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In Thrall to Regression

July 20, 2019

By John Steppling

In Thrall to Regression

 

Gabrielle de Montmollin , photography.

 

“The rose is without why; she blossoms because she blossoms. She pays no attention to herself, does not ask if anyone sees her.”
Angelus Silesius

“I never had a memory for myself, but always for others.”
Masha Ivashintsova

“What you didn’t see, don’t say…having seen keep quiet.”
Solon (Apophthegmata)

“The capitalistic order produces modes of human relations even in their unconscious representations…”
Felix Guattari (in conversation)

 

There is a collective regression to contemporary thinking. Or maybe it is the loss of thinking itself. But overlaying this can be seen a collection of resentments and fears, of desires and identifications with power and aggression. And some of this is being played out in the climate discourse. I continue to refer to Cory Morningstar’s work (Wrong Kind of Green http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/ ) where capitalism and class hierarchies are subsumed in a broader generalized (and confused) identification with, on the surface, action against global warming but also, on another perhaps deeper level, with Capital itself. With the ruling class and with authority.

Dagmar Herzog has written several excellent books that serve to both recapture the radical roots of psychoanalysis and to trace the pernicious effects of social and political and sexual conservatism in the U.S. that neutralised the radical nature of early Freudianism. And her work in very pertinent in light of the current mass capitulation to Capitalism (and aggression particularly) in contemporary anti-thinking.

Robert Gotzfried, photography (from his series on bowling alleys in southern Germany).

“Meanwhile companies have to change their business models at least every decade to keep up with a world in which the prices are stagnant or falling and new challengers can pop up to take advantage of cheap financing.{ }Shvets said: “In a world of private sector dominance, clear (and relatively predictable) private sector signals and information gaps, there are significant trading opportunities. This is not the world we inhabit.”
Ben Moshinsky (Greenwich Time, Feb 25th, 2018, Capitalism is Dead)

The global environmental crisis, while real is also being politicized because it offers just what Moshinsky above is referring to. It is the ticket out of stagnation and a way to supplement war as the only means to destroy surplus labor and surplus capital. The point here is that climate projects offer huge benefits for investors and the leaders of western business.

And what is taking place in another register is a populace who no longer think with any degree of autonomy and who, more to the point, identify with Capital — and certainly this is true of liberals in America, but also much of the new faux left.

Richard Lloyd Lewis, photography.

One of Herzog’s best chapters in Cold War Freud is on the legacies of Nazism. And it is hugely useful to the discussions of contemporary American culture. Her observations on the sudden and unexpected popularity that greeted zoologist Konrad Lorenz’ book On Aggression (the English translation of the German title..which read literally as The So Called Evil; The Natural History of Aggression) are to the point here. The book came out in English in 1966, in German, the original, in 1963) . It is interesting that Paul Erhlich’s The Population Bomb came out in 1968, and both books became University campus standards and both were immensely popular with the general public. This marked a sharp course correction for the sixties.

“Both in the Anglo-American and in the West German context, Lorenz’s book on aggression would often be read in conjunction with two further books exploring the animal origins of human behavior published a few years later: the American playwright (and student of behavioral science) Robert Ardrey’s The Territorial Imperative (1966) and the British zoologist Desmond Morris’ The Naked Ape (1967). One strand of public fascination with these texts clearly had to do with a wave of interest in biological as opposed to sociological explanations of human nature – and not least with a desire to re-secure traditional notions of gender in an era of rapidly changing social roles for men and women. However, there was something distinctively post-Nazi German about the glowing appreciation and fervor with which Lorenz’s specific contribution to the wider project of analogizing from animals to humans was embraced.”

Dagmar Herzog (Cold War Freud)

Esther Bubley, photography, U.S. High School 1945.

The idea of aggression as a force for good has its obvious appeal to a warlike Nation such as the U.S., but the more unfortunate influence that came out of Lorenz’ book (and Morris’ especially) was a simplified and simplistic blueprint for history and society. Aggression then, took its place alongside greed (Ayn Rand and The Virtue of Selfishness 1964) and, yes, selfishness as pseudo scientific theories of human behavior. And this pop faux science text of Lorenz was to establish a certain best sellers litany of hugely influential books that rationalized what were actually the deforming principles of Capitalism — and all of them can trace their logic back to racist and Christian beliefs in white supremacy. This is the reading list of eugenicists and military leaders, of political speech writers and global bureaucrats. Lorenz book can be seen as the great grandfather to Jared Diamond and David Graeber, or Malcolm Gladwell, or Pinker or Stephen Jay Gould. I even like some of the stuff Graeber has written, he can be genuinely amusing. But then I suspect Goebbels could be amusing, too.

The point is that Lorenz book was a watershed in pseudo academics. He was the first real lit phenom for non fiction. Desmond Morris was close behind. And both books carried with them a creepy whiff of eugenics and Nazism. You can draw a straight line from Konrad Lorenz to TED talks.

István Sándorfi

Herzog quotes Max Horkheimer (from Lessons of Fascism)…“it is no longer the son’s fear of the father that is the typical psychological fact but the father’s secret fear of the son.” This comment came in the context of re-thinking the centrality of Freud’s Oedipus conflict.Herzog later quotes psychoanalyst Paul Parin“Psychoanalysis is not possible without an attack on the status quo; the critique of society is intrinsic to it.” (Psyche 1990) Parin in another essay noted that the story of the history of psychoanalysis is also the story of its deterioration. The radical thrust of the original Vienna circle around Freud (Otto Fenichel in particular) has very consciously been erased.And I will note, in semi anecdotal fashion, that while Horkheimer was right, and many post Freudian agree, there are two statistics regarding fathers …well three actually….that I find fascinating. I wrote a boxing show for HBO (never produced) and during my research I visited a lot of fight clubs and went to a lot of fights. The Nevada medical examiner was next me front row at a Vegas fight and recently a fighter had died in England. I forget who. But the Doc told me…there have been thirteen ring deaths in Nevada since they began keeping records. And in each case the fighter who died was managed by his father, who in each case was his cornerman. Second …a highly disproportionate number of convicted killers in American prisons are “juniors” (meaning they are named after their father). And third, Richard Rhodes (The Making of the Atomic Bomb) noted that among the scientists at Berkeley, recruited for the Manhatten Project, a disproportionate number were fatherless.

Arcangelo Ianelli

Rhodes also wrote…“found that scientists think about problems in much the same way artists do. Scientists and artists proved less similar in personality than in cognition, but both groups were similarly different from businessmen.” But then this was still mid century. And on through the early years of NASA, science was still different. And to notice this difference is important, I think.

And there is a kind of triangulation, or Euclidean graph of some sort embedded in 20th century thinking and its relationship to violence and aggression. From Nazi death camps to Hiroshima to Korea to Vietnam, and then later the U.S. anti communist violence in Central America and U.S./NATO aggressions across the Arab world. And as Capital imploded — culminating, in a fashion, in 2008, the ruling elite of international finance were rethinking their earlier strategies. And throughout this short 21st century the role of screen dominated life in the West looms. All of these points could be catalogued in sub groupings; stuff like the fall of the USSR, the dismantling of Yugoslavia (which was, of course, a U.S. and NATO crime) and the escalating recolonizing of Africa. Across this is a populace viewed as mostly disposable. And a populace, and this means the shrinking deracinated bourgeosie, too, that are in flight from reality. The climate crises (imagine scare quotes) has come to the rescue as an emotional and psychological refuge. Advertised as the place of “too late” — an impossible mental country that is built on institutional science. On the IDEA of credibility that white institutional science carries with it. A myth that arose in its current incarnation after WW2.

Ryann Ford, photography (Clines Corners, NM).

Now, this is to be seen quite separately from the real issues of global warming and more acutely, pollution and over fishing and big agriculture etc. No, this is a land where science, a kind of carefully constructed narrative about greenhouse gases and melting ice caps and thawing permafrost. In fact the issues are nearly infinite. And they are there, as both a kind of mental escape story and as a means to obscure the real dangers and problems — most of which have been around for forty, fifty, or eighty years.The belief in science is not irrational. But there is a constructed picture of second science (per Adorno’s second nature) that one sees most obviously in Hollywood film and TV. Medical shows in which doctors seem to know all specialties and every diagnostic theory ever written, and from memory. Espionage where technology surveils remote Hotels in Burundi or Genoa, where facial recognition works flawlessly and in nano-seconds. Science, technology, and a belief in an idealized future converge in a fantasy that has supplanted reality. In social media one frequently reads angry debates between non scientists who regurgitate statistics and data as if they were themselves graduates of MIT. None of them are but they are deeply invested emotionally in this slowly coalescing narrative of ‘end times’.

So prolonged and ubiquitous are these entertainments that they have come to feel real. And certainly are emotionally real to a majority of people in the West. It is a strategy (of government) that works at chipping away the confidence of the population, the citizenry, to limit hope and optimism, but just not completely.

Ahmad Zakii Anwar

“Ends are ‘deployed.’ This is particularly evident in the popular press, where apocalyptic scenarios are used as a commonplace trope. The end – even if it refers to the last day of a department store sale – is a kind of publicity stunt, an effective means of emotionally intensifying an issue to push special aims and interests. To proclaim an apocalyptic, catastrophic end is to invoke a ‘shock horror’ calamity that will somehow overwhelm and foreclose aspects of our future. In other words, endings are political. They are phenomena of popular discourse and powerful interests.”
Paul Corcoran (Awaiting Apocalypse)

I wrote before about Zombie films and post apocalyptic Hollywood product — both TV and film. The salient point about both these overlapping genres is that they are reconstruction narratives.

“When habitations have been destroyed, people will spontaneously move toward major or safe buildings, such as churches, schools, and hospitals. They will seek one another, forming small groups, of family, friends, or even strangers. These groups are often only temporary but may bring intense involvement. Group identification contributes to the ‘honeymoon’ euphoria and ‘therapeutic community’ effects of this post disaster period.”
Paul Corcoran (ibid)

Ivo Saliger (favorite Nazi Party painter).

The appeal of things being “too late” or “we are doomed” is that it grants one the space to relax. You don’t have your kids tuition for next year? No problem, we are all going to be dying of thirst and eating corpses. Now that may be superficial, but it is also in a simple sense true. The long arc of erosion in western bourgeois entitlements is not hard to track. After 2008 I think the state gave up trying to convince people, any people, about an American Dream. Picket fence houses cost millions of dollars and tens of thousands sit empty across the U.S. Permission to give up is, obviously, attractive psychologically for many on the left. And I continue to see this in communists I know, socialists of all stripes, or and so called progressive liberals. But the white American liberal is entrenched in a belief in the status quo. He still wants to save it, because his real estate office is just now showing a profit, or his new line of men’s underwear is breaking even and he hopes the summer line of speedos can get him out into the black. Or the new personal trainer service has finally got some B list clients. He has submitted to the narrative but aligns with the capitalist solutions.

Frenchman Flat, Nevada, April 1955. Observers for 22 ton kiloton nuclear detonation.

The superficial nihilism of climate warnings is beginning to resemble tabloid stories about Area 51 or the like. A genuine and sincere concern is automatically trivialized. And perhaps surprisingly these trivializations also carry embedded within them qualities of antisemitism and Orientalism. For all reflex dissent is directed toward fascist identification. And this in turn might profitably been viewed in terms of the growing fascist symbology and image increasingly employed in mainstream marketing. There are curious overlaps in all this, I think. Michael Barkun wrote his book A Culture of Conspiracy, about how UFO and alien conspiracies often employ antisemitic tropes.

“Although belief in a New World Order conspiracy assumes the existence of a master plot responsible for many aspects of the world’s evil, conspiracists differ in the arrangement of the conspiratorial hierarchy { }… such superconspiracies tend to be structured in the form of plots nested within plots, each layer more evil,powerful,and inclusive than those beneath. Hence the architects of conspiracy scenarios are free to place Jews at any of a number of points in the hierarchy—at the pinnacle, in a subordinate position, or as victims completely outside the domain of evil. { } Anti-Semitism appears in several forms. Sometimes traditional antiJewish stereotypes are projected onto a world of alien races, so that some extraterrestrials function as surrogate Jews; that is, they receive the physical and behavioral characteristics imputed to Jews in traditional anti-Semitism. This refracted racism can occur even in writers who view Jews themselves as innocent victims.”

There are echoes of Orientalist racism in the UFO abductee narratives. Aliens replace Native American tribes and the frontier is no longer the Western U.S. but some fantasy space locale or hollow earth or whatever. The narrative architecture remains the same.

Candido Portinari

And the need for sexual decontamination remains. Genuine environmental problems, and they are enormous, are re-directed toward that which is click bait and titillating, or, which pander to the new dream of end times. The current rise of fascist sensibility and values is reflected in not just the racism and Islamaphobia that is present in mainstream media (more on that below) but in the curious relationship between a new Puritanism and an embrace of the pornographic.

“Das Schwarze Korps, in short, expressly disavowed exactly the activities in which it was engaged. It did just that which it said it was not doing. Incitement and disavowal were inseparable. { } What is clear is that Der Sturmer’s recurrent detailed descriptions of sexual outrages gave readers crucial moral permission to hate without guilt (since Jews were continually described as aggressing on Germans) even as the ubiquitous declaration that Nazism was battling filth provided a ready excuse to display naked women and keep people’s attention fixed on sex. This manipulation of the discourses of sexual morality was particularly evident at those moments when the regime managed to have things both ways at once: to present itself as the guardian of good taste and pristine morals and to titillate and pander to the pleasures of looking.”
Dagmar Herzog (Sex After Fascism)

Western society today has it both ways all the time. An endless concern for “triggers” at University level courses (truly astounding) and the 24/7 stream of erotic titillation. Nearly every single advertisement is at some level selling the product with sex. At the same time, literally, bad words {sic} are censored out of television. Much of this overlaps with a new (relatively) war on children. Children in the West are quickly (at least poor kids) returning to the state of the early industrial revolution in England.

Moataz Nasr

Now, it is interesting to examine how national identities are fashioned by class elitism, but how they also take on their own curious life and mythology. How in a superficial sort of way the scapegoating mechanism is provided by Nationalistic pride and patriotism. Mexico is the shadow land to the white U.S.A. Austria serves in a way as Germany’s inferior little cousin, Paraguay is Brazil’s Mexico, and Poland is both red headed step child to Germany AND Russia and more recently the Czech Republic. But even Poland has a Mexico in Ukraine. None of these examples are parallel and if you take England and Ireland you see the lack of parallelism. And yet, the very idea of a nation, the very ur-logic of statehood, of citizenship, is entwined with a need for inferiors to abuse and ridicule. The reality is, of course, that Paraguay is among the happiest and most congenial of countries on earth, and Mexico, notwithstanding the abuses suffered at the hands of its northern neighbors, remains a culturally advanced country with a long history of great architects and painters. The stereotyping of nationalism is intwined with resentment and projection. What one individually cannot accomplish is projected toward the inferior other (nation).

Adolf Wissel (Among Hitler’s favorite painters).

The new fascism is also playing upon a kind of incorporation of kitsch multiculturalism and identity politics. One of the characteristics of the realist art loved by Hitler and the Nazis is the blankness of the expressions. The entire representation of the human resembled autism. (see, again, The Skin Ego by Didier Anzieu). There is both a volkish teutonic idealised Aryan form, but one that is without personality. Nobody in Nazi art is ever really *looking* at anything — or rather no women are, and only a few men. That quality has resurfaced in contemporary marketing. And in Hollywood. As a footnote to the approved art of the Nazi Party, one gets the sense that when Heidegger wrote so endlessly about those humble leather shoes of the humble farmer or woodsman, he was writing about the shoes he saw in all those paintings of Wissel and Sepp Hilz, not any shoes he ever saw anywhere in rural Germany. They always did give off a slight oder of kitsch.

The role of power and authority is masked by concentrated capital. And increasingly the modern institution is even more impersonal than ever before. In fact often one cannot reach a single human being that works in any capacity for big institutions.

“In an age in which capitalism is apparently consolidating its global dominance..the concept of reification has largely been replaced in social theory by concepts such as ‘globalization’ and ‘reflexive modernization’- ideas which carry all the trappings thatLukács associates with bourgeois thought: inevitability and inexorability. “
Timothy Bewes (Reification, Anxiety of Late Capitalism)

Bo Bartlett

Lukács is very pertinent to this moment of Capital’s opportunistic cooption of environmentalism.

“Reflexive modernization thus, in a certain sense, presents the reconciliation of subject and object sought by Lukács, but in reverse; rather than the proletariat awakening to its objective historical role, uniting political subjectivity and objective history in the moment of revolution, reflexive modernization accredits the objective world with autonomy and agency -‘subjectivity’. “
Timothy Bewes (ibid)

This is a little like the thrust of much of the new extinction discourse, which samples freely from new age rhetoric. The earth is now personalized. Not just made subjective or metaphorical (though it are often both of those) but customized and individually tailored. One chooses the earth one wants and needs.

“We have already described the characteristic features of this situation several times: man in capitalist society confronts a reality ‘made’ by himself (as a class) which appears to him to be a natural phenomenon alien to himself; he is wholly at the mercy of its ‘laws’, his activity is confined to the exploitation of the inexorable fulfilment of certain individual laws for his own (egoistic) interests. But even while ‘acting’ he remains, in the nature of the case, the object and not the subject of events. The field of his activity thus becomes wholly internalised: it consists on the one hand of the awareness of the laws which he uses and, on the other, of his awareness of his inner reactions to the course taken by events.
This situation generates very important and unavoidable problem-complexes and conceptual ambivalences which are decisive for the way in which bourgeois man understands himself in his relation to the world. Thus the word ‘nature’ becomes highly ambiguous. We have already drawn attention to the idea, formulated most lucidly by Kant but essentially unchanged since Kepler and Galileo, of nature as the “aggregate of systems of the laws” governing what happens. Parallel to this conception whose development out of the economic structures of capitalism has been shown repeatedly, there is another conception of nature, a value concept, wholly different from the first one and embracing a wholly different cluster of meanings.”

Georg Lukács (The Antinomies of Bourgeois Thought)

Albert Bierstadt

Bewes tries to make the point that the concept of reification is itself reified. The truth is actually that the concept that claims the concept of reification is reified, is what is reified. And this is not an endless stream — I think that is where it stops. Sleight of hand theoretical dealing from the bottom of the deck has a pretty limited shelf life, as it were.

Benjamin, all the way back in Origins of German Tragic Drama, emphasized that different forms of cultural expression arise in different eras in order to express the predominant myth of the time. Gillian Rose observed:

” The myth comprises the history of the significance which the society of the time has given to nature, and, as a myth, presents that significance as eternal. Benjamin calls this Naturgeschichte (the history of nature).” { The Melancholy Science}. Now Adorno in his earlier writings sought to adjust Lukács idea of nature — meaning that nature was not anything physical but rather the myth, the historical given as it is presented to that era. This is again what Adorno came to call ‘second nature’. The conventions of nature, the fossilised and rigid mythology is presented AS nature. And therein lies the transmission of a mental deadness. Benjamin saw the turgid melodrama of trauerspeil as a vision of fallen nature (and fallen man). Adorno, as Rose points out, saw all history as the story of nature’s fall. Second nature is always melancholy, then. Now without getting into this too deeply here, the germane point is that nature is never free from an inherited mythology. Real actual physical nature is always mythological.

Liang Ban

And for Adorno, all that is mythological is illusion. And here one returns to reification. All of culture reflects how society sees itself (that’s the simple definition). Commodities are part of culture and never more so than today. In fact everything is commodified. The subject is commodified and it is perhaps that final step into self objectification, or self reification, that has precipitated the current developing cult of non thinking. And cross cutting this is just how removed one might want to view the fascist militarism that invades screen life ever more acutely.

As an anecdote, I saw the other day on twitter someone post a map of some global warming, the arctic I believe, in deep purples and red to signify extreme heat and warning. The person posting this wrote that seeing this map made him ‘literally nauseous’. I think it is worth pondering this a moment. This was not a photo of dead children in Gaza or Afghanistan or Iraq. It was not children held in U.S. custody at the border nor was it a graphic description of mass rape by the Cedras junta in Haiti. No, it was a red and purple coloured map. And the personalized pseudo confessional tone of the declaration speaks to the new pop confession — meant to both self chastise somehow, but more, to self congratulate. Was this person made sick by military atrocities or scenes of torture? I doubt it. Where once the final bastion of moral outrage was the child molester, that reservoir of charged moral energy has migrated to climate discourse. But then this is the coalescing of a new second nature — the conventions of climate *end times*. Ok, back to a brief few notes on reification and natural history.

Adorno in letters to Krenk, wrote…

“the causes of human suffering are … glossed over not denounced in the lament over reification.”

Howard Russell Butler

This is very telling, really. Adorno was never happy with reification per se, as a concept. And he chatised Benjamin for his use of it, too. But he went ahead and wrote extensively about it anyway…because, I think, he knew it cannot be escaped. And Adorno in an early essay, The Idea of Natural History, was coming to grips with a coming exterminationist sensibility embedded in capitalism and instrumental logic.“Heidegger’s philosophy was the philosophical form of mythic terror taken by the disaster of the 1930s. “
Robert Hullot-Kentor (Things Beyond Resemblance)

This is excruciatingly relevant to the contemporary terror of Capital, the rise of genuine fascistic principles. And the climate question is directly representiative of this trend. Allow me two longer quotes here, spliced together, from Hullot-Kentor’s introductory essay on The Idea of Natural History.

“The historical voyage itself has become a natural event. External mimicry of the natural force of the cyclops becomes internal self-identical mimesis, ultimately the order of the ratio, which is itself a structure of the selfsacrifice of particularity to universality. Thus, in its conscious control of nature, the self has triumphed by becoming opaque to its selfreproduction as second nature. { } The rigidified self, structured by internalized sacrifice, pays for its survival by forgetting that it has renounced itself in the process. The nemesis of the ruse of the dialectic of enlightenment is that the control gained over the other amounts to the forfeiture of true self-control.”

Yuken Teruya

In Heidegger there are various strategies employed by neologisms that are trotted out to provide faux depth (and here Freud would enter the question, again, actually). This kitsch mythos is reproduced today by a kind of visual neologism evident in advertising. But the point is that the hollowing out of thought has corresponded with a hollowing out of experience and a hollowing out of the self.

“From the formalism of mythic names and ordinances, which would rule men and history as does nature,there emerges nominalism—or the prototype of bourgeois thinking.”
Adorno & Horkheimer (Dialectic of Enlightenment)

As Hullot-Kentor notes of Odysseus, the flight from mythic nature only reproduces it. The contemporary fetish of pseudo scientific jargon is the continuing attempt to make culture (and history) into nature. There is this anxiety attached to the personalized version of Nature. Not only is Nature personalized but the subject position is personalized, customized and presented as history. History has become second nature. And the transformation of history into Nature was also evident in both Benjamin and Lukács.

Bruno V. Roels, photography.

And this history is today more withered and forgotten — the amnesia of contemporary processes of thought runs throughout contemporary political theatre and throughout the climate discourse. With no longer a memory of nature there is no longer a critique of illusion. We live in the domain of illusion and second nature. Meaning is only the appearance of meaning. And because of the truncated and hollow subjective there is the resort to emotional magnification.

“This is apparent in the phenomenon of the semblance of second nature, which is a semblance because it is the mere appearance of meaning. Although it is historically produced, this semblance appears mythical: that is, as archaic, as emphatically expressive, as an engulfing whirlpool.”
Robert Hullot-Kentor (ibid)

The real primary thrust of Adorno’s theory of art has to do with reification. The critique of reification by way of reification, as Hullot-Kentor put it. But the point here is that contemporary discourse has lost the capacity to differentiate semblance and we arrive at a new, or third nature. As obtuse as this may seem it is the kernel of the problem of today’s public conversation. And contemporary consciousness is literally the consciousness of the screen. Third nature is the blank implied infinity of the screen, where the discussion takes one to the insights of Jonathan Beller (in an earlier post). Image condenses history as slavery and domination, racism and colonial logic.

Lukács

Jonathan Bewes quotes Godard from 2 or 3 Things I know About Her…made in 1966.“Something can make me cry . . . but the reason for those tears is not directly connected with the actual tears that trickle down my cheeks. . . . Everything I do can be described but not necessarily the reasons for which I do it.”

The anthropomorphic notion of Earth is there to feel nauseous about. There are bright colours on a map. And behind every claim on the emotional disfigurement of contemporary consciousness are institutions of power. It is nearly impossible to find science free of U.S. government mediation.

“Anxiety is so prevalent in late capitalist society that it has become a defining quality of that society. Not only is reification inseparable from the anxiety towards it; anxiety is always anxiety about reification.”
Jonathan Bewes (ibid)

And this finally leads one to look at the dream of end-times.

The empty debate on the spectacle — that is, on the activities of the world’s owners — is thus organized by the spectacle itself: everything is said about the extensive means at its disposal, to ensure that nothing is said about their extensive deployment. Rather than talk of the spectacle, people often prefer to use the term ‘media.’ And by this they mean to describe a mere instrument, a kind of public service which with impartial professionalism’ would facilitate the new wealth of mass communication through mass media a form of communication which has at last attained a unilateral purity, whereby decisions already taken are presented for passive admiration. For what is communicated are orders; and with perfect harmony, those who give them are also those who tell us what they think of them.”
Guy Debord (Comments on Society of the Spectacle)

Masha Ivashintosva, photography (Statue of Seneca).

Marx noted that the commodity “reflects back to human beings the social characteristics of their own labor as objective characteristics of the products of labor themselves, as social natural-qualities of these things.”

” While Marx’s analysis of commodity fetishism was indispensable to his conceptualization of social relations, Benjamin is also keen to stress exploitation and the conditions in which labouring occurs. The fashion industry provides, for Benjamin, a ‘dialectical image’ of the deadly social relations of production, illustrating both the reifying effects of the exchange mechanism and the brutal physical conditions that attend work. In Marx’s account, the textile industry is central to the formation of the factory system of exploitation. It was in the cotton mills that women and children were employed en masse, cheaply, and mechanically spinning materials harvested by growing numbers of slaves, born to work and worked to death, in the US slave states. Das Kapital supplies a materialist core for Benjamin’s idea of the fashionable body as, symbolically and concretely, intimate with death. Marx details how ‘the murderous, meaningless caprices of fashion’ are linked to the anarchy of production, where demand cannot be predicted and where gluts lead to starvation. The connections between products and death alert Benjamin to the fact that everything consumed has been produced under conditions that occasioned suffering.”
Esther Leslie (Overpowering Conformism)

Kitty Kraus

Suffering congeals under the rule of progress. It becomes the appearance of history, and of nature both. The commodity form always has implied its fetish character and cannot hide its murderous assault on life. The owners of the world decide what to feel compassion about. Not people, not dead children or torture victims but *earth* itself, an earth that is personal and magical and alive — a Disney cartoon world in which people rarely impinge. It is the regressive return of animism in a sense, which was once eradicated in the project of disenchantment. But returns today as its own inversion. Positivism and instrumental reason have progressed and left magic behind, except when it is an instrumental magic. And anyway, its not really animism — for such is not possible in the realm of hollowed out damaged cognition. The emotional inflation is a reaction to the anxiety of reification itself. There is a silent mental panic that feeds a deep crippling anxiety and that anxiety is expressed in moralistic condemnations, in shaming and stigmatizing. And social media is the perfect digital stocks or pillory.The violence of Capital, the destruction of the environment, this has all been occurring for a couple hundred years. As Hullot-Kentor put it in his introduction to a volume on Adorno (Things Beyond Resemblance)…’history stands in thrall to regression’. And this because history is stained indelibly with violence and domination. For Americans Nature is claimed and owned — and regression is what is seen in the anti Utopian ethos of the new green capitalist environmentalism. Anti Utopian because the dream of the hollowed mind is one of damage control. And class reflex seems natural itself — let the owners of the earth deal with managing the clean up. Or…let the ruling class and their machinery, both literal and figurative, execute the global triage that is advertised as the ONLY way forward. Forward but back.

“The stubborn belief in progress and trust in a mass base is founded on social democracy’s fetishization of quantitative accumulation in all its forms. This connection between the stubborn belief in progress and faith in a mass base is further identified with the political will for ‘servile inclusion in an uncontrollable apparatus’.”
Esther Leslie (ibid)

Robby Muller, photography. (Poloroids from Paris Texas set).

 

[John Steppling is an original founding member of the Padua Hills Playwrights Festival, a two-time NEA recipient, Rockefeller Fellow in theatre, and PEN-West winner for playwriting. Plays produced in LA, NYC, SF, Louisville, and at universities across the US, as well in Warsaw, Lodz, Paris, London and Krakow. Taught screenwriting and curated the cinematheque for five years at the Polish National Film School in Lodz, Poland. A collection of plays, Sea of Cortez & Other Plays was published in 1999, and his book on aesthetics, Aesthetic Resistance and Dis-Interest was published by Mimesis International in 2016.]

 

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The House is On Fire! & the 100 Trillion Dollar Rescue [ACT IV]

February 3, 2019

 

By Cory Morningstar

 

This is ACT IV of the six-part series: The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Political Economy of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

 

In ACT I of this new body of research I opened the dialogue with the observations of artist Hiroyuki Hamada:

 

“What’s infuriating about manipulations by Non Profit Industrial Complex is that they harvest good will of the people, especially young people. They target those who were not given skills and knowledge to truly think for themselves by institutions which are designed to serve the ruling class. Capitalism operates systematically and structurally like a cage to raise domesticated animals. Those organizations and their projects which operate under false slogans of humanity in order to prop up the hierarchy of money and violence are fast becoming some of the most crucial elements of the invisible cage of corporatism, colonialism and militarism.”

 

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent has been written in six acts. [ACT IACT IIACT IIIACT IVACT VACT VI] [Addenda: I]

In ACT I, I disclosed that Greta Thunberg, the current child prodigy and face of the youth movement to combat climate change, served as special youth advisor and trustee to the burgeoning mainstream tech start-up, “We Don’t Have Time”. I then explored the ambitions behind the tech company We Don’t Have Time.

In ACT II, I illustrated how today’s youth are the sacrificial lambs for the ruling elite. Also in this act I introduced the board members and advisors to “We Don’t Have Time.” I explored the leadership in the nascent We Don’t Have Time and the partnerships between the well established corporate environmental entities: Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, 350.org, Avaaz, Global Utmaning (Global Challenge), the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum (WEF).

In ACT III, I deconstructed how Al Gore and the Planet’s most powerful capitalists are behind today’s manufactured youth movements and why. I explored the We Don’t Have Time/Thunberg connections to Our Revolution, the Sanders Institute, This Is Zero Hour, the Sunrise Movement and the Green New Deal. I also touched upon Thunberg’s famous family. In particular, Thunberg’s celebrity mother, Malena Ernman (WWF Environmental Hero of the Year 2017), and her August 2018 book launch. I then explored the generous media attention afforded to Thunberg in both May and April of 2018 by SvD, one of Sweden’s largest newspapers.

In ACT IV, I examine the current campaign, now unfolding, in “leading the public into emergency mode”. More importantly, I summarize who and what this mode is to serve.

In ACT V, I take a closer look at the Green New Deal. I explore Data for Progress and the targeting of female youth as a key “femographic”. I connect the primary architect and authors of the “Green New Deal” data to the World Resources Institute. From there, I walk you through the interlocking Business & Sustainable Development Commission, the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, and the New Climate Economy – a project of the World Resources Institute. I disclose the common thread between these groups and the assignment of money to nature, represented by the Natural Capital Coalition and the non-profit industrial complex as an entity. Finally, I reveal how this has culminated in the implementation of payments for ecosystem services (the financialization and privatization of nature, global in scale) which is “expected to be adopted during the fifteenth meeting in Beijing in 2020.”

In the final act, ACT VI [Crescendo], I wrap up the series by divulging that the very foundations which have financed the climate “movement” over the past decade are the same foundations now partnered with the Climate Finance Partnership looking to unlock 100 trillion dollars from pension funds. I reveal the identities of individuals and groups at the helm of this interlocking matrix, controlling both the medium and the message. I take a step back in time to briefly demonstrate the ten years of strategic social engineering that have brought us to this very precipice. I look at the relationship between WWF, Stockholm Institute and World Resources Institute as key instruments in the creation of the financialization of nature. I also take a look at what the first public campaigns for the financialization of nature (“natural capital”) that are slowly being brought into the public realm by WWF. I reflect upon how mainstream NGOs are attempting to safeguard their influence and further manipulate the populace by going underground through Extinction Rebellion groups being organized in the US and across the world.

With the smoke now cleared, the weak and essentially non-existent demands reminiscent of the 2009 TckTckTck “demands” can now be fully understood.

Some of these topics, in addition to others, will be released and discussed in further detail as addenda built on the large volume of research. This includes stepping through the looking glass, with an exploration of what the real “Green New Deal” under the Fourth Industrial Revolution will look like. Also forthcoming is a look at the power of celebrity – and how it has become a key tool for both capital and conformity.

[*Note: This series contains information and quotes that have been translated from Swedish to English via Google Translator.]

 

 

A C T   I V

 

Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

“15 minutes of fame is short-lived media publicity or celebrity of an individual or phenomenon. The expression was inspired by Andy Warhol’s words “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”, which appeared in the program for a 1968 exhibition of his work at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden.” [1]

As Greta Thunberg is the founding block of this particular story, revisiting Sweden with the above observation feels like a good place to start part IV of this series where we deconstruct the ongoing marketing campaign with the most recent activity.

Let’s begin.

January 25, 2019: “Finally, we have to applaud the lineup for Thursday’s lunchtime panel. Marc Benioff was joined on the stage by Jane Goodall, Bono, teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, diplomat and environmentalist Christiana Figueres, President & CEO of Sompo Holdings Kengo Sakurada, and will.i.am. What a crew.” Photo by Jeff Elder | Source: “The 10 Best Moments From Davos With Salesforce

On Thursday January 24, 2019, Greta Thunberg took part in a lunch panel presented by Marc Benioff at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. Benioff is the CEO and founder of Salesforce, as well as a co-founder of Breakthrough Energy (nuclear) with Bill Gates and other kindred billionaires. Also on the panel were Jane Goodall (United Nations Messenger of Peace), Bono (U2 lead singer and “activist”), “will.i.am” (Black Eyed Peas founder and “philanthropist”) and the young Greta Thunberg who made the following statement [0:40s]:

Thunberg’s words were quickly launched into the international stratosphere of global media outlets and social media.

CNN, January 25, 2019:

“On Thursday, Thunberg gave an impromptu speech at a lunch with a star-studded guest list that included music stars Bono and Will.i.am, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, former Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn, and an array of bankers and investors. She roasted them.

 

“Some people say that the climate crisis is something that we will have created, but that is not true, because if everyone is guilty then no one is to blame. And someone is to blame,” Thunberg said flatly. “Some people, some companies, some decision-makers in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. And I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.”

Here it is vital to note the usage of language: impromptu and roasted.

France 24, January 25, 2019:

“Some people say that the climate crisis is something that we have all created, but that is not true. Because if everyone is guilty then no one is to blame, and someone is to blame. Some people, some companies, and some decision-makers in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue to make unimaginable amounts of money. And I think that many of you here today belong to that group of people,” she said in her impromptu speech, delivered without a moment’s hesitation.”

EZ News, January 27, 2019:

“On Thursday, Thunberg gave an impromptu speech at a lunch with a star-studded guest list that included Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, former Goldman Sachs president and Trump administration official Gary Cohn, musicians Bono and Will.i.am, and an array of bankers and investors.”

Pluralist, January 28, 2019:

“Greta Thunberg reportedly took a 32-hour train from her home in Sweden to the Swiss retreat and camped out in zero degrees-Fahrenheit temperatures to deliver an impromptu roast of the celebrities and economic titans. In a speech at lunch, she accused the high-profile guests of causing the warming of the planet that they had spent the prior several days grandstanding about fixing.”

As demonstrated in the above talking points, there is much emphasis from the international media to establish the idea that Thunberg’ speech was spontaneous. As we will illustrate, it was not. This is merely an example of effective story-telling being put into practise, as orchestrated by the NGOs and corporate alliances that are handling Thunberg.

On January 22, 2019, three days prior to the “impromptu speech” at the WEF, a video was uploaded onto YouTube by  Uphill Media. [“Uphill Media, is the continuation of Bernie2016 TV and Political Revolution TV. We are 501(c)(3)3 non profit independent media network focused on informing the electorate through engagement on the Internet.”][2]

In this video of Thunberg speaking, filmed prior to her traveling from Stockholm to Davos, the key talking points within the message [3] [26 seconds in] are almost verbatim to the “impromptu” speech at WEF:

January 22, 2019 video:

“Some people say that the climate crisis is something that we all have created. But that is just another convenient lie. Because if everyone is guilty then no one is to blame. And someone is to blame. Some people, some companies, and some decision makers in particular have known exactly what priceless values they are sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money.”

January 25, 2019, WEF lunch panel:

“Some people say that the climate crisis is something that we will have created. But that is not true. Because if everyone is guilty then no one is to blame. And someone is to blame. Some people, some companies, some decision-makers in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. And I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.”

This was not lost on the WEF organizers, whom, in a concerted effort with Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion, were already sharing the Swedish ecommercial within the WEF event and on social media – prior to the Salesforce lunch panel where Thunberg would cite the passages for media. The attempt by the media, and forces at play, to frame the speech as spontaneous, regardless if it was deliberate or not, evokes a layer of child-like authenticity by the messenger, if not the message itself. In spite of the motive, this is disingenuous to say the least.

January 23, 2019, Extinction Rebellion:

https://youtu.be/5Fo69sPq_Og

Greenpeace International, twitter account, January, 22, 2019:

This compounds with other earmarks of a well-orchestrated media campaign.

On December 15, 2018, Thunberg was thrust into international stardom following a speech at the COP24 in Katowice, Poland, that was published  on December 15, 2018 by Conect4Climate (a global partnership program under the World Bank) and other outlets. The video quickly went viral. The speech as described by Quartz, (December 15, 2018) is representative of how global media framed the event to the public:

“Fifteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg minced no words at the COP24 climate talks in Katowice, Poland this week. Speaking to the assembled countries Wednesday, at the most important climate negotiating meeting since the Paris talks in 2015… In a speech lasting under five minutes, Thunberg castigated leaders at the talks for decades of inaction and too-small steps in the face of climate crisis”

Yet, a poor editing job in a Swedish newsroom inadvertently revealed yet another inconvenient truth – there was almost no one in the auditorium when Thunberg spoke:

Video: Greta Thunbergs tal i Katowice enligt SvT Morgonstudion [Running time: 1m:15s]

Such inconsistencies between the real intent of the World Economic Forum [“Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution”] and the re-framing for public perception are best captured in the following images shared on social media:

This bit of social engineering is stunning in it’s blatancy. Like magic, the telling word “salesforce” and the phrase “The Fourth Industrial Revolution”, no longer appear in the image.

Gone are the obvious contradictions between the unprecedented magnitude of precious Earth metals including Coltan and Cobalt – a key requirement for the “fourth industrial revolution”, which the mining of has decimated the chimp population Goodall claims to advocate for. [Jane Goodall Institute: “Many of the metals and minerals used in these technologies are extracted from threatened chimpanzee habitats across the Congo Basin. Control over these resources has also fueled conflict among people — conflict that has resulted in the deaths of more than five million people.”]

Such is the primary role of the non-profit industrial complex.

The Climate Mobilization     

“We launched at the People’s Climate March in 2014 as the first group organizing for a WWII-scale climate response, an idea that had emerged as a hidden consensus among climate experts.” [Source]

Here, we have an NGO that would very much appreciate Thunberg’s sober and “flat” (CNN) delivery style. The Climate Mobilization.[4] Founded in 2014, at  the People’s Climate March, the founder and executive director of this US NGO is psychologist Margaret Klein Salamon.

The Climate Mobilization has one primary goal: “Our mission is to save civilization”. [Source] To do so, Salamon outlines a “wartime-style mobilization, akin to the American home front effort during World War II”:

“The Climate Mobilization is a growing group of people who know that climate change threatens the collapse of civilization within this century. We believe, along with many well-respected scientists and environmental analysts, that the only way to preserve a climate that is safe, stable, and supportive of human civilization is to fight climate change with a World War II-scale mobilization.”

Salamon’s strength, as a psychologist specializing in climate change, is exactly what Annex I states across the world are now embracing via the establishment of “nudge units”. That is, the implementation and use of behavioural science for policy within government. [“Salamon earned her PhD in clinical psychology from Adelphi University and also holds a BA in social anthropology from Harvard. Via Climate Mobilization, Salamon applies her psychological and anthropological knowledge to solving climate change. She is the author of the blog The Climate Psychologist.”]

The 2014 People’s Climate March was organized by the Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA/TckTckTck), Climate Nexus (“Climate Nexus is dedicated to changing the conversation on climate change”), 350.org, USCAN and Avaaz/Purpose. At the helm of this NGO assemblage was the Rockefeller Brothers Fund working with the V.K. Rasmussen Foundation.

Additionally, Climate Nexus is a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, a 501(c)3 organization.

“When the Climate Mobilization was founded at the People’s Climate March in 2014, there was no climate group publically organizing around the need for WWII-scale emergency speed transition. Since then, we have worked to establish an active ’emergency climate movement’ wing of the broader climate movement.” [Source]

Eleven of The Climate Mobilization advisory board members include:

  • Betsy Taylor: president of Breakthrough Strategies & Solutions consulting firm, co-founder of 1Sky (financed by the Clinton Global Initiative) that merged with 350.org (incubated by the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation) in 2011, advisory boards include 350.org and Ceres (350.org investment partner)
  • Laura Dawn Murphy: former creative director for MoveOn.Org [parent of Avaaz]
  • Paul Gilding: former executive director of Greenpeace International, strategy advisor and founder of Changing Markets Foundation [“The Changing Markets Foundation was formed to accelerate and scale up solutions to sustainability challenges by leveraging the power of markets.” Clients include Unilever, BHP Billiton, DSM, Ford and DuPont.]
  • Jamila Raqib: executive director of Albert Einstein Institute [“Raqib has worked with Dr. Gene Sharp, the world’s foremost scholar on strategic nonviolent action since 2002. As the director of the Albert Einstein Institute she promotes the study and use of strategic nonviolent action.”]
  • Gus Speth: founder of the World Resources Institute and co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr: president of the Hip Hop Caucus
  • Richard Heinberg: senior fellow of the Post Carbon Institute
  • Lise Van Susteren: American psychiatrist, named to the board of directors of Al Gore’s The Climate Project in 2009, organized the first conference to focus on the psychological impacts of climate change in 2009, co-authored “The Psychological Effects of Climate Change” published by the National Wildlife Federation where she serves on the board
  • Michael Mann: American Climate scientist
  • David Spratt and Philip Sutton: Spratt is the director of Breakthrough – National Centre for Climate Restoration. [Breakthrough collaborates with the Club of Rome.] Spratt and Sutton co-authored the book Climate Code Red in 2008

[Full list]

[The interlocking directorate of the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) is extensive. As this series focuses on the marketing strategy itself, more than those constructing it, the above bios are purposely brief.]

The Climate Mobilizations foray into politics began with “Mobilize California” (#Mobilizeca) campaign. Leading the effort with The Climate Mobilization was Naomi Klein and her Leap NGO (Leap L.A. Coalition), as well as a coalition of “like minded organizations”.

The coalition, in partnership with Los Angeles City councilmember Paul Koretz, sought to initiate a “WWII-scale Climate Mobilization of L.A.”

Video: Naomi Klein at launch of Los Angeles Climate Justice Mobilization 2025 Working Group [4m:59s]

By May 2018 the council voted unanimously “to explore the establishment of the country’s first climate emergency mobilization department and set aside $500,000 in seed money toward the effort. In June 2018, Berkeley declared a climate emergency and committed to an Emergency Climate Mobilization and Just Transition to end greenhouse gas emissions and begin drawing down the excess carbon in the atmosphere as quickly as possible.” Other cities would soon follow. [Source]

Here it is critical to note the language: “drawing down the excess carbon in the atmosphere.” Long gone are discussions on reducing or cutting carbon emissions. This is not coincidence. Rather it is again, strategic.

Two days prior to the 2014 People’s Climate March, on September 19, 2014, the article titled “The Founder of The Climate Mobilization Talks With Bridget Read About How Psychology—Not Science—May Be the Key to Ending America’s Climate Denial” reported the following:

“In 356 words, The Climate Mobilization’s Pledge to Mobilize calls on the United States government to commence a World War Two-scale mobilization to fight climate change: to decrease our net greenhouse gas emissions 100% by 2025, to deploy a system of removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere with wartime speed, and to make reducing net GHGs 100% globally, with the same swiftness, a top political priority.”

The Climate Mobilizations influence within the NPIC is articulated in the following text outlining its groundwork with the US Democrat Party platform, as well as the Green New Deal:

“The evidence of impact is clear, as assertive wings of the Democratic Party [5] as well as chapters of organizations such as 350.org and the Sierra Club adopt our prescriptions as core demands. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez signed our Pledge to Mobilize and has been outspoken specifically for the need for emergency mobilization as part of the push for a House Select Committee on the Green New Deal.” [Source]

Today’s re-designing of our Western subjugation is nothing different than what has been unveiled in the past. Whereas education, health, arts, and all sectors of society were shaped and financed by foundations and their capital largesse, today’s “fourth industrial revolution” remains in the clutches of the ruling elite. This includes the 2014 People’s Climate March – where The Climate Mobilization was born.

Extinction Rebellion (to be discussed in part V) has three very broad demands, the primary one being that governments must “enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025” echoing the talking points brought into the mainstream by the NPIC, the World Bank, et al in 2014.

The term “net-zero emissions” does not mean zero emissions. Rather, it is the amount of emissions being put into the atmosphere being equal to the amount being “captured.” Net-zero therefore, the requirement for massive investments into the technologies being developed and rolled out by Bill Gate’s “Mission Innovation“. [For an example of this, one can read the much lauded “Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act” [Section 101–5 “We must significantly increase Federal R&D funding to develop and deploy the technologies needed for deep decarbonization in our economy. This was a proposal announced at the Paris Climate Accord with Bill Gates called Mission Innovation, which committed to double government investment in energy technology.”][6] Here it is vital to recognize that WEF and Mission Innovation formed a partnership on  June 1, 2017.

Net-zero is carbon capture storage and a host of other technologies that promise business (and emissions) will continue – as usual. Consider the reality that while we are inundated with anti-pipeline protest coverage, there is zero opposition to the carbon capture projects that are slowly coming online, such as the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line in Canada.

Indeed the inconvenient “zero” [emissions] and “near zero” terminology in the 2014 AR5 Synthesis report, was conveniently transformed to the “net zero” term we now see in the public realm, barely missing a beat.

But the real question, is how to save capitalism, which is described as being “now in free fall”.  [January 3, 2019]

With “capitalism in danger of falling apart” (a rare, cryptically honest quote from Al Gore), and years of stagnant global economic growth now in a free fall, the Greta campaign must be understood for what it is. An elaborate distraction that has nothing to do with protecting the natural world, and everything to do with the manufacturing of consent. The required consent of the citizenry that will unlock the treasuries and public monies under the guise of climate protection.

But before we go further into what we can aptly describe as a politically correct – and unprecedented global bailout, we must look at how collective society can be successfully manipulated and manoeuvred, in order to sanction the release of the funds.

The very strategy to unlock the public purse – and thus save capitalism itself, is that of a climate emergency.

#climatestrike + #fridaysforfuture + #ExtinctionRebellion = #climateemergency

Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: “Our House in On Fire”

“If you don’t know who Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg is, you can think of her as an international climate-change counterpart to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Like the rock-star congresswoman from New York, Thunberg is a charismatic young woman whose social-media savvy, moral clarity, and fearless speaking truth to power have inspired throngs of admirers to take to the streets for a better world and call out the politicians and CEOs who are standing in the way..

 

Thunberg claimed on her Twitter feed that there have been student strikes for climate on every continent except Antarctica—70,000 strikers in total last week. Meanwhile, the Swedish teenager continued to blast the elites in Davos, in flawless English. “Adults keep saying, ‘We owe it to the young people to give them hope,'” she said. “But I don’t want your hope…. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house is on fire. Because it is.” The Kids Are Coming, January 28, 2019, The Nation

 

In April 2016, The Climate Mobilization published the paper “Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: A New Strategy for the Climate Movement.”

The strategy document leads with:

“Imagine there is a fire in your house.

What do you do?
What do you think about?

You do whatever you can to try to put out the fire or exit the house. You make a plan about how you can put out the fire, or how you can best exit the house.

our senses are heightened, you are focused like a laser, and you put your entire self into your actions.

You enter emergency mode.”

-Leading the Public Into Emergency Mode, pg. 2

In the document, Salamon introduces “the concept of ’emergency mode'”, which is how individuals and groups function optimally during an existential or moral crisis — often achieving great feats through intensely focused motivation.” She articulates that “the goal of the climate movement must be to lead the public out of “normal” mode and into emergency mode”. [p. 2][Emphasis in original.]

The emergency mode is enacted by the triggering of a switch.

“This has huge implications for the climate movement’s communication style, advocacy, and strategy. Because emergency mode is contagious, the best strategy is for climate activists and organizations to go into emergency mode themselves, and communicate about the climate emergency, the need for emergency mobilization, and the fact that they are in emergency mode, as clearly and emphatically as possible.” — Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: A New Strategy for the Climate Movement

And now, in 2019, we see how the strategy as laid out in the paper, has now been deployed in real time, in real life.

“Since emotional ads create a deeper and more visceral impression on the memory centers of the brain, marketers are now measuring more cerebral responses to content using neurometrics tools like facial coding, implicit response testing, eye tracking, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).” — The Dangerous Power of Emotional Advertising, April 14, 2016

Video: January 25, 2019, Greta Thunberg | “Special Address, Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum 2019” [Running time:6m:3s]

 

January 25, 2019, ‘Feel the fear’: Climate change is now the talk of Davos, CNN:

“‘Feel the fear’ – The spirit of the event was reflected in two attendees with little in common: One is a former vice president of the United States; the other a 16-year-old Swedish schoolgirl. What Al Gore and Greta Thunberg share is anger at corporate executives who aren’t moving quickly enough to address climate change. “I don’t want you to be hopeful, I want you to panic, I want you to feel the fear I feel every day,” Thunberg told attendees.

 

  • January 23, 2019, WEF, Greta Thunberg, Whatever It Takes

 

The Crux of the Strategy Document

The crux of the strategy document, Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: A New Strategy for the Climate Movement, is that citizens must first face, then accept that there is a life-threatening emergency in order to go into the necessary emergency mode. Once triggered, this enables the deployment of “a huge amount of resources toward solving the crisis” which would quickly become the clear, top priority for society. [p. 4 & p. 5] The more the climate movement provides “structures for people’s engagement — clear directions and support for people who are ready to tackle the climate emergency — the more people will go into emergency mode.”[p. 7]

Whereas budget restraint occurs in non-emergency mode, in emergency mode “all available /necessary resources are devoted to the emergency and, if necessary, governments borrow heavily.” [p. 9]

“Economic mobilization is an emergency restructuring of a modern industrial economy, accomplished at rapid speed. It involves the vast majority of citizens, the utilization of a very high proportion of available resources, and impacts all areas of society. It is nothing less than a government-coordinated social and industrial revolution. Mobilization is what happens when an entire nation enters emergency mode, and the results can be truly staggering.” [p. 8]

Intentional or not, Salamon’s paper weighs heavy with American exceptionalism. Notes of nationalism and cultural superiority waft throughout the document: “We also made huge advances in the sciences. The first computer was invented, as were blood transfusion and radar technology. The Manhattan Project successfully built the world’s first atomic bomb in less than three years — a morally catastrophic but nonetheless stupendous feat of planning, cooperation and scientific ingenuity.”

Reflecting the aforementioned observations, gone is the language to reduce or stop emissions. Consider the word “stop” does not appear once in the document, while the word “reduce” has one single entry: “If we only reduce the fossil fuel industry’s stranglehold on politicians, the problem will solve itself.” [p. 23] Today’s gently persuasive language, is a mirror image of the language and demands drawn out in the strategy document: “restore a safe and stable climate”, “draw down excess CO2” and “cool the planet”.

“The way we respond to threats — by entering emergency mode or by remaining in normal mode — is highly contagious. Imagine the fire alarm goes off in an office building. How seriously should you take it? How do you know if it is a drill or a real fire? Those questions will be predominantly answered by the actions and communications of the people around you, particularly people designated as leaders. If they are chatting and taking their time exiting the building, you will assume that this is a drill. If people are moving with haste, faces stern and focused, communicating with urgency and gravity, you will assume there is real danger and exit as quickly as possible.” [p. 14]

The document acknowledges that the climate crisis is a “top threat to the global economy“. (highlighted in red font in the original document). [p. 21] What is not stated, yet understood, is the fact that the climate can also be exploited, to salvage the global economy. In essence, to save capitalism.

“We cannot be silent about the fact that emergency mobilization can only be coordinated by a “big” government that is granted the power to spend without limit to save as much life as possible.” [p. 22]

The document also outlines a cheerful camaraderie with the oppressors of the working class and those most marginalized:

“These pressure campaigns should escalate in degrees of assertiveness, all the way to disruptive protest. However, even in a protest, we must maintain an open, welcoming attitude. Thus, while we will need to be quite confrontational and unwavering, we are not “against” our targets of protest. We gain nothing from demonizing them. We need these leaders to do the right thing. The tone should not be primarily angry, but urgent and insistent.

 

Rather, the tone should be serious and patriotic. We are calling on America to lead the world in heroic, world-saving action! Protests should involve elements of protestor sacrifice, such as risking arrest or hunger strike, to generate empathy from the public. Maintaining strict non-violence is critical to winning widespread public support and is non-negotiable.” [p. 28]

This document is astonishing in many ways. Not once does the author pause to reflect upon what specific societies and nations benefit from industrial civilization on our finite planet – and which ones are sacrificed for the same cause.

The said purpose of the strategy, is not the protection of what remains of the natural world, but rather, to “organized civilization” [p. 2] and our “functioning global civilization”. [p. 21] The root word of civilization – is civil. And there is nothing civil about the industrial civilization we have built.

The savagery of our global economic system unleashed upon the biosphere, and both sentient and non-white human life, is certainly nothing to boast about – and certainly nothing to protect. It is the global capitalist economic system, that upholds industrial civilization, which must be deconstructed. It is both ironic and telling that even the societies that have benefited the most from industrialization, those in the West (and especially in North America), have never been more miserable. Today we witness an unprecedented crisis of mental illness and depression – with a massive percentage of  society now dependent upon anti-depressant pharmaceuticals in order to function in a day-to-day existence.

Yet the most egregious aspect of this document, is that despite the references to Pearl Harbour, the atomic bomb and American war efforts of countless stripes, all cited as glowing examples of American ingenuity, NOWHERE is the militarism’s impact on both climate and ecology mentioned. Consider the U.S. Department of Defense is the largest consumer of oil in the U.S. and the largest institutional consumer of oil in the world. With militarism’s phenomenal  contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions and environmental degradation – this omission is beyond the pale to say the least. This is the unspoken environmental racism and blatant eco-imperialism that hums beneath the foundational building blocks of the non-profit industrial complex.

“Here’s the awful truth: even if every person, every automobile, and every factory suddenly emitted zero emissions, the earth would still be headed, head first and at full speed, toward total disaster for one major reason. The military produces enough greenhouse gases, by itself, to place the entire globe, with all its inhabitants large and small, in the most imminent danger of extinction.” — The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism, by Barry Sanders, May 1 2009 [The environmental of militarism podcast]

The power of conformity is a key aspect of social engineering. Its power is tragically often overlooked and grossly underestimated.

“Thought Leaders and Leaders of Civil Society: If people in the public eye, and in the public esteem go into emergency mode, they will significantly influence the broader public.” — [p. 30]

“The Race to Mobilize Is On, Cities around the globe are declaring Climate Emergency and committing to Climate Mobilization. Will your city join them?” The Climate Mobilization website

Of no surprise whatsoever, is the fact, that since Extinction Rebellions meteoric rise to stardom – in perfect symmetry with Thunberg, the group has announced a massive restructuring of the organization. The global expansion is being led by Salamon, [Source] who launched the Extinction Rebellion US twitter account on October 31, 2018 – the same day as the launch of Extinction Rebellion in the UK. The accompanying US website would launch November 3, 2018 and the US Facebook group account would launch on November 4, 2018. Between the official launch on October 31, 2018, in the UK, to December 6, 2018, it grew to over 130 groups, across 22 countries. [7] By January 29, 2019, the Extinction Rebellion groups spanned across 50 countries. The Extinction Rebellion demands are not only complimentary to The Climate Mobilization’s emergency strategy, they are a mirror image of it with the slogan, “tell the truth”.

 

  • August 31, 2014, Climate Nexus, People's Climate March

The September 20, 2018, Yale Climate Connections article, “Climate Mobilization Plea: Cities Must Declare Emergency” references the “climate emergency language” gaining momentum in perfect stride with a cohesion of intersecting campaigns: the Thunberg campaign, the Extinction Rebellion protests, the Green New Deal, the general climate strikes, and the FridaysForFuture youth climate strikes.

“Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats and ran for the Democratic nomination, isn’t the only politician drawing parallels between climate change and fascist aggression. New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has been hailed as an up-and-coming progressive champion, has spoken about the need for a World War II-style commitment to fighting global warming. The Democratic Party in 2016 included similar language in its official platform.

 

The injection of this messaging into American political discourse can be traced in part to The Climate Mobilization, a largely volunteer-run nonprofit founded in 2014.”

 

August 15, 2016: “We’re under attack from climate change—and our only hope is to mobilize like we did in WWII”, by 350.org founder Bill McKibben, illustration by Andrew Colin Beck [Source: 350.org]

“I assume that many activists will continue to be drawn to fossil fuel infrastructure protests. I recommend to them that they work as hard as possible to communicate the way forward (emergency mobilization off fossil fuels and carbon intensive agriculture, plus carbon drawdown to cool the earth back to a safe level) as much as possible in their verbal and non-verbal communications. This can be as simple as wearing Rosie the Riveter bandanas while protesting, displaying a banner demanding WWII-scale climate mobilization to restore a safe climate, and including the demand for net zero emissions by 2025, plus large-scale drawdown, in press releases and web materials.” — April, 2016, Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: A New Strategy for the Climate Movement, April 2016 [p. 30]

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Video: 2-Minute Intro to Climate Mobilization [Running time: 2m:23s]

 

A Climate of Fear:  Capitalism Is Now in A Free Fall

“Capitalism is in crisis, says World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab.” — January 17, 2017, Deutsche Welle

Leading up to the January 2019 Davos gathering, a top Wall Street economist warned investors that they face a tough road ahead with global economic growth ‘now in free fall’. The current headlines read like Orson Welle’s economic version of “War of the Worlds”.

January 3, 2019, The Globe and Mail, “Global economic growth ‘now in free fall’:

“Merrill Lynch strategist Ajay Singh Kapur recently wrote that “global [economic] growth is now in a broad, deep and persistent slowdown,” creating market conditions that, I believe, will make life treacherous for commodity sectors and beyond…”

“Since August, 2017, growth in manufacturing activity has been decelerating rapidly, dragging metal prices with them.”

January 15, 2019:

Global economic growth is slowing, including in Canada, according to new data from the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).”

January 21, 2019:

IMF, CEOs Warn of Slowing World Economy on Eve of Davos Summit: “Corporate executives joined the International Monetary Fund in warning the global economy is slowing faster than expected, establishing a downbeat tone for this week’s annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.”

January 21, 2019:

“China’s 6.6% growth in 2018 is its slowest in nearly 3 decades…”

February 1, 2019:

“World’s Largest Pension Fund Loses $136 Billion in Three Months”

To the Rescue: A Politically Correct Bailout -The Climate Finance Partnership

“UNLOCKING THE INCLUSIVE GROWTH STORY OF THE 21ST CENTURY – Accelerating Climate Action in Urgent Times – This is our ‘use it or lose it’ moment. Investing the US$90 trillion to build the right infrastructure now will deliver a new era of economic growth. Investing it wisely will help drive innovation, deliver public health benefits, create a host of new jobs and go a long way to tackling the risks of runaway climate change. Getting it wrong, on the other hand, will lock us into a high-polluting, low productivity, and deeply unequal future.” — The New Climate Economy website, Executive Summary  

Following the September 8, 2018 Rise for Climate mobilization (a follow-up to the People’s Climate March 2014, having been re-branded to the People’s Climate Movement in 2017), the single goal behind the accelerating climate emergency language, was finally unveiled at the September 26, 2018 One Planet Summit in New York:

“Efforts to blend capital in order to engage and mobilize large-scale institutional capital toward climate solutions took a notable step forward on September 26 at the One Planet Summit in New York, when French President Emmanuel Macron and BlackRock’s Larry Fink announced the Climate Finance Partnership (CFP). The CFP consists of a unique combination of philanthropies, governments, institutional investors, and a leading global asset manager. The parties, including BlackRock, the Governments of France and Germany, and the Hewlett, Grantham, and IKEA foundations, have committed to work together to finalize the design and structure of what we anticipate will be a flagship blended capital investment vehicle by the end of the first quarter, 2019.

September 26, 2018, “Governments and Philanthropies Announce Ground-breaking Partnership with BlackRock to Mobilize and Deploy Climate Finance at Scale”:

“France, Germany, the Hewlett, Grantham and IKEA foundations, and asset manager BlackRock today announced the Climate Finance Partnership at the One Planet Summit in New York. The Climate Finance Partnership is an unprecedented cooperation between philanthropies, governments and private investors, which have committed to jointly developing an investment vehicle that will aim to invest in climate infrastructure in emerging markets.”

The two institutions identified as the media contacts for the above unprecedented announcement, are the European Climate Foundation and the aforementioned Climate Nexus – a lead organizer for the 2014 People’s Climate March.

On November 8, 2018, the article “The Climate Finance Partnership: Mobilizing Institutional Capital to Address the Climate Opportunity” discloses where the money will come from for the “fourth industrial revolution”, sold to the public under the guise of sustainability:

“Nowhere is the investment gap between what is needed and what is currently flowing greater and more urgent, or the opportunities more significant, than in the world’s developing and emerging markets. These economies are generally characterized by growing populations, rapidly increasing energy demand, and extraordinary infrastructure investment needs. But they also tend to have less developed capital markets and higher political and regulatory risk than their developed country counterparts. Institutional investors may therefore be partially forgiven for moving cautiously, even in the face of compelling long-term economic and demographic drivers.

A detailed analysis by the World Bank found that while $100 trillion is held by pension funds and other institutional investors, these same investors allocated less than $2 trillion over a 25 year period into infrastructure investment in emerging markets. And the fraction of that investment that could be considered green, clean, or climate-friendly was negligible.

 

So, what can be done? Whether you choose to look through the lens of unprecedented challenge or unprecedented opportunity, there is violent agreement that institutional capital needs to be “unlocked” (a favorite word on the climate conference circuit) and mobilized quickly and at scale.”

It is here that the accelerating “demand” for countries to align with the Paris Agreement becomes clear: “The Paris Agreement requires us to align finance flows in support for a low carbon and climate resilient development.” Note the word “requires”. What was considered non-binding one moment, conveniently becomes binding when it involves opening up the treasuries and pension plans to the our corporate overlords.

No risk, all reward. The double speak of Wall Street is deliberately opaque. Yet, in layman’s terms,  these are simply high-finance words to say there is less risk in using someone else’s money other than your own:

“Blended finance, or the strategic deployment of public or other concessional capital to de-risk institutional capital investment, offers one compelling answer.” Recently, the Blended Finance Task Force, a broad-based interdisciplinary effort, finalized a comprehensive report identifying key barriers to large-scale institutional capital mobilization toward the Sustainable Development Goals, and then subsequently designed a detailed Action Program to address these barriers.” [Source]

The Blended Finance Action Taskforce is comprised of fifty icons of finance including HSBC, Credit Suisse, Citi, JP Morgan Chase, USAID, WEF –Sustainable Development Investment Partnership (SDIP), World Bank, Investec, MacArthur Foundation, Allianz, EBRD, ClimateWorks (founded by the Hewlett, Packard, and McKnight foundations) and the Rockefeller Foundation. [Full list]

“The partnership, coordinated by the Task Force on Philanthropic Innovation and the Aligned Intermediary, an investment advisory group, was designed and structured specifically to use a layer of government and philanthropic capital to maximize private capital mobilization toward climate-related sectors in emerging markets.” [Source]

And here again, is where more stark reality is faintly disclosed:

“Doing so in partnership with the world’s largest manager and its set of world-class institutional investor clients should send an important signal to fund managers and institutional investors alike that there are profits to be had in sectors and geographies where this capital has not historically deployed

 

“The partnership will seek to make investments in a targeted set of sectors including renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage, and low-carbon and electrified transportation, across three regions including Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

Today’s climate emergency mobilization must be recognized for what it is: a strategically orchestrated campaign financed and managed by the world’s most powerful institutions – for the preservation of capitalism and global economic growth.  This is the launch of a new growth industry in the Global South coupled with the creation of new and untapped markets. Leading up to this precipice, The B Team, the Open Society Foundation, Oxfam, and many others that serve as the human face of capitalism, have moved their offices to or set up new divisions in both Africa and Latin America.

Also of threat, to Western imperialism, is a burgeoning China. And to be clear – there will be no “fourth industrial revolution” for the Western ruling class – without uninterrupted and perpetual access to Africa’s bounty of rare earth minerals and metals:

“While significant progress has been made on Africa’s political and economic transformation, the continent continues to face significant challenges. Geopolitically, new economic alliances are altering traditional relationships and spheres of influence.” [Source: WEF, 2019]

The sycophantic NGOs – in servitude, indeed on the very same team as their corporate benefactors, created a literal, albeit virtual firestorm (encapsulated in the mantra “our house is on fire”) – in order to instigate a “climate revolution”. The collective energy of the West stemming from a growing societal discontent, is being captured and utilized – transcending into a new weapon of choice that will aid the further colonization of the Global South.  A climate revolution in name only, this said emergency, has nothing to do with the protection of our Earth – or climate – and never will. Rather, it has everything to do with saving, protecting and expanding the capitalist economy – at the expense of our already decimated planet. And nothing more than that. This oncoming new onslaught of environmental devastation and plunder – in the name of climate revolution – will make all of modern man’s historical violence against the nature, up to this point – seem like childish prattle.

Yet none of this should come as a surprise. As the oligarchs financed, shaped and largely managed the climate movement – it’s only natural that they alone benefit from it. The power-elites repackaged our oppression as revolution and sold it back to us. By exploiting the innocent youth, which in turn exploited our emotions and fears as a collective populace, we devoured it.  And soon, young Greta, and all the youth they have exploited, will be thrown under the bus. It’s all par for the course under capitalism.

 

+++

 

The Asche experiment: “During the 1950s Solomon Asch conducted and published a series of experiments that demonstrated the degree to which an individual’s own opinions are influenced by those of a majority group.” [1m:57s]

 

 

 

End Notes:

[1] Photographer Nat Finkelstein claimed credit for the expression, stating that he was photographing Warhol in 1966 for a proposed book. A crowd gathered trying to get into the pictures and Warhol supposedly remarked that everyone wants to be famous, to which Finkelstein replied, “Yeah, for about fifteen minutes, Andy.” The phenomenon is often used in reference to figures in the entertainment industry or other areas of popular culture.” [Wikipedia]

[2] “We work with individuals and organizations that are about the issues we face as human beings and meet our partnership guidelines. We offer our platform to scientists, environmentalists, activists, and any individual, group or organization including political candidates that meet these guidelines. Uphill Media, is the continuation of Bernie2016 TV and Political Revolution TV. We are 501(c)(3)3 non profit independent media network focused on informing the electorate through engagement on the Internet. Learn more @ http://UphillMedia.org. Read and share the Democratic Party of Oregon 2018 Platform. https://www.dpoplatform.org/” [Source: YouTube]

[3] “Some people say that we are not doing enough to fight climate change. But that is not true. Because to “not do enough” you have to do something. And the truth is we are basically not doing anything. Yes, some people are doing more than they can, but they are too few or too far away from power to make a difference today. Some people say that the climate crisis is something that we all have created. But that is just another convenient lie. Because if everyone is guilty then no one is to blame. And someone is to blame. Some people, some companies, and some decision makers in particular [has][sic] known exactly what priceless values they are sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. I ask you to stand o the right side of history. I ask you to pledge to do everything in your power to push your own business or government in line with a 1.5 degree world. Will you pledge to do that? Will you pledge to join me, and the people all around the world in doing whatever it takes. [Screen: #whateverittakes]

[4] “The Climate Mobilization is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit and a sister organization of Climate Mobilization Project (501(c)(3). The Climate Mobilization supports the mission of Climate Mobilization Project through direct lobbying and political work.” [Source: Climate Mobilization Website] [Source]

[5] “Our organizers successfully intervened in the 2016 Democratic primary elections, bringing WWII-scale Climate Mobilization into the discussion by successfully lobbying presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to embrace the idea. In July 2016, the need for WWII-scale mobilization was adopted into the Democratic Party Platform thanks to Climate Mobilization advisor and ally Russell Greene who was appointed to the platform committee by Bernie Sanders. This commitment was reaffirmed in August 2018 when Democratic National Committee passed a resolution calling for ‘a national social and economic mobilization’ to ‘address the climate emergency’ and ‘restore a safe climate.'” [Source]

[6] Mission Innovation: “Mission Innovation (MI) is a global initiative of 23 countries and the European Commission (on behalf of the European Union). These 24 members have committed to seek to double public investment in clean energy RD&D and are engaging with the private sectorfostering international collaboration and celebrating innovators.” [Source]

Mission Innovation Member States:

[7] December 6, 2018, “Margaret Klein Salamon talks to XR founders” [Source]

 

 

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

Edited with Forrest Palmer, Wrong Kind of Green Collective.

 

 

 

The Age of Humanism is Ending

Mail Guardian Africa

December 22, 2016

killing-earth

There is no sign that 2017 will be much different from 2016.

Under Israeli occupation for decades, Gaza will still be the biggest open prison on Earth.

In the United States, the killing of black people at the hands of the police will proceed unabated and hundreds of thousands more will join those already housed in the prison-industrial complex that came on the heels of plantation slavery and Jim Crow laws.

Europe will continue its slow descent into liberal authoritarianism or what cultural theorist Stuart Hall called authoritarian populism. Despite complex agreements reached at international forums, the ecological destruction of the Earth will continue and the war on terror will increasingly morph into a war of extermination between various forms of nihilism.

Inequalities will keep growing worldwide. But far from fuelling a renewed cycle of class struggles, social conflicts will increasingly take the form of racism, ultra nationalism, sexism, ethnic and religious rivalries, xenophobia, homophobia and other deadly passions.

The denigration of virtues such as care, compassion and kindness will go hand in hand with the belief, especially among the poor, that winning is all that matters and who wins — by whatever means necessary — is ultimately right.

With the triumph of this neo-Darwinian approach to history-making, apartheid under various guises will be restored as the new old norm. Its restoration will pave the way to new separatist impulses, the erection of more walls, the militarisation of more borders, deadly forms of policing, more asymmetrical wars, splitting alliances and countless internal divisions including in established democracies.

None of the above is accidental. If anything, it is a symptom of structural shifts, which will become ever more apparent as the new century unfolds. The world as we knew it since the end of World War II, the long years of decolonisation, the Cold War and the defeat of communism has ended.

Another long and deadlier game has started. The main clash of the first half of the 21st century will not oppose religions or civilisations. It will oppose liberal democracy and neoliberal capitalism, the rule of finance and the rule of the people, humanism and nihilism.

Capitalism and liberal democracy triumphed over fascism in 1945 and over communism in the early 1990s when the Soviet Union collapsed.  With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the advent of globalisation, their fates were disentangled. The widening bifurcation of demo-cracy and capital is the new threat to civilisation.

Abetted by technological and military might, finance capital has achieved its hegemony over the world by annexing the core of human desires and, in the process, by turning itself into the first global secular theology. Fusing the attributes of a technology and a religion, it relied on uncontested dogmas modern forms of capitalism had reluctantly shared with democracy since the post-war period — individual liberty, market competition and the rule of the commodity and of property, the cult of science, technology and reason.

Each of these articles of faith is under threat. At its core, liberal democracy is not compatible with the inner logic of finance capitalism. The clash between these two ideas and principles is likely to be the most signifying event of the first half of a 21st-century political landscape — a landscape shaped less by the rule of reason than by the general release of passions, emotions and affect.

In this new landscape, knowledge will be defined as knowledge for the market. The market itself will be re-imagined as the primary mechanism for the validation of truth.

As markets themselves are increasingly turning into algorithmic structures and technologies, the only useful knowledge will be algorithmic.

Instead of people with body, history and flesh, statistical inferences will be all that count. Statistics and other big data will mostly be derived from computation.

As a result of the conflation of knowledge, technology and markets, contempt will be extended to anyone who has nothing to sell.

The humanistic and Enlightenment notion of the rational subject capable of deliberation and choice will be replaced by the consciously deliberating and choosing consumer.

Already in the making, a new kind of human will triumph.  This will not be the liberal individual who, not so long ago, we believed could be the subject of democracy. The new human being will be constituted through and within digital technologies and computational media.

The computational age — the age of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter — is dominated by the idea that there are clean slates in the unconscious. New media forms have not only lifted the lid previous cultural eras had put on the unconscious. They have become the new infrastructures of the unconscious.

Yesterday, human sociality consisted of keeping tabs on the unconscious. For the social to thrive meant exercising vigilance on ourselves, or delegating to specific authorities the right to enforce such vigilance.

This was called repression.

Repression’s main function was to set the conditions for sublimation. Not all desires could be fulfilled. Not everything could be said or enacted. The capacity to limit oneself was the essence of one’s freedom and the freedom of all.

Partly thanks to new media forms and the post-repressive era it has unleashed, the unconscious can now roam free. Sublimation is no longer necessary.

Language has been dislocated. The content is in the form and the form is beyond, or in excess of, the content.

We are now led to believe that mediation is no longer necessary.

This explains the growing anti-humanist stance that now goes hand in hand with a general contempt for democracy.  Calling this phase of our history fascist might be misleading unless by fascism we mean the normalisation of a social state of warfare.

Such a state would in itself be a paradox because, if anything, warfare leads to the dissolution of the social. And yet under conditions of neoliberal capitalism, politics will become a barely sublimated warfare. This will be a class warfare that denies its very nature — a war against the poor, a race war against minorities, a gender war against women, a religious war against Muslims, a war against the disabled.

Neoliberal capitalism has left in its wake a multitude of destroyed subjects, many of whom are deeply convinced that their immediate future will be one of continuous exposure to violence and existential threat.

They genuinely long for a return to some sense of certainty, the sacred, hierarchy, religion and tradition. They believe that nations have become akin to swamps that need to be drained and the world as it is should be brought to an end. For this to happen, everything should be cleansed off. They are convinced that they can only be saved in a violent struggle to restore their masculinity, the loss of which they attribute to the weaker among them, the weak they do not want to become.

In this context, the most successful political entrepreneurs will be those who convincingly speak to the losers, to the destroyed men and women of globalisation and to their ruined identities.

In the street fight politics will become, reason will not matter. Nor will facts. Politics will revert into brutal survivalism in an ultracompetitive environment.

Under such conditions, the future of progressive and future-oriented mass politics of the left is very uncertain.

In a world set on objectifying everybody and every living thing in the name of profit, the erasure of the political by capital is the real threat. The transformation of the political into business raises the risk of the elimination of the very possibility of politics.

Whether civilisation can give rise at all to any form of political life is the problem of the 21st century.

 

 

[Achille Mbembe is based at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research. His new book, The Politics of Enmity, will be published by Duke University Press in 2017.]

WATCH: White Helmets – The Mask of Terror ( with English subtitles)

Anna News

January 6, 2017

 

bloody-purpose-1-white-helmets-avaaz

In liberated Aleppo the ANNA-News crew was able to uncover evidence that sheds light on the true activity of the so-called rescue workers in Syria. This terrorist group, the White Helmets, is a project of the New York public relations firm Purpose (sister org. of Avaaz).

“In interviews he is nearly always credited with setting up GetUp and Avaaz, and this is constructed as the natural evolution for setting up his current corporate consultancy and campaigning organisation, Purpose, in 2009. As outlined earlier in the chapter Purpose is a “social business that helps build movements”, it works on building large-scale issue campaigns, as well as working with corporate actors to use storytelling and brand relations techniques to create mass supporter movements. On its website it lists 23 organisations that it has worked for, most are well known non-profits such as Oxfam, Habitat for Humanity, ACLU and the Services Employee International Union, but also includes for-profit companies such as Ben and Jerrys, Audi and Google. Seven organisations are listed as Incubators, which means that Purpose has started them as campaigns and built them, these include: AllOut working on GLBTQI rights internationally, the controversial Syria Campaign that started White Helmets, and Foodstand that tries to build an informed community about good food.” [Source: Vromen, Digital Citizenship and Political Engagement, DOI 10.1057/978-1-137-48865-7_6]

VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES, VIOLENCE AND POSSIBLE WAR CRIMES.

 

Further reading:

WHO ARE SYRIA’S WHITE HELMETS?

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

McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part VII of an Investigative Report] [The Wolves of Wall Street]

The Art of Annihilation

December 18, 2014

Part seven 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

wolvesofws1 

 Image courtesy of Mark Gould

“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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Monetizing Natural Capital | Ecosystem Services

You may recognize Mindy Lubber’s name (President of 350.org partner, Ceres) from the Think Progress blog (excellent climate science source, funded in large part by Rockefeller) where she is referred to as “an expert on water scarcity” among the liberal left. Therefore, it should be of little surprise to anyone that a key focus of Ceres appears to be meticulously and cautiously preparing the ground for mass privatization (what Ceres refers to as “monetizing natural capital” or “ecosystem services”) of water in the United States (and beyond). [Restoring Flows, Financing the Next Generation of Water Systems, A Strategy for Coalition Building. Authors: Ceres and American Rovers, DOCUMENT]

“Unlike market development in Europe and Australia, the private sector has had a relatively small role in providing water infrastructure services in the United States. While some communities have entered into a variety of arrangements to ‘privatize’ their water services, there is a wide range of potential roles that private entities may play in the water market that fall short of being an outright full-service provider.” [Emphasis added]

 

Under “Needs and Opportunities” within the report: “Develop alternate model business plans for providers, including public, private and public:private partnerships.”

Preparing a populace – one that strongly opposes water privatization – for water privatization requires calculated language and schemes to keep the public at bay. Schemes that “fall short of being an outright full-service provider,” if outright privatization in its most pure form is not an option, are an imperative for “success.”

As president of Ceres, Lubber is well compensated for the task at hand with an annual salary from the Ceres non-profit of $193,025, with an additional $32,190 in “other compensation for the organization and other related organizations.” [Source: Form 990, 2012].

With Ceres receiving 60% of its revenues from foundation grants in the 2012 fiscal year ($5,233,360) with membership fees ($1,843,052) providing 22% of the revenues [2012 annual report] (conference fees, sponsorship, and individual family and “foundation family” account for the remainder to the tune of $8,316,636), the Ceres non-profit is in a position to pay flush salaries.

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The monetization of Earth’s remaining natural resources (or “natural capital,” the carefully applied term that acts as a patina masking the true intent) sounds as though it is far too vile of an idea to ever be accepted by society. Yet, the elite establishment – with the non-profit industrial complex as their pimps of pathological ideologies – have every intent of seeing the commodification of Earth’s remaining natural resources transform into capital, for complete corporate capture in the not-so-distant future.

Consider the behavioural change experiment that took place on September 21, 2014 (branded as “The People’s Climate March”).

WorldBankMarchPhoto

The People’s Climate March in New York City was a mobilization campaign created by Avaaz and 350.org, with 350.org at the forefront. Perhaps never in history have we witnessed 300,000 to 400,000 citizens (whose rights and freedoms are being systematically dismantled every day by a corporate-state that liberal elites continue to prop up) joining hands with their oppressors – literally marching with their oppressors in the streets both knowingly and willingly. This must be considered a benchmark in history by those who study behavioural change – a feat perhaps unmatched since 1929 when Edward Bernays brilliantly transformed cigarettes into “freedom torches” as the symbol of emancipated women for the tobacco industry.

[Video (running time: 2:52). Excerpt from the movie “The War You Don’t See” by John Pilger. Bernays, a pioneer of modern propaganda, persuaded woman to embrace smoking as a symbol of women’s liberation.]

torches-of-freedom--thereby-linking-smoking-with-challenging-male-authority

The Road to Riches | Monetization of Earth’s Remaining Natural Resources

The following excerpts are extracted from the article This Changes Nothing. Why the People’s Climate March Guarantees Climate Catastrophe published on Wrong Kind of Green (September 12, 2014). It serves as an introduction to the PR firm Purpose (Inc.) – as a glimpse into a behavioural change/economics think-tank.

Vision: “Purpose is a global initiative that draws on leading technologies, political organizing and behavioral economics to build powerful, tech-savvy movements that can transform culture and influence policy.”

 

Purpose was born out of some of the most successful experiments in mass digital participation. Our principals are co-founders of Avaaz, the world’s largest online political movement with more than nine million members operating in 14 languages, and the creators of Australia’s GetUp!, an internationally recognized social movement phenomenon with more members than all the country’s political parties combined….” [Source]

Avaaz and GetUp co-founders Jeremy Heimans (CEO) and David Madden are also founders of the New York consulting firm, Purpose Inc. Avaaz co-founder James Slezak is also identified as a co-founder and CEO of Purpose at its inception in 2009.

conformity-is-unity-3

Image courtesy of Mark Gould

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

 “We’ve been talking in a broader way about the future of consumer activism, of organizing people not as citizens but as consumers.Jeremy Heimans, when asked how he was going to use the $100,000 he received from the Ford Foundation

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

Make no mistake, the Yale (Avaaz co-founder and former U.S. Representative Tom Perriello) and Harvard graduates that comprise the Avaaz boys (many having been groomed by McKinsey and Company) are considered “the dream team” by the globe’s most powerful capitalists, including at the United Nations and the World Bank.

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

Heimans, like his co-founders at Avaaz, has close relationships with those at the helm of the push toward the illusory green economy, including Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace and Richard Branson, who has founded the B Team, of which Heimans serves as a “team member.” [Further reading on the B Team can be found in an upcoming segment of this investigative report.] Note that Avaaz and 350.org were the first two NGOs signed on to the 2009 Havas Advertising campaign TckTckTck. TckTckTck succeeded in successfully undermining the radical emissions reductions required, put forward by the State of Bolivia and the G77 at COP15. More recently Avaaz, 350.org and Greenpeace joined hands to form the NGO SumOfUs. [Further reading: SumOfUs are Corporate Whores | Some Of Us Are Not]

Like so many other left “progressives” jumping on board the “socially responsible investment” industry, Heimans is no exception, serving on the advisory board of Leap Frog Investments. [Source] On September 29, 2012 a media release announced “The Vital Few” – a new social media platform for The Asset Owners Disclosure Project, an online forum to link individuals who are concerned about their pension fund investments directed towards the fossil fuel industry. The release included statements from both Kelly Rigg (TckTckTck) and Heimans. Supported by the head of the global trade union movement and other key civil society groups the platform, called ‘The Vital Few’ will allow pension fund members to drive transparency and accountability in a $60 trillion industry that has become the largest pool of investment capital in the world…. The Vital Few initiative, by starting with the issue of climate risk, is a milestone in helping restore genuine ownership to capitalism.”

Purpose Avaaz Syria-Campaign-HIRE

The Strategy of “Changing Everything”

In the video published on November 21, 2012, filmed during a lecture on Purpose’s innovative model of “movement entrepreneurship,” Heimans discloses that the “demand for the green economy is in a rut.” He states:

“…how else could movement building and mass participation help transform society? And that’s what we’re working on at Purpose. We’re thinking at Purpose not just how you build political movements but now what are some of the insights from that, that can be used to do things like scale demand for the green economy? Right? Demand for the green economy is in a rut. There isn’t large-scale demand it. What if we tried to build a movement around that and organize people in a systematic way….”

In this Tedx talk (published September 7, 2012) the goal, and the campaign to achieve the goal, are made clear: kill “green” marketing (including the key term “green economy”) in order to push forward the green economy – without saying as much.

Heimans states:

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

Hence – you have the new terminology agreed upon and already being employed by both the foundations and the non-profit-industrial complex: The “new economy.”

Heimans continues:

“So they like the idea of green, it’s kind of a value they are happy to cloak themselves in, you know it’s a brand value, but the reality is market share just isn’t there because as soon as it’s even slightly difficult they’re out the door. So what do we do? So here’s some things that I think we can do that might up-end this situation and as I said, it does require starting with killing green as a friend. We can’t lead with green, because most of the green products that are out there start by knocking on the front door and hitting you on the head and saying, you know, ‘We’re green, do the right thing.’ We need a radically different approach to the way we introduce this issue to consumers. We need to put green aside.”

Heimans summarizes the methodology.

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

As an example of Purpose’s work to build acquiescence and a normalization of the green new economy, we can look at Purpose’s work for Audi. The task at hand is how to take the human right of access to clean water and turn it into a commodity market that a public will embrace: “[Purpose Inc.] helps them to build mass movements to support their favourite causes. Audi, for example, wants to design and promote machines to dispense clean water in India, a market where it hopes to burnish its car brand.” Media is utilized to present the water ATM as an affordable benefit for the disenfranchised, underprivileged and poor: “The perception that rural people won’t pay for quality services is wrong, says Shah. ‘They want to be part of modern society. After a water ATM is set up, 15-20% of the people immediately start buying water. They like to claim “we have a water ATM.”‘” The idea of clean fresh water for all, as a human right rather than an “affordable” commodity, will quickly disappear as fast as the drinking fountains one used to find in our communities not that long ago. (One may wish to note that today, we find corporations writing many of their own articles for media, who in turn present them as journalism. Round and round we go.)

“Purpose also hopes to develop a business promoting ‘new economy’ products such as solar energy. It will recommend to its members that they buy solar power from such-and-such a provider. In return, it will charge a referral fee.” — The Economist, The business of campaigning, Profit with Purpose, January 26, 2013

We can assume this business model will be employed across the board. Purpose tells the story that entices the purchase, Purpose mobilizes the movements building on the foundation of the story, and Purpose receives their referral fee in the mail.

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

Ignoring the Obvious – The Only Number that Matters Has Always Been Zero

Ceres: “60-90% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 levels is needed by 2050 to avoid worst case scenarios for global warming” [Source: CERES 2007-2008 Annual Report]

 

Ceres: “Companies will reduce GHG emissions by 25% from their 2005 baseline by 2020, by improving energy efficiency of operations by at least 50%, reducing electricity demand by at least 15% and obtaining at least 30% of energy from renewable sources.… The Ceres Roadmap expectations are aligned with the scientific targets recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that call for the U.S. to achieve reductions of 80 percent below 1990 baseline levels by 2050. —The Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability current webpage [Source]

 

Reality: “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, until you pick up the pace.” — Lumumba Di-Aping, chief negotiator of the G77, COP15, Source

On May 9, 2013, concentrations of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere exceeded 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in human history, the highest since the Pliocene. (The daily average for May 9, 2013 was 400.03 ppm)

It is slightly ironic that 350.org succeeded so brilliantly in the complete pacification of a global civil society by promoting 350 ppm as a “safe operating limit for humanity.” Thus, the message so skillfully projected/orchestrated in tandem with media, that global citizens were not/are not in any immediate danger, provided the means to further destroy our shared environment in order to allow the very economic structure systemically destroying all life on Earth to continue unabashed. The message that can be summarized as “continue as you were” was (and continues to be) in stark contrast to the message laid out to humanity in 1988.

At the Changing Atmosphere conference in 1988, in Toronto, Canada, scientists, politicians and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) acknowledged the following:

“The stabilizing of the atmospheric concentrations of CO2 is an imperative goal. It is currently estimated to require reductions of more than 50 per cent from present [*1988] emission levels. Energy research and development budgets must be massively directed to energy options which would eliminate or greatly reduce CO2 emissions and to studies undertaken to further refine the target reductions.” [*In 1988 the average CO2 atmospheric concentration was 351.56 ppm.]

They warned that:

“Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment, whose ultimate consequences are second only to global nuclear war.”

Yet the non-profit industrial complex (in which both 350.org and its partner Ceres play leading roles) would have us believe that 25 years (over a quarter of a century) later, with atmospheric carbon emissions having exceeded 400 ppm, with planetary boundaries being surpassed, irreversible feedbacks having been set into motion, disappearing Arctic sea ice, ocean acidification, mass species eradication/extinctions, and hundreds of thousands of climate-related deaths each and every passing year, we can still afford to keep burning fossil fuels under the guise of “clean” energy and so-called carbon “budgets.”

“350 ppm is a death sentence.… The safe level of CO2 for SIDS (Small Island Developing States) is around 260 parts per million.… CO2 buildup must be reversed, not allowed to increase or even be stabilized at 350 ppm, which would amount to a death sentence for coral reefs, small island developing states, and billions of people living along low lying coastlines.” — Scientific & Technical Briefing to the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS), United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen, Denmark, December 7-18, 2009 [1]

The NPIC Stop the KXL (Keystone XL pipeline extension) campaign qualifies as a brilliant and strategic, albeit suicidal, Trojan horse. Simultaneously, the campaign led by 350.org paved the way for our collective denialism to be embraced and embellished. For the past five years this multi-million-dollar campaign was relentless in the quest to ensure it was perceived as the key most important struggle in our climate struggle. Who can forget James Hansen referring to the KXL project as “the fuse to the largest carbon bomb on the planet” and “game over” for the climate? All while dialogue on consumption/growth fetish, industrialized capitalism, militarism, Fukushima/nuclear, transition to a plant-based diet, rapidly destabilizing methane hydrates (literal carbon bombs) and Warren Buffett’s newfound rail dynasty now transporting the same tar sands oil via bomb trains, was nowhere to be found. The focus on a single pipeline granted the American populace full permission to ignore the urgent need to connect the dots, as the window for any possible climate mitigation finally closed. Keep the economy growing was the underlying message. The chosen discourse, that of 350 ppm as our global target (the maximum / uppermost limit) was and remains an excellent way to avoid facing the fact that only by achieving virtual zero carbon emissions can the planet even begin to cool (cooling that would not even begin for centuries, if not thousands of years, after zero was achieved). Not to worry, once atmospheric CO2 reaches unfathomable numbers and the “target” of 350 ppm begins to sound ridiculous, 350.org et al will simply move on to the 400.org campaign. It’s already established and waiting in the virtual wings. [http://400.350.org/]

400.org

Above screenshot: 400.org campaign. It’s already established and waiting in the virtual wings. [http://400.350.org/]

Chalk up the bizarre fact that there appears to be no anger by the public whatsoever in response to this highly-financed recklessness and disregard for life. This is no doubt due to a lifetime of obedience, passivity, subservience and indoctrination – much of it hammered home, drilled into the ever more vacant minds, by the non-profit industrial complex itself. That being said, people will get mad as hell when the grocery store shelves go empty. Of course, that will be far too late.

“Even more disturbing is new research from Ballantyne, Axford et al. which says that during the Pliocene epoch, when CO2 levels were ~400 ppm, Arctic surface temperatures were 15-20°C warmer than today’s surface temperatures. They suggest that much of the surface warming likely was due to ice-free conditions in the Arctic.” [Source] Today, the Arctic sea ice is declining at an unprecedented speed. “Very soon we may experience the iconic moment when, one day in the summer, we look at satellite images and see no sea-ice coverage in the Arctic, just open water” (McKie, 2012).

+++

To clarify, only by achieving virtual zero carbon emissions can the planet even begin to cool. [“In fact, only in the case of essentially complete elimination of emissions can the atmospheric concentration of CO2 ultimately be stabilised at a constant level.” [http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/faq-10-3.html]

The concept of the “carbon budget” (legitimized by the Carbon Tracker et al reports, Bill McKibben (350.org) and the liberal left at large) is nothing more than a crafted mechanism that serves the reckless illusion that global society can continue to “safely burn” fossil fuels for many more decades. Ignore the fact that a “release of up to 50 Gt of predicted amount of hydrate storage [is] highly possible for abrupt release at any time”. [N. Shakhova, I. Semiletov, A. Salyuk, D. Kosmach, 2008] No, the mounting climate emergency is not today. Rather, it’s only a problem that we can put off dealing with until 30 years from now. (The so-called carbon budget will be discussed further in this report).

Apathy is slowly consuming the last vestiges of our humanity – we are slowly drowning in a sea of indifference.

Today, more than 25 years after the Changing Atmosphere conference in 1988, CO2 emissions have reached an all-time high. As corporate profits and corporate power have soared – so have emissions. The global community must acknowledge that the industrialized capitalist economic system cannot ensure our survival – it can only ensure our certain demise.

Ignoring the Fact that the Oligarchs Finance the “Movements”

The following excerpts [Further reading: Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse – Part 1V | Buffett Acquires the Non-Profit Industrial Complex] serve as an example of how the oligarchs fund the movements.

During the last four years, Americans have been coerced into focusing on a single, symbolic campaign to Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline. This campaign was funded in large part by the Tides Foundation, which distributes the funds (from other foundations) to qualifying NGOs and groups. The number one funder of the Tides Foundation leading up to and during this time period was none other than the NoVo Foundation, founded on monies provided by Warren Buffett. [“NoVo was created in 2006 after Warren Buffett pledged to donate 350,000 shares of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. stock to the foundation.”] It is maintained by Warren Buffett’s son, Peter Buffett (co-chair) and partner Jennifer Buffett (president and co-chair).

“Anonymity is very important to most of the people we work with.” — Drummond Pike, Founder of Tides

Drummond Pike founded Tides Foundation in 1976 [2]; the Tides Center in 1996 [3], the Advocacy Fund in 1994, Groundspring.org in 1999; Tides Inc. in 2003 [4], Tides Shared Spaces/Tides Two Rivers Foundation in 2004; and the Tides Network in 2006. [5]

By 2010, the combined cash flow of Tides regularly exceeded $200 million per year. Pike served as Chief Executive Officer of all Tides organizations until November 2010. [Source] Pike received an annual base compensation of $240,000 (2010) according to the 2010 Tides Foundation 990.

More recently, Pike was named a Principal with Equilibrium Capital (a private equity impact investing firm based in Portland – the very kind promoted by 350.org’s divestment campaign. (“Distribution and Sales: We raise and scale institutional-quality capital”) According to Tides, Pike is also volunteering time with Paladin Partners, LLC. Paladin Partners provides financial plans, consulting services, and investment services.

350credo

Pike currently serves on the Board of Directors of Working Assets, which he co-founded with Michael Kieschnick and Laura Scher. CREDO Mobile is a division of Working Assets. Prior to co-founding Credo Mobile (formerly known as Working Assets Wireless), Kieschnick served at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Kieschnick also served as an economic advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown of California (1980–1982), and helped create several “socially responsible” investment (SRI) funds [Wikipedia], again, the same SRI funds promoted by the 350.org divestment campaign.

Klein RAN

Photo: REVEL 2011 Awardee Naomi Klein with Michael Kieschnick. Michael Kieschnick is a co-founder (with Drummond Pike of Tides) and president of Credo Mobile. Image: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr. Rainforest Action Network’s ultra white and ultra elite annual benefit REVEL event. [6]

The Tides Foundation could be described as a priceless, magical, money-funneling machine of epic proportion for the oligarchs. It receives money from donors and then distributes these funds to the recipients of their choice. In this way, donors can strategically fund specific campaigns or specific organizations without ever disclosing their identities. These transactions are called “Anonymous Donor Advised Funds” or simply “Donor Advised Funds.” (Many such transactions are documented in the information that follows. The NoVo Foundation grants to Tides – both Tides Foundation and the Tides Center).

The Tides Foundation focuses on fundraising and grant-making, while the Tides Center operates as a fiscal sponsor (“to promote and support emerging social change and educational programs”), enticing novice NGOs with the shelter of Tides’ own charitable tax-exempt status, and other desirable/coveted benefits.

The far-right website, Activist Cash, is perceptive in their following observation:

“Tides does two things better than any other foundation or charity in the U.S. today: it routinely obscures the sources of its tax-exempt millions, and makes it difficult (if not impossible) to discern how the funds are actually being used…. In practice, ‘Tides’ behaves less like a philanthropy than a money-laundering enterprise… taking money from other foundations and spending it as the donor requires. Called donor-advised giving, this pass-through funding vehicle provides public-relations insulation for the money’s original donors. By using Tides to funnel its capital, a large public charity can indirectly fund a project with which it would prefer not to be directly identified in public…. In many cases, even the eventual recipient of the funding has no idea how Tides got it in the first place.

This fits the Buffett to NoVo to Tides to 350.org et al transactions – to a T.

As the following information will demonstrate, money (in the form of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway stock) was funnelled from Warren Buffett, to the Buffett family’s NoVo Foundation, to Tides, and finally to selected NGOs who led the Stop the Keystone XL campaign, which played a key role in Warren Buffett achieving his 21st century rail empire, thus brilliantly demonstrating the need for covert funding of highly financed “movements.”

Of course, these are not real movements but merely highly financed campaigns presented as “grassroots” movements. The sources of the funding (the wealthy elite, corporations, unions, other foundations, etc.) are “giving” the funds for specific reasons, campaigns and purposes – as the Buffett-NoVo-Tides transaction so clearly demonstrates. Thus, philanthropy should not be considered unbridled generosity, rather it should be considered strategic, long-term investment and tax evasion under the cloak of good will. Further, without an insider and/or documents, it’s almost impossible to follow the money, which is exactly why foundations are so imperative to the oligarchs that finance them to the tune of billions of dollars every year.

In 2010, the Keystone XL pipeline was pushed to the forefront by the non-profit industrial complex, in tandem with both mainstream and so-called progressive media, to become the main focus of the anti-tar sands campaign and indeed, the climate movement as a whole. While it deliberately and strategically captured the full attention of the populace, billionaire Warren Buffett, financial advisor to Barrack Obama, quietly built his 21st century rail dynasty and started shipping tar sands oil by rail with absolutely no dissent or interference. All eyes were on one single pipeline, which was, for the most part, already built.

In keeping with reality, perhaps it is necessary to outline the fact that Tides, recipient of millions of dollars (approximately $26 million since 2004) via the Buffett family’s NoVo Foundation, in turn, also channels hundreds of thousands of dollars into Ceres, with grants spiking up to and during the peak years of the Keystone XL campaign (years 2009, 1010 and 2011). (As disclosed previously, in 2010, Tides granted $150,000 to Ceres, with $100,000 of these funds specifically earmarked for a “tar sands campaign.” [Tides 990, 2010] As well, in 2008 Ceres received $50,000 from Wallace Global, also designated for a tar sands campaign.) [TIDES FUNDS TO CERES (LIST OF GRANTEES): 2011, $120,000 | 2010, $150,000 | 2009, $100,000 | 2006, $17,500 | 2004, $25,000.00]

It is of interest to note that Suzanne Nossel, former Executive Director of Amnesty International USA and trusted instrument of American hegemony, serves on Tides Board of Directors. On October 1, 2012, in the article “Amnesty Coup,” author Jay Taber writes: “As an experienced advocate for neoliberal coercion to achieve American hegemony, she has taken an aggressive pro-war stance over the last decade, including the US invasion of Iraq and the NATO bombing of Libya.”

All while:

“Gary D. Schwartz joins NoVo after fifteen years of service at Tides. He was the founder of the Tides’ New York office and served in many different capacities during his tenure there including Interim CEO before departing in 2014.” [Source]

The interlocking directorate contagion continues to thrive in the non-profit industrial complex.

 

Next: Part VIII

 

[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]