Archives

Amazon Watch
U.S. Funded Democracy Centre Reveals It’s Real Reason for Supporting the TIPNIS Protest in Bolivia: REDD $$$

U.S. Funded Democracy Centre Reveals It’s Real Reason for Supporting the TIPNIS Protest in Bolivia: REDD $$$

November 23rd, 2011

by Cory Morningstar

DI NO AL REDD – Rapido Enriquecimiento con Desalojos, usurpación de tierras y Destrucción de biodiversidad. SAY NO TO REDD – Reaping Profits from Evictions, Land Grabs, Deforestation and Destruction of Biodiversity

“Bolivia is and will remain a country who desperately struggles to resist Imperialism and fight for their autonomy – against all odds.”

The Democracy Centre, Avaaz and Amazon Watch are the main three NGOs, heavily funded by U.S. interests (Rockefellers, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Ford Foundation and Soros to name a few), who led the recent International campaign in which they denounced and demonized Bolivian Indigenous leader Evo Morales and his government. This destabilization campaign focused on the TIPNIS protests. A violent confrontation between TIPNIS protestors (influenced/funded by U.S. NGOs/USAID/CIDOB) and the police was the vital opportunity needed in order to execute a destabilization campaign that the U.S. has been strategically planning for decades. (Declassified Documents Revealed More than $97 Million from USAID to Separatist Projects in Bolivia | Evo Morales Through the Prism of Wikileaks – Democracy in Danger).

A key demand put forward by the TIPNIS protestors were that Indigenous peoples would directly receive financial compensation for ‘offsetting’ carbon emissions. This policy, known as REDD/REDD+ (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), has been denounced as the commodification and privatisation of the forests by many, including those within the climate justice movements. The ‘People’s Agreement’ created at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth (April 2010) clearly condemned REDD, stating that it violates “the sovereignty of our Peoples.” REDD has been promoted as a mechanism to allow developed countries to continue to pollute while undermining the right for underdeveloped countries to develop their economies. Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environment Network stated unequivocally that “The carbon market solutions are not about mitigating climate, but are greenwashing policies that allow fossil fuel development to expand.”

Morales survived the orchestrated attempt to destabilize his government. No one’s fool, Morales did something completely unexpected that few if anyone had even considered: he granted the Indigenous peoples of the TIPNIS every single demand which the protestors, under foreign/outside influence had sought (although he made clear that on the issue of REDD, the ‘People’s Agreement’ adopted at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth would guide any future decision on this issue). Completely caught off guard by Morales response, and realizing, perhaps for the first time, whose lives would ultimately be affected by the outcomes of the demands, and how, one anxious protestor commented “we’re screwed“.

Video: Manipulation: Indigenous Peoples Alto Xingu-STOP pushing us for REDD (running time: 9:26)

Morales has been a world leader in his vocal opposition to REDD stating that “nature, forests and indigenous peoples are not for sale.” At the opposite end of the spectrum are the foundations (who serve as tax-exempt front groups for corporations and elites) who finance the NGOs who have led the campaign to discredit Morales are most all heavily promoting and investing in REDD. CIDOB is involved in pilot REDD projects funded by the NGO called FAN (Fundación Amigos de la Naturaleza) which is funded by a slew of foreign interest entities/states and corporate NGOs such as USAID, Conservation International, European Union, American Electric Power, BP-Amoco and Dow Chemical‘s partner, The Nature Conservancy. Indeed, when it comes to the world’s most powerful NGOs voicing any dissent to the false solution of REDD, the silence is deafening. (http://www.redd-monitor.org/2011/10/26/manufacturing-consent-on-carbon-trading/)

The money behind the REDD scheme is in the trillions.

Above: Indigenous Peoples Alto Xingu – Stop Pushing Us For REDD – Photo: Rebecca Sommer

It is revealing to note that while the corporate NGOs worked feverishly to shine an International spotlight on the tear-gassing of the TIPNIS protestors by Bolivian police, a slaughter of 100,000 Libyan civilians was underway in an Imperialist, NATO-led invasion under the guise of ‘humanitarian intervention’. This invasion was made possible by the fabrication of events and lies put forward by 78 NGOs. To this day, there is no evidence to back these lies. The NGOs were and remain silent on this latest atrocity as the U.S./Euro Imperialist destabilization campaigns escalate in the Middle East in a race towards global domination.

The Democracy Centre makes clear it’s opposition to the Bolivian Morales government’s position on REDD in its policy statement on REDD drafted by staffer Kylie Benton-Connell [1]

In this report, the Democracy Centre both denies/ignores the involvement of USAID in the CIDOB promoted REDD Amazonia project via its funding to FAN, and argues that “The REDD Amazonia project is important, because it keeps the possibility of these kind of projects alive in Bolivian institutions, in a context where the national government is swimming against the tide of international REDD politics.”

Furthermore, Benton-Connell reiterates the Democracy Centre’s opposition to the Bolivian Morales government’s position and the Centre’s support for REDD in her article published on November 21, 2011 (link below and also published on the Democracy Centre’s website):

” The decision linking forest conservation to carbon markets may well be finalized at the UN climate negotiations in Durban at the beginning of December, unless it is blocked by dissident countries.”

Moreover, Benton-Connell tells us:

“… if today’s Bolivian government or a future one drops its opposition to carbon markets, and an international agreement is reached on trading in forest carbon, revenue streams could become much larger.”

Benton-Connell continues that the problem is not REDD itself, but how REDD is organized. She states:

“The fates of many ordinary people in Bolivia — and of similar communities across the globe — will be in play as technocrats discuss plans for forest carbon trading at the upcoming UN climate negotiations in Durban. As Marcos Nordgren Ballivián, climate change analyst with Bolivian organization CIPCA told us last year: “tensions already exist, and with a new source of profits such as REDD could prove to be, it might cause problems … But we’ll have to see how REDD is organized, because that will define, of course, if these conflicts are worsened.”

The following text appears 8 March 2010 in an article titled Getting REDDy to Cross the Finish Line, Two Decades in the Making: “It’s hard to imagine with all the progress REDD has achieved, that it all started less than 20 years ago with the Rio Summit in ’92, when the makings of a global sustainability architecture in the form of a climate treaty began to take shape. But a forestry treaty had yet to happen … With over 20 years of experience in the forestry sector, Michael Northrup, Program Director of Sustainable Development at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, was invited by the Pinchot Institute for Conservation to give a Distinguished Lecture, ‘After Copenhagen: Implications for U.S. Climate, Energy, and Forest Policy’ at the high brow, exclusive Cosmos Club. Northrup casually described to the 30 or so people in the room where we are with REDD today and how we got here. Plus he played the “name game” as he knew most of the people in the room.”

Of course, Rockefeller is not alone in its quest to lead and dominate on the promise of “green capitalism”; other members of the elites will not be left behind to feed on the breadcrumbs. For example, The Climate and Land Use Alliance, whose member foundations include the ClimateWorks Foundation (Avaaz partner), the Ford Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and multi-million dollar corporate NGOs – Greenpeace International and Rockefeller’s WWF have joined forces to push forward the false solution of REDD.

“The big business conservationists and their professionals didn’t buy off the movement; they built it.” –Katherine Barkley and Steve Weissman, “The Eco-Establishment“, in: Ramparts (eds.), Eco-Catastrophe, Harper and Row, 1970

Video: President Morales Speaks to Imperialism (UN Gen Ass, Sept 21, 2011)(Running time: 8:02)

Let us close while we reflect upon the words of author Juan Carlos Zambrana Marchetti:

“In the recent conflict over the construction of a highway through the TIPNIS indigenous territory, history repeated itself once again: indigenous people renounced all possibility of progress and integration in favor of the hidden political objective of the US to boycott the projects of crop-substitution and development center in the Chapare, wherein lies the core of the anti-imperialist consciousness of the Bolivian people. Once again, foreign interests have ensured that the Indians act against their own interests. This shows that a priority issue for the new agenda of president Morales should be to continue deconstructing the control mechanisms of the Western powers. “Philanthropy” has always been one of the most dangerous mechanisms.”

The article: http://www.alternet.org/water/153161/will_programs_to_off-set_carbon_emissions_fuel_further_conflict_in_bolivia%27s_forests?page=entire

For further reading on the International Campaign to Destabilize Bolivia: http://wrongkindofgreen.org/category/the-international-campaign-to-destabilize-bolivia/

[1] Benton-Connell worked with the Democracy Center in Cochabamba, Bolivia from February 2010 to June 2011, where she authored the report “Off the Market: Bolivian forests and struggles over climate change.”

Flashback: Declassified Documents Revealed More than $97 Million from USAID to Separatist Projects in Bolivia

“USAID’s work in Bolivia is not just oriented towards strengthening the opposition to Evo Morales and promoting separatism, but also involves attempts to penetrate and infiltrate indigenous communities, seeking out new actors to promote Washington’s agenda that have an image more representative of the Bolivian indigenous majority. One declassified document clearly outlines the necessity to give ‘more support to USAID and Embassy indigenous interns to build and consolidate a network of graduates who advocate for the US Government in key areas.'”

Press conference by US researcher and investigative journalist, Jeremy Bigwood in La Paz, Bolivia, October 11, 2008. Reveals proof and documents to the press and public that show US intervention in Bolivia. (English subtitles | Running time: 7:17)

Below is an article by Eva Golinger. Golinger is a Venezuela-based award-winning Attorney and Author. You can follow her on twitter.

Newly declassified documents reveal More than $97 million from USAID to separatist projects in Bolivia

May 22nd, 2009

Eva Golinger

Recently declassified documents obtained by investigators Jeremy Bigwood and Eva Golinger reveal that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has invested more than $97 million in “decentralization” and “regional autonomy” projects and opposition political parties in Bolivia since 2002. The documents, requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), evidence that USAID in Bolivia was the “first donor to support departmental governments” and “decentralization programs” in the country, proving that the US agency has been one of the principal funders and fomenters of the separatist projects promoted by regional governments in Eastern Bolivia.

Decentralization and separatism

The documents confirm that USAID has been managing approximately $85 million annually in Bolivia during the past few years, divided amongst programs related to security, democracy, economic growth and human investment. The Democracy Program is focused on a series of priorities, the first outlined as “Decentralized democratic governments: departmental governments and municipalities”. One document, classified as “sensitive”, explains that this particular program began when USAID=2 0established an Office for Transition Initiatives (OTI) en Bolivia during 2004. The OTIs are a division of USAID that function as rapid response teams to political crises in countries strategically important to US interests. The OTI only address political issues, despite USAID’s principal mission dedicated to humanitarian aid and development assistance, and they generally have access to large amounts of liquid funds in order to quickly and efficiently achieve their objectives. The OTI operate as intelligence agencies due to their relative secrecy and filtering mechanism that involves large contracts given to US companies to operate temporary offices in nations where OTI requires channeling millions of dollars to political parties and NGOs that work in favor of Washington’s agenda. After the failed coup d’etat against President Chávez in April 2002, USAID set up an OTI in Venezuela two months later, in June 2002, with a budget over $10 million for its first two years. Since then, the OTI has filtered more than $50 million through five US entities that set up shop in Caracas subsequently, reaching more than 450 NGOs, political parties and programs that support the opposition to President Chávez.

In the case of Bolivia, the OTI contracted the US company, Casals & Associates, to coordinate a program based on decentralization and autonomy in the region considered the “media luna” (half-moon), where the hard core opposition to President Evo Morales is based, particularly in the province20of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Casals & Associates was also charged with conducting a series of training seminars and workshops to strengthen oppositional political parties that were working against then presidential candidate Evo Morales in 2004 and 2005. After Morales was elected president at the end of 2005, OTI directed the majority of its funding and work to the separatist projects that later produced regional referendums on autonomy in Eastern Bolivia. Their principal idea is to divide Bolivia into two separate republics, one governed by an indigenous majority and the other run by European descendents and mestizos that inhabit the areas rich in natural resources, such as gas and water. After 2007, the OTI, which had an additional budget of $13.3 on top of USAID’s general Bolivia program funding, was absorbed into USAID/Bolivia’s Democracy Program, which since then has been dedicating resources to consolidating the separatist projects.

USAID’s work in Bolivia covers almost all sectors of political and economic life, penetrating Bolivian society and attempting to impose a US political and ideological model. The investment in “decentralization” includes all the support and funding needed to conform “autonomous” regions, from departmental planning to regional economic development, financial management, communications strategies, departmental budget structures, and territorial organization designs – all prepared and implemented by USAID representatives and partners in=2 0Bolivia. As part of the program titled “Strengthening Democratic Institutions” (SDI), USAID describes its work to “enrich the dialogue on decentralization; improve management of departmental budgetary resources; and promote regional economic development.” Through this program, USAID has even created “territorial organization laboratories” to help regional governments implement their autonomy successfully.

In one document dated November 30, 2007, just months before the separatist referendums held in Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando and Tarija during early 2008, the Democratic Initiatives Program of OTI/USAID worked closely with the Prefects (regional governments) to “develop sub-national, de-concentrated” models of government. In those regions, those promoting such “sub-national, de-concentrated” models, or separatism, have made clear that their objective is to achieve a political, economic and territorial division from the national government of Bolivia, so they can manage and benefit solely from the rich resources in their regions. It’s no coincidence that the separatist initiatives are all concentrated in areas rich in gas, water and economic power. The multi-million dollar funding from USAID to the separatist projects in Bolivia has encouraged and supported destabilization activities during the past few years, including extreme violence and racism against Indigenous communities, terrorist acts and even assassination attempts against President Morales.

Strengthening political parties in the opposition

Another principal priority of USAID in Bolivia as outlined in the declassified documents is the extensive funding and training of oppositional political parties. Through two US entities, the International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI), both considered international branches of the republican and democrat parties in the US that receive their funding from the Department of State and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), USAID has been feeding – with funding and strategic political aide – political groups and leaders from the opposition in Bolivia. During the year 2007, $1.250.000.00 was dedicated to “training for members of political parties on current political and electoral processes, including the constituent assembly and the referendum on autonomy.” The principal beneficiaries of this funding have been the opposition political parties Podemos, MNR, MIR and more than 100 politically-oriented NGOs in Bolivia.

Intervention in electoral processes

An additional substantial part of USAID’s work in Bolivia has been devoted to intervening in electoral processes during the past few years. This has included forming a network of more than 3,000 “observers”, trained by USAID grantee Partners of the Americas, a US corporation that also receives funding from major companies and entities that form part of the military-industrial complex. The creation of “networks” in “civil society” to monitor electoral=2 0processes has been a strategy utilized by Washington in countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador and Nicaragua, to later use such apparently “independent” observers in an attempt to discredit and delegitimize elections and denounce fraud when results are not favorable to US interests. In the case of Venezuela, for example, the organization that has implemented this strategy is Súmate, a Venezuelan NGO created with funding and strategic support from USAID and NED, that has presented itself in the public opinion as “apolitical” but in reality has been the principal promoter of the recall referendum in 2004 against President Chávez and later the leader in denouncing fraud after every electoral process in Venezuela lost by the opposition, despite that such events have been certified as legitimate and “fraud-free” by international institutions such as the Organization of American States, European Community and the Carter Center. These “networks” function as centers for the opposition during electoral processes to strengthen their position in the public opinion and through the mass media.

Penetration in indigenous communities

USAID’s work in Bolivia is not just oriented towards strengthening the opposition to Evo Morales and promoting separatism, but also involves attempts to penetrate and infiltrate indigenous communities, seeking out new actors to promote Washington’s agenda that have an image more representative of the Bolivian indige nous majority. One declassified document clearly outlines the necessity to give “more support to USAID and Embassy indigenous interns to build and consolidate a network of graduates who advocate for the US Government in key areas.” The document further discusses the need to “strengthen democratic citizenship and local economic development for Bolivia’s most vulnerable indigenous groups.” Per USAID, “this program shows that no one country or government has a monopoly on helping the indigenous. The program shows that the US is a friend to Bolivia and the indigenous…”

http://boliviarising.blogspot.com/2009/05/newly-declassified-documents-reveal.html

Peak Hypocrisy | U.S. Backed Organizations Exploit Crisis in Bolivia

September 30th, 2011

by Cory Morningstar

In their scathing “open letter” (whereby they appoint themselves judge, trial, jury and executioner – advising people that Evo Morales is essentially corrupt and has lost all support), The U.S. Democracy Centre states:

 “The events of the past week represent something new rising in Bolivia. The people – who have now listened to many Morales speeches about protecting the Earth and guaranteeing indigenous people control over their lands – have risen to defend those principles, even if their President has seemingly abandoned them. Ironically, Morales has now inspired a new environmental movement among the nation’s younger generation, not by his example but in battle with it.”

The Democracy Centre would do well to listen to their own admonitions.

If The Democracy Centre’s mandate was, in reality, to protect the Earth, guarantee Indigenous Peoples control over their land, rise to defend these principles, and inspire a new environmental movement among their nations younger generation, The Democracy Centre would (as would the U.S.-funded NGOs such as Avaaz and Amazon Watch who are exploiting this horrific crisis to its full potential) be endorsing, promoting and campaigning on the People’s Agreement of Cochabamba (in which over 20,000 Indigenous Peoples participated).

They have not.

And finally, is it not completely egregious for any U.S. organization (funded with foundation money via corporations and plutocrats) to have the audacity to dictate the values of human rights and non-violence to any country, when U.S. bombs are “reigning” down on occupied countries including Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, while covert U.S. wars are underway in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia. These wars are murdering untold numbers of men, women and children – all in the name of resource exploitation, all under the grossly false auspices of democracy and liberation. The elite, institutional left take no issue in denouncing the Morales government yet remain silent on the war crimes committed by the U.S. – the biggest imperialist power in the world.

Bolivia is and will remain a country who desperately struggles to resist Imperialism and fight for their autonomy – against all odds.

+++

Read more about The Democracy Centre and their “open letter”: http://wrongkindofgreen.org/2011/09/29/about-the-u-s-democracy-centre-an-open-letter-to-our-friends-about-the-current-situation-in-bolivia/

+++

U.S. Influence | 2010 Ecuador crisis

“The script used in Venezuela and Honduras repeats itself. They try to hold the President and the government responsible for the “coup,” later forcing their exit from power. The coup against Ecuador is the next phase in the permanent aggression against ALBA and revolutionary movements in the region.” – Venezuelan-American lawyer Eva Golinger

“Venezuelan-American lawyer Eva Golinger claimed that the coup attempt was part of a systematic, US-supported plan to destabilise member states of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA). She alleged that US ambassador Heather Hodges was sent to Ecuador by former US President George W. Bush “with the intention of sowing destabilization against Correa, in case the Ecuadoran president refused to subordinate himself to Washington’s agenda,” and that Hodges increased the budget of USAID and the NED for social and political groups that “promote US interests.” Golinger claimed that certain “progressive” social groups received “financing and guidelines in order to provoke destabilising situations in the country that go beyond the natural expressions of criticism and opposition to a government.” According to Golinger, USAID’s 2010 budget in Ecuador $38 million. Golinger referred to the indigenous political party Pachakutik Movement’s press release on 30 September asking for Correa’s resignation on the grounds that his “dictatorial attitude” had generated “serious political turmoil and internal crisis.” In the statement, Pachakutik leader Cléver Jiménez said that the “situation” of the police and armed forces in the coup attempt “should be understood as a just action by public servants, whose rights have been made vulnerable.” Golinger alleged that Pachakutik was funded by NED and USAID and that its call for Correa’s resignation and its support for the mutiny was an example of the US plans to destabilise ALBA member states. Pachakutik strongly denied having “any relationship at all with the organism known as USAID, previously NED, not today nor ever” and accused the Ecuadorian government of having accepted USAID/NED funding. Golinger responded by referring to a National Democratic Institute (NDI, one of the four institutes funded by NED) report from 2007 describing Pachakutik being trained by the NDI in “Triangle of Party Best Practices and strategic planning methodologies” as part of NDI’s Latin American/Caribbean Political Party Network of over 1400 individual members, funded under NED Core Grants 2000-031, 2001-048, 2003-028, and 2004-036.” [Source: Wikipedia]

+++

A must watch documentary which clearly illustrates why extreme care and caution is so incredibly important during such a crisis. The stealth and deceit can be nothing less than staggering.

The War On Democracy

The story of the manipulation of Latin America by the United States over the past 50 years, including the real story behind the attempted overthrow of Hugo Chávez in 2002 (with English subtitles)

Versión en español

‘The War On Democracy’ was produced and directed by John Pilger and Christopher Martin and edited by Joe Frost. The film, John Pilger’s first for cinema, explores the current and past relationship of Washington with Latin American countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia and Chile.

Using archive footage sourced by Michael Moore’s archivist Carl Deal, the film shows how serial US intervention, overt and covert, has toppled a series of legitimate governments in the region since the 1950s. The democratically elected Chilean government of Salvador Allende, for example, was ousted by a US backed coup in 1973 and replaced by the military dictatorship of General Pinochet. Guatemala, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador have all been invaded by the United States.

John Pilger interviews several ex-CIA agents who took part in secret campaigns against democratic countries in the region. He investigates the School of the Americas in the US state of Georgia, where Pinochet’s torture squads were trained along with tyrants and death squad leaders in Haiti, El Salvador, Brazil and Argentina.

The film unearths the real story behind the attempted overthrow of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez in 2002 and how the people of the barrios of Caracas rose up to force his return to power.

It also looks at the wider rise of populist governments across South America lead by indigenous leaders intent on loosening the shackles of Washington and a fairer redistribution of the continent’s natural wealth.

John Pilger says: “[The film] is about the struggle of people to free themselves from a modern form of slavery”. These people, he says, “describe a world not as American presidents like to see it as useful or expendable, they describe the power of courage and humanity among people with next to nothing. They reclaim noble words like democracy, freedom, liberation, justice, and in doing so they are defending the most basic human rights of all of us in a war being waged against all of us.”

‘The War On Democracy’ won the Best Documentary Award at the 2008 One World Awards.

The panel’s citation read: “There are six criteria the judges are asked to use to select the winner of this award: the film’s impact on public opinion, its appeal to a wide audience, its inclusion of voices from the developing world, its high journalistic or production standards, its success in conveying the impact of the actions of the world’s rich on the lives of the poor and the extent to which it draws attention to possible solutions. One film met every one of these. It was the winner of the award: John Pilger’s ‘The War on Democracy’.”

Read John Pilger’s article about the making of ‘The War On Democracy’ which appeared in the Guardian in June 2007.

http://www.johnpilger.com/videos/the-war-on-democracy

ABOUT U.S. AMAZON WATCH (TAKE ACTION: Help stop police repression in Bolivia)

The U.S. Amazon Watch issues an urgent action on September 28th, 2011. The action can be found below. This U.S. corporate green consists of many institutional activists from Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and Greenpeace.

Groups Funding Amazon Watch and RAN:

Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
Blue Moon Fund
Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund
The Overbrook Foundation
Moriah Fund
Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Educational Foundation of America
The David & Lucile Packard Foundation
Boston Foundation
Wallace Global Fund

Further: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Amazon_Watch

In the article Saving Trees and Capitalism Too, Michael Barker explains:

“Describing a group funded by the world’s leading capitalist elites as grassroots demonstrates how desperately well-meaning environmentalists cling to the illusion that by working with capitalists (not the grassroots) they will be able to counter the destruction wrought on the planet by capitalists (evidently for the benefit of the grassroots).” …

Goldman Sachs’ commitment to capitalist conservation was clearly not entirely due to RAN activism, as the former chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs (1999-2006), and subsequent Secretary of the US Department of the Treasury, Henry Paulson, served as the chair of the Nature Conservancy’s board of directors from 2004 until 2006 (a noted member of the “Big Green”). [11] In addition, Paulson had served as the chair of the Peregrine Fund, an environmental group he had been connected to since 1990. The close working relationship between Goldman Sachs and the Nature Conservancy continues to this day, and since 2008 former Goldman Sachs managing director, Mark Tercek, has served as the president of the Nature Conservancy. Likewise, Tercek’s commitment to free-market environmentalism means that he presently sits on the steering group of the Prince of Wales Rainforest Project, on the board of directors of Resources for the Future, and serves on the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Chilean advisory council. [12] Tercek’s latter service, with regard to Chile, is particularly noteworthy as prior to heading up the Nature Conservancy he had headed the Goldman Sachs Center for Environmental Markets and its Environmental Strategy Group. This is significant because in late 2004 Goldman Sachs donated a sizable chunk of Chile to the Wildlife Conservation Society – using land which it had obtained by purchasing defaulted bonds from US forestry company Trillium Corporation. On these Chilean conservation efforts Tercek would have worked closely with the current chair of Resources for the Future, Lawrence Linden, who while based at Goldman Sachs worked in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society to create a massive 735,500 acre nature preserve on the island of Tierra del Fuego, Chile.

Here it is appropriate to introduce American multimillionaire Douglas Tompkins, as this key bankroller of environmental activism (and the “dean” of the new eco barons) has similarly bought hundreds of thousands of acres of forest land in southern Chile though his Conservation Land Trust to create a reserve called Parque Pumalin. Over the years Tompkins’ Foundation for Deep Ecology (which was formed in 1989) has been an important funder of forest activism including, to name just a few, the work of RAN, Earth First!, and Amazon Watch. Indeed, in 2008 at RAN’s 14th annual World Rainforest Awards Ceremony, Tompkins and his wife Kristine were honoured as environmental heroes. Consequently it is of more than passing interesting that an influential critic of deep ecology, the late Murray Bookchin, was of the opinion that with regards to deep ecology, “no other ‘radical’ ecology philosophy could be more congenial to the ruling elites of our time.” [13] To take just one example, the interest of leading “humanitarian” capitalists in deep ecology was illustrated when Tom Brokaw penned the foreword for Tom Butler’s book Wild Earth: Wild Ideas for a World out of Balance (Milkweed Editions, 2002). [14]

Further in the article Barker states:

The sad irony is that many activists, like Brune, are already being fooled by the double-speak and false promises of not-for-profit corporations. So while Kenny Bruno – who co-authored two books with Joshua Karliner (in 1999 and 2002) – is well-known in progressive circles for producing the seminal critique of corporate greenwashing, the tables have turned and he is now acting as corporate greenwasher in his capacity as the campaign director for Corporate Ethics International. [30] The executive director of this greenwashing initiative is none other than former RAN board member Michael Marx (see footnote #6), an elite conservationist who was recently critiqued in Macdonald Stainsby and Dru Oja Jay’s excellent self-published report, “Offsetting Resistance: The Effects of Foundation Funding and Corporate Fronts,” (July 2009). [31] Marx’s organization Corporate Ethics International, ties many of the groups examined so far together through its project known as the Business Ethics Network, which includes Amazon Watch, CorpWatch, and RAN.

From the Amazon Watch 2009 Annual Report: “In Copenhagen at the UN COP 15 international climate policy conference, Amazon Watch accompanied indigenous leaders from the Ecuadorian Amazon who

traveled to represent thousands of indigenous Amazonians whose rainforest territories are extremely vulnerable to climate change. There we intervened in the negotiations about REDD (Reducing

Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in Developing Countries) to ensure that the rights of indigenous peoples are explicitly guaranteed. Otherwise, an official REDD scheme could be a threat

to the rights and livelihoods of indigenous and forest-dependent peoples and enable unjust land grabs in the name of forest preservation. Thanks to our support, our indigenous partners gave

dozens of press interviews participated in the indigenous caucus, where they voiced concern over the use of carbon offsets and market-based mitigation mechanisms to reduce emissions.”

In the above statement it is critical to acknowledge the strategic, carefully crafted language corporate NGOs are so skilled at. Amazon Watch is not demanding no REDD – they are stating they are seeking assurances that rights on REDD be guaranteed. In reality – we know REDD is a disaster for Indigenous Peoples and so does Amazon Watch. In this same statement, Amazon Watch does not state they endorsed the views or concerns of the Indigenous delegates who presented at the UN – they simply are stating that “thanks to them” the gave the Indigenous delegates an opportunity to present their concerns.

In the Amazon Watch action alert below, one must recognize the irony in the fact Amazon Watch proposes to citizens that they send emails to the Foreign Minister. This is the very same Foreign Minister that the protesters kidnapped and used as a human shield, in doing so putting his safety at risk and escalating tensions to levels not seen prior to this incident. And yet, revealing, Amazon Watch does not disclose this information. Now try to imagine the reaction of the U.S. government / U.S. foundations if such a kidnapping had occurred whereby an Israeli minister was taken hostage by Palestinian protestors. What if this same abduction had occurred in the U.S. or Canada with a senator or a member of parliament being taken hostage by Canadian Indigenous protesters? We can safely assume that the swat team would have killed each and every protester involved. Of course silence on such facts and discussion is necessary in order to continue running the argument that is all about a peaceful environmental protest against a dictatorial government.

+++

From: Amazon Watch <news>

Date: September 28, 2011 2:32:57 PM EDT

To:

Subject: TAKE ACTION: Help stop police repression in Bolivia

Reply-To: Amazon Watch <news>

Amazon Watch
Dear Andrew,We know from recent history when indigenous peoples stand up and defend their rights, they face the risk of violent repression. That is exactly what we saw, sadly, in Bolivia this past Sunday.VIDEO: Stop the Police Crack-Down! Respect Indigenous Rights!

Join Amazon Watch, tell Bolivia:
Stop police crack-down! Respect indigenous rights!

Since his inauguration in early 2006, Bolivia’s President Evo Morales has cultivated an international image as a staunch defender of indigenous peoples’ rights and of Mother Earth. His government incorporated international indigenous rights norms into the 2009 constitution and hosted an international climate conference in 2010, among other actions.

In the last month, however, indigenous communities from the Isiboro Sécure Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS) have been marching in protest against a planned road that would pierce through the heart of their Amazonian reserve. Tensions have risen in recent weeks as they walked hundreds of kilometers from the Amazonian lowlands toward La Paz, culminating last Sunday with a violent police eviction of camping marchers.

The scene was reminiscent of excessive use of police force against indigenous marchers in neighboring countries. Given that Bolivia’s President is himself of indigenous background, however, we have higher expectations. The government of Evo Morales should exemplify full respect for the rights of local indigenous peoples to free, prior, and informed consent around major development projects that are going to gravely impact their environment and way of life.

Of course, I am shocked to see how the marchers have been tear-gassed, fired on with rubber bullets, and beaten by Bolivian police. Join me: Send a letter to the Bolivian Minister of Foreign Affairs, telling him concrete action is desperately needed if President Morales wants to maintain his international image of a rights defender.

For TIPNIS and the defense of Bolivian indigenous peoples’ rights.

Andrew E. Miller

Andrew E. Miller
DC Advocacy Coordinator

DONATE

We need your support!

For fourteen years, Amazon Watch has been an effective force in supporting indigenous environmental movements on the front lines of halting destructive develpment.

JOIN US IN PROTECTING THE AMAZON RAINFOREST TODAY »

Bolivia: NGOs wrong on Morales and Amazon

The recent kidnapping (then release) of the Foreign Minister by the marchers shows how dangers the situation has become and the fear of real inter-indigenous clashes becoming real grows. Now is the time for us to help Bolivia and its people, not jump behind imperialist campaigns to overthrow a government that has lead the way in regards to fighting climate change.

By Federico Fuentes

September 25, 2011

A mural in La Paz, Bolivia reads, “All of our action is a war cry against imperialism.” Photo: Angela Day

Statements, articles, letters and petitions have been circulating on the internet for the past month calling for an end to the “destruction of the Amazon”.

The target of these initiatives has not been transnational corporations or the powerful governments that back them, but the government of Bolivia’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales.

At the centre of the debate is the Bolivian government’s controversial proposal to build a highway through the Isiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS).

TIPNIS, which covers more than 1 million hectares of forest, was granted indigenous territory status by the Morales government in 2009. About 12,000 people from three different indigenous groups live in 64 communities within TIPNIS.

On August 15, representatives from the TIPNIS Subcentral that unites these communities, as well as other indigenous groups, began a march to the capital city, La Paz to protest against the highway plan.

International petitions have been initiated declaring support for this march, and condemning the Morales government for undermining indigenous rights.

The people of TIPNIS have legitimate concerns about the highway’s impact. There is also no doubt the government has made errors in its handling of the issue.

Unfortunately, petitions such as the one initiated by international lobby group Avaaz and a September 21 letter to Morales signed by over 60 environmental groups mostly outside Bolivia misrepresent the facts and misdirect their fire.

They could inadvertently aid the opponents of the global struggle for climate justice.

Avaaz warns that the highway “could enable foreign companies to pillage the world’s most important forest”. But it fails to mention the destruction that is already happening in the area, in some cases with the complicity of local indigenous communities.

On the other hand, the Morales government has promised to introduce a new law, in consultation with communities within TIPNIS, to add new protections for the national park.

The proposed law would set jail terms of between 10 to 20 years for illegal settlements, growing coca or logging in the national park.

Also, Avaaz claims that “huge economic interests” are motivating Morales’ support for the highway. But Avaaz omits the benefits that such a highway (whether it ultimately goes through TIPNIS or not) will bring Bolivia and its peoples.

For example, this 306 kilometre highway linking the departments of Beni and Cochabamba (with only a part of it going through TIPNIS) would expand access to health care and other basic services to isolated local communities that now travel for days to receive medical care.

The highway would also give local agricultural producers greater access to markets to sell their goods. At the moment, these must go via Santa Cruz to the east before being able to be transported westward.

Given Beni’s status as the largest meat producing department (state), this would break the hold that Santa Cruz-based slaughterhouses have on imposing meat prices.

The highway would also allow the state to assert sovereignty over remote areas, including some where illegal logging takes place.

It is facts such as these that have convinced more than 350 Bolivian organisations, including many of the social organisations that have led the country’s inspiring struggles against neoliberalism, to support the proposed highway.

Many indigenous organisations and communities (including within TIPNIS) support the highway. It is therefore false to describe this as a dispute between the government and indigenous people.

Nor is it a simple conflict between supporters of development and defenders of the environment.

All sides in the dispute want greater development and improved access to basic services. The issue at stake is how the second poorest country in the Americas, facing intense pressure from more powerful governments and corporate forces, can meet the needs of its people while protecting the environment.

Given this, surely it makes more sense for those who wish to defend Bolivia’s process of change to support steps towards dialogue, rather that deepening the divisions.

Legitimate criticism can be made of the government’s handling of the consultation process. But the Avaaz petition and the letter from environmental groups simply ignore the government’s repeated attempts to open discussions with the protesters.

Half the members of Morales’ ministerial cabinet, along with many more vice-ministers and heads of state institutions, have traveled to the march route to talk with protesters.

The petitioners don’t mention the Morales government’s public commitment to carry out a consultation process within the framework of the Bolivian constitution, popularly approved in 2009. Neither do they mention its offer to have the consultation process overseen by international observers selected by protesters themselves.

The government has also remained open to discussing the economic and environmental feasibility of any alternative route that could bypass TIPNIS. No such alternative has been presented yet.

As a result of these initiatives, a number of the TIPNIS communities that had joined the march, as well as representatives from the Assembly of the Guarani People, have since decided to return home. They will continue discussions with the government.

Sadly, the key opponents of the proposed consultation process are among the march leaders, which includes organisations based outside TIPNIS.

These organisations were also the main proponents of a further 15 demands being placed on the government the day the march began.

Many of these demands are legitimate. But it is alarming that some of the more dangerously backwards demands have been ignored or dismissed by international environment groups.

For example, the letter to Morales raises concerns regarding the Bolivian president’s statement that “oil drilling in Aguarague National Park ‘will not be negotiated'”.

Those gas fields represent 90% of Bolivia’s gas exports and are a vital source of funds that the Morales government has been using to tackle poverty and develop Bolivia’s economy.

The fact that the bulk of gas revenue is controlled by the Bolivian state rather than transnational corporation is the result of years of struggles by the Bolivian masses, who rightfully believe this resource should be used to develop their country.

The concerns of local communities should be, and have been, taken into consideration. But for Bolivia to cut off this source of revenue would have dire consequences for the people of one of the poorest nations in the Americas.

It would, without exaggeration, be economic suicide.

Initially, protesters also demanded a halt to gas extraction in Aguarague. They have retreated on this and are now focused on the question of plugging up unused oil wells due to the contamination this is could cause to local water supplies.

Similarly, neither of the Internet statements mentions the protesters’ support for the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) program.

REDD is a grossly anti-environmental United Nations program that aims to privatise forests by converting them into “carbon offsets” that allow rich, developed countries to continue polluting.

Some of the biggest proponents of this measure can be found among the NGOs promoting the march. Many of these have received direct funding from the US government, whose ambassador in Bolivia was expelled in September 2008 for supporting a right-wing coup attempt against the elected Morales government.

Rather than defend Bolivia’s sovereignty against US interference, the letter denounces the Bolivian government for exposing connections between the protesters and “obscure interests”.

These “obscure interests” include the League for the Defence of the Environment (LIDEMA), which was set up with US government funds. Its backers include the US government aid agency, USAID, and the German-based Konrad Adenauer Foundation, which frequently funds actions against governments opposed by the United States and European governments such as Cuba.

Secret US diplomatic cables recently released by WikiLeaks and declassified US government files have conclusively shown that USAID directly targets indigenous communities in a bid to win them away from support for Morales and towards supporting US interests.

Behind these very real interests lies a campaign by rich nations and conservative environmental groups to promote policies that represent a new form of “green imperialism”.

After centuries of plundering the resources of other countries, wiping out indigenous populations, and creating a dire global environmental crisis, the governments of rich nations now use environmental concerns to promote policies that deny underdeveloped nations the right to control and manage their own resources.

If they have their ways, these groups will reduce indigenous people to mere “park rangers”, paid by rich countries to protect limited areas, while multinational corporations destroy the environment elsewhere.

Bolivia’s indigenous majority has chosen a very different road. They aim to create a new state in which they are no longer marginalised or treated as minority groups that require special protection.

In alliance with other oppressed sectors, they aim to run their country for the collective benefit of the majority.

The Bolivian masses have successfully wrested government power from the traditional elites, won control over gas and other resources, and adopted a new constitution.

Mistakes have been made, and are likely in future. But they are the mistakes of a people of a small, landlocked and underdeveloped country fighting constant imperialist assaults.

Key to the Bolivian peoples’ fight is the world-wide front for climate justice, in which Bolivia is playing a vital leadership role.

One example was the 35,000-strong Peoples Summit on Climate Change organised by the Morales government in Cochabamba in April 2010.

The summit’s final declaration named developed countries as “the main cause of climate change”. It insisted that those countries must “recognise and honor their climate debt”, redirecting funds from war to aiding poorer nations to develop their economies “to produce goods and services necessary to satisfy the fundamental needs of their population”.

To achieve this, the international climate justice movement must focus its efforts on forcing rich nations to accept their responsibilities.

The global movement must explicitly reject imperialist intervention in all its forms, including the “green imperialist” policies of US-funded NGOs.

Only through such a campaign can we support the efforts of poorer countries to chart a development path that respects the environment.

Unfortunately, Avaaz and the organisations that have signed the letter against Morales let the real culprits off the hook.

Their campaign should be rejected by all environmentalists and anti-imperialists fighting for a better a world.

[Federico Fuentes edits Bolivia-Rising.blogspot.com.]

++++

Avaaz is a member of The Climate Group.

The Climate Group is pushing REDD: http://www.theclimategroup.org/_assets/files/Reducing-Emissions-from-Deforestation.pdf

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund also acts as an incubator for in-house projects that later evolve into free-standing institutions – a case in point being ‘The Climate Group’, launched in London in 2004. The Climate Group coalition includes more than 50 of the world’s largest corporations and sub-national governments, including big polluters such as energy giants BP and Duke Energy, as well as several partner organizations, one being that of the big NGO Avaaz. The Climate Group are advocates unproven carbon capture and storage technology (CCS), nuclear power and biomass as crucial technologies for a low-carbon economy. The Climate Group works closely with other business lobby groups, including the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), which works consistently to sabotage climate action. The Climate Group also works on other initiatives, one being that of the ‘Voluntary Carbon Standard’, a new global standard for voluntary offset projects. One marketing strategist company labeled the Climate Group’s campaign ‘Together’ as “the best inoculation against greenwash”. The Climate Group has operations in Australia, China, Europe, India, and North America. It was a partner to the ‘Copenhagen Climate Council’.

http://www.theclimategroup.org/about-us/our-partners/

++++

Bolivia: US worked to divide social movements, WikiLeaks shows

Sunday, September 18, 2011

By Federico Fuentes

WikiLeaks’ release of cables from the United States embassy in La Paz has shed light on its attempts to create divisions in the social and indigenous movements that make up the support base of the country’s first indigenous-led government.

The cables prove the embassy sought to use the US government aid agency, USAID, to promote US interests.

A March 6, 2006, cable titled “Dissent in Evo’s ranks” reports on a meeting only months after Morales’ inauguration as president in December 2005 with “a social sectors leader” from the altiplano (highlands) region in the west.

The social leader was said to have links with the radical federation of neighbourhood councils in El Alto (Fejuve), the coca growers union in Los Yungas and a peasant organisation in La Paz.

Many of these organisations, in particular Fejuve, spearheaded the wave of revolt that overthrew two pro-US neoliberal presidents in 2003 and 2005. It was also crucial to the election of Morales.

Despite viewing these sectors as “traditionally confrontational organisations”, then-ambassador David Greenlee believed that: “Regardless of [US] policy direction in Bolivia, working more closely with these social sector representatives” who were expressing dissent towards Morales “seems to be most beneficial to [US government] interests”.

Another cable from February 25, 2008 reports on a meeting then-US ambassador Philip Goldberg held with “indigenous leaders (particularly leaders of the eastern lowlands)”.

Most of Bolivia’s two largest indigenous peoples, the Aymaras and Quechuas, live in the highlands and central regions.

The east is home to the remaining 34 indigenous peoples. It is also home to the gas transnationals and large agribusiness.

The east was the focal point of right-wing movements that tried to overthrow Morales.

In the cable, great attention is paid to the “growing tensions” between Aymaras and Quechuas on one hand and the lowlands-based indigenous groups “who feel neglected by a self-proclaimed-Aymara, cocalero president”.

An October 17, 2007, cable titled “Indigenous cohesion cracking in Bolivia” reported that
a leader from the National Council of Ayllus and Markas of Qollasuyu (CONAMAQ), which groups together 16 rural indigenous organisations in the altiplano, told embassy officials the Morales government was simply using indigenous peoples for to promote its “goal of socialism [which] does not coincide with ‘true indigenous’ goals”.

The US embassy’s heightened interest in all things “indigenous” following decades of supporting governments that repressed and excluded them is explained in a February 6, 2007, cable.

In it, Goldberg said that “only a leftist government that includes indigenous interests … would have a chance to govern divisive Bolivia”.

Since “a right-wing government would likely lead to greater conflict”, the ability to reach out to indigenous leaders inclined to support US interests was necessary.

For this reason, Goldberg concluded his February 25, 2008, cable by stating that meetings with “indigenous leaders outside of the dominant Aymara and Quechua communities will provide useful information and demonstrate that the United States is interested in views of all indigenous peoples”.

An important tool used for reaching out to indigenous communities is USAID.

A January 28, 2008 cable said USAID social programs aimed at the “poorest and marginalized groups” would prove hard for the government to attack. The cable ends by saying USAID programs should “also seek to counteract anti-USG [US government] rhetoric…”

This was facilitated via funding to independent radio journalists to report on “the benefits of USG assistance to rural communities” and various workshops held in indigenous communities.

A June 15, 2009, cable revealed US concerns at its ability to achieve its aims by working directly with the government.

It noted “anti-US attitudes in key leadership positions” and “nationalistic bristling over being treated with ‘dignity’”.

The cable cited Bolivian government opposition to the US agricultural attache having veto powers over proposed programs.

Government officials’ recent talk of expelling USAID for their subversive activities may pose a more immediate threat to US imperialism realising its goals in Bolivia.

http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/48865

Saving Trees and Capitalism Too

By Michael Barker

“Describing a group funded by the world’s leading capitalist elites as grassroots demonstrates how desperately well-meaning environmentalists cling to the illusion that by working with capitalists (not the grassroots) they will be able to counter the destruction wrought on the planet by capitalists (evidently for the benefit of the grassroots).”

Capitalism requires trees, but trees do not need capitalism. Following this logic, one can opt to save trees by promoting a thoughtful capitalism that protects limited parts of the natural environment to ensure sustained economic growth, or one can promote an alternative to capitalism adopting an ideology not premised on endless economic growth. The former approach conserves capitalism (and some trees), while the latter envisages the creation of an alternative political system that counters the present environmental catastrophe posed by capitalism. Applying the same idea to a related matter; capitalism requires workers, but workers do not need capitalism. Consequently, during the Progressive Era longsighted robber barons recognized that the most effective way to save workers for capitalism would be to encourage the growth of work-place rights via their support of corporate-backed unions and the like. Capitalists still of course waged direct attacks on organized labor (most especially anti-capitalist radicals), [1] much in the same way that capitalists ostensibly concerned with saving trees simultaneously destroy many more trees than they protect. Sadly the historical lessons that should have been learned from the Progressive Era have not penetrated popular consciousness, and so many overworked citizens who are concerned with the destruction of the environment have ended up supporting proponents of neoliberal environmentalism. 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. [2] 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.

Formed in 1986, the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) was the brainchild of environmental activists Randall (Randy) Hayes and Mike Roselle who created it to “protect rainforests and the human rights of those living in and around those forests.” Of the group’s two founders, Roselle was the more experienced environmentalist having previously cofounded Earth First! in 1979; Hayes on the other hand was a relative latecomer to environmentalism, bursting onto the scene to establishment acclaim in 1983 when as a student of environmental planning he co-produced the award-winning documentary The Four Corners. [3] Informed by the consumer activism of the 1970s, and emulating the muckraking journalism of the Progressive Era, from their outset RAN adopted a reformist position by choosing to focus public attention on individual corporate malfeasance. In a recent interview when asked to explain RAN’s interest in targeting corporations not governments, Roselle noted how:

The government has not been willing to do anything. They are so big and bureaucratic and so political that they are often hard or impossible to move. Corporations on the other hand have customer bases, they have advertising they invest a lot in burnishing their brand. So what we try to do is take the luster off of it, affect their bottom line, and then we can get them to the bargaining table. [4]

Roselle has long been a vocal critic of corporate environmentalism, most especially the activists of the “Big Green” groups, so it is perhaps a sign of the times that an ostensibly radical group like RAN should now be working in partnership with the very groups they once critiqued so vehemently. For instance, one of RAN’s first actions “highlight[ed] the destructive lending practices of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and global ‘free trade’ agreements.” This is significant because Hayes now serves on the board of directors of a free-market group called Forest Trends, whose staff includes many World Bank representatives (including not least their current president and CEO). Another curious example of RAN’s “success story” (taken from their Web site) occurred in 1998, as they point out how years of campaigning resulted in “Mitsubishi Motor Sales America and Mitsubishi Electric America pledging to end use of old-growth forest products and phase out use of tree-based paper and packaging products in favor of alternative fibers.” [5] One might assume that Mitsubishi has now improved their environmental credentials, especially given their representation on the board of directors of Forest Trends, but unfortunately only two American Mitsubishi subsidiaries were forced into making environmental concessions. As Boris Holzer observes…

the American subsidiaries are probably two companies with only minor involvement in timber activities. Their positive approach is basically in line with their long-standing efforts to improve their environmental records. Thus, the agreement did not necessarily hit the most destructive parts of the Mitsubishi Group. [6]

This example provides an elegant illustration of the problems associated with single issue, media-driven campaigns that target individual “bad” corporations. [7] Indeed while similar RAN campaigns have regularly come under criticism from conservative think tanks, among less rabidly free-market friendly liberal elites such activism is popular precisely because it does not pose a serious threat to capitalism. In this respect RAN is akin to many of the big green corporate environmentalists that it rhetorically sets itself apart from. One need only delve into their latest annual report to see their major donors include the Roddick Foundation and the Sandler Family Supporting Foundation, and minor funders like the Tides Foundation, with 74 per cent of their $4.4 million annual budget derived from such grants, and only 18 per cent supplied via public support and membership. [8]

Other notable major funders of RAN – that is philanthropic bodies that have given them more than $100,000 in any given year – include the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Wallace Global Fund, and the Rudolf Steiner Foundation. Money talks, as RAN activists well understand; although RAN activists are perhaps not quite as conversant with the cooptive influence of liberal philanthropy as that of conservative foundations. As Joan Roelofs observes “almost all civil rights, social justice, and environmental organizations” are dependent on “corporate and foundation funding.” While the various recipients of corporate monies may not feel pressured to conform to elite priorities, all the same “funders are anxious to help radical protesters and oppressed minorities while transforming their goals and removing any threat to corporate wealth and power.” On this point Roelofs notes that when former Ford Foundation president, McGeorge Bundy (1966-79), was testifying before Congress in 1969, he was asked why Ford supported radicals, he replied:

There is a very important proposition here that for institutions and organizations which are young and which are not fully shaped as to their direction it can make a great deal of difference as to the degree and way in which they develop if when they have a responsible and constructive proposal they can find support for it. If they cannot find such support, those within the organization who may be tempted to move in paths of disruption, discord and even violence, may be confirmed in their view that American society doesn’t care about their needs. On the other hand, if they do have a good project constructively put forward, and they run it responsibly and they get help for it and it works, then those who feel that that kind of activity makes sense may be encouraged. [9]

To be fair, many environmental activists are not aware of, or choose to ignore, the deradicalizing influence of liberal philanthropy, and a good example is provided by popular environmental writer George Monbiot. [10] Thus it is ironic that many of the groups that RAN has pressured into adopting socially responsible practices are intimately connected to such liberal philanthropists. So in 2004 RAN “declare[d] victory after a four-year campaign” when Citigroup announced “its ‘New Environmental Initiatives’, the most far-reaching set of environmental commitments of any bank in the world.” This activist victory is particularly intriguing as in the same year Citigroup recruited the president of the Rockefeller Foundation, Judith Rodin, to their board of directors. Likewise Alain Belda, who has served as a board member of Citigroup since 1997 and had acted as a trustee of the Ford Foundation board member from 1997 until 2009; while longstanding Citibank board member Franklin Thomas was the president of the Ford Foundation from 1979 until 1996. More recently, in 2009, Thomas retired from Citibank’s board of directors, and their new board chair was none other than Richard Parsons, an individual who presently serves as an advisory trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Similarly, in 2005 RAN took credit for JPMorgan Chase releasing a “comprehensive environmental policy that takes significant steps forward on climate change, forest protection, and Indigenous rights.” Yet from 1969 until 1980 David Rockefeller – liberal philanthropist extraordinaire – had served as the CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank, a bank that was merged with J.P. Morgan & Co. in 2000 to form JPMorgan Chase. These examples are not meant to imply that most RAN activists were not sincerely engaged in vigorous efforts to encourage financial giants like JPMorgan Chase and Citibank to support green capitalist ideologies, but the fact of the matter is that some of the liberal elites managing these corporations were the same people who have expressed a longstanding commitment to coopting the environmental movement to serve capitalist interests. Viewed in this light it should come as no surprise that in 2005 RAN boasted that by “[w]orking closely” with Goldman Sachs it became “the first global investment bank to adopt a comprehensive environmental policy”.

Goldman Sachs’ commitment to capitalist conservation was clearly not entirely due to RAN activism, as the former chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs (1999-2006), and subsequent Secretary of the US Department of the Treasury, Henry Paulson, served as the chair of the Nature Conservancy’s board of directors from 2004 until 2006 (a noted member of the “Big Green”). [11] In addition, Paulson had served as the chair of the Peregrine Fund, an environmental group he had been connected to since 1990. The close working relationship between Goldman Sachs and the Nature Conservancy continues to this day, and since 2008 former Goldman Sachs managing director, Mark Tercek, has served as the president of the Nature Conservancy. Likewise, Tercek’s commitment to free-market environmentalism means that he presently sits on the steering group of the Prince of Wales Rainforest Project, on the board of directors of Resources for the Future, and serves on the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Chilean advisory council. [12] Tercek’s latter service, with regard to Chile, is particularly noteworthy as prior to heading up the Nature Conservancy he had headed the Goldman Sachs Center for Environmental Markets and its Environmental Strategy Group. This is significant because in late 2004 Goldman Sachs donated a sizable chunk of Chile to the Wildlife Conservation Society – using land which it had obtained by purchasing defaulted bonds from US forestry company Trillium Corporation. On these Chilean conservation efforts Tercek would have worked closely with the current chair of Resources for the Future, Lawrence Linden, who while based at Goldman Sachs worked in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society to create a massive 735,500 acre nature preserve on the island of Tierra del Fuego, Chile.

Here it is appropriate to introduce American multimillionaire Douglas Tompkins, as this key bankroller of environmental activism (and the “dean” of the new eco barons) has similarly bought hundreds of thousands of acres of forest land in southern Chile though his Conservation Land Trust to create a reserve called Parque Pumalin. Over the years Tompkins’ Foundation for Deep Ecology (which was formed in 1989) has been an important funder of forest activism including, to name just a few, the work of RAN, Earth First!, and Amazon Watch. Indeed, in 2008 at RAN’s 14th annual World Rainforest Awards Ceremony, Tompkins and his wife Kristine were honoured as environmental heroes. Consequently it is of more than passing interesting that an influential critic of deep ecology, the late Murray Bookchin, was of the opinion that with regards to deep ecology, “no other ‘radical’ ecology philosophy could be more congenial to the ruling elites of our time.” [13] To take just one example, the interest of leading “humanitarian” capitalists in deep ecology was illustrated when Tom Brokaw penned the foreword for Tom Butler’s book Wild Earth: Wild Ideas for a World out of Balance (Milkweed Editions, 2002). [14]

Wild Earth author, Tom Butler, presently serves as the editorial projects director for the Foundation for Deep Ecology, but had formerly been the editor of Wild Earth magazine (1997-2005). Launched in 1990 Wild Earth magazine was set up by Earth First! founder Dave Foreman, former Earth First! journal editor John Davis (1986-89), Reed Noss, David Johns, and Mary Byrd Davis. [15] John Davis served as the founding editor of Wild Earth until he passed the reigns to his life-long friend Tom Butler (in 1997), so John could serve as the biodiversity and wildness program officer for the Foundation for Deep Ecology. Not surprisingly John has served on the board of directors of Tompkins’ Conservation Land Trust; a group who’s most notable current board member is Peter Buckley, who is the chair of the David Brower Center – a center whose other board members includes RAN cofounder, Randall Hayes. While for many progressive activists the environmental career of the late David Brower (1912-2000) is beyond criticism, it is worrisome that like his deep ecologist counterparts he apparently became fixated on Malthusian analyses that blame procreation, not capitalism, for environmental devastation. I say this because Brower was a former member of the advisory board for a controversial group called Californians for Population Stabilization. [16] The current president of Californians for Population Stabilization, Diana Hull, serves on the advisory board of two more openly racist groups, NumbersUSA and Federation for American Immigration Reform. [17]

Deep ecology is of course an important ideology that has helped popularize concern with human population growth, so it should come as no surprise that RAN’s advisory board has been host to a host of leading environmental Malthusians. Two particularly noted individuals are Norman Myers, who is a patron of Optimum Population Trust, and former Sierra Club treasurer (1999-2000) Anne Ehrlich, who is married to Optimum Population Trust patron Paul Ehrlich, the author of the book The Population Bomb (Sierra Club, 1968).

Such Malthusian (mis)reasoning has long been popular within the environmental movement and is exemplified by a recent statement by Paul Watson, the founder and president of the Tomkins backed Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. (Tompkins is an avid supporter of the Sea Shepherd work having recently spent Christmas and New Year on the Antarctic high seas, as their vessels acting quartermaster.) Returning to Watson’s comment: writing in 2005, in response to the famous essay ‘The Death of Environmentalism’, Watson wrote that while global warming “will certainly be a major contributor to this mass global extinction [facing the Earth] … it is a problem caused by the first major threat and that is escalating human population growth.” [18] While certainly problematic, this capitalist-friendly argument sounds eerily reminiscent of the populationist views of the Sea Shepherd’s land-based counterpart, Earth First!; opinions that Watson and Foreman no doubt internalized during their “environmental” forays with the Sierra Club during the 1970s. Like their radical environmental “offspring” the Sierra Club to this day remains embroiled in immigration controversies stemming from their long-term commitment to Malthus. Watson himself played an important role in this propagating such Malthusianism as he served a board member of the Sierra Club from 2003 until 2006, and was the endorsed candidate of anti-immigration body, Sierrans United for US Population Stability. [19]

As one might expect the Shepherd Conservation Society and RAN share more in common than the eco baron and social engineer Douglas Tompkins, as Watson and Randall Hayes both sit on the advisory board of a philanthropic body known as the Fund for Wild Nature. This Fund’s president, Marnie Gaede, is a former director of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, while other notable Fund for Wild Nature board members include Mary Anne Hitt (who is the deputy director of the Sierra Club’s national ‘Move Beyond Coal’ campaign), and former Fund president Dave Parks (who has been involved in political campaigns with both Earth First! and RAN). Other interesting Fund for Wild Nature advisors include Louise Leakey, who additionally serves as a Sea Shepherd advisor, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s (Republican-California) environmental appointee, Terry Tamminen. [20] Incidentally, Tamminen served for five years as executive director of the Environment Now, a group whose four key staff members include two former Foundation for Deep Ecology employees, Caryn Mandelbaum and Fund for Wild Nature board member Douglas Bevington. The latter individual’s backgrounds emphasize the cognitive dissonance that resonates within many of the staffers of the organizations that have been discussed in this article as Bevington recently completed a PhD in sociology for a dissertation titled ‘The Rebirth of Environmentalism: Grassroots Activism and the New Conservation Movement, 1989-2004? (University of California, Santa Cruz, 2007). Thus although Bevington cites the current literature that demonstrates how liberal philanthropists regularly co-opt social change agents via funding, he writes in his study that the grassroots organizations he examined “relied primarily on grants from philanthropic foundations.” [21] (Bevington’s thesis was published in September as The Rebirth of Environmentalism: Grassroots Activism from the Spotted Owl to the Polar Bear (Island Press, 2009).)

One of the primary groups examined in Bevington’s study was the Center for Biological Diversity (formed in 1989), [22] and which in 2008 received support from elite philanthropic bodies that included the Foundation for Deep Ecology, the Environment Now Foundation, Tides Foundation, ExxonMobil Foundation, The New York Times Company Foundation, and even the “big green” environmental outfit, The Wilderness Society. Corporate funders of the “grassroots” Center for Biological Diversity included the likes of Goldman Sachs, the Bank of America, and Microsoft. [23] The fact that Bevington describes a group funded by the world’s leading capitalist elites as grassroots demonstrates how desperately well-meaning environmentalists cling to the illusion that by working with capitalists (not the grassroots) they will be able to counter the destruction wrought on the planet by capitalists (evidently for the benefit of the grassroots). [24] Needless to say it is hardly surprising that the Center for Biological Diversity was pleased by the fact that Edward Humes’ “devot[ed] a fourth of his book” Eco Barons to their history and achievements. [25]

Considering the depths of elite intrusion into the heart of US-based activism it is critical to ask: how has this situation been ignored by so many critical and progressive intellectuals and researchers for so long? The answer cannot simply be that progressive historians are too busy to undertake research into the influence of liberal philanthropy on the processes of social change, as no historian in their right mind could accidentally forget to examine so big a topic. There is no doubt that critical researchers have been correct to focus on the influence of for-profit corporations on society, producing research which is necessary to undergird any successful attempts to hold corporations accountable to the public. However, although writers have noted the powerful influence wielded by conservative not-for-profit corporations (like the John M. Olin Foundation), they have totally neglected the equally important liberal side of the philanthropic equation. Thus, leaving aside conservative commentators, who have provided what seems like an endless volume of criticisms of liberal philanthropy, critiques of liberal philanthropy from the political Left are almost invisible. For instance, there have been no critical investigations of the background of one of the Left’s most important coordinating and funding bodies, the RAN connected International Forum on Globalization.

The International Forum on Globalization is a particularly important group to study within the confines of this article as it was formerly headed by RAN cofounder Randall Hayes, who now presently serves as their senior strategist. Furthermore, the International Forum on Globalization has been heavily supported by Douglas Tompkins’ eco-philanthropy, and former Foundation for Deep Ecology staffer, Victor Menotti, presently serves as their executive director. Formed in 1994, the Forum’s Web site notes that it was set up because of a “shared concern that the world’s corporate and political leadership was rapidly restructuring global politics and economics on a level that was as historically significant as any period since the Industrial Revolution.” The key person involved in establishing this critical Forum was Jerry Mander, a former president of a major San Francisco advertising company and ‘Grateful Dead’ promoter who decided to turn his talents at manipulating symbols and images to protecting the environment in the late 1960s (initially working with David Brower while he was based at the Sierra Club). In addition to Mander’s work at the International Forum on Globalization, he also found the time to briefly serve as a program director for the Foundation for Deep Ecology. Perhaps Mander’s most influential book, vis-à-vis the alter-globalization movement was his co authorship with Edward Goldsmith of the edited volume, The Case Against the Global Economy and For a Turn Toward the Local (Sierra Club Books, 1996) – some of the many contributors to this book included Maude Barlow, Richard Barnet, Wendell Berry, John Cavanagh, William Grieder, David Korten, Ralph Nader, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Jeremy Rifkin, Kirkpatrick Sale, and Vandana Shiva.

The year following Mander and Goldsmith’s edited collection, Sierra Club Books published another powerful and widely read book, Joshua Karliner’s The Corporate Planet: Ecology and Politics in the Age of Globalization (Sierra Club Books, 1997), which contains radical criticisms of liberal elites like Maurice Strong, whom Karliner writes insists that business, not environmentalists, must act to “redefine environmentalism in its own way if the world is to resolve the immense problems it faces.” However, while Karliner is opposed to “top-down, technocratic, managerial solu¬tion[s]” he is not opposed to top-down funding of activist organizations. [26] Indeed, Karliner’s work on this book catalysed the formation (in 1996) of CorpWatch – a group that he headed from 1996 until 2002 – that has, with the strong support of elite funders, steadfastly refused to submit not-for-profit corporations to the same critical scrutiny that they apply to their for-profit counterparts. [27] Thus it is hardly surprising that two CorpWatch advisory board members, Andre Carothers and Allan Hunt-Badiner, both sit on RAN’s board of directors (the former as RAN’s board chair).

Carothers is also a board member of International Rivers, a group whose Latin America campaigns are directed by Glenn Switkes, the former coordinator of RAN’s Western Amazon oil campaign. International Rivers board is chaired by Martha Belcher (who directed the recent creation of the David Brower Center), but their most intriguing board member is David Pellow, co-editor with Robert Brulle of the book Power, Justice, the Environment: A Critical Appraisal of the Environmental Justice Movement (MIT Press, 2005). This is because Pellow and Brulle’s book contains powerful warnings about the cooption of radical environmental groups: for example, within the book Robert Benford writes:

On the one hand, the problems diagnosed and attributions proffered by the environmental justice movement represent a radical critique of entire social systems at the local, regional, national, and global levels. On the other hand, by framing solutions primarily in terms of “justice” the [Environmental Justice Movement] places its faith in the efficacy of using extant legislative and judicial systems to remedy problems – an ironic commitment to, and reaffirmation of, the systemic status quo. Audre Lorde, a famous black feminist, eloquently outlined the pitfalls of seeking to transform such a corrupt system from within: “For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.” [28]

International Rivers’ even includes Drummond Pike, the treasurer of one of the master’s leading democracy-manipulating tools known as the Democracy Alliance, on their US advisory board. Finally, it is interesting that former International Rivers executive director, Juliette Majot, presently serves with Josh Karliner on the steering committee of Environmentalists against War, alongside others like International Forum on Globalization staffer, Claire Greensfelder, and the RAN’s executive director Michael Brune.

Somewhere along the line progressive activists seem to have forgotten that to undertake radical analyses one needs to dig to the root of the sinews of power that comprise the capitalist system. Thus the limited reformist agenda of supposedly radical activists like those based at RAN and International Rivers has been adequately vocalized by RAN’s executive director Michael Brune, who observed in 2007:

I sometimes like to think of RAN as “hopeful skeptics”; we believe that corporations and governments can transform themselves, and can actually play an important role in slowing down climate change and protecting forests and the rights of their inhabitants. At the same time, we won’t be fooled by double-speak and false promises of future action. This attitude is the motivation behind much of our work. [29]

The sad irony is that many activists, like Brune, are already being fooled by the double-speak and false promises of not-for-profit corporations. So while Kenny Bruno – who co-authored two books with Joshua Karliner (in 1999 and 2002) – is well-known in progressive circles for producing the seminal critique of corporate greenwashing, the tables have turned and he is now acting as corporate greenwasher in his capacity as the campaign director for Corporate Ethics International. [30] The executive director of this greenwashing initiative is none other than former RAN board member Michael Marx (see footnote #6), an elite conservationist who was recently critiqued in Macdonald Stainsby and Dru Oja Jay’s excellent self-published report, “Offsetting Resistance: The Effects of Foundation Funding and Corporate Fronts,” (July 2009). [31] Marx’s organization Corporate Ethics International, ties many of the groups examined so far together through its project known as the Business Ethics Network, which includes Amazon Watch, CorpWatch, and RAN.

Such connections should hardly be unexpected when one casts a quick eye over RAN’s board of directors, which includes Anna Hawken McKay (who is the wife of Rob McKay, the founder of eco baron hangout, the Democracy Alliance), and James Gollin (cofounder of the Social Venture Network, a group which is “committed to building a just and sustainable world through business”). Yet the most interesting RAN board member is Martha DiSario, who is the secretary of ActiveMusic, an activism marketing group with “ties to the music community [that] saw music as a means to draw people to the causes they were working with.” ActiveMusic’s cofounder, Richard Wegman, manages Global Green USA’s finances and administration, and in addition to this stellar connection to the eco barons, ActiveMusic’s vice chair, Brian Wesley Ames, is a division chief in the African department of the International Monetary Fund (yes that’s right the IMF!), while one of ActiveMusic’s advisory board members is none other than RAN cofounder, Randall Hayes. [32]

RAN’s connection to ActiveMusic is most appropriate given that RAN considers image manipulation to be a vital part of its activism, so their honorary board of directors draws upon the celebratory prestige of five well-known entertainers: former singer with the Grateful Dead, Bob Weir, American blues singer-songwriter Bonnie Raitt, former drummer for The Doors, John Densmore, actress and Yoga-guru Ali McGraw, and actor Woody Harrelson, who recently starred in the film Battle in Seattle (2007). Harrelson’s link to the latter film is important, as David Solnit, one of the organizers with the Direct Action Network that was involved with preparing for the real Battle of Seattle, observed that the film was hardly supportive of activism: and he wrote the “movie implies that the activists ‘won’ because police were caught by surprise, were too lenient, and waited too long to use violence and chemical weapons, and to make arrests.” [33]

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.” [34] 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.

In summary, the Rainforest Action Network and its related cohorts have been highly profitable investments for the world’s leading capitalists. Not only has their small financial commitment to the environment promoted the conservation of capitalism, it has also protected some trees, but only those it does not need. Perhaps more valuably though, this “radical” investment has helped sustain the illusion that capitalism can be green and good for the environment – a win-win-win scenario for capitalism, but not for us. Quite expectedly such good fortune has not been visited upon the environment, and capitalism has barely missed a beat in its profitable consumption of planet earth. That said we should be thankful that capitalism has so far only been able to conserve its ideological domination in the short-term, and with a little genuine grassroots funding alongside popular activism the tables can be turned all too easily. In this manner, it will be possible to expose the delusions that undergird capitalist conservation efforts so we can strive to render capitalists extinct. Such work will enable concerned citizens to protect the planet and the real living organizations that inhabit it, not the ideologies that are destroying it.

 

Michael Barker is an independent researcher who currently resides in Australia. His other articles can be accessed at michaeljamesbarker.wordpress.com.

 

Endnotes

1. Graham Adams, Jr., The Age of Industrial Violence, 1910-1915 (Columbia University Press, 1966); James Weinstein, The Corporate Ideal in the Liberal State, 1900-1918 (Beacon Press, 1968).

2. Edward Humes, Eco Barons: The Dreamers, Schemers, and Millionaires Who Are Saving Our Planet (HarperCollins, 2009).

3. The Four Corners (1983) was directed by Christopher McLeod, and produced by Christopher McLeod, Glenn Switkes and Randy Hayes.

4. Interview, ‘Radical Environmentalism with Mike Roselle and Josh Mahan’, GritTV (2009), see 4.01 min. http://vodpod.com/watch/2270716-radical-environmentalism-with-mike-roselle-and-josh-mahan Mike Roselle was being interviewed about his new book Tree Spiker: From Earth First! to Lowbagging: My Struggles in Radical Environmental Action (St Martin’s Press, 2009).

5. Rainforest Action Network, ‘Twenty Banner Years: Annual Report 2004-2005?, 5-6.
http://ran.org/fileadmin/materials/comms/mediacontent/annual_reports/RAN_AnnualReport2005.pdf
For a detailed critique of Forest Trends, see Michael Barker, ‘When Environmentalists Legitimize Plunder’, Swans Commentary, January 26, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker12.html

6. Boris Holzer, ‘Transnational Protest and the Corporate Planet: The Case of Mitsubishi Corporation vs. The Rainforest Action Network’, In Leslie King and Deborah McCarthy, eds., Environmental Sociology: From Analysis to Action (The Scarecrow Press, 2005), 362; The International Boycott Mitsubishi Campaign was designed and then directed by Michael Marx.

7. Michael Barker, ‘Conform or Reform? Social Movements and the Mass Media’, Fifth-Estate-Online – International Journal of Radical Mass Media Criticism, February 2007.
http://www.fifth-estate-online.co.uk/criticsm/conformorreformsocialmovements.html

8. Rainforest Action Network, ’2008 Annual Report’; Recent annual reports also demonstrate that RAN’s total funding has been steadily increasing since at least 2004 when their total income was $1 million. The executive director of the Tides Foundation, Idelisse Malave, is a former RAN board member.

9. Joan Roelofs, ‘Networks and Democracy: It Ain’t Necessarily So’, American Behavioral Scientist, 52 (March 2009), 997.

10. Michael Barker, ‘George Monbiot and the Population Myth’, Swans Commentary, November 2, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker34.html

11. Henry Paulson’s son, Merritt Paulson, is a trustee of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Exhibiting a similar commitment to free-market environmentalism, David Blood, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management (1999-2003), serves on the four-person strong board of New Forests, a “forestry investment management and advisory firm currently managing $200 million in assets throughout Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and the Asia Pacific region.” Chairman and founder of New Forests, David Brand, sits alongside Randall Hayes on the board of the aforementioned Forest Trends, and serves on the board of directors of Environment Business Australia – a “business think tank” that is chaired by the former president of WWF Australia (1999-2006).

12. For criticisms of all these influential free-market environmental outfits see:
http://michaeljamesbarker.wordpress.com/environment/

13. Dave Foreman and Murray Bookchin, Defending the Earth (South End Press, 1991), 129; For a summary of the differences between Foreman and Bookchin, see Michael Barker, ‘When Environmentalists Legitimize Plunder’, Swans Commentary, January 26, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker12.html

14. Tom Brokaw is a board member of two groups that promote what has been referred to by critics as humanitarian imperialism; these are the International Crisis Group and International Rescue Committee. See Michael Barker, ‘Imperial Crusaders for Global Governance’, Swans Commentary, April 20, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker18.html

15. Reed Noss is the consulting editor of the Society for Conservation Biology’s journal Conservation Biology, and it is significant to observe how after attending the 2007 annual meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology, Bram Buscher explained within the pages of the Society’s journal that “Conservation biology is actively reinventing itself to fit the neoliberal world order.” Bram Buscher, ‘Conservation, Neoliberalism, and Social Science: a Critical Reflection on the SCB 2007 Annual Meeting in South Africa’, Conservation Biology, 22 (2), 229; Writing for Save the Redwoods League, Reed Noss published The Redwood Forest: History, Ecology, and Conservation of the Coast Redwoods (Island Press, 2000); For criticisms of Save the Redwoods League, see Michael Barker, ‘Laurance Rockefeller and Capitalist Conservation’, Swans Commentary, October 19, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker33.html

16. Other than David Brower the only two emeriti advisory board members of Californians for Population Stabilization are the late Garrett Hardin (1915-2003), and his co-author and wife Jane Hardin (1922-2003). Professor Eric Ross has undertaken a valuable task in tracing the evolution of Garrett Hardin’s work and suggests that when his work is considered in its entirety one can see how this book “embodies all the cardinal qualities of Cold War Malthusian thinking: it is anti-socialist, anti-democratic and eugenic.” Unfortunately, although the myth of the tragedy of the commons has now been discounted, it still remains popular, no doubt in part because of its compatibility with elitist concepts of environmental management. See Eric Ross, The Malthus Factor: Population, Poverty, and Politics in Capitalist Development (Zed Books, 1999), 73-78.

17. Alfredo Martin Bravo de Rueda Espejo, ‘The charming racism of NumbersUSA’, Daily Kos, June 6, 2009.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/6/7/739587/-The-charming-racism-of-NumbersUSA

For a similarly exhaustive critique of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, see their Right Web profile:
http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/Federation_for_American_Immigration_Reform

18. Paul Watson, ‘Report on the Death of Environmentalism is Merely Wishful Thinking’, Lowbagger News, February 2005.
http://lowbagger.org/watson.html

19. Nicolas Rangel, Jr., ‘The Greening of Hate?: Rhetoric in Sierra Club’s Internal Division on Immigration Neutrality’, American Communication Journal, 2008.
http://www.acjournal.org/holdings/vol10/04_Winter/articles/rangel.php

20. Louise Leakey is the daughter of Richard Leakey – a pioneer of “coercive conservation” – thus it is appropriate that Louise’s husband, Emmanuel de Merode, is the chief executive of Wildlife Direct, a group who founder and chair is Richard Leakey and includes among their board members Walter Kansteiner III, the former US assistant secretary of state for African affairs. For a discussion of the principles of coercive conservation, see Nancy Lee Peluso, ‘Coercing Conservation’, In Ken Conca and Geoffrey Dabelko, eds., Green Planet Blues: Environmental Politics from Stockhold to Kyoto, 2nd edn. (Westview Press, 1998), 350-1.

Terry Tamminen is a trustee of Waterkeeper Alliance, a environmental group who board of directors is chaired by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who is in turn the vice chair of a New York-based environmental organization simply known as Riverkeeper – a group that works closely with the Natural Resources Defense Council. Incidentally, Alex Matthiessen, the president of Riverkeeper and board member of Waterkeeper Alliance, formerly served as RAN’s grassroots program director. So in keeping with RAN’s own tight connections to liberal philanthropists, Riverkeeper’s board is awash with elite conservationists, like for example, Jeff Resnick (who is a managing director at Goldman Sachs), Renee Rockefeller (who is a trustee of the Rockefeller Family Fund), Hamilton Fish (who currently serves as president of The Nation Institute, the foundation associated with The Nation magazine), and their board chair George Hornig (who is the chief operating officer of Credit Suisse First Boston Private Equity). Finally, Harrison Ford serves as the Riverkeeper’s first airborne watchdog: for a detailed critique of Ford’s environmental resume, see Michael Barker, ‘Hollywood’s Corporate Conservation Collaborators’, Swans Commentary, February 23, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker14.html

21. Douglas Bevington, ‘The Rebirth of Environmentalism: Grassroots Activism and the New Conservation Movement, 1989-2004?, (PhD Thesis, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2007), 15. His advisors for this thesis were Andrew Szasz (Chair), Barbara Epstein, and Richard Flacks; The most critical book that Bevington cites with regard to the negative impacts of foundation funding is INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, eds., The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex (South End Press, 2007).

22. Center for Biological Diversity cofounder, Todd Schulke, presently serves as their forest policy analyst, and also serves as a board member of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance – a group on whose board Dave Foreman had formerly served.

23. Center for Biological Diversity 2008 Annual Report.
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/publications/reports/AnnualRpt2008.pdf

24. Another illustration of the manner by which concerned activists trust that elite funders will fund revolutionary social change is provided by the Center for Biological Diversity’s climate campaign coordinator, Rose Braz. This is because Braz helped found and was the campaign and media director for Critical Resistance, a group seeking to bring an end to the Prison Industrial Complex with funding derived from George Soros’ Open Society Institute. This relationship shows exactly how underfunded and desperate such radical activists are, especially given that Critical Resistance regularly work with INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence (see note #21). For a deeper and more critical analysis of the same issues, see Joan Roelofs, Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism (State University of New York Press, 2003).

25. Eco Barons
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/eco_barons/index.html

26. Joshua Karliner, The Corporate Planet: Ecology and Politics in the Age of Globalization (Sierra Club Books, 1997), 32; Karliner seeks to obtain “democratic control over corporations and economies” by utilizing a small proportion of their overall profits for activist purposes, not by working to abolish capitalism.

27. An unaffiliated British organization with the similar name Corporate Watch, although predominantly focused on for-profit corporations, recently devoted a special issue of their newsletter to a critical investigation of not-for-profit corporations. See Corporate Watch, ‘The Art of Funding’, Issue 43, June 2009.
http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/?lid=3397

28. Robert Benford, ‘Diffusion, and Stagnation’, in David Pellow and Robert Brulle, eds., Power, Justice, the Environment (MIT Press, 2005), 51; More specifically, with reference to funding issue, Robert Brulle and Jonathan Essoka note that if environmental…

“movement organizations are not authentic community representatives, this limits and compromises the independence of these movement organizations. The mobilization of citizens to create political demand for change can easily he replaced in professional organizations to targeted advocacy activities. Members become seen as something to be managed and as a source of funds solicited via mass mailings. Foundation funding also becomes an appealing source of funding. As the source of fund¬ing shifts, the social movement organization is increasingly controlled by external organizations with their own agendas. So instead of serving as all authentic voice of the community, a social movement organization can become subordinated and controlled by external organizations. This can limit the civic capacity and political power of the organization.” (216)

Robert Brulle later worked with J. Craig Jenkins to co-author the book chapter, ‘Foundations and the Environmental Movement: Priorities, Strategies, and Impact’, in Faber, D., and McCarthy, D., eds., Foundations For Social Change: Critical Perspectives on Philanthropy and Popular Movements (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005).

29. Rhett Butler, ‘Savvy Environmentalists Challenge Corporations to Go Green: An Interview with Michael Brune, Executive Director of RAN’, Mongabay.com, January 29, 2007.
http://news.mongabay.com/2007/0130-ran.html

30. Kenny Bruno and Joshua Karliner, EarthSummit.Biz: The Corporate Takeover of Sustainable Development (Food First Books, 2002); Kenny Bruno, Joshua Karliner and China Brotsky, Greenhouse Gangsters vs. Climate Justice (TRAC-Transnational Resource & Action Center, 1999); Kenny Bruno and Jed Greer, Greenwash: The Reality Behind Corporate Environmentalism (Third World Network, 1996).

31. Macdonald Stainsby and Dru Oja Jay, ‘Offsetting Resistance: The Effects of Foundation Funding and Corporate Fronts’, July 2009.
http://s3.amazonaws.com/offsettingresistance/offsettingresistance.pdf

32. For a detailed critique of Global Green USA and the World Future Council – a group at which Randall Hayes has directed their US Liaison Office (since July 2008) – see Michael Barker, ‘Who Wants A One World Government?’, Swans Commentary, April 6, 2009.
http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker17.html

33. David Solnit, ‘The battle for reality’, Yes! Magazine, Fall 2008.
http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/purple-america/the-battle-for-reality
For an alternative activist-produced record of the Seattle protests, see This is What Democracy Looks Like (2000) – a film narrated by ‘actorvist’ Susan Sarandon.

34. John Sellers, ‘Raising a Ruckus’, New Left Review, July-August 2001.
http://newleftreview.org/A2334

http://www.stateofnature.org/savingTrees.html

%d bloggers like this: