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The Green Economy as a Continuation of War by Other Means

CNS Web

February 2, 2016

by Alexander Dunlap

 

NO MEANS NO TO GREEN IMPERIALISM

 

The following essay has been modified from a speech given at the 10th Conference of Critical Justice in Latin America (X Conferencia Latinoamericana de Crítica Jurídica) on April 23, 2015 on a panel titled: “Rights, Dependency and Capitalist Accumulation in Latin America” (Mesa Derecho, dependencia y acumulación capitalista en América Latina). This speech was based on the paper, “The Militarisation and Marketisation of Nature: An Alternative Lens to ‘Climate-Conflict,’” (Geopolitics, 2014) while also building from it, discussing some examples from wind turbine development in the coastal area of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region in Oaxaca Mexico, known as the Istmo.

When we speak about “anthropogenic climate change,” we speak about climate change that is intimately linked to our modern or industrial lifestyles, ones that feel like a routine of jumping through and between boxes: The box shape of the house to the rolling rectangle of the bus, which leads us to work, back to the car, then to the bar, back home, to the computer before bed, and finally, to the rest that anticipates repeating this routine all over again, with hopes of something different for the weekend. In its most simple and basic form, this is the process of anthropogenic climate change. It reeks of the depressing problem of everyday social control and daily confinement within this box system.

What these lifestyles are dependent on are a series of systemic processes: those of industrial waste that result from mining, oil extraction, electricity generation, cars, concrete, asphalt, electronics, and the list goes on. And climate change is really just the result of needing to make this list of resource extraction and technologies grow for the last two hundred years, while intertwining this need with our daily lives.

So when we understand climate change as an issue that is bigger than us, it prevents reflection, inhibits agency, and sends the message that only governments, corporations and NGOs can stop this phenomenon. Yet these institutions’ mitigation and security practices only serve to reinforce global environmental degradation, for the mainstream framework of climate change, while acknowledging a cumulative problem, also projects submission to authority and governing structures that have created new “dystopian markets” with ideas of geo-engineering (see Simon Dalby’s “Geoengineering: The Next Era of Geopolitics?” Geography Compass, 2015).

As I hope to show in the lines that follow, we must acknowledge that climate change has been wielded as a neoliberal weapon to create the idea of the “green economy” in the hopes of maintaining the state and growing economies. These are processes that continue land conflict and pacification through climate change mitigation initiatives and an environmental ethic with various notions of sustainability.

“Green grabbing”

Mainstream notions that seek to address climate change are deeply intertwined with ideas of sustainable development that emerged in the 1970s with the Club of Rome and the 1987 United Nations’ (UN) report Our Common Future, where it was recognized that industrial development had to soften and change its course otherwise it would destroy itself and many of the people dependent on it.

The 1992 Rio+20 Earth Summit recognized climate change and biodiversity loss as critical issues, which would lead to the creation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It would then give way to the 1997 Kyoto protocol that decided market mechanisms would be the principle way forward to mitigate the problem of climate change and biodiversity loss.

Now enters the notion of Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) that has sought to integrate market processes into the natural environment to dissect and quantify it, so that corporations and philanthropists can pay to keep forests standing and “natural resources” intact.

For businessmen and stupid environmentalists alike, these proposals have been called a “win-win” solution. These areas have been cordoned off on the false and historically genocidal premise of “pristine” or “wild nature,” which claims that humans but specifically indigenous peoples cannot live in forests if they are to be “saved”, conserved, and maintained as “pristine.” As I hope many know, this is contrary to the historical record as many indigenous people made the pristine forests of the Amazon and the world (see my previous work with James Fairhead: “The Militarisation and Marketisation of Nature,” Geopolitics, 2014.)

These are the same areas that are now the new frontiers of capital investment; these new measures and market mechanisms have now made new markets out of trees, plants, and animal life with notions of “carbon sequestration” and “biodiversity.” These novel and strange terms are used to measure and quantify the natural environment and support the commodification and transformation of larger and “exotic” wildlife into a spectacle for office workers and the wealthy with the rise of ecotourism.

Most recently we have the “green market” as the latest pretext to take over land, displace native groups, and create new sustainable development initiatives while powering the cities and factories with renewable energy, often in the name of slowing anthropogenic climate change. Journalist John Vidal has dubbed this capture of land through sustainable development using an environmental rational as “green grabbing,” gesturing to a shared logic of “land grabbing” Marx once termed to describe the systematic theft of communal property from the 15th to 19th centuries.

It is no surprise that these friendly and environmentally conscious ideas have continued the trajectory of the industrial economy, for there was never once a reflection about slowing this industrial cancer that has become so common.

The green economy as counterinsurgency

We should also remember that the history of state craft, development, and the market has been firmly rooted in waging a war for the submission and acquiescence of people and the natural environment into its organizational structure and growth. Nancy Peluso and Peter Vandergeest have shown how geographical landscapes and towns are built on campaigns of widespread terror against both people and the natural environment, whether in colonial, post-colonial or democratic countries (“Political Ecologies of War and Forests: Counterinsurgencies and the Making of National Natures,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 2011).

Terrorizing unruly people into submission has always been a perquisite for all states to establish a territory and gain a grasp on, and make legible the people, forest, minerals and animals of “the nation”—after all, the kings, empires and states claimed it as their own and because we were their “subjects” this was never a problem, right? This means that if people are not revolting, they are submitting to a claim brought upon them, and this claim was always met with resistance.

The people and the forest worked together to wage every type of insurgency against the colonial, post-colonial and democratic regimes in different times and places in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. In general, one can see a pattern that required all states to terrorize and traumatize people through campaigns of counterinsurgency warfare, resettlement campaigns into suburban style villages, cities, and factories with an overall goal to corral and integrate people into “modern” work, national culture and the demands of the economy. Indeed, all states have been at war to subjugate and colonize the people of their “territory” to the imperatives of its organization, which demarcated “Jungles” wild, from “forests” controlled, and forests from agriculture, regimenting every aspect of life and environment to the principle of separations inherent in scientific method. It is under this history of war that the economy and now the green economy stands.

Placing the green economy within the framework of counterinsurgency, the leading theory of state sanctioned pacification, is insightful in this regard. For example, David Kilcullen, Lieutenant Colonel in the Australian Army and a leading counterinsurgency strategist, defines counterinsurgency as “a competition with the insurgent for the right and ability to win the hearts, minds and acquiescence of the population” (“Twenty-Eight Articles: Fundamentals of Company-Level Counterinsurgency,” 2006 [PDF]). Here, the term “hearts” is described as “persuading people their best interests are served by your success,” and the term “minds,” as “convincing them that you can protect them, and that resisting you is pointless.” The green economy is thus an advancement in capturing people to rally for the survival of the economy and business imperatives of the state and its corporate partners—and this in both the city and countryside.

Inclusionary control as pre-emptive pacification

By now, most people have formed their identities and habits around this industrial system, and are attracted to ideas about carbon and biodiversity offsetting, participatory conservation, and renewable energy that provide us with illusions that life and the economy can co-exist. But in many ways this is not true.

Taking the Barra de Santa Teresa near where I live as an example, Mareña Renovables/Eólica del Sur wants to build upwards of hundred industrial wind turbines (aerogeneradore), on a scared and rare ecological zone that took 10,000 years to form, but guess what? The Barra is made of sand and vegetation, which means they will have to pour around a kilometer or possibly more of concrete for their foundations—individually for around one-hundred industrial wind turbines. This is an insane amount of concrete that will no doubt destroy the water table, and create an excess of sand, which as I was told by coastal ecologist, Patricia Mora, “will be total ecological devastation.”

The green economy is advancing techniques of “inclusionary control,” which is a way to include more humans and non-human lives into state and market structures. However, the mid-to-long-term interest of people is to not take the money or questionable promises of jobs, but to get rid of these structures and rehabilitate the land with healthy soil, fruit trees, and animals so they can secure food, shelter, and work to build healthy environments.

Inclusionary control is counterinsurgency and the art of preemptive pacification, which is the art of including people to exclude and neglect their structural grievances—no/crap jobs, no/crap education, drinking toxic waste, police violence, and the standardization of life (the box system) and so on— that is inherent in states, economies and capitalism of every brand. It is why the importance of transforming one’s task into improving the environment is multiplied tenfold if people also value their cultures, land, and lifestyles not being entirely dependent on the economy.

Free, Prior and Informed Consent as Inclusionary Control

An interesting mechanism that is being deployed in the Istmo right now, in the struggle over the invasion of thousands of wind turbines, is the UN’s Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) procedure, which is mandatory for signatory nations to conduct when constructing development projects on indigenous lands and communities. This mechanism, a success after years of struggle for indigenous recognition, could be important for stalling and fighting megaprojects.

Nevertheless, if people are not conscious, if they are divided and fighting each other—the goal of all governments, corporations and drug dealers alike—then this mechanism can be used by corporate-state alliances to pacify people with the feeling that they are being heard, included, and consulted. It will then reaffirm the strong mythology of democracy that everyone wants to desperately believe in.

But for some reason, whether democracy or dictatorship, people are never really permitted the simple answer: No, we do not want these projects here. No we do not want a form of development that is our submission to factories, migration, and mechanized labor. Rights create constructs of illusion that will always mediate the power of people through states and as I am watching now, FPIC is in a way similar to a ceasefire that allows the deception and fragmentation of people in resistance, while the state, companies and unions can re-strategize and regroup their forces.

Likewise, as I have argued in another paper about UN-REDD+, FPIC is equivalent to an indigenous Miranda Rights (“The Expanding Techniques of Progress: Agricultural Biotechnology and UN-REDD+,”Crossmark, 2014). Miranda rights in the United States are your rights once you have been arrested—“you have the right to remain silent, seek legal counsel,” and so on. In the case with the FPIC in the Istmo, it tells people that you have the right to be consulted by experts, to voice your grievances, and fight for jobs, but while we talk 18 parks are being constructed, with more planned on top of Ejidos and communal land [Silvia Chavela Rivas, “Eólicas: ocaso o resplandor?” 2015 [PDF, Spanish]).

In short, people are being arrested to the imperatives of economic growth and industrial expansion that will destroy life, make alternatives more difficult and create the collective fate of shuffling papers, pimping plastic and flipping burgers—a fate that is already a reality for many, many who often do not care about wind turbines and whose desires and projectuality tend to mimic what is televised in soap operas and music videos.

FPIC is a way to implicate people and hang them with their own participation and rights, when really people have their best interest in rejecting all mediation by state and corporate structures and coming together to create alternative projects, perspectives and even ‘jobs’—since this is a selling point for wind turbines in the region—to improve their lives, but in the end, the hierarches supported by the state and the powers that they bear will not let them without a brutal fight.

War is complex and the green economy is advancing land acquisition and displacement, claiming to fight environmental degradation, while simultaneously advancing it. It is nothing short than crazy, and it is a type of psychosis built in the fantasies of the American or development dream that either are not true for many, hollow for those who achieve it, or maybe it is the answer to everything. Either way, regardless of the different trajectories everyone will still be working to propel the modern industrial system. Probably in an office or some type of building, losing your vision and breath to a computer, trapped in a toxic environments, when really humans should probably be working for healthy, happier and freer lives and we must acknowledge that freedom is disingenuous when it is capturing and killing the people around you, both human and non-human alike.

 

[Alexander Dunlap is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. His current research focuses on the social impact of wind energy projects in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico. He can be contacted at a.d.dunlap@vu.nl]

Standing Rock: Profusion, Collusion & Big Money Profits [Part 6 | Conclusion]

Wrong Kind of Green

December 14, 2016

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

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

 

To conclude the series, Cory Morningstar and Forrest Palmer wrap up their deep and thorough analysis of the detour and smokescreens the current and carefully engineered, “clean energy revolution” has traversed. The mass movement meant to corral “millennials” and well-intentioned citizens to get in step with the 21st century is not meant to end the reliance on fossil fuel, only to transform the package. Profits are still reaped but at who’s expense? Manufactured activism thrives at the NGO, corporate and individual level in order to sustain the wolves in sheep clothing who are the Executive Directors, Hedge Fund managers, Philanthropists and private Investors….all profiteers in one sense or another. Corporate warfare is being waged via the most gentle form of soft power. The non-profit industrial complex is the clearinghouse for the distribution of these soft power mechanisms. Collectively, Western society has been conditioned to believe that anthropocentrism is environmentalism and anthropocentrists are environmental activists. It is quite possible that this may be one of the best examples of successful social engineering to date, as financed by the world’s most powerful oligarchs.

 

Coloured Devolutions

Environmentalism is dead. Today we bear witness to 21st century anthropocentrism.  The goal is no longer to protect nature and all living things. In stark contrast, the goal is to now propel technology at the expense of nature and all living things. A “clean energy revolution”, at the expense of what little remains of nature and non-human life, for the gratification of human desires. In this sense western societies have collectively devolved to the most contemptible depths imaginable. Yet, as a conditioned society, few notice. As always, youth are targeted and groomed, the sacrificial lambs for continued capitalism. [Further reading: From Stable to Starr-The Making of North American Climate Heroes]#HerdingSheep

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Wear blue. Wear red. Wear yellow. Photos-ops. Branding. Playful gimmicks for the bored, privileged masses. Those with the highest social metrics receive the most funding. It’s a race. A race to the bottom.

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Flood Wall Street marketing: Wear blue. #Other98

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Flood Wall Street marketing: Wear blue. #Other98

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Flood Wall Street marketing: Wear blue. #Other98

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Climate March Delhi India, September 2014. Wear blue.

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Standing Rock marketing. Wear blue. #Other98

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Wear Red: Red Lines for Climate Actions Manual, COP21, Paris. [No matter what action you do, please also share your action on social media so the rest of the world can see it. Take a photo or video and post on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook (if it’s on Facebook, please make sure it’s public)  and then use make sure you add #D12 or #redlines. You can also send an email to socialmedia@350.org”][Source]

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COP21. The above photograph appears in an article titled “Indigenous Peoples Take Lead at D12 Day of Action in Paris – Official response to COP21 agreement”. 350.org’s “red” campaign is interwoven into the statement. [Source] The reality is that Indigenous Peoples are used as photo-ops by NGOs to advance an elite and patriarchal agenda that only propels further Indigenous genocide.

 “The process of influencing a mass audience to respond reflexively to induced prompts — like marching in parades or flooding financial districts wearing the color blue — requires looking beyond the civil society fad of I-pad revolution, and examining modern social “movements” as cults. Icons like Klein are as interchangeable as Hollywood starlets, but mass hypnosis of social activists by Wall Street titans using foundation-funded NGO is a troubling development.”— HIJACKING THE ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT, April 25, 2016

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The Bishnoi: Eco Warriors Since the 15th Century (India)  – In 1730, 363 Bishnoi men, women and children gave their lives to protect trees from being lumbered to build Maharajah Abhay Singh of Jodhpur’s new palace.

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Solar Technology  | Marketing in 21st century anthropocentrism

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To prevent the king’s men from cutting down their forest, Bishnoi men, women and children gathered around the trees and hugged them.

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Wind turbine technology | Marketing in 21st century anthropocentrism

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This tragic event, known as the Khejarli Massacre, is also the first recorded event of the Chipko movement (hugging trees to prevent destruction, or just to love them) in history… long before the 1970s. [Source] Today we chop trees down for “green” biomass, solar and wind projects.

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The new environmentalism created by the NPIC. Climate March Delhi India, September 2014. Wear yellow.

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Avaaz climate campaign

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The above image captures the dreams and aspirations of 21st century anthropocentrism: solar, wind, wealth. Nature is virtually non-existent in the “climate factory” poster. It floats in the background as an afterthought.

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Above: 350.org style guide: “Focus on people. Whenever possible, use visuals to emphasize that climate is a real, tangible human problem – not an abstract ecological issue.”

Collectively, Western society has been conditioned to believe that anthropocentrism is environmentalism and anthropocentrists are environmental activists. It is quite possible that this may be one of the best examples of successful social engineering to date, as financed by the world’s most powerful oligarchs.

Storytelling has always served as an integral, influential and dynamic component of human development and evolution. Today our stories are being scripted by those in power and used as subtly persuasive but powerful weapons – against ourselves. Whereas in the past environmentalism was the fight to protect nature and non-human life, today’s anthropocentrism serves to protect first world privilege, human life (Anglo) – at the EXPENSE of nature and non-human life (as well as non-Anglo human life). Today storytelling is a key component of behavioural change experts, marketing executives and NGOs who employ effective storytelling to sell us anything they wish, inclusive of death and war. [SYRIA: Avaaz, Purpose & the Art of Selling Hate for Empire] Yet, in this sense, we could categorize these soft-power “movements” as those that fall in the category of “colour revolutions”.

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Greenpeace and Tcktcktck volunteers raise a wind turbine on the beach at dawn in Durban, South Africa. To send a message of hope for the latest round of UN climate change talks opening here on Monday. Campaigners say Durban must be a new dawn for the international negotiations to agree a fair, ambitious and legally binding treaty to avert climate chaos. They are demanding that politicians stop listening to the polluting corporations and listen to the people who want an end to our dependence on fossil fuels. Africa is on the front line of dangerous climate change, with millions already suffering the impacts through increased drought and extreme weather events, threatening lives and food security.

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CONCLUSION: Manufactured Activism & Rebranding Control of Dissent

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Militarism and Genocide in Exchange for the Maintaining of Privilege – An Agreed Upon Alibi

Collectively, American citizens have been most tolerant of a buildup of fascism and militarism over the past years and decades. Providing this is carried out in a somewhat covert manner with a charismatic veneer (The Obama administration/democrats) it is not only acceptable, but has resulted in a pro-war “left” that has cheered on (or been silent on) illegal invasions, occupations and coups throughout the middle east and global south. However when the same blatant racism, classism and fascism is carried out by an openly fascist leader (who lacks the political correctness that the imperial-liberal left demands) the same imperial-liberal left brigade cries a river of crocodile tears.

In this same way, American citizens have been most tolerant of the Bakken genocide that feeds their oil addiction and ensures their highly consumptive lifestyle, and most importantly, ensures their privilege remains intact. This is an unspoken known. How many Americans  actually recoiled at the words of Madeline Albright “we think the price is worth it” in response to the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children? The ugly truth is, we are willing to participate, to stay silent, provided we are guaranteed the right to pretend otherwise. As just one example consider the ongoing and endless Congo holocaust to service our tech desires. The response is silence. Collectively it is understood and agreed upon that “we think the price is worth it.” We want our technology. New cell phones, computers, renewable energies, electric cars. Like the Obama charisma that created a veneer of fabricated  innocence and American exceptionalism, giving imperial-left liberals full license to ignore the millions that have suffered and died under his murderous administration, the NODAPL gives license to imperial-left liberals to appropriate a similar alibi. We can brand ourselves as moral citizens standing in unity with Indigenous nations, all while we maintain and propel a system that promises further genocide to Indigenous people in the Bakken and throughout the globe.

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Win! Credit: Solar Mosaic and US Department of Defense | “The US military knows better than anyone the importance of energy independence,” Mosaic president Billy Parish was quoted in a company press release. “Mosaic is pleased to offer more Americans the opportunity to tangibly support this by investing in rooftop solar energy for military families. As a father, I’m working everyday to create a secure home, nation, and planet for my children.” [Source]

Once again, the NPIC is succeeding at sanitizing a critical discussion that should be centered on Indigenous peoples and an ongoing Indigenous genocide due to colonization, assimilation and industrialization (which NGOs will only further via global campaigns for “clean” energy). Instead of focusing on these issues as well the key issue of sovereignty, the NPIC works to ensure the masses focus on a singular pipeline, a subterfuge to marginalize and reframe all systemic issues. We focus on the transportation method of oil (in this case, again, a pipeline) rather than what is the driving force of oil itself. What we do not touch upon and what is never discussed is the question of who benefits – at the expense of what groups and nations of people are sacrificed. Nor does non-human life enter the discussion, let alone the thought-process whatsoever. This is due to the fact the environmental movement that materialized decades ago is now obsolete. Via the conditioning of our societies and the non-profit industrial complex who work at the bequest of their elite financiers, cultivated “activists” are in truth anthropocentrists. Manufactured “activism” today must be re-defined as full blown anthropocentrism en masse. Today’s 21st century “activism” (anthropocentrism), has nothing to do with the protection of nature, of Earth, or her non-human inhabitants. Further, this “green” anthropocentrism, born of European-American ideologies shaped, molded, and nurtured by elite power structures, is an anthropocentrism that believes in, and caters to white supremacy, even if this belief is subconscious or subtle (aversive racism).

Today’s 21st century anthropocentrism is given more credence when barely an eyebrow is raised by the fact that NGOs now partner with and aid militarism [October 14, 2016: A Cynical Environmentalism: Protecting Nature to Prepare for War] and even produce terrorist factions under the guise of humanitarian assistance. One key question is this: why do we remain blind to the fact that NGOs who push for a new global infrastructure of “clean” energy are financed to further advance imperialism?

October 14, 2016 from the article: A Cynical Environmentalism: Protecting Nature to Prepare for War:

 “Altendorf was speaking on September 5 in Honolulu, Hawaii, at a panel discussion hosted by the US State Department entitled “Department of Defense Conservation: A Good News Story.” The event was held at the US Pavilion of the World Conservation Congress (WCC), a gathering organized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This year’s WCC, attended by over 10,000 conservationists, scientists, government leaders, NGOs and members of civil society from 192 countries, also included representatives of the Army, Navy and Air Force who were eager to talk about caring for the natural world.” — A Cynical Environmentalism: Protecting Nature to Prepare for War, October 14, 2016

“By rebranding itself as a guardian of nature, the military improves its own public image and achieves a veneer of unassailability while bolstering its primary mission, which is, of course, the ability to wage war. In reality, war’s brutal and merciless goal of domination and control is the furthest thing imaginable from nurturing or preservation.” [Source]

Remix: : “By rebranding itself as a guardian of Indigenous sovereignty, the non-profit industrial complex improves its own public image and achieves a veneer of unassailability while bolstering its primary mission, which is, of course, the ability to protect current power structures. In reality, the oligarchies merciless goal of domination and control is the furthest thing imaginable from nurturing or preservation.”

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Revolution doesn’t always come in the form of a gun nor does enslavement always come by way of man. The 21st century version of colonialism has found a new weapon in NGOs.

The last word goes to Assata Shakur: “Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of people who oppressing them.”

 

Epilogue

The Army Corps Of Engineers having announced a pause in the development of the Dakota Access Pipeline has prompted 350.org’s Bill McKibben to declare a “a smashing victory” for Indigenous activists, “one that shows what nonviolent unity can accomplish.” This sentence alone, which further romanticizes “nonviolent direct action” (the key talking point of the entire campaign), prompts critical questions deserving of critical analysis.

On the surface, this appears to be a victory for Indigenous sovereignty (albeit if only temporary). However, a rerouting of the final segment of this particular pipeline (87% completed) is not a victory to the Earth in any way, shape or form. The chair of the Standing Rock tribe was clear in his statement that the rerouting of the pipeline was all that was required to make the situation go away (Oct 28, 2016: “Reroute this pipeline, and this will all go away.”) So why did NGOs – that have never shown any meaningful interest in the welfare or land rights of Indigenous peoples nor their sovereignty, worm their way into this particular Indigenous struggle?

Many questions arise. Was this decision made simply to completely disperse the growing crowds that took many months to mobilize, in order to commence construction at a later date with no remaining resistance? Will the application simply be resubmitted in a few weeks time to be approved under the Trump administration?  Will the protest be utilized to stall the pipeline, protecting the interests of Warren Buffett’s BNSF (crude via rail)? A few thing are certain. One: In a global economy close to stall speed, amidst a world swimming in excess oil, there is no urgency for the completion of this pipeline. Two: Warren Buffett’s BNSF profits are already taking a hit. The completion of the Dakota Access (like KXL) would further impact BNSF profits in a slowing economy. Three: Buffett has funneled well over 30 million dollars through his family’s foundation (NoVo) into the Tides Foundation which then disperses the funds amongst selected NGOs carrying out anti-pipeline campaigns.

Regardless, elite powers including the Clinton Global Initiative, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and the Bush Foundation have a new billion dollar model for rolling out the third industrial revolution under the guise of “clean energy”. The tribes are key. A model for the continued pillaging of the planet, under a protective, if not scared, Indigenous veneer. The capitalists have finally found a use for the Indigenous nations. Continued patriarchy and imperialism repackaged as matriarchal self-reliance. Reflect upon the fact that 90 trillion dollars are required to build the “new economy” infrastructure. The fact that this very industrialization (from 1740 to today) has brought us to the precipice of our own extinction is altogether lost. The race for what little remains of our ruthlessly plundered planet accelerates.

We have entered the 21st century where social engineering via behavioural change expertise has become paramount in shaping whole societies to the desires of global hegemony. Corporate warfare is being waged via the most gentle form of soft power. The non-profit industrial complex is the clearinghouse for the distribution of these soft power mechanisms. The Standing Rock protests have undoubtedly served as an experiment in the study of manipulation, conformity, obedience,  assimilation and neocolonialism. Consider the organizing surrounding the Standing Rock protest has been referred to as “a template” for the future by 350.org executive director May Boeve.

This is not to suggest that this campaign was engineered (or co-opted) from inception exclusively for experimental/observational purposes (although this too is possible).  Rather, it is more probable, that once underway it was recognized as a prime opportunity for the NGOs (extensions of elite power) that comprise the non-profit industrial complex, to apply, test and observe methods of manipulation and exploitation following their initial engagement. Although this hypothesis may sound implausible to some, the fact that the NPIC has begun its foray into training programs across the globe, makes such speculation both sound and rational.

Can citizens of other cultures, in other countries, many/most of non-Anglo descent, be coerced to disregard and ultimately disband their own traditions, customs, beliefs, by their own will, in exchange for American ideologies? To achieve this, without force, surely is a most effective method. What better way to observe the successes and failures of such a mission than Standing Rock. A separate and distinct culture, right here on (stolen) American soil.

Akin to the global contagion of both Christianity and Catholicism, can a global belief in “the new economy” as constructed and desired by elite powers also be pounded into the masses? Can the masses be conditioned to live and breathe this ideology like are we breathe – without notice? Can a pathology of pacifism be reconstructed as sacrosanct – where non-obedience to the pacifist dogma would be paramount to the seven deadly sins?

This is sought occupation, not physical, but of hearts and minds. Which will undoubtedly prove far more powerful than physical occupation of lands and citizens via force. Obedience and subservience are in fact the pathway to the “new economy”.  This series has attempted to give readers a glimpse into how this is to be achieved and for what purpose. 

 

 

 

 

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]

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

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

Standing Rock: Profusion, Collusion & Big Money Profits [Part 5]

Down the Bunny Hole

Public Good Project

December 6, 2016

By Jay Taber

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Alice in Wonderland (1903)

In episode two of Deconstructing the Non-Profit Industrial Complex, investigative journalists Vanessa Beeley and Cory Morningstar join social commentator Forrest Palmer in a discussion about the networked psychological warfare exercised by the military-humanitarian-industrial complex against the peace movement. Citing ‘Alice in Wonderland’ examples of netwar–where Islamic terrorists are nominated for “right livelihood” awards–they probe the purpose behind the merging of intelligence agencies with Wall Street-corrupted NGOs and public relations firms. Exploring popular identification with the cult of celebrity, they examine the phenomenon of mass hypnosis by such entities as MoveOn, Avaaz and Purpose in producing the White Helmets–an al-Qaeda affiliate featured in an Academy Award-nominated film at Netflix.

 

[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.]

 

FLASHBACK | Fabric of Identity

The Destructive Energy of Avaaz

Digital remix by: Luke Orsborne for Wrong Kind of Green

October 17, 2016

avaaz-nfz-propaganda

This remix of artist James Jean’s poster for the Avaaz People’s Climate March retains Jean’s focus on a girl holding a pinwheel, which now bears a shattered peace symbol, cut by bolt of destructive energy from above. In this revision, the pinwheel alludes to the way in which the false promises of “green” energy touted by non profits like Avaaz, are overshadowed by the global system that they ultimately support, a system which continues to exploit people and the planet in the name of economic growth and warfare backed profit. The light behind the girl symbolizes the explosion of bombs falling on the people of Libya, Syria, and other sites of US aggression, and those that may yet fall with increasing intensity in the event of the imposition of a no-fly zone in Syria, for which Avaaz is advocating. The precipice the girl is standing upon, a thin line between survival and total destruction, is the bombed out Libyan capital of Tripoli, which embodies the bitter reality of a world that is more interested in maintaining comfortable illusions than confronting difficult truths. Ironically, James Jean’s original poster design for the 2014 ad campaign was a winning entry in a contest initiated by Avaaz and co-produced by a group known as Art Not War.

 

 

The Alternative View Conference: Vanessa Beeley on the NGO Complex

The Wall Will Fall

April 10, 2016

by Vanessa Beeley

 

AV7 Speakers Collage_2

On the 13/14/15th May 2016 I have the honour to be speaking alongside some very distinguished analysts and researchers at the Alternative View 7 Conference in Milton Keynes, UK

Alternative View UK

 

THE NGO SOFT POWER COMPLEX: 

HUMANITARIANS OR “EXECUTIONERS”?

 

We live in a world governed by propaganda where the majority of media mouthpieces are gagged by those who own them and only permitted to release information that serves the narrative of the ruling elite or Imperialist powers.

We know that our governments lie.  We know that our media channels lie.  We search for integrity and truth among the rubble of propaganda.  We want to pin our hopes on a power for “good”.

So what does the machine create?  It creates a power for good in its own image.  It creates the Non Government Organisations, the Not for Profit Industrial Complex [NPIC] to give us the illusion, not only of this power for good, but of our own empowerment, our own stakeholding in reducing the misery being inflicted upon Humanity.

The problem reveals itself when we consider who does actually fund & create these flagships of philanthropy.  The problem lies with the foundations and government think tanks who have their hands firmly on the helm and direct the ship where they want it to go.  Do we really believe that these funders, donors and backers will sail the ship into waters where they risk capsizing their own objectives?

In this role, and dependent upon their donor support, NGOs cease to be the neutral, unbiased ‘humanitarian’ organisations they publicly purport to be, and instead become actual covert tools for foreign intervention and regime change.  By default, they are assimilated into the Western modus vivendi of “waging war by way of deception” and their purpose is to alter public perception of a conflict via a multitude of media and “marketing” channels.

My focus will be on Syria to demonstrate the blueprint used by the Axis of Interventionism and “regime change” to create a two headed coin of destruction.  On the one side is their own Frankenstein monster with its unique market branding:  Al Nusra, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Khorasan and on the other side, supposedly pitted against all form of brutality and evil authoritarianism is the ubiquitous NGO, in situ despite all risk to themselves to “save all Humanity from the evil regime”.

I will demonstrate that when the “soft power” missionary complex is in the same hands as the “hard power industrial/military” complex…they are two sides of the same coin..overtly opposing and covertly combining to achieve Imperialist aims in any given target region or nation. The NGO complex is THE most insidious tool of empire and arguably the most damaging.

“Syria is one of the biggest propaganda schemes of our time. When the dust settles, if it does, it will be revealed” – Professor AbuKhalil

 

Energy Crisis and Social Crisis: The So-called “Energy Transition”

March 13 2014

by Miquel Amoro?s

Energy crisis and social crisis – Miquel Amoro?s

An essay calling attention to the crucial importance of energy resources and technologies in modern society and the looming energy crisis that the author predicts will be the opportunity for real social renewal based on libertarian and ecological principles.

Energy Crisis and Social Crisis – Miquel Amorós

Every sector of the economy depends on it: energy of one kind or another. Energy makes the world go round and the power that rules the world is linked to the way energy is produced and consumed. The capitalist regime did not really gain momentum until the steam engine and the energy produced by the combustion of coal could be harnessed to industry. The initial dependence on coal was the cause of the vast size and appalling filth of the first industrial factories and cities; as the basis of the productive process, this dependence was responsible for the centralization of the entire system and the intensive exploitation of labor power. The internal combustion engine and the turbine put an end to the rule of coal, but not to the basic characteristics of society that had been created by it. Although the generalized use of electricity and gasoline made production more flexible and extended the range of consumption, facilitating the decentralization of factory production and the unlimited geographical expansion of the cities, social development continued to proceed within the framework that had been established by “carboniferous” capitalism: not only was the model of concentrated and hierarchical power maintained, but it was further reinforced by the new technologies. The refinement of machine production only reduced the role of the workers in the productive process, intensified exploitation and stabilized the class order. The new technologies consolidated class society and reinforced the foundations of domination.

Petroleum and electricity allowed productive activities to be relocated far from primary energy sources, that is, they capitalized the world. The extreme separation between the production and consumption of energy made transport the main strategic factor and at the same time the weak link of the system. Any serious disruption in the energy supply would cause all of society to collapse very quickly. Capitalism cannot exist without an extremely robust privatized distribution network to connect energy sources, which are under the control of financial enterprises or state-based mafias, with their consumer hostages. The expropriation of energy resources is a most instructive characteristic of social inequality: the proletarian from this perspective is the person who does not have unrestricted access to free energy. This explains why the ruling class strives to maintain the private ownership of energy resources and thus to keep the population in the most complete dependence. By fighting against the socialization of energy resources, locally controlled power generation and distribution networks and consumption, the ruling class is simply defending its social status.

Without cheap, inexhaustible and easily accessible energy, industrial society cannot continue to grow. The ruling class became aware of this “energy reality” when oil prices spiked after the creation of OPEC in 1973. The response was two-pronged: on the one hand, massive investments in nuclear power; on the other, the arms race of the great powers that was required by geopolitics, that is, the art of controlling of the world’s main oil and gas fields. The militarization of the world became indispensable for the system’s survival. This was a deliberate choice: it was the only way that power and servitude could be maintained.

During the 1970s and 1980s the market economy was subjected to an intensive restructuring process. The new type of capitalism, based on major technological breakthroughs and the deregulation of the labor and financial markets, displayed the special characteristic, unlike previous types, of not being susceptible to self-management. Although the spectacular development of the forces of order and the methods of population control render the prospect of victorious popular revolts quite improbable, even if such a thing were to occur, these new developments make it likely that the new society would inherit the worst kind of situation. The expropriation of the means of production would not accomplish anything, since the system cannot be socialized, because those who would have to implement such a program would be compelled to reproduce all its features and all its defects. They would be forced to reproduce the social relations that such a system necessarily entails. Authoritarianism, bureaucracy, waste, techno-party-ocracy, division of labor, and the dependence and artificiality of a lifestyle based on the private automobile would remain intact if only the developmentalist tendencies and the form of property are changed, without changing the very nature of the system. The latter must be completely dismantled and reconstructed on new foundations. This will be the main goal of future revolutions.

In a context like the current one, so favorable for control and militarization, the state has become more necessary than ever, since absolute obedience to the ruling interests is no longer an option—it has become compulsory. The limited supplies of energy resources, entering into conflict with the unlimited demand unleashed by an expanding economy, resulted in an “energy crisis”, understood by those in power in terms of “security”. From that point on, any protest on this terrain would be interpreted as a serious threat and therefore it would be quickly suppressed. Energy security became the condition sine qua non of the globalized economy, and as a result, planning with regard to this question would not be subjected to any kind of debate. During the 1990s the world energy market became the pillar of globalization. Guaranteeing a sufficient energy supply, regardless of the social cost this might entail, defined the “sustainability” of the capitalist economy.

The developmentalist solution of the energy crisis was, first: the creation of international energy markets, which led to the expansion of supply and transport infrastructures; second, an across-the-board increase in the prices of fuel and electricity; and third, a whole package of policies: continuation of the nuclear power program, subsidies for industrial renewables, bio-fuel plantations, and the exploitation of shale gas. The destructive impact on the territory and the concomitant repercussions on people’s lives are the most important results of this crisis. A free life in a balanced geographical space will require not just a libertarian communist model of production, but an energy model based on the same principles.

The new sociological concept of “energy poverty”, coined during the 1990s, reflects the situation of a growing part of the population that cannot pay its utility bills despite the overproduction of electricity. This is due primarily to the constantly increasing price of electricity, an outcome of the peculiarities of the “liberalization” of the markets inaugurated in 1995, the subsidies for renewables and the costs of the “transition to competitiveness”, all of which encouraged speculation and indebtedness, leading to prices per kilowatt-hour far in excess of any reasonable level. We must not, however, overlook the fact that the peak of oil and gas production is a constantly looming threat that pushes prices ever higher, even without taking into account the price gouging of the utility corporations. What is taking place is not merely a simple problem of oligopolies that are illegally fixing outrageous prices by making the consumers pay for their reconversion costs; it is also a problem of the increasing scarcity of fossil fuels, a circumstance that these same oligopolies are exploiting to their advantage. However, in order to exorcise the horrifying specter of an economy without enough electricity, or, which amounts to the same thing, an economy with electricity that is too expensive, because there is not enough oil or gas, the world’s leaders have conceived of a new strategy, that is, the “energy transition”.

This energy transition does not consist in a return to the nationalization of the energy sector, but rather, on the one hand, in financial incentives for investments in nuclear power plants utilizing a pseudo-renewable pretext, and, on the other hand, in the resort to the extractive technology of hydrofracking. The only kind of nationalization that is being contemplated is that of the costs incurred by the construction of nuclear power plants and new energy infrastructure. This is a kind of partial eco-capitalism, vigorously supported by the green parties, who put their faith in industrial renewables, and even more so by international institutions, whose goal is to reduce the share of fossil fuels in world energy consumption, or at least to control their prices, while maintaining high rates of economic growth. The key to this conception appears to be the free market in energy, energy savings, efficiency plans, energy deposits that have yet to be discovered, and expected technological innovations, all of which are very speculative and uncertain. The alleged effectiveness of fracking has helped to hold down prices during a favorable economic conjuncture characterized by declining demand. The profitability of energy resources, however, is undergoing an even more precipitous decline. Just to get an idea of how much it is falling, we can refer to the Rate of Return for Energy, the RRE—the relation between the quantity of energy obtained on average and the energy used in the extraction process—for conventional oil the RRE is currently 20 to 1 (in 1930 it was 100 to 1), and for non-conventional oil or gas it is only 1.5 to 1. In comparison, the RRE of traditional agriculture, without machinery, was 10 to 1. Since the RRE will continue to decline as the exploitation of new deposits proceeds, the energy crisis will continue to get worse and prices will continue to rise even in a stagnant economy, resulting in “energy” poverty and exclusion for increasing percentages of the population, until the time arrives when this crisis converges with other crises and becomes a social crisis.

The energy question is therefore an element of the greatest importance in the anti-developmentalist critique, since a reconstruction of society without either Market or State must herald a decentralized and efficient production of renewable energy, preferably of communally owned resources, if we do not want separate power to re-emerge in association with fuel sources. Above all, however, because this society will arise from a struggle over energy that will not take long to arrive.

Miquel Amorós

Notes for presentations delivered on January 12, 2014 at the C.S.O. La Gatera, in Tavernes de Valldigna, and on January 24, 2014 at the Hegoetxea de Irala (Bilbao).

Translated in March 2014 from Spanish text provided by the author.

WATCH: Pinkwashing of American Foreign Policy in the Middle East

Uploaded July 11, 2012

Samantha King, author, “Pink Ribbons, Inc: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy, speaks about pinkwashing of American foreign policy in the Middle East through Breast Cancer Awareness events.

Samantha King is the author of Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy and associate professor of kinesiology and health studies at Queen’s University in Canada.

Pink Ribbons, Inc.

Breast cancer has become the poster child of corporate cause-related marketing campaigns. Countless women and men walk, bike, climb and shop for the cure. Each year, millions of dollars are raised in the name of breast cancer, but where does this money go and what does it actually achieve? Pink Ribbons, Inc. is a feature documentary that shows how the devastating reality of breast cancer, which marketing experts have labelled a “dream cause,” becomes obfuscated by a shiny, pink story of success. 

The film is based on the 2006 book Pink Ribbons, Inc.

Big, Glitzy Marches Are Not Movements

In 1963 and today, the real work happens elsewhere.

Boston Review

August 28, 2013
Robin D. G. Kelley

http://www.flickr.com/photos/vpickering/

 

Anyone paying attention to the events leading up to the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington should know by now that this historic gathering rallied under the banner of “jobs and freedom.” It has become common knowledge that economic justice was at the heart of the march’s agenda, and the main forces behind the event had roots in socialist movements—Bayard Rustin and veteran black labor leader A. Philip Randolph, who threatened a similar march two decades earlier after a black woman activist proposed the idea at a Civil Rights conference in 1940.  Thanks to the penetrating scholarship of William P. Jones’s March on Washington: Jobs, Freedom, and the Forgotten History of Civil Rights, Gary Younge’s The Speech: The Story Behind Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, Dream, and Michael Honey’s eye-opening collection of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, forgotten speeches on labor, All Labor Has Dignity, among many other books and films, we have finally begun to crack a half century of myth portraying the march as a moment of Civil Rights triumph culminating in Dr. King’s optimistic and iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.  While King’s speech remains the focus of every commemoration, A. Philip Randolph’s opening remarks are now getting some attention.  Echoing Karl Marx’s oft-quoted line in Capital, that “Labor cannot emancipate itself in the white skin where in the black it is branded,” he presciently warned,

This civil rights revolution is not confined to the Negro, nor is it confined to civil rights for our white allies know that they cannot be free while we are not. . . . [W]e have no future in a society in which six million black and white people are unemployed and millions more live in poverty.  Nor is the goal of our civil rights revolution merely the passage of civil rights legislation. Yes, we want all public accommodations open to all citizens, but those accommodations will mean little to those who cannot afford to use them. Yes, we want a Fair Employment Practice Act, but what good will it do if profit-geared automation destroys the jobs of millions of workers black and white?

Under Empire, All Life is Imperiled

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One Year On

Counterpunch Weekend Edition May 24-26, 2013

by JAVIER SETHNESS CASTRO

“After the catastrophes that have happened, and in view of the catastrophes to come, it would be cynical to say that a plan for a better world is manifested in history and unites it.”

– Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialectics

Channeling Adorno, it would I think prove difficult today to characterize the prevailing world-situation as anything other than highly negative.  Such an interpretation is arguably seen most readily in reflection on environmental matters—specifically, the ever-worsening climate emergency, not to mention other worrying signs of the ecological devastation wrought by the capitalist system.

The Silent Death of the American Left

by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR

 

Is there a Left in America today?

There is, of course, a Left ideology, a Left of the mind, a Left of theory and critique. But is there a Left movement?