational corporations. The salaries and incomes are incredible when one accounts for the fact that many NGOs, such as Avaaz, rake in millions of dollars in donations from well-intentioned and hard-working citizens who are at or below the poverty line.

[Full profile of Ricken Patel: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section I [Link]

Purpose Inc. (with its co-founders) is a favourite of high-finance websites such as The Economist and Forbes and sells its consulting services and branding/marketing campaigns to Google, Audi, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and many others that comprise the world’s most powerful corporations and institutions. In 2012, it raised $3m from investors. “Ford Foundation, which has given Purpose’s non-profit arm a grant, reckons it is shaping up to be “one of the blue-chip social organisations of the future.” [Source] Purpose, like many other foundations, such as Rockefeller (who initially incubated 1Sky which merged with 350.org in 2011), also serves as an “incubator of social movements.” [Further reading on Purpose]

Heimans, the Avaaz front man of Purpose, is a darling of the high-finance corporate world. “In 2011, Jeremy received the Ford Foundation’s 75th anniversary Visionaries Award. The World Economic Forum at Davos has named him a Young Global Leader, and the World e-Government Forum has named Jeremy and Purpose co-founder David Madden among the “Top 10 People Who Are Changing the World of the Internet and Politics.” [Source]

The New York public relations firm Purpose has created at least four anti-Assad NGOs/campaigns: The White Helmets, Free Syrian Voices [3], The Syria Campaign [4] and March Campaign #withSyria.

“Who are we? Three years after the peaceful uprising in Syria, politicians and the media have largely forgotten what the UN calls ‘the greatest humanitarian tragedy of our time.’ But we haven’t.” — Front page of “The Syria Campaign” and the “White Helmets / Syrian Civil Defence” website

The March Campaign #withSyria | Over 130 Partners

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Purpose’s March campaign #withSyria website (which doubles as a hash tag for Twitter) partners include: Open Society Foundation (George Soros), Amnesty International, Christian Aid, Care, Friends of the Earth, Oxfam and many more of the largest “humanitarian” NGOs within the non-profit industrial complex which makes up a billion dollar industry. [Full list of partners: http://marchcampaign.withsyria.com/partners0]. Utilizing the consumer culture’s celebrity fetish to sell war (and the illusory “green economy“) is a vital marketing strategy of Purpose. In the case of #withSyria, famed street artist Banksy has reworked his “Young Girl” famed graffiti stencil in support of the campaign. On the main page of this website the behavioural change strategists at Purpose promote a slick, emotive video of a white child (in America) slowly becoming traumatized by the violence in Syria. No doubt, Purpose’s marketing executives have taken this avenue because they know that the majority of Euro-Americans with privilege simply are not moved by images of suffering children that are non-Caucasian. Non-White children being slaughtered by imperial states became normalized for most Euro-American citizens long ago.

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And of course corporate media is not far away to promote the cries for war peace. Consider today, on September 17, 2014, ABC “reports“:

“What if we could reverse the explosion of a bomb? A group of 130 organizations from around the world, known collectively as the ‘With Syria’ campaign, released a video Wednesday that shows just what that would look like. The campaign hopes to bring attention to the violence in Syria. (video) Warning: Contains disturbing imagery. In the video, the act of a bomb exploding near children playing is reversed: The blood returns to their heads, the children stand back up, run in reverse and continue the game they were playing. A message says, ‘We can’t reverse what’s happened in Syria, but we can change how the story ends.'”

Indeed Purpose is being paid to bring about the ending that the elites have hired them to ensure.

“Even more impressive than her military, America has built the most sophisticated propaganda machinery the planet has ever seen.” – Garikai Chengu

Free Syrian Voices partners include Amnesty International, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, FIDH, Front Line Defenders, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders and “other international, regional and Syrian organizations” – which conveniently go unnamed.

Such emotionally charged campaigns are critical tools for empire. They have become critical (and successful) in building the acquiescence required for “humanitarian interventions” (aka regime change with extensive “collateral damage” thrown in for good measure).

“In the IC Magazine publication Communications in Conflict, is noted a new form of psychological warfare termed ‘false hope.’ False hope, as a tool for subverting social movements, is unparalleled in its effectiveness. What once was crudely accomplished through political repression, censorship, educational indoctrination and misleading propaganda, is now supplemented, if not surpassed, through vertical integration of the non-profit industrial complex. Where Wall Street once had to rely on threats and bribery to intimidate or corrupt social movements, it now has a vast army of neoliberal foundations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and social media at its disposal.” — Jay Taber, False Hope, September 6, 2014

It is important to note that Purpose is a for-profit business strategically presented as though it is a non-profit (similar to the Change.org petition site). This begs the question of who is financing the Syrian campaigns. The fact that a group of wealthy elites from Harvard living privileged lifestyles in New York City (and abroad) decide, via glossy marketing campaigns, who will live or die on the other side of the world is the ultimate representation of whitism and racism – an egregious affront to people everywhere. [Further reading on Purpose]

“If there is any doubt concerning the nefarious undertones of subversiveness in these NGO dealings, [National Endowment for Democracy] NED founder reportedly said the following in the 1990s: ‘A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.’ What was once done at night under the cloak of ‘imperialism’ is now done during the day under the guise of ‘humanitarianism.'” WKOG 30-point Primer

The many facets of Purpose:

1) Purpose (tax identification number 68-0607622) is a for-profit certified B-corporation “that uses an innovative model to pool some of the world’s leading experts and practitioners in order to fund, launch and accelerate the growth of new social movement organizations.”

2) Purpose Action (tax identification number 45-2451509), the non-profit arm of Purpose, is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit advocacy organization “focused on changing policy.” Purpose Action Board of Directors includes Brett Solomon, executive director of Access, former campaigns director at Avaaz, former executive director of GetUp! [5]

3) Purpose Foundation (tax identification number 27-3106760) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization “focused on education and changing culture.” [6]

4) Purpose Campaign (tax identification number 68-0607622) “Develops social and consumer movements.”

US Military Utilize NGOs to Induce Pacification & Advance Western Ideologies on Iraqi Citizens

The video below captures highlights from the 2004 Princeton Colloquium on Public and International Affairs and should that be at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs – The Role of NGOs in Global Governance and Society. Attention to the title is key: “NON-governmental organizations in global GOVERNANCE.” [Note the use of the term “guerrilla” (4:13) in describing any citizen/person resisting the occupation/assault by US military on Iraq soil.] Since the filming of this video, accelerating regime change operations are being conducted by Western militaries, hand in hand with Western NGOs throughout the globe. [See more: http://www.interventionism.info/en/Re…]. In essence, NGOs have become an indispensable instrument of destabilization and regime change for imperial states and hegemonic interests. NGOs also serve as the primary agents to implant neoliberal policies and western ideologies in targeted states to advance and protect the interests of the NGOs’ funders.

 

The Hate Campaign

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The June, 2012, Avaaz “Good Versus Evil” campaign for the Rio Summit. Above: A downloadable poster as found on the Avaaz Press Centre published in the Financial Times. Vilification: Note the dark cast/ugly sky behind the leaders Avaaz would wish you to believe are “evil,” versus the light and sun shining through over the Imperialist, obstructionist “leaders” that Avaaz is attempting to convince you are “good.”

 

 “‘You have to investigate the supply of hatred,’ Glaeser continues. ‘Who has the incentive and the ability to induce group hatred? This pushes us toward the crux of the model: politicians or anyone else will supply hatred when hatred is a complement to their policies.'” — The Behavioural Economics of Hatred

 

Heiman’s work been recognized in publications like The New York Times and The Economist. In The Economist, Heiman states he chose his career path when “in 2001, a college student named Eli Pariser created an online petition calling for a multilateral response to the ‘9/11 terrorist attacks.'” Over a decade on, with civilian deaths that amount to millions, I’m sure the Iraqis are most grateful. It must be noted that Eli Pariser, too, is a co-founder of Avaaz and Co-Founder and Executive Director of MoveOn.org (Avaaz founder) PAC.

The Syria Campaign Facebook PURPOSE Screenshot

Above: The Syria Campaign, Non-profit Organization, created by Purpose, launched March 7, 2014.

 

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“We were afraid the regime would fire another rocket, as they always come back to the area of attack when people come to rescue to bomb them, so we started evacuating people in a hurry so no more lives would be lost. This picture was taken then! That boy holding my neck like that was one of the moments in which I knew why I am a civil defender!” — Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm

Purpose Inc. strategically employs images, carefully worded text and slick video that provoke intense emotion. Key language includes children, refugees, regime, and their work “in the most dangerous place in the world.”

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 “A year ago today, the Syrian government used Sarin gas against its own people killing over a thousand, many of them children. The world was outraged and demanded Assad destroy his stockpile of chemical weapons. Today chlorine gas is still being used on civilian neighbourhoods, rolled out the back of helicopters in rusty ‘barrel bombs.’” — Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm, Image by Designer : FaDi zyada whose work is also featured on the Heinrich Von Arabien Foundation website. This same website features an absurd photo of Syrians holding up a poster that features a “thumbs up” illustration for USA and the UN.

[***Reference list for deconstructing the myth that Syrian army + “dictator” used chemical weapons in August 2013 by Susan Dirgham: http://australiansforreconciliationinsyria.org/reference-list-chemical-attack-in-damascus-august-2013/]

Exploiting the death of Syrian children to provoke air strikes and military aggression demonstrates that such agencies go to any extreme to further American foreign policy. Note that the very carnage described above: “killing over a thousand, many of them children” is par for the course for the U.S. military, which carries out such atrocities on innocent civilians, including children, on a daily basis, all over the world. But don’t expect an Avaaz or Purpose campaign against the Obama Regime any time soon. They will be too busy under the guise of their NGO MoveOn, working on his re-election.

The following quote represents the real purpose of Purpose:

The media may have turned away from what’s unfolding daily in Syria but today we all have the tools to tell the world the truth. Please share widely and remember the children of Syria in your thoughts today.”

The lapdog media have not turned away, but much of the public has. It’s the job of Purpose to employ netwar methods (“a form of low intensity conflict, crime, and activism waged by actors using social networking services” according to Wikipedia) on the public (targeting Euro-Americans) that will instill hatred toward the democratically elected Bashar al-Assad.

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“It’s past time for President Obama to present a plan for dealing with the humanitarian crisis in Syria.” — Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm

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“Today we remember the more than 1,300 who lost their lives in the Ghouta chemical weapons attacks. Let’s also remember those +150,000 who face torture and death while being detained.” — Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm

Let’s not mention Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and a mile long list of the Obama administration’s involvement in torture, shall we? Syria certainly demonstrates that the first casualty of war (in this case a destabilization effort) is truth. The following excerpt is from the article Foley & Sotloff’s Reporting Show Why the US Should Stop Its Proxy War on Syria, which lays bare that “both journalists documented the reality of Free Syria Army”:

“While in Turkey Sotloff broadcast news of Syrian rebels being found and arrested with chemical weapon Sarin gas.  He used Twitter to send out the Turkish news report.  That was in May, three months before the August 21 2013 chemical weapons deaths in outer Damascus. The Syrian rebels were arrested by Turkish police but quickly released, giving evidence to claims of Turkish government support for Nusra. Sotloff was puzzled why the mainstream media was not giving this event coverage.”

SotloffTweetNusra

 

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“This Thursday marks the one year anniversary of the chemical weapons attack that took the lives of over 1,000 Syrians. Since then tens of thousands more have been killed by different methods. Starvation is one. But the international media and world leaders still haven’t come together to put an end to it.” — Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm

Above image: Another call for “world leaders” to “come together to put an end to it.” Yet while Purpose may cry crocodile tears over the starvation of Syrians, Avaaz has asked for tough sanctions against Syria. Purpose and Avaaz want to “have their cake and eat it too” – while Syrian lives are destroyed by the oligarchs that both Purpose and Avaaz serve.

http://www.avaaz.org/en/syria_end_the_terror/

AvaazSyriaSanctions2

The High Gloss Veneer

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The following video highlights human rights investigator and award-winning journalist, Keith Harmon Snow, detailing the corrupt NGOs and their portrayal of Africa in order to illicit funds. Snow must be considered one of our finest Western reporters for obtaining true independent, grassroots news from the continent of Africa. Within the lecture, Snow discusses the psyops/propaganda strategically orchestrated behind the “Save Darfur” campaigns/movements which, in 2004, began to saturate the populace. At the helm of this “movement” was “The Center for American Progress.”

The Center for American Progress is closely connected with the same players that founded and financed Avaaz. Today, with Avaaz at the forefront, the non-profit industrial complex has been appointed trusted messenger of a grotesque and disturbing ideology; nothing less than a complete reflection and validation of the U.S. administration’s rhetoric intended to justify the annihilation and occupation of sovereign states under the false pretense of “humanitarian intervention” and “responsibility to protect.” [7]

 

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The Syrian government has been dropping ‘barrel bombs’ on civilian areas despite a UN order to stop, targeting schools and hospitals. Those too poor to flee their homes can only hope that if the bomb drops, the White Helmets will be there to help get them out.… Let’s tell the world about the White Helmets and help get them the support they need.” — Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm

“Know multiple languages? We need you! Help us get as many eyeballs on the Miracle Baby video by translating the subtitles into as many languages possible here: http://bit.ly/1tKSmrz” — Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm

Firms and agencies such as Purpose write and develop the scripts and design the sets. They bring the stories to life, strategically exploit and manipulate our emotions, ultimately ensuring we come to accept and partake in their politically acceptable means of discourse – discourse sanctioned (and financed) by the empire.

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“Syrians welcome Iraq’s Yazidi refugees into their country with warm meals, giving them their clothes and in some cases opening up their homes.” – Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm

The above quote is representative of perhaps one too many spin doctors, for who is allowing Iraq’s Yazidi refugees into Syria, if not the Assad government? Indeed, Assad’s government has accepted more refugees per capita than any other country in the Middle East.

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“In the wake of Robin Williams’ death, the people of Idlib remember the actor/comedian with a quote on freedom.” — Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm

This image takes absurdity to a new level. Recap: In the midst of being bombed, starved, and rained on by chemical weapons, Syrians take time to pay homage to an American actor/comedian (because the love of the America that is destroying the Middle East is so great), by quoting a line from a genie in a bottle from a scene in an animated Disney movie and creating a banner in the English language.

 

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“Understand what this infographic says, and you’ll understand why The Syria Campaign exists. And why you and your friends need to join. http://bit.ly/VlYOsi” — Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm

In the infographic above, Purpose deliberately keeps the stats limited to 2014. Otherwise they would have to visualize the millions of Iraqi citizens who have been murdered due to the U.S. illegal war and occupation in Iraq. Further, Purpose gives no attention to the deaths in Ukraine, Honduras, Libya, Haiti, Congo (millions) and all of the other countries being decimated by Imperialism and foreign interference.

 

Syria Voices FB photo Obama 

“Tell Obama we need a plan set forth to address the worsening humanitarian crisis in Syria. bit.ly/1nITTtO” — Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm

The message is clear. Purpose wants the green light for military intervention in Syria, well-cloaked under the guise of humanitarianism – an oxymoron if there ever was one.

“How were you to know you were approving posts from one of the world’s most violent dictators? A man who’s ordered the dropping of bombs on hospitals and primary schools?” — Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm

“Syrian dictator Bashar Assad has been re-elected and he can thank Facebook for being a propaganda platform.” — Purpose Inc. Marketing Firm

“It is critical to note that the imperialist powers (inclusive of the UN) do not criticize or demonize or withdraw their support from such leaders on any ethical or moral ground. Denunciation of state leaders and emotive language is merely theatre. Rather, the imperialist states strategically set out to destroy any state leader that is unwilling to be controlled by US interests and foreign policy. A case in point is unwavering support of the Saudi royal family responsible for atrocious human rights violations to which the imperialist countries turn a blind eye.” (from Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part I, Section I)

 

The Behavioural Change Dream Team:

·         Full profile of Jeremy Heimans: Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section II [link]

·         Full profile of David Madden: Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section II [link]

·         Full profile of James Slezak: Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section III [link]

Further reading on behavioural change: Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section II [link]

Further reading on Avaaz and Purpose: This Changes Nothing. Why the People’s Climate March Guarantees Climate Catastrophe

+++

 

Epilogue

Consider that the colour of the national flag of the Libyan Jamahiriya (from 1977 to 2011; The Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) was pure green in colour. Unlike the one featured in the Avaaz campaign. The green colour traditionally symbolizes Islam. In Libya, green was also a colour traditionally used to represent the Tripolitania region (commonly referred to as Tripoli) that NATO forces fought to seize. The iconic green flag was chosen by Libyan leader/brother Muammar Gaddafi to symbolize his political philosophy (after his revolutionary Green Book). On 10 March 2011, France was the first state to recognize the council as the official government of Libya, as well as the first to allow the Libyan embassy staff to raise the red, black, green and white flag that would replace the green flag of the Libyan Jamahiriya. On 21 March, the “new” flag was flown by the Permanent Mission of Libya to the United Nations and appeared on their official website … this flag, which reigned prior to the Libyan Jamahiriya, is now the only flag used by the United Nations to represent Libya. According to the following UN statement: “Following the adoption by the General Assembly of resolution 66/1, the Permanent Mission of Libya to the United Nations formally notified the United Nations of a Declaration by the National Transitional Council of 3 August 2011 changing the official name of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to “Libya” as well as a decision to change Libya’s national flag to the original.” [Wikipedia]

On August 24, 2011 it is reported by yet another mouthpiece for empire that:

As Libyan rebels take over, embassies worldwide have been replacing the old Libyan flag with a new one…. But starting in February, a new flag – red, black, and green with a white star and crescent in the center – has been hoisted at Libyan embassies around the world, from Switzerland to Bangladesh. It is the same flag being flown by the jubilant rebels themselves as they descend on Tripoli.”

In the article, the words “U.S. funded mercenaries” have been replaced with “the jubilant rebels.” It would be well worth investigating who ordered, manufactured and paid for thousands of these new flags (prior to or commencing in February of 2011) and ensured they would replace the national flag of the Libyan Jamahiriya that flourished from 1977 to 2011.

 

Further Reading:

 

·         The Grotesque and Disturbing Ideology at the Helm of Avaaz, March 7, 2012

·         Sostenere il governo USA senza saperlo: il grave esempio di “Avaaz,” March 8, 2012

·         SPEAKING TRUTH: A Profound Message to Avaaz from Poet Gabriel Impaglione of Argentina, March 12, 2012

·         Argentine Journalist Stella Calloni Denounces Avaaz | Latin American Unions Follow Her Lead, March 12, 2012

·         Avaaz: Empire Propaganda Mill Masquerading as Grassroots Activism, June 9, 2012

·         Avaaz’s War on Syria: Soros Sponsored Sorrow Pleads for Foreign Intervention, June 14, 2012

·         Rio Summit “Good Versus Evil” Advert Displays Blatant Racism and Imperialism at Core of Avaaz, June 22, 2012

·         Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part I, Section I, Sept 24, 2012

·         Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part I, Section II, Sept 24, 2012

·         Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part I, Section III, Sept 24, 2012

·         Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section I, Sept 24, 2012

·         Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section II, Nov 1, 2012

·         Welcome to the Brave New World – Brought to You by Avaaz, Sept 13, 2013

 

Endnotes:

[1] Jeremy Heimans on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jeremyheimans

[2] David Madden on Twitter: https://twitter.com/davidmadden

[3] Job Detail for Social Media Intern, Syrian Voices Movement Job Location: Purpose Inc, New York, NY, 10176: http://jobs.climber.com/jobs/Media-Communication/New-York-NY-10176/Social-Media-Intern-Syrian-Voices-Movement/55687863

[4] Purpose is hiring: Join the Syria Campaign: http://www.purpose.com/were-staffing-up-on-the-syria-campaign/]

[5] Purpose Action Board of Directors: Jon Huggett, founding chair of Social Innovation Exchange, former partner at The Bridgespan Group and Bain & Company; Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange.org and former senior director of media programs at GLAAD; Brett Solomon, executive director of Access, former campaigns director at Avaaz, former executive director of GetUp!; Douglas Atkin, director of community at Airbnb, former chief community officer of Meetup, author of The Culting of Brands; Andre Banks, executive director of Purpose Foundation, former strategy director at Purpose and former deputy director of ColorOfChange.org; Jeremy Heimans, co-founder & CEO of Purpose, co-founder of Avaaz and co-founder of GetUp! [Source]

[6] Purpose Foundation Board of Directors: Carla Sutherland, research scholar at Columbia University’s Gender and Sexuality Law Center’s Engaging Tradition Project, former program officer at Ford Foundation and Arcus Foundation; Jeremy Heimans, co-founder & CEO of Purpose, co-founder of Avaaz and co-founder of GetUp!; Michael Evans, president of Moynihan Station Development Corporation and former chief of staff to the Lieutenant Governor of New York State. [Source]| Purpose Foundation’s organizational documents and annual reports on Form 990 can be found here.

[7] December 29, 2004: “Over two days in early December approximately three-dozen religious activists met at the Washington office of the Center for American Progress, a recently formed think tank headed by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta. The Res Publica-driven agenda for the closed-door gathering included sessions on “building the movement infrastructure” and “objectives, strategies and core issues.” Res Publica was founded by Tom Perriello, Ricken Patel and Tom Pravda. Avaaz was founded by Res Publica, MoveOn.org, Executive Director Ricken Patel, Tom Perriello, Tom Pravda, Eli Pariser (MoveOn Executive Director), Andrea Woodhouse (consultant to the World Bank) Jeremy Heimans (co-founder of GetUp! and Purpose), and Australian entrepreneur David Madden (co-founder of GetUp and Purpose). Avaaz co-founder Tom Perriello is now President and CEO of Center for American Progress. Perriello and Patel also co-founded and co-directed DarfurGenocide.org which officially launched in 2004. “DarfurGenocide.org is a project of Res Publica, a group of public sector professionals dedicated to promoting good governance and virtuous civic cultures.” Today, this organization is now known as “Darfurian Voices”: “Darfurian Voices is a project of 24 Hours for Darfur.” The U.S. Department of State and the Open Society Institute were just two of the organizations funders and collaborating partners. Other Darfurian Voices partners include Avaaz, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), International Centre for Transitional Justice, Darfur Rehabilitation Project, Humanity United, Darfur People’s Association of New York, Genocide Intervention, Witness, Yale Law School, The Sigrid Rausing Trust and the Bridgeway Foundation. Despite the carefully crafted language and images that tug at your emotions, such NGOs were created for and exist for one primary purpose — to protect and further American policy and interests, under the guise of philanthropy and humanitarianism. Of all the listed partners of DarfurGenocide.org, with exception of one located in London England, all of the entities involved are American and based on US soil.

Social Movements Need To Be Aware of Corporate Influence & Opportunists [#OWS]

BAWe have built our consultancy atop a dynamic for-profit contractor model designed to liberate activism from limitations to innovation. Our antecedents are commercial social change consultancies such as CANVAS, founded by the creative team behind Otpor!—the Serbian social movement that toppled Slobodon Milosovic—and Purpose, whose principals created Avaaz and GetUp!. – Boutique Activist Consultancy (BAC), Founder: Micah White

 

” And then there’s the boutique activism firm White’s started. The idea is to train activists and galvanize support for causes similar to online social and political movements like Avaaz.org and Purpose.com. But the difference is, his new venture is unabashedly for-profit.’“Occupy Wall Street generated tremendous money,’ says White. ‘This whole idea that activists should do it for free and all that bullshit is over. Like somehow I’m supposed to be a full-time activist and have zero income from it? It’s ridiculous.'” – April 28, 2014, Grist

 

truthout | Op-Ed

April 1, 2014 

By Anthony Scalise,

It’s been three years since the occupation of Zuccotti park and various other parks, city halls, and commons that were physically occupied by activists across the nation and around the globe. The central theme that has now become a part of national dialogue is the chant frequently repeated in street demonstrations, “We are the 99%” that brought to light the idea that a small wealthy elite, an immensely small fraction of the population, holds a share of wealth and power far out of proportion to their numbers. Occupy was seen as a reawaking of a largely immobile and apathetic public that was becoming more aware of the disconnect between public need and corporate political influence. As the camps began to grow and hold their ground for the initial few months, discussions about political endorsement were taking place. At around the same time as the Republican Party began their endorsement of the Tea Party, the idea was largely supported that Occupy should stay away from the “left” wing faction of the Business Party, otherwise known as corporate Democrats and be aware of its attempts to co-opt the movement.

It’s now 2014, the encampments are gone, but the activists’ message still remains, and issues of corruption and inequality are still being discussed. While there was no formal endorsement of the Obama Administration or the Democratic Party a new endorsement seems to have emerged from a small group of so called Occupy “founders.” In February of 2014, one of the few largely followed Occupy Wall St. Twitter accounts was “taken over” by one Justine Tunney – a software engineer for the Google Corporation. Tunney and others lay claim to being founders of Occupy, which one would assume is a bit late and serves little purpose other than to grant herself and her group of self-described “founders” some sort of legitimacy-yielding leadership role.

Revealing tweets also revealed their intentions to redefine the movement, stating that Occupy was not against any corporations, only against Wall Street – a significant departure considering the apparent anti-corporate stance in the “Deceleration of Occupation of New York city,” outlining the stance and positions of the movement.

As days pass and the tweets keep flowing, the spectacle is on continual display of Tunney and co. making themselves known figures to those watching. Tunney further displayed her true pro-corporate colors by setting up a White House petition calling for Google CEO Eric Schmidt to replace the seat of the president to be “CEO of America” and to turn over all authority to the tech industry.

The Occupywallst twitter account also promotes the links to the BAC or Boutique Activist Consultancy agency fronted by former AdBusters editor Micah White, also a fellow claimant to masterminding the Occupy movement. The BAC is self-described as a “social change consulting firm that serves a hand-picked international clientele of people’s parties, political celebrities, and emergent social movements.” They claim to “liberate” activism from limitations to innovation. One may ask how? Well, unsurprisingly, by providing workshops on how to use Google Glass in social movements.

It appears the forward thinking activists at GreenPeace were approached by Micah White to be the first activist group to use Google Glass, but ultimately denied the offer. Their conversation was apparently secretly recorded by White himself and is available to listen to here[https://soundcloud.com/micahwhitephd], although viewers should be aware White was kicked out of a Greenpeace training camp last week for refusing to stop filming private meetings with his GoogleGlass eyewear and this recording without consent could have been edited.

This brings to question the underlying players in this situation. We have now, three years since Occupy’s formation, a small group of people claiming to have founded a movement which was largely addressing the crisis of democracy in regard to immense corporate power and influence. Promoting a technology that will supposedly liberate the mass of the population from the clutches of the corporate elite and their political puppets, while also allowing a downloadable application that provides facial recognition, according to the creators of an upcoming app for Google Glass, “Utilizing some of the most accurate facial recognition software in the world, NameTag can spot a face using Google Glass’ camera, send it wirelessly to a server, compare it to millions of records and in seconds return a match complete with a name, additional photos and social media profiles.” The situation reeks not only of opportunism, but of Google’s long arm now attempting to embed a pro-corporate, pro-capitalist, and positive surveillance state narrative (with a first person point of view) into the Occupy movement – a narrative that suggests that multinational corporations like Google support peoples’ struggles against injustice and that we can have real social change alongside the profit motive of the capitalist system.

What will result if an active resurgence of the movement or one with a similar, hopefully more direct, perspective pours into the streets once again to challenge the powers that be? Will it be captured underneath Google technology? Allowing names and faces of participants and activists to be easily identified? Will it be more sympathetic to large multinational corporations and the endless quest to profit? Or was this a not so clever scheme of the newly claimed pro-corporate “founders” to divide and confuse those sympathetic away from the anti-corporate message the movement spread? The lesson here is to be aware of those who seek to exploit social movements of the future for their own personal gain and attempt to turn attention away from those who hold real wealth and power in society. This display has shown that not only political parties, but also private corporate power will also attempt to co-opt social justice movements, attempt to benefit from the hard work of activists and put profits over people.

 

HarvardPressRelease

Paid to Lose | The Progressive Movement is a PR Front for Rich Democrats

Paid to Lose | The Progressive Movement is a PR Front for Rich Democrats

Counterpunch

Weekend Edition March 15-17, 2013

by John Stauber

There is good news in the Boston Globe today for the managers, development directors, visionaries, political hacks and propaganda flacks who run “the Progressive Movement.”   More easy-to-earn and easy-to-hide soft money, millions of dollars,  will be flowing to them from super rich Democrats and business corporations.  It will come clean, pressed and laundered through Organizing for Action, the latest incarnation of the Obama Money Machine which has recently morphed into a “nonpartisan non-profit corporation” that will  ‘‘strengthen the progressive movement and train our next generation of leaders.’’

Desperate for Destabilization in Venezuela, US Funded OTPOR Rears It’s Ugly Head

“We had a lot of financial help from Western nongovernmental organizations. And also some Western governmental organizations.” Slobodan Homen, Otpor, 2000

 

Otpor logo

 

“Just how much money backed this objective is not clear. The United States Agency for International Development says that $25 million was appropriated just this year. Several hundred thousand dollars were given directly to Otpor for “demonstration-support material, like T-shirts and stickers,” says Donald L. Pressley, the assistant administrator. Otpor leaders intimate they also received a lot of covert aid — a subject on which there is no comment in Washington.” Who Really Brought Down Milosevic? New York Times, Nov 26, 2000

 

Otpor, as reported by the New York Times, was a well-oiled movement backed by several million dollars from the United States via the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Otpor (now calling itself CANVAS) has since been most instrumental in the recruiting and training behind the imperialist destabilization campaigns crushing sovereign states, and the far from spontaneous “Arab Springs”.

“The tranquility prevailing in Tachira, Venezuela, was interrupted a few days ago by violent right wing youth groups that are sponsored by foreign NGOs. The so-called “white hands” that do not recognize the government and the vice president, Nicolas Maduro, as well as the decision by the Supreme Court of Justice allowing President Chavez to take oath before this judicial institution. COPEI Party, the Popular Will Party and the first justice party are encouraging sabotage and terrorism in the state of Tachira. They are wishing for a person to die or be injured, but we will not allow it. … [Source: TelesSUR]

In the following video published January 14, 2013, at exactly 1:07 in, the Otpor symbol on the t-shirt of the “protestor” is clearly identifiable.

Democracy Promotion: America’s New Regime Change Formula


 

“On a trip to South Africa to train Zimbabweans in 2003, Djinovic and Popovic decided to establish CANVAS.  … Djinovic had founded Serbia’s first wireless Internet service provider in 2000 and was well on his way to becoming a mogul. Today he is head of Serbia’s largest private internet and phone company and funds about half of CANVAS’s operating expenses and the costs for half the training workshops out of his own pocket. (CANVAS has four and a half staff employees. The trainers are veterans of successful democracy movements in five countries and are paid as contractors. CANVAS participates in some workshops financed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the United Nations Development Program, an international NGO called Humanity in Action, and Freedom House, an American group which gets its money from the U.S. government. But CANVAS prefers to give Washington a wide berth, in part due to Otpor’s experience. Like the entire opposition to Milosevic, Otpor took money from the U.S. government, and lied about it. When the real story came out after Milosevic fell, many Otpor members quit, feeling betrayed.” – REVOLUTION U – FOREIGN POLICY FEATURE, FEB 16, 2011, BY TINA ROSENBERG

 

Otpor has also surfaced in North America’s Occupy Wall Street and 350.org

Image on far left: In 1998 the Otpor logo appears in Belgrade. Image on left: Otpor logo as found on the New York Occupy Wall Street Official website (2012),  featured above an Avaaz destabilization campaign against Syria. (screenshot below). Read more about Avaaz here.

 

350.org presents Otpor

350.org | Sept 22 and Sept 29 2011, Creative Activism Thursdays Srdja Popovic and Slobo Djinovic Lecture

“Due to the widespread interest in the Creative Activism Lecture Series this fall, and in order to better accommodate all guests, RSVP is required; please show up early. If you don’t RSVP, you can still show up and we’ll let you in 5 minutes before the lecture starts if there’s room. Note: immediately after the lecture, the audience will head down to #occupywallstreet!”

NGO’S AND INREVENTIONISM AS A GEOPOLITICAL INSTRUMENT

by Hannes HOFBAUER

October 01, 2012

Strategic Culture Foundation

The mother of all coloured revolutions was black and white. Its name: «Otpor», «Resistance». Its symbol: a white feast in front of a black ground, red colour was hated. «Otpor» was founded in the beginning of the 1990s in Belgrade. The group understood itself in sharp opposition to the rise of Slobodan Milosevic and his «Socialist Party of Serbia» (SPS). «Otpor’s» battle-cry: «gotov je!», «he is finished». «He» was the big enemy: Milosevic. The first manifestations against his government began in 1988. Their social character was evident. People protested against rising prices for living. These «bread-riots» pointed at the government, but meant the IMF that dictated what they called «reform», the abolishment of state subsidies for housing and goods of daily use. Out of parts of these protesters «Otpor» formed a political group with one single goal: to get rid of whom they called «the autocrat», Slobodan Milosevic.

After the end of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia the legitimacy of rule and governance was debated widely in a political and philosophical sense. Where rulers of the old type or their supposed revenants did not give way voluntarily, oppositional groups felt legitimated to overthrow the system. This also happened in Serbia. Slobodan Milosevic and his SPS undermined the shock therapy of the IMF in Winter 1990/91 by setting in motion the money-printing machine. The fresh banknotes allowed paying state employers like teachers, doctors and military. Hence he obstructed the restrictive monetary policy, prescribed by the IMF. What was appreciated by vast parts of the people, provoked Western organisations, and he became an enemy of them. «Otpor» repeated its standpoint: «Milosevic has to leave». It took some time until the potential of this oppositional group was discovered by Western financiers.

Civil society intervention

Since the middle of the 1990s masses of so-called Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have been operating in the countries of ex-Comecon and Yugoslavia. Their «mission» followed slogans of «democracy», «nation-building» or «new governance». They aimed at interfering in politics by supporting local oppositional groups of civil society.

One of the most prominent and strongest «Mission»-organisation to bring Western democracy to Eastern and Southern countries is the American foundation named «National Endowment for Democracy» (NED). Founded by the US-Congress in 1983 and financed by state-money since then, NED has the function to distribute an annual amount of a three-figure million Dollar number to four so-called NGOs: The «National Democratic Institute for International Affairs» (NDI), which stands under the influence of the Democratic Party, its Republican vis-à-vis, the «International Republican Institute» (IRI), the «Center for International Private Enterprise» (CIPE) and the «American Center for International Labor Solidarity» (ACILS), one representing the Chamber of commerce, the other the AFL/CIO-union. These four NGOs, all of them fully backed by state-money and therefore cheating with the «N» in their self-representation as «NGO», work in their respected fields on the ground in Eastern Europe, the Islamic world and elsewhere.

The ideological background of foundations like NED, the United States Agency for International Development USAID, «Freedom-House» or its British variant «Westminster Foundation for Democracy» is rooted in a specific understanding of what they call «universal democracy», which they claim to be spread all over the world. The concept is based on the declared necessity of economic competition and its political administration through democratic institutions. Democratic institutions have to follow the principles of market economy and not vice versa. The ideal, universalistic form of this model of democracy can be described as «constitutive liberalism» in a parliamentary two-party-system under a strong presidency. The electoral freedom excludes the social and economic system and reduces socio-economic debates, if admitted at all, to measures of tax policy.

This understanding of democracy is not compatible with revolutionary processes having taken place in Eastern Europe and North Africa. There the vision of democracy reaches beyond the system of «constitutive liberalism» and its defence of property. On the contrary: revolutions overwhelm such things like property laws and open new radical perspectives. Political and media observers are well aware of this fact and its potential danger. Therefore all missions of civil society-interventions by Western foundations are united by one goal: to direct revolutionary processes in East and South towards the Western understanding of liberal democracy; to pave the way for «constitutional liberalism».

Many democratic elections, for example in Eastern Europe, but also in the Arab world after 1989/91, did not reflect the Western idea of liberal democracy. The outcome were «false results» in the cases of Yugoslavia, Romania, and Slovakia, when leaders like Milosevic, Iliescu, Meciar or Fico received majorities at the ballot-box. The American political scientist and redactor in chief of the influential magazine «Foreign Affairs», Fareed Zakaria, named these democratic elections, when Milosevic or Meciar took legal power, «illiberal democracies». (1) In his view it is not the democracy as such that are in ill health condition, but the constitutional liberalism. He even makes his view more concrete: «Democracy without constitutional liberalism is not simply inadequate, but dangerous». Meciar, Iliescu, Milosevic, Yanukovych… they all won elections and got majorities, some of them more than one time. Nevertheless Western media and politicians call them despots, autocrats, nationalists, communists or national communists. Western foundations like NED, USAID, Westminster or Freedom House see their task in spreading their universalistic claim of a bourgeois, liberally constituted democracy throughout the world. In the societies of transformation they intervene into civil society by moulding local protests into coloured revolution.

How do these interventions function? At the beginning local or national discontent, which almost always is rooted in social problems, has to be «politicised». That means that social revolutionary elements have to be excluded. They could be dangerous for the establishment of a liberal democracy. In a second step cadres are formed. They run through different seminars in «regime change», «liberal democracy», «institution building», «nation building» etc. Allen Weinstein, one of the founders of NED, once stated openly, what the function of organisations like NED was like at the beginning of the 1990s: «A lot of what we [NED] do was done 25 years ago covertly by the CIA». (2) In some cases like in the case of James Woosley this statement can be proved even biographically. Woosley was head of the CIA between 1993 and 1995, before he led the board of «Freedom House».

If the civil society interventions do not fulfil the aim of «regime change», a military intervention can take place, like it did in Yugoslavia in March 1999. Since the rule of Bill Clinton civil mission and military threat go hand in hand. Barack Obama brings this system to perfection.

With the help of Western foundations, the Serbian «Otpor» positioned itself as a more or less successful export model. From Georgia to Ukraine, Belarus and Egypt former activists of «Otpor» hold trainings and seminars in civil resistance to form NGO-units of oppositional groups to overthrow the respective political leaders and governments like Shevardandze, Kuchma/Yanukovych or Lukashenko. Not everywhere the plan is functioning, like the case of Belarus shows. There the local coloured revolutionaries were persecuted and moved to Lithuania or Poland, where they now maintain their infrastructure like radio stations, offices and «universities».

Moscow is warned

In July 2012 the Russian Duma passed a law which obliges civil society organisations to financing transparency. This includes the declaration and control of foreign money. The Western resentment at this law is dishonest in some regards. On the one hand, the civil society interventions of Western foundations for Eastern and Southern coloured revolutions get more and more visible. Their function is evident. Even more: For example NED is publishing openly which NGO is getting how much grants. In its annual statement of accounting (2011) NED notes that it concentrated on subsidising NGOs in Belarus, where organisations like «Freedom of information» (1,23 Mio Dollars) or «Civil Society» (300.000 Dollars) all together received 3,5 Mio. Dollars in 2011.

On the other hand, Russia is not the first country to hinder civil society interventions from outside. So Venezuela closed down the NED-bureau in Caracas in December 2010. And Egypt checked the bureaus of five foreign foundations and brought more than 40 responsible employees (Americans, Germans, Serbians and Egyptians) to the court. They are accused of «illegal activities with illegal money transfers».

After all the experiences with intervening in civil societies in Serbia, Ukraine, Georgia, and Belarus, nobody can be astonished that Moscow is trying to protect its civil society from foreign attempts to implement coloured opposition. Let’s be frank: what would happen if Russian foundations would intervene in Western European civil societies? How would the European Union, for example, react, if Russian of Chinese financial support would be given to – let’s say – groups for national self-determination. They could even use the same political argument Berlin did in the 1990s by supporting Croatian and Bosnian nationalists and their fight against Belgrade. National discontent is widespread in Europe. And easily young people from Greece to the Netherlands could be found to fight EU-establishment with social or national arguments. Russian money could help them to organise. It is for sure that in the case of logistical and financial intervention into EU-inner politics, Brussels would immediately stop the flow of money from outside, for example from Moscow. This restriction would be labelled as a necessary «capital control» to protect EU-European interests, as it is done in other fields of the economy. Moscow is doing exactly the same, but Western media and politicians are defaming the restriction for being «undemocratic» representing «Soviet-type politics». With the new Russian law controlling foreign money flow into civil society organisations, the Western «NGOs are forced to react. USAID is the first to close down its office end of September 2012…

____________________________________

(1) Fareed Zakaria, The Rise of Illiberal Democracy. In: Foreign Affairs 76/6 (1997), 42

(2) Washington Post, 21th of September 1991

Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part III

September 18, 2012

Part three of an investigative report by Cory Morningstar

Avaaz Investigative Report Series [Further Reading]: Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VI

Indoctrinated Subservience and Whitism

“If I have a cup of coffee that is too strong for me because it is too black, I weaken it by pouring cream into it. I integrate it with cream. If I keep pouring enough cream in the coffee, pretty soon the entire flavor of the coffee is changed; the very nature of the coffee is changed. If enough cream is poured in, eventually you don’t even know that I had coffee in this cup. This is what happened with the March on Washington. The whites didn’t integrate it; they infiltrated it. Whites joined it; they engulfed it; they became so much a part of it, it lost its original flavor. It ceased to be a black march; it ceased to be militant; it ceased to be angry; it ceased to be impatient. In fact, it ceased to be a march.” – Malcolm X

In the 1960s at the height of the civil rights movement, a roundtable discussion took place in which the topic was the effectiveness of the movement itself. The panel included Alan Morrison, Malcolm X, Wyatt T. Walker and James Farmer along with a moderator. Malcolm X was in enemy territory due to the fact that the others on the panel were part of the mainstream civil rights movement that focused almost exclusively on the marches, voting and legislation. Malcolm X was alone in speaking the truth, which, succinctly, was that the white male power structure was far more powerful than his peers led the public to believe; that the freedom they sought was something that legislation would never give them; and that the racist underbelly of all the institutions in America were (and are) so soaked in white supremacy that they are unsalvageable. The panel was combative towards him on his truth – not unlike what we witness today to those who speak the truth.

MALCOLM X: Debate with James Farmer, Alan Morrison and Wyatt Tee Walker (Running time: 6:05)

Fast forward almost 30 years. The moderator, Wyatt T. Walker and James Farmer are the only ones still alive. When a follow-up roundtable with just these men is asked by the moderator if Malcolm X was more in tune with the truth of what was going on back then, Walker was very forthcoming. Walker stated that Malcolm X had a better understanding of what they were really facing at that time and the naïve belief that they were a few years away from the fair and just society that Martin Luther King was talking about. Farmer, who was more begrudging, did acknowledge that Malcolm X was more on point. [http://youtu.be/SKLSM4Rk_t0]

 “The masses have never thirsted after truth. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim.” — Gustave Le Bon, The Crowd, 1895

Today, in comparison, the OWS movement is comprised of impressionable, naïve, well-intentioned youth who do not yet possess the life experience that allows one the understanding and knowledge of the depth and severity of our dire realities and the very crux and root causes that underlie most all our many escalating crises – racism, imperialism, industrialized capitalism and militarism. The fact that many youth are thirsty for such unadulterated truths makes it all the more critical to the hegemonic powers that such truths be avoided. This is where the NGOs and the power elite come into play. Occupy serves the state and hegemonic powers in many ways: as a cooling off/venting mechanism for growing intolerance and mounting frustration; indoctrinating the pacifist ideology that protects the state while disempowering and domesticating the people; minimizing focus on capitalism and maximizing focus on reform; focusing on electoral process as a solution rather than exposing it as a distraction; the purposeful neglect in analyzing (in order to abolish) the illusory monetary system, racism, speciesism, voluntary servitude/self-inflicted obedience to the state and militarism. (Of course the dialogue on foundation funding via corporate power is non-existent.) Why do we continue to feed the killing machine via taxes (primarily income tax), mortgage payments, investments and savings – all of which are annihilating our species, all life and the planet? Why do we invest in our own annihilation? Occupy successfully creates a naive illusion of power shifting from the institutional political arena/the oligarchy, to “the people” even though, in fact, no power is shifting whatsoever. Lastly, Occupy offers the funding oligarchy a bird’s-eye view into the dynamics within the next generation of those who must be socially engineered for increased globalization and subservience.

“Habit soon consolidates what other principles of human nature had imperfectly founded; and men, once accustomed to obedience, never think of departing from that path, in which they and their ancestors have constantly trod.” — David Hume, Of the Origin of Government

Consider that economists Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz and Milton Friedman all earned Ivy League degrees, yet discuss/ed and teach/taught economics as if there are unlimited resources, even though a five-year old would understand that only so much of anything can exist in a finite world (before that child is indoctrinated into this culture, mind you). This is why the OWS movement is just as deluded as your average Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative. They simply do not understand the depth of corruption in pursuit of power. The non-profit industrial complex ensures they never do. Thus, the privileged continue to applaud and fawn over empty “suits” such as McKibben who are happy to perpetuate an illusory delusion that the “green economy” is the solution to our multiple crises, rather than simply conveying the truth: that we must learn to live with much less. In stark contrast to current realities, such as collapsing ecosystems, the OWS struggle is centred on the quest for a bigger slice of the pie. Indoctrinated by their educational institution (shaped by, influenced and funded by the likes of Rockefellers and other members of the oligarchy), they view global issues in socio-economic terms like most Westerners, upholding the false belief that we are a couple of legislative moves away from fixing our multiple, escalating crises via reform – just like those who sat at the roundtable with Malcolm X four decades ago.

Yet one cannot reform an abomination and the industrialized capitalist system is just that. Today, a successfully indoctrinated populace, deep in denial and wrapped in a cloak of cognitive dissonance, defend such “leaders” and illusions, gobbling up the fantasies like candy. The reason being, such reformism is the path of least resistance. The real path for a true revolutionary society, were it to develop, would require hard work, creativity, intense discipline and flat-out rejection of the consumerism that constitutes the Western lifestyle, which worships greed and individualism – something that our society is not willing to face. Palliative reforms implemented under the auspices of the bourgeoisie serve to treat only the symptoms of oppression, exploitation and injustice, while leaving the disease – capitalism – intact.

But let’s delve even further into our subconscious mindsets. To give up the Western lifestyle with which the majority of society has been enthralled since the Industrial Revolution (that is, a lifestyle that is predicated on carbon) begs an unspeakable question: what then would it mean to be white? Losing the psychological bearings of “whiteness” is something that “suits” like those who constitute Avaaz fail to grasp the seriousness of – even when presented with a brick wall of apathy amongst the Western denizens when it comes to climate change.

“Prince” William, Tuvalu, 2012. It is difficult to imagine the humiliation these Tuvaluan men must have felt being subjected to further colonial/white imperialism exploitation that, rather than being eradicated in the 21st century, continues to expand.

The reality is this: with ZERO carbon emissions, whiteness means nothing. And subconsciously, most men that society deems noble, such as outspoken climatologist James Hansen, have been living a life of white privilege for so long that they simply cannot give it up. They cannot risk losing status. They know no other way. Therefore, they give false solutions of reformism and incrementalism, knowing deep down that it is far too little, far too late. So deep are such myths as the reform of industrialized capitalism as a solution to our crisis perpetuated and institutionalized into our culture that it is easier for a well-intentioned man such as Hansen to have no trouble envisioning 100-foot ice sheets, and even the annihilation of all life on Earth, all while being absolutely incapable of imagining a world in which civil society eradicates both our predatory industrialized capitalist system and our addiction to growth. In a culture where whiteness, privilege, greed and excess have been fetishized, telling the truth, that no amount of symbolic incremental change will even touch the disaster we brought upon ourselves, is a sure-fire way to not only bite the hands that feeds, but to chop it off completely.

Further, one must remain critical of many further components of the Occupy movement – not for what it purports to represent, but for its hypocritical acquiescence to the elite through overt cooperation with police and the FBI. It is true that the OWS movement has highlighted one severe hypocrisy – that of the direct connection to the Democratic Party. (The direct connection being that of MoveOn.org, which, with Res Publica, is the founder of Avaaz.)

However, they fail to mention – thus far – the inherent weaknesses in Occupy campaigns organized by Liberal leftists  throughout the US: Occupations that don’t really occupy much of anything; enacting Occupy codes of conduct demanding participants attempt no mechanisms of self-defense; and employing self-policing strategies where Occupiers are expected to cooperate with authorities and, in fact, turn one another in to said authorities.

“The complex network of NGOs, including alternative media segments, are used by the corporate elites to mould and manipulate the protest movement ….

 

“It is hardly a speculative theory then, that the uprisings in the Middle East were part of an immense geopolitical campaign conceived in the West and carried out through its proxies with the assistance of disingenuous foundations, organizations, and the stable of NGOs they maintain throughout the world. As we will see, preparations for the “Arab Spring” and the global campaign that is now encroaching on both Russia and China, as predicted in February 2011’s “The Middle East & then the World,” began not as unrest had already begun, but years before the first “fist” was raised, and not within the Arab World itself but within seminar rooms in D.C. and New York, US-funded training facilities in Serbia, and camps held in neighbouring countries….

 

“The purpose is not to repress dissent, but, on the contrary, to shape and mold the protest movement, to set the limits of dissent.” — Michel Chossudovsky

[In this lecture, Dr. William Rees, best-known for co-inventing the “ecological footprint,” thoroughly discusses biological and cultural myths. If we continue to deny these myths, rather than confront them, our collective denial will serve as the instrument to our own annihilation: http://vimeo.com/25059671#at=0]

On 5 October 2011, Enaemaehkiw Túpac Keshena posted in the article Watching the Petty Bourgeoisie in Motion this quote from Omali Yeshitela:

 “The petty bourgeoisie is often radicalized – not withstanding what its complexion is. To see a petty bourgeois force in motion demanding revolution is not necessarily the same thing as seeing a revolutionary force in motion. The petty bourgeoisie is radicalized precisely because of the contradictions of imperialism. Precisely because of the contradictions of capitalism. Precisely because as a class force it is a dying force, and often the contradictions of imperialism accelerate its disintegration. Its impending death is something that comes to its notice and it is then thrust into motion.” — Omali Yeshitela, 30 June 1984

 October 5, 2011, OWS, New York City, U.S: “Watching the Petty Bourgeoisie in Motion”

libya!

October 2011, Libya: Libyan government spokesman Dr. Moussa Ibrahim confirmed the presence of women in the Libyan resistance of Sirte and Bani Walid as combatants in their own right. (No balloons or other nonsense to be found)

Pan African News Wire on the Libyan Liberation Front (LLF) Resistance (formed to resist US-NATO puppet regime), 8 November 2011:

“A LLF spokesperson was quoted as saying that movement is launching a campaign of assassination targeting the 500 top officials and operatives of the NTC regime. The resistance movement stresses that ‘We are ready to initiate a campaign to eliminate all the leaders of the National Transitional Council, killing them one by one. This is only the first list that we intend to draw up. There are names of all the traitors that deserve the death penalty.'”

The difference between the Libyan Liberation Front (and many other resistance armies throughout the world) and our so-called revolutionary movements in America and Europe as proclaimed by the dominant left is that Libyans are being annihilated on a daily basis and fighting for their very lives. The irony is that we are being annihilated also, yet our annihilation is at much slower, more methodical, more comfortable pace so we don’t recognize it. Further, our slow annihilation is self-inflicted. The privileged classes cannot even imagine having to employ the use of weapons for self-defense, so instead they vow to uphold the “virtues” of pacifism and judge those who defend themselves against oppression, exploitation and tyranny. It’s just so damned convenient. Besides, who has the time to commit to a revolution when one’s favourite television show comes on every night at 9 pm? The sad truth is that the West is only interested in hearing about a revolution if it comes with a bag of popcorn and a Coca-Cola.

Avaaz’s Founder and MoveOn.org Announce the US “Spring”

100,000 Americans will Train for Passive Obedience in the US Fake Spring, Funding Generously Provided by Rockefeller and Soros

“If things are to change, one must realize the extent to which the foundation of tyranny lies in the vast networks of corrupted people with an interest in maintaining tyranny.” Étienne de La Boétie, The Politics of Obedience, in The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude

And while liberal sycophants worked themselves up into fervour over a young woman being harassed by a dick named Limbaugh, demanding that Obama personally “make things right,” the “left” had nothing to say about relevant issues – such as illegal invasions of sovereign states that are nothing less than crimes against humanity. Rather, the professional left busied themselves getting ready for their very own fake spring, the hypocrisy so openly blatant, the ridiculousness of it so over the top, that one wonders how much further well-intentioned individuals can be duped. The hypocrisy: Since the incredibly suspect OWS came into inception, the “non-violent” pacifist dogma preached to the masses has been nothing less than full-out indoctrination. Yet at the same time that the White Ivory Towers of Justice preach on why damaging any corporate property is in fact an act of violence (which will not be tolerated by the “leaders”), the same White Ivory Towers of Justice convince their followers that foreign intervention (that is, bombs/invasion/warfare) is, in fact, “humanitarian.” This takes the word “training” to a whole new level. Yes, War is Peace. Orwell is rolling in his grave.

The non-profit industrial complex has been and continues to be an integral tool of foreign policy, predominantly on behalf of the US. When coercion or bribery are not enough to ensure US foreign policy implementation on sovereign states, specifically via National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House and ICI, military force becomes essential. Rather than subjecting themselves to extreme scrutiny and torrents of backlash from an outraged citizenry, the US has now successfully enlisted NGOs such as Avaaz, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International as the retailers of war, the hustlers – the pimps. They package it beautifully with slick videos that play on one’s emotions: “Try it on, you’ll like it. We’ll make you feel good.”

The non-profit industrial complex targets the predominantly white, privileged, middle class status quo that embraces the elite centrism that the complex represents. Reality demonstrates that this demographic actually prefers compromise and symbolic actions that do not incite true changes. This includes a massive majority of self-described “activists.” Superficial is good. Uncomfortable realities are best avoided. Cognitive dissonance has never been so vital. Supportive narratives, provided by Avaaz and friends, have never been more vital for silencing one’s perhaps nagging conscience while reassuring oneself that ignorance is strength, war is peace.

And where the primary Occupy message of “non-violent direct action” and absolute pacifism has been pounded into the left movement like a religious dogma by the “professional left,” we are now entering an era where the opportunity to defend ourselves, by any means necessary, to safeguard our children’s future, by any means necessary, is a window that is closing rapidly. Because soon, no move will be left unmonitored. No dissent will be tolerated. The Occupy Movement, rather than mobilizing to destroy the very systems that are destroying us, protected them. The movement, saturated with the professional left, successfully quelled dissent, thus protecting the state, while civil rights were slowly stripped away – all while the empire expanded its lust for power and the Earth’s final remaining resources.

Activists within the existing “movements” vocalize much opposition to corporate power and control, yet at the end of the day they are on their knees with open palms in hopes the oligarchy will deem them fit for further funding. The fact is this: if we truly understand that corporate domination/industrialized capitalism is collectively destroying us, we must learn to live outside of this system – you can’t have it both ways. This starts now. As long as our “revolutions” are fondly funded, maintained and controlled by corporate interests, we will never be emancipated from the industrialized economic system annihilating most all life on our finite planet.

“A strategy for survival must include a liberation theology – call it a philosophy/cosmology if you will – or humankind will simply continue to seek more efficient ways to exploit that which they have come to respect. If these processes continue unabated and unchanged at the foundation of the colonizers’ ideology, our species will never be liberated from the undeniable reality that we live on a planet of limited resources, and sooner or later we will exploit our environment beyond its ability to renew itself.” — John Mohawk, Scholar of the Haudenosaunee, 1977

True activists seeking revolutionary change have thus had to co-opt Occupy itself. From the onset, we witnessed those choosing to deal with root causes splitting away from the groups led by and infiltrated with the liberal left. Indigenous and people of colour have been extremely marginalized, while the lack of respect and severe lack of understanding of the root causes behind the most critical issues facing humanity is almost intolerable. Rather, the primary concern echoed within the chambers of the movement is centred on the accumulation and distribution of monetary wealth – most all of which is derived from the extraction economy and economy of the military industrial complex.

The marginalization of the Indigenous is made clear in a 31 May 2012 article titled Decolonizing Occupy, written by Jay Taber:

“As Occupy evolves into organic political structures to effect the changes expressed in its demonstrations and assemblies, it would do well to include discussions with leaders from the movement for liberation of Indigenous peoples. As the most educated, organized and active segment of humankind today, the world’s Indigenous peoples have learned a lot about the foes of Occupy. Fourth World nations — including many Indigenous political entities in Europe — are in fact leading the fight against neoliberalism, as they did against colonialism…. As we witness the merging of interests between Fourth World liberation and Occupy, the issue of governance is clearly foremost in participants’ grievances, but before these distinct movements can coalesce in pursuit of democratic renewal, Occupy would do well to brief itself on the Indigenous perspective toward such things as sovereignty, autonomy and self-determination.”

9 March 2012, “OCCUPY IMPERIALISM: Crisis, Resistance, Solidarity” – National Convention, 9-10 June [read the statement in its entirety here]:

“Thousands of white people have been in motion as well in the loose-knit Occupy Movement that targets the criminality of the bankers and corporations, yet chooses to ignore the Wall Street-backed terror against Africans and Mexicans right here, and against oppressed peoples on every continent.

 

“Responding primarily to the effects of imperialism’s crisis on the white middle class, the Occupy Movement fails to challenge what Wall Street and capitalism mean for the majority of people on this planet….

 

“We are concerned that while African, Mexican and Indigenous people strike out daily in organized and unorganized resistance against the intensifying iron hand of the police state imposed upon them, this is a non-issue for an Occupy movement concerned generally about student loans, mortgages and pensions and the rights of white people.

 

“We are concerned that there is little outcry about the deepening Wall Street-backed terror being waged by the Obama administration against the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Iran, the Congo, Uganda, Somalia and throughout Africa, as well as in Central and South America as a desperate imperialism attempts to push back the people’s anti-imperialist movements and governments.”

+++ In effect, Occupy Wall Street serves as a cooling off mechanism for soft activism, or, more precisely, reformism for the predominantly white middle class. It is ironic to observe that a primary goal of OWS appears to be an attempt to restore precisely the very thing that revolutionary radicals of the 1960s were rejecting outright – essentially, that of a kinder, gentler, more “fair” and inclusive type of capitalism – as if there is any such thing when you are on the receiving end of the capitalist exploitation stick. The question that is not at the centre of debate is this: Why is the demand for nothing beyond incremental, palliative reforms within the boundaries of the existing economic system and state deemed as acceptable by the majority? Why reform over revolution, meaning the dismantling of the industrialized capitalist system and abolition of government? Why the reluctance to fundamentally transform society and thereby emancipate all humanity from their own enslavement?

AVAAZ

“We have to realize that we are facing a mighty engine of power and economic exploitation, and therefore that, at the very least, libertarian education of the public must include an exposé of this exploitation, and of the economic interests and intellectual apologists who benefit from State rule. By confining themselves to analysis of alleged intellectual ‘errors,’ opponents of government intervention have rendered themselves ineffective. For one thing, they have been beaming their counterpropaganda at a public which does not have the equipment or the interest to follow the complex analyses of error, and which can therefore easily be rebamboozled by the experts in the employ of the State. Those experts, too, must be desanctified, and again La Boétie strengthens us in the necessity of such desanctification. In such an age as ours, thinkers like Étienne de La Boétie have become far more relevant, far more genuinely modern, than they have been for over a century.” — Murray N. Rothbard, in Ending Tyranny Without Violence

At the helm of the non-profit industrial complex are the NGOs that make up the Soros network. At the helm of this matrix, we find the organization Avaaz residing over the complex, with key players replicating their ideologies throughout the global matrix. Avaaz has morphed into one of the primary gate-keepers of the oligarchy. Part II of this investigative report will discuss information and alliances of the key gate-keepers who co-founded and comprise Avaaz, as well as many key sister/partner organizations and affiliates of Avaaz; the founders; Res Publica, GetUp, and MoveOn, and the new up and coming Purpose, Globalhood, and SumOfUs. Also touched upon will be the indispensible Movements.org, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and others, who, along with Avaaz, make dreams come true for imperialist states. Further in the series, the investigation will discuss the newly emerging trend of corporate media/NGO partnerships in which Avaaz could be considered the test-model for the imperialist/capitalist powers that be.

 

Next: Part IV

 

[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]