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

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

 

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

 

truthout | Op-Ed

April 1, 2014 

By Anthony Scalise,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

HarvardPressRelease

How To Win The Media War Against Grassroots Activists: Stratfor’s Strategies

The playbook: isolate the radicals, “cultivate” the idealists and “educate” them into becoming realists. Then co-opt the realists.

Mintpress July 29, 2013

By Steve Horn

The home page of the Stratfor website is seen on a computer monitor in London Wendesday Jan 11, 2012. Security analysis firm Stratfor has relaunched its website after hackers brought down its servers and stole thousands of credit card numbers and other personal information belonging to its clients. Stratfor acknowledged Wednesday that the company had not encrypted customer information  a major embarrassment for a security company. (AP Photo/Cassandra Vinograd)

(AP/Cassandra Vinograd)

Part 1 of this exclusive Mint Press News investigation examined the strategies employed by Stratfor precursor Pagan International. So named for its founder Rafael Pagan, corporate clients hired the company with the aim of defusing grassroots movements mobilized against them around the world.

Part 2 takes a closer look at how Pagan International’s successor, Mongoven, Biscoe & Duchin (MBD), revised and refined these strategies — and how what began as a corporate public-relations firm evolved into the private intelligence agency Stratfor, which wages information warfare against today’s activists and organizers.

 

Rafael Pagan — who died in 1993 — was not invited to be a part of his former associate’s new firm, Mongoven, Biscoe & Duchin. His tactic of conquering and dividing activist movements and isolating the “fanatic activist leaders” lived on, though, through his former business partner, Jack Mongoven.

Must-Read White Paper: The Politics of a New York State Fracking Moratorium

sierraclub2

Above: A picture worth a thousand words ….

“[P]romoters of “safe fracking” like the Natural Resources Defense Council (“we need better information”), the National Sierra Club (“let’s secure strong safeguards”), and the National Wildlife Federation (“reasonable compromise”; the parent organization of Environmental Advocates of New York), Environmental Defense Fund (partnering with Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, and other industry players in the “Center for Sustainable Shale Development,” PDF), Citizens Campaign for the Environment (pushing for a moratorium, “Let science guide the process”), and New York League of Conservation Voters (whose 2013 spring gala partners included Chesapeake Energy, Scotts Miracle-Gro, and other industry polluters) would like to have an apparent easy win to headline their fundraising letters. Even while many of their staffers recognize the need for a ban, these same staffers have been discouraged from publicly supporting a ban. The grassroots must stand firmly for this position to help these staffers use the courage of their convictions.”

CPNY | Coalition to Protect New York

June 16, 2013

Knowing that the whole country, indeed the whole world, is looking to New York State to stop fracking and lead the way for others to piggyback on our success, we find it especially important that we get it right. We can help not only ourselves but also every other citizenry affected, and we can change the course of history. We cannot waste time; too much is at stake. We can’t play games. We must demand what we need to survive. And we must win.

1. What is the effect of calling for a moratorium? Doesn’t a moratorium buy us time to organize for an eventual ban?

We understand and are tempted by the respite that a moratorium seems to promise. Who wouldn’t like to buy time for rest and recuperation, and to fight more fiercely down the line?

However, after careful examination of the political and economic landscape, we realize that the price of a statewide moratorium is clearly too high — it works against our achieving our ultimate goal of a total and complete ban.

1963 March on Washington: The Mix of Struggle and Cooptation

Kasama Project

by Nat Winn

 

 

Warning: This is not the history or politics you have been taught.

It is Malcolm X’s immortal discussion, called A Message from the Grassroots.

Today, our oppressors’ media is doing unrestrained and shameless crowing about the 1963 March on Washington — using it to repackage the peoples struggle as a Democratic Party sidecar, and using their coverage to cover over how much the U.S. remains a brutal prison house for African American people and other people of color.

In that light, it is worth remembering that this 1963 March itself had an element of cooptation — that it involved an attempt by that old fox JFK to corral and subordinate the civil rights movement (including by promoting those leaders who were considered “responsible” from the perspective of this system and its dominant politics).

We too face a choice of whether to be “at distance from the state of affairs” or whether to be “politically under the wing of the bourgeoisie” (penned into the cooptation and endless degradation of bourgeois politics) . – (intro by Mike Ely)

Essential Summer Reading | Managing Democracy, Managing Dissent

Democracy was once considered a dangerous new idea and a threat to ruling elites. It brought to mind fearful images of oppressed masses demanding social and political equality. Fast forward to today and democracy is a key method by which the inequality and injustices of capitalism are legitimated and popular consent engineered. Despite the fact that capitalism can tolerate neither equal access to decision-making or truly open dissent, and in fact prioritises profit-making above all social or environmental concerns, we are nonetheless persuaded to believe that capitalism is, or at least can be, democratic. Now a new book – published by Corporate Watch* – uncovers how this contradiction is sustained, and the anti-democratic rule of capitalism protected.

North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus Credibility Issue

Amazon Watch

WKOG editor: As a side note, Amazon Watch, like many NGOs are created as incubator projects by foundations such as Ford and Rockefeller in order to shape, manage and control movements, as well as dissent. According to Wikipedia: “Founded in 1996, Amazon Watch is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California. It works to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin.” What Wikipedia does not tell you is the fact that Ford “gave a grant, beginning January 12, 1987, to the Brazilian Foundation for the Conservation of Nature (BFCN), the oldest, most establishment-connected conservation group in Brazil which had also gotten funds from WWF U.S. since 1983. The Ford Foundation said BFCN hired Mallas “as a member of the project staff.” She was listed as the co-ordinator of a meeting that was to plan an organization called “Amazon Watch”. The grant ($22,850) was later reduced to $16,000, which covered the actual expenditures: it came from Ford’s Rural Poverty and Resources Division, the section later run by Peter May who went on to work with Clay, Groeneveld, the Body Shop, et al. The BFCN was headed in 1987 by Admiral Ibsen De Gusmao Camara, who acted as the liaison with Ford Foundation on the Amazon Watch project. The admiral’s term as president of BFCN  ended in the fall of 1987. The new president fired everyone the admiral had hired.” [Source: Cloak of Green: The Links between Key Environmental Groups, Government and Big Business by Elaine Dewar (Jan 1 1995)] – Another example of a popular incubator project that operates under the guise of “grassroots” is Rockefellers’ 1Sky/350.org. 

Intercontinental Cry

May 3, 2013

By Jay Taber

On the NAIPC listserv this week, Robert Free Galvan asks some important questions of the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus and the elite indigenous lobbyists who manipulate it to conform to the UN colonial model. He interestingly asks about the funding of such lobbying from notorious foundations as Ford.

Defending Democracy Against The Philanthropists in Our Midst

Jay Taber wrote, in 2003, a piece, “Defending Democracy,” that remains informative and seems now prophetic. Here is an outtake:

The established elite of a community rarely do their own dirty work. For that, they employ their dependants, which includes charitable and pseudo public-interest organizations that benefit from their philanthropy. In this way, authentic activists committed to democratic values—the white blood cells of a community– frequently encounter overt opposition from their ideological opponents and covert opposition from ostensible allies in the pay of the power elite. This makes it easy for compliant media to alienate true patriots from their natural constituency and vital resources. Moral authorities and community leaders need to speak out against this form of social exclusion. Alternative media need to make it clear how synthetic activists (usually the better funded non-profits), posing as guardians of the public interest, often serve to maintain the status quo privileges of their benefactors by undermining the credibility of grassroots organizers.

Now, this is not the tone of one who has his hand out, or is asking for a grant, or who offers to funders a chance to measure and manage outputs and outcomes. This is not the tone of one pitching “social return on investment” to business minds. This is the lonely voice of an incorrigible patriot. May America live on in these men and women, who are refusniks of the new social order based on propaganda, fear, greed, and intimidation. If you are are a philanthropist prove Jay’s debunking of you wrong. Put aside your happy face; put aside the measurement and management of ameliorative trivia.  Ask yourself whether democracy is dying on these shores, and ask yourself if you are willing to put yourself at risk reversing that slide. That risk will only grow until your children are comfortable calling Wealth Bondage, “Freedom.” And, unless you act, they may have no concept of political liberty as a living and fearless tradition.

Among my conservative, small town, Christian self-made friends, I find some with clear eyes and a spine. I have not found many with spine among progressives. We are a nice bunch. Daddy and Mommy would look askance if we were outspoken. Our Board might object. Our funders might raise their eyebrows. We should keep it positive, like my fellow philanthropy bloggers writing dead polite prose with a smiley face, as if they were already under direct corporate control. The greatest givers are those who like Jay forgo comfort and put themselves at risk for our country.

Foundation Funding: Tightening the Bonds of Our Own Oppression

February 15, 2013

Author/illustrator Stephanie McMillan of Minimum Security writes:

The awareness of capitalism’s core mechanisms (as opposed to its effects) is so crucial because the system has numerous methods of assimilating our struggles, and we have to make sure we don’t get sidetracked. It diverts discontent into forms that reinforce its own institutions. These are very sophisticated and persuasive – they make people feel that they are making a difference when in fact they’re tightening the bonds of their own oppression.
 
FoundationFundingPrison
 
Lisa Inti, WKOG, adds:
 
It seems that when one attempts to engage in a critical discussion regarding the political problems of working with these and other foundations, and especially when one is interested in naming them as the gently repressive “evil” cousins of the more prototypically evil right-wing foundations, the establishment Left becomes profoundly defensive of its financial patrons. I would argue that this is a liberal-progressive vision that marginalizes the radical, revolutionary, and proto-revolutionary forms of activism, insurrection, and resistance that refuse to participate in the Soros charade of “shared values”, and are uninterested in trying to “improve the imperfect.” The social truth of the existing society is that it is based on the production of massive, unequal, and hierarchically organized disenfranchisement, suffering, and death of these populations who are targeted for containment and political/social liquidation –a violent social order produced under the dictates of “democracy,” “peace,” “security,” and “justice” that form the historical and political foundations of the very same white civil society on which the NPIC Left is based.
 

If we take seriously, for the sake of argument, the political analysis articulated by Palestinians struggling against the Israeli occupation, or that of imprisoned radical intellectuals/activists and their free-world allies desperately fighting to dismantle and abolish the prison industrial complex, or that of Indigenous peoples worldwide who, to paraphrase Haunani-Kay Trask, are literally fighting against their own planned obsolescence, then it should become clear that the Soros philosophy of the Open Society, along with other liberal foundation social imaginaries, are at best philanthropic vanities. At worst, we can accuse the Soros, Ford, Mellon, and Rockefeller foundations, and their ilk of NGOs and non-profit organizations, of accompanying and facilitating these massive structures of human domination, which simply cannot be reformed or “reconciled” in a manner that legitimates anything approaching a vision of liberation or radical freedom.” –Dylan Rodriguez (The Political Logic of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex)
 
McMillan adds:

Elections, corporate-funded nonprofits, NGOs and CBOs, personal change, political pressure, culture-jamming, tinkering with the economy, green jobs, withdrawing our support, symbolic protests – all are offered up as options for dissent. None of them are sufficient; on the contrary, they serve to reinforce the system’s authority and the illusion of democracy.

crossroads

If you like this cartoon and text, please consider contributing to make them a book! Ends at midnight PST tonight (February 15, 2013). http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/capitalism-must-die

Why Indigenous and Racialized Struggles Will Always be Appendixed by the Left

Originally published  July 19th, 2011
Cross-posted from Unsettling Settlers

by Zainab Amadahy

Inspired by artists, academics and activist colleagues who have rolled their eyes at the spiritual beliefs of their Indigenous counterparts as well as protested the inclusion of prayer and ceremony into political, academic and artistic activities, I have decided to share my thinking on some fundamental differences in values and knowledge ways that impede relationship-making across our communities.

While I can’t generalize about what Indigenous or other racialized peoples mean by the words “decolonization”, anti-racist or “anti-colonial”, I can certainly observe how SOME philosophies and action strategies employed in leftist movements relegate anti-colonial and anti-racist struggles to the periphery.

Mohawk Nation: Traitors Among Us

Cross-posted with Libya360

January 13, 2013

Introduction by Cory Morningstar Via Wrong Kind of Green

The tragedy of such a “successful” campaign which is supposed to belong/be representative of the Indigenous Peoples/First Nations, is that the very people the campaign is supposed to speak for – like the Mohawks – have had their voices completely crushed by the privileged liberal left. Such articles that voice a different opinion other than the narrative echoed in the media (like below) are given no platform whatsoever, while 350’s Bill McKibben & Naomi Klein’s opinions are obsessively shared via social media and “left” media.

 

It is of little surprise that the corporate NGOs such as Avaaz, Greenpeace, Amnesty International et al are all circling and embedding themselves in this campaign like vultures. They must pacify it to the best of their ability.

 

The question is just why the left is allowing the voices of the radical grassroots to be ignored and marginalized – replacing them with the voices of those who protect the system. Do we want systemic change or do we only want reform?

 

Criticisms such as outlined below, so carefully articulated, are screaming to be heard by those who wrote them – those who refuse to abandon their ancestral roots. There is no doubt that throngs of First Nations peoples feel completely isolated, ignored and alone in their very precious ideologies.

 

Will they EVER be heard? Who will share their voices? If not us, then who? Certainly not Avaaz, nor McKibben, nor Greenpeace, nor the AFN/band leaders who feed from Harper’s trough.

 

Time to drop the Black Wampum

mnnlogo1

Mohawk Nation

The Indigenous People charge the Band Councils, Assembly of First Nations, provincial and territorial native organizations and all ‘Indian’ entities of the Corporation of Canada with “conspiracy” and “fraud”.

Wampum 44 of the Kaianerekowa, provides that the Women are the “progenitors of the soil”. Our duty is to preserve the land’s integrity on behalf of all our relatives.

Traditionals carry out penalty for treason

Wampum 58 provides that as you knowingly betrayed and violated the will of the People, you have conspired to commit treason. You worked with a foreign entity to try to dissolve and destroy our title and birthright. As corporate agents of Canada you have no authority to enter into any agreements or contracts for any of our lands or possessions with them or any corporate entities.  You represent only yourselves and those who voted for you. You are helping them to fraudulently use our land and resources as collateral to raise money on the international stock market to come in and rape our land.

“Any chief or other persons who submit to laws of a foreign people are alienated and forfeit all claims in the Iroquois nations, and to those of our Indigenous allies who abide by the law of the land, the Kaianerekowa”.  These traitors are not in but out of the canoe.

Your connections with these foreign entities should be thoroughly investigated, starting with the shareholder list of the Corporation of Canada.

If the Corporation of Canada wishes to enter into any formal agreement with the true Indigenous People, they must go through proper protocol with their Queen.  Order-in-Council UK [1704] affirms that a new impartial court can be set up to hear the land disputes on Onowaregeh.  We would be in agreement with countries such as Venezuela, Iran, Panama, Netherlands and Estonia setting up this impartial third party court.

When Canada has no traitors, the corporation cannot trade the resources they have been stealing from us.

Corporate traitors on the hunt

Senator Patrick “House Injun” Brazeau said that the chiefs have to be prepared with a “business plan solution”.  Our solution is to get rid of assimilated Indians like you.

The settlers to legally enter our land made agreements according to The Great Peace of Montreal 1701 based on the Guswentha. The Royal Proclamation 1763 affirmed this arrangement.  Parliament represents the party that agreed to live here, but reneged on it. At this point we have no choice but to control our own destiny.

Traitors are worse than the enemy, the lowest of the low.  Every culture loathes them.  They help foreign governments overthrow, make war against and seriously injure their own people. They undermine us from within.

Traitors have been punished by public execution, hanging, shooting at dawn and beheading. Russians shot their traitors in the head and made the family pay for the bullet.  In our way, the women make the decision to drop the black wampum in front of the traitor. Traitors would be banished and shunned forever, their name never to be heard ever again. Their family has no rights and no voice.  The seed dies.

Among many, one of the foremost traitors among us is Oren Lyons from Onondaga.  He requested Canada to send the army on us in the 1990 Mohawk Oka Crisis.  We were peacefully protesting the expansion of a golf course on our burial and ceremonial site.

As the Field Warriors say:  “You want a statue, or get an Order of Canada, be a traitor.”

Indian Traitors soon to be extinct

Dedicated to the soon-to-be-extinct corporate Indian traitors,  Mick Jagger sang:  “I’m on the run, I hear the hounds.  My luck is up, my chips are own.  So good-bye baby, so-long now.  Wish me luck, I’m going to need it, child.  The hand of fate is on me now.  The hand of fate is heavy now”.

 

[MNN Mohawk Nation News kahentinetha2@yahoo.com  For more news, books, workshops, to donate and sign up for MNN newsletters, go to www.mohawknationnews.com  More stories at MNN Archives.  Address:  Box 991, Kahnawake [Quebec, Canada] J0L 1B0]

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