Archives

Tagged ‘IEN‘

Industry-Funded Indians

Salish Sea Maritime

March 3, 2017

by Jay Taber

credo 350 ien nov-15-find-a-nodapl-action-near-you-photo-stephanie-6046238

Above. Credo represents just one corporate player of many in the ongoing Standing Rock co-opted “free for all”. “CREDO is proud to have strengthened this movement through our donations program – which funds organizations on the leading edge of the climate movement – and through the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance, which trained hundreds of activists around the country to organize and lead civil disobedience and direct action. It was in this same spirit that we launched CREDO Climate Heroes...”

350 and IEN, both of whom are funded by Dakota Access Pipeline investor Warren Buffett, issued a joint statement on DAPL February 7. Tides Foundation, a money laundry for tar sands investors and oil industry magnates such as Buffett, is used to corrupt NGOs such as 350 and Indigenous Environmental Network. While they are allowed to oppose pipelines in order to maintain credibility as so-called “water protectors,” they are noted for maintaining silence about their benefactor’s investments in pipelines and bomb trains.

 

[Jay Thomas 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 journalists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]

 

Further reading:

#askwarren

.

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

ran

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

ran-t-shirt

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

ruckus-logo-index_08

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]

farc-guerrilleras500w

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

mohawks-uploads_2016_8_15_okacrisis_16

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

john-sellers

“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)

ip3-photo-banner

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]

aaron-with-tom-goldtooth-bill-mckibben-and-ladonna-bravebull-allard-founder-of-camp-sacred-stone

“[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

ip3-training-arrest-kxl-cropped

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:

hannah-arrest-kxl-2

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

oka-crisis_8

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]

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

Wrong Kind of Green

December 9, 2016

Part three 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 3 of this series, Cory Morningstar and Forrest Palmer break down the funding and high-profile players and corporations behind the non-profit industrial complex who have been the soft power behind the climate change agenda and actions in recent years. From ice cream tycoons to liberal author darlings, there are deep connections to resources that have strategically co-opted the climate justice movement in its entirety. The spread of activist fervor is being harvested as a potential source new “consumer-activism.”  The consumer-activism is guided by bestselling playbooks for nonviolent revolution and a global network of trainers with a common “indigenous led” pedagogy.

Indigenous Ally: Unilever

ben-jerrys-unilever

“Never Waste a Good Crisis” – Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer of Unilever

“Standing with Standing Rock” is racist Unilever’s Ben & Jerry’s.

In 2010, Unilever’s brand “Vaseline” launched a Facebook app in India to encourage users to whiten their skin in profile pictures. Further, Unilever owns “Fair and Lovely” — a deeply problematic line of skin bleaching products sold around the globe. [Source: Ben & Jerry’s is supporting Black Lives Matter — but will it make a difference? October 7, 2016 ] The question is: how did Indigenous Nations end up partnering with a corporation that shames people of colour and why does such a partnership continues?

india-gettyimages-478957358

Unilever’s Kodaikanal mercury poisoning is one of the well chronicled cases of toxic pollution anywhere in the world. Kodaikanal Pollution is a proven case of mercury contamination by (Hindustan Unilever) during the process of manufacturing mercury thermometers for global export. In 2016, following 15 years of legal action, a settlement between Hindustan Unilever and the 591 former workers of the thermometer factory in the southern Indian hill town of Kodaikanal was reached. The amount was not disclosed. [Kodaikanal Won’t Video]

According to the Ben & Jerry’s website, this corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever with an independent Board of Directors. Upon purchase, Unilever agreed to a one-time gift of $5 million to The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation to be administered by the foundation trustees. Board of directors include Annie Leonard (Executive Director of Greenpeace USA.” and co-founder of Earth Economics, a newer NGO that will provide tools for the financialization of nature)[1], and Pier Luigi Sigismondi, Chief Supply Chain Officer for Unilever.

Ben & Jerry’s (owned by Unilever) is in partnership with United Nations, 350.org, Avaaz and BICEP (a coalition of more than 20 leading consumer brand corporations created by 350.org divestment campaign partner Ceres). Campaigns include Save Our Swirled campaign and the recent Pathway to Paris campaign. Unilever  is also a partner to The B Team (the NGO founded by billionaire Richard Branson) as well as partner of the Avaaz sister organization, Purpose Inc., the for-profit marketing firm specializing in behavioural change. Purpose co-founder Jeremy Heimans also serves the B Team. Both Unilever, B Team and Purpose are all united under the NGO “We Mean Business” . [Further reading: PATHWAYS TO SPECTACLE | CONSUMERISM AS “ACTIVISM”]

who-cares-wins

As an alternative to the American/colonial “Thanksgiving” dinner, a “Water Protectors Community Appreciation Dinner” was held on November 24, 2016 at the Standing Rock Community School on the reservation. Ben & Jerry’s donated the ice cream for dessert. As David Jones, former Global CEO of Havas Advertising and co-founder of TckTckTck as well as One Young World, foresaw in 2010, “who cares wins.”

“The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation recently awarded a $10,000 grant to the Indigenous Environmental Network to help them bring food and water to the camp and provide medical and legal aid for the protestors.” Ben & Jerrys website

On a similar note, in April, 2013 Upworthy (co-founded by Eli Pariser: Avaaz co-founder, Open Societies Foundations Advisory Board member) announced its initial revenue approach, “and that Unilever will become the first commercial brand to join a new “Upworthy Collaborations” advertising and sponsorship program…. Participation in the Upworthy Collaborations program will extend to brands, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and foundations.” [Source]

“Upworthy attracts a huge community of highly influential, socially conscious citizens — people who share our goal of building a better future for children,” said Marc Mathieu, Unilever Senior Vice President, Global Marketing. “Our partnership will include work for several of our brands, and we are looking forward to seeing how effective story-telling can help us engage with people more meaningfully.”

On the Ben and Jerry’s website (September 22, 2016) under “Here are Four Easy Ways YOU Can Help” the text reads “Please join us right now in supporting this remarkable cause” with the number one recommended action being: “1) Sign this petition to urge President Obama to stop the pipeline.”. The petition does not direct to the Standing Rock website, rather it redirects the reader to the 350.org website petition. Regardless, despite any given amount of energy being expended into online petitions, the reality is that this very “strategy” functions first and foremost as a means of broadening a support base and collecting massive volumes of personal information. The state doesn’t give a fuck about the common man (referred to commonly today as human capital) and never will. For the state, the working class are nothing more than mere consumers and human capital while minority groups are considered disposable/dispensable (and treated as such). One key task of the NPIC is to condition/convince these very citizens to believe otherwise. That oppressors can be made to be caring and good by demonstrating a fine display of moral conduct.

standing-rock-ben-jerrys

“Unilever’s chief executive reflects on lessons learned at three major consumer goods companies, including how to manage people in a global context, the obligations corporations have to society, and why you should never waste a good crisis.” — McKinsey conversations with global leaders: Paul Polman of Unilever [Source]

ben-jerrys-standing-with-standing-rock-rock-concert

On the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe website page promoting a *Dave Mathews rock concert sponsored by Unilever’s Ben & Jerry’s, there are three “take action” options. Option 1, sign the petition; Option 2, call the Whitehouse; Option 3, donate. [*Dave Mathews band has been working in partnership with Ben & Jerry’s since 2002.]

Upon clicking option 1 (sign the petition) you are re-directed to the Stand With Standing Rock  (“an official site of standingrock.org”) “take action” page to sign the petition:

As one can see in the screenshot below, the petition is brought to you by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the “Other 98”. The petition cites a target goal of 1 million signatures (in other words, the data of one million people). In tiny text under the two logos it reads “Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Other98 may send you updates on the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline via email.” There is no privacy disclosure as to what organizations (if any) Other98 will be sharing vast volume of collected data with.

Who is Other98?

the-other-98-standing-rock-petition

Other98%

other98-logo

The Other 98%: “On tax day in 2010, Agit-Pop communications announced a new project called ‘The Other 98%'”. Agit-Pop worked closely with MoveOn (founder of Avaaz) in past campaigns. This campaign would be no exception.  “The pledge [2010:08:10: “Fight Washington Corruption Pledge”] is part of a broader campaign, titled the Other 98%, that will work this fall to elect leaders who will fight for the majority of Americans and not just the top 2%. This will be MoveOn’s major push this election cycle.” [Source: Wikileaks]

“That’s not what The Other 98 Percent would be doing, of course. They’re already closely involved in Occupy Wall Street. In fact, The Other 98 Percent’s Action Director, helped get Occupy Wall Street off the ground, taking part in early planning sessions and facilitating the meeting the night before the protest launched. — Occupy Wall Street Poses Branding Problem for “The Other 98 Percent, November 9, 2010

Andrew Boyd  is  the founder & project director at Beautiful Trouble. Boyd is co-founder of The Other 98% (which has been rebranded to Other98), a founding partner of Agit-Pop Communications.

“Agit-Pop Communications is an award-winning one-stop creative studio delivering strategic messaging, cutting edge New Media and boots-on-the-ground campaigning to the progressive netroots. We’ve won a Webby, two Contagious Festivals, Best Political Prank of 2009, YouTube’s Best Political Video of 2007, and the grudging respect of our enemies.”

His past activities include founding “Billionaires for Bush” (2003-2005), creative consultant for Credo mobile, Campaign Consultant & Campus Presenter for organizations ad NGOs such as UAW, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Council of Canadians, JWJ, CTWO, RAN, etc.

Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution  seeks to gather together, in one place, as much of this dispersed knowledge as possible. In doing so, editors Andrew Boyd (of Billionaires for Bush) and Dave Oswald Mitchell have produced a true treasure trove of collective wisdom. Authors include activists from a wide array of organizations — including Code Pink, the Yes MenRuckus SocietyJustice for JanitorsRebel Clown Army, and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers — along with journalists, filmmakers, trainers, and researchers.” [Source]

One “problem” with having Andrew Boyd as a key member of the organization behind the Standing Rock NGO campaign is that Standing Rock should never be equated in any form to “beautiful trouble”. “Beautiful Trouble” is liberal soft porn for bored albeit well-intentioned liberals and those with limited exposure to the history of movements and revolutionaries. The resistance at Standing Rock is not “beautiful trouble” – rather, it is life and death in the face of genocide for Indigenous nations. It is worth noting Code Pink (a contributor to “Beautiful Trouble”) an NGO that has recently become active at Standing Rock, has recently issued a media release promoting the Netflix White Helmets propaganda video.

Partners publicly identified by Beautiful Trouble include Sellers and Boyd’s Agit-Pop Communications /The Other 98%, 350.org, The Ruckus Society, Code Pink, The Center for Story-based Strategy (formerly smartMeme) Waging Nonviolence, and others. [2]

Agit-Pop clientele includes MoveOn, Avaaz, Amnesty International, Rainforest Action Network, Credo, Tar Sands Coalition (350.org), and many others. [Client list as accessed by Sourcewatch in 2013]

Prior to the communications studio being called Agit-Pop, it was called “Ruckus Productions”.  May 24, 2007: “Our friends at Ruckus Productions recently did an incisive and graphically charged agit-prop video to help launch the Avaaz.org campaign: Stop The Clash of Civilizations, with music by DJ Spooky. Yesterday it was posted on the home page of YouTube and as of this moment has been viewed over 188,000 times.” [Avaaz was founded in 2007].

ip3-video-partners

Above: Screen shot of the Other98 “Warriors Wanted” video for Standing Rock identifying the Standing Rock partnerships. The video posted October 18, 2016 on Facebook has garnered 371,000 views  and 14, 103 shares (as of Dec 1, 2016).

The Other 98% twitter account follows their project partners and the usual blasé liberal NGO establishment. MoveOn, Eli Pariser (Avaaz/Upworthy founder), Credo, NRDCc, RAN, New Organizing Institute, 350, SEIU, Tar Sands Action, New Economy Coalition, Next Gen, Rising Tides, Greenpeace, Annie Leonard, CodePink and many more who move through  the interlocking directorate of the NPIC.

John Sellers is co-founder of The Other 98% and Agit-Pop Communications with Boyd. He is the former executive director of the Ruckus Society and current board president. Sellers worked for Greenpeace in the early 90s (office director, Greenpeace,  Washington) prior to joining  Ruckus. (Andy Menconi, who serves as Agit-Pops’s art diector is also co-founder of Agit-Pop Communications with Sellers and Boyd.) [SouceWatch: John Sellers run the liberal public relations and online campaign consulting business Agit-Pop which he co-founded with Andrew Boyd. Their clients include dozens of groups affiliated with Democratic Party politics and liberal causes including MoveOnCREDOFamilies USAAFSCME, etc.”]

The Other98 & AVAAZ

obomberandtom

Image: U.S. President Barack Obama with Avaaz co-founder and former U.S. Representative Tom Perriello. Perriello served as President and CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund and as a Counselor for Policy at Center for American Progress until July of 2015 when he was appointed Special Envoy for the African Great Lakes and the Congo-Kinshasa by the White House.[Source]

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

Avaaz was founded by Res Publica, which is described as a global civic advocacy group, and Democratic front party, Moveon.org. The silent voice behind Avaaz, Res Publica, is, in the public realm, essentially comprised of three key individuals: Tom Perriello, a pro-war (former) U.S. Representative who describes himself as a social entrepreneur; Ricken Patel, consultant to many of the most powerful entities on Earth and the long-time associate of Perriello; and Tom Pravda, a member of the UK Diplomatic Service who serves as a consultant to the U.S. State Department. [Source: WELCOME TO THE BRAVE NEW WORLD – BROUGHT TO YOU BY AVAAZ]

Boyd shares an affiliation with both MoveOn (co-founder of Avaaz) and Avaaz itself.

On the “team” section located on the Billionaires for Bush website, the disclosed Board of Advisors (identified as a “partial listing”) includes Avaaz co-founder Ricken Patel. [Description: “A fellow of Res Publica and co-founder of Faithful America. Graduated first in a class of 350 from Balliol College, Oxford and was a Silliman Scholar at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard. He has consulted widely including for the Rockefeller Foundation, Harvard University, and CARE International.”] [Further background on Patel]

Boyd shares office space with the Avaaz Foundation headquarters in New York. He uses Avaaz address for Agit-Pop communications even referencing those who wish to contact him to ring to the “Avaaz” buzzer.

avaaz-address-2

Above screenshot: The Avaaz Foundation (also known as Avvaz.org) address as listed on the Guidestar website: 857 Broadway, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10003

Below screenshot: Contact information as found on Boyd’s personal website: “me at the office: Agit-Pop East, 857 Broadway, New York, NY 10003 (at corner of B’ & 17th., “Avaaz” buzzer, 3rd floor)

boyd-avvaz-border

Much of the Beautiful Trouble book project took place in the Avaaz office:

“Writing Beautiful Trouble has been a novel process…The book was assembled in the cloud, with much of the heavy lifting done during four ‘book sprints’ that took place in Avaaz’s lovely New York City office, which they were generous enough to let us use.” [Source]

One thing is certain. Imperial-liberal left “activists” have no issues in maintain close relationships with NGO co-founders who share much responsibility for deaths of hundreds of thousands of Libyan and Syrian citizens. This begs the question on why they would feel any differently toward the ongoing genocide of Indigenous nations on American soil.

Ironically, part two of Beautiful Trouble shares a section titled “No one wants to watch a drum circle.” [Source]

Climate Ribbon

boyd-klein-climate-ribbon-2014

Andrew Boyd, Gan Golan, and Naomi Klein at the Climate Ribbon art-ritual after the People’s Climate March, NYC, September 21, 2014.

Another project of The Other 98 is the direct action project “Climate Ribbon” created to coincide with the September 2014 “People’s Climate March (PCM) organized by GCCA/TckTckTck. [“In the Climate Ribbon ritual, participants are invited to find a stranger’s ribbon, read it aloud, have the group answer ‘We are with you,’ or ‘We’ve got your back!’ Then they tie the ribbon onto their wrists and take it home with them.”] The launch of the Climate Ribbon was the culminating art installation at the 2014 People’s Climate March. The project’s Advisory Circle includes AVAAZ, 350.org, Greenpeace, Beautiful Trouble, Rainforest Action Network, Movement Generation, The Other 98%, CODEPINK, and many others.  [Source] 1563 organizations participated.

climate-ribbon-partners

Notables featured for their ribbons include Al Gore, Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben.

klein-ribbonmckibben-ribbon

 

Our pied pipers fly to faraway places. The masses follow. The crude oil must flow to feed the collective appetite of the 1-2% who create 50% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. That is, anyone who can afford to fly on a plane. We write messages of love on spools of red synthetic ribbons imported from Chinese sweatshops, to adorn our egos and self-gratification. Simultaneously, our brothers and sisters throughout the global south are paying the price for our carbon intensive, consumptive lifestyles that continue to expand unabated. ” By way of our collective actions, “the other 98%” does not matter. Actions speak louder than words. Our appetites cannot be quelled. We look away. As the grotesque Madeline Albright once said: “we think the price is worth it.”

The ribbon theme would be utilized the following year (2015) for COP21 in Paris.

Beautiful Trouble

“Beautiful Trouble is a crash course in the emerging field of carnivalesque realpolitik, both elegant and incendiary.”— Naomi Klein

 andrew-boyd

“Based in New York City. Project spans the globe…. The leadership of Beautiful Solutions first published Beautiful Trouble, a book that has sold 10,000 copies, been translated into seven languages, and used by campaigns and classrooms across North America and Europe.” [Source: Rauschenberg Foundation]

As previously discussed, partner organizations publicly disclosed by Beautiful Trouble include Sellers and Boyd’s Agit-Pop Communications /The Other 98%, The Ruckus Society, and others. More recent partnerships include 350.org, This Changes Everything and Avaaz.

beautiful-trouble-partner-organizations-11-19-16-png

Collectively these NGOs (identified above) serve as the hub of organizations that provide non-violent direct action (NVDA) training, shaping  and developing the ideologies and aspirations of whole societies via expertise in behavioural change.

beautiful-rising-2016-global

Following in the footsteps of Avaaz and 350.org, both global in scale, Beautiful Trouble outlines its own “expanding beautiful universe”, “beautiful happenings” and “share the love”:

“We launched (and are hard at work on) Beautiful Solutions: In partnership with Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything, we’re building an interactive online gallery for sharing the stories, solutions and big ideas from the new economy and social justice movements that are critical to address the challenges we all face from climate change.”

A recent paid/part-time internship opportunity for Beautiful Trouble can be found on The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth College, an Ivy League institution that “fosters a commitment to the ideals of public service and informed public debate exemplified by Nelson A. Rockefeller, former governor of New York State and Vice President of the United States.” [Source] This posting, as uneventful as it seems, exemplifies the target market/demographic of potential leadership sought and developed by NGOs that comprise the NPIC: that of ivy league status and class. There are no Indigenous trainers identified on the Beautiful Trouble website.

The Beautiful Trouble network “is an alliance of artists, trainers, and creative campaigners who continue to support creative activism. It seeks creative approaches to social change.” [Source] Beautiful trouble is not about revolution. It about the development for the expansion of American driven ideologies and social constructs imparted by those who benefit from such institutions. The Beautiful Trouble network is an exercise of the development and expansion of networked hegemony driven by the belief of American exceptionalism. It reframes the necessity regarding the required dismantling of  the capitalism system in its entirety by creating a false illusion that the system can instead be made better by the “new economy”, otherwise known as transformative capitalism, generative capitalism and natural capitalism.

To do so, it targets and appeals not to those who wish to overthrow the system, but to those who wish to further benefit from the system – by developing a strong base and ideology with more than willing converts. This creates a cultural ambience, where improving the economic system is the only acceptable recourse. It further drives these manufactured societal norms via social engineering. Revolution is no longer the overthrowing of a system to save what little remains of life on this Earth, but a pathway for electric cars, fair trade Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and solar panels.

“We also began work on Beautiful Rising: Starting in 2015, Beautiful Trouble and ActionAid Denmark are teaming up with activists, movements and organizations across the Global South to assemble a toolkit of creative activism that will showcase the innovative tactics and strategies of southern social movements. If you have activist connections in Burma, Uganda, the Middle East/Jordan, Zimbabwe, and (maybe) El Salvador… let us know, we’d love to reach out to them.” Beautiful Trouble website, January 8, 2015

The Beautiful Trouble network has previously been focused on establishing success domestically and is now targeting global expansion. This is an almost unconscious exercise in psychological conditioning of whole societies which spreads like a contagion. A physical maneuvering that affords 21st century colonization and the expansion of US imperialism a shield against any/all criticisms. In a very real sense this 21st century form of  colonization and the expansion of US imperialism although carried out in broad daylight, remains invisible.

This is imperial soft power in its most gentle form. This is the belief in American exceptionalism to be contemplated, digested and finally dispersed to non-Anglo countries by the white middle class demographic, in periods of boredom and emptiness between shopping and Netflix. A Brave New World virus transmitted via a “hearts and minds” netwar.

In partnership with 350.org, GCCA, and Avaaz, we pulled off BT’s First European Training in Budapest in September, 2014 with youth climate leaders from a dozen countries across Eastern and Central Europe.

 

“Help us supply low-budget activists across the globe with a free copy of Beautiful Trouble (follow the link and click “gift edition”.) We’ll take these copies with us in our global workshops, as well as use them to stock worker centers and prison libraries, to ensure they reach people who can use a little trouble in their life but otherwise couldn’t access the book.” [Source: 2015: More beautiful(s) than ever! – January 8, 2015]

 beautiful-trouble-in-7-languages-t_banners4

The Beautifful Trouble Network, a key instrument of empire, has it eyes on the global South: “Beautiful Trouble and ActionAid Denmark are teaming up with activists, movements and organizations across the Global South”.

Par for the course, Beautiful Trouble, like all imperial NGOs, tows the line in framing governments in the global south as repressive, without ever referring to their own government/governments in this manner. All while their own governments (in this instance the US) is carrying out war, occupations ad illegal invasions throughout the entire globe. This sets the tone for destabilization efforts throughout the globe such as the current one in Venezuela, where Canvass/Otpor (promoted by 350, OWS, etc.) is utilizing the work of Gene Sharp and has been working in concert with right-wing forces to overthrow socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

“Hoaxes or flash mob, protest modes should, according to American activist Andrew Boyd, adapt to changes of capitalism, without neglecting traditional events… Internet has multiplied the interconnections. Movements like 350 or Avaaz , which has 42 million members, weigh heavily internationally. Both organizations working on human rights, environmental justice, corruption, and will probably be very active at the Climate Conference in Paris in December. In a forthcoming book, Beautiful Rising, whose website already allows sharing of experiences, the idea is to provide better tools to the particular circumstances of the South, where the political environment is often more repressive, Internet less accessible. Cultural differences exist due to less economic development. Mounting an action in the favelas in Brazil has nothing to do with the struggle of the middle class in New York.” — The Challenge Must Go Through More Creative and Joyful Actions, March 27, 2015

naomi-klein-w-bt-web-1024x767

Above: Naomi Klein. “Spectacle celebrities like Naomi Klein, while raising valid (albeit hypocritical) criticism of the complex, count on infantile consumers to maintain their activist credentials. Serving as proxies for consumer rage, yet asking nothing serious of them as citizens, makes these capitalist activists popular and profitable PR puppets.” [Further reading: THE INCREASING VOGUE FOR CAPITALIST-FRIENDLY CLIMATE DISCOURSE]

December 10, 2012: “BT invited along on 350.org’s “Do the Math” tour. Andrew Boyd, one of Beautiful Troubles editors, saw the show in New York City where BT author Joshua Kahn Russell MC’d an event that felt more like a mass-workshop cum rock-concert than a lecture tour.” [Source]

beautiful-trouble-screen-shot-2016-01-30-at-12-01-21-am

One funder of Beautiful Trouble is the Chorus Foundation is founded by Farhad Ebrahimi. Ebrahimi co-chaired Environmental Grantmakers Association‘s 2015 flagship retreat, which featured Alicia Garza (Black Lives Matter) as a speaker. [Source] (Chorus Foundation is a member of Environmental Grantmakers Association.) The foundation utilizes the language of “new power” (Jeremy Heimans of Purpose) and the “new economy” (the green economy rebranded): “We need to divest from the old economy and invest in the transition to a new economy. To date, we have invested nearly $4 million in solar and other clean energy as well as in a very small number of companies building the new economy.” The Chorus Foundation is a member of New Economy Funders Network (NEFN). This network identifies “applied ecological economics” (“applying these measures of environmental services and values to economic policy and financial realms.”) as its future and paramount purpose.

The Chorus foundation has invested in Seventh Generation, 350.org, New Economy Coalition, Rainforest Action Network, Ruckus Society, Idle No More, Mosaic Solar, among others, contributed $46,900.00 in 2015 towards a Beautiful Trouble ($5,900.00 for a staff retreat), and identified the NGO as follows: “Beautiful Trouble is a collaborative effort by 70 artist-activists-strategists and over 10 leading creative campaign organizations including the YesMen/YesLab, Ruckus Society, Other 98%, and others.” According to the Chorus Foundation website, $25,000 of the funding went to the “initial phase of the Beautiful Solutions project, a partnership with Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis’ This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate.” [Source]

Beautiful Solutions, The Backbone Campaign

Beautiful Solutions is fiscally sponsored by The Backbone Campaign which is also identified as a partner NGO in the Beautiful Trouble network. Executive director Bill Moyer co-founded the Backbone Campaign in 2003. An internet search on the Backbone Campaign address [PO Box 278, Vashon, WA 98070, 206-408-8058] also pulls up the Patagonia corporation (a primary funder of Ruckus).

dal-lamagnia

Dal LaMagna, Getty Images

In regards to both the address and phone number, The Backbone Campaign is shared with the Progressive Government Institute founded by Dal LaMagna in 2003. The Executive Director of PGI is identified as Bill Moyer, who describes the group in the following way: “The Progressive Government Institute is a non-partisan, educational organization dedicated to ensuring transparency and accountability in the executive branch of the federal government.” Yet, it is glaring that the founder of the group, Dal LaMagna, ran for U.S. Congress twice in the 3rd Congressional District in New York as the Democratic and Green candidate in 1996 and 2000, respectively and ran for President in the 2008 Democratic Primary.

In 2005, LaMagna merged PGI with the Backbone Campaign.

Who is Dal LaMagna?

“Dal is currently working as a responsible capitalist activist. He is an major funder and active Trustee of the Bainbridge Graduate Institute which awards MBA’s in Sustainable Business.” [Source] LaMagna is founder of Tweezerman, a corporation founded in 1980 “that practices responsible capitalism”. LaMagna’sTweezerman, U.S.A. was acquired in 2004 by Solingen, Germany based Zwilling J.A. Henckels for a reported $57 million. The following year LaMagna sold his shares in Tweezerman, India.

LaMagna is a member and former advisory board member of the Social Venture Network (SVN), “a group of responsible capitalists promoting social and economic justice through their businesses.  He is on the board of directors of the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, an MBA program that is “Changing Business for Good.”  Part of the BGI program includes the Dal LaMagna Responsible Capitalism series” LaMaga also serves on the board for The Center For CongressYes MagazineTweezerman Corporation, and Icestone.   He is a founding partner of and a blogger at The Huffington Post and serves on the Dean’s Council for the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.”

LaMagna supports numerous NGOs including: CodePink, The League of Young Voters, the Rainforest Action Network, UFPA United for Peace and Justice, , Business Leaders For Sensible Priorities (BLSP),  the Drug Policy Alliance, the Center for Economic Policy and Research,  The Nation Institute,  Momma’s House, The Rockridge Institute, the Center For Partnership Studies, Gold Star Families For Peace, the Campaign For America’s Future, the Center for Independent Media,  Mount Desert Island Laboratory, and the Washington State Progress Alliance. He currently lives in Poulsbo, Washington and has a second home in Washington, D.C.

LaMagna epitomizes the ultimate ideologies/philosophies and vision of the NGOs and training organizations that comprise the NPIC: a global economy that flourishes under “responsible capitalism”. B Corp corporations, yet another million dollar certification scheme, such as Ben & Jerry’s, set the stage for examples of “evolving capitalism, conscious capitalism and natural capitalism. The CEOs of B Corporations are upheld as the progressive visionaries of our time. The newly appointed stewards of nature. From shareholder capitalism to stakeholder capitalism is the carrot for society meaning, “we are willing to give you a piece of the pie provided we all work together sustain the capitalist economic system”.

“And at least one major corporation is involved. gave a $25,000 grant to the Indigenous Environmental Network, a nongovernmental organization, to support the indigenous community at Standing Rock.” — Fashion Steps Up at Standing Rock, December 2, 2016

rising-tide-backbone-keyston_kxl_pipeline_monster_at_td_bank

Backbone Campaign: “Rent or borrow this awesome, portable, compact, and lightweight pipeline prop that fully inflates in about a minute. We worked with Rising Tide Seattle to take-over the offices of a top financier of tar sands extraction in a bold and impressive way. Bring this prop to you action, march or protest. It’s fun for participants to help mobilize and grabs the attention of photographers and spectators alike. You can create your own banner to put on the side of it if you like. It’s approximately 30ft long and can be easily help above the heads of the crowd. (check out the exciting video from its debut HERE). Fill out the form below to rent or borrow this prop for your actions.”

Backbone’s said purpose is to “use creative tools and strategies to  educate the public on issues of government transparency, civic participation and democracy. It’s primary focus is imagery and trainings workshops. Highlights of their work include a 2010 flashmob created for MoveOn & Other98 paid for by MoveOn.org Political Action. Other clients/allies include Working Washington & AgitPop, Popular Resistance, and Tzeporah Bermans ForestEthics (now called STAND).

Backbone organized “14+ powerful Kayaktivist actions that earned international headlines”… inspiring “Kayaktivism across country and planet.” [Source]

Global Domination

asante_avaaz

Avaaz, “*Our Victories, 2014: Saving the Maasai’s Land” [Source]| Feb 27, 2015: “…another round of evictions is under way: thousands of Maasai have been evicted at gunpoint and their homes burnt to ashes.” [Source]  August 28, 2016: “Thousands of pastoralist Maasai groups in Tanzania have been evicted from a 1,500 sq km area close to the Serengeti, Maasai Mara and Ngorongoro national parks.”[Source]  *Note that there is no update on the Avaaz “Our Victories!” page.

In a 2006 USAID document, the organization suggests that NGOs should be given legal recognition “as an important element in the development of sustainable community development as associated with ecotourism.” Today NGOs are undoubtedly recognized “the most important element in the development of sustainable  community development as associated with the new economy.” The fact that elite interests would like to see NGOs granted legal recognition (this means protection) reveals how critical, and understood, NGO involvement actually is (by the United Stated government) for the further expansion of new markets (payments for ecosystem services), neoliberalism and US foreign policy.

350.org (Rockefeller foundation, Clinton Initiative) has expanded into an international powerhouse. Avaaz, GCCA (TckTckTck) and 350.org are today the most powerful NGOs on the planet. They are perhaps the most vital instrument in empire’s war chest. The goal is the utilization of western ideologies to obtain global domination.

“A five-day Beautiful Trouble training session for 25 young climate activists was organised jointly with 350.org and Avaaz in September with participants from Belarus, Hungary, Montenegro, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine. GCCA provided expertise, outreach, logistical support and part of the funding for the session, while the group shared an innovative methodology that has proved successful at bringing people out on the street and encouraging them to join the global movement. As a direct result of this session, youth groups organised Peoples’ Climate March actions on 21st September in both Budapest and Warsaw, and successfully used these tactics to take a visible stand against a government squeeze on civil society space in Hungary. GCCA will continue to support the groups involved as they work to mobilise citizens across the region.” — GCCA Annual Report 2014 [Emphasis added][Source]

It is critical to note the gross undermining carried out by TckTckTck/GCCA against Bolivia, the G77 and small island states in 2010 at COP15. Their collective actions, unknown to most, should be considered for what they are: crimes against humanity. [Further reading: The Most Important COP Briefing That No One Ever Heard | Truth, Lies, Racism & Omnicide]

“The objective was to make it become a movement that consumers, advertisers and the media would use and exploit.” — Havas Press Release, EYES WIDE SHUT, TckTckTck expose, January 6, 2010

GCCA/TckTckTck (lead organizer of the 2014 People’s Climate March)  is a “coalition of twenty key international organizations” including Avaaz, 350.org, Greenpeace , Kofi Anna’s Global Humanitarian Forum, OXFAM, WWF, World Council of Churches, Union of Concerned Scientists, Equiterre, Global Call to Action against Poverty (also co-chaired by Kumi Naidoo), and the Pew Environment Group. [Source: TckTckTck: The Bitch is Back]

avaaz-350-burundi

350.org in Burundi, Africa:”Hundreds of thousands join the People’s Climate March in New York and in more than 2,000 communities all over the world … Meanwhile, one of the most popular malls in the Philippines has launched the world’s largest solar power on its facility. The SM Supermalls has installed 5,700 solar panels on its North EDSA branch on November 24, 2014. The system is said to generate 1.5 megawatts of solar energy, covering five percent of the store’s average daily electricity consumption.” [For more photos see source] Avaaz is also in Burundi on other business. The business of destabilization: Avaaz Hones In On Burundi as Next U.S. Fait Accompli

Consider that from June 13-15, 2016, 350.org, headlined at “The Global Youth Forum of the World Bank”  (live blog). Those on the first panel included activities from Energy Action CoalitionHere Now (Purpose), 350.org, and Green Brunei. It’s not the mere fact that 350 et al wish to work within the system. What must be understood (and thus far it is not) is that they are part of the system itself.

“Slogans like “350”, “New Economy”, and “Sustainable Capitalism” are promoted by Mad Men via foundation-funded front groups, and echoed by media, thus generating enough noise to overwhelm critical judgement. Symbols that appeal to progressives’ emotional vulnerabilities, like rising sun logos used to symbolize hope and change, are recycled to mean “This Changes Everything”, thus creating the impression that neoliberal reform is socialist revolution.” — Hijacking the Environmental Movement, April 25, 2016

All good intentions aside, well intentioned and well meaning citizens are being corralled by the world’s foremost experts in social engineering and behavioural change. East Indians struggle to survive poisoning at the hands of Unilever while in the West, liberal left sycophants strive to partner with Unilever, Patagonia, Seventh Generation (recently purchased by Unilever) etc. – all under the banner of “environmentalism” and “social justice”. “Success” is only achieved by economic growth. The more growth, the more environmental destruction, exploitation of those most vulnerable, pollution and carbon emissions – on an already exhausted planet on the brink of ecological collapse. It is the height of insanity.

 

Next: Part 4

 

End Notes:

[1] “The goal to commodify the commons under what has come to be known as “(payment for) ecosystem services” (as well as Natural Capital, Biosphere Economy, etc.) will look to the private sector for investment. The scheme promises corporations, private investors and the world’s most powerful financial institutions both ownership and control (i.e. expansion of power) of Earth’s natural resources, as the return on capital investment. We bear witness to an explosion of new environmental markets and ecosystem services products which are already being developed in order to capture the trillions of dollars to be made from the capture and exploitation of “natural capital”. The implementation of payment for ecosystem services will create the most spectacular opportunities that the financial sector has ever witnessed. New markets offer speculation that promises unimaginable profits.

This is a new mechanism for generating profits for the wealthy (those with financial capital on the top tier) via the global commodification of nature’s functions and services. In essence, the implementation of payment for ecosystems services represents an unprecedented coup: a privatization of the commons. A free-for-all for further corporate capture like nothing the world has yet witnessed. Corporations and the financial institutions are frothing at the mouth. Never before has neoliberalism witnessed such opportunity and scope as in the expansion of markets and capital. The commodification of most everything sacred, the privatization and objectification of all biodiversity and living things that are immeasurable, above and beyond monetary measure, will be unparalleled, irreversible and inescapable.”

[2] Others include The New Organizing Institute, Beyond the Choir, Nonviolence International, Alliance of Community Trainers, The Yes Men/Yes Labs, The Center for Artistic Activism (where Boyd serves on the advisory board), and Escola de Activismo.

 

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

[Forrest Palmer is an electrical engineer residing in Texas.  He is a part-time blogger and writer and can be found on Facebook. You may reach him at forrest_palmer@yahoo.com.]

 

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

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

McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part XIII of an Investigative Report] [The Increasing Vogue for Capitalist-Friendly Climate Discourse]

Divide and Conquer: 350 Apologists

Public Good Project

June 10, 2016

by Jay Taber

 

tar sands action - behind tom goldtooth

2011: Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, and Canadian author, Naomi Klein. Photo by Josh Lopez.

As I wrote in my op-ed Degrees of Evil: Savoring the Nuances of Co-optation, spectacle celebrities like Naomi Klein count on infantile consumers to maintain their activist credentials. As a board member of 350–funded by Rockefeller Brothers Fund and TIDES Foundation (Warren Buffett, et al)–Klein and her cohort Bill McKibben are in bed with CERES and Goldman Sachs. Yet, despite this blatantly obvious hypocrisy by the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker of Climate Evangelism, the myth of 350 as a ‘grassroots’ organization persists.

BoliviaCochabambaPeoplesClimateChangeConference

This myth might be an amusing entertainment, were it not for the fact that 350 is complicit with Wall Street in Hijacking the Environmental Movement, and guilty as Agent Saboteur of the World Peoples Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth.

So it is disappointing, but not surprising, when people like Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN)–funded by TIDES–perpetuate the myth of 350 as a small organization responsive to indigenous interests. While IEN has done some good things, they nevertheless know where their bread is buttered, and this leads them to speak half truths–which amount to whole lies. The Goldtooth interview Divide and Conquer, while enlightening about REDD, also serves as a warning about the insidious corruption of Wall Street-funded NGOs–IEN included.

 

 

[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies 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 journalists defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted Indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]

 

Are Mainstream Environmental Groups Keeping Racism Alive?

are, mainstream, environmental, groups, keeping, racism, alive?, ,

policymic

July 26, 2013

by Kat Stevens

Editor’s note: This story is part of PolicyMic’s Millennials Take On Climate Change series this week.

We are living in an age of world-wide energy and financial crises. In Westernized nations like the one I live in, poor rural communities are suffering now: small Appalachian communities ravaged by mountain-top removal mining, rural farms surrounded by frack wells. But what about the communities we don’t hear about?

Must Read Interview with Tom Goldtooth – Climate Change, the Big Corrupt Business?

Admin: By far the best interview out of Durban – If only everyone spoke the truth like Tom Goldtooth in this interview … we would be winning the battle instead of losing.

The Africa Report

By Khadija Sharife in Durban

05 December 2011

Tom Goldtooth, head of the Indigenous Environmental Network talks to The Africa Report about the manipulation of carbon trading data and the double standards assumed by richer countries.

“The carbon certificate, that says one corporation somewhere in the world now controls and owns what in our culture cannot be owned – land, air, the trees”- Tom Goldtooth/Photo/Reuters

Goldtooth expresses his misgivings about agriculture being included as part of the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD). Arguing that “REDD is going to be the largest legal land grab the world has ever seen”, the indigenous North American warns of colonialism and forced privatisation. And according to him “those with the most money and power can – by remote control, lock up the largest land areas in developing countries”. “They are happiest to work with the most corrupt because it is easiest that way,” he says.

Interview.

The Africa Report: How do indigenous peoples, such as yourself, perceive REDD?

Tom Goldtooth: There are a number of reasons for profiling REDD as a false solution. For indigenous peoples, and as an indigenous organisation that specialises in environmental issues, and which has consulted with many indigenous peoples from the North of the world to the South, from the East to the West, one of the biggest issues is escalation of global warming. In Alaska, melting ice has forced entire villages to relocate, there is coastal land erosion. It is not an easy situation to pull up your entire life – as a community – and move, especially with the other issues involved like settlers with private land rights. So the biggest issue we feel, is putting a stop to climate change by shutting the valve of GHG. It is a matter of life and death.

So we are very concerned that the second round of the Kyoto Protocol is being held back by the powerful governments of the world, including my own government, the US. Any real mitigation is welcome with open arms because we are the people who are most vulnerable and desperate for a solution. But is REDD a real solution? Already, there has been manipulation of the data, displacement of peoples, narratives driven by industry-funded scientists. We are concerned that the same people who caused the problem are now shaping the solution to fit with their agendas – which is making a profit using the same principles that caused the problem. Look at how it is being implemented as well – corporations know that it is easy to exploit the peoples of the South given the state of their governments, the lack of land rights, the violation of human rights, through that piece of paper – the carbon certificate, that says one corporation somewhere in the world now controls and owns what in our culture cannot be owned – land, air, the trees. How can this belong to a one financier when it belongs – and has a right to belong, to the earth?

Give us your perspective on the US government’s position in the climate talks?

In our country, there has been the expansion of fossil fuel development, so even while they are talking a green policy view, they are expanding dirty industry right in our backyards, which is also the homeland of indigenous peoples. Look at the tar sands in Northern Alberta, Canada – this is within the traditional homelands of the Dine’ people – I’m a Southern Dine’. Another group, the Namate, live downstream and with the immediate zone. They are about 22 corporations – many of them state-funded, including Statoil from Norway, and Total from France. The companies involved are not only polluting the atmosphere and the earth, but they’re depleting water, and the same companies are involved with clearing away the boreal forest. It is a viable option now that the price of fuel is going up. Yet Canada, which has not come close to meeting their commitments and is a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, has gone ahead with tar sands. These are the governments that are supposed to provide the solution?

Has there been any co-option of the indigenous leadership through corporatising policies such as Alaska’s ‘native corporations’?

Yes – there are many shams, precisely like the native corporation. At the top, our allies in the UN tell us they are still wondering whether it can even scientifically work or not – offsetting biotic carbon in trees for the carbon mine from the earth and burnt through combustion. In the long term, we pay the price. The indigenous peoples in Alaska are very concerned about the destruction of their leadership through the native corporations that was a mechanism by the US government and politicians to gain title to buy them out with money through forming these corporations, which also locates negotiating tactics within these capitalist structures. We work with the Alaskan organisation Redoil – some have resisted becoming part of it and still call themselves traditional governments, they are not part of the regional corporation structures. Some have sold their shares. Others still participate to try and make a difference. These corporations are lobbied and collaborate with the business-as-usual fossil fuel leaders. It has taken us away from our traditional principles and values which is the opposite of commodifying, privatisation resources that are destructive and spell a death sentence. The native corporation heads – we see them in meetings, wearing designer suits, and talking designer talk. We don’t talk because their agenda is the same lethal talk that has caused a global crisis.

If we look at the way in which the UN is structured, is there legitimacy to this UNFCCC event – should it be delegitimised or engaged with?

It is a two-way street for us. Certainly, the UN is what you say. But look – we tried to use it as a way of lifting up issue of human rights, social and environment justice, and bring that to the framework. We know that the first Kyoto Protocol had many problems including that the emissions target that Annex 1 (developed) nations were signatories too, was the bare minimum. It was very hard for us to accept the compromise. Some of the bigger organisations said, ‘Tom Goldtooth – this is the first step, we can strengthen it later.’ But here, it is ‘later’ and the issue of relevant binding agreements holding industrialised countries accountable has to happen. But as indigenous peoples, we cannot wait for another international agreement to be negotiated – another wasted decade. You have petroleum companies now that are investing millions to offset their pollution by owning the environment. Our people end up as renters. But what happens when the carbon market falls apart or collapses? Who is liable? Who pays the price? We are told to safeguard and trust the process, but the advisors in the UN and World Bank, have even admitted that it is going to be very weak.

There is a lot of risk. We fear that at the end of the day, with agriculture now being included as part of REDD, REDD is going to be the largest legal land grab the world has ever seen. Back to colonialism, back to forced privatisation, especially for forest communities. Those with the most money and power can – by remote control, lock up the largest land areas in developing countries. And they are happiest to work with the most corrupt because it is easiest that way.

Do you have representation through large green political muscles – and if so, how, if not, why not?

“When indigenous peoples started to call into question the false solutions, we were attacked by large environmental organisations, saying that we were not looking at the bigger picture, at the benefit of REDD. We saw a campaign mounted to disrupt us, and to marginalise what we’re saying. But indigenous people no longer are able to stand back and let the ‘good intentioned’ voices speak on our behalf. In 1999, it used to be five or six people, at most, holding the line. Only when REDD became part of the picture, did indigenous peoples begin to stand up and actively resist. Corporations that fund some of the green organisations know how to play the game, and the organisations play back, to stay in business. The corporations know there is money to be made from investing in privatised trees, and that it looks good in paper. If you look at the NGOs, these are European ‘white’ NGOs, and there is tremendous racism and classism woven into that. When an ethnic person speaks up, they get offended they don’t want a solution from the marginalised. They want to devise the solution they feel is best for the whole system – and we have to ask ourselves what the system they actually represent, entails.

Many have proposed ‘eco-socialism’ and other similar models as the solution. Renowned Marxist David Harvey says it may be necessary to separate indigenous-type peoples living in the commons, like the Amazon, from the ‘natural’ commons – what is he advocating and from what standpoint?

“The white-is-right dogma – where they don’t care to understand what the reality is and the culture and beliefs, of indigenous peoples, all over the world, especially the most marginalised, the forest peoples. We are the ones most anxious to protect, our cultures are principles on the belief that we cannot own and abuse the earth for our short-term benefit.”

Youth from all over the world have flown in – yet many lack understanding of the political economy of pollution, both problem and solution. Why is this?

“Look at the role of the WWF-type organisations. These are educators. Al Gore – pushing for the carbon market, he is an educator on the environment and climate. They are slumming it out in Durban, it is fashionable for a young white kid from the US or UK to be concerned about a global poverty issue, not the reality in their own backyards, but somewhere where they can be special, become heroes. We challenged the big organisations with environmental racism – the top ten movements, including Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, to bring our voices to the board, to the way in these campaigns are shaped. They resisted us. Even when they do appoint a person of colour, it is usually from within the mentality of surburbia, so that they are never questioned or taken out of the comfort zone where ‘white is right.’ And these organisations and their narratives are so popular – you have young kids coming, getting their hands dirty. They leave, feeling vindicated, slumming around – as if they have done their share. But this is our life, and that parachuting in and out of communities, the ruckus society, is destructive and presents the distorted reality. We have challenged, and become very unpopular, for raising the issue of classism which is source of the problem and requires an economic analysis if the environmental and climate narrative is to be truthful…. Look at 350.org – we had to challenge them to bring us to stand with them on the pipeline issue. Bill McKibben, the ivory tower white academic, didn’t even want to take the time to bring people of colour to the organising. We managed a negotiation that allowed for both groups to unite.

Concerning celebrated activist voices like Naomi Klein – they appear to come from a specific formula – What are your thoughts?

“Well, it is always the case with the media that ‘white is right’ or that global issues affecting people of color on the frontline should be represented by the type of voices that don’t engage, in a threatening way, the realities of capitalism. There are also many fashionable voices that become part of the establishment in the sense that while they do espouse the truth, it is not pose a threat for change, for ending the system, because someone has adopted a cause that they were not born into. The communities that live in the cancer hotspots, in the immediate environment, their voices are too real, too threatening. Meanwhile, infiltration continues – how the corporations lend their money to the media – how the media shapes the tones and get the right voices to provide just the right amount of dissent. Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg donated millions to the Occupy Wall Street. We need a systems change, not an isolated trendy environmental change. The organisations that speak need to have a real constituency – they need to be accountable to the people they represent. There is no time for egos and games anymore.

As Navaho people, as Dakota people, we are struggling to understand how the problem that created the problem becomes the solution? In our language, we have no translation of ownership for the air – or carbon. One of my elders told me, if you ever have a hard time translating something into your language, beware that it may lack the truth.

http://www.theafricareport.com/index.php/news-analysis/climate-change-the-big-corrupt-business-50176874.html

The KeystoneXL Greenwash – Pipeline to the White House?

Admin: 350.org reports: BREAKING NEWS: Keystone Rejected. We Won. You Won. Thank you.  We only wish it were this easy. Unfortunately – it is not. And this is not a win. And by the way – does anyone remember the original campaign of the tar sands movement?  It was “SHUT DOWN THE TAR SANDS”. All of them. The majority of the public fails to realize the bulk of the Keystone Pipeline is already complete – it came into service in 2010 and earlier this year in 2011.

President Obama sending the pipeline proposal back to the State Department for a re-review (until after the election) – is not a win. And stating this is a win – is an outright lie.

The Coming Tar Sands Greenwash

Pipeline to the White House?

COUNTERPUNCH Weekend Edition September 16-18, 2011

by MICHAEL DONNELLY

Whenever the usual centrist/corporatist Democratic Party presidential candidate needs to burnish the old Green credentials, they can always count a on a cabal of funders, professional “greens,” incurious media and gullible public to buy into whatever do-nothing/sounds good eco-charade they cook up.

2000’s Keystone Pipeline

Back in 2000, Al Gore was attempting to greenwash off the stain of the Clinton Administration’s many eco-travesties; starting immediately after Inauguration with backsliding over toxic waste incinerators. After seeing Ancient Forest logging on Public Lands in the Pacific Northwest stopped for the last half of the Pappy Bush Administration, environmentalists and species saw it resumed quickly in Clinton’s first months in the White House under his Option 9 Northwest Forest Plan – in reality, an Extinction Plan for northern Spotted Owls and other old growth-dependent species. The pro-Democrat Big greens called it “our greatest victory.”

Not content with resuming the liquidation of remnant public Ancient Forests, Clinton soon signed into law the “Salvage Rider;” Section 2001 in the emergency Appropriation Act of 1995 (P.L. 104-19, July 27, 1995. This Act pushed a massive, expedited (read: relevant laws suspended) logging of forests based on “Forest Health” – the latest rationale; the forests are dying and burning, so we need to “salvage” what we can – fast. That, however, still wasn’t enough. The Rider also “released” a number of Ancient Forest sales that had been halted, after considerable conservationist pressure, due to habitat concerns.

Add in the dire ecological consequences of Clinton’s Foreign Trade policies – Nafta and GATT ; his opening of the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska to drilling; the failure to control carbon despite heralded international conclaves to address to the Clinton/Gore Administration’s bad forest policies…and Democratic presidential hopeful Al Gore was getting desperate.

Riding to the Greenwash rescue was “The Roadless Rule.” After three years of dithering, the Forest Service adopted what is known as the Roadless Area Conservation Rule – on Jan. 12, 2001, as Clinton was headed out the White House door. Supposedly, it would place all inventoried roadless public-owned lands in the US off limits to development. The Big Greens all crowed “Clinton saves 58.5 million acres” and Gore had his new coat of verdant paint.

Of course, not one single acre got inviolate “protection.” Eleven years later, very few of the acres have actually garnered inviolate protection – none at all directly due to the Roadless Rule. Yet, hundreds of thousands of those acres have already seen some level of development since Clinton “saved” them. Annually, we have “Defend the Roadless Rule” “Roadless Rule at Risk” fund-raisers overflowing the mailboxes and e-mails.

Fast Forward to 2011.

The Keystone Feint

The press is awash with stories about the proposed Keystone Pipeline – said pipeline to be built to deliver Alberta’s Tar Sands carbon to refineries in Texas. Thousands of folks, led by globe-trotting (read: carbon-spewing) pied-piper Bill McKibben, were recently arrested outside the White House protesting the pipeline…many wearing their Obama 2008 shirts and buttons. The follow-up has been a series of op-eds by famous folks decrying the Pipeline.

What no one is noting, however, is that the US is already awash in Tar Sands oil. It’s flowing into the country in thru a spiderweb of multiple existing pipelines. Last years’ 900,000 gallon Kalamazoo spill was Tar Sands oil. This year’s Yellowstone River spill was caused by corrosion of the pipeline from having used it to transport tar Sands oil. Ironically, many of the arrestees flew to DC on jets partly fueled with Tar Sands oil.

Just like Bill Clinton’s 2000 Roadless Rule, the Keystone Pipeline is 2012’s eco-feint. The DC “Greens” and their Big Oil Foundation funders began the cynical ploy back in 2008.

Anti-Tar Sands oil ads began appearing in major papers in 2010. They were run under the rubric of something called the No Tar Sands Coalition. Just who and what is that? The New York Times called it “an assemblage of several environmental groups.” Yes, another non-incorporated, non-democratic group with no voting membership or any accountability to any larger movement…funded by Big Oil Foundations! The Coalition’s own internal documents state that the decision-making structure should be “Invisible to the outside.”

What Foundations? What Groups?

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund gave $250,000 to Corporate Ethics International in 2009 “for its campaign to reduce demand for tar sands oil.” Other foundations, notably the Pew Charitable Trust (Sun Oil Co-derived); the Hewlett Foundation; and, the Ford Foundation funnel funds thru the Tides Foundation to the “invisible” decision-makers at the Coalition.

Corporate Ethics International is a San Francisco group with $1.6 million annual revenue led by executive director Michael J. Marx. Marx, co-founded ForestEthics and was the force behind the dastardly Great Bear Rainforest sell-out. / Marx is now the “invisible” coordinator of the No Tar Sands Coalition, controlling funding (approx. $7 million since 2008) and determining just what pliable groups get that funding for the effort.

It’s also worth noting that the fall-back “alternative” talking point of the coalition is “Renewable Energy” and every one of the funders (not to mention, Al Gore and his carbon off-sets millionaire cronies) is heavily invested in “alternative energy” (read: mining tax subsidies; killing forests for Biomass). Every one of the foundation-dole “leaders” of the coalition assiduously brings up the “renewable energy” talking point. Conversely, they never mention Obama or any other Democrat in any accountable way and refuse to let anyone (even a stalwart like Ralph Nader) speak at their functions if they might attach some of the blame to Obama.

Willful Ignorance

Well, here’s how it’s gonna play out:

The Pipeline is an election-year set-up.

They don’t intend to build it; never did; don’t need to. As noted, Tar Sands oil is already here coming in thru multiple existing pipelines.

It’ll work like this:

1) sometime next year, Obama will rescind approval for the Keystone Pipeline;

2) the Dem-captured Big Greens will crow “Obama sees the light;” even though Tar Sands oil will still be flowing to US refineries; even though during the recent White House protests, Obama backed-off on clean air rules that would prevent some 12,000 annual deaths by reducing ozone pollution; even though he backed off on opposition to Japanese whaling; even though the administration increased off-shore drilling permits (even after the BP spill!); even though “controlling carbon” has disappeared from any proposed energy bills…

3) the media will report only that “Obama stops the Keystone Pipeline;”

4) the incurious “members” of the green groups will use the “Obama stops the Tar Sands Pipeline” coat of Greenwash to justify their vote for reelection. Many will plan to fly there again on jets fueled with Tar Sands oil for the Inauguration.

To this day, some still believe the Roadless Rule is real…just as many will believe that Obama’s new-found, election-year opposition to the pipeline, though not to Tar Sands Oil itself, is real.

Michael Donnelly is a long-time environmental activist in Salem, Oregon. He can be reached at: pahtoo

http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/09/16/pipeline-to-the-white-house/

Lush’s Dirty Laundry

Lush’s Dirty Laundry

Lush’s Dirty Laundry

Published June 20, 2011 on Canadians for Action on Climate Change & on June 23, 2011 by Political Context.

By Cory Morningstar

Image: A shop assistant from Lush Cosmetics is doused in “oil.” In March 2011, Lush shop assistants doused themselves while draped in Canadian flags, launching Lush’s new campaign in the UK against the Canadian tar sands. The campaign expanded this month to cities across Europe.

In an unlikely alliance, Lush Cosmetics joins the Indigenous Environmental Network in rallying against the Canadian tar sands. The Lush campaign targets the tar sands, yet the CEO of Lush North America fails to target his own family’s dynasty built on the continued exploration of oil, gas and mining.

Today, the environmental movement has become inundated with front-groups, financed by dirty industries. These front groups often fall under the guise of foundations. Unfortunately, not even the best of the long-standing environmental groups are above becoming ensnared in such webs of deception as corporations, governments and, in this case, the global Lush brand. Such entities seek to become celebrated as “green” in a system that cannot be changed by the illusion of “green” growth. This system is destined to ultimately collapse – or kill us – whatever comes first. And this is where we are today.

The CEO of Lush, Mark Wolverton, belongs to the Wolverton family – of Canadian Wolverton Securities. The president and CEO of Wolverton Securities is Brent Wolverton, Mark’s brother. Wolverton Securities was founded in the early 1900s and continues to thrive today with an annual revenue of $20,735,400.

From the Wolverton website:

Taking advantage of our expertise. Western Canada may well be the venture capital centre of the world, especially when it comes to mining and oil and gas exploration. Wolverton is a primary player in that market for this simple reason: If you look at mining operations in Siberia, South Africa or the jungles of South America, Canadians are running and financing the operations.”

“On the research side, Blackmont hired [an investment analyst] away from Wolverton Securities. The oil and gas analyst has 29 years of experience in the sector, including executive stints in the industry at NAL Oil and Gas Trust and Easton Drilling Fund.”

Ironically, Wolverton Securities Ltd’s Calgary office is actually situated in the Royal Bank Building. Royal Bank Canada is one of the world’s largest financier of the tar sands.

Mile long list of corporations affiliated with Wolverton Securities Ltd: http://infoventure.tsx.com/TSXVenture/TSXVentureHttpController?GetPage=CompanySummary&PO_ID=44829&HC_FLAG1=on&HC_FLAG2=on

Time Magazine article 2003: “Lush first made its way to North America thanks to brokerage scion Mark Wolverton of Canada’s Wolverton Securities.”

Wolverton has controlled Lush’s North American operations since 1996 – 50% in Canada and 40% in the US.According to the Retail Merchandisers, Strategy for Growth website, approximately $90 million of the company’s global annual sales of $350 million come from its North American operations, comprising manufacturing facilities and distribution via storefronts, malls, airports, and the store-within-a-store concept in which Lush has a 300- to 500-square-foot store in the cosmetics department at 38 Macy’s stores.

The reason Lush CEO Mark Wolverton would support such a hypocritical campaign is nothing new. It’s fantastic branding. It makes people feel good when they buy a bar of soap. It raises awareness – without threatening the industry (or his family’s fortune) in any meaningful way. It builds brand loyalty. And I will be the first one to say – Lush executes such branding/marketing brilliantly.

From the Lush website: “We believe in protecting people, animals and the planet, so when we learned about the tar sands, we knew we had to take a loud and proud LUSH stand against ‘the most destructive project on earth.’ … Here at LUSH, we know it’s time for an oil change!” Displaying extraordinary bravado, the Lush site even states: “Major oil companies, banks and investors are pouring billions of dollars into the development of the Canadian tar sands and the government has created tax breaks and incentives for them to do so.”

In the Tar Sands Blow (Lush Remix) video below, Lush ironically asks the question “Who is Behind This?”

March 2011 from the Gallo Communications Group: Gallo “offers communication skills coaching for the world’s most admired brands.” Gallo states: “To raise awareness of such issues, Lush staff at some stores have stripped down to nothing but an apron to protest over-packaging, storefronts have been converted into giant blood spattered placards, and protests have been held to end Canada’s tar sands project and encourage investment in clean energy.” … “Wolverton acknowledges that Lush’s tactics might turn off some customers (Lush has stores in Alberta and some employees have family members who work in the oil sands). But they are also passionate about their values and communicating those values. ‘We strive for a substantial amount of transparency in the business. We must act in a green fashion and the causes we support. It all fits together,’ says Wolverton…. Above all, Lush teaches small business owners that it’s not enough to sell a product. Sell a story as well.”

Wolverton Securities are listed as Financial Administrators (Primary Member), along with RBC (Executive), Goldman Sachs (Primary Member & Operations), etc. etc. as a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. As always, those who profit from the system while destroying the planet and externalizing all costs make their own “regulations.” The full list of some of the world’s most powerful institutions can be found here: http://www.iiroc.ca/English/Policy/PolicyCommittees/Pages/FinancialAdministratorsSection.aspx

IEN members, Indigenous Peoples and average citizens may share the opinion that it is quite outrageous for Lush, partnered with IEN, to campaign to the public about how bad the tar sands are – without addressing the issue that the CEO of Lush has deep ties to industries that are destroying our planet, as his own family fortune is owed to the continued mining, gas and oil exploration industries… industries that exploit the most vulnerable and the Indigenous Peoples while raping the Earth beyond repair.

It appears that an effective and meaningful campaign would be for IEN’s partner, Lush, to demand that Wolverton Securities divest from all fossil fuel investments and only invest in alternatives to industrial energy sources – rejecting investments in all false solutions.

Industrialization can only succeed when traditional communities are successfully destroyed. And as society’s attention is focused on Lush branding and products, the article titled Aboriginal Industry Workforce Expands is published 14 June 2011: “An increase of Aboriginal workers in the oil sands industry is proving to be very beneficial for business. A survey by the Oil Sands Developers Group shows over 1,700 aboriginal people were employed full-time in the oil patch last year. ‘Through the work of Aboriginal people and with the support of oil sands firms the capacity has grown. So year over year, more and more aboriginal people are getting more training, more education, that allows them into the workforce,’ said OSDG President Don Thompson. By partnering with oil sands operators, local aboriginal companies have earned more than $5 billion since 1998. In 2010 alone, oil sands companies contributed $5.5 million to aboriginal communities in Wood Buffalo and the Lac La Biche region.” The industrial employment of aboriginals in the tar sands is simultaneously lethal for Indigenous cultures – eroding ancestral practices, knowledge and spirituality to the point where they eventually deteriorate altogether – and critical to the success of industrial capitalism.

Lush: Growth, growth growth …

“We believe our products are good value, that we should make a profit and that the customer is always right.” – “We Believe” from the Lush website

And as wonderful as Lush itself might be, it is still a perfect example of “green” capitalism that seeks continuous growth. This in spite of the fact that Lush continues to be a privately owned company (shareholders: Mark Constantine 37%, Margaret Constantine 25%, Andrew Gerrie 12%, others 26%). In February 2009, BNET reported: “British cosmetic retailerLush just opened its 100th store in the United States that also happened to be its 37th operating in a Macy’s, and, despite the recession, is looking forward to opening up to 30 more outlets in its current roll out across the country…. One benefit of recession, at least for Lush, is that better real estate is coming available as weaker retailers fail.”

As with most capitalists, no matter how profitable one venture such as Lush (702 locations in 44 countries worldwide) might be, the desire for additional wealth is insatiable. In 2007 in an article titled Mark Wolverton: Bath Bombs and Beer, the reporter writes: “A descendant of the founder of Wolverton Securities Ltd., Wolverton spent his high-school summers on the trading floor of the Vancouver Stock Exchange, fully expecting to step into a long career at the venerable brokerage firm. Today, he and his brother manage a real-estate portfolio that includes a number of downtown office buildings and West End residential buildings. More recently, he bought a brewery in Kamloops and partnered with Vancouver restaurateur Mark James to open brew pubs in Whistler, Yaletown, Surrey and North Vancouver.”

Wolverton: “The Body Shop has more than 2,000 stores in the US, and we have 104. So we have a lot of room to reach out and develop further. We will continue to add extensively to the store base, continue to deliver new brands to the customers, and create a much bigger following globally.”

It is interesting to note that the original founders of Lush were the Body Shop’s biggest supplier (under the business name “Constantine and Weir”) until 1994, when Body Shop bought them out for £6m. Then, after one failed concept (“Cosmetics to Go”) Lush emerged – to stay. In the 2007 Guardian article Lush couple with a shed load of ideas in an interview with Lush founder Mark Constantine, Constantine states: “There wasn’t the scope for all the bullshit. It was much more realistic. If you have got no money there is a constant focus on making a profit, which is so much more healthy.” … “In 2001 Lush tried to buy Body Shop and Mark bristles when recalling that his offer was dismissed by the Roddicks as “an early April Fool’s joke”. Upon making the official announcement that a bid by Lush (£175m) for the Body Shop was “speculation” Constantine added: “Lush is an ambitious company and we are looking at different ways to expand our business, either through wholly owned shops, deals or, indeed, through acquisitions.”

The Lush growth plan and sales as reported by the New Zealand Herald: As of August 2010 Lush had acquired 680 stores in 44 countries, including eight in NZ with plans to open 100 more in the next five years. In 2009 the revenue for Lush was $595 million. The Sunday Times Rich List estimates Mark Constantine’s monetary wealth at £50 million.

From the Wolverton Foundation website: “He [Mark Wolverton] graduated from B.C.I.T. in Financial Management in 1986 and worked alongside his father and brother in the expansion of their family-owned brokerage business, Wolverton Securities…. Recognizing the potential of the Lush brand, Mark moved out of the brokerage business in 1997 and began working full time for Lush. Mark and his wife Karen, embrace the challenge of the development and exploitation of the North American market for the Lush brand and hopes [sic]to work closely with the U.K. in the coordination of the brand globally.”

We can expect that the true success of the Lush campaign against the Canadian tar sands will be measured by whether consumers were convinced that Lush is greener and better than The Body Shop. (Incidentally, The Body Shop is now owned my multinational corporations L’Oréal, which continues to test on animals, and major human rights offender Nestlé, which owns 30% of L’Oréal.) After all, the Lush campaign won’t have the slightest effect against the tar sands, butit could help Lush surpass The Body Shop in socio-environmental branding.

“Lush didn’t tout its ethics much in the past, but as green initiatives become mainstream, and greenwashing more plentiful, the company has started to shine a light on its credentials as a values-based organization. In some cases, that means taking a highly visible stance on a social issue such as Canada’s controversial commercial seal hunt.” – from Do Good and Do Well, Retail Merchandisers, Strategy for Growth website

Unfortunately, no matter how beautifully packaged, how creamy, magnificent and “eco-friendly” a Lush product may be, at the end of the day, capital has only one imperative, and that is to grow. Under the current economic system, the ultimate measure of success is profit. Corporations exist to maximize profits while externalizing costs. That is their nature. They cannot behave otherwise. Waste, pollution, and ecological destruction are built into the system. A system that requires infinite growth cannot last forever on a finite planet defined by ecological and social limits. Market-driven growth is driving us toward collapse.

And, we must address the mining industry – listed as a key area of Wolverton Securities’ expertise and specialty. The track record of Canadian mining companies perpetrating exploitation in developing countries is most horrific.

Uploaded 13 June 2011: Testimony of Rosa Elbira: Gang-rapes at a Canadian-owned mine in Guatemala;Rosa Elbira and 10 other Mayan women were gang raped by security personnel at a mine in Guatemala during a violent eviction requested by Canadian mining company HMI Nickel (now owned by Canadian company HudBay Minerals). Rosa tells their story:

16 May 2011: From the Wolverton website under NEWS: Hudbay Minerals Releases First Quarter 2011 Results: “Hudbay Minerals Inc. (“Hudbay”, the “company”) today released its first quarter 2011 financial results. Net profit attributable to shareholders increased to $16.8 million or $0.11 per share in the first quarter of 2011, compared to $10.6 million, or $0.07 per share, during the first quarter of 2010.(http://bit.ly/jP4hS3)

The example above is just one example in thousands of the horrific abuses and murder of activists and Indigenous Peoples in which Canadian mining companies bear responsibility. At the same time, those most oppressed by the system and “free” markets will never have the ” luxury” of wasting $7.00 on a Lush bath bomb … nor, I believe, would they choose to do so. Surely the vulnerable and exploited would consider it the greatest of luxuries to simply have access to uncontaminated water for drinking – a basic human right. Water, free of contamination from mining, gas, oil and all other pollutants, is an impossibility within our industrialized capitalist system – in which both Lush and Wolverton Securities are key participants.

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

Tar Sands development edging closer in Trinidad and Tobago? | Rainforest Action Network

Tar Sands development edging closer in Trinidad and Tobago?

RBC appears at Trinidad government forum extolling their record in Canada’s tar sands

by Macdonald Stainsby

In December of 2010, Rainforest Action Network [RAN], issued a press release that was full of praise for the Royal Bank of Canada adopting a new framework around investments in companies involved in tar sands production.

RBC was coming under increasing pressure to end their investments in tar sands extraction, and on December 22nd of 2010 RAN announced an end to the campaign to force RBC to divest from tar sands production, citing a ‘victory’ when RBC announced their intentions to use Free Prior and Informed Consent [FPIC] in evaluating future investments in energy and related projects.

FPIC means many things, but the core component of the concept is the ‘right to say no’ to development on the part of an affected community. RBC uses many words to describe how they interpret FPIC– but the absolute right of a veto is nowhere in their description. “The policy also recognizes the importance of community relations, and in particular aboriginal community relations, in operating and growing a business, and we look at how our clients consult and meaningfully accommodate these communities,” said Gordon Nixon, the CEO of RBC in their announcement.

This is the same exact language used by the Federal government of Canada: the language of consultation and accommodation, which is different from Free, Prior and Informed Consent. That RBC wants to end the public pressure and remake their image as one of friendly to indigenous and frontline communities is of no surprise– but why would an organization like RAN want to help in this endeavor, and even go so far as to counsel other activists to “lay off for awhile”?1

This question of the impacts of RBC’s new policy was urgent from the get go of the RAN announcement– but is made even more urgent by the recent moves of RBC in Trinidad and Tobago– where the government has recently begun advertising for possible tar sands mining.

(The glossy advertisement from the current Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs for Trinidad and Tobago is available here.)

RBC involvement in Canadian tar sands has not abated, nor has there been any actual commitment to removing any level of investment, but RBC can now publicly state they have been given “applause” from the Rainforest Action Network in Canada. “RBC is raising the bar for the financial sector and signaling to oil and gas corporations that it is time to take environmental and human rights seriously,” said Brant Olson, campaign director of RAN, in a release applauding the policy.

RAN’s involvement in such a climb down has no small implications. Not only have many of the activists opposed to RBC tar sands investment become dormant, confusion about what exactly is Free, Prior and Informed Consent has been sewn. FPIC means the right to say no, something that the communities near tar sands in T&T have already done through social struggle to developments such as smelter plants and steel mills.

In Trinidad and Tobago, it was in 2009 (during the annual Carnival) that then Minister of Energy and Energy affairs Conrad Enil announced that the People’s National Movement [PNM] government would be opening tar sands mining to exploration. Previous work on deposit evaluation came from a joint venture consisting of Canadian based Western Oil Sands alongside T&T’s own Petrotrin in the early 2000s. After Marathon Energy of the US bought out Western Oil Sands the arrangement with Petrotrin was abandoned in 2008.

On February 13 of 2009, Enil announced exploration blocks of pilot projects extracting bitumen for synthetic petroleum production. During the announcement of licenses for the Parrylands and Guapo Field, Enil also stated that T&T was trying to follow the Canadian model, a model that people of all stripes across North America have labelled the most destructive industrial development on earth today.

Having seriously slowed down the campaign against them without divesting a single penny, RBC has moved on to other sources of energy revenue. Having bought the Royal Bank of Trinidad & Tobago [RBTT], RBC recently attended a “Green Business Forum” held by the T&T Environmental Management Authority [EMA] in Port of Spain (the capital of the Twin Island Nation).

RBC sent their “Director of Corporate Environmental Affairs” Sandra Odendahl to the forum, to tout their socially and environmentally responsible policies as potentially large investors in Trinidad and Tobago (one of 58 countries in which RBC operates).

As reported in the T&T Newsday on March 31, 2011 “Now that RBTT is part of the RBC umbrella, Odendahl would like to introduce RBC’s Capital Markets Policy (CMP) to TT, once the integration process has been completed. [….] It was developed after extensive stakeholder consultation, much of it headed by Odendahl, on Canada’s oil sands energy sector.”

The Royal Bank of Canada has received further publicity help from environmental organizations as well, with Odendahl recently appearing on panels held in Canadian cities alongside well-known environmental organizers to ostensibly debate whether bank funding for major industrial developments can be made socially responsible. Given the small attendance at such events, the appearance of environmental organizers along side Ms Odendahl will further help the RBC spokeswoman shore up the image of the bank that only months ago was in dire straits.

In the months right prior to the 2009 announcement around possible tar sands development in Trinidad’s South there was a major turning point in the so-called battle over tar sands in Canada. A campaign was launched by grassroots groups and environmental Non-Governmental Organizations [ENGOs] alike to force the hand of RBC out of their tar sands investments.

The campaign was effective, and RBC took serious hits to their credibility thanks to RAN and grassroots organizers– even going so far as to target the ostensibly green sensibilities of RBC chairman Gordon Nixon’s wife, Janet. In recent months RAN has ended their participation in the activist campaign against the Royal Bank of Canada.

Like Canada, in Trinidad and Tobago companies that wish to develop are required to go through a hearing process with affected communities. In the recent past Trinidad has seen such hearings into a now cancelled plan to construct an aluminium smelter in Southern Trinidad, the same region where bitumen deposits exist at a depth suitable to the energy industry for mining.

From Canada, with neither divestment nor the right to say no established for indigenous and frontline communities, RBC may attempt to start investments in Petrotrin for the development of tar sands in the south of the island. If such were to happen, RBC may try to use such applauded policy at the Trinidadian Environmental Management Authority [EMA].

In environmental struggles against industrial development in Trinidad the Rights Action Group has been front and centre as a part of the resistance. “The EMA said you had to have consultation, but really didn’t define what consultation was. So they would do something and say they had consultation,” said Rights Action Group executive Burton Sankeralli.

Regarding the piecemeal approach to approvals, Sankeralli says that the EMA would give licensees a certificate to clear, and a separate certificate to build, so they can clear without disclosing they will put there. This approach scattered the permitting process. “It would be like you were getting one certificate for the first project you were planning, another certificate for the port, another certificate for the power plant so it was like a jigsaw puzzle,” he said. “There was no overall assessment on cumulative impacts and all that, it was a mess.”

How the EMA holds such hearings would fit RBC fairly well.

“The environmental impact assessment [EIA] is done by a company hired by the corporation or the government agency who want the land cleared or who is putting up the structure. So they do the EIA and they anticipate the ending. And then they do the consultation. With this whole farce of consultations when the decision has been made and no clear things on all these consultations has been done,” said Sankeralli.

According to Attilah Springer, journalist at Gayelle TV in Trinidad,

“There was one extra consultation that happened which the head of the EMA attended. This meeting went on for about four hours and at some point somebody came up and said ‘Can you tell me what I said at 3:05pm?’, then it was discovered that nobody was taking notes. So there was this long meeting going on that was not being properly documented or recorded. At that point people had no more faith in the consultation process and realized that it was completely flawed.”

This breakdown led to more determined resistance to the Smelter outside of the consultation process.

“After the consultation began a new phase, outside the process that started with a replanting of areas cleared for the proposed smelter, in a buffer zone on the edge of the proposed site,” explained Springer. Also important in the resistance was community level cultural activities and gatherings.

“Culture played a huge role in everything that we did and we used a lot of things in our cultural landscape to drive the point home.”

When permits were granted resistance did not stop, but increased. Springer explains in this quote:

“It was soon after that it was announced that the CEC had been granted and that’s when the shit really hit the fan and things went into high gear and there were protests and general wildness that I don’t think it’s appropriate to talk about considering some of the parties involved are still alive.

People would go on the site, you know, and liberate things… a lot of the stuff that happened we didn’t share information on.”

“What started happening was that the government of the day started to accuse some of the more prominent environmental activists of being outsiders, when the case was that these communities had asked for help. Here you had two communities that absolutely and unequivocally said to Hell with Y’all and Hell no.

Nobody was ever convinced that the EMA was concerned with protecting the interests of communities.”

The EMA is now getting ready to help the RBC use their recently applauded “policy” developed around tar sands for effected communities in Trinidad. Despite the retreat of RAN, and the greenwashing of tar sands projects in Canada, perhaps the first victory against tar sands developments will take place in the Caribbean– which would not only protect dwindling water supplies and the forests themselves near La Brea, it may indeed help Canada reverse course on the tar sands gigaproject right from the global ground zero of Alberta, where a global fate tied to locking into the worst fossil fuel developments around the planet has begun to export.

Macdonald Stainsby is a freelance journalist, social justice activist and the coordinator of http://oilsandstruth.org. He can be reached at mstainsby@resist.ca

1 http://understory.ran.org/2010/12/22/rbc-takes-a-step-away-from-tar-sands/ (note comment below article, also written by Brant Olson)

http://www.mediacoop.ca/story/tar-sands-development-edging-closer-trinidad-and-tobago/7003