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McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part VIII of an Investigative Report] [The “Social Capitalists”]

The Art of Annihilation

January 9, 2015

Part eight of an investigative series by Cory Morningstar

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


“Of all our studies, it is history that is best qualified to reward our research.” — Malcolm X

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ceres: “The Social Capitalists”

The Clinton Foundation, along with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, was an integral participant in the creation of 1Sky. 1Sky (which officially merged with 350.org in 2011) was, in fact, an incubator project of the Rockefeller fund at its inception. Like 1Sky, Ceres would also receive accolades from the Clinton administration:

“It is immensely gratifying that our unique skills and leadership are being noticed. Our project with Yale and Marsh was saluted this fall by former President Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative and this month Ceres received a prestigious Social Capitalist Award from Fast Company magazine. We also were honored to receive a 2006 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.” [Source: 2006 Ceres annual report]

Note that in 2009 (as disclosed in the SKOLL FUND CO SILICON VALLEY COMMUNITY FOUNDATION 990) the Skoll Foundation awarded Ceres with a $2,000,000 grant for the “Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship.”

Ceres Key Partnership: The World Climate Summit

“The World Climate Summit provides a unique opportunity to build collaboration among investors, businesses and governments on the steps needed to enable the necessary flows of private capital to achieve a low-carbon global economy.” — Mindy Lubber, President, Ceres and Director, Investor Network on Climate Risk.

Ceres’s INCR is a founding industry partner of The World Climate Summit (WCS) (2010) [1], now operating under the auspices of World Climate Ltd, a private company registered in England and Wales (No. 07186968) [Doha: World Climate Summit 2012 | 2012 Partners] WCS founding partners include the planet’s most powerful corporations and institutions with access to more than 60 industry associations, 100 chambers of commerce, 2,500 corporations, and more than 530 investors representing more than $64 trillion in assets under management. [See screenshot below: UNEP FI Soft Launch: Conference in Cancun]

[Video: Climate Solutions – World Climate Summit 2013 – COP19 – Interview with Ursula Mathar – BMW]

Ceres Key Partnership: The United Nations

Since 2003, Ceres, the United Nations and the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships has hosted a bi-annual Investor Summit (on climate risk & energy “solutions”). The Investor Summit convenes over 520 global investors controlling tens of trillions of dollars in assets from four continents “who understand that climate change creates enormous economic risks and also know that it represents one of the great financial opportunities of our time.” [Source]

64 trillion

World Business Council for Sustainable Development

“Another major policy planning group emerged in the mid-1990s with an increased focus on environmental issues, called the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), which ‘instantly became the pre-eminent business voice on the environment’ with a 1997 membership of 123 top corporate executives, tasked with bringing the ‘voice’ of big business to the process of international efforts to address environmental concerns (and thus, to secure their own interests).” [Source: “Global Power Project, Part 2: Identifying the Institutions of Control”] Sourcewatch states: WBCSD was officially “formed in January 1995 through a merger between the Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD) in Geneva and the World Industry Council for the Environment (WICE) in Paris,” both of which were founded by billionaire industrialist Stephan Schmidheiny and Maurice Strong. “According to critics, this group was part of a strategy to dislodge the United Nations Center on Transnational Corporations as it moved towards enforceable rules governing the operations of multinational corporations.” [Source: Taking Strong Action For Capitalist-Led Environmental Destruction]

WBCSD’s corporate partnerships are extensive. Major WBCSD water partnerships include but are not limited to: Ceres, AquaFed, the international federation of private water operators, CEO Water Mandate, GEMI , International Water Association, IPIECA, the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues, Stockholm International Water Institute, UN Water and World Resources Institute.

“WBCSD collaborated with Ceres to develop a publicly available framework to help investors understand how water-intensive companies are positioned to manage water-related risks and opportunities.”

The WBCSD governance is comprised of individuals representing Unilever (chairman), ACCIONA, Toshiba, Royal Dutch Shell (vice chairmen). Members includes representatives of Toyota, Infosys, Lafarge France, Fibria Brazil and China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec). Stephan Schmidheiny serves as honorary chairman.

In 2012 Schmidheiny, heir, former executive and key shareholder in construction firm Eternit, was found guilty of negligent behavior in exposing Eternit’s workers and citizens to asbestos that resulted in over 3,000 asbestos-related deaths blamed on contamination. The guilty verdict resulted in a 16-year prison sentence. Schmidheiny failed to present himself in court during the two-year long trial and was not present for the verdict. In 2013 a third appeal upheld the conviction. The court increased the prison term to 18 years from the 16-year prison term handed down by a lower court in 2012 and awarded victims €88 million in damages. Again Schmidheiny appealed. On November 20, 2014 the Italian Supreme Court acquitted the convicted Schmidheiny and overturned his 18-year prison sentence stating the evidence in the case was out of date. His acquittal has set a precedent for other corporations whose CEOs are currently being held responsible for environmental and health damages.

“With this verdict, money and power won again. Eternit’s flagrant disregard for public health and the environment is reprehensible and criminal.” — Linda Reinstein, President of the US-based Asbestos Disease Awareness Organisation

Watch: Background: Looking back at the Eternit case:

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/embedded/looking-back-at-the-eternit-case/41124758

In an October 2014 interview with Joppe Cramwinckel (WBCSD) in response to the question “In Europe there has recently been a strong campaign for public water supply: what is your position? Do you think it is right to privatize the management of a resource like water? If so why?”

WBCSD makes it clear the shared intent on the commoditization of Earth’s natural resources (by both corporations and the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) under the guise of corporate responsibility via careful linguistics:

“We don’t have an opinion about privatizing water services, that is a choice individual countries have to make. We do believe however that a key approach to improve water management is ‘water valuation’ coupled with charging the ‘full cost’ of using water through better pricing policies. Government regulations may also enforce, or at least encourage, valuation of water. In addition, growing stakeholder and supply chain demands are likely to grow as perceptions evolve in relation to growing sustainability awareness. This whole movement towards better understanding and pricing the true value of water will have significant implications for all businesses – both in terms of risks and opportunities.”

WBCSD Members:

wbcsd org member banner

Higher Fuel Economy Standards = More Growth

In February 2008, Ceres and the United Nations Foundation brought together 450 global investors managing $22 trillion in assets to a 3rd Investor Summit on Climate Risk. [2][3] One of the highlights that came from this summit was a joint Citi/INCR research report (2007) that highlighted the growth opportunities for U.S. automakers based on higher fuel economy standards.

“In July Ceres, along with a dozen other nonprofit partners, was an invited guest at the White House ceremony where President Obama announced stronger fuel-efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards for new cars and trucks. Increasing fleet average fuel economy standards to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025 will make a significant difference for the environment and our economy.” (2010-2011 annual report)

Obama announces in 2008 that stronger fuel-efficiency that will come into effect in 2025? Seventeen years into the future? Who cares!? To add insult to injury, consider that in 1908, the gas efficiency of a Ford Model T was 25 MPG, while in 2008, 100 years later, the EPA average of fuel efficiency on all cars was 21 MPG. Further, the EPA figure was inflated, as “most drivers achieve only about 75 percent of the [EPA mileage] figures.”

Ceres – Teeming with Religious Entities

“However, to read last week that the head of the Catholic Church, His Holiness the Pope, has cautioned mankind against greed while urging world leaders to tackle the problem of climate change was so surprising that I was sure I was reading a parody of events.… Large investments with everyone from the Rothschilds of America, Britain and France to some of the most powerful multinational corporations like Shell and General Motors, the Catholic Church has and still does benefit from a free market global economy that is solely motivated by profit. — Left Foot Forward, November 28, 2014

If 350.org really wants divestment he should start with the Catholic Church. [May 31, 2011: Catholic Church has billions invested in BPI, Philex, San Miguel.] To suggest that 350.org target religious entities about divestment first and foremost is not without reason. The fact is that 350.org’s “friends on Wall Street” (Ceres) are actually teeming with wealthy religious organizations. Ceres faith-based coalition members include religious organizations such as Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, National Ministries, American Baptist Churches, Presbyterian Church (USA) and United Methodist Church, Board of Pension and Health Benefits (2003). Ceres’s faith-based board of directors includes representation from The United Methodist Church, Mission Responsibility Through Investment, Presbyterian Church (USA) and many others. [View all religious affiliations 2001-2010: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010]

“Among our most valuable coalition members is the United Methodist Church General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, one of the nation’s largest denominational pension funds representing 74,000 clergy and lay members with over $14 billion in assets.” [CERES 2008 Annual Report]

Surely the churches need no convincing by 350.org nor any other NGO on the virtues of morality and ethics … so why is it they have not already divested from fossil fuels? The investments held by the Catholic Church demonstrate that religious entities are just as guilty of rapacious greed and racism as the corporation itself, which is easily defined as having the very same characteristics of a full-blown psychopath.

350.org, McKibben, Ceres, Nike and Friends | Ego Uber Alles

Bill McKibben (founder and former chair of 350.org) has been an esteemed guest of Ceres conferences in 2007, and again in 2013.

An example of 350.org’s delusional idea of environmentalism from its inception is the continuous accolades for corporate social responsibility (as if there were such a thing) such as the “greening” of Nike. This is the same Nike that exploits sweatshop workers in Southeast Asia (April 20, 2011):

“Today from 12-1pm EST, ClimateCounts.org, Ceres.org and 350.org are supporting the Bard Center for Environmental Policy’s Campus to Corporation (C2C) campaign by tweeting during Bard’s open dialogue with Sarah Severn, Stakeholder Mobilization Director of Sustainable Business and Innovation at Nike Inc.

 

“For the third year in a row Nike topped the ClimateCounts.org scorecard and last year made headlines by resigning from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Board over climate disputes.

 

“In December of 2010 at the release of the latest ClimateCounts.org scores, Wood Turner, ClimateCounts.org Executive Director, noted that, ‘There’s an emerging top tier of innovative companies leading on climate.’ Turner went on to state that ‘Climate action may have bogged down in Washington, but these companies know they can build successful businesses while tackling the climate crisis.’

 

“ClimateCounts.org and partners will be encouraging climate-conscious consumers to join the open dialogue today and tweet using the #Nike hashtag to learn more about the climate action Nike is taking.”

March 8, 2012:

” …according to War on Want, an anti-poverty charity accusing the sportswear giants of exploiting their workers in Bangladesh. In Race to the Bottom, a report released on Monday, the organization documents evidence of illegal work hours, dismal wages, sexual harassment, and physical violence in six factories contracted by Adidas, Nike, or Puma.”

In stark contrast to 350.org et al, the UK Feminista group took to the streets when it observed such exploitation:

“The group is asking people to stand in solidarity with the women producing Nike’s sportswear for the 2012 Olympics who are systematically being denied their rights. New research released by War on Want shows that Bangladeshi garment workers, 85% of whom are women, are being cheated of their maternity rights, face sexual harassment, and receive poverty pay.”

Yet this should be of little surprise. The NPIC is patriarchal; those at the helm could care less that women suffer the most under the industrialized global capitalist system. Those exploited the most, and in particular women, will suffer the most as climate impacts intensify. There is a reason 350.org no longer uses the term “climate justice.” The reality is that climate and justice will not and cannot coincide under the current economic system, as violence and exploitation are inherently built into the system.

Capitalism Doesn’t Care if Anyone Divests

“At Ceres, we understand that capitalism and sustainability are deeply and increasingly interrelated. Whether it’s energy and water needs, workplace conditions or nutrition, businesses must pay attention. These issues pose risks that must be managed proactively. They present opportunities that must be leveraged immediately.” Ceres Annual Report 2005 & Beyond, Ceres, 2006

 

“The essence of capitalism is to turn nature into commodities and commodities into capital. The live green earth is transformed into dead gold bricks, with luxury items for the few and toxic slag heaps for the many. The glittering mansion overlooks a vast sprawl of shanty towns, wherein a desperate, demoralized humanity is kept in line with drugs, television, and armed force.” ? Against Empire

 

All money, like water, will flow somewhere. Meaning that at the end of the day even (“direct”) divestment from fossil fuels (asked to take place within a 5-year time frame) will only change the flow of investments. Examples include divesting from traditional fossil fuels to investing in the exploitation/drilling of “green” methane hydrates, rapid expansion of bio-fuels and other dangerous false solutions. The divestment campaign is of no threat to the fossil fuel industry at large because it has and will continue to expand into all the niche markets under the paradigm of the illusory “new economy.”

Campaigns of Distraction

Fossil fuel corporations will continue to rake in billions of dollars in revenues and profit. Investment funds understand that these stocks are secure. No risk. The notion of a carbon bubble in this respect … essentially referring to fossil fuels that cannot be burned – is laughable. Who is going to say no to the consumption of these fossil fuels because they are no longer part of our “carbon budget” – the U.S. military perhaps? We have not stopped on our own since climate talks began in 1979 (February 12-23, 1979 in Geneva); meaning, we’ve had 35 years to stop, and instead, only massively accelerated our consumption – an imperative under our suicidal economic system simply because the system would collapse with perpetual/infinite growth. One would be delusional to believe that we will in the future, on our own accord, make any meaningful attempt to address our consumption fetish – even as resources disappear at an accelerated rate. In the United States of Megalomania, and beyond, new generations are indoctrinated by design to be super-consumers – almost from the moment they can walk. The system demands it. Today, like deadly cancer cells, the western culture is permeating most all other cultures on our finite planet. Why would an investment firm (or their stockholders) believe that continued investment in fossil fuels would place their investments at risk when the American anthem “we will not apologize for our way of life” has become the empty dream to aspire to around the globe? The fossil fuel it takes to run an industrialized global economy built upon (and dependent upon) planned obsolescence is absolutely massive. Americans cannot even begin to comprehend the amount of fossil fuel necessary to allow such consumption to continue.

There is a reason such discussion and comments, such as the one which appears below, are highlighted on the Ceres website:

“Now, some people’s response is to demand that we end all coal production now – they say “End Coal.” Never mind that such a thing is simply not going to happen – there is no substitute now for metallurgical coal and if we stopped burning coal this afternoon and cut the power in the U.S. grid by 50 percent, as Mayor Bloomberg advocates, he’d be reading handwritten memos by candlelight this evening.”

We can cry “stop the Keystone XL!” and “Save the planet!” and “Action on climate change!” all we want. Yet, until we are willing to completely and collectively starve the corporate-machine that hums beneath our capitalist system, we remain chained to our demise. This includes but is in no way limited to: the most minimal amount of community-owned/cooperative energy (as clean and safe as possible) to meet only our most very basic needs; local and regenerative plant-based agriculture based on permaculture principles; trade/cooperative banking, etc. etc. etc. Yet, here there is a critical distinction that must be made.

Is “community-owned/cooperative energy (as clean and safe as possible) to meet only our most very basic needs” better than what we have at present? Yes. It would be difficult to argue otherwise. And yet, the question that arises is this: why are we looking (through tunnel vision) at (a global proliferation of) renewable energy infrastructure (the creation, transporting of and maintenance of, all dependent on fossil fuels) when the very societies (predominantly Euro-American) marketing/advocating the 100% renewable energy campaigns (via NGOs), the same societies creating 50% of all global greenhouse gas emissions, have not even succeeded, let alone even attempted, to cut our current consumption/emissions by at least half? (50% being a starting point only). After all, renewable energy infrastructure on a global scale is further ecological destruction (on a massive scale) to a planet in which planetary boundaries, feedbacks and tipping points have already being crossed.

Massively cutting our energy consumption for essentials such as heat will be very difficult if not impossible. Virtual zero carbon emissions would appear to be no easy feat. But deep and immediate cuts in emissions would be achievable simply by the eradication of, or even the collective rejection of, energy-intensive products, flying [critical][4] and energy-intensive food sources. Think no more “Black Friday.” Think the relinquishing of air conditioners, personal automobiles, fast food, flying, gadgets and everything else we believe we need, but which are in reality, for the most part, no more than short-sighted wants.

Considering that a massive amount of all energy is unnecessarily wasted (over 40% in the U.S.) while over 50% of all global greenhouse gas emissions are from industrialized factory farming, this could perhaps be achieved – but the fact is that we have not done so. Industrialized factory farming is perhaps the most taboo subject (along with the lethal military-industrial complex) among the liberal left and in particular the NPIC, much to the detriment of our children and billions of other sentient beings. Also not spoken of is the multitude of health benefits (let alone the immense environmental benefits) of a collective transition to a plant-based diet. We don’t talk about it despite a frightening epidemic of childhood diabetes (due to obesity) in America. One in three children born today in the U.S. is expected to develop diabetes in her/his lifetime, with black and Hispanic children having the highest risk.] Of course, such a transition (which requires no legislation) will never be championed by the NPIC simply because 1) it costs people nothing (therefore there is no profit to be made), 2) it threatens corporate power (leaving factory farming a reprehensible act of the past), and finally, 3) such a transition would leave the pharmaceutical industrial complex in the cold. Why prevent disease when we can “treat” it, further lining the pockets of big pharma? What foundations would fund such nonsense? The same foundations financing the national campaign to cut your consumption by 50%: none. Another barrier is the fact that 350.org et al, as well as the NPIC as a whole, understand their target audience well. Middle class, privileged, predominantly white. The NPIC employs and depends upon multi-million-dollar marketing companies to poll reactions – more importantly, reactions to specific language and phrases – prior to launching any campaign. They don’t “lead” with progressive/radical ideologies – they cater to corporate-driven and celebrated individualism. In other words, they give the people what the people want to hear. And to suggest to the American populace that it would be in their best interest to not eat dead animals three times a day or to consume/purchase only what is vitally necessary is to risk being nailed to a stake and burned alive.

One must question how it is at all sensible to believe the solution is “green” energy, when there have been zero attempts to curb our consumption to date. More is simply more. It is a fact that as all new “renewable” energies have come online, the end result has been more energy consumed. Perhaps one could argue for (or even believe) in “100% energy for 100% of the people” if we had achieved massive cuts in our emissions/consumption to date or even if such a process was now being taken on with war-time mobilization efforts. But they have not and are not. No doubt one will argue that once the renewable infrastructure is in place, we will de-commission all the fossil fuel plants. Yet what evidence is there that at any time we (the 1% creating 50% of the GHG emissions) will give up any energy – or anything at all? If we haven’t by now, and we certainly haven’t, why would the future be any different? The illusion of a future that runs on “clean,” “renewable” energy (by 2050) is allowing us to ignore (and continue) our rapacious consumption today. The “100% renewable” campaign serves the same purpose as the carbon “budget” (30 more years to “safely” burn) and the zero emissions by 2050 “goal.” The carefully constructed phrases, marketed and normalized by the tentacles of empire, deliberately serve the illusion that we can keep consuming, keep burning, keep killing, keep growing, as per usual. Today’s emergency is kept locked away in the future. It is easy to promise zero in 2050 when by this time the Earth will likely be uninhabitable, with little to no life, human or otherwise.

100-per-cent-for-the-one-percent-lg

The slogan that appeared for the “People’s Climate March” – “100% energy for the 100%” – is nothing but a phrase that serves to alleviate guilt. A sign/phrase based on reality would read “100% energy for the 1-3%” (the 1% being anyone who can afford to get on an airplane). Most all “renewable” energies will flow to the very same people who have always had the energy since the beginning of the industrial revolution: the empire states, the Annex I states, the privileged few. As an example, the October 29, 2014 article “Solar Power Plant in Africa to Supply Europe” states that “by 2018, a large solar power plant in the Tunisian part of the Sahara desert may start sending power to energy-hungry Western Europe.” This is nothing new. This is the norm. This is imperialism – the highest stage of capitalism. Beautiful Africa, the most resource-rich continent on Earth, ravaged and terrorized for her abundant wealth, her people purposely impoverished by colonial and imperial states. Consider that nearly 97% of the people on the planet that are without access to electricity live in sub-Saharan Africa and developing Asia – and then ask yourself why African solar is being transported to Europe, part of the 1% that already creates 50% of the GHG emissions.

It’s not what we need to add to “the existing” that should be our initial effort. Our initial effort/focus should be on what we can live without. An extraordinarily massive amount LESS. The relinquishing of what we don’t need is far more important than using what little remains of Earth’s natural resources to create additional infrastructure. The planet has already been raped and pillaged to the max. Climate science aside, humans are rapidly exhausting all Earth’s natural resources. July 7, 2002: “Earth’s population will be forced to colonise two planets within 50 years if natural resources continue to be exploited at the current rate, according to a report out this week… In a damning condemnation of Western society’s high consumption levels, it adds that the extra planets (the equivalent size of Earth) will be required by the year 2050 as existing resources are exhausted. The report, based on scientific data from across the world, reveals that more than a third of the natural world has been destroyed by humans over the past three decades.” October, 2010: “…our demand on natural resources has doubled since 1966 and we’re using the equivalent of 1.5 planets to support our activities. If we continue living beyond the Earth’s limits, by 2030 we’ll need the equivalent of two planets’ productive capacity to meet our annual demands.” Is it any surprise we would rather focus all of our energies on how much more/what more we need in order to be “sustainable” (an oxymoron if there ever was one), rather than focus on what we can cut out of our lives in an attempt to be sustainable … starting today. Not because it will save us, but simply because it is the right thing to do. The fact that we do not do so and will not do so reveals much about our western societies and ourselves… perhaps more than we can bear to look at. Is this critical? Consider the response by Administrator of NASA, Charles Bolden speaking at the Humans to Mars summit: “If this species is to survive indefinitely we need to become a multi-planet species. We need to go to Mars, and Mars is a stepping stone to other solar systems.” (Note that the quest to place greenhouses on and colonize Mars is well underway.)

A transition from our suicidal economic system to a system in which knowledge, dignity, courage and compassion serve as our shared foundation is paramount. We must start somewhere. Even if the beginning of such a transition is shared collectively in ideology alone, this would represent a true turning point toward a society grounded in humility and decency with purpose.

Until we do, we remain modern day slaves numbly intoxicated with 21st century soma. Our actions speak louder than words, “likes” and clicks.

Quiet Now

Illustration by Katharina Rot via social media. Attached were the words from a daughter to her father: “love this daddy” to which the father replied: “[Y]our girl will do this someday.”

The only way to stop an uncaged monster hurtling us towards oblivion faster than the speed of light is to starve it. This requires the participation of the masses – led by those at the margins. Together, we must starve the monster to the best of our ability, until it loses strength. At this point, when the system is weak and on its knees, in a valiant and united effort, we must do everything in our power to destroy it, shifting the existing power structures back to where they belong: with the people.

 

Good for people – bad for Wall Street.

 

 

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Next: Part IX

 

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

 

EndNotes:

[1] Established in 2010, the World Climate Summit (WCS) worked with three categories of partners: Founding, Industry and Media Partners. “WCS is building the most comprehensive coalition of companies, investment, government, industry and media partners to come to the Summit during UNFCCC COP 16.” WCS founding partners are TIME, CNN International, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal Europe, Dow Jones, The Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Group [a  TckTckTck partner that is no longer made public on the tcktcktck.org website], The Climate Group [a Rockefeller NGO], UN Global Compact, Bright Green, United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), The World Bank, The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Club of Beijing, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Sir Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room, and the support of the Mexican Government’s Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, ProMexico. The World Climate Summit held access to more than 60 industry associations, 100 chambers of commerce, 2,500 corporations, and more than 530 investors representing more than $64 trillion of assets under management.

[2] “Ceres’ investor and NGO partners are already channeling the Roadmap into concrete action, including dozens of face-to-face meetings with companies. Our recent UN climate summit brought together investors who manage $22 trillion, many of whom called on the U.S. and other countries to move quickly to reduce global carbon emissions.” (2009-2010 annual report)

[3] INCR brought together 450 investors representing $22 trillion at the United Nations for the fourth Investor Summit on Climate Risk in 2010 – a fifth Ceres-sponsored Investor Summit is coming to the U.N. in January 2012. (2010-2011 annual report)

[4] Particulates, not CO2, are perhaps the greatest contributor to the melting of the Arctic. Mark Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering in Stanford’s Atmosphere and Energy Program, believes that soot is the primary cause of melting arctic ice, stating that “[C]ontrolling soot may be the only way to significantly slow Arctic warming over the next two decades.” In a study published in 2012 Jacobson led a team of scientists to calculate the monetary cost to reroute the flights around the Arctic circle. The study found rerouting would increase costs by approx. one hundred million dollars a year in higher fuel and operating costs (47 to 55 times less than the global warming costs to the U.S. alone which would occur without doing so). The result of rerouting would be the reduction of the jet fuel emissions of black carbon by approx. 83% in the Arctic Circle. This would not only delay the loss of the Arctic sea ice but also reduce warming worldwide on a global average by 2%. [Source]

“Air traffic is the biggest source of pollution in the Arctic. Ever since cross-polar flights became commonplace in the late 1990s, flights crossing the Arctic Circle have risen steadily, surpassing 50,000 in 2010. While cross-polar flights account for only a tiny percent of total global emissions from aviation, the standard cruising altitude for commercial planes in the Arctic is the stratosphere, an extremely stable layer of the atmosphere. Black carbon and other emissions get trapped in this layer and as a result remain in the atmosphere longer, causing far more damage than emissions from flights at lower latitudes, scientists say. The research team gathered emissions data from 40,399 cross-polar flights in 2006 and used computer simulations to compare what would happen over the next 22 years if those flights skirted the Arctic rather than following their current routes.” [2012 New York Times]

 

 

McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part VI of an Investigative Report] [A Glimpse of Truth in a Sea of Liars]

The Art of Annihilation

September 9, 2014

Part six of an investigative series by Cory Morningstar

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

 

“Of all our studies, it is history that is best qualified to reward our research.” — Malcolm X

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Revolving Doors | Interlocking Directorate

Prior to her role of Ceres President, Mindy Lubber held various high level positions in government, financial services and the not-for-profit sector. In 1995 Lubber worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a senior policy advisor. In 2000 Lubber was named regional administrator under President Bill Clinton. Lubber was the founder, president and CEO of Green Century Capital Management and served as president of the National Environmental Law Center.

The Ceres well-oiled revolving doors glide seamlessly and effortlessly. Green “progressives” who share the Ceres climbing ladder include Betsy Taylor of 1Sky/350.org, Nina Berger of 350.org and many more on the Ceres Board of Directors (as discussed prior, within this report).

Betsy Taylor (Ceres Board Member 2002-2009) is president of Breakthrough Strategies and Solutions. Taylor was a key player in the creation of Rockefeller’s incubator project, 1Sky, which officially merged with 350.org in 2011. Taylor continues to serve on the Board of Directors of 1Sky/350.org. As president of the Center for a New American Dream from 2002-2007, Taylor was present on the Ceres board of directors from 2002-2009, serving as chair in 2005 and 2006.

Nina Birger (Ceres Associate, Foundations, Development) interned with 350.org Massachusetts. Birger joined Ceres in 2012 as an Associate in Development. Somewhat ironically, in this role, Birger writes foundation reports and proposals, manages grants, and oversees foundation relationships.

The Earth Day Network global advisory committee is an excellent example of how America’s disturbing preoccupation and obsession with celebrity worship can easily cloud and make irrelevant what constitutes legitimate environmentalism. This particular global advisory committee includes individuals such as Bill McKibben, Ceres Mindy Lubber, Shaquille O’Neal, Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese and many other US-manufactured and falsely glorified “celebrities.”

The professional “activists” are mostly all one big clique going back decades. For example, Taylor was doling out foundation funding decades ago. Obedient foot soldiers like Taylor rise to a level where they both receive funding and distribute it. They are the “strategists” trusted by funders to chart a course, to spend money and to anoint others to receive it. As a second example, McKibben has long had a deep friendship and camaraderie with Harriet Barlow, who doles out money for Adam Hochschild (HKH Foundation) and has done so for the last four decades. HKH Foundation grants funds to 1Sky/350.org. As a third example, Donald K. Ross started the PIRGs for Ralph Nader. Since the 1960’s, Nader has fought harder for consumer advocacy/protection than perhaps any other single person in America. Today, Ross has his own businesses in PR and online organizing. He was the chair of Greenpeace when the organization was under the direction of John Passacantando. During this time, Ross distributed many, many millions in Rockefeller money, etc.

One can best describe the liberal funding and professional activist circles as interlocking social and business circles. Those found within this circuit go back decades, working together in a myriad of ways. It’s very similar to a country club. The concept is known as an interlocking directorate, defined as the linkages among corporations created by individuals who sit on two or more corporate boards.

Obama Throws McKibben a Bone for Good Behaviour & Obedience

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Christopher Gregory/The New York Times

On July 8, 2013, the New York Times published an article titled Old Tactic in New Climate Campaign. The article centred on a lecture by President Obama who had spoken about climate change at Georgetown University on June 25, 2013. Within this advertisement article, the New York Time’s intent of highlighting the divestment campaign is no more subtle than a Marlboro cigarette ad promoting the commodified essence of cool. The portrayal of Obama as a noble president and leader delivering “crypto-radical” covert messages is beyond nauseating:

“It was a single word tucked into a presidential speech. It went by so fast that most Americans probably never heard it, much less took the time to wonder what it meant. But to certain young ears, the word had the shock value of a rifle shot. The reference occurred late in President Obama‘s climate speech at Georgetown University two weeks ago, in the middle of this peroration: “Convince those in power to reduce our carbon pollution. Push your own communities to adopt smarter practices. Invest. Divest. Remind folks there’s no contradiction between a sound environment and strong economic growth.” That injunction to “divest” was, pretty clearly, a signal to the thousands of college students who have been manning the barricades for nearly a year now, urging their colleges to rid their endowments of stock in fossil-fuel companies as a way of forcing climate change higher on the national political agenda.

“‘The president of the United States knows we exist, and he likes what we’re doing,’ Marissa Solomon of the University of Michigan wrote soon after. Other students recounted leaping to their feet or nearly falling off their chairs when the president uttered the word. Chris Hayes, the host of a program on MSNBC who is young enough and smart enough to have caught the reference instantly, said on Twitter that “‘invest, divest’ is the most crypto-radical line the president has ever uttered.”

“Maybe it should come as no great surprise, though. Divestment as a tactic for social change holds a fond place in Barack Obama’s memory. Mr. Obama’s first foray into politics, as a student at Occidental College in the early 1980s, was in support of demands that the trustees divest from the stocks of companies doing business in South Africa under apartheid. In what he later called a piece of street theater, he was dragged off stage by two white students dressed up as oppressive Afrikaners. (He transferred to Columbia in 1981.) The White House is not elaborating on what the president meant at Georgetown by “divest,” but the smoke signals seem to suggest that he sees direct parallels between the movement of the 1980s and the one today…. Indeed, one way to read Mr. Obama’s speech is as a plea for help. He knows that if he is to get serious climate policies on the books before his term ends in 2017, he needs a mass political movement pushing for stronger action. No broad movement has materialized in the United States; 350.org and its student activists are the closest thing so far, which may be why Mr. Obama gazes fondly in their direction.”

Money simply can’t buy this type of false advertising and false hope that preys upon and manipulates the naïve. It is critical to understand that the divestment campaign is not a grassroots campaign. Rather, it is a choice vehicle to usher in and make palatable the illusory green economy (now being marketed/branded as the “new economy”), at a global scale: designed by Wall Street, made in the USA.

Illusory Green Economy = Guilt Free Consumerism

Over and over again we can observe Ceres member organizations and Ceres Board of Directors members working together in united cohesiveness to “normalize” and promote the illusory green economy with “progressive” media echoing the repetitive messaging through the chambers. Consider the following:

“Consider this post a love letter of sorts. Last week I was at the Ceres conference where environmentalists, investors and corporations meet to discuss ways to work together to protect the environment…But before all that, back to my new love … Step It Up 2007 which was all the talk at Ceres.” — May 4, 2007

“Credit Card Charges Include Carbon Offset ‘Reward’ For $1,000 Spent, About 1 Ton of Carbon…Brighter Planet touts its environmental credibility. Its advisory board includes Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres; Bill McKibben, prominent environmental author and activist; and Gus Speth, dean of the Yale Forestry School and co-founder of the World Resources Institute and the National Resources Defense Council.” — Nov 29, 2007 [Note that all the aforementioned orgs are represented on Ceres Board of Directors with both McKibben and Speth affiliated with 350.org (founder of 350.org and US advisory council respectively).]

 

“British news website BusinessGreen reports the group, which includes high profile campaigners such as 350.org’s Bill McKibben, Mindy Lubber of sustainable investment group Ceres, and Friends of the Earth’s Erich Pica, praises Mr Obama’s assertion during the election campaign that ‘climate change is not a hoax.'” – Jan 9, 2013 [Note that Friends of the Earth has also been a key org. and are represented on Ceres Board of Directors]

Round and round we go. On the “Distinguished Advisory Board” of the Better Future Project, we can again find both McKibben and Massie with other “prestigious progressives” such as Junko Yoda, Managing Director, Shellingford Ltd.; former Asia Regional Treasurer, Deutsche Bank; former Vice President, Goldman Sachs.

Ceres “Principles”

“Corporate social responsibility remains businessmen’s preferred response to threats to corporate power.” — Neil Mitchell, The Generous Corporation: A Political Analysis of Economic Power (Yale University Press, 1989), pp.143-4

Ceres created a high-gloss veneer of legitimacy by creating “principles” to establish a said environmental ethic with criteria by which investors and others can assess the environmental performance of corporations. Corporations that endorse the Ceres principles pledge to go voluntarily beyond existing legislation. The small print, that the general populace is not meant to read, is as follows:

“The terms may and might in Principles one and eight are not meant to encompass every imaginable consequence, no matter how remote. Rather, these Principles obligate endorsers to behave as prudent persons who are not governed by conflicting interests and who possess a strong commitment to environmental excellence and to human health and safety. These Principles are not intended to create new legal liabilities, expand existing rights or obligations, waive legal defenses, or otherwise affect the legal position of any endorsing company, and are not intended to be used against an endorser in any legal proceeding for any purpose.”

Yet, in reality, the endorsers are “governed by conflicting interests” and any set of principles, no matter how much better, moral or safer they allow us to feel, will not make this fact any less so.

The “Ceres Principles” are comprised of the following: 1) PROTECTION OF THE BIOSPHERE, 2) SUSTAINABLE USE OF NATURAL RESOURCES, 3) REDUCTION AND DISPOSAL OF WASTES, 4) ENERGY CONSERVATION, 5) RISK REDUCTION, 6) SAFE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES, 7) ENVIRONMENTAL RESTORATION, 8) INFORMING THE PUBLIC, 9) MANAGEMENT COMMITMENT and 10) AUDITS AND REPORTS. [1]

Twenty-six Years Later: How to Measure the “Success” of the Valdez/Ceres Principles

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Above graphs: Monthly mean atmospheric carbon dioxide at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii [2] The red line represents the summer (lower, because all the greenery of the Northern Hemisphere’s summer takes up/absorbs so much CO2) and winter (higher, because the leaves are gone in the NH’s winter) CO2 levels. The black line represents the mean between the two. Note that even in such a short timeframe, one can observe the trend of exponential growth in CO2 concentrations (note: not emissions).

It is a bitter irony that the year 1987 would be the last time industrial civilization witnessed CO2 concentrations below 350 ppm (at Mauna Loa Observatory). The irony arises from the fact that Ceres was founded in 1989. Only in a world gone mad could an organization continue to boast success, voluntarily led by the world’s most powerful and destructive corporations, while simultaneously, emissions have been increasing faster than ever witnessed before. The fact is, the more “successful” Ceres has become, the more emissions and concentrations have continued to soar.

Global emissions have skyrocketed to an increase of approximately 40% since 1992. The BP oil spill has decimated the Gulf of Mexico. The Fukushima disaster (of which the media black-out continues) has contaminated the oceans with radiation. One could spend years citing incidents and facts that tell us unequivocally that these “principles,” launched 24 years ago, have not done a damn thing to protect Earth or life. As we sit on the precipice of complete ecological collapse and the probable eradication of our species, one can safely say in no uncertain terms that these principles have been an unprecedented EPIC FAIL. The “promise” to reduce, and where possible, eliminate the use, manufacture or sale of products and services that cause environmental damage or health or safety hazards and promised disclosure of “potential environmental, health or safety hazards posed by our operations” is enough to make one put a gun to their own temple.

The only area where “success” has been achieved is in risk reduction – risk reduction for the corporation, that is. Exemption of liability is expanding for the corporate model with the pharmaceutical industry leading the way. In stark contrast, the environmental, health and safety risks to communities and the families within them have never been greater. The corporatocracy ensures that the corporation, defined by law as a legal person, is fully protected, as the living and breathing citizen and all other life forms/living systems are further exploited and decimated. All the “sustainability” reporting in the world will not make this fact any less so.

In the 1992 William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review, Why Corporations Should Adopt the Valdez Principles, the many corporate advantages are outlined with refreshing clarity:

“There are four main advantages to a corporation that agrees to adopt the Valdez Principles. First is the positive publicity that substantially could help a corporation’s image in the eyes of its shareholders and consumers in this age of ‘green consumerism.’

 

“Second, corporations will experience reduced costs associated with waste hauling fees, coupled with potential revenues generated by recycling in accordance with the Principles.

 

“Third, corporations that voluntarily strengthen their environmental standards may avoid financially devastating environmental disasters.

 

“The fourth advantage to corporations adopting the Valdez Principles is favorable investment in that corporation by CERES members.

 

“Another factor that may encourage corporations to sign on to the Valdez Principles is the political, economic and media clout of the sponsor. Among CERES members are some of the country’s most influential environmental groups such as the National Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club, and the National Audubon Society, which collectively claim ten million members. [Emphasis added]

 

“Potential lost profits from boycotts, possible loss of investment money, and the public relations nightmare of dealing with negative publicity generated by CERES are problems that a company could avoid by voluntarily signing on to the Valdez Principles.

 

“Consumers often use the projected environmental image of a company to make decisions on what products to buy. This is the concept of ‘green consumerism.’ While some downplay this phenomenon as merely an attempt by the marketing industry to use a novel approach to sell the same products found on store shelves for years, a recent survey discovered that a large majority of consumers polled would be willing to pay more for products they viewed as environmentally responsible.”

As an example of how these principles created a discourse that allowed corporations to continue to “sustainably” plunder and “ethically” exploit, under a luminous green patina, we need to look no further than the second advantage as outlined above: “corporations will experience reduced costs associated with waste hauling fees, coupled with potential revenues generated by recycling in accordance with the Principles.” It is not by accident that for decades the global citizenry, with a focus on children via the standard educational curriculum, has focused on the “three R’s.” We all know them by heart: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The obvious word, which one can safely assume was purposely excluded, was/is “Rethink.”

The fact is, to nourish critical thinking in our youth would be to severely jeopardize today’s corporate capture in the future. Conditioned to accept a status quo “solution” like recycling, almost everyone has neglected to critically examine the root cause – which is the production of the waste in the first place. Not spoken of are real solutions such as cradle to cradle life cycle analysis and zero waste/zero emissions (ZERI) concept principles, coupled with legislation, principled and radical conservation, and ethical intelligence that would demand that we achieve zero waste. Rather, we are told to recycle. If we comply, we are as celebrated eco-citizens. Yet, even if 100% of all private households in the US recycled 100% of their solid waste, this would add up to a mere 1% of all the solid waste produced in the US. [3]

It is worth repeating this last fact: Even if 100% of all private households in the US recycled 100% of their solid waste, this would add up to only 1% of all the solid waste produced in the US. This is what happens when you have the world’s largest waste management system (Waste Management, Inc) financing and partnering with big greens, such as big oil’s WWF (which was founded by Shell and Rockefeller), and with organizations (and benefactors of the profit from waste) such as Ceres to highlight such societal failure as “success.” Of course, only if we evolve to a level of enlightenment where we are able to separate our wants from our needs while flat out rejecting consumerism and all forms of industrialized capitalism, even meticulously critiqued production will fail us.

The “Ceres 20•20” is the nonprofit vision for achieving a sustainable global economy by 2020. The plan has four key pillars: honest accounting, higher standards, scalable solutions and new policies. To suggest these voluntary pleasantries could possibly achieve a “sustainable global economy” by 2020 as the Earth continues to cross planetary tipping points is beyond delusional. It is madness.

Lumumba Di-Aping, the Sudanese chief negotiator of the G77, represented a glimpse of truth in a sea of liars when he stated the following at COP15: “… and I will say this to our colleagues from Western civil society – you have definitely sided with a small group of industrialists and their representatives and your representative branches. Nothing more than that. You have become an instrument of your governments…. Many of you equally, and I will say this, and I would have never thought that one day I will accuse a civil society of such a thing. Dividing the G77, or helping divide the G77, is simply something that should be left to the CIAs, the KGBs and the rest [not the NGOs].” [Further reading: The Most Important COP Briefing That No One Ever Heard | Truth, Lies, Racism & Omnicide]

Whitism

Pension funds benefit only a tiny minority of the world’s people. Consider that Canada’s first Old Age Pensions Act was not passed until 1927. Now consider that 90% of the world is excluded from old age pension schemes. Coverage and effectiveness of existing social protection schemes for retirement, invalidity and death in Africa – the richest continent in terms of natural resources – is weak in general, with few exceptions, due to imperialism and colonialism, which continue to destroy Africa and her people to this day.

But rather than dismantle the systems that keep such disparities and horrific conflicts intact, we instead ask our youth to focus on ensuring we keep the wealth in the hands of the few at the expense of others, many who live unbearably. Now consider on top of these gross injustices and inequalities the fact that this same minority (those who own the investments and pension funds) are the very ones creating the climate crisis. How many 350.org supporters understand that 50% of emissions come from 1% of the world’s population? [Source: page 77, Kevin Anderson, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research)]

One could legitimately argue that with over 7 billion people on the planet, only this 1-25% of global populace has the capacity to slow down global warming – as they are the very ones creating it. This is true. And yet a critical distinction must be made: to simply move money from direct ownership of fossil fuel investments over to a “green” Wall Street portfolio is to essentially do nothing. It’s merely another empty gesture to be glorified by media in tandem with the non-profit industrial complex. One that can easily be compared to the false solution of offsets – essentially little more than a green-sanctioned licence to continue polluting and destroying ecosystems, while simultaneously exploiting the world’s most vulnerable, in the rapid race to convert all natural resources, blood and sweat into capital. Far from calling these what they are – crimes against humanity and cultural acquiescence to global-scale progenycide – our society recognizes this as just another day on the New York Stock Exchange.

There is one message that the divestment campaign will never encourage: that all global citizens must sell all their shares in the corporations of the elites, redirecting the funds into simple collectives/co-operatives, with the intention of starving corporate power and domination into submission, with the ultimate goal being the dismantling of the existing power structures in their entirety. While it is true that powerful banks will be delighted to acquire these shares (only as long as consumer demand ensures continued growth), as author Jay Taber suggests, banks too can be brought to their knees and destroyed when citizens are united in their efforts in a global context. The system is not invincible. Yet, who would fund such a campaign/movement when it promises the most severe consequences and harsh repercussions for the victors (particularly harsh for the 1% creating 50% of the world’s emissions), even if the shared goal is a livable planet for tomorrow. Furthermore, why would citizens embrace a disciplined minimalist existence when the non-profit industrial complex promises everything and more via more energy (indeed “green” energy and biofuels), electric cars and “clean” aviation? (Promises targeting only those with privilege please note.) Such a movement is obviously of no use whatsoever to global elites who invest billions in the non-profit industrial complex. Rather, such a movement with lofty yet essential aspirations would represent a very real and direct threat to the hegemony that exists, which explains why such desperately needed aspirations, which inspire legitimate movements, will never be funded.

“There must be radical reductions of emissions starting from now. In our view, by 2017 we should cut, developed countries must cut by 52%, 65% by 2020, 80% by 2030, well above 100 [percent] by 2050. And this is very important because the more you defer action the more you condemn millions of people to immeasurable suffering. So the idea that you start from 4% today and you achieve 80 or 50 in 2050 simply means that you do not care about the lives of those who will be devastated in this period…” — Lumumba Di-Aping, chief negotiator of the G77, COP15, Source

We refrain from looking at our reflection in the mirror to confront the truth in all its ugliness. Collectively, we throw our own children onto the altar, sacrificing them to the gods of Apathy, Gluttony and Consumption. In return, we are “blessed” with cell phones, electronics and air mile rewards. The ideology of heaven is replaced with grandeur delusions of renewable energy (for the privileged) in magnificent abundance, yet another industry full of promise for infinite growth and refinement – now presented under the auspices of a much kinder, so-called “green economy” or “new economy” (as our ecosystems continue to collapse). The fact that high tech business finances genocide, displaces Indigenous Peoples, and decimates the very life systems upon which we depend is simply unfortunate collateral damage for the things we deserve and must have. “After the Holocaust, the world united behind two simple words: Never Again. These words represent a promise to past and future generations that we will do everything we can to ensure the horrors of the Holocaust are not repeated.” Yet when it comes to Euro-American privilege, it has been clearly demonstrated that, collectively, we are more than willing to walk over and ignore the bodies of the dead in order to have what we want – especially when those dead bodies happen to be black.

 

Next: Part VII

 

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

 

 

EndNotes:

[1] Ceres Principles:

1. PROTECTION OF THE BIOSPHERE: We will reduce and make continual progress toward eliminating the release of any substance that may cause environmental damage to the air, water, or the earth or its inhabitants. We will safeguard all habitats affected by our operations and will protect open spaces and wilderness, while preserving biodiversity.

2. SUSTAINABLE USE OF NATURAL RESOURCES: We will make sustainable use of renewable natural resources, such as water, soils and forests. We will conserve non-renewable natural resources through efficient use and careful planning.

3. REDUCTION AND DISPOSAL OF WASTES: We will reduce and where possible eliminate waste through source reduction and recycling. All waste will be handled and disposed of through safe and responsible methods.

4. ENERGY CONSERVATION: We will conserve energy and improve the energy efficiency of our internal operations and of the goods and services we sell. We will make every effort to use environmentally safe and sustainable energy sources.

5. RISK REDUCTION: We will strive to minimize the environmental, health and safety risks to our employees and the communities in which we operate through safe technologies, facilities and operating procedures, and by being prepared for emergencies.

6. SAFE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES: We will reduce and where possible eliminate the use, manufacture or sale of products and services that cause environmental damage or health or safety hazards. We will inform our customers of the environmental impacts of our products or services and try to correct unsafe use.

7. ENVIRONMENTAL RESTORATION: We will promptly and responsibly correct conditions we have caused that endanger health, safety or the environment. To the extent feasible, we will redress injuries we have caused to persons or damage we have caused to the environment and will restore the environment.

8. INFORMING THE PUBLIC: We will inform in a timely manner everyone who may be affected by conditions caused by our company that might endanger health, safety or the environment. We will regularly seek advice and counsel through dialogue with persons in communities near our facilities. We will not take any action against employees for reporting dangerous incidents or conditions to management or to appropriate authorities.

9. MANAGEMENT COMMITMENT: We will implement these Principles and sustain a process that ensures that the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer are fully informed about pertinent environmental issues and are fully responsible for environmental policy. In selecting our Board of Directors, we will consider demonstrated environmental commitment as a factor.

10. AUDITS AND REPORTS: We will support the timely creation of generally accepted environmental audit procedures. We will annually complete the CERES Report, which will be made available to the public.

[2] Graph: The carbon dioxide data (red curve), measured as the mole fraction in dry air, on Mauna Loa constitute the longest record of direct measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere. They were started by C. David Keeling of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in March of 1958 at a facility of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [Keeling, 1976]. NOAA started its own CO2 measurements in May of 1974, and they have run in parallel with those made by Scripps since then [Thoning, 1989]. The black curve represents the seasonally corrected data. Data are reported as a dry mole fraction defined as the number of molecules of carbon dioxide divided by the number of molecules of dry air multiplied by one million (ppm). [Source]

[3] C & J Plant (1991). Green business: Hope or hoax. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers.

 

 

McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part II of an Investigative Report] [The “Climate Wealth” Opportunists]

Ceres & the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR)

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March 10, 2014

Part two of an investigative series by Cory Morningstar

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

 

 “Of all our studies, it is history that is best qualified to reward our research.” — Malcolm X

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The purpose of this investigative series is to illustrate (indeed, prove) this premise.

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CERES

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 “One recent weekday afternoon, three men walked out of the Environmental Defense Fund’s midtown Manhattan office on their way to have lunch together. On the left was EDF’s senior economist. On the right was an environmental expert in the Soviet government. Between them was a businessman, a trader in the nascent enterprise of buying and selling pollution rights. Together that trio forms a picture of how the new environmentalism is shaping up: global, more cooperative than confrontational – and with business at the center.” — ENVIRONMENTALISM: THE NEW CRUSADE, CNNMoney Fortune, February 12, 1990

The present can only be fully understood if one understands the past. Therefore, in order to understand the present day 350.org divestment campaign, we must look at the inception/creation of 350.org’s partner: The Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (Ceres).

Who is Ceres? Ceres is the 21st century puppeteers of Wall Street who, most recently, are pulling the strings behind the 350.org divestment campaign. Ceres represents the very heart of the nexus: millionaire liberals, their foundations, the “activists” they manage, and most importantly, where the plutocrats invest their personal wealth and that of their foundations. [“As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, Ceres relies on support from foundations, individuals and other funders to achieve our mission to integrate sustainability into day-to-day business practices for the health of the planet and its people.” (Source: Ceres 2010 Annual Report)

On the Ceres Board of Directors we find key NGO affiliations: Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Sierra Club, World Resources Institute, Ecological Solutions Inc. and Green America, to name a few. (The history of the Ceres board of directors is discussed at length, further in this report.)

 “Building climate change risks and opportunities into Wall Street research and analysis is a top Ceres priority.” — Ceres Annual Report 2006

Exxon Valdez: Opportunity Knocks

 “… sceptics of the effectiveness of a voluntary environmental ethics question whether or not the Valdez principles contain more smoke than substance.” — The Valdez Principles. Is it Time to Put Bambi in the Boardroom? California Journal, November 1990

On March 24, 1989, one of the most devastating man-made environmental disasters in Earth’s history, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, shook public confidence in corporate America to the core. This catastrophic event, 5 years after the atrocious man-made disaster in Bhopal, brought corporate misconduct to the forefront. Corporate America found itself in the midst of an unprecedented public relations disaster.

 “…not long after the Exxon Valdez spill, 41% of Americans were angry enough to say they’d consider boycotting the company.” — The Valdez Principles. Is it Time to Put Bambi in the Boardroom? California Journal, November 1990

Within six months of the Exxon disaster, the late Joan Bavaria, then-president of Trillium Asset Management, had formed a coalition that included high profile environmentalists. The Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) was formed with its 10-point code of conduct in hopes of reigning in corporate power. [Note that in 2003, the organization dropped the CERES acronym and rebranded itself as “Ceres”.] Presented to the public as The Valdez Principles [1] on September 7, 1989, the strategic name brilliantly exploited the Valdez crisis (the Principles are said to have actually been written before the Valdez spill, in 1988) to build its own brand recognition and value. Ceres would be the watchdog and savior, reigning in corporate power and making it behave. Although corporate America was reluctant, due to the growing hostility and resentment from the public it also recognized that this coalition offered a strategy (“a voluntary mechanism of corporate self-governance”) as a means of re-establishing public trust, securing brand reputation and most importantly, protecting profits and power. Its influence was enhanced by the fact that member institutional investors controlled over $150 billion in assets. Yet, the risks did not go unrecognized:

“A new basis for environmentally-related derivative suits may now be emerging. Various social-activist groups are successfully sponsoring shareholder resolutions at many major corporations to mandate greater environmental accountability by the corporations. These resolutions require the implementation of ‘Valdez Principles,’ which call for the corporations to curtail air and water pollution, conserve energy, market safe products, pay for damage caused to the environment, and make regular reports on environmental matters to the shareholders. If directors and officers of corporations which have adopted these Valdez-type resolutions fail to comply with their mandate, derivative suits against the directors and officers are likely to follow.” — ACE Bermuda News, July 1991

Corporate America held out. Ceres eventually buckled. The Valdez Principles became the CERES Principles (a 10-point code of environmental conduct) [2], with the most powerful language watered down and abolished. This was fully understood by Bavaria, who recognized that without the annual public audits in particular (principle #10), the principles would be meaningless. November 1990:

“Joan Bavaria, co-chairperson of CERES, believes that the first 8 principles are meaningless without the tenth principle allowing public accountability. The difference between having the company develop their own principles, then monitoring them internally is like putting a fox in the chicken house.” — The Valdez Principles. Is it Time to Put Bambi in the Boardroom? California Journal, November 1990

In the meantime, environmentalism was changing and becoming big business. The world had embraced Neoliberalism (or had it shoved down their throats by the IMF and World Bank) with a statement of neoliberal aims being codified in the Washington Consensus in 1989. This was to be the means of liberating the market from state intrusion, which would instead serve to shield the expanding corporatocracy. Neoliberalism would prove to be the instrumental tool of choice in what would serve, protect and expand the power of the oligarchy.

From the CNNMoney Fortune article: ENVIRONMENTALISM: THE NEW CRUSADE, February 12, 1990:

“Far fewer activists of the 1990s will be embittered, scruffy, antibusiness street fighters. AS AN EXAMPLE of the new breed, consider Allen Hershkowitz, who freely drops the names of his CEO acquaintances. As a solid-waste-disposal expert at the litigious Natural Resources Defense Council, Hershkowitz has won many legal battles with business. Now high-ranking executives of major companies regularly make the pilgrimage to his office in the elegant, airy, and amply funded New York City headquarters of NRDC, coming to him lest he go after them. As he explains, ‘They come in here to see what they’ve got to cover their asses on. ‘The cocky 34-year-old Ph.D., who serves as an adviser to banks and Shearson Lehman Hutton, among others, elaborates, ‘My primary motivation is environmental protection. And if it costs more, so be it. If Procter & Gamble can’t live with that, somebody else will. But I’ll tell you, Procter & Gamble is trying hard to live with it. ‘Still, for all his militancy, Hershkowitz is no fanatic or utopian. He understands that a perfect world can’t be achieved and doesn’t hesitate to talk of trade-offs: ‘Hey, civilization has its costs. We’re trying to reduce them, but we can’t eliminate them.’

 

Environmentalists of this stripe will increasingly show up even within companies. William Bishop, Procter & Gamble’s top environmental scientist, was an organizer of Earth Day in 1970 and is a member of the Sierra Club. One of his chief deputies belongs to Greenpeace. Eager to work with business, many environmentalists are moving from confrontation to the best kind of collaboration. In September an ad hoc combination of institutional investors controlling $150 billion of assets (including representatives of public pension funds) and environmental groups promulgated the Valdez Principles, named for the year’s most catalytic environmental accident. The principles ask companies to reduce waste, use resources prudently, market safe products, and take responsibility for past harm. They also call for an environmentalist on each corporate board and an annual public audit of a company’s environmental progress. The group asked corporations to subscribe to the principles, with the implicit suggestion that investments could eventually be contingent on compliance. Companies already engaged in friendly discussions included DuPont, specialty-chemical maker H.B. Fuller, and Polaroid, among others.

 

Earth Day 1990, scheduled for April 22, the 20th anniversary of the first such event, is becoming a veritable biz-fest. ‘We’re really interested in working with companies that have a good record,’ says Earth Day Chairman Denis Hayes, who predicts that 100 million people will take part one way or another. Apple Computer and Hewlett-Packard have donated equipment. Shaklee, the personal and household products company, paid $50,000 to be the first official corporate sponsor. Even the Chemical Manufacturers Association is getting in on the act, preparing a list of 101 ways its members can participate. The more than 1,000 Earth Day affiliate groups in 120 countries propose to shake up politicians worldwide and launch a decade of activism. THE MESSAGE that leading environmentalists are sending, and progressive companies are receiving, is that eco-responsibility will be good for business. Says Gray Davis, California’s state controller, who helped draft the Valdez Principles and who sits on the boards of two public pension funds with total assets of $90 billion: ‘Given the increasing regulation and public concern, there’s no question that companies will eventually have to change their ways. The first kid on the block to embrace these principles will increase market share and profit substantially.'”

The primary NGOs involved in the Valdez Principles from inception were the Sierra Club, The National Audubon Society and the National Wildlife Federation. The necessity of the “environmental movement” as the face and foundation of Ceres cannot be understated. In 1989 it was well understood by all players that NGOs were very much perceived as legitimate in the eyes of the public. The non-profit industrial complex was perhaps the only entity in the position of lending the much needed legitimacy and credibility that could mollify the public and allow the corporate world to continue their raping and pillaging, unregulated, under voluntary compliance. And while there is little doubt that well-intentioned individuals with sincere intentions were present in the formation of Ceres (as the corporate watchdog), many such “activists” will never admit to themselves that they are enablers of the very systems collectively destroying us. There is no acceptable excuse for such lack of judgement and foresight – for if it is ignorance, it is willful. Privilege has a convenient way of convincing one’s self to be blind.

“The New York Times/CBS News poll regularly asks the public if ‘protecting the environment is so important that requirements and standards cannot be too high, and continuing environmental improvements must be made regardless of cost.’ In September 1981, 45% agreed and 42% disagreed with that plainly intemperate statement. Last June, 79% agreed and only 18% disagreed. For the first time, liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, profess concern for the environment in roughly equal numbers.” ENVIRONMENTALISM: THE NEW CRUSADE, CNNMoney Fortune, February 12, 1990

The Valdez Principles, which morphed into the completely watered down Ceres Principles, became the perfect antidote to appease an outraged populace. Corporations could breathe a sigh of relief for a continued voluntary system of corporate self governance – freshly laundered in a light green wash. At a time when public support for environmental protection was unprecedented, restrictive federal regulation power would be avoided. Corporate supremacy would continue apace.

CERES: Clearing House for the Institutionalization of Private Governance

 “It is high time that myths were called what they are. They are stories which may help explain our feelings but they are stories nonetheless and they do us no good.” — Margaret Kimberley

The CERES “Sustainable Governance Project” (SGP) was officially announced to the public in Washington, DC, 2002. The non-profit industrial complex was and continues to be an instrumental tool in building public acceptance for expansion of neoliberal policies. Hence a key focus of SGP in 2001 (prior to the official launch) was “expanding collaboration with climate change experts at groups such as The National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Redefining Progress, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, World Wildlife Fund, and many others.” (Source: 2001 Annual Report) Jump forward to 2013 and the Ceres network includes over 130 NGOs.

Today, Ceres serves as the underwriter and clearinghouse for the institutionalization of private governance. Such transformation is now well under way and evolving as witnessed under the guise of the “green economy.” Such strategy is calculated and requires tactical execution. For such transformation to be successful, key critical elements must coalesce: the real or perceived (manufactured/purposeful) decline of public regulatory power; the appearance of “civil society” (self-appointed NGOs) to emanate a patina of legitimacy, credibility and trust; the perception of “caring” corporations (see “Who Cares Wins“); and lastly, media to disseminate the compiled elements in endless waves. When these elements coalesce seamlessly, fertile ground is laid for private regulatory institutions to emerge. By stressing the “risks” (i.e. water scarcity, crumbling infrastructure, etc.) Ceres successfully lays the groundwork for corporate takeover of goods, services and now ecosystems.

The Ceres Network Companies (the first pillar) make up the crème de le crème (approx. 70 corporations) of the corporate world. Examples include Citi, Bloomberg, Coca-Cola, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Suncor and Virgin. The Ceres Coalition (the second pillar) is comprised of more than 130 institutional investors, environmental and “social advocacy” groups, and public interest organizations. Examples of coalition members are Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, Rockefeller Financial Asset Management, NRDC, World Wildlife Fund, Rainforest Action Network, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) (a founder of Avaaz) and The Carbon Neutral Company.

 

SupportingSponsors2008

Leadership Circle

Image above: Just a few of the 2009 and 2013 Ceres Conference Sponsors.

The Ceres Coalition represents: the Ceres Network Companies, Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) (publicly launched in November 2003 at the first Institutional Investor Summit on Climate Risk held at the United Nations) and Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP: a coalition of more than 20 leading consumer brand corporations.) [Ceres Membership Requirements] [3]

“Ceres is a national network of over [130*] investors, environmental organizations and other public interest groups working with companies and the capital markets to address sustainability challenges such as global climate change. Coalition members serve on our board of directors, participate on company stakeholder teams and engage with the Wall Street community to incorporate social and environmental costs into their research practices. More than [100*] companies worldwide, many of them Fortune 500 firms, make up the Ceres Network of Companies.” [4] [*Updated to reflect current status]

The network of Ceres companies represents a broad range of corporate interests, including oil and gas, electric utilities, and financial services. More than one-third of the company members are in the Fortune 500. Members include McDonalds Corporations, Bank of America Corporation, PG&E Corporation, Citi Bank, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Nike, PepsiCo, Suncor, Sunoco, Coca-Cola, Walt Disney, Virgin America, and Time Warner, to name just a few. Ceres has close ties with high-level leaders at the New York Stock Exchange, United Nations, World Economic Forum, Clinton Global Initiative, American Accounting Association, the American Bar Association and many of the world’s most powerful corporations. The forté of Ceres is briefing/advising powerful corporate boards, from Nike to American Electric Power, on risk and opportunity.

In addition to working with investors in the Ceres Coalition, Ceres directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR):

“INCR members, whose collective assets total about $[11*] trillion, include many of the world’s largest pension funds and asset managers.” [*Updated to reflect current status]

INCR has grown from 10 institutional investors managing $600 billion (2003) to 100 institutional investors managing more than $11 trillion in assets (2012).

In 1997 CERES launched the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), now the de facto international standard for corporate voluntary sustainability reporting implemented by more than 1,800 corporations worldwide.

Benefits for corporations adopting GRI “standards” included/include guideline tools for “brand and reputation enhancement, differentiation in the marketplace and protection from brand erosion resulting from the actions of suppliers or competitors, networking and communications.” [Source] Since releasing its first Reporting Guidelines in 2000, its global network has grown to more than 600 organizational stakeholders and over 30,000 people representing different sectors and constituencies. GRI has also developed key strategic partnerships with the United Nations Environment Programme, the UN Global Compact, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the International Organization for Standardization. [Source]

Mindy Lubber is the president of Ceres (2012) and a founding board member of the organization. She also directs Ceres’ INCR. Mindy Lubber’s blog “Sustainable Capitalism” is integrated with Forbes. Lubber is a contributing blogger for Huffington Post (acquired by Time Warner in 2011) and Forbes. Lubber has been honored by the United Nations as one of the “World’s Top Leaders of Change.” (Other award winners were the corporations Coca-Cola, Nike, Walmart and Reebok). Lubber was named one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Corporate Governance” by Directorship magazine and is a recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.

Skeletons (and Skolls) in the Ceres/1Sky Closet

skoll

Photo [Source: Skoll Foundation]: Green capitalist Al Gore with (left to right) Chris Fox of Ceres, Gillian Caldwell of 1Sky (350.org officially merged with 1Sky in 2011), Sally Osberg of the Skoll Foundation and Alessandro Galli of Global Footprint Network.

In 2009, 1Sky’s campaign director, Gillian Caldwell, a lawyer by training, was paid $203,620 (US) through the Rockefeller Family Fund. Although McKibben often refers to 350.org/1Sky as a “scruffy little outfit” – a salary of more than $200,000 is hardly typical of a legitimate grassroots organization.

In the Dec 3, 2009 article Prepping for Copenhagen as found on the Skoll Foundation website, the author reports, “The Skoll Foundation, along with a number of Skoll social entrepreneurs and partners, will be participating in the Copenhagen meetings on climate change later this month. Reflecting the high caliber of environmental leaders in the Skoll portfolio, some 10 Skoll social entrepreneurs and/or their organizations will be at Copenhagen: ACORE, Amazon Conservation Team, BioRegional Development Group, Ceres, EcoPeace/Friends of the Earth Middle East, Fundacion Gaia, Global Footprint Network, Health Care Without Harm, IDE-India, and Gillian Caldwell (formerly of Witness), representing 1Sky.” [Emphasis added.]

In the December 15, 2009 article More from the Ground in Copenhagen, also featured on the Skoll Foundation website, Skoll CEO Sally Osberg reports:

 Just a couple of highlights from the Climate Leaders’ Summit: Leadership on climate change – both moral and real – is coming from the sub-nation state levels and small countries.

What Osberg neglects to report is the fact that these very states were deliberately and grossly undermined by the non-profit industrial complex, with corporate TckTckTck, 350.org(1Sky) and Avaaz at the helm of the elitist fifth column. [Further reading: The Most Important COP Briefing That No One Ever Heard | Truth, Lies, Racism & Omnicide | Who Really Leads on the Environment? The “Movement” Versus Evo Morales]

 Who Cares Wins

havas_media_meningful_brands_main

 “To address the tough environmental and social issues facing global corporations today, we need to hear from a diverse group of stakeholders who challenge us to innovate and operate in a sustainable manner. No one has access to such a vast network of valuable, independent input as Ceres.” — Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo

It is clear why branded agencies such as 350.org, SumofUs, Avaaz et al, who dominate social media, are heavily financed (and in many cases were created by) the oligarchs. Who Cares Wins – The Rise of the Caring Corporation, by David Jones, founder of One Young World, (recently a featured speaker at the 2013 World Form on Natural Capital), makes the case that “social media and corporate social responsibility are not two separate subjects; rather, they are intrinsically interlinked. Businesses that embrace the new rules are set to both make more money and become forces for good in the world.”

“Grow Through Karma Off-Setting: Consumers will actively buy from companies who are good, so they feel that they themselves don’t have to personally undertake social projects, as they have done good by making their purchase with you. Good brands provide a moral alibi for buying.” — Who Cares Wins – The Rise of the Caring Corporation, by David Jones, Global Chief Executive, Havas Worldwide, Creator of the “TckTckTck” campaign and Co-founder of One Young World.

Those born into today’s “young world” are indiscriminately lusted after and seduced by predatory marketing agencies bankrolled by the world’s most powerful corporations and oligarchs, via their foundations. Thus, in stealth synchronicity, the brilliant (albeit pathological) sycophants have created a world where corporate pedophilia runs rampant and indoctrination of youth is perfected and normalized. One cannot deny such a virtuoso performance. Nor can one deny the profound repercussions of such vulturesque exploitation. For adults who willingly offer up their children as sacrificial lambs to appease the corporate gods, denial must be considered the preferred opium of the 21st century.

global-youth-summit-one-young-world-600-50845

The name of the game is this: Corporations present themselves as humble and caring elements integral to society with a fierce determination to “do better.” Rather than refusing to comply with ethical environmental and social conduct, which only serves to tarnish brand image, the corporations embrace and welcome all criticisms. This stratagem is made even more effective when CEOs unabashedly take the first opportunity in any given situation to point out the harmful impacts of their industry, articulated with deep concern, followed by a laundry list of all the magnificent things the corporation is looking at for the future that they believe will alleviate environmental degradation and unbridled exploitation.

 

Next: Part III

 

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

 

 

EndNotes:

[1] The Valdez Principles: In September 1989, the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies set forth the following ten broad principles for evaluating corporate activities that directly or indirectly affect the biosphere.

1. Protection of the Biosphere

We will minimize and strive to eliminate the release of any pollutant that may cause environmental damage to air, water, or earth or its inhabitants. We will safeguard habitats in rivers, lakes, wetlands, coastal zones and oceans and will minimize contributing to global warming, depletion of the ozone layer, acid rain or smog.

2. Sustainable Use of Natural Resources

We will make sustainable use of renewable resources, such as water, soils and forests. We will conserve nonrenewable natural resources through efficient use and careful planning. We will protect wildlife habitat, open spaces and wilderness, while preserving biodiversity.

3. Reduction and Disposal of Waste

We will minimize the creation of waste, especially hazardous waste, and wherever possible recycle materials. We will dispose of all wastes through safe and responsible methods.

4. Wise Use of Energy

We will make every effort to use environmentally safe and sustainable energy sources to meet our needs. We will invest in improved energy efficiency and conservation in our operations. We will maximize the energy efficiency of products we produce or sell.

5. Risk Reduction

We will minimize the environmental, health and safety risks to our employees and the communities in which we operate by employing safe technologies and operating procedures and by being constantly prepared for emergencies.

6. Marketing of Safe Products and Services

We will sell products or services that minimize adverse environmental impacts and that are safe as consumers commonly use them. We will inform consumers of the environmental impacts of our products or services.

7. Damage Compensation

We will take responsibility for any harm we cause to the environment by making every effort to fully restore the environment and to compensate those persons who are adversely affected.

8. Disclosure

We will disclose to our employees and to the public incidents relating to our operations that cause environmental harm or pose health or safety hazards. We will disclose potential environmental, health or safety hazards posed by our operations, and we will not take any action against employees who report any condition that creates a danger to the environment or poses health and safety hazards.

9. Environmental Directors and Managers

At least one member of the Board of Directors will be a person qualified to represent environmental interests. We will commit management resources to implement these Principles, including the funding of an office of vice president for environmental affairs or an equivalent executive position, reporting directly to the CEO, to monitor and report upon our implementation efforts.

10. Assessment and Annual Audit

We will conduct and make public an annual self-evaluation of our progress in implementing these Principles and in complying with all applicable laws and regulations throughout our worldwide operations. We will work toward the timely creation of independent environmental audit procedures which we will complete annually and make available to the public.

[Source: A New Agenda for Managers, The Challenge of Sustainability]

[2] Ceres Principles:

1. PROTECTION OF THE BIOSPHERE: We will reduce and make continual progress toward eliminating the release of any substance that may cause environmental damage to the air, water, or the earth or its inhabitants. We will safeguard all habitats affected by our operations and will protect open spaces and wilderness, while preserving biodiversity.

2. SUSTAINABLE USE OF NATURAL RESOURCES: We will make sustainable use of renewable natural resources, such as water, soils and forests. We will conserve non-renewable natural resources through efficient use and careful planning.

3. REDUCTION AND DISPOSAL OF WASTES: We will reduce and where possible eliminate waste through source reduction and recycling. All waste will be handled and disposed of through safe and responsible methods.

4. ENERGY CONSERVATION: We will conserve energy and improve the energy efficiency of our internal operations and of the goods and services we sell. We will make every effort to use environmentally safe and sustainable energy sources.

5. RISK REDUCTION: We will strive to minimize the environmental, health and safety risks to our employees and the communities in which we operate through safe technologies, facilities and operating procedures, and by being prepared for emergencies.

6. SAFE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES: We will reduce and where possible eliminate the use, manufacture or sale of products and services that cause environmental damage or health or safety hazards. We will inform our customers of the environmental impacts of our products or services and try to correct unsafe use.

7. ENVIRONMENTAL RESTORATION: We will promptly and responsibly correct conditions we have caused that endanger health, safety or the environment. To the extent feasible, we will redress injuries we have caused to persons or damage we have caused to the environment and will restore the environment.

8. INFORMING THE PUBLIC: We will inform in a timely manner everyone who may be affected by conditions caused by our company that might endanger health, safety or the environment. We will regularly seek advice and counsel through dialogue with persons in communities near our facilities. We will not take any action against employees for reporting dangerous incidents or conditions to management or to appropriate authorities.

9. MANAGEMENT COMMITMENT: We will implement these Principles and sustain a process that ensures that the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer are fully informed about pertinent environmental issues and are fully responsible for environmental policy. In selecting our Board of Directors, we will consider demonstrated environmental commitment as a factor.

10. AUDITS AND REPORTS: We will support the timely creation of generally accepted environmental audit procedures. We will annually complete the CERES Report, which will be made available to the public.

[3] [Ceres Membership Requirements: All coalition members must be approved by the Ceres Board of Directors. All coalition members pay annual membership dues that are scaled from $50 to $2,000, depending upon the size and type (non-profit, grant making, or investment firm) of the organization. Coalition members are also strongly encouraged to participate in Ceres’ engagement work, including through our multi-stakeholder dialogue processes, investor engagements and other opportunities.] “The primary direct costs of endorsing the CERES Principles are the payment of annual dues and the completion of the annual CERES report form. The dues for a company differ according to the size of the company, but, for a large multinational corporation, are usually in the range of $50,000 dollars a year. The costs associated with dues are not prohibitive considering the size and the budget of the companies.” [Source.]

[4] “Once companies officially join Ceres, they gain access to exclusive benefits, such as a customized stakeholder advisory team that provides advice on sustainability reporting, strategy, policies and specific initiatives.”

Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse | Part I

Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse | Part I

Counterpunch

April 12, 2013

Part one of an investigative report by Cory Morningstar

Keystone XL Investigative Report Series [Further Reading]: Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IV

Gloat Like Rockefeller When Watching Trains

buffet

March 5, 2013: Buffett Says Gloat Like Rockefeller When Watching Trains

On Nov 3, 2009, Berkshire Hathaway, the investment vehicle of Warren Buffett, announced its plan to purchase the 77.4 percent of Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) that it did not already own for $26 billion in cash and stock – the largest deal in Berkshire history. The deal, which included Berkshire’s prior investment and the assumption of $10 billion in Burlington Northern debt, brought the total value to $44 billion. Buffett remarked it was a big bet on the United States.

It was TO be a bet that both President Barack Obama and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, would ensure he DID not lose.

“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
– Warren Buffett

Pseudo-Protests and Serious Climate Crisis

Keystone-protest-2

Protesters of the Keystone XL pipeline project were bussed in from 30 states and Canadian provinces. Photograph: 350 org

War is a Crime

By David Swanson

17 February 2013

You elected this president. You reelected this president. . . . Stop being chumps!” –Van Jones

Going in, I was of mixed views regarding Sunday’s rally in Washington, D.C., to save the earth’s climate from the tar sands pipeline.  I still am.

Why on a Sunday when there’s no government around to protest, shut down, or interfere with?

And why all the pro-Obama rhetoric?  Robert Kennedy, Jr., was among the celebrities getting arrested at the White House in the days leading up, and his comment to the media was typical.  Obama won’t allow the tar sands pipeline, he said, because Obama has “a strong moral core” and doesn’t do really evil things.

FLASHBACK | 350.org: Environmental Corporatism

The following excerpts from the article Harnessing People Power Continued – The 99% Spring and the “Professional Left” are written by Edmund Berger. The article,  in its entirety, can be read on Swans Commentary where it was published May 21, 2012.

 (Swans – May 21, 2012)   “Astroturfing” is a term that has entered the popular lexicon of the politically educated, referring to the ability of largely unseen actors to mold and direct grassroots social movement. Awareness of this phenomenon is a direct fallout from the ascendancy of the Tea Party, as it became rapidly apparent that its transition from a protest movement to a legislative powerhouse was guided with the help of the now-renowned Koch brothers. These conservative-minded billionaire philanthropists, working through their interlocking family foundations, had invested vast sums of money into intermediary organizations that helped plan, facilitate, and execute successful protests, rallies, and political campaigns. Yet those who flaunt the term “astroturfing” — namely, those on the left of the spectrum — have shown a certain reluctance to acknowledge the fact that this same method is being applied to progressive grassroots movements as well, re-concentrating disenfranchisement with the dominant institutions of power into a manageable opposition capable of acting as a voting base. This is not a recent development; it dates back to the “Progressive Era” of American political history, and it forms a central apparatus of US foreign policy abroad under the non-descript diplomacy of “democracy promotion.”

350.org: Environmental Corporatism

Inscrutable Icons of Liberaldom by Cindy Sheehan

“Are you a good witch or a bad witch?”- Glinda the Good to Dorothy Gale, Wizard of Oz

June 16, 2012

Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox

“In all affairs, it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.” – Bertrand Russell

I am always happy to get feedback about my radio show, Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox, even if it’s bad—because I am happy that someone is listening—we work really hard to produce a relevant show.

Recently, I featured a young author/activist named, Edmund Berger, who has written two thought-provoking pieces that featured something that I am very interested in: the co-option, or “astro-turfing” of movements and I received some very hostile comments from readers/listeners who were offended that Berger could criticize some icons of “Liberaldom” (my word, not theirs).

First of all, the thought that anyone is above analysis and criticism is wrong, especially people who make a living from notoriety. For example, it’s one thing to attack a person for perceived character or physical flaws, but when one points out iffy connections to foundations with known and deep ties to the establishment, that is, in my opinion, fair game.

Everyone makes mistakes…everyone, with no exception. However, a line is crossed when that person, or organization, leads others astray by not being totally honest about from where the money comes or where partisan political loyalties lie. I will quote examples for some of the seemingly inscrutable ones that I got in trouble for allowing to be criticized. (Apparently, and thankfully, I am highly “scrutable.)

Again, why is the messenger being crucified instead of the information being read and analyzed with some balance instead of some people “pedestalizing” others with knee-jerk adoration?

If we want to have any success as movements and people, we need to realize that there are forces loyal to the Democratic Party that glom on to people and movements to steer what could be actually affective towards electoral politics, usually in favor of the Democrats on the Liberal side of the political spectrum.

There were especially two Inscrutable Icons of Liberaldom that my listeners were offended about being analyzed by my guest, Edmund Berger: Naomi Klein and 350.org. We’ll start with 350.org because Ms. Klein is now on the national board of that NGO.

350.org

The below is from my friend and radical environmentalist (integrity of vision and not co-opted by foundation money), Gregory Vickrey, of Wrong Kind of Green, about the establishment environmental groups:

President Obama has a bevy of support from environmental groups, many of whom (like the Sierra Club) have already endorsed him for a second round of degradation and destruction. This fawning for a Democratic President is certainly not without precedent, but it is particularly egregious when one looks at Obama’s environmental record.
Unlike his over-arching abilities to pre-emptively criminalize the common protester, this President has neither the wherewithal nor the spine to hold BP to account in the ongoing Gulf of Mexico tragedy. Rather, he continues to exacerbate the destruction, fast-tracking oil and gas leases in Alaska and additional deep water drilling in the Gulf.
Notwithstanding the rhetoric over a temporary suspension of the final phase of the Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama gave an enthusiastic pass to a significant portion of the tar sands pipeline (already operational) in 2009, shortly after being inaugurated.
And he (Obama) is more effective than a denier when it comes to climate change, avoiding or stalling mandatory mitigation and adaptation practices that should have been deployed years ago.
His inaction-with-a-purpose preserves the status quo for his corporate, corrupt base of financial support, thus making him the greatest enabler of environmental destruction on the planet, and no resonant speech from on high changes that reality.
And here I must correct myself – stating above that the President has an “environmental record” is almost as recidivist as the man himself.Not to be outdone by the Sierra Club and other corporate-environmental organizations who have endorsed President Obama and his despicable policies, faux “grass-roots” organizations such as the Rockefeller (think oil) funded 350.org likewise lift President Obama up whenever he tosses a rhetorical bone their way. 350 and its corporate marketing arm were quick to praise the President with the Keystone XL delay (“We won! What a brave man you are, Mr. President!” author’s note: there’s a far more complex story behind this), but never utter a word about the realities on the ground of, say, fracking in New York; Or mountaintop removal in West Virginia; Or $2 Billion in coal subsidies to the President’s home state of Illinois; Or those fast-tracked wells in the Gulf; Or those leases in Alaska. Like their partners at Sierra Club and elsewhere, at the end of the day, 350 are nothing more than a faux-roots front for the President and his party, insane environmental policies be damned.

And as Edmund Berger points out in his article published in Swan’s Commentary called: Harnessing People Power Continued: the 99% Spring and the Professional Left:

The first organization to be looked at is 350.org, a climate change awareness advocacy organization launched in 2007 by the author and environmentalist Bill McKibben. McKibben’s approach to environmentalism is positioned firmly in the ideology of “green capitalism,” advocating a return to localized market economies while eschewing the notions of collectivization or wealth redistribution. Halting catastrophic climate change, he argues, “will not mean abandoning Adam Smith” and “doesn’t require that you join a commune or become a socialist.” Espousing this moderate viewpoint has led 350.org’s subsidization by large liberal philanthropies, primarily, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF). This is an important connection, as RBF’s current president, Stephen Heintz, is the founding executive director of Demos: A Network for Ideas & Action, a “non-partisan public policy research and advocacy organization committed to building an America that achieves its highest democratic ideals.” Deepening the ties, Demos, funded by the RBF and Ford Foundation, hosts 99% Spring material on their website and also counts Rebuild the Dream founder Van Jones on its advisory board. Furthermore, in 2011 350.org merged with another environmental coalition, 1Sky, where Jones can be found yet again on its director board.

350.org is what it is, but, please, let’s stop pretending that it is on the side of revolutionary change.

 Naomi Klein

I know Naomi personally and I think she is a sweet person and she has contributed a lot to the world’s understanding of neo-liberalism. There’s no doubt about it, she’s brilliant, but when it comes to being on the board of 350.org and Obama, in my opinion, she is off the track.

In a speech Naomi gave at Loyola University in February of 2009, she was advocating for “collectivism” and “nationalization,” but, as pointed out above her alliance with 350.org is at odds with those goals.

Here is Berger’s analysis of Klein’s connection to 350.org:

However, a close reading of The Shock Doctrine reveals her glaring refusal to attack capitalism’s production modes; instead, she prefers to refer to her “emergent Keynesianism” and waxes poetically about the days when “young men from Ivy League schools sat around commanding table… having heated debates about the interest rate and the price of wheat.” This vision of a benevolent technocracy is at odds, certainly, with the desires for true democracy that she expresses elsewhere in the text, and her longing for Ivy League-directed economics should be contrasted with the sociological analyses of the liberal contingencies of the elite establishment as presented by C. Wright Mills and G. William Domhoff. While Klein’s critique is undoubtedly vital to helping undermine the grand narrative of neoliberalism, it is ultimately deflective in nature — did imperial ambitions (the Vietnam War, for example) not exist during the “heyday of Keynesianism,” and was this economic system not wrought with its own internal tensions and structural flaws? Regardless, her discourse is completely compatible with viewpoint of the moderate American left.

In an article called, Criticism of Shock Doctrine from the Left, the author points out:

Most critics of the war believe the notion of exporting democracy to a hostile Arab country was doomed in its conception. Some war supporters counter that the occupation could have succeeded, but bungling and incompetence caused it to fail. Klein is staking out a third, esoteric, highly original position. She says that the occupation could have succeeded, but the Bush administration did not want it to succeed. She is explicit about this:

“Had the Bush administration kept its promise to hand over power quickly to an elected Iraqi government, there is every chance that the resistance would have remained small and containable, rather than becoming a countrywide rebellion. But keeping that promise would have meant sacrificing the economic agenda behind the war, something that was never going to happen.”

My question is “small and containable” to whom? In the beginning of the US plague on Iraq called, Shock(ing) and Awe(ful), tens of thousands of Iraqi were killed—war is never “containable.”

On November 11, 2011, despite Obama’s delaying tactic (until 2013, after the 2012 elections, conveniently) Naomi Klein touted a “victory” on the show of another Inscrutable Icon of Liberaldom, Amy Goodman:

Environmental activists are claiming victory after the Obama administration announced Thursday it will postpone any decision on the proposed 1,700-mile Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline until 2013. The announcement was made just days after more than 10,000 people encircled the White House calling on President Obama to reject the project, the second major action against the project organized by Bill McKibben’s 350.org and Tar Sands Action. In late August and early September, some 1,200 people were arrested in Washington, D.C., in a two-week campaign of civil disobedience. “We believe that this delay will kill the pipeline,” says the Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein. “If it doesn’t, if this pipeline re-emerges after the election, people have signed pledges saying they will put their bodies on the line to stop it.” Klein notes that, “I don’t think we would have won without Occupy Wall Street… This is what it means to change the conversation.”

But guess what? This from a news article on March 12, 2012:

Barack Obama will speed up approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline during his “all of the above” energy road trip, White House officials said.

The president will use a stop in Cushing, Oklahoma on Thursday morning to announce an executive order directing government agencies to speed up permits for the southern US-only segment of the pipeline, running from the town to Port Arthur, Texas…

The article also claims the environmental groups were “angry,” but in searching the internet, I see that there was no angry response from Klein, McKibben, or 350.org to the speech Obama gave in Cushing, Oklahoma. Parts of the pipeline were in construction long before the “protests” in front of the White House last year, anyway. Apparently Obama is more afraid of his puppet-pay masters and the Republican Party than a group of activists who make light demands on him with no consequences attached to Obama’s non-compliance.

There are many other “Inscrutable Icons” of Liberaldom who range from being nearly perfect, in my view (ie, Noam Chomsky), to almost always being an astro-turfer for the establishment (ie, Van Jones)…and I would like my readers to put on their Critical Thinking Caps and research anything that anyone says. That’s not being “divisive,” it’s being responsible.

Obedience – A New Requirement for the “Revolution”

Obedience – A New Requirement for the “Revolution”

Part II of an Investigative Report into Tar Sands Action & the Paralysis of a Movement

Published September 19, 2011 by Political Context: http://bit.ly/njUko9 and Canadians for Action on Climate Change: http://bit.ly/pLDqQi

by Cory Morningstar

Obedience – A New Requirement for the “Revolution”

We have now reached a new level of subservient conditioning in an action ironically titled Stop the Machine. If the freedom fighters from liberation armies and resistance fronts read “the rules” that the organizers have established in order to “stop the machine,” they would undoubtedly come to the conclusion that Americans are insane.

The rules put forward by the organizers of this action clearly demonstrate how the mainstream liberal movement as a whole is further embracing its false belief that they (the “leaders” of the movement) have the moral superiority and authority to impose their unnegotiable, absolute tactical doctrine on all others, framing anyone who falls out of line with the dogma as provocateurs or “haters” who wish to incite violence. Such free-thinkers will be verbally chastised, stigmatized, then isolated and marginalized to the best of the ability of those wish to cling to denying reality. To date, these simple steps have proved most effective in stifling dialogue and shutting down dissent.

Some of the actions that have been undertaken include: training “peacekeepers,” a request that participants undergo nonviolence training, employing “peace cameras” to video anyone who might initiate violence with a request that participants bring cameras too and work with police to make them aware of threats and to isolate counterprotesters if they should attend.

Other rules include turning your anger at injustice into a positive, non-violent force; no destruction or vandalism of non-sentient objects; no running or other “threatening” motions; no insulting or swearing; protecting those who “oppose or disagree with us” (i.e., police) from insult or attack; no verbal or physical assaults on those who “oppose or disagree with us” (i.e., police) “even if they assault us.”

Participants are to embrace an attitude, as conveyed through their words, symbols and actions, of openness, friendliness, and respect toward all people encountered, including police officers and military personnel. The participants agree to be obedient to the organizers of the action or, if they do not obey, they must withdraw from the action.

It is nothing less than appalling that citizens are essentially being trained to completely submit to the corporate state – even if they are beaten with weapons. The organizers have obviously embraced the Gandhian myth that all neo-pacifists wear something akin to a shield. They will need this shield in order to protect themselves from their own hypocrisy.

Who needs big brother when you have “the movement” itself protecting the corporate state that is hell-bent on eradicating us?

If it were presented as educational outreach to further ideas and crucial analysis/critiques, this campaign would be deserving of much credit (if we removed the “rules”), as it highlights critical issues such as capitalism, corporate-controlled state and other vital truths that bright green NGOs refuse to address. However, as currently presented – an action to “stop the machine” – to even imply that “the machine” could actually be stopped through the outline and extensive “rules of non-engagement” is nothing less than an irresponsible, misleading nightmare that shields the truth rather than exposing it.

Of course, this is often what happens when activists are replaced with global strategists, finance officers, marketing executives and branding agencies. For countries exploding with citizens holding business degrees and MBAs, we could not possibly be more unintelligent and out of touch with reality, even if we tried. How many species on this planet knowingly and deliberately destroy their own habitat, their own future?

The movement with the corporate greens at the forefront refuses to admit – and in many cases refuses to even acknowledge the cold hard fact – that our success in achieving truly substantive change has been essentially zero, completely impotent. And a million “likes” on Facebook won’t make this fact any less so. And as far as preventing our own mass-eradication of unparalleled proportions, the “leaders” of the movement are a trillion miles away in La-La Land and racking up the airmiles. Reality cannot and will not be altered by a belief that the white middleclass can stop the very forces oppressing us with a dazzling dress code and impeccable manners.

Further, a dogmatic refusal to see reality and failure, along with an obdurate insistence on condemnation of those who may choose to take up self-defence (thereby framing anything other than “their way” as unacceptable in the eyes of the public) does nothing but further displace ongoing violence and bone-grinding poverty onto the billions of citizens and species already marginalized and suffering. This is not to say that everyone is expected to participate in self-defence. Rather it is to say that one’s decision must be base upon real facts – not on the doctrinaire delusion that pacifism is a moral virtue.

Militarism and Fossil Fuel Subsidies – A Vicious Cycle of Addiction

Considering that militarism is likely the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions on the planet, does it not make more sense for a united global campaign to divert trillions in military funds, which destroy life, to peaceful endeavors that sustain life? Funding militarism ensures we are kept dependent upon oil while continuing to inflict massive suffering and civilian casualties as imperialist states expand their occupations in the Middle East and beyond. Occupying countries in order to steal their resources, which are necessary to fuel further occupations which, in turn, require more resources, commits to a vicious cycle that serves the interests of a handful of corporations tied into the Military-Industrial Complex.

If citizens occupied the industries that supply the occupations, if we stopped this madness as a unified front, on top of eradicating energy wastage (56% of all energy is wasted in the U.S. economy alone) through extensive conservation, we would create the swiftest, most massive dent in the climate crisis possible. Further, if we transferred all fossil fuel subsidies to zero-carbon energy, the dent would be astronomical; over half a billion dollars in direct subsidies are handed over each year to the most profitable fossil fuel corporations on the planet. This does not include indirect subsidies (via externalized costs), which equate to approximately three times that of the direct subsidies. Further, a recent study suggests that indirect and direct subsidies for coal alone in the U.S. amount to a half billion dollars per annum. This equates to more than a trillion dollars per year and tens of trillions of tax dollars (in direct and indirect subsidies) over the upcoming decades gifted to the very industry ensuring our demise. Although this is fairly common knowledge with most NGOs (even the World Bank reached this logical conclusion over a decade ago in 1990), none of them campaign on this imperative. It is a sad statement that the World Bank has more effective solutions than the environmental movement who claims to represent civil society.

These strategies would also slow down the destabilization and leaking of methane hydrates – FAR MORE dangerous than the Keystone XL or anything else for that matter. Methane hydrate release is now occurring in Siberia, and in the short-term (5 to 20 years), methane is 72 to 100 times more powerful than CO2. This is the true carbon bomb that no one speaks of. This discussion has been essentially censored from the public.

“My view is that the climate has already crossed at least one tipping point, about 1975-1976, and is now at a runaway state, implying that only emergency measures have a chance of making a difference.… The costs of all of the above would require diversion of the trillions of dollars from global military expenditures to environmental mitigation.” — Andrew Glikson, Earth / Paleoclimate Scientist

We ignore the solutions at our own peril. Of course, no matter what we do, until we begin to dismantle the root causes of climate change – that of the global industrialized capitalist economic system based on consumption and growth – the planet will continue to heat up. Further, until we reach zero emissions (actually negative emissions) there will be NO LOWERING of atmospheric CO2, which is now approaching 400 ppm (parts per million). Not even a return to 390 ppm is possible until we stop burning all fossil fuels. A return to pre-industrial levels will take hundreds if not thousands of years – which again, is only possible if zero emissions are actually achieved. And this is only possible if specific tipping points are not passed. Once enough tipping points have been passed it is essentially GAME OVER. There is no going back. No second chances. This is what mainstream NGOs, even ones claiming they are the leaders in the climate movement based on climate science (350.org/1Sky), do not share with the public. Why? Because it is terrifying. We must fight to achieve the impossible.

“The most unethical of all means is the non-use of any means. It is this species of man who so vehemently and militantly participated in that classically idealistic debate at the old League of Nations on the ethical differences between defensive and offensive weapons. Their fears of action drive them to refuge in an ethics so divorced from the politics of life that it can apply only to angels, not men.” — Saul Alinsky

Ideologies Have Never Won Any Revolutions

“The desire for a nonviolent and cooperative world is the healthiest of all psychological manifestations. This is the overarching principle of liberation and revolution. Undoubtedly, it seems the highest order of contradiction that, in order to achieve nonviolence, we must first break with it in overcoming its root causes. Therein lies our only hope.” — Ward Churchill, Pacifism as Pathology

Film director Josh Fox states that “There’s only been one tool that people have turned to in desperate times to change the world: Civil disobedience.” However, the tactics being pushed by McKibben and others bear no resemblance to those used in the past by the oppressed. Ask the people of Bougainville Island how non-violent civil disobedience worked for their communities who were being exploited and sickened by the mining corporation, Rio Tinto Zinc, before, in self-defence, they rose up in arms against the poisoning of their land and people and forcibly closed down the mine – despite a military occupation and blockade.

The Papua New Guinea Army were mobilized in an attempt to strangle the citizens into submission and destroy the rebellion. The Bougainville Revolutionary Army began the fight with bows and arrows, and sticks and stones. Against a heavily armed adversary they still managed to retain control of most of their island. This is not a story of “uncivilized” citizens; this is a story of courageous people who refused to submit to oppression and exploitation – the world’s first eco-revolution. This story and its documentary could be considered – along with stories told through documentary films such as END:CIV and other courageous screenings (think John Pilger) which speak the unpopular truths – the greatest stories ever told; real life stories of a rising up of the people against all odds – by any means necessary. Such are the stories that the plutocracy and the big greens, who are dependent upon them for their very existence, hope citizens never hear about.

Such instances of people reclaiming their power and land are not televised on corporate media, not even in self-proclaimed progressive media outlets (funded by corporations via their foundations, which serve to protect their interests). Ask the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation (Ipperwash); the Mohawk community of Kanesatake (Oka); or the Six Nations of the Grand River (Caledonia). Ask them how passive resistance assisted their ongoing struggle for rights, respect and compliance with treaties and claims, including land claims. It did not. After exhausting all recourse, these First Nations communities embraced self-defense tactics. In the case of Caledonia, the resistance forced Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to implement a policy of “passive containment,” which ostensibly stopped enforcement of the rule of law in that area. (Also see “UNDER SIEGE: How the People of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation Asserted Their Rights and Claims and Dealt with the Backlash.”)

“Since the crisis began, Dalton McGuinty’s government has been petrified of taking decisive action, lest the Toronto media compare his actions to those of Mike Harris’ government during the Ipperwash Crisis of 1995. At numerous points during the Caledonia standoff, the OPP has been ordered to sit on their hands despite numerous provocations by native protestors.” — National Post, 16 September 2007

Today, the Canadian federal government, army, police and security agencies are essentially panicked in what they expect will be a unified resistance of First Nations rising up across Canada to reclaim and protect their rightful territories and resources. The strategy to prevent such an uprising from succeeding is continued efforts to further destroy traditional communities: “The First Nations Chiefs and Leaders who become more known and prominent are largely the individuals who have been trained and supported by federal bureaucrats.” (Source: First Nations Under Surveillance: Harper Government Prepares for First Nations “Unrest”)

Video: Photomontage – Crise d’oka (Running time: 2:55)

[Watch the full length Canadian National Film Board documentary, Kanehsatake 270 Years of Resistance: http://www.nfb.ca/film/kanehsatake_270_years_of_resistance. “On a July day in 1990, a confrontation propelled Native issues in Kanehsatake and the village of Oka, Quebec, into the international spotlight. Director Alanis Obomsawin spent 78 nerve-wracking days and nights filming the armed stand-off between the Mohawks, the Quebec police and the Canadian army. This powerful documentary takes you right into the action of an age-old Aboriginal struggle. The result is a portrait of the people behind the barricades.” “The most gripping scene for me was when the Warriors were down and ready to go with the Vandoos; one of the Mothers turned a Warrior right on his heel. You could see his shoulders slump. The love of the women that love us and that we love is a powerful thing.” –Arthur James]

Pacifism is a deadly position for those exploited and facing death. In the case of escalating climate change and collapsing ecosystems, those facing death are us and all living species on the planet. Forever.

Therefore, to be clear, when we speak of force, by any means necessary, we are embracing this essential and vital position, in self-defence.

Hypocrisy

One cannot participate in this system while at the same time morally judging the use of violence – if necessary – as a means to end relentless oppression, and in this case a global genocide / mass eradication of all species on the planet.

The global industrialized capitalist economic system – which most citizens of wealthy nations all happily (to one degree or another) not only condone but also support – is a system built upon and dependent upon unadulterated violence of unparalleled magnitude. Every time one fills their gas tank, they support violence. Every time one flies in an airplane, consumes animal flesh (speciesism), cracks open a can of Coke, purchases garments manufactured in China and other poverty stricken countries by exploited workers, turns on their fossil-fuel-powered heat, purchases the latest war “game” for their nine-year-old or simply pays their taxes – one participates in violence. The list goes on and on. To take the hypocritical position that non-violence is the only acceptable “moral” choice for fighting the system is only possible if one refuses to acknowledge the reality – deep denial in a most dangerous form. And it is of no surprise that such positions are primarily held by the comfortable middle class who are not subjected to severe hardships, gross injustices and bloody warfare.

Pacifism and non-violence are, and will continue to be, critical tactics of resistance. But the rejection of other tactics is detrimental to our survival.

Impartiality is not acceptable either as the question really is one of which side we will ultimately choose to stand on.

Skilled saboteurs are desperately needed. Underground movements and radicals who have the bravery to fight for humanity and for the rest of Nature, by any means necessary, deserve and require our undivided respect, gratitude and public support. Self-defense is not a crime.

During the Civil Rights Movement, organized racist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan terrorized and murdered thousands of African Americans. In the face of such violence, would anyone judge the brave people who fought back to protect their families from slaughter? In such repressive violence, fighting back to protect those you love from death was, and still is, the only sensible option.

An image from the television series Deacons for Defense, about a small group of African American men in Jonesboro, Louisiana who became a popular symbol of the growing frustration with Martin Luther King Jr.’s non-violent strategy and a rallying point for a militant working-class movement in the South. Lance Hill, in The Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement, said of non-violent civil rights organisations, “The hard truth is that these organizations produced few victories in their local projects in the Deep South – if success is measured by the ability to force changes in local government policy and create self-governing and sustainable local organizations that could survive when the national organizations departed … the Deacons and all other blacks who resort to self-defense represent a simple answer to a simple question: what man would not defend his family and home from attack?” – Property is Theft Website

Peaceful protests – as the only tolerated vice – will not end our escalating climate genocide and environmental collapse. We must follow up protests with action that uphold Malcolm X’s phrase ‘by any means necessary’.

In the 29 August 2011 article “¡Will Miller Presente! May Day 1971 D.C. Mobilization: This is What Revolution Will Look Like,” the author states: “The May Day action plan was for affinity groups – tightly knit groups willing to take direct action together and risk arrest – to take over key locations across D.C. and shut them down. In Orin’s case, it was one of D.C.’s circle intersections. In the case of Will, it was the 14th Street Bridge. This collective direct action to shut down the city showed the country’s ‘leaders’ that the anti-war movement was escalating its tactics in response to the growing body counts in Vietnam of both U.S. Soldiers and Vietnamese people.” This represents such actions designed to obstruct the system – not comply with it. Not to be obedient and passive to those oppressing us.

It is imperative that escalating tactics be ensued following any action – especially with respect to the fact the Obama Administration announced their decision to proceed with Keystone XL immediately following the first day of the tar sands action. One would hope there are bulldozers secured and waiting.

“The concept of nonviolence is a false ideal. It presupposes the existence of compassion and a sense of justice on the part of one’s adversary. When this adversary has everything to lose and nothing to gain by exercising justice and compassion, his reaction can only be negative.”— George Jackson, Black Panther Party

From the Phil Dickens article “Why Pacifism is Morally Indefensible“:

My argument here is not that nonviolence is ineffective as a tactic. Indeed, it can yield considerable success given the right arena. It is that pacifism, as an absolute, is fundamentally immoral and unjustifiable within the context of the world we live in….

Whatever else one might say about him, Gandhi could not be accused of mincing his words or shying away from the logical conclusion of absolute pacifism. In Non-Violence in Peace and War, Gandhi offered the following advice to the British people: “I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions … If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourselves, man, woman, and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them.

This is one of the comments which inspired George Orwell to declare that “pacifism is objectively pro-fascist“: “This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, ‘he that is not with me is against me.’ The idea that you can somehow remain aloof from and superior to the struggle, while living on food which British sailors have to risk their lives to bring you, is a bourgeois illusion bred of money and security…. I am not interested in pacifism as a “moral phenomenon.” If Mr. Savage and others imagine that one can somehow “overcome” the German army by lying on one’s back, let them go on imagining it, but let them also wonder occasionally whether this is not an illusion due to security, too much money and a simple ignorance of the way in which things actually happen. As an ex-Indian civil servant, it always makes me shout with laughter to hear, for instance, Gandhi named as an example of the success of non-violence. As long as twenty years ago it was cynically admitted in Anglo-Indian circles that Gandhi was very useful to the British government. So he will be to the Japanese if they get there. Despotic governments can stand “moral force” till the cows come home; what they fear is physical force.” …which brings us to the core point on why absolute pacifism is immoral. Unlike a pragmatic recourse to nonviolent resistance only in situations where it will be effective, it offers no recourse for the defense of innocents from injustice and brutality. And, ultimately, there is nothing heroic, even in principle, in offering yourself to the butcher’s knife.

With the Tar Sands Action campaign, spearheaded by Bill McKibben, we also witness a resurgence of religion. From the article “Religious Witness at Tar Sands Action”: “On Monday, August 29, 9 a.m.-12 p.m., Sojourners has organized more than 50 prominent religious leaders from Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Unitarian Universalist, and other faiths to risk arrest at the White House. A Jewish morning prayer service in Lafayette Park will begin at 9 a.m., followed by an interfaith prayer service that will conclude with a blessing for those risking arrest. At 11 a.m. religious leaders will cross to the White House sidewalk.” Bill McKibben said, “It was hard but not impossible – and we woke up Sunday morning singing that old spiritual ‘Certainly Lord.'” Throughout history religion has been used over and over again as a tool – as a means of conditioning, control and obedience to the state. In the meantime the Catholic Church has billions invested in BPI, Philex, San Miguel and other corporations who profit from decimating the planet. Like the Big Greens, the religious organizations are also dependant and feeding upon the very system destroying us.

The Tar Sands Action campaign has no political strategy at all; no plans, no platform. Rockefellers’ McKibben is successfully hindering and delaying the formation of a strong, uncompromising and unified movement. Yet, instead of constructive criticisms and demands coming from citizens and grassroots, even the most intelligent and informed activists are lining up to receive McKibben’s blessing. One would think we’ve witnessed ‘the second coming of Christ’. Hallefuckingluiah and amen. Pass the soma. Perhaps soon we will bear witness to McKibben making an offering or a sacrifice to appease the gods (which will be just as effective).

The Role of Censorship, Which Allows Us to Deny

The role of the elitist Left in furthering and protecting the false illusion and indoctrination of pacifism (as pathology) is clearly demonstrated in headlines such as the Bill McKibben article featured in the Guardian, titledMartin Luther King’s legacy and the power of nonviolent civil disobedience.” (Here it is critical to note that it was the Birmingham, Alabama civil rights marches, protests and direct actions that degenerated into riots; those riots represent the instrumental element behind what forced law changes at every level of government. As King later said: “The purpose of … direct action is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.”) Of course, such fodder by McKibben and others is welcome by all who are secure and comfortable, as a movement based on symbolism will ensure that the violent continuation of full repression, which is felt by others all over the world as a direct result of imperialism, colonialism and our industrialized economic system, will not be felt by our society in the immediate future. (Aside from our growing apathy, denial and sense of superiority.) The mainstream movement has a pivotal role in censoring all but the tactics they embrace, providing justification for us to do essentially nothing – at a time when we must employ all tactics to force the hand of the corporate state. No doubt they are terrified that we may have to fight our oppressors head on – as witnessed by those fighting for their very lives in different countries all over the world. (Whew! Thanks, Bill! Thanks, corporate greens!) Self-proclaimed “progressive” and “alternative” media outlets (such as Grist – whose board McKibben sits on; funded by those dependent upon the industrial machine, including Rockefeller) perpetuate and propel this meme (– nonviolence at all costs), drilling this ideological view into the mindset and conditioning of civil society.

Conditioning

“Ours must be a leadership democracy, administered by the ‘intelligent minority’ who know how to regiment and guide the masses. The common interests very largely elude public opinion entirely, and can be managed only by a specialized class whose personal interests reach beyond the locality.… If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing it.” – nephew of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, considered the father of the field of public relations

We are being psychologically conditioned to believe that if only we continue to follow the rules and behave responsibly, we need not act in defence of our collapsing ecosystems and other crises unveiling themselves in unprecedented magnitude. This is only possible by clinging to false illusions, deep denial, and an irrational belief in an economic system that is destroying our planet – upon which we all depend – before our very eyes. We have been given a choice: resist or die. Thus far, we have demonstrated that we would rather cling to our illusions, thereby choosing death.

Is this campaign – funded by the world’s plutocracy – nothing but a means to give the false illusion of democracy while successfully conditioning people to further submit to the state – which would be an extremely valuable asset to the state as our planetary multiple crises deepen and escalate? Psychology and propaganda have always been recognized by leaders and the plutocracy as crucial and imperative means of controlling the masses.

Pacifism as Pathology | Tar Sands Action Déjà vu

“I just came home from Vietnam where I spent twelve months of my life trying to pacify the population. We couldn’t do it; their resistance was amazing. And it was wrong; the process made me sick. So I came home to join the resistance in my own country, and I find you guys have pacified yourselves. That too amazes me; that too makes me sick….” — Vietnam Veteran Against the War, 1970 (quoted in Pacifism as Pathology)

Below is an excerpt from Ward Churchill’s “Pacifism as Pathology,” first published in 1986 (endnotes removed). For anyone interested in mitigating the global collapse of all ecosystems and deterring planet-wide and species-wide genocide, this is essential reading.

For anyone wishing to take a critical look at the tar sands protests by groups funded (and in some cases created) by the Rockefellers and other corporate foundations – who will stop at absolutely nothing to keep the current power structures intact – the excerpt from this essay is sure to wake one from the paralysis that is trapping and constraining movements and societies in the status quo. The parallels between Churchill’s essay and the events in Washington, D.C. that were celebrated and endorsed – while the planet rests on the precipice – are nothing less than Orwellian.

The question central to the emergence and maintenance of nonviolence as the oppositional foundation of American activism has not been a truly pacifist formulation – “How can we forge a revolutionary politics within which we can avoid inflicting violence on others?” On the contrary, a more accurate guiding question has been, “What sort of politics might I engage in which will both allow me to posture as a progressive and allow me to avoid incurring harm to myself?” Hence, the trappings of pacifism have been subverted to establish a sort of “politics of the comfort zone,” not only akin to what Bettelheim termed “the philosophy of business as usual” and devoid of perceived risk to its advocates, but minus any conceivable revolutionary impetus as well. The intended revolutionary content of true pacifist activism – the sort practiced by the Gandhian movement, the Berrigans, and Norman Morrison – is thus isolated and subsumed in the United States, even among the ranks of self-professing participants.

Such a situation must abort whatever limited utility pacifist tactics might have, absent other and concurrent forms of struggle, as a socially transformative method. Yet, the history of the American Left over the past decade shows too clearly that the more diluted the substance embodied in “pacifist practice,” the louder the insistence of its subscribers that nonviolence is the only mode of action “appropriate and acceptable within the context of North America,” and the greater the effort to ostracize, or even stifle divergent types of actions. Such strategic hegemony exerted by proponents of this truncated range of tactical options has done much to foreclose on whatever revolutionary potential may be said to exist in modern America.

Is such an assessment too harsh? One need only attend a mass demonstration (ostensibly directed against the policies of the state) in any U.S. city to discover the answer. One will find hundreds, sometimes thousands, assembled in orderly fashion, listening to selected speakers calling for an end to this or that aspect of lethal state activity, carrying signs “demanding” the same thing, welcoming singers who enunciate lyrically on the worthiness of the demonstrators’ agenda as well as the plight of the various victims they are there to “defend,” and – typically – the whole thing is quietly disbanded with exhortations to the assembled to “keep working” on the matter and to sign a petition and/or write letters to congress people requesting that they alter or abandon offending undertakings.

Throughout the whole charade it will be noticed that the state is represented by a uniformed police presence keeping a discreet distance and not interfering with the activities. And why should they? The organizers of the demonstration will have gone through “proper channels” to obtain permits from the state and instructions as to where they will be allowed to assemble, how long they will be allowed to stay, and – should a march be involved in the demonstration – along which routes they will be allowed to walk. Surrounding the larger mass of demonstrators can be seen others – the elite. Adorned with green (or white, or powder blue) armbands, their function is to ensure that demonstrators remain “responsible,” not deviating from the state-sanctioned, arm-banded plan of protest. Individuals or small groups who attempt to spin off from the main body, entering areas to which the state has denied access (or some other unapproved activity), are headed off by these arm-banded “marshals” who argue – pointing to the nearby police – that “troublemaking” will only “exacerbate an already tense situation” and “provoke violence,” thereby “alienating those we are attempting to reach.” In some ways, the voice of the “good Jews” can be heard to echo plainly over the years.

At this juncture, the confluence of interests between the state and the mass nonviolent movement could not be clearer. The role of the police, whose function is to support state policy by minimizing disruption of its procedures, should be in natural conflict with that of a movement purporting to challenge these same policies and, indeed, to transform the state itself. However, with apparent perverseness, the police find themselves serving as mere backups (or props) to self-policing (now euphemistically termed “peace-keeping” rather than the more accurate “marshaling”) efforts of the alleged opposition’s own membership. Both sides of the “contestation” concur that the smooth functioning of state processes must not be physically disturbed, at least not in any significant way. All of this is within the letter and spirit of co-optive forms of sophisticated self-preservation appearing as an integral aspect of the later phases of bourgeois democracy. It dovetails well with more shopworn methods such as the electoral process and has been used by the state as an innovative means of conducting public opinion polls, which better hide rather than eliminate controversial policies. Even the movement’s own sloganeering tends to bear this out from time to time, as when Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) coined the catch-phrase of its alternative to the polling place: “Vote with your feet, vote in the street.”

Of course, any movement seeking to project a credible self-image as something other than just one more variation of accommodation to state power must ultimately establish its “militant” oppositional credentials through the media in a manner more compelling than rhetorical speechifying and the holding of impolite placards (“Fuck the War” was always a good one) at rallies. Here, the time-honored pacifist notion of “civil disobedience” is given a new twist by the adherents of nonviolence in America. Rather than pursuing Gandhi’s (or, to a much lesser extent, King’s) method of using passive bodies to literally clog the functioning of the state apparatus – regardless of the cost to those doing the clogging – the American nonviolent movement has increasingly opted for “symbolic actions.”

The centerpiece of such activity usually involves an arrest, either of a token figurehead of the movement (or a small, selected group of them) or a mass arrest of some sort. In the latter event, “arrest training” is generally provided – and lately has become “required” by movement organizers – by the same marshals who will later ensure that crowd control police units will be left with little or nothing to do. This is to ensure that “no one gets hurt” in the process of being arrested, and that the police are not inconvenienced by disorganized arrest procedures.

The event which activates the arrests is typically preplanned, well publicized in advance, and, more often than not, literally coordinated with the police – often including estimates by organizers concerning how many arrestees will likely be involved. Generally speaking, such “extreme statements” will be scheduled to coincide with larger-scale peaceful demonstrations so that a considerable audience of “committed” bystanders (and, hopefully, NBC/CBS/ABC/CNN) will be on hand to applaud the bravery and sacrifice of those arrested; most of the bystanders will, of course, have considered reasons why they themselves are unprepared to “go so far” as to be arrested. The specific sort of action designed to precipitate the arrests themselves usually involves one of the following: (a) sitting down in a restricted area and refusing to leave when ordered; (b) stepping across an imaginary line drawn on the ground by a police representative; (c) refusing to disperse at the appointed time; or (d) chaining or padlocking the doors to a public building. When things really get heavy, those seeking to be arrested may pour blood (real or ersatz) on something of “symbolic value.”

As a rule, those arrested are cooperative in the extreme, meekly allowing police to lead them to waiting vans or buses for transportation to whatever station house or temporary facility has been designated as the processing point. In especially “militant” actions, arrestees go limp, undoubtedly severely taxing the state’s repressive resources by forcing the police to carry them bodily to the vans or buses (monitored all the while by volunteer attorneys who are there to ensure that such “police brutality” as pushing, shoving, or dropping an arrestee does not occur). In either event, the arrestees sit quietly in their assigned vehicles – or sing “We Shall Overcome” and other favorites – as they are driven away for booking. The typical charges levied will be trespassing, creating a public disturbance, or being a public nuisance.

Documentary: PsyWar – Wake UP!

http://youtu.be/NXg70qJQ6O0

Chart below +++ Telling. TransCanada (and incidentally Enbridge as well) has managed solid gains in their stock prices despite the latest market volatility.July 14, 2011, Bloomberg News: “TransCanada Corp., Enbridge Inc. and the four other Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index companies that store and transport oil and gas are offering average dividend yields of 4.05%. That’s 1.48% percentage points above the full index’s rate and 1.16 points more than the payout on Canadian 10-year government bonds. The industry’s valuation has jumped to 21 times earnings and reached 22 in May, the highest since 2006.”

Tar Sands Action & the Paralysis of a Movement | Part I

Tar Sands Action & the Paralysis of a Movement

Part one of an eight part series.

Published September 15, 2011by Political Context: http://bit.ly/oxDG33 and Canadians for Action on Climate Change: http://bit.ly/nyA0kB

by Cory Morningstar

Only Death Will Save Us

“Only death will save us. Mediocrity begets mediocrity. It is tragic that the conditioning of civil society is so deep – that most everything relevant beating them on the head is received as nothing more than a cool breeze.” — Harold One Feather

What are the underlying motivations and loyalties of the social and political forces involved in the Tar Sands Action campaign, and, indeed, the bourgeois environmental movement as a whole? In our inability to avert an oncoming ecological collapse, coupled with what appears to be an insurmountable climate genocide, we must understand how the forces we seek to resist constantly absorb opposition, through compromised NGOs and other means. Never underestimate the strategies and mechanisms of the global elites for retaining their power, control, and domination of Earth and her inhabitants.

Cognitive dissonance compromises environmental activism. We must open our eyes, even if the ugliness is difficult to accept. Many seemingly credible activists who are paid to “lead” environmental organizations cannot admit to themselves that they have caved into the very systems they purport to oppose; there is no acceptable excuse for such lack of judgement and foresight – for if it is ignorance, it is willful. It is no longer singular individuals who create and shape our systems. Instead, the plutocrats construct and mould the systems and sustain illusory movements. As the majority of environmentalists and citizens who support such movements are not fully conscious of the role they play in propping up the industrial machine, this article attempts to inspire the courage to break free, re-organize, and move forward.

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” — Elwyn Brooks White

Remix version 2011:

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to enjoy the world and a desire to tear down the systemic structure that is destroying the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”

Prologue — Lambs to the Slaughter

“As with any pathologically-based manifestation, hegemonic pacifism in advanced capitalist contexts proves itself supremely resistant – indeed, virtually impervious – to mere logic and moral suasion.” — Ward Churchill, Pacifism as Pathology, 1984

Holding hands, singing songs, and forming circles has little effect beyond making individuals feel good about themselves. Of course, this is the main objective of the mainstream NGO: to appeal to one of our ugliest human traits – that of individualism, which our toxic culture celebrates. Such niceties also serve as fine fodder for media and for rounding up donations.

To have falsely promoted what was at best an educational campaign (which did not speak to the root causes of climate change) as “civil disobedience” was disingenuous, if not fraudulent. Yet, the NGOs continue to promote their publicity stunt under this guise. And it worked. Branding agencies and marketing executives will take note of this latest “success.” In truth, this (in)action merely succeeded in having seduced the public into a false belief that this system, into which violence is inherently built, can be overcome with moral suasion. At the eleventh hour, campaigning to build upon such a notion is not only incredibly deceiving – it is incredibly dangerous.

Organizations both within and outside of the nonprofit-industrial complex continue to unabashedly further the idea that passiveness, obedience and submissiveness to the corporatized state – which has made the conscious decision to allow billions to suffer and die – is the only moral choice. They insist that we must dismiss reality (that the Earth and her inhabitants are being killed all around us) while they dismiss the fact that moral suasion cannot stop this. They insist that we embrace their delusion at any cost. Tragically, such a suicidal position only serves to further weaken our own position as it strengthens the position of the corporate state tenfold. Like lambs, we are being led to the slaughter with stops all along the way for refreshments and photo ops. It’s the final step in the art of annihilation that the NGOs have adherently become so skilled at. The puppet masters are shaking in their boots, not with fear but with derisive laughter.

Those who know better, who choose to lend legitimacy to such organizations by way of supporting or promoting such grand spectacles of illusion, are in fact biting their own foot. Some of the statements heard echoing off the walls of delusion are “But where would we go?” and “Yes, I know, I agree, but it’s better than nothing.” Yet subduing and disempowering citizens is not better than nothing. And silence is complicity.

A “better than nothing” approach for a campaign such as Tar Sands Action is deeply flawed. By supporting / promoting compromised organizations and/or leaders of such compromised organizations, one provides a tract of general legitimacy for those who continue to prop up the malignant, capitalistic system and guarantee planetary demise while undermining the grassroots. Right or wrong, when we vocalize support or otherwise endorse such sanitized “actions” and the players behind them, we are seen as sanctioning them on the whole, and it makes walking the fine line of organizing an effective movement much more difficult.

Directing thousands of well-intentioned citizens to follow a false god with the last name of McKibben – whose organization (350.org/1Sky) is funded, overseen and partnered with the planet’s most powerful corporations and families – only ensures that society will be led to believe in the false illusion of “green capitalism” – what the corporate enviros have termed “climate wealth.” In McKibben’s own words: “Greed Has Helped Destroy the Planet – Maybe Now It Can Help Save It.” A vision based on rejecting ethics while further nurturing one of the worst human traits is one that any sane person working towards a just world must automatically reject. A vision based on the very same system that has now brought us to the precipice is a fool’s game, a deadly game that flies in the face of logic.

Many of the corporate greens can demonstrate strong points in regard to many issues – this is of little surprise as it is imperative for them to retain a level of credibility. Furthermore, they have millions of dollars available for specialized reports, which makes it easy. Of course, rarely will they campaign on such reports when they are released (quietly in most cases) to the public. We have to accept the fact that much of the environmental movement is now funded primarily with Rockefeller Family money (McKibben himself now states this proudly after a somewhat embarrassing incident on Climate Challenge TV) and corporate funnelled foundation money, which defines (dilutes) success in increments that, in the grand scheme of things, mean little. We can’t tolerate another 6,000 mW of coal active in FL, for example, but that is a victory to the Beyond Coal campaign because they managed to stop another 13K mW. In the next cycle, industry will again ask for 20K mW, and will get 5-8k mW. And that will be labeled another victory. At which point are these victories pyrrhic?

Eyes Wide Shut – Death by Denial

April 2011 Statement by the Indigenous Women of the Movement:

We felt that this was not an issue of semantics, that this was deliberately being taught to our peoples, our youth and our communities by the interests of government and corporations, who we began finding out more and more, were actually helping to fund well-paid activists who ran well-funded workshops, training and retreats on “non-violence” and “civil disobedience.” Some of this was traced back to funding which came from “ethical oil” strategies, and that’s when we started realizing the sickening accuracy of our premonitions…. We believe in honouring the dreams of women, in freeing ourselves from judgement and bias, decolonizing our minds and our hearts. We believe in being action-oriented, not paper-oriented. We don’t need Canada’s approval or consent, and we don’t need government or corporate funding. We have always had what we will always need: the Kaianerenkowa, the Medicine Wheel, our teachings, our clan systems, our languages, our ceremonies…. We can empower ourselves, we don’t need to wait for an NGO or a suit to tell us how to feel empowered. We aren’t the ones who need “non violence training”; the ones who need to stop using violence are the ones in power: police, government and corporations.

In the article “A Tar Sands Partnership Agreement in the Making?” social justice activist and journalist Macdonald Stainsby writes: “Many other foundations – most but not all American – now play the same game of social manipulation in the environmental field. Foundations such as Rockefeller Brothers, Ford and Hewlett have not only entered into the fray in a major way, in the case of the tar sands campaigns, they have collaborated with the Pew to take social manipulation to a new level.”

What the manipulated public does not understand, is the fact that, while these environmental groups have had years to unite behind a sane, comprehensive, unified energy policy that would have included opposition to tar sands and oil shale, and other false solutions, they have done nothing to this effect.

The money powers (who fund our “movement”) have decided that clean, zero-carbon, everlasting energy will not take over from fossil fuel energy or even increase its market share (see International Energy Agency World Energy Outlook 2010). The money powers do this consciously, in the face of evidence that the failure to make such a transition spells the end of the world. The insane logic behind such policy is that, as fossil fuel resources run out, corporations will increase profits. The devastating consequences for the biosphere are ignored.

We are hence warned once again that the campaigns dominating our movement are nothing more than impromptu, “whatever is popular at the moment,” laissez-faire, feel-good public relations escapades. This is not a movement that has any chance of staving off guaranteed climate genocide on top of multiple global crises, all happening simultaneously.

Corporate environmentalism is merely a movement designed to make us feel good today – much like capitalism – while killing us slowly.

From climate change, to the BP oil spill, then onto the tar sands bandwagon, these symbolic campaigns are orchestrated and echoed throughout the faux environmental movement.

Is the Left Suffering from Stockholm Syndrome?

 

Hooray for Change!

“Somehow we need to get back the President we thought we elected in 2008. We are just now finishing up the largest civil disobedience in this country in this century. We won’t attack the President. We will only hold him to the standard he set in 2008. We have been arrested for two weeks straight, but without bitterness or hate. Only joy and resolve.” — Bill McKibben

To believe Obama or the state will be moved by moral suasion as bombs are dropped on occupied countries including Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya while covert U.S. wars are underway in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia – murdering untold numbers of men, women and children – all in the name of resource exploitation (under the egregious auspices of democracy and liberation) is nothing more than delusion bordering on insanity.

Let’s break this down.

“Somehow we need to get back the President we thought we elected in 2008.”

First of all, the president that the people “thought” they elected in 2008 has proven himself (beyond a doubt) a mere voicebox for the plutocracy and a bona fide war criminal.

“We are just now finishing up the largest civil disobedience in this country in this century.”

Secondly, the Tar Sands Action must not be considered true civil disobedience when it was sanctioned by the state, while demonstrating to the state absolute compliance. It is only a massive withdrawal of compliance that actually has any possibility of even slight effect. Civil disobedience draws its strength from open confrontation and noncooperation – not from evasion or subterfuge. History has proven this time and time again. Demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of citizens have failed in a world of corporate-dominated government. Case in point would be the protests against the illegal invasion of Iraq by the U.S. and Britain. This was the largest global civil disobedience in our history. Citizens numbered in the millions. Yet the occupation continues to this day. As citizens, we can only retain as much power as we refuse to relinquish to the state. If one insists on calling the Tar Sands Action in Washington, D.C. a true civil disobedience, it is a sad reflection on what the meaning and intent of true civil disobedience has been reduced to.

Third, to call 1253 trained protesters (with the exception of the first day, all who were arrested over the course of the two weeks were released within an hour or two – approximately 90 people per day including the elite “leaders” and staff of a slew of mainstream NGOs) “the largest civil disobedience in this country in this century” is delusional. There have been protests against globalization in the U.S. in which citizens numbered in the thousands.

“We won’t attack the President. We will only hold him to the standard he set in 2008.”

Fourth point – citizens are extremely fortunate to have John Pilger and others who will attack the president openly, as the public needs and deserves to hear the truth. Why would any rational person hold Obama to a fantasy standard, when we know, based on his actions to date and our knowledge of corporate dominance, that Obama will never meet any standard that could stop the ongoing ecocide?

“We have been arrested for two weeks straight, but without bitterness or hate. Only joy and resolve.”

Fifth point – We should be bitter, pissed off, furious and sickened that our planet is being killed and that our children are going to not live long enough to reach old age. The myth that emotions such as bitterness, hate and anger are destructive prevents us from trusting our own intuition based on our life experiences. As we stand on the precipice, bitterness, hate and anger are all normal feelings upon coming to the full realization that the corporate state has chosen economic growth over life itself. Those who protect it are deserving of our bitterness and hatred. And if you’re not angry that our planet is being raped before our eyes – then perhaps you have forgotten what love is.

“In the run-up to the UN climate change conference in December 09, an advertising industry initiative, ‘Hopenhagen,’ was supported by Coca-Cola, DuPont and BMW, among others. Clearly, some organisations do not grasp the concept of irony. Nevertheless, more than six million people from around the world signed up. Hamilton wonders when such well-meaning individuals will begin to think ‘I have been doing the right thing for years, but the news about global warming just keeps getting worse.’ In other words, when will the dreadful reality hit home?

 

“…Clinging to hopefulness becomes a means of forestalling the truth. Sooner or later we must respond, and that means allowing ourselves to enter a phase of desolation and hopelessness, in short to grieve.

 

“…Painful though it is to do so, we come to terms with grief and loss. We mourn, we feel periods of shock and anger; slowly, we adjust. Adjustments may be unhealthy – denial, as we have seen, or apathy or nihilism. A healthy adjustment involves accepting the loss, making it part of who we are and what we will become.” — Clive Hamilton, Requiem for a Species: Why we resist the truth about climate change

Of course McKibben (and his disciples, whom he apparently believes he speaks for) have no bitterness or hate, only joy and resolve as their greatest sacrifice (by only a handful) was 48 hours in jail while the rest paid a hundred bucks and were home in time to watch themselves on the 4 o’clock news. One can appreciate the good intentions of citizens who are no doubt desperate to somehow make a difference. Yet at the same time it must be acknowledged that we are becoming completely out of touch with reality if we choose to lend the words “sacrifice” and “courage” to educational outreach media blitz campaigns.

One must wonder if McKibben would feel such “hope” for the president if his family was murdered in one of the occupied countries Obama continues to pummel with bombs. One must wonder if McKibben would be such a kind and kindred spirit to Obama if he was on the other end of the stick of industrialized capitalism – working in a mine developing lung cancer in order to feed his children one meal a day. If the Left is buying into this charade – and it appears they are – we must the conclude that the emasculated Left is indeed suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.

In psychology, Stockholm syndrome is a term used to describe a real paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness. (Source: Wikipedia)

Video: Obama celebrates Earth Day. (Running time: 0:44)

The Choice

“In concrete terms, this means … civil disobedience; and life and death confrontations with the powers that be. Like King, we need to put on our cemetery clothes and be coffin-ready for the next great democratic battle.” — Cornel West, Dr. King Weeps From His Grave, New York Times, 26 August 2011

It’s time we remove our comfortable cocoons of self-righteousness and moral superiority and fully recognize / acknowledge that we are all participating in a culture where violence is now inherently built into the system. Thus we all have blood on our hands and there can be no denying this fact.

The movement must choose for what type of future we wish to fight. A future of the people, by the people, for the people? Or a future of the corporations (i.e. corporations via foundations), by the corporations, for the corporations (i.e., commodification of the last remaining elements of nature; continued violence until the remaining elements of nature are destroyed, or mass extinction by way of climate genocide a.k.a. green capitalism)?

We must choose one. We cannot have both.

Choosing the first provides a future for all life our Earth graciously sustains. It will not be given. It must be taken.

Further, the future we resolve to claim must be articulated.

Meanwhile in the real world of activism (being eclipsed by the state-sanctioned Tar Sands Action and its negotiated arrests), more Amazon Rainforest activists receive death threats as assassinations escalate. Closer to home, in Messina, New York, on 11 August 2011, Larry Thompson, a Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) man was arrested. Thompson, “sick of waiting for a General Motors Superfund site cleanup that will never happen,” took a backhoe to a toxic landfill site. “Thompson drove onto the notoriously polluted mound, scooped up contaminated soil and loaded it into railroad cars that were waiting to cart away debris from the GM building that is being torn down in the wake of bankruptcy proceedings…. Larry was given this order by the Clan Mother. She directed him to do this. So he had to do it. No matter what, she is the supreme law of the land.” Of course, the criminals that poisoned the land (i.e. those responsible for the violence) continue to walk free.

A Very Civil Civil Disobedience

“I believe it’s a crime for anyone being brutalized to continue to accept that brutality without doing something to defend himself.” — Malcolm X

“When, in the course of human development, existing institutions prove inadequate to the needs of man, when they serve merely to enslave, rob, and oppress mankind, the people have the eternal right to rebel against, and overthrow, these institutions.” — Emma Goldman

20 August 2011: The article “A Very Civil Civil Disobedience” said it all. Anything other than submissive obedience to the police state is not to be considered “civil.” The word “civil” is loaded. How “civilized” is a society whose very existence is dependent upon the violent and relentless assault on the planet, while simultaneously exploiting the struggling classes?

Organizing citizens to get themselves peacefully arrested in order to “appeal to the better nature of Obama” are based on a delusional strategy. Appeals to Obama and other members of the ruling class serve to distract us from the unwillingness of states to change their practices without being forced to do so. Mainstream environmentalists’ calls for “rolling sit-ins” (10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. daily) and other passive tactics would be considered by many to be an insult to activists throughout the world who have fought against state and police repression with their very lives.

Who knew you would have to RSVP to the “revolution,” agree to the conditions, be trained by God himself, and that a dress code would be in effect? On 28 August 2011, a participant to the Tar Sands Action sent out a mass email to her lists. Within the communiqué she states, “The action was relatively simple, to be honest, and I don’t feel super brave for ‘risking arrest’ when it was a simple procedure and a $100 fine. (A ‘post and forfeit’ thing, similar to a traffic violation, not a misdemeanor or anything that would be likely to taint a record). It was fun to ride in the paddy wagon with 15 other awesome activists, kinda like a sauna. The cops were nice to us and some of us helped educate them on why we were there. (The organizers are encouraging everyone to cooperate and pay the fine, to seem dignified in the media, and to keep the story on the pipeline rather than on ‘us vs. them’ with the parks police. Yet they did say that, if we’re not listened to here, perhaps for a future action the strategy may be different.)”

And although the McKibben show pumps out headlines loaded with words such as “terrified”, “scared out of my mind”, “risk arrest”, and on and on, Darryl Hannah (the ultimate triumph for any campaign in today’s celebrity-obsessed culture) topped them all off, proclaiming “Sometimes it’s necessary to sacrifice your freedom for a greater freedom.”?These words/descriptions are so over-the-top (to be kind), they are ludicrous. Let’s be honest – most of us cannot even begin to comprehend what real sacrifice means. Here is another much more honest commentary posted on September 1, 2011:

“Getting arrested in the Tar Sands Action was fun and it felt like the right and responsible thing to do. The scariest part of it was navigating the D.C. Metro. No, that’s not exactly true. It was the anticipation of navigating the D.C. Metro that terrified me, not the actual navigation. … The female officer took my ID but stuffed my money back in my bra. Then they took my mug shot, handed me my ID and squeezed me into the paddy wagon with Kidder. It was very hot and close in there but we joked around with the cute police officers, told stories and had a pretty good time…. I was released at 12:46 p.m.” (The author notes she was arrested at 11:33 a.m.)

From the Tar Sands Action website:

Question: Does this demonstration have a permit, or are we by attending breaking a regulation?

Answer: As long as you are on the sidewalk in front of the White House and keep moving you aren’t breaking any regulations. The action organizers have applied for permits to be on the sidewalk in front of the White House for the entirety of the action.

Question: What should we do if there are opponents trying to disrupt the action or people who start to act outside of the agreed Action Guidelines?

Answer: Dealing with inappropriate escalation (or confrontation from our opponents) is going to be a main duty of the support team that will be on site for every action. They’ll be ready to talk with folks who seem to be getting out of hand and to help direct energy to the more strategic, productive parts of the action.

Did Rosa Parks obtain a permit from the state before she decided she would sit at the front of the bus? Why do citizens choose to submit to an authority who that tells us / convinces us that we must seek approval to stand on a public sidewalk, a sidewalk that has been paid for by the people themselves?

State Sanctioned “Civil Disobedience” & Propaganda Wars

20 August 2011: The article “Tar-sands protesters in jail longer than expected” states:

In negotiations with the police prior to the action that began on Saturday, the police were very clear that what would happen after people were arrested was the vast majority would get what’s called “post and forfeit,” where you put up $100, get released from jail after several hours, and you don’t have to come back again. It’s basically like a traffic ticket.

The article continues:

But this is not what they did. Instead, after arresting the first day’s 70 people, they decided to hold most of them, all those not from within a 25-mile radius of Washington, D.C., in jail until a Monday afternoon arraignment. This works out to 48 or more hours in jail before being released. [Emphasis added]

We can sense that the author is appalled the police did not honor their pre-arranged deal. He appears to be outraged that middle class citizens were inconvenienced for 48 hours or more. The author continues that another “action” earlier this year ran into a similar situation where “despite many weeks of communication between the protest organizers and various state, county and local government officials, agreements to camp overnight were revoked.” Such comments reveal how state-sanctioned “civil disobedience” has become normalized. But no worries, the author plans to hope and pray that the tar sands “action” will “rise to the occasion” – whatever that means in real life.

In a true act of civil disobedience, one adopts a position of absolute non-cooperation with the state, the perpetrator of both violence and oppression. No prior negotiations. No obedience.

Adding further Orwellian bizarreness, it was announced in a media advisory issued 1st September 2011, by the Indigenous Environmental Network what would occur on the following day: “Native Americans and First Nations to be arrested at White House protesting TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline.”

Recognizing that this protest involved several hundred well-intentioned individuals looking for direction and a way to make a difference, the Washington, D.C. “civil disobedience” cannot truly be considered disobedient when it has been organized with the very state they are supposedly resisting. Prior to the action, the organizers fully engaged / conversed with police in order to find out exactly what risk they would be susceptible to in undertaking such a protest in Washington, D.C. en masse. We see this over and over again. It is only once it is established that the “approved” action will be most benevolent with trivial consequences (no real risk) that the privileged classes then build upon such campaigns. The ruling class does not fear such campaigns in the least.

Yes … the state will undoubtedly be so moved by our arguments and our good behaviour that it will voluntarily, someday soon, overthrow itself and join us in a circle of sing-songs.

States only fear acts of civil disobedience and direct actions when they threaten to disrupt the system through a demonstration of overwhelming strength. They do not respond to appeals to morality or guilt. When a protest is controlled, sanctioned and supported by the state, the action will not be feared, because the state will never fear what it can control. Planting seeds of love is a beautiful thing, yet on their own, in the absence of struggle and true sacrifice, such seeds of love have never won any revolutions.

Tar Sands Action Civil Obedience Campaign

Naomi Klein under state sanctioned arrest.

Naomi Klein should be mortified at promoting and participating in such a staged event – as she knows better. In her book “No Logo: Taking Aim at Brand Bullies” (2000), Klein remarks: “Since the days when Abbie Hoffman and the Yippies infused self-conscious absurdity to their ‘happenings,’ political protest had lapsed into a ritualized affair, following a fairly unimaginative grid of repetitive chants and scripted police confrontation.”

Nine Nobel Peace Laureates including “Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama” have written to President Obama, urging him to reject the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. A media release states that “the opposition to the pipeline has surged in recent weeks as more than 1,250 people were arrested in 14 days of sit-ins at the White House – perhaps the largest wave of civil disobedience ever for an environmental cause in the U.S…. In asking you to make this decision we recognize the thousands of Americans who risked arrest to protest in front of the White House between August 20th and September 3rd. These brave individuals have spoken movingly about experiencing the power of nonviolence in that time.”

And there is the language, the sound bites, highlighted yet again to further pacify our public as our multiple crises escalate: references to religion and the “power of non-violence” when speaking to civil disobedience and arrests. McKibben and friends had to have recognized and taken solace in the fact that the public is severely naïve to have even attempted to pass off the state-sanctioned orchestrated event as true civil disobedience.

What kind of civil disobedience is it where the police themselves carefully fold up protesters’ banners (with weapons completely exposed) and collect the protest signs prior to the arrests? It is telling that the “Park Police” were placed in charge of the daily 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. rolling sit-ins. It appears that the only exception was the initial week-end, commencing Saturday, August 20th, the first day of arrests (which included McKibben) when the D.C. police arrested the protesters and held the non-resident arrestees until Monday.

It also appears that no one other than McKibben and participants from his group ever went to jail. (A media bonanza that legitimized McKibben). All other trained arrestees for the remaining 2 weeks were police-escorted (motorcycle escorts with sirens wailing) to the Anacostia station of the Park Police where they simply paid a $100 fine. During training, the organizers instructed the participants to pay the fine rather than opt to go to jail – stating that otherwise, the police would get angry and treat subsequent arrestees less courteously. The multiple references comparing this “civil disobedience” to the sacrifice and bravery demonstrated during the civil rights movement, as well as references to Martin Luther King throughout this campaign, are abominable. In reality, in direct contrast to civil disobedience, this “action” must be considered an act of passive civil obedience.

How is it that North America has become so completely removed from reality? How is it that such weak and cowardly leadership – so out of touch with what is happening all over the world – can be considered noble, rather than what it really is – an embarrassment?

The photos below from the Tar Sands Actions Flickr account tell a story far more revealing than anything anyone can attempt to reveal in a piece of writing. The intention was to include photos of people smiling and laughing when placed under arrest. Unfortunately it is not possible, simply because there are too many that fall under this description. In fact, this action may be the happiest and most enjoyable “civil disobedience” to have ever been presented to the public. Let’s have a look:

Organized! Police set up a convenient processing station on the site.

Protesters were trained to march up to the front of the fence. The protesters lined up and were then adjusted by the organizers. Citizens were permitted to walk into the front area, however, they were not permitted to remain in this area as it was reserved for tourists and media to take photographs. The police gave three warnings for the protesters to leave or be arrested. Citizens who did not wish to be arrested left the area. It was at this point the police assisted in carefully gathering up the signs and banners and placed barricades at all sides of the arrestees (the back is a fence). Processing was done on site (see above). Then the arrestees were driven for approximately ten minutes to the Anacostia station of the Park Police where they finalized paperwork, paid a $100 fine and were released (with the exception of August 20th). The yellow tape reads ‘Police Scene – Do Not Cross’.

Confronting the state.

A policeman taking photos.

Policeman folds banner with much care.The officer, apparently under extreme duress and fear, has forgotten he has a gun on his side belt in reach of the “resistance.”

A 350 supporter is arrested by the Park Police. The first people arrested, including McKibben, were turned over to the D.C. police who unexpectedly kept them 48 hours (as this is not what the organizers had negotiated in advance). Following this initial arrest it was then managed by the Park Police who were apparently very nice. They handcuffed and took the trained protesters to a tent where they were frisked. The arrestees were then brought inside the tent where their photo was taken. They were then given a number and placed on a bus or wagon. (The buses were air conditioned and the wagons were hot). Arrestees were then police escorted to a station where the Park Police removed the plastic zip handcuffs, checked ID once more, took the money, and then sent the released protestors off towards the Metro. We can only hope the approx. $130,000 raised by the police, goes to the park to assist with the trees dying from polluting ozone. We can only assume the police escort was necessary in order to prevent any real protesters from trying to beat some sense into them.

Image of Park Police.

Everyone is in great spirits including the Park Police.

Compare the Tar Sands Action to civil disobedience in other countries who are being brutally oppressed and exploited by the violent system we participate in on a daily basis. Apathy in the face of injustice is also a form of violence.

Photo above: An indigenous woman holds her child while trying to resist the advance of Amazonas state police who were expelling the woman and some 200 other members of the Landless Movement from a privately-owned tract of land on the outskirts of Manaus, in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, March 11, 2008. The landless peasants tried in vain to resist the eviction with bows and arrows against police using tear gas and trained dogs, and were evicted from the land. (REUTERS/Luiz Vasconcelos-A Critica/AE)

Another real act of confronting and resisting the state is the G2O protests.

 

Two leaders of civil disobedience in North America: Betty Krawczyk and the late Pacheedaht warrior Harriet Nahanee/Tsibeotl (above).

Indoctrination

The Tar Sands Action organization, initiated and led by 350/1 Sky spokesperson Bill McKibben, actually has no plan in place for when the Keystone pipeline is approved by Obama. What escalating tactics will be pursued? What does the state have to fear?

Intoxicated by the idea that Obama can be won over with moral persuasion and reject a pipeline which promises billions in projected profits, and which will enable his crumbling empire to control North America’s oil this action is merely an educational campaign to draw attention to the appalling tar sands. And this is where the problem lies. Citizens are being led to believe that pre-negotiated civil disobedience – one that assures no sacrifice or risk will be endured by citizens as long as they abide by the rules of the state – can stop the violence being waged upon our shared Earth. Not so. We know it will not. It never has, and never will. (See Pacifism and Pathology, by Ward Churchill, 2007 Version.)

We cling to our deep belief of business-as-usual. The inertia makes this easy. The gradual systemic violence upon us is a gentle, slow kill. This month feels no different than last month, therefore everything must be okay. Our intense desire for non-disruption in a life we perceive as non-violent traps us into a false belief system.

The Climate Cartel: 1Sky, 350.org and Rockefeller Brothers | Stronger as One

The Climate Cartel: 1Sky, 350.org and Rockefeller Brothers | Stronger as One

The Climate Cartel:1Sky, 350.org and Rockefeller Brothers | Stronger as One

By Cory Morningstar

Published July 7th, 2011 by Political Context: http://bit.ly/n8FG5T and Canadians for Action on Climate Change: http://bit.ly/r1REJ0

“The ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee and I will pay more for that ability than for any other under the sun.” – David Rockefeller , the current patriarch of the Rockefeller family and only surviving grandchild of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil.

Doublethink, a word coined by George Orwell in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, describes the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts. It is related to, but distinct from, hypocrisy and neutrality. Its opposite is cognitive dissonance, where the two beliefs cause conflict in one’s mind.” (source: Wikipedia)

[Doublethink is] “To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself — that was the ultimate subtlety; consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.”

“The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them….To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.” – George Orwell, George (1949). Nineteen Eighty-Four. Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd, London, part 1, chapter 3, pp 32

Wikipedia: “Orwell explains that the Party could not protect its iron power without degrading its people with constant propaganda. Yet, knowledge of this brutal deception, even within the Inner Party itself, could lead to collapse of the state from within. Though Nineteen Eighty-Four is most famous for the Party’s pervasive surveillance of everyday life, this control means that the population of Oceaniaall of it, including the ruling elitecould be controlled and manipulated merely through the alteration of everyday thought and language. Newspeak is the method for controlling thought through language; doublethink is the method of directly controlling thought.

Moreover, doublethink’s self-deception allows the Party to maintain huge goals and realistic expectations.

Since 1949 (when Nineteen Eighty-Four was published), the word doublethink has become synonymous with relieving cognitive dissonance by ignoring the contradiction between two world viewsor even of deliberately seeking to relieve cognitive dissonance. Some schools of psychotherapy, such as cognitive therapy, encourage people to alter their own thoughts as a way of treating different psychological maladies.”

 

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Fair warning to those who continue to support “the new” 350.org

In April of this year, 1Sky and 350.org announced their “official” merger, even though they were already intertwined from the outset.

As documented in the expose Rockefellers 1Sky Unveils the New 350.org | More $ More Delusion,today, having possibly reached peak delusion, we now actually have the Rockefellers at the helm of our faux climate movement and even the most intelligent people have chosen to embrace it. Even anti-capitalist websites are promoting Bill McKibben’s latest piece asking for civil disobedience and signed by McKibben, Naomi Klein, Maude Barlow and others including prominent 1Sky members.

Make no mistake that civil disobedience is absolutely imperative and that yes, the tar sands must be considered a death knell to the planet in relation to climate change, which continues to escalate at a rapid rate. And yes this call to action is certainly orders of magnitude more important than anything that McKibben has demonstrated in the past.

The question is why globalist plutocrats, such as the Rockefellers, fund the majority of the mainstream environmental movement and establish an organization that now calls for civil disobedience and the halt of tar sands expansion into the US? If the true meaning of climate justice were in fact to be realized, it would mean nothing less than the stripping of wealth of these very families and corporate entities. The very system which ensures global monetary wealth and power stay securely in the hands of the privileged few today is absolutely dependent upon and cannot succeed without continuous expanding raping, pillaging and degradation to our Earth and relentless exploitation of those most vulnerable.

Since these families and corporate entities have come to fund the mainstream environmental movement, we can safely conclude that they do not fear it. The reason is simple the climate justice “movement” represents no real threat to the globe’s wealthiest and most powerful. The global elites including the dominant Rockefellers shape, define and ultimately control the movement itself. Yet these big names do lend credibility to an organization whose legitimacy is essentially non-existent.

The carefully worded “call out” from McKibben even places restrictions on the participants:

“We will do it in dignified fashion, demonstrating that in this case we are the conservatives, and that our foes who would change the composition of the atmosphere are dangerous radicals.”

Framing the term “radical” as dangerous (radical is derived from the Latin word rdclis – having roots, from Latin rdix – a root, designed to act on or eliminate the root or cause of a pathological process), McKibben exhorts would-be participants to wear business attire and show support for Obama:

“Come dressed as if for a business meeting this is, in fact, serious business. And another sartorial tip if you wore an Obama button during the 2008 campaign, why not wear it again? We very much still want to believe in the promise of that young Senator who told us that with his election the ‘rise of the oceans would begin to slow and the planet start to heal.’ We don’t understand what combination of bureaucratic obstinacy and insider dealing has derailed those efforts, but we remember his request that his supporters continue on after the election to pressure the government for change. We’ll do what we can.”

McKibben’s message on aggressive non-violence?

“One thing we don’t want is a smash up: if you can’t control your passions, this action is not for you.”

On 30 June 2011, Jeff Goodell wrote in the Rolling Stone article, Politics: Time For Climate Activists to Get Tough:

“Interestingly, organizers are asking demonstrators to ditch Birkenstocks, torn jeans and tie-dyed T-shirts for button-down, business attire. ‘We need to be able to get across to people who the conservatives are and who the radicals are,’ McKibben said. ‘People need to understand how radical it is to change the composition of the atmosphere.’ By marching in button-downs, rally organizers are clearly borrowing a page from the Mississippi Freedom Riders of the 1960s, who, by arriving in the South as well-dressed, respectable students and citizens, helped expose the moral savagery of the white power establishment.

It may be a shrewd and effective strategy, but inviting a comparison between climate activists and the Freedom Riders only underscores how tame the fight against global warming has been so far. The Freedom Riders proved the power of peaceful action, but they also showed astonishing courage and a willingness to risk their lives to change the world. Buses were firebombed. Some of them were attacked by police dogs. Others were beaten bloody, had bones broken, skulls cracked. But their suffering inspired people. ‘If those kids are wiling to lay all that on the line, I should be able to screw up at least a little courage in order to support the movement,’ one person says in Breach of Peace, Eric Etheridge’s excellent book of portraits of Freedom Riders.”

If people wish to delude themselves that 1 Sky/350.org/McKibben is our saviour that will help us avoid our own self-annihilation, I guess they can go ahead and do so. This will prove to be a massive mistake for those who claim to work towards climate justice and claim to be opposed to the commodification of Earth’s final remaining natural resources. This misguided trust will also prove to be lethal to future generations, including today’s children.

Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, spoke March 19, 2010 at Innovative Philanthropy for the 21st Century: Harnessing the Power of Impact Investing: In this second phase of philanthropic innovation, our Rockefeller Foundation predecessors helped establish the non-governmental organization sector as the missing middle between giving and direct impact. This included support for entities we call them RINGOS, Rockefeller Foundation Initiated NGOs.

1Sky was a Rockefeller-initiated NGO an incubator project so to speak. Although I have documented this relationship extensively, the majority of people are only willing to see and believe what they want to see and believe. Cognitive dissonance, denial and Orwells doublespeak has proven to be a most effective strategy in the co-opting of an entire movement. On the website post below written by 1Sky Garth Brooks it is stated unequivocally that Rockefeller Brothers is a 1Sky strategic partner.

From the 1Sky Website: Weekly Round-Up 8/6/10:

“It makes me feel better, but I suspect others feel differently. Some even questioned if there was a movement. In their Grist piece, authors Kelsey Wirth, Rockefeller Family Fund’s Larry Shapiro, and Greenpeace USA’s Philip Radford put it bluntly on why the grassroots failed to help deliver a strong bill(Note: Rockefeller Brothers is a 1Sky donor and strategic partner).”

Rockefeller Fund manages approximately US$1 billion for descendants of John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil Co., predecessor of U.S. oil giants Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips, all of which are tar sands developers.

For an imperative read see Offsetting Resistance and the secret structure of the tar sands coalition: “The emerging ‘North American Tar Sands Coalition,’ seeks to keep its decision-making body ‘invisible to the outside,’ while funnelling millions of dollars to its preferred groups.”

Such “campaigns” are superbly planned and executed using all tools available, with a heavy emphasis on distraction, language and manipulation using advanced and sophisticated psychology.

If the environmental movement and notable environmental leaders who speak out against capitalism (the root cause of climate change) and the fatal illusion of “green” capitalism believe that partnering and promoting an organization led by the Rockefellers, the Clintons, TckTckTck (supported/partnered with the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, which includes members such as Shell) is not insane … then we really are in for a FAR WORSE situation than we realize.

Many will have taken notice by now of the big greens pushing REDD REDD being just one of the many market mechanisms the Rockefellers, with the industrial machine, have worked towards and funded with many a big green NGO to assist.

“Rockefeller was a donor to colleges all over the country and helped found the University of Chicago. Huntington, of the Central Pacific, gave money to two Negro colleges, Hampton Institute and Tuskegee Institute. Carnegie gave money to colleges and to libraries. Johns Hopkins was founded by a millionaire merchant, and millionaires Cornelius Vanderbilt, Ezra Cornell, James Duke, and Leland Stanford created universities in their own names. The rich, giving part of their enormous earnings in this way, became known as philanthropists.

These educational institutions did not encourage dissent; they trained the middlemen in the American system-the teachers, doctors, lawyers, administrators, engineers, technicians, politicians- those who would be paid to keep the system going, to be loyal buffers against trouble.” Howard Zinn from the book History is a Weapon, A Peoples History of the United States, Chapter 11 Robber Barons and Rebels

The illusion of democracy and good will is breathtaking.

Announcement on the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Website April 21, 2011

Written by Jessica Bailey (integral to the creation of 1Sky, Jessica Bailey is the Program Officer for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s Sustainable Development program, where she focuses on climate change. Bailey also serves on the board of directors for 1Sky):

1Sky and 350.org: Stronger as One

Posted on 04/21/2011 in Sustainable Development

By Jessica Bailey

This month marked the exciting marriage of 1Sky and 350.org two grantees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s Sustainable Development program. The announcement comes as environmental policy is hitting a new low in Washington: the House of Representatives just voted to deny the science of climate change; the recently passed federal budget cuts climate change-related programs by $49 million (including a ban on funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Service); the White House has opened up wide areas of the West for coal mining; and the environmental community is being forced to put everything it’s got into protecting the Clean Air Act a bill passed decades ago! These are challenging times for those of us working to advance solutions to climate change.

Despite the news coming from Washington, the announcement to merge 1Sky and 350.org two of the biggest movements on climate into a single organization under the banner of 350.org, gives me hope that we just might build a people-powered movement strong enough to protect this planet. 1Sky and 350.org were born around the same time and involved many of the same leaders. Bill McKibben, who has been a 1Sky board member and will chair the new 350.org board, once referred to 1Sky as the U.S. Embassy for 350.org and 350.org as 1Sky’s foreign legion. 1Sky was founded to support ambitious environmental action in the United States that would keep emissions targets to scientifically defendable levels, stop new coal-fired power plants, and build a green economy strong enough to create five million new green jobs. 350.org was founded to embed the concept of a wonky carbon emissions concept (350 ppm is the level of emissions in the atmosphere that scientists believe is safe) into the international negotiations in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate summit. While 1Sky didn’t deliver bold national policy and 350.org didn’t deliver a global treaty, both organizations have made significant progress in widening the tent of grassroots support for climate action. With the new political reality, it makes all the sense in the world to bring them together. Matching 350.org’s talent for mass mobilization and online action with 1Sky’s advocacy and field campaign experience is tremendously exciting. Mergers are tough, and I applaud the leaders in both organizations for recognizing they’d be stronger together.

The new 350.org has an aggressive plan to mobilize millions of people in a tech-savvy, citizen-driven movement that can finally build the support necessary for real climate action. The good news is they have a solid running start. The new campaign will have over 600,000 active supporters, thousands of volunteer community organizers in every state, and hundreds of partner organizations.

Let’s hope this happy union gives the climate movement the jumpstart it needs to compel our country to act on climate change before it’s too late.”

http://www.rbf.org/post/1sky-and-350org-stronger-one

“Some even believe we (the Rockefeller family) are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the USA characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure—one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.” – David Rockefeller

In April 2011 congressman Ron Paul, sent a stark message this week to ruling elite “internationalists” attempting to expand globalism via the Western military industrial complex “you will fail”.

Will they fail?

Certainly not unless we finally make an uncompromised decision to face reality dead-on.

If you are in support of “green” capitalism meaning BAU (business as usual) and keeping the world’s monetary wealth and power in the hands of a select few the furthest thing from climate justice then just keep supporting the new 350.org/1Sky, along with the other corporate greens. It is so grossly blatant, it is difficult to accept that people are choosing to be blind to it. If you believe the Rockefellers (and the handful of other elites who control the globe) wish for a new global economy based on any kind of justice and a re-distribution of wealth and power, you’re in seriously dangerous denial.

We don’t need Rockefeller and corporate mouthpieces planning our actions, “training” us to be passive and obedient, and telling us what we can and cannot do, what is appropriate versus what is not. We need civil disobedience but it must come from the grassroots up, not from the plutocrats down.

Today’s youth, Indigenous peoples of the world, indeed all the men and women alive today, have every right to rebel against and destroy the current power structures that exist. This is necessary in order to salvage what is left of a raped and pillaged planet on the brink of ecological collapse. Martin Luther King once said that “you cannot commit an act of violence against a non-sentient object.” The real violence is what is being allowed to happen on a daily basis to our Earth Mother and global and local ecosystems, to which we have chosen to turn a blind eye. Today, police states and corporate-controlled governments protect property, corporate interests, and industrialized economic growth over life itself. Drastic times require drastic measures; thus, all peoples have the right to destroy the suicidal structures now threatening humanity. Echoing the words of Malcolm X, they must defend that right “by any means necessary.”

Refuse to be silenced. Go forward in self-defence. Do not negotiate life. Reject all compromise.

Reject all attempts for the industrial machine to smother, rehabilitate, co-opt, or psychologically marginalize our actions.

Attack the economic system as this is the only language those most powerful, who control the world’s monetary wealth, understand.

It is past time to start enacting civil disobedience on a massive scale. Knowledge is the weapon and it is time to arm the masses using all organizational tools in existence. This must be a united movement. Fuel distribution centres, pipelines, dams, roads, the industrial-military complex, banks, the stock exchange, politicians, CEOs: all must be targeted.

And for fuck’s sake, don’t wear a tie unless you really want to.

Cory Morningstar is climate justice activist whose recent writings can be found on Canadians for Action on Climate Change and The Art of Annihilation site where you can read her bio. You can follow her on Twitter: @elleprovocateur