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Speaking Fees, Selfies, Sucking Up to Power: How BLM Lost its Mojo

Mint Press

April 17, 2018

By Jon Jetter

 

The Black Panther Party remains beloved in the African-American community 52 years after its founding — revered for its nutrition and health programs, fearless defense of the people, and self-sacrifice. The BLM leadership, on the other hand, poses for fashion magazine photo spreads.

Wearing Christian Siriano, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement Patrisse Cullors attends the 90th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4, 2018 in Hollywood.

 

CINCINNATI, OHIO — In a stinging rebuke of Black Lives Matter (BLM), the organization’s local affiliate here last month announced that it was severing all ties to a movement it characterized as opportunistic, too invested in liberal, electoral politics and the Democratic party, and ultimately ineffective in fighting state-sanctioned violence against African-Americans.

Black Lives Matter Cincinnati (BLMC) explained its decision to change its name to Mass Action for Black Liberation in a tersely-worded letter, published March 30 on its website. With an organizational structure similar to the anarchist-influenced Occupy Movement, BLM and the Movement for Black Lives Matter network is a loose-knit — often unwieldy – confederation of chapters, affiliates, and spinoffs with broad autonomy and varying degrees of collaboration with the national leadership. Despite their initial reservations, activists in Cincinnati decided to adopt the BLM moniker early in 2015 out of a sense of urgency following a series of highly publicized police murders in 2014 — including those of Eric Garner on a Staten Island street, 12-year-old Tamir Rice at a Cleveland playground, and 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr. on a suburban St. Louis street.

The Cincinnati group wrote:

BLM did not create or build this new grassroots movement against police brutality and racism; they capitalized off a nameless groundswell of resistance sweeping the nation, branded it as their own, and profited from the deaths of Black men and women around the country without seriously engaging, as a national formation, in getting justice for fighting families. All the while raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars from high-end speaking engagements and donations from foundations that support the Black struggle (or want to co-opt it).

 

They have gained access to high profile associations, including invitations to the White House and celebrity events; have been on magazine covers; are on the way to profiting as authors and subjects of books; and have accepted numerous awards and accolades as so-called founders of the movement — while families struggle, unassisted, to keep their fights going. So many people on the ground have shared a similar experience: when the reporters leave and the bright lights are gone, so are they [BLM].”

Outgoing Planned Parenthood (premiere partner of the 2017 Women’s March campaign) president Cecile Richards attended the Oscars Sunday evening with Patrisse Cullors-Brignac, one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter. Richards arrived at the Oscars with Cullors-Brignac and Bryan Stevenson, initiative director for Equal Justice, and the three posed on the red carpet for photos, reports CNN. [Source]

Cecile Richards with Hillary Clinton. June 10, 2016

A member of the Mass Action for Black Liberation steering committee, Brian Taylor, was even more blunt, characterizing BLM as a “liberal” organization offering solutions that are wholly insufficient to fulfill the ambitions of a radical and restive black working class that is most affected by state terror:

We feel that BLM has not been a champion in any real way in the fight against police brutality. And, by presenting themselves as the creator of something they did not initiate, they have benefitted from the [survivors’] suffering in ways that we feel are inappropriate. Their approach is very reformist, very liberal, and at the end of the day they believe in the institutional structures that are at the heart of our oppression. We see ourselves here as a revolutionary organization.”

Of a campaign to register African American voters at movie theaters showing the popular Black Panther movie based in the mythical African nation of Wakanda, Taylor, 43, told MintPress:

History is not made by the ballot box; it’s made in the streets. With all that’s going on in this country and you want to Wakanda the vote? What?”

Black Lives Matter Cincinnati joins Black Lives Matter New York, which announced in January that it was severing its ties to the Global BLM Network. And, while the letter announcing their departure was not as sharply-worded as the Ohio declaration, New York activists left no doubt that their motivation for withdrawing from BLM was virtually identical to that of their peers in Cincinnati.

The best way for us to move our Black liberation work forward is to be autonomous from the global network. We will take time to build a collective that can realize our power, be accountable to our community, and transformative in our politics. We see this as a continuation of the radical Black liberation and Black power struggle that has spanned centuries around the world.

 

We believe in the right to self-govern and our need to become ungovernable to institutions that do not serve our interest of freedom, autonomy and liberation. We view the struggle for Black liberation as a human rights struggle. Black liberation is necessary and imperative for global liberation and the liberation of all people.”

Representatives for the Global BLM Network did not respond to repeated requests for an interview.

Founded by three African-American women — Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Khan-Cullors — BLM is widely-praised for challenging state-sanctioned violence against people of color, and expanding the national discussion about the country’s longstanding racial divide, much like the Occupy movement’s success in raising public consciousness about issues of wealth inequality.

Alicia Garza, from left, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, arrive at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards at NeueHouse Hollywood on Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Alicia Garza, from left, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, arrive at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards at NeueHouse Hollywood, Nov. 14, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

 

But the Cincinnati activists’ critique of the organization is remarkably consistent with those leveled by progressives, generally, and the African-American left specifically. Almost since its inception four years ago, the BLM leadership has come under fire for its lack of a class analysis. This lack has been underscored by BLM’s close ties to multinational corporations such as Google, nonprofit donors like the Ford Foundation, and pro-market strategies that are inconsistent with a radical black polity that has been integral, historically, to the maturation of the modern state, from public education to the New Deal to open admissions at the City University of New York.

African-American writers, such as Black Agenda Report’s Managing Editor Bruce A. Dixon, have been critical of BLM’s collaboration with a black-owned California bank to roll out the official BLM debit card, charging low-income depositors exorbitant fees. One of BLM’s most visible activists, DeRay McKesson, is a vocal advocate for school privatization and charter schools, which often produce worse outcomes than standard public schools. And in a 2016 interview, the one-time chairperson of the Black Panthers, Elaine Brown, said that the BLM organization suffers from a “plantation mentality.”

Perhaps unfairly, BLM invites comparisons to the Black Panther Party, which remains beloved in the African-American community 52 years after its founding, revered for its nutrition and health programs, fearless defense of the people, and self-sacrifice. The BLM leadership, on the other hand, poses for fashion magazine photo spreads.

Said one African-American woman who has worked closely with BLM but asked to remain anonymous because she did not want to foreclose on the possibility of organizational change:

They don’t take on hazard. They showed up in St. Louis and took selfies. They credential themselves with the suffering of others. They don’t come out of that revolutionary nationalist tradition and [they] really represent queer cultural nationalism as much as anything. There’s something about BLM that has always felt a bit precious to me.”

The absence of grit, or a deep connection to poor and working-class communities, Taylor and others say, is exacerbated by a top-down organizational structure that is intended to give BLM satellites autonomy in their decision-making, but actually achieves the reverse. Without an automatic or democratic means to distribute money to its network partners, donations — and therefore decision-making — tend to remain in the hands of a select few.

As an example, the Cincinnati group noted that activists in the St. Louis area had already begun organizing to indict the white police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown Jr. as he surrendered. But BLM parachuted in, stole the thunder from the grassroots local movement, redirected local fundraising efforts and ultimately derailed the movement. Since prosecutors declined to indict in the Brown case, several local activists in Ferguson have been fatally shot and their bodies burned with high-grade accelerant, and yet BLM has neither called for an investigation nor has it devoted any resources to identifying their killers, Taylor said.

Similarly, Taylor’s cohort accused BLM of hijacking the local effort to get justice for Tamir Rice, which was expertly led by the boy’s mother, Samaria Rice.

First, the open phone conferences organized to plan the #YearWithoutTamir action were shut down. BLM national, through a local leader they assigned, set up a new conference call where no one could speak but the moderator. They alienated churches who planned on sending support from the South. They refused to declare a firm day for a mass action, despite repeated requests from BLMC and numerous other groups. This made it impossible for unions and other organizations to zero in on a key day to bus people in. That single action destroyed union, regional and national support.”

Donna Murch, a history professor at Rutgers University and the author of a book on the Black Panthers, told MintPress that it was unsurprising to see BLM affiliates begin to squabble over resources. Ironically, Huey Newton’s allocation of resources to the legal defense of the New York cadre that included Tupac Shakur’s mother, Afeni, was central to the Panthers dissolution.

But Taylor in Cincinnati balked at any such comparison. He said:

It’s foolish to even mention the Black Panthers and Black Lives Matter in the same breath.”

Top Photo | A man wears a hoodie which reads, “Black Lives Matter” as stands on the lawn of the Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington during a rally to mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 

[Jon Jeter is a published book author and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist with more than 20 years of journalistic experience. He is a former Washington Post bureau chief and award-winning foreign correspondent on two continents, as well as a former radio and television producer for Chicago Public Media’s “This American Life.”]

WATCH: Direct Action: Ann Hansen and the Squamish Five

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Thirty-five years ago, in 1982, the financialization and pacification of “movements” was already well underway. The Squamish Five was a group that resisted this co-optation.

The Fifth Estate: “From 2002 our profile of the Squamish Five. Direct Action, or the Squamish Five as dubbed by the media, was a group of self-proclaimed ‘urban guerillas,’ active in the 1980s. These activists were not motivated by any political ideology but rather had become frustrated with traditional methods of activism which they saw as inefficient and futile. The group was implicated in a series of spectacular bombings which made them both wanted outlaws and symbols of protest. Their first target was B.C. Hydro, which had come under fire for spraying pesticides. Second, they bombed Litton Systems, a manufacturer of American cruise missile components. Unfortunately, this operation went horribly wrong; bombs went off before all employees could be evacuated. Ten employees were injured, some seriously. Third, the group bombed Red Hot Video, a pornographic video store which carried overly violent films. Eventually, the group was captured by police in a dramatic confrontation and all were sent to jail. Their sentences varied from six years to life, although all were out of prison by the early 1990s. Twenty years later, Ann Hansen, perhaps the toughest and most committed of them all, reflects on the decisions they made and the consequences that arose.”

Further reading & free download: Direct action: memoirs of an urban guerrilla – Ann Hansen

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“From its origins in the Canadian anarchist and counter-cultural milieu of the late 70s/early 80s; to going underground into a clandestine life of arms drills, explosive practice, stealing cars, and (failed) armored car heists; to the massive reaction and surveillance of a State that felt (understandably) very much under attack; to the subsequent “trial by media” of those involved—this is very real, incredible revolutionary “true-crime” tale of unrepentant action.

Four hundred, eighty pages of fast-paced narrative are topped off with Communiqués issued for all the actions and Ann Hansen’s “Statement To The Court Before Sentencing.”

A triumph of storytelling, history, and a very real debate about movement tactics, goals, and vision.

“Hansen’s story is an intense, articulate rendering of her motivations and desire to be part of an effective revolutionary force for social justice.”

Review via AK Press

http://libcom.org/library/direct-action-memoirs-urban-guerrilla

 

 

 

Standing Rock: Profusion, Collusion & Big Money Profits [Part 4]

Wrong Kind of Green

December 11, 2016

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

Standing Rock Investigative Report Series [Further Reading]:  Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Addendum

 

 In Part 4, Cory Morningstar and Forest Palmer demystify the funding and soft power behind this seemingly organic “grassroots” movement. The veil is lifted as to the price and profits behind the actions and the movement. They examine in detail how this work has been funded for decades and how the “big green” NGOs and non-violent trainers utilize the power of the people and the “youth-led” paradigm and photo ops to win our hearts… and our donations.

 

Rainforest Action Network

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Ruckus was born out of Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace, and Earth First! Co-founders, staff and affiliates (Mike Roselle and recently deceased Howard Cannon/”Twilly” ). Here it should be noted that when Greenpeace originated (founded in 1971), it was legitimately radical in nature bearing no resemblance to the corporate appendage we see today. Rainforest Action Network came later, founded in 1985. Ruckus was founded in 1995 (see following excerpt).

The following excerpt is from the 2009 essay Saving Trees and Capitalism Too which deconstructs Rainforest Action Network’s role (inclusive of Ruckus) in both conserving and rebranding capitalism:

“Capitalism is yet again undergoing a miraculous rebranding, and the robber barons of old are now the saviours of the planet, now being widely touted as the Eco Barons. By reviewing the activities of leading tree protectors, the Rainforest Action Network, this essay will demonstrate how the activism promoted by eco barons though such groups ultimately works to conserve capitalism and create the powerful illusion of progressive social change….

 

Here it is important to recall that the Ruckus Society (which was cofounded by RAN’s Mike Roselle) ‘provided the first physical forum for the Direct Action Network which coordinated the [Battle of Seattle] demonstrations, and itself trained many of the participants.’ Moreover as John Sellers, the former Greenpeace activist and former head of the Ruckus Society points out: ‘When we first started, it was almost entirely folks from Greenpeace or Rainforest Action Network, with a few EarthFirsters.’ (Greenpeace having disbanded its direct-action office in 1991.) According to Sellers, after Ruckus was founded in 1995, the former CNN boss cum eco baron, Ted Turner, ‘carried Ruckus on his back’ for their first few years. Thus Sellers who is well-known for saying: ‘F–k that s–t! You’re corporate sellouts!’ to journalists ‘just to gauge their reaction,’ evidently does not see how ironic his litmus test of corporate cooption really is. Likewise greenwash guru, Kenny Bruno, who currently acts as the media and strategic campaigning trainer for the Ruckus Society, appears to see no contradiction in working for an organization whose former long serving trustee is corporate greenwasher extraordinaire, the late Anita Roddick….”

The author summarizes that “the Rainforest Action Network and its related cohorts have been highly profitable investments for the world’s leading capitalists.”

“Shan calls it a ‘holistic’ approach; Sellers reckons that the goal is ‘to feed the entire activist spirit and mind.’ Call it what you will, it ain’t cheap. Shan estimates the total bill for action camp at between $40,000 and $50,000, and Sellers puts Ruckus’ annual operating budget up around $800,000. (Participants are asked for a $75 donation to attend.) Which explains why Sellers disappears for a couple days mid-week, long enough to pay a visit to Ben Cohen, of Ben & Jerry’s fame, one of Ruckus’ several wealthy backers. Other Ruckus supporters have included Body Shop founder Anita Roddick, Doors drummer John Densmore and Hollywood’s go-to progressives, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon. Ted Turner’s foundation gave until last year, when the multi-bazillionaire began to take issue with some of Ruckus’ targets. ‘As it turns out, Ted is a pretty big free trade fan,’ says Sellers with a smile.” — Camp Ruckus, April 30, 2001

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RAN on Flickr

From the RAN website: “How to Support Standing Rock: A Personal FAQ” (November 2, 2016) :

Q: Are there petitions I can sign? Which ones would be most effective? 

A: Here are a few suggestions, from Stand with Standing Rock’s website , MoveOn, and Change.org. These have already gained significant traction and would be boosted by the support of you and your community.

Q: Are there actions in my area that I can join? 

A: Yes! There are actions happening all over the country to challenge the banks trying to profit off this terrible project. You can get good information here and here. You can also connect with local organizations in your area, as well as national organizations like RAN350.orgRising Tide, and others.

Rather than encouraging people to read about the sovereignty issues regarding Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Indigenous nations, the history of colonization, land theft, genocide, etc. RAN subtly reabsorbs those interested back into the jaws of the NPIC.

Note that Change.org. is a for-profit NGO Avaaz co-founder Paul Hilder is Vice President of Global Campaigns for Change.org, a for-profit social venture started in 2006 by Stanford University graduates Ben Rattray and Mark Dimas. Ben Wikler (Avaaz Chief Operating Officer) is Executive Vice President of Change.org.

From the Rainforest Action Network 2015 Annual Report:

“Indigenous People’s Power Project (IP3) $2,500 to support IP3’s Training for Indigenous Trainers bringing together Indigenous activists and organizers from the frontlines of challenging fossil fuel extraction and combating the climate crisis to support and build their capacity to carry out self-determined acts of resistance for their lands and communities.”

For a mere pittance (community grants are rarely more than 5,000.00 while annual budgets of NGOs such as RAN are in the millions), the establishment has its finger on the pulse of most everything happening at the grassroots level. In reality, no campaign tied to the NPIC is challenging fossil fuel extraction, only fossil fuel transportation. And to be even more specific, only 2 pipelines that would negatively impact BNSF profits.

Meanwhile, in the real world that is far away from social media wishful thinking, there is no way to “combat” the climate crisis – which must be now understood as a predicament (for in fact, it cannot be combated nor solved, only mitigated, which is not happening regardless).

The Ruckus Society

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The Ruckus Society’s leading partners and allies include but are not limited to: 350.org, Indigenous People’s Power Project (a project of RAN/Ruckus), Indigenous Environmental Network,  U.S. Social Forum, Forest Ethics, Rising Tide North America, Black Lives Matter, PatagoniaGreenpeace, Rainforest Action NetworkEnergy Action Coalition, GIFT – Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training and many others. [Full list of allies and partners] Recently Ruckus co-launched the Combahee Alliance convening a 2-year direct action training series that began in 2016 “for People of Color committed to the movement for Black Lives.” [Source] Tzeporah Berman (discussed earlier in this report) is identified as a former Ruckus Board member.

Ruckus Society funders include but are not limited to Open Society Foundations (Soros) (100,000.00 in both 2008 and 2010), Patagonia, the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, the Tides Foundation, Rainforest Action Network, the Turner Foundation, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors , the Compton Foundation, the Foundation for Deep Ecology, the Liberty Hill Foundation, the Threshold Foundation, the Agape Foundation, the Mailman Charitable Trust and the Lambent Foundation. (The extensive list commenced in 1995).

The Ruckus Society booklet “Action Strategy, a how-to guide” has incorporated the work of Gene Sharp, who is also  credited in the acknowledgments: “Writers, compilers and editors: Jessica Bell, Joshua Kahn Russell, Megan Swoboda, Sharon Lungo, the Ruckus Society, Training for Change, Beyond the Choir, Smart Meme, Gene Sharp, and many others. Design by Cam Fenton.” The “Action Strategy, a how-to guide” was developed by Beyond the Choir and adapted by Ruckus contributors.

Here is it is important to note that the core values and principles of Ruckus trainings have been vetted/written by Euro-Americans tied to the NPIC and even those serving the US State Department, that of Gene Sharp. Sharp’s work and his NGO, the Albert Einstein Institute, has played in an integral role in “coloured revolutions” sought and financed by USAID.

The work of Sharp served as the framework for Canvas (formerly known as Otpor), the “go-to” NGO called upon by imperial states for regime change under the guise of “coloured revolutions”. It is significant to note that 350.org has organized lectures for the Otpor founders during Occupy Wall Street. In December of 2013, “the Pathways to Peace series” would bring the Executive Director of the Albert Einstein Institution and assistant to Dr. Gene Sharp, to Salt Lake City for a series of talks as part of the “Pathways to Peace series”. [“The Pathways to Peace series is sponsored By: Gandhi Alliance for Peace, Peaceful Uprising, Salt Lake City Public Library, SLCC School of Humanities and Social Sciences, UVU Peace and Justice Studies, Utahns for a Just Peace in the Holy Land, Wasatch Coalition for Peace and Justice, Westminster College; U of U Middle East Center, J. Willard Marriott Library, Religious Studies Program.”][ Source]

The aforementioned Joshua Kahn Russell is the Global Trainings Manager for 350.org (his former title with 350.org was US Actions Coordinator), while also being an action coordinator, facilitator and trainer with the Ruckus Society, and a co-editor of Organizing Cools the Planet. In addition, Russell was previously an organizer for Tar Sands Action (now 350.org).

The irony is that few, if any of these trainers/citizens have any authority on, nor any real-life experience in life or death struggles. Instead, these are young adults that have been conditioned to obey and submit to authority since birth. If the world was based on decisions grounded in common sense, it would be Indigenous Nations such as the Mohawks, a shining example of a warrior culture, educating and training white youth. The paradox is as follows: The structure of colonialism is meant to exhaust, debilitate, dominate and exterminate the colonized subjects. The vast majority of the trainers provided by Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, Ruckus, Beautiful Trouble all benefit from the systems of oppression at any given moment. It’s a situational structural relationship. Not a choice. [Further reading into understanding systems of oppression: indigenousaction.org]

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Guerrilleras of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP )[ Celebrate the 100th International Women’s Day! Source]

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Mohawk warriors man a barricade on the highway. “First Nations of Canada reached a flash point around the Kanesatake Mohawk reservation 30 miles west of Montreal.” Image: Christopher J. Morris/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images. [Source: July 11-Sept. 26, 1990, The Oka Crisis: The Mohawk protest that became an armed seige]

In 2006, Ruckus teamed up with Credo Working Assets for an “Election Protection” project. “We have partnered with Working Assets Mobile Response Team so they can text you on election day…”  [Working Assets was founded in 1985 to give people an easy way to make a difference in the world just by doing things they do every day. Each time our members use one of our services—mobile, long distance or credit card—we automatically send a donation to progressive nonprofit groups. To date we’ve raised over $80 million for groups like Planned Parenthood, Rainforest Action Network and Oxfam America. But we’re not just raising donations for progressive causes, we’re making change. Our CREDO Action website plugs you into a network of like-minded citizen activists and provides easy and effective ways to take action on the issues you care about.][Source]

As with MoveOn (co-founder of Avaaz) which was created to essentially function as a front-group for the US democratic Party, 350, Credo, Ruckus, Agit-Pop/Other98, and most, if not all of the most influential US NGOs, are closely aligned with the Democratic Party. Most of these organizations serve as an interlocking functioning apparatus that successfully and collectively conditions citizens to believe in the electoral system designed to fail the vast majority in servitude to the elite minority. A full-blown corporatocracy that cannot be reformed.

The Ruckus Society Elitism

The power of conformity creates a powerful shield that protects whatever exists at that moment as the most widely held belief.

One of the key tools that elite power (the very power that funnels funds to NGO via foundations) employs is the invitation for blossoming activists to partake in and intermingle with the very elites circles that benefit enormously from the current economic system. In a very strategic sense, this is the art of seduction. This is an exercise in exploiting human vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities that sow loyalties which are nurtured through acts of generosity, the exploitation of ego, the desire to belong and a rare passage to the upper echelon of elite society – the envy of many. One is allowed a taste, a glimpse, a touch, the exceptional and exclusive privilege to coalesce with “the beautiful people”. Any desires for the dismantling of the suicidal system slowly dissipate. Slowly replaced with even stronger desires to be accepted and called upon to move freely within ascension to the highest levels of Euro-American status. The very power structures an emerging activist was perhaps once bent on destroying must now only be gently shaken with a velvet glove. To be celebrated afterward with press, social media, and cocktails.

An example of this dynamic is Ruckus ally and Code Pink Founder Medea Benjamin mingling amongst millionaires such as Heather Podesta  at LaMagna’s co-founder Backbone Campaign book launch (2010) [Source]. (LaMagna is the  co-founder of the Backbone Campaign which is the fiscal sponsor of Beautiful Trouble, discussed earlier in this series).

The higher the social metrics – the more successful the action, having absolutely nothing to do with the whether the stated goal (such as the protection of ecology, or the destruction of corporate power), was actually achieved.

“So when I agreed to be on the Host committee of The Ruckus Society’s ten year anniversary dinner and dancing extravaganza I did not hesitate because I knew the back story to the dinner… And last night I was there, as a host, to not only just the Ruckus ten year and celebration of the history but also a warm welcoming of the future and now. Sellers ceremoniously handed over the reigns to Ms. Brown in style and with a sleek fashion rarely enjoyed by a collection of tree huggers, alternative media miners, big hearted donor donors, fresh faced volunteers, and the echoing crash of the ocean just yards away. It was an exemplary display of leadership because not only was the white man stepping down handing the mic, and the power, over to a black woman, but also because it was a marriage of movements and generations… and we there… just part of the crowd… witnessed healing and the beginning of a brand new day. Cheers to the Change-Makers!” — Ruckus Society Turns to Adrienne Marie Brown at ten years! June 9, 2006

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“Long-time RAN Friends Harold Linde, John Quigley, Celia Alario, And John Sellers . Credit: Rainforest Action Network, Flickr

Caption:

“On Friday, May 11, 2007 Lawrence Bender, co-producer of An Inconvenient Truth, hosted a powerful and inspirational evening to benefit Rainforest Action Network at his Bel Air, CA home. The evening included organic, savory nibbles and sweet treats, earth-friendly wines, juices and innovative cocktails by VeeV, an eco gift bag, and the chance to hear firsthand about RAN’s strategies to protect our climate and the planet’s most unique ecosystems. Renowned author/journalist Mark Hertsgaard, regular contributor to Vanity Fair, Time and The Nation magazines, was a featured guest speaker.

The fabulous party was hosted by Lawrence Bender, Daryl Hannah, John Densmore, Ed Begley, Jr., Vanessa Williams, Q’Orianka Kilcher, Stuart Townsend, Ed & Cindy Asner, Fran Pavley, Sharon Lawrence, Cole Frates, Chris Paine, Jodie Evans & Max Palevsky, John Schreiber, Julie Bergman Sender & Stuart Sender, Matt Petersen, Lora O’Connor, Marianne Manilov, Laurie & Bill Benenson, Suzanne Biegel, Sara Nichols, Courtney & Carter Reum, John Quigley, Chelsea Sexton, Sarah Ingersoll, Jeff Reichert, Linda Nicholes & Howard Stein, Laurie Kaufman, Atossa Soltani & Thomas Cavanagh, Tamar Hurwitz, Celia Alario and many others. “

At this juncture, it is appropriate to dissect the complexities of scenes such as this by referencing the 2014 paper Accomplices not Allies : Abolishing The Ally Industrial Complex: “The ally industrial complex has been established by activists whose careers depend on the “issues” they work to address. These nonprofit capitalists advance their careers off the struggles they ostensibly support. They often work in the guise of “grassroots” or “community-based” and are not necessarily tied to any organization. They build organizational or individual capacity and power, establishing themselves comfortably among the top ranks in their hierarchy of oppression as they strive to become the ally “champions” of the most oppressed. While the exploitation of solidarity and support is nothing new, the commodification and exploitation of allyship is a growing trend in the activism industry.”

Indigenous People’s Power Project (IP3)

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IP3 was formally formed in 2004 as a project of the Ruckus Society. The IP3 is a non-violent direct action training and support network.

“Since our first action camp in 2005, IP3 has skilled up over 150 Indigenous direct action leaders with the ability to engage in, train and coordinate non-violent direct action. We’ve hosted 3 direct action training camps and over 50 community action trainings throughout North America, as well as coordinated and supported actions here and around the world.” – June 4, 2015, The Ruckus Society

The Indigenous People’s Power Project (IP3) website is essentially an incubated NGO of Ruckus/Rainforest Action Network. From the Rainforest Network Website:

“IP3’s Training for indigenous Trainers were able to bring Indigenous activists and organizers together from the frontlines of challenging fossil fuel extraction and combating the climate crisis to support and build their capacity to carry out self-determined acts of resistance for their lands and communities.”

From the Indigenous People’s Power Project (IP3) website:

“The Indigenous People’s Power Project (IP3) is a nonviolent direct action training and support network advancing Indigenous communities’ ability to exercise their inherent rights to environmental justice, cultural livelihood, and self-determination. Formed in 2004 as a project of the Ruckus Society, IP3 works across Turtle Island with communities that are most vulnerable to threats of ecological devastation and resource exploitation, and most poised to lead solution-oriented action.

 

“Expert and culturally-sensitive trainings are needed now more than ever, as the Governor is using increased bail and increased charges (including felony charges) to scare people away from peaceful protests and their constitutional rights. Intimidation, surveillance, and state repression are escalating, and as Indigenous peoples are most at risk, it is imperative to have Indigenous trainers steering the action.”

 

“While on the ground, the IP3 team became a vital core of the camps, and we are requesting support to continue that work in Standing Rock. IP3 has been working in concert with Greenpeace and Indigenous Environmental Network coordinating camp infrastructure needs, including bringing in solar power, medics, and communications support. IP3 has also been working with the legal team to develop structure and shared principles for legal defense, jail support, and the bail fund. [Source]

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“[Sierra Club president] Aaron Mair with (left to right): unidentified activist; Tom Goldtooth, director of the Indigenous Environmental Network; Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org; and Ladonna Bravebull Allard, founder of Camp Sacred Stone.” Credit: Sierra Club

Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) is the token Indigenous NGO for the far more powerful entities such as 350.org, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, etc. IEN’s assimilation into the non-profit industrial complex serves as a reminder of its once powerful campaign slogan: “Shut down the tar sands.” Today we focus on singular pipelines ( a mere two pipelines in almost seven years) all while Buffett expands and protects his 21st century rail dynasty. Today, IEN serves as the “go to” NGO for Indigenous related photo-ops and pre-approved sound bites that reframe critical sovereignty issues into broader topics that appeal to the liberal middle class demographic, such as climate change. To create a dynamic where Indigenous NGOs are forced to acquiesce to the wishes and demands of white power, Indigenous organizations are thrown bread crumbs by empire (via foundations) while Euro-American NGOs are funded by millions. Hence an average salary for an individual in a position of power within an organization such as 350 or Avaaz is six-figures, while a high-level job within an Indigenous organization is, in many instances, approaching levels of poverty. In this way, empire, via foundations utilizes the NPIC to keep current power structures (white power) intact as well ensuring an uneven playing field, thereby reinforcing the existing systems of oppression.

“A friend of mine who used to work for indigenous land councils as a researcher/mediator against big mining companies says ‘The pattern is always the same. The green groups pick an indigenous group as their spear tip, and the rest can go hang.'” — Activist Michael Swifte, Australia

To avoid accusations of colonization, assimilation or paternalism, NGOs understand that all forms of public work with Indigenous nations/peoples must always be publicly carried out at arm’s length. As an example of this behavior, in the IP3 description it is noted that “as Indigenous peoples are most at risk, it is imperative to have Indigenous trainers steering the action.” But the real question that must be asked is who is training the Indigenous trainers, based on whose concepts and whose ideologies/beliefs, and perhaps even more importantly, who exactly benefits.

“Are you a future IP3 direct action trainer?: Do you identify as Indigenous or of Indigenous Heritage? Are you organizing or engaging in organizing in your community or with your organization? Have you participated in or led non-violent direct actions? Apply to the TNT! Participant Fees: Needs based sliding scale $0 – $1500 – More info? ip3@ruckus.org” [Source]

IP3 is in essence the medium that allows for Rainforest Action Network, Ruckus, et al to oversee, manage and shape Indigenous resistance under the guise of self determination via philanthropic nobility. In reality, self-determination is ultimately dictated by those at the top of the networked hegemony these NGOs are woven into. Further, the fee of $U.S.1,500.00 as cited above is a fee that can only be afforded by very few. This in itself demonstrates the Ruckus Society’s key clients: partner NGOs.

“This week, the Indigenous Peoples’ Power Project (IP3) – The Ruckus Society’s ongoing commitment to supporting the fight of Native communities for Environmental Justice, Human Rights, and Self Determination, will be sending Indigenous direct action trainers to continue to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation against the DAPL. Funds are needed.” — Osprey Orielle Lake

With respect to the “funds are needed” request in the above paragraph link to where one can donate to The Ruckus Society for its IP3 project, this is where things once again become interesting. Whereas Boyd’s address for Agit-Pop is the Avaaz Foundation, an associated name that appears when searching the address provided for The Ruckus Society is that of multi-million dollar Patagonia. The address (PO Box 28741, Oakland, CA 94604) no longer appears on the Patagonia website (store locator), however, Patagonia does continue to provide funding to Ruckus.

ip3-training

Sept 29, 2016 event: “NON VIOLENCE AND DIRECT ACTION TRAINING WORKSHOP” – “There will be a Non Violence and Direct Action Workshop in support of the water protectors at Standing Rock, North Dakota.” [Source]

Ruckus’s John Sellers once said “There is no better way to launder corporate multinational largesse than giving it to the movement that is confronting it.” Today that quote is in dire need of correction. Remix: “There is no better way to launder corporate multinational largesse than giving it to the movement that is protecting it.”

 “The key distinction in this struggle is that it’s being done in the name of tradition but in fact isn’t traditional at all.” — Anthony Choice-Diaz

21st Century Subjugation

subjugation

noun

  1. the act, fact, or process of subjugating, or bringing under control; enslavement: The subjugation of the American Indians happened across the country.

“In the last decade or so, I have seen a distortion of our warrior culture by some Natives that seek to portray warriors as—above all—peaceful and non-violent protagonists. This tendency has increased in the last few years with the infiltration of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs, with their fetish for nonviolent activities) into Indigenous communities, as well as the Idle No More mobilization of last year, which introduced pacifist ideology on a mass scale to Native grassroots movements in Canada.” — The Myth of the ‘Peaceful’ Warrior, Dec 13, 2013

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Above: “Robert Chanate (Kiowa), with the Indigenous Peoples Power Project (IP3)- Ruckus Society and one of the IEN Action Trainers getting arrested.” This photograph was taken September 11, 2011, (Censored News).

Take a few minutes to look at Chanate’s beautiful yet forlorn face and body language. One must ask oneself– does this man look empowered?  How is a state-sanctioned protest (carried out on a Sunday when no one of “authority” is even working inside) and a state-negotiated arrest considered to be one of the “self-determining acts of resistance” RAN claims in their annual report? How is a state-negotiated arrest by those loyal and in servitude of your oppressor, organized by the non-profit industrial complex founded on white power, also loyal and in servitude to your oppressor, empowering in any way?  Standing on the land (now covered in cement) that has been stolen from your people, land that once carried the footsteps of your ancestors, to be arrested for a theatrical branding exercise that benefits the very groups that protect current power structures, inflicts humiliation, even if only on a subconscious level.

Do those in servitude to the NPIC care? No they do not. This man serves as a photo-op to lend credibility and legitimacy to NGOs that deserve none. This is continued exploitation, clear and simple.

Let’s juxtapose that image with these images:

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hannah-arrest-kxl

Daryl Hannah arrest, KXL Protest, Whitehouse (2013)

Upon an expedited release, Hannah will fly away to a luxurious eco hideaway, McKibben will fly back to his wood-fired hot tub, Klein will fly back to her million-dollar book sales, non-profit CEOs will fly back to 6-figure salaries. All of the aforementioned have, or have had at one time, at minimum, two separate homes. Privileged youth will go back to class at college or university, where they will excitedly upload their photos of themselves from their shiny mobiles to social media. Those with hefty retirement savings will drive back to a beautiful home where they will watch television on their flat screen, hoping to catch a glimpse of themselves on the news. The hipsters will go to a cafe for a latte and afterwards smoke a joint. None of them feel bad. None of them feel guilt. Rather, they are rejuvenated. They see themselves as born-again saviors. No one questions the system when your status has you soaring so far above you can no longer see it.

Those on the frontlines – those marginalized and oppressed – those whose stolen lands we stand upon while basking in our unspoken superiority, they will go back to the reservations where the rightful caretakers of this land live in abject poverty.

The last word in this segment goes to the Red Warrior Society: [Excerpts from the “December 2016 Official Red Warrior Camp Communique“]

    “One of the lessons we have learned that has inspired us is the very real need for a mobile resistance movement that is ready and willing to dismantle the capitalist regime that is destroying our planet. The mobilization of resistance is key to shattering the oppressive illegal military occupation of the so called ‘Amerikkkas’, for too long we have lived with broken treaties, genocide, racism and colonization. In order to best honor our ancestors and the future generations we are living our principles by forming a Warrior Society rooted in combatting the indoctrination of our minds, bodies, and spirits. We do not need Standing Rock to exist, but we did however require it to put us all in the same place at the same time. We realize now that all we need is each other, our Red Warrior family has undertaken the responsibility and role to uphold not only Mother Earth but Indigenous Rights. It is with this duty in mind we must rise up and move on…

 

We cannot stay and fight a battle for land and water that is heavily invested in neo-colonialism. We are so grateful to the grassroots people who have supported us while we have been here. It is not easy to say goodbye, we are deeply tied to this struggle and are not abandoning our post. This fight is not over yet, the pipeline is still being built, Energy Transfer Partners will push this pipe through unless there is a diversity of tactics that include direct action and no court ruling or legal manoeuvring will prevent that from happening alone; and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is heavily engaged in praying away a pipeline without action, this is in direct opposition to who we are as Warriors.

 

We are in a war to fight the greedy corporate whores who are pimping out our Mother for blood money and we say no more. Enough is enough, for over 500 years we have been brutalized and robbed, we are not victims looking for surcease we are Warriors fighting for our lives and the future. We cannot afford to allow our own corrupt leaders aid and abet this process, too many of our people are working for industry, too many of our people are selling out, we must remember the warrior blood that runs through our veins. We do a great disservice to ourselves and the People when we allow the values of white supremacist society to overshadow the knowledge of what it means to be a true human being.”

 

little-big-horn-1876-ncrazy-horse-and-sitting-bull-mounted-before-their-ff7c28

LITTLE BIGHORN, 1876. Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull mounted before their warriors at the Little Bighorn, June 25, 1876. Pictograph by Amos Bad Heart Bull, an Oglala Sioux from Pine Ridge Reservation

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A Mohawk Warrior stands atop a makeshift barricade, 1990.” Image: Christopher J. Morris/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images [Source]

 

Next: Part 5

 

Standing Rock: Profusion, Collusion & Big Money Profits [Part 1]

Standing Rock: Profusion, Collusion & Big Money Profits [Part 2]

Standing Rock: Profusion, Collusion & Big Money Profits [Part 3]

The Continued Branding and Co-optation of MLK

 

“Martin Luther King Jr. stood for revolutionary transformation; he is used today to support policies that he fought against.” [Source: The Co-opted MLK]

 

DeRay - McKesson-as-Martin-Luther-King-Jr-1024x602

Above image from Style Influencers Group: “Activist, Organizer and Baltimore Mayoral Candidate Deray Mckesson as Martin Luther King, Jr., Nick Graham shirt and tie, Stylist’s own ring.”

Style Influencers Group, Connecting Influencers and Brands: “With a network of the most powerful influencers in the digital space, SIG is the best option to connect dynamic brands with high quality content creators. SIG fosters meaningful relationships between consumers and brands by creating organic awareness, driving consumer engagement, and boosting brand loyalty among a multicultural audience with billions of dollars in spending power.”

 

Style Influencers Group Partners

WATCH: Recognition Politics | A Lecture on Resurgence by Taiaiake Alfred

Video Published December 12, 2015

 

Taiaiake Alfred:

7:50 “The essence of being part of a resurgence movement comes out of that kind of feeling; it’s rooted, it’s accountable, and it’s transformative. […] Those are the three things that I think define the difference between resurgence and the other alternatives out there for what decolonization and colonization [are]; basically recognition politics, and, hate to say it, reconciliation….”

10:03 “Recognition politics is basically the idea that is driving Aboriginal rights, land claims and so forth. It didn’t start out that way. It started out as a strong nationhood movement to get our land back, to have our nations, our laws recognized, and to have them enlivened again and to have them govern our people and govern the lives of our people.”

“But through process of politics and so forth it’s come to be a process of recognizing Indigenous peoples only to the extent that they conform to the basic ideas of the colonial society. And so what you have is an idea that when you have a land claim, or a self-government claim, or you’re negotiating some kind of agreement, or the Supreme Court is considering our presence here and our rights, it’s more a recognition of the fact that we are now a part of Canada, and a recognition of our fact being here, but not any substantial transformative importance to that decision.

And so Glen Coulthard does a really good job of elaborating the problems with this and also I think builds on the notion of this idea of co-optation. About how Canada has structured the whole relationship, the decolonizing relationship in Canada to make it very enticing for people to want to follow that pathway rather than to stand on the strong principles that our ancestors defended our nations on. And so it’s not only intellectually seductive to think that … to be offered the idea of inclusion, recognition, validation, and so forth, but it’s also financially motivated as well in the sense that there’s a lot of programming dollars and a lot of money behind the whole process structured into the negotiation of these recognitions. That’s one element. I’m not going to focus too much on it. Just in jist that’s what it is.

The reconciliation. I think everybody is becoming very familiar with that. I mean when we talk about reconciliation, it kind of builds on recognition, on that whole structure of recognition and Aboriginal rights and so forth. It’s oriented towards inclusion too but in my reading of reconciliation too, it’s Canada’s effort to assuage the guilt of colonization. It’s Canada’s effort to turn the page on Canadian history. It’s Canada’s effort to make the suffering of residential schools the centrepiece of an effort to make us forget that our existence is rooted on the land, in nations and that we are collectivities and that there is a vast injustice still present.

Whether or not individuals are compensated or healed from the experiences and the horrible experiences they had in residential school, it’s Canada’s attempt to make it about cultural survival and healing, which are two things which no one is going to complain about and say shouldn’t happen, but when you stop there and you don’t talk about the land and you only talk about cultural revitalization and healing, it’s a further injustice. Because the root of all of our problems as Indigenous people, as we’ve experienced them growing up in our communities and even in the urban context, is dispossession.

I remember when I worked, I’ve said this many times in public but I always will every time I talk about this and give credit to Rosalee Tizya, a Yukon elder from Old Crow, who used to tell all of us who worked at the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the young people at that time in the nineties, that it’s all about the land. It’s all about the land. So we were talking then about Aboriginal rights, self-government, the origins basically: the nascent idea of reconciliation was hatched in the Royal Commission in all the discussion forums that we had there and recommendations that were put forward. She would always remind us that it’s all about the land. Don’t forget that.

Don’t let them convince you that social justice is a substitute for land justice. Don’t let them convince you that programming dollars and being accepted and being allowed to dress and sing and do your ceremonies and all that is a substitute for your nation’s laws being the laws that govern your territory again. Don’t let that happen.

And not many of us paid attention at that time and I think that now is the time where if we don’t pay attention to that message, everything could be lost for our nations. It’s getting to that crucial point where there’s so little left of our nationhood as it manifests in reality on the ground, on the land, and there’s so much of an overwhelming threat of assimilation through laws and being overwhelmed culturally and all of these things happening to our people and our future generations that if we don’t pay attention to our connection to the land and our rootedness in it intellectually, spiritually and physically, we may not be talking about indigenous nationhood a generation from now. We may not be able to talk about it because it might be a memory for our nations, for our people, for the next generations coming up. So it’s imperative of us younger people, especially younger people, to understand how important and then to begin to live that in a very serious way.”

 

 

[Taiaiake Alfred (Gerald R. Alfred), born and raised in the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, is a faculty member at the University of Victoria, and is also the Program Director of the Indigenous Governance Program at the University. His scholarly work focuses particularly on Native nationalism, Iroquois history, and indigenous traditions of government.]

350 Sacrilege

A Culture of Imbeciles

February 5, 2015

sacrilege-2 (2)

350’s shameless usurping of Civil Rights icons in their propaganda is ripe for ridicule. Comparing the Rockefeller-sponsored Blue Team to the Freedom Riders, or the police-escorted People’s Climate March to the marches from Selma to Montgomery, or college campus divestment to BDS in South Africa is a sacrilege.

Absolution for the sin of consumerism is implied in 350’s scapegoating of industry that fulfills consumer demand. 350’s revolutionary rhetoric, that panders to progressive identity, exploits progressive frustration while institutionalizing progressive powerlessness.

Real revolution requires commitment, sacrifice and hardship. 350’s  Love Boat champagne circuit somehow fails to measure up to that standard.

Peter Gelderloos Author of “The Failure of Non-Violence” Schools Cornell West & Tavis Smiley

Published on September 11, 2014

Shuswap Chief’s Salary Highest in Country

Warrior Publications

October 31, 2014

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Chief Paul Sam’s take-home pay higher than prime minister’s at more than $200,000

OTTAWA — An elderly B.C. First Nations chief and his ex-wife, along with one of their sons and a grandson, received more than $4.1 million in remuneration over the past four years.

Shuswap First Nation Chief Paul Sam, 80, gets a tax-free salary that has averaged $264,000 over that period to run a tiny reserve near Invermere, a resort community near the Alberta border. The Shuswap have 267 members, of whom just 87 live on the reserve. His son, Dean Martin, is doing even better, with an average annual salary of $536,000 over the four years, running a band corporation that operates various businesses on and near the reserve.

The figures were provided this week to The Vancouver Sun by disgruntled Shuswap members who are challenging in next month’s election a family that has ruled for more than three decades.

A dissident councillor, who earns $57,700 annually, said she was unaware until recently that Chief Sam and the only other councillor, ex-wife Alice Sam, 82, were earning such lofty salaries.

“We had no idea. We are absolutely disgusted,” Barbara Cote told The Sun Thursday while vowing to reform band finances if she’s successful in a bid to take control of council.

Cote’s concerns got backing Thursday from the office of Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt.

“Our government expects First Nation band councils to use tax payer dollars responsibly and for the benefit of all community members,” Erica Meekes, a spokeswoman for the department said in a statement.

“Community members have asked for an explanation of the salaries of this chief and councillor. They deserve that explanation.”

Both Cote and Tim Eugene, another candidate in next month’s election, say they want to take over council and bring in reforms to ensure both disclosure and a greater distribution of funds to cover education and culture programs, child care, and home renovation.

They said some community members have gone without water and electricity in the winter, but were unable to get help from the band.

For the most recent fiscal year, Chief Sam and his ex-wife both reported salaries of about $202,000, their lowest in the four years. The chief’s top salary was just slightly less than $300,000 in 2010-11, while the top year for Alice Sam, 82, was 2011-12 when she had about $242,000 in remuneration.

Even the $202,000 figures make them the highest paid politicians on an after-tax basis — not only among First Nations leaders across the country, but also among all Canadian politicians, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper earns $327,400 plus a $2,000-a-year car allowance. Premier Christy Clark has a $193,532 annual salary.

“To take home $202,000 off reserve you would need a salary of $330,000,” according to CTF B.C. spokesman Jordan Bateman.

Their sons, Dean Martin and band media relations spokesman Gord Martin, said their parents’ hard work and longevity justify having salaries higher than a prime minister who presides over an economy that produces just under $2 trillion in goods and services annually.

Chief Paul Sam of the Shuswap First Nation.

Shuswap First Nation Chief Paul Sam gets a tax-free salary that has averaged $264,000 over the last four years to run a tiny reserve near Invermere. Prime Minister Stephen Harper earns $327,400 plus a $2,000-a-year car allowance, but after paying taxes, he would take home about $202,000 of that. File photo. Photograph by: shuswapnation.org , Handout

“With all due respect to Harper and to everybody else, I don’t think they’ve been in power for 34 straight years,” Dean Martin, chief executive officer of Kinbasket Development Corp., said in an interview Thursday.

“To be … the leader of a nation, and we’re not just a band, we are a nation, and to lead it for 34 years, is something totally unheard of, I don’t care in what political field you’re in.”

He also noted that his father is the band manager, while his mother is the bookkeeper, so both have jobs beyond political duties.

The recently released figures show that Dean Martin makes the most money in the family, with $765,651 in remuneration in 2010-11 that included $54,498 in travel expenses. The total fell to $410,730 in 2011-12, and $431,549 in 2012-13. Figures for the latest fiscal year for Dean Martin weren’t available.

Martin said the high salaries are justified because the family has brought considerable economic development to the community, with assets that include a golf course and resort, a new supermarket, a Tim Hortons, a hardware store, and real estate development for non-Aboriginal residents.

“I’m not embarrassed about what we’re doing,” Martin said.

The band takes in considerable government revenues, including just over $900,000 in the 2013-14 years from the federal Aboriginal affairs and Health departments.

Martin’s late son Randy, an elected councillor, earned $276,012 in 2010-11 and $301,341 in 2011-12. He died early in the 2012-13 year during a trip to Las Vegas, having already earned $35,159 that year.

Bands are only recently making salary details public in response to legal requirements under the First Nations Financial Disclosure Act, passed last year by the Harper government over the objections of the New Democratic Party and the Liberals.

The CTF’s analysis of that data indicated that the highest paid B.C. chief last year was Ron Giesbrecht, of the Kwikwetlem First Nation, who recorded $914,219 in income. That was an apparently isolated incident relating to a controversial $800,000 bonus Giesbrecht received in connection with a single land transaction with the B.C. government.

The 16 other top salaries highlighted by the CTF, among the salaries of hundreds of chiefs and councillors, were mostly in the range of just over $100,000 to a high of $123,033 for Cheslatta Carrier Chief Richard Peters. The exception was Osoyoos Chief Clarence Louie, one of B.C.’s most entrepreneurial chiefs, who pulled in $147,369.

Nationally, no other chiefs or councillors topped the $200,000 mark, according to the CTF.

Chief Sam, according to one band member, moved to Canada from the U.S. not long before being elected chief 34 years ago. When he came to Canada his surname was changed from Martin to Sam, but his son refused to explain why the change was made.

 

Update (November 8, 2014) – Shuswap reserve chooses new council after spending became key issue in band election:

http://warriorpublications.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/shuswap-reserve-chooses-new-council-after-spending-became-key-issue-in-band-election/

 

FLASHBACK | Untimely Meditations for Silencing the Drum Circles

 libcom.org

June 14, 2011

by Miguel Amorós

A critique of the “new protests” of the Occupy type, depicting this phenomenon as the expression of a reformist “false civil opposition” led by the “impostors” of the civil society movement in the name of a “citizenry” that is a “fantasy” concocted to serve as a “surrogate subject” (replacing “the people”) which is to be “exercised” and “educated” “in these protests … which spread like a new fashion among the middle class youths who form its ranks”.

+++

When the excesses of domination generate protests whose reality is certified by the media, an illusion of consciousness is produced, an apparent awakening that seems to herald the reappearance of the social question and the return of the subject destined to play the leading role in a new historical transformation. By noting, however, the trivial and frivolous nature of the main demands of the protests, and by listening to the insipid refrains of progressive ideologies, all our doubts are dispelled with respect to what has really returned by way of this permitted protest, which is nothing but the corpse of the subject. The social question has not yet been profoundly addressed, while all the dead who stand guard over the ideologies stashed away in the cupboard come out for a walk. Despite any truthful content that it may possess, a protest that floats in stagnant waters together with the putrid remnants of other pseudo-revolts from the past is not the most likely place for a reformulation of a project for real change. Even if it should provide itself with horizontal mechanisms for decision-making, even if it takes the form of an assembly, those who speak in these protests are for the most part impostors or the apprentices of impostors. Reason senses its impotence in the face of the avalanche of platitudes extracted from the garbage dump of history, and confirms that capitalist domination—the system—has not yielded an inch, and that instead, by manipulating its victims, it has created a false civil opposition with which it can douse the fires of the rebellion. It could not have been otherwise. The working class was irremediably defeated thirty years ago and in its place all we have are the leftovers that minoritarian trade unionism cannot and never will be able to revive, coexisting with a juvenile ghetto of militants and inveterate resisters, reduced in numbers and partially immobilized. Not the kind of material with which one could reinitiate what Hegel called “the hard work of the intelligence” that could enlighten the new generations, who, when they have to take hold of the concept, will fall flat on their faces.

In all the spectacular new protests, two shared features are always present: first, a large number of suspect allies who, from the mainstream media, ponder, reexamine and justify the protest that has been so properly diluted, from which its radical offshoots have been safely trimmed. Second, an obsessive desire to not look for enemies, not in the forces of order, not in the parties, not in the state, and not in the economy itself, since all their proposals, whether maximum or minimum, however strange they may sound, fit within the system (in addition, it is the system that decides to incorporate them). Hence the sickly pacifism, and its obverse, the ludic-festive side, the ambiguous attitude toward elections and the preference for measures that give more power to the state or enhance economic development (more capitalism), traits that define a specific ideology, the civil society ideology, the precise reflection of a way of thinking in a vacuum that easily sets down roots in the fertile soil of inconsequential dissent. At least one thing must be made clear: the protest of the civil society movement does not question the system, it does not pursue the subversion of the established order, nor does it seek to replace it. What it wants is to participate, since it does not propose a way of life (and of producing) that is radically opposed to the prevailing system. Its program, when it is set forth, does not go beyond reforms intended to clear the way for institutionalized collaboration and sharing the consequences of the economic crisis with the ruling class in a more equitable manner. It is a simple appeal for civic values addressed to domination. It does not at all propose to change the condition of the voting, car-driving and indebted wage labor force, but rather to preserve it—if possible—with stable jobs, electoral reforms and decent wages. The proletarian condition survives, but dissimulated under the alleged condition of the citizenry. The struggle for its abolition is no longer a bitter clash between classes for control over and management of social space as it was in times past, but the peaceful exercise of a political right within the bounds of an accessible and neutral state.

Does the “citizenry” really exist? Is it a new class? In order to answer these questions we will have to acknowledge an undeniable fact: that neither the remnant industrial proletariat nor its contemporary heirs, the masses of wage workers, are intrinsically revolutionary, objectively or subjectively. The principal productive force is knowledge, not manual labor; furthermore, on the side of the subject, the struggles waged merely for improved conditions and higher wages are not destroying capitalism, but modernizing it thanks to the labor bureaucracy that they have generated. The trade union and political apparatuses dissolve class consciousness and facilitate integration and submission. In addition, the expansion of production is fundamentally destructive, which is why the workers cannot ignore the consequences of their own labor and much less seek to self-manage it. The working class has come to the end of its historical role, which was linked to a stage of capitalist development that is now over, and its current successors can only condemn the function they perform in the system and assert the need to separate from it, but without consciousness and without morality this is not possible. The end of the proletariat as a class leaves the terrain of the social struggle abandoned, without a subject, at the mercy of the intermediate classes that the system itself is fragmenting, dispersing and excluding just as it is doing to the working classes, in whose ranks the old revolutionary theory of the proletariat is not re-emerging, but instead the modern civil society ideology, brandished as an anti-radical weapon and tool for cooptation by all those little parties, groupuscules, networks and office-seekers who swarm in the protests of postmodernity, infiltrating them, banalizing them and corrupting them. Just as was the case when there was a class struggle, when leftism contributed to the modernization of the trade union and political organizations of capitalism, only then it did so in the name of the proletariat while today it does so in the name of a fantasy, the “citizenry”. This resort to the citizenry, that is, to all the subjects of the state, is purely rhetorical, as was the appeal to the “people” in times gone by. The citizenry does not exist; it is an unreal entity that inhabits the progressive mind and serves as a surrogate subject, one that can apply to everyone. Despite its non-existence, it can be found everywhere: from the discourse of power it has passed to the militant language of the street. It has proven to be most useful to those who, like the leftists, are attempting to make themselves visible and influential with the protests of the new generations by infecting them with populist ideology, manipulative sectarianism and a long-suffering workerism, in order to cause the present-day radicals-in-formation to become like them or to be disgusted and give up. They do not often succeed in the former, which is why the system itself helps them out with its enormous virtual means, issuing obscure appeals and initiating self-contained processes that, by providing the participants with one or two days of tolerated glory in the park, gives them the feeling that they are in charge, as in Tahrir Square or at the Sorbonne in 1968. The operation can get out of control, but what can the system fear from the kinds of behavior tailored to the “education for the citizenry” that are promoted in these protests, and which spread like a new fashion among the middle class youths who form its ranks. How can a movement be energized by off-the-rack hedonism, fanatical non-violence, spirited gestures, crippling consensus, the playful banging of pots and pans, and communication by means of Twitter? This kind of behavior is presented as the innovative practice of freedom, despite the fact that this kind of freedom is abundant in slave societies and is hardly of any use for assaulting the Winter Palace. But who wants, and worse yet, who is capable of assaulting a center of power today? The only thing these protests are asking for is dialogue and participation.

We are immersed in a harsh process of adaptation to the crisis implemented by the state in accordance with the directives proclaimed by “the markets”, a violent adjustment process that leaves victims everywhere in its wake: workers, retirees, civil servants, immigrants and … the déclassé youth. If the majority is just barely getting by, the youth, at any rate—almost half of whom are unemployed—has a bleak future ahead of it, and this is why they are protesting, but not against the system that has marginalized them, but against those whom they consider responsible, the politicians who govern, the trade unionists who remain quiescent and the bankers who speculate. These protests mark the beginning of a confused era where one-third of civil society is mobilizing in one way or another outside of the institutions, although not against them. They do not feel that they are properly represented in a democracy that “is not a democracy”, since its population does not participate in it, and that is why they want to reform it. They do not want to destroy separate power, but to separate the constituted powers. For the precarious middle class that is claiming as its own the bourgeois concept of democracy, Montesquieu never died, but we should recall that Franco is not dead either, and that the democracy that “cost so much to attain” and that claims that it is derived from the reconversion agreed to by the political-repressive apparatus of the dictatorship, built up its power from the innards and sewers of the state.

The protests take place in an environment that is considered to be almost natural by those who participate in them: the urban environment. The latter, however, is a space that was created and organized by capital, in such a way as to foster the molding and development of its world. The metropolises and the conurbations are the basic elements of the space of the commodity, a neutralized and monitored stage scenery that functions as a factory, where direct communication, and therefore consciousness and revolt, are almost impossible. Any real revolt must fight to free this space from the signs of power and open it up to a process of discovery that favors the decolonization of everyday life; it must be a revolt against urban society. The social question is essentially an urban question, which is why the rejection of capitalism also implies the rejection of the conurbation, its ideal vessel. The turning point in the consumerist and political training program could take place in those monitored dormitories called neighborhoods, if the assemblies that are formed during the crisis become counter-institutions from which the metropolitan urban model can be criticized and an alternative can be designed that is in harmony with the land. In the assemblies of neighborhood representatives an autonomous subject can emerge, a new class that will resist the civil society problematic that comes from the squares and parks by proposing and implementing plans concerning the urban question (neighborhood autonomy, logistical problems, real contact with the countryside, the occupation of public spaces, recovery of artisanal knowledge, anti-consumerism, the struggle against urban planning and infrastructure projects, etc.). Nothing of this kind has arisen from the protests, which seem to be pleased to breathe the polluted air of the urban environment, a portion of which has become the citizens’ agora, a place where civil society vacuities have carte blanche. This happens because the mentality of the middle class is in charge in these mobilizations and its representatives hold the initiative. This is why the social crisis has only been manifested as a political crisis, a crisis of the political system, a political moment in the prescriptions of civil society.

The ideology of the civil society movement is the ideology that is best adapted to the conurbation, since public space is not really necessary for reproducing the kind of formal and symbolic space in which a semblance of debate is represented, just something that looks like a public space. For a real debate to take place, a real public space must exist, a community of struggle, but a community of this type—a collective subject—is completely contrary to a citizens’ assembly, a mercurial aggregation of crippled individualities that imitates the gestures of direct discussion without finally moving in the required direction, since it cautiously avoids all risks by refusing to engage in combat. Its battles are just a lot of noise and its heroism is nothing more than a pose. A community of struggle—a historical social force—can only be formed on the basis of a conscious will for separation, an effort of desertion that is the offspring of a total opposition to the capitalist system or, which amounts to the same thing, the profound questioning of the industrial way of life, that is, a rupture with urban society. Youth unemployment or budget cuts; the starting point does not matter since, if tempers are hot enough, it all leads to the same place; the essential point is the achievement of enough autonomy to shift the flow of debate out of the established channels and towards the fundamental question—freedom—without “responsible” mediators or vigilant tutors. And this can only be achieved by moving away from the party of domination and initiating a long and arduous struggle against it.

 

Translated from the Spanish original in March 2013.
Spanish original available online at: http://reflexionrevuelta.wordpress.com/2011/06/15/miquel-amoros-pensamientos-intempestivos-al-acabar-de-sonar-el-tambor/

 

Moolah Boodle Lucre Simoleons

July 22, 2014
By Jay Taber

nonprofitindustrialcomplex

Wall Street’s vertical integration of controlling consciousness is based on five components: ownership of media, fabrication of news, integration of advertising with state propaganda, financing of foundations and brokerages, and co-option of NGOs. While many well-meaning people are channeled into the latter by the concerted collaboration of all the former, the corporate agenda that determines the policies, practices and projects of these NGOs is anything but benign.

Indeed, the distractions, distortions and deceit promoted by the scoundrels, malefactors and curs — working on behalf of Wall Street villains — to mesmerize the naive in order to lead them astray, pose a lethal threat to Indigenous Peoples and their desperate movement of liberation. Pretending otherwise, in order to coddle the credulous, accomplishes nothing noble. Indeed, it only perpetuates misperceptions that urgently need to be shattered.

Two months from now, in New York City, the Wall Street/NGO convergence around climate change, Indigenous Peoples human rights, and corporate derivative philanthropy, promises to be one of the super spectacles of the decade. Shining a light on that shadowy affair is something that simply has to be done. Unfortunately, there is no painless way of doing that, for it is way past time for an awakening.

Bedlam in Gotham, meanwhile, is going to be a three-ring circus:

  1. September 20-21 People’s Climate Change March
  2. September 22-23 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples
  3. September 24-26 World Summit on Indigenous Philanthropy

All the Ford and Rockefeller PR puppets from the non-profit industrial complex will be swarming for media attention to keep those grants flowing. Moolah, boodle, lucre, simoleons–a love fest for compromised NGOs, philanthropic brokerages and corporate foundations.

ICs position on the brokerages and foundations undermining the Indigenous Peoples Movement is non-negotiable: IC opposes the philanthropic system of assimilating Indigenous Peoples; this is core IC policy.

These editorials illustrate that policy in more detail:

The following definitions might be unsettling, but nevertheless useful:

CULTURE
Artistic and intellectual customs and achievements of a particular civilization. Refined appreciation of this.

IMBECILE
Person of abnormally weak intellect, esp. an adult with a mental age of about five.

CULTURE of IMBECILES
Ideological absence in which advertising has become the only active factor, overriding any preexisting critical judgment or transforming such judgment into a mere conditioned reflex. Inability to develop any political consciousness

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