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The Branding of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – By Any Means Necessary [Addendum]

February 15, 2019

 

By Cory Morningstar with Forrest Palmer

 

[ADDENDUM to ACT V – PART I: The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The New Green Deal is the Trojan Horse for the Financialization of Nature]

 

 

Marketing to a key “femographic”, the Green New Deal is both literally and figuratively in Vogue.

The following Teen Vogue makeup tutorial slash Ocasio-Cortez promotional video can only be understood through the lens of today’s incredible infatuation with superficial self-improvement. The makeup tutorial, now a new industry in itself, has been made popular (bordering on obsessive) with teenagers/youth by mainstream pop idols and celebrities, such as Western culture icons Kylie Jenner and music artist Rihanna.

The tutorials further enrich the multi-billion dollar cosmetic industry. [Fortune, July 11, 2018: “How 20-Year-Old Kylie Jenner Built A $900 Million Fortune In Less Than 3 Years”] Rihanna’s net worth in 2018 was a reported 210 million USD having launched her cosmetic line Fenty Beauty with Kendo in 2017. Kendo is a subsidiary of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury group. The unprecedented covetousness for cosmetics lauded by celebrity, is also a reflection of unobtainable beauty expectations being marketed to young women.

“According to the report, global cosmetic products market was valued at around USD 532 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach approximately USD 863 billion in 2024, growing at a CAGR of slightly above 7% between 2018 and 2024… In the U.S, growing Hispanic population is propelling demand for luxurious personal care brands and will escalate during the forecast years.” — Zion Market Research, June 22, 2018

The following statistic taken from the Ocasio-Cortez campaign team (written by Data for Progress, author of “The Future  of the Party” policy report commissioned by the Justice Democrats) reveals how segments of the Ocasio-Cortez Latinx volunteer base could be effectively exploited to further her popularity with the aforementioned constituency:

“In particular, Latinx voters are especially concerned about global warming compared to non-Latinx voters—78 percent to 56 percent—and think it should be a priority of Congress–70 percent compared to 52 percent. 45 Across the board, Latinx voters appear to take the issue and the response to global warming more seriously.” — Data for Progress, A Green New Deal policy report, September, 2018 [p. 24]

Although media is quick to hype Rihanna’s vast combined fortune, few references are made to the fact she is a minority shareholder in her company. Hence, the astronomical profits (the brand grossed $72 million USD in its first month) go to those who own the majority of her company. By marketing black power and feminism, those that garner the vast amount of wealth garnered by Rihanna are Anglo billionaire men at the top of the pyramid.

Further, although Ocasio-Cortez is presented as the celebrity Latina superstar in the political domain, she too, is placed there, only to serve capital belonging to the power elite. With a documentary film that recounts Ocasio-Cortez’s meteoric rise to stardom having just been purchased by Netflix for a cool ten million, we can expect cosmetic endorsements and cosmetic lines in the not-so-distant future. [February 7, 2019: ” Netflix just bought a film about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It might be the most ever paid for a Sundance documentary.” In this day and age becoming a brand for corporate merchandise is no longer the death of cool – rather, it is the epitome of cool. It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that in the near future one’s bid for presidency may have more to do with who has the best makeover tutorials on social media than anything to do with housing, healthcare, education or the environment.

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MSN, February 7, 2019: “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shared her skincare routine on social media. Sit with four young Latinx campaign volunteers from her congressional district in the Bronx and Queens as they try her detailed instructions and talk about AOC’s impact in their lives.” [Teen Vogue]

Video: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Campaign Volunteers Try Her Skincare and Beauty Routine | Teen Vogue [5m:48s]:

 

[Further reading: Barclays: Gen Z: Step aside Millennials, November 8, 2018]

 

 

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

 

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

 

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The New Green Deal is the Trojan Horse for the Financialization of Nature

This is ACT V – PART I of the series: The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Political Economy of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

 

February 13, 2019

 

In ACT I of this new body of research we opened the dialogue with the observations of artist Hiroyuki Hamada:

 

“What’s infuriating about manipulations by Non Profit Industrial Complex is that they harvest good will of the people, especially young people. They target those who were not given skills and knowledge to truly think for themselves by institutions which are designed to serve the ruling class. Capitalism operates systematically and structurally like a cage to raise domesticated animals. Those organizations and their projects which operate under false slogans of humanity in order to prop up the hierarchy of money and violence are fast becoming some of the most crucial elements of the invisible cage of corporatism, colonialism and militarism.”

 

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent has been written in five acts.

In ACT I (published January 18, 2019 on Wrong Kind of Green) we disclosed that Greta Thunberg, the current child prodigy and face of the youth movement to combat climate change, serves as special youth advisor and trustee to the burgeoning mainstream tech start-up, “We Don’t Have Time”. We then explored the ambitions behind the tech company We Don’t Have Time.

In ACT II (published January 21, 2019 on Wrong Kind of Green) we illustrated how today’s youth are the sacrificial lambs for the ruling elite. Also in this act we introduced the board members and advisors to “We Don’t Have Time.” We explored the leadership in the nascent We Don’t Have Time and the partnerships between the well established corporate environmental entities: Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, 350.org, Avaaz, Global Utmaning (Global Challenge), the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum (WEF).

In ACT III (published January 28, 2019 on Wrong Kind of Green) we deconstructed how Al Gore and the planets most powerful capitalists are behind today’s manufactured youth movements and why. We explored the We Don’t Have Time/Thunberg connections to Our Revolution, the Sanders Institute, This Is Zero Hour, the Sunrise Movement and the Green New Deal. We also touched upon Thunberg’s famous family, in particular Thunberg’s celebrity mother, Malena Ernman (WWF Environmental Hero of the Year 2017), and her August 2018 book launch. We then explored the generous media attention afforded to Thunberg in both May, 2018 and April, 2018, by SvD, one of Sweden’s largest newspapers.

In ACT IV (published February 3, 2019 on Wrong Kind of Green) we examined the current campaign, now unfolding, in “leading the public into emergency mode”. More importantly, we summarized, who and what this mode is to serve.

In this act – ACT V, PART I – we take a closer look at the Green New Deal. We look at Data for Progress and the targeting of female youth as a key “femographic”. We connect the key architect and authors of the “Green New Deal” data to the World Resources Institute. From there we walk you through the interlocking Business & Sustainable Development Commission the New Climate Economy – a project of the World Resources Institute. Finally, we disclose the common thread between these groups, that of assigning monetary value to nature via the Natural Capital Coalition. The “New Deal for Nature”  (the financialization and privatization of nature, global in scale) is “expected to be adopted during the fifteenth meeting in Beijing in 2020.”

In ACT V – PART II – we finally wrap the series with an exploration of what the real “Green New Deal” under the forth industrial revolution will look like. We reflect upon how mainstream NGOs are attempting to safeguard their influence and further manipulate the populace by going underground through Extinction Rebellion groups being organized in the US and across the world. We look at the weak and essentially non-existent demands – eerily reminiscent of the 2009 TckTckTck “demands”.

Lastly we look at the power of celebrity – and how it has become a key tool for both capital and conformity. Some of these topics will be released as addenda built on a large volume of research.

[*Note: This series contains information and quotes that have been translated from Swedish to English via Google Translator.]

 

A C T   V –  P A R T  I

 

March 10, 2014:

“…the divestment campaign will result (succeed) in a colossal injection of money shifting over to the very portfolios heavily invested in, thus dependent upon, the intense commodification and privatization of Earth’s last remaining forests, (via REDD, environmental “markets” and the like). This tour de force will be executed with cunning precision under the guise of environmental stewardship and “internalizing negative externalities through appropriate pricing.” Thus, ironically (if in appearances only), the greatest surge in the ultimate corporate capture of Earth’s final remaining resources is being led, and will be accomplished, by the very environmentalists and environmental groups that claim to oppose such corporate domination and capture.” — McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part XIV of an Investigative Report] [Environmentalism is Dead – Welcome to the Age of Anthropocentrism]

 

A Green New Deal – for Mobilization

November 12, 2018,  A New Global Architecture: Børge Brende [Far left of panel], President, Member of the Managing Board, World Economic Forum and panel [1]. “Shaping a New Global Architecture” session at the World Economic Forum, Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils 2018. Copyright by World Economic Forum / Benedikt von Loebell

The “New Deal” of the 1930s has always been a point of pride in the American psyche since it implementation by Franklin Delano Roosevelt during his four terms in office after the Great Depression. Since that time, various people and programs have attempted to appropriate this term in furtherance of diverse platforms as a means to portray the concept as beneficial to a populace. In that regard, a fairly recent phrase that has used this phrase is the “Green New Deal”. This term first surfaced during 2007 by the NY Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman and was then used by London accountant Richard Murphy to describe a full scale change in our economy to an environmentally sound capitalist system. As the term has never been fully embraced by the establishment, it still resided right below the surface of mainstream economic discourse among many people, as it serves as a potential improvement within the current economic system. Only recently though in 2019, has the “Green New Deal” reached apoplectic proportions as far as its usage and reached a fevered pitch by those who are touting its ability to shift the paradigm from fossil fuels to a pancea of “green technologies” in the near future.

Prior to 2018 the term had become most recognized and associated with the Green Party as part and parcel of its platform. By June 2018 however, traces of how this would soon serve to be the vehicle that would launch Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez into the stratosphere of a superstar would start to surface.

On June 27, 2018, Democracy Now, a popular mouthpiece for the halls of power in the domestic psuedo-left movements reported the following:

“In a stunning upset and the biggest surprise of the primary season this year, 28-year-old Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat 10-term incumbent Representative Joe Crowley in New York in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. Crowley is the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House, and he’d outraised Ocasio-Cortez by a 10-to-1 margin. Crowley was widely viewed as a possible future House speaker. Yet Ocasio-Cortez defeated Crowley after running a progressive grassroots campaign advocating for “Medicare for All” and the abolition of ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.”

Following her victory on June 26, 2018, Cortez would acknowledge that the only reason she ran for the seat, was at the bequest of the Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress who had approached Cortez a year and a half earlier, in 2016. [Video interview, June 27, 2018, 9m:42s in]:

The Young Turks: “Last, two things real quick. You’re among the first Just Democrat candidates ever in history. Umm, how much of a, of a help was that organization to you?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: It was enormously important. I wouldn’t be running if it wasn’t for the support of Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress. Umm, in fact it was it was these organizations, it was JD and it was Brand New Congress as well, that both, that asked me to run in the first place. They’re the ones that called me a year and a half ago after I left Standing Rock and said ‘hey would you be willing to run for Congress?’ So I wouldn’t be here, um, and I wouldn’t have run if it wasn’t [for them].”

October 26, 2018: Brand New Congress, Green New Deal

Most of the people involved in founding the Justice Democrats (launched in January 2017) and Brand New Congress (founded in 2016) came from the aftermath of the Bernie 2016 campaign. As an example, Saikat Chakrabarti co-founder and former executive director of Justice Democrats, as well as a co-founder of Brand New Congress, served as the campaign chair during  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 2018 campaign. Today, Chakrabarti serves as Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff. Prior to co-founding Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress, Chakrabarti was the director of organising technology for the Bernie 2016 Campaign. One name that sparks curiosity is Zack Exley, the co-founder of both Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress, who was also the senior advisor to the Bernie 2016 campaign and former organizing director for MoveOn.

Our Revolution, a political organization launched by Bernie Sanders in 2016, [touched upon in ACT III of this series] also endorsed Ocasio-Cortez. On January 23, 2017, it was reported that Justice Democrats would partner with Brand New Congress.

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One day after the Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic nomination for her congressional district on June 27, 2018, a New Green Deal led by Ocasio-Cortez was highlighted by Grist in which they referenced an email interview between HuffPost and Ocasio-Cortez the week prior:

“What sets Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal apart is her plan to meet the target by implementing what she called a “Green New Deal,” a federal plan to spur “the investment of trillions of dollars and the creation of millions of high-wage jobs.”

 

Though the slogan harks back to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1930s New Deal program of infrastructure spending and labor reforms, she compared the program she envisions to the tens of billions of dollars spent on armaments manufacturing and the rebuilding of Europe after World War II.”

 

‘The Green New Deal we are proposing will be similar in scale to the mobilization efforts seen in World War II or the Marshall Plan,’ she told HuffPost by email last week. “We must again invest in the development, manufacturing, deployment, and distribution of energy, but this time green energy.”

On June 30, 2018, Grist would reference the Green New Deal as proposed by Ocasio-Cortez again:

“The Green New Deal we are proposing will be similar in scale to the mobilization efforts seen in World War II or the Marshall Plan’, she said by email. “It will require the investment of trillions of dollars and the creation of millions of high-wage jobs. We must again invest in the development, manufacturing, deployment, and distribution of energy but this time green energy.”

Here we must pause for a moment to deconstruct the above. First, the above plan and language mirrors that in the strategy document “Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: A New Strategy for the Climate Movement” [laid out in ACT IV of this series] being led by organizations whose affiliations with the Democrats, the Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez campaigns are publicly disclosed. Second, we must recognize that  behind large institutions and media outlets such as Grist, branded as both “left” and “progressive”, are power structures subservient to capital. Grist CEO is Brady Walkinshaw. Prior to his role of CEO in 2017, Walkinshaw a former US State representative, worked as a program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Before his tenure at the Gates Foundation, Walkinshaw, a Fulbright scholar of the US State Department, worked as a special assistant to the World Bank. Within the Grist board of directors is 350.org founder, Bill McKibben – defacto foot soldier for Bernie Sanders and the Democrats in general.

Climate Nexus: A New Green Deal is Coming

November 7, 2018: Climate Nexus (a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors), Green New Deal

On February 7, 2019 Climate Nexus (a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors) [2] announced via its “TOP STORIES” that a “New Green Deal is Coming”:

“Here It Comes: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) will unveil a landmark resolution calling for a transition to renewable energy and the creation of thousands of new jobs today in Washington, DC. The highly-anticipated Green New Deal legislation follows months of protest and calls for an aggressive and just transition off fossil fuels from young activists in groups like the Sunrise Movement.”

From 2013-2016, the MacArthur Foundation awarded Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors ten million dollars for Climate Nexus.

The Blended Finance Taskforce [see ACT IV of this series] is comprised of fifty icons of finance including the MacArthur and Rockefeller Foundation.

As touched upon in act IV of this series, the People’s Climate March, which took place  on September 21, 2014, was led and financed by the Rockefeller Foundation, Climate Nexus, 350.org, Avaaz/Purpose, Greenpeace, US Climate Action Network (USCAN) and GCCA/TckTckTck (founded by twenty NGOs with 350.org, Greenpeace, Avaaz and Oxfam at the helm). In relation to the current set of circumstances, 350.org (incubated by the Rockefeller Foundation) would again serve to be an instrumental vehicle to propel the Green New Deal as the catalyst to unlock the 100 trillion dollars required to unleash the “fourth industrial revolution”. This project, of unparalleled magnitude, is the vehicle to save the flailing global capitalist economic system and bring in the financialization of nature.

Green New Deal – Data for Progress

“A Green New Deal is popular among American voters and can mobilize them in 2018.” — A Green New Deal Policy Report by Data for Progress, September, 2018 [Emphasis in original]

Data for Progress Website

“Key Finding 7: The kids are alright – Though some of the proposals we examine are currently unpopular nationally, that may change in the future. We find that four of the most radical proposals we analyzed are vastly more popular with younger voters than they are with the general public.” — Data for Progress, Polling the Left Agenda

In July 2018, polling being conducted by Data for Progress, a partner in the Green New Deal with the Sunrise Movement and 350.org, showed a whopping 41% of people under the age of thirty would support a candidate that campaigned on a jobs guarantee and clean energy. The support exhibited by this age bracket constituted approximately twice that of the group comprised of people age 45 and above. [“Forty-eight percent of voting eligible adults said they would be more likely to support a candidate who was running on 100% renewable energy by 2030. Notably, this is significantly faster than even the most progressive legislation currently in Congress.”] By targeting the youth, in addition to its 30-45 demographic, the promise of green jobs and clean energy were the clear winners.

“In this case, at least, time could be a weapon for the Sunrise Movement. Earlier this year, the Pew Research Center projected that millennials were poised to overtake baby boomers as the largest adult generation in the U.S., as well as its biggest eligible voting bloc.” [Source]

 

“What year were you born? (Sunrise is building a movement led by young people; we ask for the year you were born so that we can help you find the best opportunities to engage. You can answer “prefer not to say” as well, but knowing this really helps us!)” – Sunrise Movement Website

September 6, 2018: 350.org, Green New Deal, Data for Progress

“All electricity consumed in America must be generated by renewable sources, including solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, sustainable biomass, and renewable natural gas, as well as clean sources such as nuclear and remaining fossil fuel with carbon capture.” — New Green Deal Policy Report by Data for Progress, September, 2018 [p. 5]

For the Green New Deal’s foray into the American consciousness, a new movement would be required. This would be the Sunrise Movement. A youth movement created under the direction of the Sierra Club from which it received a $50,000 grant. Par for the course of “youth grassroots activism” Sunrise already has a hefty budget and a full time staff: “In relation to other environmental groups, the Sunrise Movement is relatively small. Its officials said they have about 16 full-time staff and that they’ve raised about $1 million since its founding.” [December 3, 2018]

Sunrise Movement is the rebranded US Climate Plan (now defunct) founded by Evan Weber and Matt Lichtash.

Lichtash is a strategy and executive office specialist at the New York Power Authority. He is the founder of Carbon Capital.

WESLEYAN,  ISSUE 2,  2017

In 2017, Weber was named by Grist as one of “50 emerging green leaders to watch for” citing his work with U.S. Climate Plan, the organization founded by he and Lichtash in 2013 under the direction of Michael Dorsey.

SustainUS alumni [“WE TRAIN YOUNG PEOPLE TO LEAD“] Dyanna Jaye would be identified as one of the Sunrise Movement co-founders following the April 2017 rebrand, as would Varshini Prakash and Sara Blazevic from the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network.

“Sunrise is a movement led by young people and young people will be prioritized for housing, travel support, and other needs, as people typically left out of the political process by our institutions. That being said, we welcome people of all ages to participate in Sunrise actions in different ways.” — Sunrise website

The president and executive director of the Sunrise Movement is Michael Dorsey. Having served eleven years on the Sierra Club national board, Dorsey is co-founder and principal of Around the Corner Capital—an energy advisory and impact finance platform. He serves as an  an adisor to ImpactPPA; equity partner in solar firm Univergy-CCC; co-founder and director of Univergy-CCC’s India division: Univergy/ThinkGreen; and full member of the Club of Rome. His political background is extensive having served under the US administrations of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He also served on Senator Barack Obama’s energy and environment Presidential campaign team. [3]

“We must end all emissions from fossil fuels. The full U.S. economy can and must run on a mix of energy that is either zero-emission or 100 percent carbon capture by mid-century* [*citation].” — New Green Deal Policy Report by Data for Progress, September, 2018 [p. 5]

Sunrise received a collaborative grant from USCAN with Power Shift Network, SustainUs and the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice. Another primary funder thus far of Sunrise is the Sustainable Markets Foundation. The Sunrise address is shared with US Climate Action Network and Sierra Club (50 F St NW, Washington, DC 20016), where Sunrise trainings have been held by USCAN board members.

“One factor working in their favor was that the group didn’t start from scratch. Some of the architects of the Sunrise Movement included activists from organizations such as 350.org — which also provided some early financial support.” Inside the Sunrise Movement (it didn’t happen by accident), December 3, 2018

Prior to the Sunrise Movement, the framework of a youth led mobilization in service to capital expansion had already been identified by those at the helm. In that role, people such as Jamie Margolin, youthful founder of Zero Hour were developed by the establishment. In being trained by the likes of Al Gore (founder of Generation Investment with Goldman Sachs David Blood), Margolin was propelled to celebrity status in a mere few months by utilizing magazines that feed the insatiable American appetite for celebrity fetish (Vogue, People, Rolling Stone). This exposure, coupled with social media recognition by “eco celebrities” (individuals with grotesquely indulgent lifestyles yet lionized as environmental stewards due to their comparatively menial philanthropic endeavours, such as Leonardo DiCaprio) is a tried and true method of manufactured celebrity.

November 6, 2018: Vanity Fair, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Across the Atlantic Ocean, more celebrities and groups that would lead “the public into emergency mode” would soon follow.

In June 2018, a twitter account and an Instagram account were created under the name Greta Thunberg.

In July 2018, a twitter account was created under the name Extinction Rebellion.

[Further reading: The Increasing Vogue for Capitalist-Friendly Climate Discourse]

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The Green New Deal is Vogue

Marketing to a key “femographic” – the Green New Deal is In Vogue.

Vogue, November 2, 2018: “Bria Vinaite Explains the Green New Deal: ‘Let Vinaite fill you in on the rest of the details—and make sure to find out if your candidates support a Green New Deal when you head to the polls. If they don’t, maybe you can ask why.'” [“The foundation of Vogue’s leadership and authority is the brand’s unique role as a cultural barometer for a global audience.”]

As this series will demonstrate, young females are the key #femographic for the #AOC campaign. [See forthcoming addendum]

Green New Deal Commercial: Bria Vinaite Explains the Green New Deal [02m:19s]

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It is here where the machinations for the Green New Deal – the vehicle for unlocking 100 trillion dollars, and the long-awaited financialization of nature, begins to unfold.

“Liking” the Vinaite tweet was Greg Carlock, architect of the Green New Deal, Green New Deal research director and senior advisor to Data for Progress, [4] and Manager for Climate Action and Data for World Resources Institute (WRI) where he leads the development of the WRI Climate Program’s flagship platform—Climate Watch. [Source] Prior to joining WRI, Carlock worked at USAID on greenhouse gas accounting and data.

Also crafting the Green New Deal is Emily Mangan, policy adviser for Data for Progress and  research analyst at World Resources Institute. Mangan  provides research support and analysis for the Green New Deal. Prior to joining WRI, Mangan worked at the Council on Foreign Relations. [Source]

Here it must be made clear that the Osario-Cortez and Green New Deal frenzy, is part and parcel of strategy of “leading the public into emergency mode” launched in 2018. In reality, the Green New Deal is window dressing for what is in store. All decisions regarding all “new deals” will not be made by Osario-Cortez, the Democrats or any other party. Rather they will be made (and already have been made) by those that comprise the absolute ruling class.

  • September 6, 2018, 350.org, Green New Deal

World Resources Institute

December 11, 2009: World Resources Institute

April 7, 2011: World Resources Institute

September 12, 2014: World Resources Institute

The World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research non-profit organization that was founded in 1982 by James Speth [5] with a fifteen million dollar grant from the MacArthur Foundation. It is an international powerhouse “that works in more than 50 countries, with offices in the Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States. WRI’s more than 500 experts work with leaders to address six urgent global challenges at the intersection of economic development and the natural environment: food, forests, water, climate, energy and cities.”

The WRI advisory board represents the absolute upper echelons of power within the matrix of the non-profit interlocking directorate – with a staggering amount of overlap with the hegemonic powerhouse, the Council on Foreign Relations.

 

With 98.5 million in funding in 2017, the exhaustive list of WRI donors [6] represent many of the most powerful and influential entities on Earth, including Alcoa Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Cargill, Caterpillar Foundation, Citi Foundation, ClimateWorks Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Oak Foundation,  Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Rockefeller Foundation, Shell Foundation, USAID, and the World Bank. [WRI 2017 Annual Report]

The WRI board of directors [7] include:

  • David Blood: Co-founder and senior partner of Generation Investment;
  • Felipe Calderón: Former president of Mexico, chair of the Global Commission that oversees the New Climate Economy, honorary chairman of the Green Growth Action Alliance;
  • Christiana Figueres: Executive secretary of the UNFCCC, The B Team leader, vice-chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, board member of ClimateWorks, World Bank Climate Leader,  Mission2020 Convenor, member of the Rockefeller Foundation Economic Council on Planetary Health, credited with delivering the Paris Agreement [Full bio];
  • Jennifer Scully-Lerner: Vice president, private wealth management at Goldman Sachs;
  • James Gustave Speth: Founder of WRI, former administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, honorary director at the Natural Resources Defense Council and WRI, serves  on the board of the Climate Reality Project, advisory board member at 350.org, member of the Council on Foreign Relations;
  • Andrew Steer: President and CEO of the WRI. Formerly with the World Bank, serves on the sustainable advisory groups of both IKEA and the Bank of America, and he serves on the Executive Board of the UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy For All Initiative;
  • Kathleen McLaughlin: Senior vice president and chief sustainability officer at Walmart Inc., president of  Walmart Foundation;
  • Nader Mousavizadeh:Co-Founder and partner of Macro Advisory Partner, former chief executive of Oxford Analytica, a leading global analysis and advisory firm, former investment banker at Goldman Sachs, member of the Council of the European Council on Foreign Relations, member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Geopolitics, WEF Global Leader for Tomorrow;
  • James Harmon: Chairman and CEO of Caravel Management, member of the Council on Foreign Relations;
  • Afsaneh M. Beschloss: Founder and CEO of RockCreek. Former managing director and partner at the Carlyle Group and president of Carlyle Asset Management, treasurer and chief investment officer at the World Bank, formerly with Shell International and J.P. Morgan, member of the World Economic Forum’s Investor Governors, member of the Council of Foreign Relations, recognized as one of American Banker’s Most Powerful Women in Banking;
  • Joke Brandt: Secretary General Of The Ministry Of Foreign Affairs Of The Netherlands;
  • Jamshyd N. Godrej: Chairman of Aspen Institute – India. He is the Vice President of World Wide Fund for Nature – International and was the President of World Wide Fund for Nature – India from 2000 to 2007;
  • Caio Koch-Weser: Chairman of the Board of the European Climate Foundation. Former vice chairman of Deutsche Bank Group, held high-level positions in the World Bank, member of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate(NCE) and a Member of the Board of the Centre for European Reform (CER) in London;

[WRI Global Leadership Council][WRI Board of Directors – Full]

WRI donors Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, IKEA Foundation – in partnership with Agence Française de Développement, the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment and BlackRock – led the Climate Finance Partnership announced September 26, 2018 at the One Planet Summit in NYC by French President Emmanuel Macron and BlackRock’s Larry Fink. The accompanying Blended Finance Taskforce, an embodiment of the world’s most powerful and financial institutions, is well represented at WRI.

April 27, 2017: World Resources Institute

The Blended Finance Taskforce was launched by Paul Polman’s Business & Sustainable Development Commission in 2017.

The efforts put forward by the Business & Sustainable Development Commission taskforce led to the Climate Finance Partnership announced on September 26, 2018.

Polman is the CEO of Unilever, and chair of the International Chamber of Commerce and The B Team (co-founder of We Mean Business). Polman has also been closely involved in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). [8] The Blended Finance Taskforce was established in order to identify barriers to the effective use and scaling of blended finance. It is now implementing an ambitious plan of action to increase mainstream private investment for the SDGs. [Full list of Business & Sustainable Development Commissioners including Avaaz co-founder Ricken Patel.]

Unilever is a member of WRI’s Corporate Consultative Group. WRI Member companies include Abbott Laboratories, Bank of America, Cargill Corporation, Caterpillar, CitiGroup, Colgate-Palmolive, DuPont, General Motors, The Goldman Sachs Group, Google, Kimberly-Clark, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Shell, Walmart , Walt Disney Company, and  Weyerhaeuser. [Full list] [WRI CCG Advisory Board]

On November 15, 2018, the Climate Markets and Investment Association reported that the Climate Finance Partnership would “work together to finalize the design and structure of what we anticipate will be a flagship blended capital investment vehicle by the end of the first quarter, 2019.” All media inquiries pertaining to this announcement were to be directed to Climate Nexus (People’s Climate March) or the European Climate Foundation. The task of the Blended Climate Finance is to unlock 100 trillion to rescue  the current economic system that has now entered the late stage of “freefall”. [Disclosed in ACT IV of this series]. The required maximization and mobilization of public monies  for private profits, to save the capitalist economy and further privatization, will be achieved through the climate emergency strategy that has been put into action.

Here it is critical to recognize that the New Climate Economy is a project of the WRI.

  • April 11, 2009, World Resources Institute, 350.org, Avaaz, TckTckTck, COP15,

The New Climate Economy

January 20, 2015: World Resources Institute, New Climate Economy Team

October 6, 2016: New Climate Economy, World Resources Institute

The New Climate Economy Project is led by Helen Mountford, program director for the New Climate Economy project and director of economics at WRI. Other team members from WRI include Milan Brahmbhatt, senior fellow at the WRI, and Molly  McGregor, research coordinator in the President’s Office at the WRI. [New Climate Economy Global Project Team]

The New Climate Economy project is being “conducted by a team of economists and policy and business analysts drawn from, and supported by, a partnership of nine leading global economic and policy institutions” under the direction of WRI.

Research partners for the initiative are as follows: Climate Policy Initiative, Ethiopian Development Research, Institute, Global Green Growth Institute, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science, Overseas Development Institute, Stockholm Environment Institute, and Tsinghua University.

The New Climate Economy initiative works with global institutions including the International Monetary Fund, International Energy Agency, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and UN agencies. It is overseen by a Global Commission comprised of former heads of government, finance ministers, a plethora of the crème de la crème of economics, business and finance. [Economic Advisory Panel] [Emeritus Commissioners]

The New Climate Economy Global Commission members include Felipe Calderón (honorary chair), Paul Polman (co-chair), Angel Gurría, Nicholas Stern (co-chair), Sharan Burrow and many other members overlapping with the WRI, Climate Finance Partnership, Blended Finance Taskforce, etc. A cabal so entrenched in corporate power that it can easily make ones head not only spin, but explode. [9] The demand for citizen groups is ironic seeing as the financialization of nature is happening behind closed doors – with a promissory note of silence from the non-profit industrial complex.

+++

The New Green Deal is tied to WRI. WRI is the New Climate Economy. The last and the most important piece of the puzzle is the Natural Capital Coalition.

Here it is imperative to note that the Natural Capital Coalition is comprised by those at the helm of the New Climate Economy and WRI.

  • January 26, 2014, World Resources Institute, New Climate Economy, Stockholm Institute

“New Deal for Nature” – Assigning Monetary Value To All of Nature 

“He treats his mother, the earth, and his brother, the sky, as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep or bright beads. His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert.” — Chief Seattle, 1780-1866

January 26, 2018: “New Deal For Nature”, WWF

“The financial value at stake is mind-boggling – and the business opportunities likely to be created by the shift in the prevailing market paradigm are astonishing…. Who will be the Bill Gates of ecosystem services?” — The Biosphere Economy, 2010

In tandem with orchestrating a frenzy over a Green New Deal via the non-profit industrial complex and media mechanisms, WWF et al were quietly pushing forward with a “New Deal for Nature”. The Green New Deal conjures up images of wind turbines and solar panels that are miraculously perceived as natural and holistic. [The fact that a solar panel and wind turbine has become more strongly associated with nature and environment than an actual tree, insect or animal, is in itself, quite terrifying and a stark indicator in the power of social engineering conducted on the citizenry over the last two decades.] This feat, achieved via powerful branding and NGO association, serves as the bright green mask for the even more sinister deal – the financialization of Nature – reframed as the “New Deal for Nature”.

Yet, it’s not new at all, with the Natural Capital Project (morphed into the present day Natural Capital Coalition) having been launched in 2006.

The Natural Capital Coalition (NatCap) was founded by Stanford University [Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Department of Biology], The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, and the Institute on the Environment of the University of Minnesota. The scope of its global network includes corporations such as Coca-Cola and Dow Chemical, and institutions such as the US Department of Defense and the World Bank. The scope of its coalition members is a massive conglomerate of corporate power including many NGOs and so-called conservation bodies.

Here we can add that “Harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution for the Earth”, published by the World Economic Forum’’s “System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Environment and Natural Resource Security” is a partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. [Source]

“Taken all together, the value of the total global ecosystem services has been estimated at USD 125 trillion per year, which is almost twice the world’s gross domestic product.”—Natural Capital Coalition, July 12, 2018

The development of the Natural Capital Protocol Project was made possible with generous funding from Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; International Finance Corporation (World Bank) with the support of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Netherlands; The Rockefeller Foundation; United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); and UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The Coalition is hosted by The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). Other funders include World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Google Foundation, the Inter-American Development Bank, Unilever, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, U.S. Department of Defense and the World Bank [Source]

World Resources Institute provided the technical insights and review for the Natural Capital Protocol. The protocol was developed by Conservation International, The B Team, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Sustain Value, ACTS, Arcadis, eftec, Environmental Resources Management (ERM), Imperial College, ISS, Natural Capital Project, Synergiz, WWF, Accenture, CDSB, Deloitte, Dow, eni, GIST Advisory, Kering, LafargeHolcim, Natura, Nestlé, Roche, Shell, and The Nature Conservancy. The protocol was led by the WBCSD consortium. [Source]

Today, the final frontier for the corporate capture of the Earth as a whole, has finally arrived. Other terms thrown into the ring for public acceptance are a “New Deal for Nature and Humanity” and a “New Deal for Nature and People”.

“The New Deal for Nature  is expected to be adopted during the fifteenth meeting in Beijing in 2020.” — Biodiversity International, November 30, 2018

On January 23, 2019 the Natural Capital Coalition released an announcement stating that “In 2020, We Need A New Deal for Nature.” This article was part of the 2019 World Economic Forum “Shaping the Future of Environment and Natural Resource Security” system initiatives. The authors of the article were Marco Lambertini, Director-General, WWF International; Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever; and Børge Brende, former Foreign Minister of Norway (2013-2017) and president and member of the managing board of the WEF. [WEF Board of Trustees, 2017] [WEF Leadership and  Governance]

The urgency in accelerating the plan forward is made clear:

“Against this backdrop, we need 2019 to be the year that sees a step-change in mobilising a wider public-private biodiversity action agenda. We need a “New Deal for Nature” to emerge.”

To make this happen, a movement is identified as the vehicle:

“A movement has the combined power and influence to be able to identify a simple set of targets for action on nature that everyone can aim for – so-called “science-based targets” to which every business, investor, NGO, city and government can contribute by 2030, such that meeting them will slow down the damage we are doing to nature, and ultimately restore it to the level science says we need.”

Over and over we are inundated with the “simple set of targets” that “everyone can aim for”. Hence, we witness the creation of mobilizations, global in scale, with no rational demands whatsoever.

The implementation of the Green New Deal will lay the groundwork for payments for ecosystem services (PES). This will create the most spectacular opportunity for monetary gain that the financial sector has ever witnessed. New markets offer speculation that promises unimaginable profits. The commodification of most everything sacred, the privatization and objectification of all biodiversity and living things that are immeasurable, above and beyond monetary measure, will be unparalleled, irreversible and inescapable.

In order to manufacture consent from the populace, those rolling out a “new deal for nature” are utilizing the power of  holistic language. They are strategically exploiting the very real contempt that we, the public have for externalities (pollution, etc.) – only to sell the financialization of nature back to us as a society. This is very much the same method we witness today as the power elites masterfully exploit the discontent of the youth and the population at large.

Image: Costing the Earth Interactive Game, “Play to find out the financial value of Nature”, BBC, October 8, 2015

The New Deal for Nature is the gentle easement of the mental acceptability of the financialization of nature into the public psyche, which is quite rapidly becoming a global phenomenon. So hideous is the payments for ecosystem services (PES) scheme, masked under the holistic phrase “natural capital”, that it is barely mentioned outside of closed doors. But if we look closely, we can find it hidden in plain sight.

May 21, 2018: Science Can Help Forge a New Deal for Nature:

“The global community has a unique window of opportunity to define the post 2020 global biodiversity framework. It will need bold commitment and determination, innovative approaches and transformative processes to ensure that such a New Deal will be effective. At this historical juncture, let us leverage science to help forge a New Deal for Nature.” — Christiana Pa?ca Palmer, Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity

November 22, 2018: A New Deal for Nature and Humanity:

“WWF strongly supports the call for a new deal for nature and people. By 2020, in just two years, we need an agreed roadmap that recognizes the intrinsic link between the health of nature, the well-being of people and the future of our planet.”

November 29,  2018: UN Biodiversity Conference Agrees on a Process Towards a New Deal for Nature and People in 2020 But Ambition is Weak:

“The 14th Conference of the Parties (COP14) of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) ended today with an agreement on the preparatory process for a post-2020 global framework, moving us closer to a transformational New Deal for Nature and People in 2020 – a vital step to ramp up global efforts to halt today’s unprecedented and dangerous biodiversity loss.

 

WWF urges member countries to develop a far higher shared vision and political ambition if we are to reach a New Deal for Nature and People and create a Paris-style moment for biodiversity in 2020.”

Welcome to the Green New Deal, New Deal For Nature, Next System, Regenerative System, New Economy, New Climate Economy, Biosphere Economy, etc. A fusion of rhapsodic and mellifluous language that creates a sublime chrysalis to further expand capital markets. The second verse is the same as the first.

A genuine rebellion against ecological devastation does not – and cannot – turn its back on capitalism, imperialism, militarism, sexism (patriarchy, misogyny) and racism (white supremacy). The main drivers of our accelerating environmental crisis. Marching for capital under the guise of marching for revolution is a fool’s game. All roads lead to the corporate capture, theft and pillage of what remains of our already decimated planet.

We end this segment with a lecture by Clive Spash (one of the very few economists with the moral courage to speak honestly on “pricing the environment”. [“The Economics of Biodiversity Management and the Problems of the Current Ecosystems Services and Market Based Policy Approaches”, Vienna, 6th December 2010]

 

 

[Further reading: Building Acquiescence for the Commodification of the Commons Under the Banner of a “New Economy”]

Endnotes:

[1] A New Global Architecture, November 12, 2018: Børge Brende, President; Member of the Managing Board, World Economic Forum and panel, Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation; Young Global Leader, Helen E. Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand (1999 – 2008), New Zealand, Roland Paris, University of Ottawa, Canada, Jean-David Levitte, Adviser, France; Former Ambassador of France to the UN and United States Hilary Cottam, Author and Entrepreneur, Centre for the Fourth Social Revolution; Young Global Leader during the Session “Shaping a New Global Architecture” at the World Economic Forum, Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils 2018. Copyright by World Economic Forum / Benedikt von Loebell

[2] “Climate Nexus, a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, helps local, national, and international media recognize climate science and clean energy’s role in addressing climate change. This is accomplished by building a broad network of influential, persuasive messengers, and creating a clear, compelling narrative about climate change and ways to address its impacts.”

[3] “A former Dartmouth College professor, Dorsey is a serial organization builder & leader in for-profit, non-profit & governmental realms. In the for-profit arena, Dorsey co-founded and heads Around the Corner Capital—an energy advisory and impact finance platform. Thru Around the Corner he actively invests & advises several pools of private equity finance on renewable energy & related matters globally. Dr. Dorsey is an equity partner in the Spanish-Japanese solar firm: Univergy-CCC; and a co-founder of its India division: Univergy/ThinkGreen, based in Hyderabad.

In the non-profit arena Dr. Dorsey sits on many boards, including Food First & the Center for Environmental Health–the latter he co-created in 1997. Dorsey co-founded IslandsFirst.org. He served 11 years on the Sierra Club national board.” [Source]

[4] “Greg is Green New Deal Research Director at Data for Progress. He holds a Masters in Environmental Policy and is a researcher in climate action and data based in Washington D.C. He specializes in greenhouse gas accounting, U.S. climate and energy policy, and online data platform development. Greg uses his brain for analysis and leaves the data science to the experts.’ [Source]

[5] “Professor Speth currently serves as honorary director at the Natural Resources Defense Council and World Resources Institute and is on the boards of the Climate Reality Project, the Center for a New American Dream, and the New Economy Coalition. He is an advisory board member at United Republic, 350.org, EcoAmerica, Labor Network for Sustainability, New Economy Working Group, SC Coastal Conservation League, Environmental Law Institute, Vermont Natural Resources Council, Southern Environmental Law Center, Heinz Center, Free Speech for People, Vermont Institute for Natural Science, the Northwest Earth Institute, and the Carbon Underground.” [Source] Speth also serves on the advisory board of The Climate Mobilization [Featured in ACT IV of this series]

[6] “Acknowledging Our Donors | Major Donors: Grants and gifts of $750,000 or more, includes revenue received 10/1/16 – 1/15/18 and older grants still open as of 10/1/16” : Alcoa Foundation • Bloomberg Philanthropies • C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group • Cargill, Incorporated • Caterpillar Foundation • The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation • Citi Foundation • ClimateWorks Foundation • Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy of the United Kingdom • Department of Fo reign Affairs and Trade of Australia • DOB Ecology • DOEN Foundation • Energy Agency of Sweden • European Climate Foundation • European Commission • Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany (BMZ) • Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany (BMU) • FedEx Corporation Ford Foundation • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation • German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) • Good Energies Foundation • Google Inc. • William and Flora Hewlett Foundation • IKEA Foundation • Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) • Irish Aid – Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade • Johnson Controls International plc • Linden Trust for Conservation • The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France • Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy of the Netherlands • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (Danida) • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands (DGIS) • Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management of the Netherlands • Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation • Charles Stewart Mott Foundation • The Nature Conservancy • Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) • Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) • Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment • Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs • Oak Foundation • Open Society Foundations • Michael Polsky Family • Rockefeller Brothers Fund • Rockefeller Foundation • Stephen M. Ross Philanthropies • Shell Foundation • Skoll Global Threats Fund • Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) • Ruth McCormick Tankersley Charitable Trust • The Tilia Fund • U.K. Department for International Development (DFID) • U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UKFCO) • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) • U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) • Villum Foundation • The World Bank • Anonymous

[7]

  • Susan Tierney: former Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Energy;
  • Pamela P. Flaherty: Former president and CEO, Citi Foundation, former director of corporate citizenship, Citi;
  • Harriet C. Babbitt: Former U.S. Ambassador to the Organization;
  • Tammie Arnold: formerly with Generation Investment Management;
  • Frances Beinecke: Former President, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), United States;

Other members include Stephen Brenninkmeijer, Robin Chase, William Chen, Tiffany Clay, Dino Patti Djalal, Alice F. Emerson, Jonathan Lash, Joaquim Levy, Kathleen McLaughlin, Nader Mousavizadeh, Michael Polsky, Bill Richardson, Stephen M. Ross, William D. Ruckelshaus and Roger W. Sant.

[8] Since 2009, Chief Executive Officer, Unilever; leading the company to set out an ambitious vision to decouple its growth from overall environmental footprint and increase its positive social impact. Actively seeks cooperation with other companies to implement sustainable business strategies and drive systemic change. Has been closely involved in global discussions on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and action to tackle climate change. Former Member: High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, presenting recommendations on behalf of the private sector; International Council, Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, under former Mexican President, Felipe Calderon. 2016, asked by the UN Secretary-General to be Member, SDG Advocacy Group, tasked with promoting action on the 2030 Agenda. Chairman, World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Member: International Business Council, World Economic Forum; B Team; Board, UN Global Compact; Business and Sustainable Development Commission. Recipient of numerous awards, including: Climate Visionary Award (2017); Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur (2016); UN Foundation’s Champion for Global Change Award (2014); Oslo Business for Peace Award (2015); UN Environment Programme’s Champion of the Earth Award (2015).

[9] Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chad O. Holliday, Suma Chakrabarti, Helen Clark, John Flint, Kristalina Georgieva, Jamshyd Godrej, Stephen Green, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, Naina Lal Kidwai, Caio Koch-Weser, Ricardo Lagos, Frannie Leautier, Patricia de Lille, Carlos Lopes, Takehiko Nakao, Christian Rynning-Tønnesen, Kristin Skogen Lund, Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Maria van der Hoeven and Chen Yuan.

 

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

 

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

 

Trust Nothing

By John Stepping

 

“A London work by the street artist Bambi, titled Lie Lie Land, depicts a dancing British Prime Minister Theresa May and President Donald Trump.”

 

“Utilizing the power of celebrity (an unprecedented phenomenon for the expansion of capital in the west), today’s global influencers such as Thunberg, are fully utilized to create a sense of urgency in regard to the climate crisis. The unspoken reality is, they are the very marketing strategy to save capitalism. This is a very “inconvenient truth”.”

 

Cory Morningstar & Forrest Palmer

 

“And we will move forward to our work, not howling out regrets like slaves whipped to their burdens, but with gratitude for a task worthy of our strength, and thanksgiving to Almighty God that He has marked us as His chosen people, henceforth to lead in the regeneration of the world.”

 

– Albert T. Beveridge (Speech in the Senate. “Congressional Record”, Senate, 56th Congress, 1st session,1900)

 

“The old Lakota was wise. He knew that man’s heart away from nature becomes hard…”

 

Luther Standing Bear

Iwant to try to tie together several societal and cultural trends that have been developing beneath the surface (or at least beneath the surface most of the time) for several years. One thing that the Trump presidency seems undeniably to embody is a kind of seismic shift into open fascism — a shift that is global in nature. This is not to suggest that Trump is anything other than a continuation of what came before, but that the very forces that brought the Donald to the Presidency have also made visible the tendencies toward fascism globally.

This is the age of marketing. Only that age began forty years ago, more or less, so this is now the age of hyper marketing or ultra marketing. And that all topics and concerns, literally everything, from education to policing to surveillance to nuclear disarmament, to green or ecological concerns, to politics (sic) to gender and race are all in service to further a total indoctrination of the populace (meaning mostly, but not exclusively the West) and a way to protect capital and solidify the power of the ruling elite. And perhaps it’s not exactly to protect Capital so much as to set the stage for a post capitalist new feudalism.

The global landscape now features in Brazil (5th most populous country on earth) a new openly fascist president in Jair Bolsonaro. This is a man who openly admires Hitler, and suggests he’d kill a son if he found out he was gay. Not to mention his adoration of Israel and bromance with Bibi Netanyahu. (contradiction you say?.. on the surface yes, but perhaps not if one examines all this more closely). Bolsonaro wants to sell off the rain forest, and has all but issued a mass death warrant to indigenous tribes and activists protesting the denuding of the Amazon basin. In India, the second most populous nation on earth, Modi has defined himself and his party the BJP as a nativist neo fascist authoritarianism.

“…while we don’t have a fascist nationalism which was in Germany, what we are witnessing is semi-fascist nationalism along religious sentiments. “

 

– Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd (The Hindu, June 2017)

In Hungary there is Victor Orban, and across Europe are a host of nativist ultra reactionary racist politicians; Geert Wilders in Holland, Matteo Salvini in Italy, or AfD political leader Alexander Gauland in Germany who dismissed Nazi era rule as mere “bird poo” in an otherwise spotless history of German triumph. Or Jimmy Akesson of the Swedish Democrats, or Jussi Hallo Aho of the Finns Party in Finland, or the crack pot religious fanatics of the Law and Justice party in Poland (close with Orban’s party) or, in some ways, the most pernicious of the new reactionary neo fascists is Kristian Thulesen Dahl, head of the Danish People’s Party, a svelte well tailored and hip new fascism growing in legitimacy in the formally tolerant Scandinavian country. Dahl, a Knight of the Danneborog, likes to call his party “an anti Muslim party”. Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, from the ostensively center right Venstre Party (its not, its full on reactionary) is almost equal to Dahl in his xenophobia. The previous Prime Minister (Anders Fogh Rasmussen) left the post in 2009 to head up NATO. (!) A position that then was taken by former Norwegian PM Jens Stoltenberg (Labor Party). So here we have these supposedly liberal politicians eagerly rolling over and piddling themselves, on command, from the US joint chiefs.

Running beneath all of these “anti immigration” parties is a revanchist colonial mentality. And that’s the point. The corporate media provides cover by stressing that immigration is a ‘real’ concern. The very framing of this question is just another tactic in the rehabilitation of fascism. Never is any mention of made of *why* there is an immigration *problem*. And if an aside is voiced it never targets US.and NATO Imperialist wars but rather suggests this is a clash of civilizations thing, echoing the seemingly forever durable Samuel Huntington meme. The fact that all that post 9/11 anti Islamic mythology has been debunked matters not at all. It doesn’t matter because people in the West WANTED to believe it — it reinforced a fantasy that they had clutched to their psychic bosoms long ago. The infidel, the barbarian hordes, and the uncivilizable tribes that threaten that bastion of civilization, white Europe. None of the anti immigration parties now on the ascendant in Europe has voiced opposition to US and NATO military affairs. Victor Orban (Fidesz Party) is rapidly coming to seem Europe’s answer to Donald Trump, or perhaps the new Berlusconi.

90% of all newspapers and media in Hungary is owned by Fidesz party loyalists. And Orban has drastically rewritten the constitution to allow himself enlarged powers. Not for no reason has Steve Bannon called Orban the most exciting politician in Europe. Also note, the Fidesz Party began as an anti-Communist youth group.

But the point is that those lurid drawings of the caves in Tora Bora or videos of dogs being gassed…as practice….or the yellow cake in Niger…were lapped up like milk in the U.S. The photos of Abu Ghraib came and went.

In the U.S. there is now a shifting away from the acute individualism of the ‘snowflake’ privileged and a reforming in the guise of a nostalgia laden colonialist or slave owner. And if you think that an exaggeration then just remember Bill Maher’s tirade last week where he referred very approvingly to the Monroe Doctrine and mentioned Venezuela as part of “our back yard”. I mean it is stunning, it really is. The new colonial is replicated in another guise by the Israeli military. As I have noted before the IDF no longer bothers much with the ‘most moral army in the world’ argument and just cuts straight to hyper efficient killing machine and overlords of their region. They are applauded as such, too.

In my anecdotal experience the last few weeks I have had countess social media interactions in which my interlocatur was young(ish) white and reasonably well off financially. And two things have emerged as through lines: one was an indelible and core racism. Especially anti black racism, and a clear tendency toward antisemitism. And second, a refusal to surrender privilege. The white privilege is more protected than ever, psychologically. And with that comes an outright refusal to criticize US policy — unless it is viewed as Trump’s policy. And often these two things are buried. They are deeply entrenched, though. I would wager that a vast majority of white america is unmoved by the achievements of the Innocence Project. Freeing black men is simply not something white people can get behind. But it is also the return of the mid 20th century hagiographic adoration of cowboys, the frontier, and rugged individualism. And with hunting. Now there is also a growing anger. I mean people are losing their lives. Families live under freeway overpasses. There are no jobs. And a new desperation is gripping the nation.

So intersecting then, are this new material desperation and a nostalgic self definition that includes Billy the Kid and Wyatt Earp, as well as an open embrace of teen symbolism and a kitsch nostalgia for the past as created by Hollywood — 70s styles, or 80s styles, etc. Anything but the present. For there is no style to the present. There is only escape from it. And the ruling elite are not unaware of all this either. Both major parties have the same identical goals. Both protect their privilege and both strategise ways or campaigns to capitalize on the discontent they see around them. (Enter Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. And not to beat this drum again, but the woman is a cretin. The examples are countless. But she remains telegenic and so desperate are people, liberals, to find a new standard bearer, that her gaffes are simply ignored.). The marketing of new candidates meant to suggest “change” is less effective than it was for Obama in his initial run. But it still works. But something else is behind all this. And that is touched on most acutely and brilliantly by Cory Morningstar in her exhaustive 4 part series on The Wrong Kind of Green.

And this is really, for me, something that has been nagging at me during those insomnia hours before dawn. Nagged at me while taking long walks ….and that is how the Ecological and Environmental Crisis is being marketed. And from that, how to process or trust the various conflicting alarms that are a constant now. And for many on the left to even say this much is dangerous. When I wrote that piece on Green Shaming I had started to touch on the outer husk of this, but Cory Morningstar and Forest Palmer did simply extraordinary work in researching the mechanisms of exploitation involved in the construction of a new grammar and style for this false Green awareness. The environmental crisis, all too real, is viewed as just another business opportunity. Only its more than that, too.

Now when I say its an age of hyper marketing, it is useful to really remember that almost everyone who is visible in media is being handled. Or “handled”. Everyone. EVERYONE. And nothing is ever what it seems, if it is visible to the mass public. It is an age in which the very idea of trust has been so eroded as to be almost anachronistic.

Fifty years ago Adorno warned of empty activism. And today that warning has migrated to green actions. It is worth bring in Venezuela here, as another kind of example. Max Blumenthal wrote in an exhaustive piece on Juan Guaido, that…

” While Guaidó seemed to have materialized out of nowhere, he was, in fact, the product of more than a decade of assiduous grooming by the US government’s elite regime change factories. Alongside a cadre of right-wing student activists, Guaidó was cultivated to undermine Venezuela’s socialist-oriented government, destabilize the country, and one day seize power. Though he has been a minor figure in Venezuelan politics, he had spent years quietly demonstrating his worthiness in Washington’s halls of power.”

 

– Max Blumenthal (Grayzone, Jan 29, 2019)

He was manufactured, much as Goldman Sachs and the IMF and other establishment banking entities manufactured Macron. In fact, its the way, on a larger denser and more complex level, Barack Obama was manufactured. Its the same structural composite that results in the marketing of Pussy Riot or pick any of a half dozen (at least) child victims of US/NATO wars. In fact much of the persuasion of public opinion comes out of invented narratives that either are starkly revisionist or simply never happened. Jessica Lynch was a branch of how that works. But the US and UK (in fact this is something of a UK specialty) produce just oodles of eye witnesses or “real” Syrians, or Libyans or Haitians or Iraqis or Venezuelans. Much as at one time the manufacturing of eye witnesses to Milosevic’s cruelty were all over the place. And the fact that nearly always these fake “authentic” voices cant keep their stories or facts straight doesn’t matter –for exactly the same reason it didn’t matter OBL wasn’t in those Tora Bora caves, the ones that didn’t exist.

This brings me back to the Cory Morningstar & Forest Palmer in depth article. The link is here.

But one of the key targets for Western green business has been the global south, and in particular Africa. Not surprising that the US military also “pivoted” to Africa (sic) under Obama.

“Gore, with a net worth of approx. 350 million dollars, pays much lip service to subjects of inequality, wealth disparity and poverty. Thus, it is useful to actually take a look at what the much hyped green energy revolution actually looks like, when played out in real life and exactly who is being served by the so-called “green revolution”. M-Kopa Solar – “Power for Everyone” is a pay-per-use solar power provider (in the form of solar kits) created for impoverished African countries by white uber rich capitalists. The countries thus far include rural Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. M-Kopa is the brainchild of Jesse Moore (CEO), Chad Larson and Nick Hughes —who helped develop M-Pesa, which has more than 19 million users in Kenya. { } Included on the M-Kopa board of advisors is Colin Le Duc, a founding partner of Generation Investment Management and the Co-CIO of Generation’s growth equity Climate Solutions Funds. Other investors/lenders/partners include Shell Foundation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. At this juncture, before we continue, it is vital to note that in 2015, M-Kopa estimated that eighty percent of its customers lived on less than $2 (USD) per day. By 2015, M-Kopa had reached over $40 million of revenue.”

Naomi Wolf wrote not too long ago..“When citizens can’t tell real news from fake, they give up their demands for accountability bit by bit.” But I think that is, actually, almost too optimistic. People want to believe mythologies that sanctify their own privilege. And this identity based thought structure, one dimensional by its very nature, then promotes what amounts to a 21st century kitsch mythos. Or as Margaret Rosler said, “people want the fake”.

I am suggesting, in short form, that history matters. And it matters on several levels. Which is why it is being erased. This was a slave owning country in which 12 presidents owned and worked slaves. It was built by slaves and by indentured Chinese workers and it produced Manifest Destiny, a belief in American territorial expansion regardless of the cost. It was at least party driven by Christian zealotry, and partly by greed. But also by a violence and cruelty which seems to have been the fusion of a variety of factors both historical and cultural. The public wants to find stories that flatter them and provide some, however fleeting, sense of their own significance and power. No country on earth produces men as insecure as the United States. And today, amid the waste of a destroyed union culture, and dead manufacturing base and loss of steel and auto makers…the U.S. worker is forced further and further into a fantasy laden infantilism. This is the world of that goes to celebrate the life of sniper Chris Kyle, an unbalanced borderline sociopath and serial liar, at the Houston Astro Dome. This is much of the culture of the flyover states. It is racist at its core, it is aggressive, driven on by deep lacerating insecurities, and it is despises and distrusts intellect and education. The other large group is the city dwelling white liberal, college educated, and today, confused, alienated, suffering serious fertility failures and increasingly medicated with psychotropic drugs and anti depressants. This is the much of the target audience for new green marketers.

One might think that if someone were conscious enough to recognise that global ecology was compromised and that pollutants were destroying fresh water, and the land, and that global warming was quite possibly going to make huge swatches of land non arable — you might think that person would look for solutions in a political frame. After all it was global capital that had brought mankind to this historic precipice. But instead, many if not nearly all the people I speak with, frame things in terms of personal responsibility. Stop driving big diesel SUVs, stop flying to Cabo for vacation, stop eating meat, etc-. But these same people tend to not criticize capitalism. Or, rather, they ask for a small non crony green capitalism. I guess this would mean green exploitation and green wars? For war is the engine of global capitalism today. Cutting across this are the various threads of the overpopulation theme. A convenient ideological adjustment that shifts blame to the poorest inhabitants of the planet. And here you find Bill Gates and other NGOs working to “help” the developing (sic) nations through population control (see Depa Provera and other reproductive health services).

Jacob Levich writes…The Rockefeller Foundation organized the Population Council in 1953, predicting a “Malthusian crisis” in the developing world and financing extensive experiments in population control. These interventions were enthusiastically embraced by US government policymakers, who agreed that “the demographic problems of the developing countries, especially in areas of non-Western culture, make these nations more vulnerable to Communism.” (Aspects of India’s Economy, No 57 2014)

And this raises yet another question. The wrong kind of green, to put it in Morningstar’s term, is one that is all about the protection of capitalism. Green anti communism. There are links here between AVAAZ, and Otpor, and the USAID and National Endowment for Democracy and Freedom House et al. The world of NGOs has grown in both size and power.

“…the evil empire Buffett, Gates and Rockefeller built in the private sector is mirrored in the evil networks of NGOs they — along with Clinton — have constructed to provide cover for widespread environmental devastation, ethnic cleansing and Indigenous genocide committed by their corporate investments. Using bagmen like Tides Foundation in cahoots with magicians like Bill McKibben at 350 dot org, and sleight-of-hand artists like Tzeporah Berman at Tar Sands Solutions Network, Buffett, Gates, Rockefeller and Clinton have become thick as thieves in producing political theatre to distract us from the parade of refugees in their caravan of doom.”

 

– Jay Taber (Wrong Kind of Green, Oct 2013)

 

“Hollywood acts as an arm to this media intoxication when it comes to the military. Watch virtually any action, sci-fi or suspense movie these days and notice how militarism is seamlessly laced through most of the plot lines. Military hardware is easily available for these productions. Soldiers are almost always cast as virtuous. And this also demonstrates the strain of pernicious authoritarianism within American culture. FBI and CIA agents, detectives, prosecutors, all of them are portrayed with an air of troubled, perhaps flawed, but intact unassailable nobility.”

 

– Kenn Orphan (Counterpunch, 2019)

 

There has been a rightward shift in nearly every field one can find or think of. Recently in Norway I read this…

“A majority in Parliament asked the government in 2015 to replace its appeals court jury system with a combination of professional and lay judges. Now the historic reform has taken shape, reports newspaper Aftenposten. Instead of having a 10-member jury decide on guilt or innocence in Norway’s most serious criminal cases, they’ll now be heard in Norwegian appeals courts by two professional judges and five lay judges chosen from the public. The reform changes the way cases have been decided for 130 years.”

 

– News in English Norway, Aftenposten

In other words, this is a shift toward a bias for conviction. Two judges will simply determine the case and manipulate or bully if need be, the citizen jurors. The change was made because juries were increasingly found to be unable to follow the complexity of many cases. Lay another gold star on the destruction of public education in Europe and North America.

The racism of most Americans can be tracked, too, in how they digest mainstream propaganda about Venezuela. Many feel kinship with Maher’s position. This is OUR backyard. How dare that uppity “dead communist dictator”(to use Bernie Sanders description) Chavez deign to GIVE us free heating fuel and gas. The presumption. For many this was like the help talking back. Americans by and large are quite indifferent to the accuracy or not of the demonizing of official US enemies. From Castro to Milosevic to Aristide to Assad and Qadaffi …to the DPRK or Mao or Hugo Chavez. As the national front used to say in England…’the wogs start at Calais’. For white America there is always a residual racism and Puritanism at work in their thinking.

Also, one sees the confusion in anti nuke protests. Dennis Riches has done great work in compiling info and arguing the case. He wrote…

“If this recent anti-nuclear drive actually succeeded in getting the nuclear powers to ratify an international treaty declaring nuclear weapons illegal, the world would be left with the United States undeterred with a vastly predominant power in conventional weaponry. Intercontinental ballistic missiles would be refitted with precision conventional bombs capable of putting any nation on earth back in the Stone Age within a matter of weeks. This was already achieved with the attacks in attacks on Serbia (1999), Iraq (1991, 2003~) and Libya (2011). All of these were illegal under international law, which raises the question of how the international community would enforce compliance with a new international law banning nuclear weapons. In addition to the fact that international law is ignored continually during so-called peacetime, Russell and Einstein pointed out in their 1955 manifesto that treaties banning nuclear weapons would be abrogated the minute world war breaks.”

 

– Dennis Riches (Lit by Imagination, a blog of Dennis Riches)

In other words, nuclear disarmament is seen through the lens of American exceptionalism. Nothing happens in a vacuum.

“Secondly, insofar as it breeds in itself tendencies which— and here too we must differ—directly converge with fascism. I name as symptomatic of this the technique of calling for a discussion, only to then make one impossible; the barbaric inhumanity of a mode of behaviour that is regressive and even confuses regression with revolution; the blind primacy of action; the formalism which is indifferent to the content and shape of that against which one revolts, namely our theory. Here in Frankfurt, and certainly in Berlin as well, the word ‘professor’ is used condescendingly to dismiss people, or as they so nicely put it ‘to put them down’, just as the Nazis used the word Jew in their day. “

– Adorno (Letter to Marcuse, 1969)

Adorno was wrong in much of what he did in that later period (calling in the cops for one). But there is a seed of truth in his complaint, too (the Ocasio Cortez phenomenon is evidence of this, I’d say). Much of today’s green left seems profoundly uncritical of the US state department apparatus for propaganda and its infiltration (or creation) of NGOs and activists groups. Or just the predatory capitalists of Al Gore’s Generation Investment…

“At this juncture, seeing as we are being led to believe that “sustainable investments” are the pathway to solving our planetary crisis, it might be wise to ask in what sustainable corporations Generation Investment is investing. Generation Investment has created a focus list of some 125 companies around the world in which it invests not based on how sustainable the business is, but rather, “on the quality of their business and management.”

 

Generation Investment’s portfolio and investments include multinational corporations with horrendous records of malfeasance, such as Amazon, Nike, Colgate, MasterCard, and the Chipotle, restaurant chain, with heavy investments in health and technology. And as all of these corporations are heavily invested and/or dependent on fossil fuels, how an investment firm can justify investing in these companies is anyone’s guess. { } Generation Investment board members include eco-luminaries such as Mary Robinson, a former president of Ireland and the founder of nonprofit Mary Robinson Foundation. Robinson serves as president to Richard Branson’s B Team, which is managed by Purpose – the public relations arm of Avaaz.”

– Cory Morningstar (The Wrong Kind of Green)

The problem with discussions of global warming and the destruction of the planet is that so much of that discussion has been coopted by Capital. And its often very difficult to quickly know who to trust. One response I get a lot is, well, YOU have to change. This I take it means doing all kinds of feel good greeny things. And yet none of what I can do is going to matter to Bolsonaro as he burns down the Amazon. For that is political. And he is a fascist. And when Bernie Sanders and Ocasio Cortez, or Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris sign off on the coup in Venezuela, this is not and cannot be separated from the occupation of Afghanistan or the slaughter in Yemen, or mass incarceration and a violent militarized domestic police. The deep colonial Orientalism of American culture is tied to how one must start to talk about the environment. They are not separate issues. Sanders, besides slandering Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution, also trashes the BDS movement. What is one to make of this, exactly? And yet his popularity stays in tact.

Any green change starts with the overthrow of capital. And that means that it rejects all military activity by the U.S. and NATO. Global warming drove the apocalyptic California wild fires last summer. But thirty or forty years of urban building, of the wrong shrubbery being planted, and crowded subdivisions intensified the fires. And, the practices of fire prevention.. paradoxically made those fires much worse.

“Building in or near fire-prone forests has also led to fire prevention land management practices that paradoxically increase fire risk. For instance, policies for preventing wildfires have in some areas led to an accumulation of the dry vegetation that would ordinarily burn away in smaller natural blazes. “The thing that gets missed in all of this is that fires are a natural part of many of these systems,” said Matthew Hurteau, an associate professor at the University of New Mexico studying climate impacts on forests. “We have suppressed fires for decades actively. That’s caused larger fires.”

– Umair Irfan (Vox, Dec 2017)

The frame is not to protect nature but to protect property, and that leads to problems.

The short equation then is this: if its a business opportunity, its not going to help anything. And if you find yourself on the same page as the US state department and Pentagon you might have to step back and take a breath. The supreme irony is Democrats in particular, who continue to drive the Russia-gate story, having no problem with getting rid of Maduro and replacing him with — for the moment — Juan Guaido. But the real purpose behind the attack on Venezuela is to get rid of socialism in ‘our back yard’. Getting massive oil reserves is nice bonus but the priority is to turn back the so called Pink Tide. Much as Yugoslavia had to go, so does Venezuela. With Bolsonaro, and Macri in Argentina, and Ivan Duque in Colombia, the forces of reaction are being put in place. (It is worth noting that while Trump’s cabinet is stocked with Domionists, the Supreme Court has had a heavy influence of Opus Dei members and that in Brazil Opus Dei rules the third largest bank…fascism and religion are always entwined). And for white America, this feels almost nostalgic. Adding Elliot Abrams to the mix only heightens that nostalgic feeling. For this suddenly feels like Reagan’s America again. Cowboys and the frontier — and the shining light on the hill. Only now, it all takes place, this kitsch B western, in the shadow of global ecological crises. Crises caused by Capital. By Wall Street and an elite class of 2% that owns more than the bottom 50% of the planet. By a system of exploitation in which human suffering is a foundational component. Its just like Reagan’s Norman Rockwell fantasy, except now with an all child cast. The political spectacle is now narrated by ten year olds. Bana Al-Abed is only the latest in this line of manufactured wag the dog props for the Western spin machine. The White Helmets are another branch of the fake. Absolutely invented, only in their case of a particularly grave robber morbidity. The aforementioned Pussy Riot, and AOC is in a sense another version of this. Young lithe and almost (!) childlike. Certainly not fecund and maternal. For that is a threat. Americans see the world as a Hollywood period film. Bring back the Casinos in Havana, that’s so romantic. Same as the Romanoff balls were romantic. Same as colonial salons from Calcutta to Singapore were romantic. An afternoon tea on the verandah at the Raffles Hotel, now those were the days. Nostalgia is a safe psychic retreat now. Even if its all make believe. In fact, there is a strange psychic disposition that desires the fake. That wants the artificial. I think it is perhaps fake is associated with fantasy, with the world as if it is a children’s book.

American’s idea of politics is also shaped in large measure by Aaron Sorkin’s West Wing. This is probably not even a tiny exaggeration. This is the vision and fantasy of the educated liberal class in America. But for all their self described tolerance and progressiveness, they will still vote for those Democrats who want a coup in Venezuela and who signed off on all of Trump’s defense spending increases. For the bourgeoisie always side with fascism. That’s simply a fact. In the end they will side with the authoritarian and far right wing, and protect their small corner of the sandbox. And even if one tries to explain that sandbox may well become a sweatshop — they seem undeterred. In the end the liberal press will embrace Bolsonaro, too. As they now do Bush Jr, and well, Elliott Abrams. Negroponte can’t be far behind. The plan is clearly to rehabilitate fascism. Globally. The School of the Americas are due a feature film, no doubt.

[John Steppling is an original founding member of the Padua Hills Playwrights Festival, a two-time NEA recipient, Rockefeller Fellow in theatre, and PEN-West winner for playwriting. Plays produced in LA, NYC, SF, Louisville, and at universities across the US, as well in Warsaw, Lodz, Paris, London and Krakow. Taught screenwriting and curated the cinematheque for five years at the Polish National Film School in Lodz, Poland. A collection of plays, Sea of Cortez & Other Plays was published in 1999, and his book on aesthetics, Aesthetic Resistance and Dis-Interest was published by Mimesis International in 2016.]

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The House is On Fire! & the 90 Trillion Dollar Rescue

February 3, 2019

 

By Cory Morningstar with Forrest Palmer

 

This is ACT IV of the series: The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Political Economy of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

 

In ACT I of this new body of research we opened the dialogue with the observations of artist Hiroyuki Hamada:

 

“What’s infuriating about manipulations by Non Profit Industrial Complex is that they harvest good will of the people, especially young people. They target those who were not given skills and knowledge to truly think for themselves by institutions which are designed to serve the ruling class. Capitalism operates systematically and structurally like a cage to raise domesticated animals. Those organizations and their projects which operate under false slogans of humanity in order to prop up the hierarchy of money and violence are fast becoming some of the most crucial elements of the invisible cage of corporatism, colonialism and militarism.”

 

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent has been written in five acts.

In ACT I (published January 18, 2019 on Wrong Kind of Green) we disclosed that Greta Thunberg, the current child prodigy and face of the youth movement to combat climate change, serves as special youth advisor and trustee to the burgeoning mainstream tech start-up, “We Don’t Have Time”. We then explored the ambitions behind the tech company We Don’t Have Time.

In ACT II (published January 21, 2019 on Wrong Kind of Green) we illustrated how today’s youth are the sacrificial lambs for the ruling elite. Also in this act we introduced the board members and advisors to “We Don’t Have Time.” We explored the leadership in the nascent We Don’t Have Time and the partnerships between the well established corporate environmental entities: Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, 350.org, Avaaz, Global Utmaning (Global Challenge), the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum (WEF).

In ACT III (published January 28, 2019) we deconstructed how Al Gore and the planets most powerful capitalists are behind today’s manufactured youth movements and why. We explored the We Don’t Have Time/Thunberg connections to Our Revolution, the Sanders Institute, This Is Zero Hour, the Sunrise Movement and the Green New Deal. We also touched upon Thunberg’s famous family, in particular Thunberg’s celebrity mother, Malena Ernman (WWF Environmental Hero of the Year 2017), and her August 2018 book launch. We then explored the generous media attention afforded to Thunberg in both May, 2018 and April, 2018, by SvD, one of Sweden’s largest newspapers.

ACT IV – In this act, we examine the current campaign, now unfolding, in “leading the public into emergency mode”. More importantly, we summarize, who and what this mode is to serve.

ACT V – In the final act, we look at the Guardian and Extinction Rebellion. We take a closer look at the Green New Deal, which, like Extinction Rebellion, has plans to go global in scale. We explore how mainstream NGOs are attempting to safeguard their influence by going underground through Extinction Rebellion groups being organized in the US and across the world. We look at the weak and essentially non-existent demands – eerily reminiscent of the 2009 TckTckTck “demands”. Lastly we look at the power of celebrity – and how it has become a key tool for both capital and conformity.

[*Note: This series contains information and quotes that have been translated from Swedish to English via Google Translator.]

 

A C T   I V

 

Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

“15 minutes of fame is short-lived media publicity or celebrity of an individual or phenomenon. The expression was inspired by Andy Warhol’s words “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”, which appeared in the program for a 1968 exhibition of his work at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden.” [1]

As Greta Thunberg is the founding block of this particular story, revisiting Sweden with the above observation feels like a good place to start part IV of this series where we deconstruct the ongoing marketing campaign with the most recent activity.

Let’s begin.

January 25, 2019: “Finally, we have to applaud the lineup for Thursday’s lunchtime panel. Marc Benioff was joined on the stage by Jane Goodall, Bono, teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, diplomat and environmentalist Christiana Figueres, President & CEO of Sompo Holdings Kengo Sakurada, and will.i.am. What a crew.” Photo by Jeff Elder | Source: “The 10 Best Moments From Davos With Salesforce

On Thursday January 24, 2019, Greta Thunberg took part in a lunch panel presented by Marc Benioff at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. Benioff is the CEO and founder of Salesforce, as well as a co-founder of Breakthrough Energy (nuclear) with Bill Gates and other kindred billionaires. Also on the panel were Jane Goodall (United Nations Messenger of Peace), Bono (U2 lead singer and “activist”), “will.i.am” (Black Eyes Peas founder and “philanthropist”) and the young Greta Thunberg who made the following statement [0:40s]:

Thunberg’s words were quickly launched into the international stratosphere of global media outlets and social media.

CNN, January 25, 2019:

“On Thursday, Thunberg gave an impromptu speech at a lunch with a star-studded guest list that included music stars Bono and Will.i.am, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, former Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn, and an array of bankers and investors. She roasted them.

 

“Some people say that the climate crisis is something that we will have created, but that is not true, because if everyone is guilty then no one is to blame. And someone is to blame,” Thunberg said flatly. “Some people, some companies, some decision-makers in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. And I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.”

Here it is vital to note the usage of language: impromptu and roasted.

France 24, January 25, 2019:

“Some people say that the climate crisis is something that we have all created, but that is not true. Because if everyone is guilty then no one is to blame, and someone is to blame. Some people, some companies, and some decision-makers in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue to make unimaginable amounts of money. And I think that many of you here today belong to that group of people,” she said in her impromptu speech, delivered without a moment’s hesitation.”

EZ News, January 27, 2019:

“On Thursday, Thunberg gave an impromptu speech at a lunch with a star-studded guest list that included Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, former Goldman Sachs president and Trump administration official Gary Cohn, musicians Bono and Will.i.am, and an array of bankers and investors.”

Pluralist, January 28, 2019:

“Greta Thunberg reportedly took a 32-hour train from her home in Sweden to the Swiss retreat and camped out in zero degrees-Fahrenheit temperatures to deliver an impromptu roast of the celebrities and economic titans. In a speech at lunch, she accused the high-profile guests of causing the warming of the planet that they had spent the prior several days grandstanding about fixing.”

As demonstrated in the above talking points, there is much emphasis from the international media to establish the idea that Thunberg’ speech was spontaneous. As we will illustrate, it was not. This is merely an example of effective story-telling being put into practise, as orchestrated by the NGOs and corporate alliances that are handling Thunberg.

On January 22, 2019, three days prior to the “impromptu speech” at the WEF, a video was uploaded onto YouTube by  Uphill Media. [“Uphill Media, is the continuation of Bernie2016 TV and Political Revolution TV. We are 501(c)(3)3 non profit independent media network focused on informing the electorate through engagement on the Internet.”][2]

In this video of Thunberg speaking, filmed prior to her traveling from Stockholm to Davos, the key talking points within the message [3] [26 seconds in] are almost verbatim to the “impromptu” speech at WEF:

January 22, 2019 video:

“Some people say that the climate crisis is something that we all have created. But that is just another convenient lie. Because if everyone is guilty then no one is to blame. And someone is to blame. Some people, some companies, and some decision makers in particular have known exactly what priceless values they are sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money.”

January 25, 2019, WEF lunch panel:

“Some people say that the climate crisis is something that we will have created. But that is not true. Because if everyone is guilty then no one is to blame. And someone is to blame. Some people, some companies, some decision-makers in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. And I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.”

This was not lost on the WEF organizers, whom, in a concerted effort with Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion, were already sharing the Swedish ecommercial within the WEF event and on social media – prior to the Salesforce lunch panel where Thunberg would cite the passages for media. The attempt by the media, and forces at play, to frame the speech as spontaneous, regardless if it was deliberate or not, evokes a layer of child-like authenticity by the messenger, if not the message itself. In spite of the motive, this is disingenuous to say the least.

January 23, 2019, Extinction Rebellion:

https://youtu.be/5Fo69sPq_Og

Greenpeace International, twitter account, January, 22, 2019:

This compounds with other earmarks of a well-orchestrated media campaign.

On December 15, 2018, Thunberg was thrust into international stardom following a speech at the COP24 in Katowice, Poland, that was published  on December 15, 2018 by Conect4Climate (a global partnership program under the World Bank) and other outlets. The video quickly went viral. The speech as described by Quartz, (December 15, 2018) is representative of how global media framed the event to the public:

“Fifteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg minced no words at the COP24 climate talks in Katowice, Poland this week. Speaking to the assembled countries Wednesday, at the most important climate negotiating meeting since the Paris talks in 2015… In a speech lasting under five minutes, Thunberg castigated leaders at the talks for decades of inaction and too-small steps in the face of climate crisis”

Yet, a poor editing job in a Swedish newsroom inadvertently revealed yet another inconvenient truth – there was almost no one in the auditorium when Thunberg spoke:

Video: Greta Thunbergs tal i Katowice enligt SvT Morgonstudion [Running time: 1m:15s]

Such inconsistencies between the real intent of the World Economic Forum [“Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution”] and the re-framing for public perception are best captured in the following images shared on social media:

This bit of social engineering is stunning in its blatancy. Like magic, the telling word “salesforce” and the phrase “The Fourth Industrial Revolution”, no longer appear in the image.

Gone are the obvious contradictions between the unprecedented magnitude of precious Earth metals including Coltan and Cobalt – a key requirement for the “fourth industrial revolution”, which the mining of has decimated the chimp population Goodall claims to advocate for. [Jane Goodall Institute: “Many of the metals and minerals used in these technologies are extracted from threatened chimpanzee habitats across the Congo Basin. Control over these resources has also fueled conflict among people — conflict that has resulted in the deaths of more than five million people.”]

Such is the primary role of the non-profit industrial complex.

The Climate Mobilization     

“We launched at the People’s Climate March in 2014 as the first group organizing for a WWII-scale climate response, an idea that had emerged as a hidden consensus among climate experts.” [Source]

Here, we have an NGO that would very much appreciate Thunberg’s sober and “flat” (CNN) delivery style. The Climate Mobilization.[4] Founded in 2014, at  the People’s Climate March, the founder and executive director of this US NGO is psychologist Margaret Klein Salamon.

The Climate Mobilization has one primary goal: “Our mission is to save civilization”. [Source] To do so, Salamon outlines a “wartime-style mobilization, akin to the American home front effort during World War II”:

“The Climate Mobilization is a growing group of people who know that climate change threatens the collapse of civilization within this century. We believe, along with many well-respected scientists and environmental analysts, that the only way to preserve a climate that is safe, stable, and supportive of human civilization is to fight climate change with a World War II-scale mobilization.”

Salamon’s strength as a psychologist specializing in climate change, is exactly what Annex I states across the world are now embracing via the establishment of “nudge units”. That is, the implementation and use of behavioural science for policy within government. [“Salamon earned her PhD in clinical psychology from Adelphi University and also holds a BA in social anthropology from Harvard. Via Climate Mobiization Salamon applies her psychological and anthropological knowledge to solving climate change. She is the author of the blog The Climate Psychologist.”]

The 2014 Peoples Climate March was organized by the Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA/TckTckTck), Climate Nexus (“Climate Nexus is dedicated to changing the conversation on climate change”), 350.org, USCAN and Avaaz/Purpose. At the helm of this NGO assemblage was the Rockefeller Brothers Fund working with the V.K. Rasmussen Foundation.

Additionally, Climate Nexus is a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, a 501(c)3 organization.

“When the Climate Mobilization was founded at the People’s Climate March in 2014, there was no climate group publically organizing around the need for WWII-scale emergency speed transition. Since then, we have worked to establish an active ’emergency climate movement’ wing of the broader climate movement.” [Source]

Eleven of The Climate Mobilization advisory board members include:

  • Betsy Taylor: president of Breakthrough Strategies & Solutions consulting firm, co-founder of 1Sky (financed by the Clinton Global Initiative) that merged with 350.org (incubated by the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation) in 2011, advisory boards include 350.org and Ceres (350.org investment partner);
  • Laura Dawn Murphy: former creative director for MoveOn.Org [parent of Avaaz];
  • Paul Gilding: former executive director of Greenpeace International, strategy advisor and founder of Changing Markets Foundation [“The Changing Markets Foundation was formed to accelerate and scale up solutions to sustainability challenges by leveraging the power of markets.” Clients include Unilever, BHP Billiton, DSM, Ford and DuPont.];
  • Jamila Raqib: executive director of Albert Einstein Institute [“Raqib has worked with Dr. Gene Sharp, the world’s foremost scholar on strategic nonviolent action since 2002. As the director of the Albert Einstein Institute she promotes the study and use of strategic nonviolent action.”];
  • Gus Speth: founder of the World Resources Institute and co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council;
  • Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr: president of the Hip Hop Caucus;
  • Richard Heinberg: senior fellow of the Post Carbon Institute;
  • Lise Van Susteren: American psychiatrist, named to the board of directors of Al Gore’s The Climate Project in 2009, organized the first conference to focus on the psychological impacts of climate change in 2009, co-authored “The Psychological Effects of Climate Change” published by the National Wildlife Federation where she serves on the board;
  • Michael Mann: American Climate scientist;
  • David Spratt and Philip Sutton: Spratt is the director of Breakthrough – National Centre for Climate Restoration. [Breakthrough collaborates with the Club of Rome.] Spratt and Sutton co-authored the book Climate Code Red in 2008.

[Full list]

[The interlocking directorate of the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) is extensive. As this series focuses on the marketing strategy itself, more than those constructing it, the above bios are purposely brief.]

The Climate Mobilizations foray into politics began with “Mobilize California” (#Mobilizeca) campaign. Leading the effort with The Climate Mobilization was Naomi Klein and her Leap NGO (Leap L.A. Coalition), as well as a coalition of “like minded organizations”.

The coalition, in partnership with Los Angeles City councilmember Paul Koretz, sought to initiate a “WWII-scale Climate Mobilization of L.A.”

Video: Naomi Klein at launch of Los Angeles Climate Justice Mobilization 2025 Working Group [4m:59s]

By May 2018 the council voted unanimously “to explore the establishment of the country’s first climate emergency mobilization department and set aside $500,000 in seed money toward the effort. In June 2018, Berkeley declared a climate emergency and committed to an Emergency Climate Mobilization and Just Transition to end greenhouse gas emissions and begin drawing down the excess carbon in the atmosphere as quickly as possible.” Other cities would soon follow. [Source]

Here it is critical to note the language: “drawing down the excess carbon in the atmosphere.” Long gone are discussions on reducing or cutting carbon emissions. This is not coincidence. Rather it is again, strategic.

Two days prior to the 2014 People’s Climate March, on September 19, 2014, the article titled “The Founder of The Climate Mobilization Talks With Bridget Read About How Psychology—Not Science—May Be the Key to Ending America’s Climate Denial” reported the following:

“In 356 words, The Climate Mobilization’s Pledge to Mobilize calls on the United States government to commence a World War Two-scale mobilization to fight climate change: to decrease our net greenhouse gas emissions 100% by 2025, to deploy a system of removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere with wartime speed, and to make reducing net GHGs 100% globally, with the same swiftness, a top political priority.”

The Climate Mobilizations influence within the NPIC is articulated in the following text outlining its groundwork with the US Democrat Party platform, as well as the Green New Deal:

“The evidence of impact is clear, as assertive wings of the Democratic Party [5] as well as chapters of organizations such as 350.org and the Sierra Club adopt our prescriptions as core demands. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez signed our Pledge to Mobilize and has been outspoken specifically for the need for emergency mobilization as part of the push for a House Select Committee on the Green New Deal.” [Source]

Today’s re-designing of our Western subjugation is nothing different than what has been unveiled in the past. Whereas education, health, arts, and all sectors of society were shaped and financed by foundations and their capital largesse, today’s “fourth revolution” remains in the clutches of the ruling elite. This includes the 2014 People’s Climate March – where The Climate Mobilization was born.

Extinction Rebellion (to be discussed in part V) has three very broad demands, the primary one being that governments must “enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025” echoing the talking points brought into the mainstream by the NPIC, the World Bank, et al in 2014.

The term “net-zero emissions” does not mean zero emissions. Rather, it is the amount of emissions being put into the atmosphere being equal to the amount being “captured.” Net-zero therefore, the requirement for massive investments into the technologies being developed and rolled out by Bill Gate’s “Mission Innovation“. [For an example of this, one can read the much lauded “Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act” [Section 101–5 “We must significantly increase Federal R&D funding to develop and deploy the technologies needed for deep decarbonization in our economy. This was a proposal announced at the Paris Climate Accord with Bill Gates called Mission Innovation, which committed to double government investment in energy technology.”][6] Here it is vital to recognize that WEF and Mission Innovation formed a partnership on  June 1, 2017.

Net-zero is carbon capture storage and a host of other technologies that promise business (and emissions) will continue – as usual. Consider the reality that while we are inundated with anti-pipeline protest coverage, there is zero opposition to the carbon capture projects that are slowly coming online, such as the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line in Canada.

Indeed the inconvenient “zero” [emissions] and “near zero” terminology in the 2014 AR5 Synthesis report, was conveniently transformed to the “net zero” term we now see in the public realm, barely missing a beat.

But the real question, is how to save capitalism, which is described as being “now in free fall”.  [January 3, 2019]

With “capitalism in danger of falling apart” (a rare, cryptically honest quote from Al Gore), and years of stagnant global economic growth now in a free fall, the Greta campaign must be understood for what it is. An elaborate distraction that has nothing to do with protecting the natural world, and everything to do with the manufacturing of consent. The required consent of the citizenry that will unlock the treasuries and public monies under the guise of climate protection.

But before we go further into what we can aptly describe as a politically correct – and unprecedented global bailout, we must look at how collective society can be successfully manipulated and manoeuvred, in order to sanction the release of the funds.

The very strategy to unlock the public purse – and thus save capitalism itself, is that of a climate emergency.

#climatestrike + #fridaysforfuture + #ExtinctionRebellion = #climateemergency

Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: “Our House in On Fire”

“If you don’t know who Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg is, you can think of her as an international climate-change counterpart to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Like the rock-star congresswoman from New York, Thunberg is a charismatic young woman whose social-media savvy, moral clarity, and fearless speaking truth to power have inspired throngs of admirers to take to the streets for a better world and call out the politicians and CEOs who are standing in the way..

 

Thunberg claimed on her Twitter feed that there have been student strikes for climate on every continent except Antarctica—70,000 strikers in total last week. Meanwhile, the Swedish teenager continued to blast the elites in Davos, in flawless English. “Adults keep saying, ‘We owe it to the young people to give them hope,'” she said. “But I don’t want your hope…. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house is on fire. Because it is.” The Kids Are Coming, January 28, 2019, The Nation

 

In April, 2016, The Climate Mobilization published the paper “Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: A New Strategy for the Climate Movement.”

The strategy document leads with:

“Imagine there is a fire in your house.

What do you do?
What do you think about?

You do whatever you can to try to put out the fire or exit the house. You make a plan about how you can put out the fire, or how you can best exit the house.

our senses are heightened, you are focused like a laser, and you put your entire self into your actions.

You enter emergency mode.”

-Leading the Public Into Emergency Mode, pg. 2

In the document Salamon introduces “the concept of ’emergency mode’ which is how individuals and groups function optimally during an existential or moral crisis — often achieving great feats through intensely focused motivation.” She articulates that “the goal of the climate movement must be to lead the public out of “normal” mode and into emergency mode”. [p. 2][Emphasis in original.]

The emergency mode is enacted by the triggering of a switch.

“This has huge implications for the climate movement’s communication style, advocacy, and strategy. Because emergency mode is contagious, the best strategy is for climate activists and organizations to go into emergency mode themselves, and communicate about the climate emergency, the need for emergency mobilization, and the fact that they are in emergency mode, as clearly and emphatically as possible.” — Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: A New Strategy for the Climate Movement

And now, in 2019, we see how the strategy as laid out in the paper, has now been deployed in real time, in real life.

“Since emotional ads create a deeper and more visceral impression on the memory centers of the brain, marketers are now measuring more cerebral responses to content using neurometrics tools like facial coding, implicit response testing, eye tracking, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).” — The Dangerous Power of Emotional Advertising, April 14, 2016

Video: January 25, 2019, Greta Thunberg | “Special Address, Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum 2019” [Running time:6m:3s]

 

January 25, 2019, ‘Feel the fear’: Climate change is now the talk of Davos, CNN:

“‘Feel the fear’ – The spirit of the event was reflected in two attendees with little in common: One is a former vice president of the United States; the other a 16-year-old Swedish schoolgirl. What Al Gore and Greta Thunberg share is anger at corporate executives who aren’t moving quickly enough to address climate change. “I don’t want you to be hopeful, I want you to panic, I want you to feel the fear I feel every day,” Thunberg told attendees.

 

  • January 23, 2019, WEF, Greta Thunberg, Whatever It Takes

 

The Crux of the Strategy Document

The crux of the strategy document, Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: A New Strategy for the Climate Movement, is that citizens must first face, then accept that there is a life-threatening emergency in order to go into the necessary emergency mode. Once triggered, this enables the deployment of “a huge amount of resources toward solving the crisis” which would quickly become the clear, top priority for society. [p. 4 & p. 5] The more the climate movement provides “structures for people’s engagement — clear directions and support for people who are ready to tackle the climate emergency — the more people will go into emergency mode.”[p. 7]

Whereas budget restraint occurs in non-emergency mode, in emergency mode “all available /necessary resources are devoted to the emergency and, if necessary, governments borrow heavily.” [p. 9]

“Economic mobilization is an emergency restructuring of a modern industrial economy, accomplished at rapid speed. It involves the vast majority of citizens, the utilization of a very high proportion of available resources, and impacts all areas of society. It is nothing less than a government-coordinated social and industrial revolution. Mobilization is what happens when an entire nation enters emergency mode, and the results can be truly staggering.” [p. 8]

Intentional or not, Salamon’s paper weighs heavy with American exceptionalism. Notes of nationalism and cultural superiority waft throughout the document: “We also made huge advances in the sciences. The first computer was invented, as were blood transfusion and radar technology. The Manhattan Project successfully built the world’s first atomic bomb in less than three years — a morally catastrophic but nonetheless stupendous feat of planning, cooperation and scientific ingenuity.”

Reflecting the aforementioned observations, gone is the language to reduce or stop emissions. Consider the word “stop” does not appear once in the document, while the word “reduce” has one single entry: “If we only reduce the fossil fuel industry’s stranglehold on politicians, the problem will solve itself.” [p. 23] Today’s gently persuasive language, a mirror image of the language and demands drawn out in the strategy document: “restore a safe and stable climate”, “draw down excess CO2”, “cool the planet”.

“The way we respond to threats — by entering emergency mode or by remaining in normal mode — is highly contagious. Imagine the fire alarm goes off in an office building. How seriously should you take it? How do you know if it is a drill or a real fire? Those questions will be predominantly answered by the actions and communications of the people around you, particularly people designated as leaders. If they are chatting and taking their time exiting the building, you will assume that this is a drill. If people are moving with haste, faces stern and focused, communicating with urgency and gravity, you will assume there is real danger and exit as quickly as possible.” [p. 14]

The document acknowledges that the climate crisis is, a “top threat to the global economy“. (highlighted in red font in the original document). [p. 21] What is not stated, yet understood, is the fact that the climate can also be exploited, to salvage the global economy. In essence, to save capitalism.

“We cannot be silent about the fact that emergency mobilization can only be coordinated by a “big” government that is granted the power to spend without limit to save as much life as possible.” [p. 22]

The document also outlines, a cheerful comradery with the oppressors of the working class and those most marginalized:

“These pressure campaigns should escalate in degrees of assertiveness, all the way to disruptive protest. However, even in a protest, we must maintain an open, welcoming attitude. Thus, while we will need to be quite confrontational and unwavering, we are not “against” our targets of protest. We gain nothing from demonizing them. We need these leaders to do the right thing. The tone should not be primarily angry, but urgent and insistent.

 

Rather, the tone should be serious and patriotic. We are calling on America to lead the world in heroic, world-saving action! Protests should involve elements of protestor sacrifice, such as risking arrest or hunger strike, to generate empathy from the public. Maintaining strict non-violence is critical to winning widespread public support and is non-negotiable.” [p. 28]

This document is astonishing in many ways. Not once does the author pause to reflect upon what specific societies and nations benefit from industrial civilization on our finite planet – and which ones are sacrificed for the same cause.

The said purpose of the strategy, is not the protection of what remains of the natural world, but rather, to “organized civilization” [p. 2] and our “functioning global civilization”. [p. 21] The root word of civilization – is civil. And there is nothing civil about the industrial civilization we have built.

The savagery of our global economic system unleashed upon the biosphere, and both sentient and non-white human life, is certainly nothing to boast about – and certainly nothing to protect. It is the global capitalist economic system, that upholds industrial civilization, which must be deconstructed. It is both ironic and telling that even the societies that have benefited the most from industrialization, those in the West (and especially in North America), have never been more miserable. Today we witness an unprecedented crisis of mental illness and depression – with a massive percentage of  society now dependent upon anti-depressant pharmaceuticals in order to function in a day-to-day existence.

Yet the most egregious aspect of this document, is that despite the references to Pearl Harbour, the atomic bomb and American war efforts of countless stripes, all cited as glowing examples of American ingenuity, NOWHERE is the militarism’s impact on both climate and ecology mentioned. Consider the U.S. Department of Defense is the largest consumer of oil in the U.S. and the largest institutional consumer of oil in the world. With militarism’s phenomenal  contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions and environmental degradation – this omission is beyond the pale to say the least. This is the unspoken environmental racism and blatant eco-imperialism that hums beneath the foundational building blocks of the non-profit industrial complex.

“Here’s the awful truth: even if every person, every automobile, and every factory suddenly emitted zero emissions, the earth would still be headed, head first and at full speed, toward total disaster for one major reason. The military produces enough greenhouse gases, by itself, to place the entire globe, with all its inhabitants large and small, in the most imminent danger of extinction.” — The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism, by Barry Sanders, May 1 2009 [The environmental of militarism podcast]

The power of conformity is a key aspect of social engineering. Its power is tragically often overlooked and grossly underestimated.

“Thought Leaders and Leaders of Civil Society: If people in the public eye, and in the public esteem go into emergency mode, they will significantly influence the broader public.” — [p. 30]

“The Race to Mobilize Is On, Cities around the globe are declaring Climate Emergency and committing to Climate Mobilization. Will your city join them?” The Climate Mobilization website

Of no surprise whatsoever, is the fact, that since Extinction Rebellions meteoric rise to stardom – in perfect symmetry with Thunberg, the group has announced a massive restructuring of the organization. The global expansion is being led by Salmon, [Source] who launched the Extinction Rebellion US twitter account on October 31, 2018 – the same day as the launch of Extinction Rebellion in the UK. The accompanying US website would launch November 3, 2018 and the US Facebook group account would launch on November 4, 2018. Between the official launch on October 31, 2018, in the UK, to December 6, 2018, it grew to over 130 groups, across 22 countries. [7] By January 29, 2019, the Extinction Rebellion groups spanned across 50 countries. The Extinction Rebellion demands are not only complimentary to The Climate Mobilizations Emergency strategy, they are a mirror image of it with the slogan “tell the truth”.

 

  • August 31, 2014, Climate Nexus, People's Climate March

The September 20, 2018, Yale Climate Connections, article “Climate Mobilization Plea: Cities Must Declare Emergency” references the “climate emergency language” gaining momentum in perfect stride with a cohesion of intersecting campaigns: the Thunberg campaign, the Extinction Rebellion protests, the Green New Deal, the general climate strikes, and the FridaysForFuture youth climate strikes.

“Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats and ran for the Democratic nomination, isn’t the only politician drawing parallels between climate change and fascist aggression. New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has been hailed as an up-and-coming progressive champion, has spoken about the need for a World War II-style commitment to fighting global warming. The Democratic Party in 2016 included similar language in its official platform.

 

The injection of this messaging into American political discourse can be traced in part to The Climate Mobilization, a largely volunteer-run nonprofit founded in 2014.”

 

August 15, 2016: “We’re under attack from climate change—and our only hope is to mobilize like we did in WWII”, by 350.org founder Bill McKibben, illustration by Andrew Colin Beck [Source: 350.org]

“I assume that many activists will continue to be drawn to fossil fuel infrastructure protests. I recommend to them that they work as hard as possible to communicate the way forward (emergency mobilization off fossil fuels and carbon intensive agriculture, plus carbon drawdown to cool the earth back to a safe level) as much as possible in their verbal and non-verbal communications. This can be as simple as wearing Rosie the Riveter bandanas while protesting, displaying a banner demanding WWII-scale climate mobilization to restore a safe climate, and including the demand for net zero emissions by 2025, plus large-scale drawdown, in press releases and web materials.” — April, 2016, Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: A New Strategy for the Climate Movement, April 2016 [p. 30]

+++

Video: 2-Minute Intro to Climate Mobilization [Running time: 2m:23s]

 

A Climate of Fear:  Capitalism Is Now in A Free Fall

“Capitalism is in crisis, says World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab.” — January 17, 2017, Deutsche Welle

Leading up to the January 2019 Davos gathering, a top Wall Street economist warned investors that they face a tough road ahead as with global economic growth ‘now in free fall‘. The current headlines read like Orson Welle’s economic version of “War of the Worlds”.

January 3, 2019, The Globe and Mail, “Global economic growth ‘now in free fall’:

“Merrill Lynch strategist Ajay Singh Kapur recently wrote that “global [economic] growth is now in a broad, deep and persistent slowdown,” creating market conditions that, I believe, will make life treacherous for commodity sectors and beyond…”

“Since August, 2017, growth in manufacturing activity has been decelerating rapidly, dragging metal prices with them.”

January 15, 2019:

Global economic growth is slowing, including in Canada, according to new data from the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).

January 21, 2019:

IMF, CEOs Warn of Slowing World Economy on Eve of Davos Summit: “Corporate executives joined the International Monetary Fund in warning the global economy is slowing faster than expected, establishing a downbeat tone for this week’s annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.”

January 21, 2019:

“China’s 6.6% growth in 2018 is its slowest in nearly 3 decades…”

February 1, 2019:

“World’s Largest Pension Fund Loses $136 Billion in Three Months”

To the Rescue: A Politically Correct Bailout -The Climate Finance Partnership

“UNLOCKING THE INCLUSIVE GROWTH STORY OF THE 21ST CENTURY – Accelerating Climate Action in Urgent Times – This is our ‘use it or lose it’ moment. Investing the US$90 trillion to build the right infrastructure now will deliver a new era of economic growth. Investing it wisely will help drive innovation, deliver public health benefits, create a host of new jobs and go a long way to tackling the risks of runaway climate change. Getting it wrong, on the other hand, will lock us into a high-polluting, low productivity, and deeply unequal future.” — The New Climate Economy website, Executive Summary  

Following the September 8, 2018 Rise for Climate mobilization (a follow-up to the People’s Climate March 2014 having been re-branded to the People’s Climate Movement in 2017), the single goal behind the accelerating climate emergency language, was finally unveiled at the September 26, 2018 One Planet Summit in New York:

“Efforts to blend capital in order to engage and mobilize large-scale institutional capital toward climate solutions took a notable step forward on September 26 at the One Planet Summit in New York, when French President Emmanuel Macron and BlackRock’s Larry Fink announced the Climate Finance Partnership (CFP). The CFP consists of a unique combination of philanthropies, governments, institutional investors, and a leading global asset manager. The parties, including BlackRock, the Governments of France and Germany, and the Hewlett, Grantham, and IKEA foundations, have committed to work together to finalize the design and structure of what we anticipate will be a flagship blended capital investment vehicle by the end of the first quarter, 2019.

September 26, 2018, “Governments and Philanthropies Announce Ground-breaking Partnership with BlackRock to Mobilize and Deploy Climate Finance at Scale”:

“France, Germany, the Hewlett, Grantham and IKEA foundations, and asset manager BlackRock today announced the Climate Finance Partnership at the One Planet Summit in New York. The Climate Finance Partnership is an unprecedented cooperation between philanthropies, governments and private investors, which have committed to jointly developing an investment vehicle that will aim to invest in climate infrastructure in emerging markets.”

The two institutions identified as the media contacts for the above unprecedented announcement are the European Climate Foundation and the aforementioned Climate Nexus – lead organizer for the 2014 People’s Climate March event.

On November 8, 2018, the article “The Climate Finance Partnership: Mobilizing Institutional Capital to Address the Climate Opportunity” discloses where the money will come from for the “forth industrial revolution”, sold to the public under the guise of sustainability:

“Nowhere is the investment gap between what is needed and what is currently flowing greater and more urgent, or the opportunities more significant, than in the world’s developing and emerging markets. These economies are generally characterized by growing populations, rapidly increasing energy demand, and extraordinary infrastructure investment needs. But they also tend to have less developed capital markets and higher political and regulatory risk than their developed country counterparts. Institutional investors may therefore be partially forgiven for moving cautiously, even in the face of compelling long-term economic and demographic drivers.

A detailed analysis by the World Bank found that while $100 trillion is held by pension funds and other institutional investors, these same investors allocated less than $2 trillion over a 25 year period into infrastructure investment in emerging markets. And the fraction of that investment that could be considered green, clean, or climate-friendly was negligible.

 

So, what can be done? Whether you choose to look through the lens of unprecedented challenge or unprecedented opportunity, there is violent agreement that institutional capital needs to be “unlocked” (a favorite word on the climate conference circuit) and mobilized quickly and at scale.”

It is here that the accelerating “demand” for countries to align with the Paris Agreement becomes clear: “The Paris Agreement requires us to align finance flows in support for a low carbon and climate resilient development.” Note the word “requires”. What was considered non-binding one moment, conveniently becomes binding when it involves opening up the treasuries and pension plans to the our corporate overlords.

No risk, all reward. The double speak of Wall Street is deliberately opaque. Yet, in layman’s terms,  these are simply high-finance words to say there is less risk in using someone else’s money other than your own:

“Blended finance, or the strategic deployment of public or other concessional capital to de-risk institutional capital investment, offers one compelling answer.” Recently, the Blended Finance Task Force, a broad-based interdisciplinary effort, finalized a comprehensive report identifying key barriers to large-scale institutional capital mobilization toward the Sustainable Development Goals, and then subsequently designed a detailed Action Program to address these barriers.” [Source]

The Blended Finance Action Taskforce is comprised of fifty icons of finance including HSBC, Credit Suisse, Citi, JP Morgan Chase, USAID, WEF –Sustainable Development Investment Partnership (SDIP), World Bank, Investec, MacArthur Foundation, Allianz, EBRD, ClimateWorks (founded by the Hewlett, Packard, and McKnight foundations) and the Rockefeller Foundation. [Full list]

“The partnership, coordinated by the Task Force on Philanthropic Innovation and the Aligned Intermediary, an investment advisory group, was designed and structured specifically to use a layer of government and philanthropic capital to maximize private capital mobilization toward climate-related sectors in emerging markets.” [Source]

And here again, is where more stark reality is faintly disclosed:

“Doing so in partnership with the world’s largest manager and its set of world-class institutional investor clients should send an important signal to fund managers and institutional investors alike that there are profits to be had in sectors and geographies where this capital has not historically deployed

 

“The partnership will seek to make investments in a targeted set of sectors including renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage, and low-carbon and electrified transportation, across three regions including Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

Today’s climate emergency mobilization must be recognized for what it is: a strategically orchestrated campaign financed and managed by the world’s most powerful institutions – for the preservation of capitalism and global economic growth.  This is the launch of a new growth industry in the Global South coupled with the creation of new and untapped markets. Leading up to this precipice, The B Team, the Open Society Foundation, Oxfam, and many others that serve as the human face of capitalism, have moved their offices or set up new divisions in both Africa and Latin America.

Also of threat, to Western imperialism, is a burgeoning China. And to be clear – there will be no “fourth industrial revolution” for the Western ruling class – without uninterrupted and perpetual access to Africa’s bounty of rare earth minerals and metals:

“While significant progress has been made on Africa’s political and economic transformation, the continent continues to face significant challenges. Geopolitically, new economic alliances are altering traditional relationships and spheres of influence.” [Source: WEF, 2019]

The sycophantic NGOs – in servitude, indeed on the very same team as their corporate benefactors, created a literal, albeit virtual firestorm (encapsulated in the mantra “our house is on fire”) – in order to instigate a “climate revolution”. The collective energy of the west stemming from a growing societal discontent, is being captured and utilized – transcending into a new weapon of choice that will aid the further colonization of the Global South.  A climate revolution in name only, this said emergency, has nothing to do with the protection of our Earth – or climate – and never will. Rather, it has everything to do with saving, protecting and expanding the capitalist economy – at the expense of our already decimated planet. And nothing more than that. This oncoming new onslaught of environmental devastation and plunder – in the name of climate revolution – will make all of modern man’s historical violence against the nature, up to this point – seem like childish prattle.

Yet none of this should come as a surprise. As the oligarchs financed, shaped and largely managed the climate movement – it’s only natural that they alone benefit from it. The power-elites repackaged our oppression as revolution and sold it back to us. By exploiting the innocent youth, which in turn exploited our emotions and fears as a collective populace, we devoured it.  And soon, young Greta, and all the youth they have exploited, will be thrown under the bus. It’s all par for the course under capitalism.

 

+++

 

The Asche experiment: “During the 1950s Solomon Asch conducted and published a series of experiments that demonstrated the degree to which an individual’s own opinions are influenced by those of a majority group.” [1m:57s]

 

 

 

End Notes:

[1] Photographer Nat Finkelstein claimed credit for the expression, stating that he was photographing Warhol in 1966 for a proposed book. A crowd gathered trying to get into the pictures and Warhol supposedly remarked that everyone wants to be famous, to which Finkelstein replied, “Yeah, for about fifteen minutes, Andy.” The phenomenon is often used in reference to figures in the entertainment industry or other areas of popular culture.” [Wikipedia]

[2] “We work with individuals and organizations that are about the issues we face as human beings and meet our partnership guidelines. We offer our platform to scientists, environmentalists, activists, and any individual, group or organization including political candidates that meet these guidelines. Uphill Media, is the continuation of Bernie2016 TV and Political Revolution TV. We are 501(c)(3)3 non profit independent media network focused on informing the electorate through engagement on the Internet. Learn more @ http://UphillMedia.org. Read and share the Democratic Party of Oregon 2018 Platform. https://www.dpoplatform.org/” [Source: YouTube]

[3] “Some people say that we are not doing enough to fight climate change. But that is not true. Because to “not do enough” you have to do something. And the truth is we are basically not doing anything. Yes, some people are doing more than they can, but they are too few or too far away from power to make a difference today. Some people say that the climate crisis is something that we all have created. But that is just another convenient lie. Because if everyone is guilty then no one is to blame. And someone is to blame. Some people, some companies, and some decision makers in particular [has][sic] known exactly what priceless values they are sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. I ask you to stand o the right side of history. I ask you to pledge to do everything in your power to push your own business or government in line with a 1.5 degree world. Will you pledge to do that? Will you pledge to join me, and the people all around the world in doing whatever it takes. [Screen: #whateverittakes]

[4] “The Climate Mobilization is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit and a sister organization of Climate Mobilization Project (501(c)(3). The Climate Mobilization supports the mission of Climate Mobilization Project through direct lobbying and political work.” [Source: Climate Mobilization Website] [Source]

[5] “Our organizers successfully intervened in the 2016 Democratic primary elections, bringing WWII-scale Climate Mobilization into the discussion by successfully lobbying presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to embrace the idea. In July 2016, the need for WWII-scale mobilization was adopted into the Democratic Party Platform thanks to Climate Mobilization advisor and ally Russell Greene who was appointed to the platform committee by Bernie Sanders. This commitment was reaffirmed in August 2018 when Democratic National Committee passed a resolution calling for ‘a national social and economic mobilization’ to ‘address the climate emergency’ and ‘restore a safe climate.'” [Source]

[6] Mission Innovation: “Mission Innovation (MI) is a global initiative of 23 countries and the European Commission (on behalf of the European Union). These 24 members have committed to seek to double public investment in clean energy RD&D and are engaging with the private sectorfostering international collaboration and celebrating innovators.” [Source]

Mission Innovation Member States:

[7] December 6, 2018, “Margaret Klein Salamon talks to XR founders” [Source]

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: “The Inconvenient Truth” Behind Youth Cooptation

January 21, 2019

By Cory Morningstar with Forrest Palmer

 

This is ACT II of the four-part series: The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Political Economy of the Non-profit Industrial Complex

 

In ACT I of this new body of research we opened the dialogue with the observations of artist Hiroyuki Hamada:

 

“What’s infuriating about manipulations by Non Profit Industrial Complex is that they harvest good will of the people, especially young people. They target those who were not given skills and knowledge to truly think for themselves by institutions which are designed to serve the ruling class. Capitalism operates systematically and structurally like a cage to raise domesticated animals. Those organizations and their projects which operate under false slogans of humanity in order to prop up the hierarchy of money and violence are fast becoming some of the most crucial elements of the invisible cage of corporatism, colonialism and militarism.”

 

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent has been written in five acts.

In ACT I (published January 18, 2019 on Wrong Kind of Green) we disclosed that Greta Thunberg, the current child prodigy and face of the youth movement to combat climate change, serves as special youth advisor and trustee to the burgeoning mainstream tech start-up, “We Don’t Have Time”. We then explored the ambitions behind the tech company We Don’t Have Time.

In this ACT – ACT II – we illustrate how today’s youth are the sacrificial lambs for the ruling elite. Also in this act we introduce the board members and advisors to “We Don’t Have Time.” We explore the leadership in the nascent We Don’t Have Time and the partnerships between the well established corporate environmental entities: Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, 350.org, Avaaz, Global Utmaning (Global Challenge), the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum (WEF).

ACT III – Here, we deconstruct how Al Gore and the planets most powerful capitalists are behind today’s manufactured youth movements and why. We explore the We Don’t Have Time/Thunberg connections to Our Revolution, the Sanders Institute, This Is Zero Hour, the Sunrise Movement and the Green New Deal. We also touch upon Thunberg’s famous family, in particular Thunberg’s celebrity mother, Malena Ernman (WWF Environmental Hero of the Year 2017), and her August 2018 book launch. We then explore the generous media attention afforded to Thunberg in both May, 2018 and April, 2018, by SvD, one of Sweden’s largest newspapers.

ACT IV – In this act, we examine the current campaign, now unfolding, in “leading the public into emergency mode”. More importantly, we summarize, who and what this mode is to serve.

ACT V – In the final act, we look at the Guardian and Extinction Rebellion. We take a closer look at the Green New Deal, which, like Extinction Rebellion, has plans to go global in scale. We explore how mainstream NGOs are attempting to safeguard their influence by going underground through Extinction Rebellion groups being organized in the US and across the world. We look at the weak and essentially non-existent demands – eerily reminiscent of the 2009 TckTckTck “demands”. Lastly we look at the power of celebrity – and how it has become a key tool for both capital and conformity.

[Note: This series contains information and quotes that have been translated from Swedish to English via Google Translator.]

 

A C T   T W O

 

We Don’t Have Time Players

The We Don’t Have Time board of directors is comprised of the following people:

  • Ingmar Rentzhog, We Don’t Have Time founder and CEO
  • Anette Nordvall, We Don’t Have Time chairwoman/shareholder, private tech investor, works with STOAF (venture capital and private equity firm in Sweden), venture partner with Capital A Partners
  • David Olsson, We Don’t Have Time chief operating officer, chairman of the Swedish climate think tank Global Utmaning
  • Christian Emmertz, We Don’t Have Time co-founder, business unit director at Hewitt Packard (HP) Sweden, partner at RealCap Investment, The Climate Reality Project leader, trained by Al Gore
  • Stella Diesen, “Changing the world with Microsoft tech Innofactor” (formerly Microsoft), The Climate Reality Project leader, trained by Al Gore
  • Gustav Stenbeck, CEO of Mestro, founder and executive chairman of Gain Sustain (investment banking)

Global Utmaning, which translates to Global Challenge in English, was founded in 2005 by economist Kristina Persson, Sweden’s former  Minister of Strategic Development and Nordic Cooperation. Persson was tasked with building cooperation with Nordic countries in order to leverage strength within the international community (“Together we are an actor with clout.”). Her position involved the fostering of long-term development for “the green transition, jobs and distribution, and initiatives to influence the global agenda for sustainable development.” [Source] She is heir (with her siblings) to the business empire established by her father, Sven O. Persson which has a revenue of approx. SEK 3 billion (approx. US$ 332,500,000.00) per annum. Persson is also the founder of the Freja Foundation established in 2017.

The We Don’t Have Time Foundation board of directors include:

  • Cathy Orlando, national director, Citizen’s Climate Lobby in Canada
  • Stuart Scott, The Climate Reality Project leader, trained by Al Gore
  • Per-Espen Stokenes, researcher in behavioral economics
  • Ingmar Rentzhog, founder and CEO, We Don’t Have Time
  • David Olsson, chief operating officer, We Don’t Have Time
  • Greta Thunberg, special youth advisor and trustee
  • Jamie Margolin, special youth advisor and trustee

 

Acquisition International Magazine Issue 10, 2018 

“Citizen Climate Lobby international outreach manager Cathy Orlando, centre, is pleased with the Trudeau government’s new carbon tax plan. She’s seen here with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, husband Sanjiv Mathur, and their daughter Sophia Mathur. (Supplied)” [Source]

The We Don’t Have Time advisory board includes the following individuals:

The presence of Ikea on the We Don’t Have Time advisory board should be duly noted. In 2017 Ikea awarded a $44.6m grant from the IKEA Foundation to the We Mean Business coalition (founded in 2014). This grant was in fact “the second largest single donation ever made by the charitable arm of retail giant IKEA.” The We Mean Business coalition founding members include The B Team, the Business for Social Responsibility, the Carbon Disclosure Project, Ceres, The Climate Group, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and the Prince of Wales Corporate Climate Group. Other We Mean Business partners include the United Nation Global Compact, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UNEP Finance, the World Bank, and World Wildlife Fund. [Full list] [Further reading:“100 Billion for Everyone Who Signs”]

The B Team is managed by Purpose, the for-profit public relations firm run by Avaaz co-founder Jeremy Heimans, co-author of the book “New Power”. Ikea is a client of Purpose and partner to the Purpose NGO “We Are Here Now” (“Here Now”).

In the following excerpt from the January 28, 2016, Maclean’s article, Have We Hit ‘Peak Stuff?’ Ikea Says There’s Röom to Grow, the collective corporate climate fervor now sweeping the globe is demonstrated once again:

“So how to square Ikea’s “peak stuff” talk with its “buy more” actions? A spokesperson volunteered in an email that [Steve] Howard’s [head of sustainability at Ikea] comments were made as “part of a wider global context where many people still have very limited means” while Sjostrand suggested the goal was “to continue to grow our business, but grow it in a more sustainable way.” Translation: Ikea will sell you more furniture and home furnishings, but it will try harder not to make you feel guilty about it. Which explains why the company’s corporate reports are festooned with examples of sustainability initiatives, from selling only LED-compatible lighting to serving responsibly harvested fish in the cafeteria.”

Sustainability and capitalism are like oil and water. The two are incompatible. They cannot co-exist.

The “climate revolution” sought by We Don’t Have Time et al doesn’t contract mass-consumption, it delivers new products in order to expand it.

The “clean energy revolution” doesn’t threaten big oil – it secures it. It doesn’t weaken capitalism. It strengthens it. It doesn’t inspire resistance – it quells it – into oblivion.

Here we can reflect on the most simple things that shed light on the ideologies shared by the majority of those at the helm of decision making in addressing our climate crisis. In plain sight, what companies and institutions a person is most interested in are made public on one’s LinkedIn account. Selected groups to follow shared by the average non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) professional, are rarely if ever groups, institutions or people working within the realms of ecology, Indigenous rights, social justice, environmental sciences, or other critical areas associated with climate change and environmental depletion. Nor are  smaller institutions or individuals working toward small-scale local solutions of any interest.

Rather this interlocking doctorate of “Ted” talkers and “thought leaders” most commonly select and follow the world’s most powerful and successful finance and tech companies, and the marketing firms that propel them to their success. Rarely are institutions, groups or people within the environmental sciences of interest, nor are  smaller institutions or individuals working toward small-scale local solutions. The most popular institutions followed, and shared by most of this crowd, are comprised of white Western leadership, predominantly male. Some of the most admired ones chosen by the many are the World Economic Forum, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Economist, the Green Climate Fund – groups and institutions they wholly identify with, and seek to assimilate/belong.

Here we must recall the fact (disclosed in ACT I) that Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project is a partner to We Don’t Have Time. (Al Gore’s priorities to be discussed in ACT III.)

“Rentzhog wants to affect ‘change within business, not against business.'” — Anette Nordvall, Chairman of We Don’t Have Time [Source]

The Sacrificial Lambs

“The same hormones and neurotransmitters can be released by a good story. These include dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins, which Phillips refers to as the “angel’s cocktail.” The effects of oxytocin make you more generous, trusting, and ready to bond. This is what is released in your blood when you hear a sad story. It makes us feel relaxed and more human as we bond to the storyteller.” — based on the TEDxStockholm Talk, “The Magical Science of Storytelling,” by We Don’t Have Time board of directors, David JP Phillips [Source]

To begin this segment, we can look at the “WE” movement (“ME to WE”, Free the Children and WE Day). [1] The 2015 exposé  “Unleashing Voluntourism” produced by the Canadian Public Broadcasting (CBC) was originally scheduled to air on March 19, 2015. The documentary investigated the privatization of, the NGOization of, and the explosive growth of, what has morphed into a billion dollar industry – tourism masquerading as volunteerism – for privileged youth in the West.

Celebrity, fetishized in an rapidly eroding society void of meaning and culture, has resulted in such a powerful asset to capitalism, militarism, that the subject has become an active area of study by academics such as Dan Brockington and Ilan Kapoor. The power of celebrity was not lost on WE whose keynote speakers for massive gatherings and endorsements have included: Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau in 2008 (video), and again, in 2015 following his election win; former “first lady” Michelle Obama; Hollywood’s Natalie Portman; and a stream of others. Indeed, renting celebrities for galas and events has too become a niche industry.

Shortly before it was to air, the documentary was pulled after WE requested unauthorized footage be removed from the exposé. When it did air, on April 7, 2017, two scenes had been cut from the film. The following clip is one of the two deleted clips (running time: 1m:1s), “Volunteers Unleashed: suppressed Me to We clip #1″:

The controversy regarding WE is far from over as the NGO grapples to protect its million dollar brand. On January 17, 2019, WE announced they would commence legal action against a small podcast network and news outlet in Manitoba, Canada, where journalists have no explicit legal protection from SLAPP lawsuits (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation). This news outlet had been reporting on the WE movement since 2015.

The following images and brief commentaries are but a tiny glimpse into the world of NGOzation and co-optation of both resistance and youth. Today we bear witness to what can be aptly described as the mechanisms and orchestrated movements of the non-profit industrial spectacle.

To illustrate the co-optation of youth, we will now look at the celebrity youth activists, and Climate Reality leaders Greta Thunberg and Jamie Margolin. We focus on these two individuals seeing as they are directly connected to the We Don’t Have Time campaign and business plan.

The Climate Reality Project and Global Utmaning. Greta Thunberg at far left. “How do we ensure that today’s decision-makers benefit and learn from young people’s commitment to the future? On September 26, the question attracted over 250 visitors to Kulturhuset Stadsteatern where Global Utmaning and Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project arranged seminars.” [Source]

Thunberg has stated repeatedly that her strike will continue “until Sweden is aligned with the Paris Agreement.” Therefore, by her own statements, this is the singular, overall purpose and goal of the strike. The foundation of the Paris Agreement is the expansion of nuclear, the financialization of nature, further privatization at an unprecedented scale, “large scale CO2 reduction” (carbon capture storage), a desperate attempt to revitalize economic growth, and more market “solutions” that will further perpetuate our multiple crises. Therefore, the Thunberg campaign is in part to create a demand upon governments across the globe to align with the Paris agreement. (A demand to obtain what the ruling classes have already decided to unleash on us, our planet, and all life.) As adherence to the Paris Accords is a running theme in the mainstream NGO movement, the marketing campaign is helped along by 350.org, Avaaz, WWF, Greenpeace, in tandem with the UN (“Changing Together”), the World Bank (“Stepping Up“)[2], and more recently, the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The Global Utmaning think tank cites its main asset as its network of over 90 senior advisors. From its homepage:

“The global market economy has lifted millions of people out of poverty. Meanwhile, inequality increased significantly. The financial system must be globally regulated and the current economic stagnation broken. It requires a new green, circular and inclusive growth model that creates value, labor and welfare. What is tomorrow’s new economic story?”

Global Utmaning recently announced a partnership with Global Shapers – an initiative of the World Economic Forum that brings together young leaders worldwide: “The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2019 will be held from 22-25 January in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. Over 3,000 global leaders will come together under the theme Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” [Emphasis added]

AVAAZ

Here we will make some brief observations of both Avaaz and 350.org in relation to the global “Climate Strike” campaigns. An exhaustive body of research that lays bare the function and ancestry of both NGOs, based on investigations from 2012 to present, now exists on the Wrong Kind of Green website. We encourage readers to familiarize themselves with the two entities.

On December 14, 2018, 350.org sent out a press release containing the following excerpts:

“Katowice, Poland – Today- 30 school children from three local schools in Katowice, answered the call of Greta Thunberg and brought the global #ClimateStrike into the final day of the UN Climate talks in Katowice.

 

The 30 students were granted special access to enter the UN talks and carry their message to the delegates and Polish government: with only 12 years left to get the world off fossil fuels, leaders must act now.” [emphasis in original]

On cue, the international media would publish photos such as this one:

Here is what you don’t see:

  • Preconference: The youth are being organized for the December 14, 2018 press event. Photo: David Tong / WWF New Zealand

At the bottom of the 350.org press release under the heading “For more information”, the press release discloses: “NOTE that 350.Org and Avaaz are NOT organising these actions but are helping the students to spread their message.”

And yet it certainly appears that Avaaz did in fact play a leading role in organizing the action – while orchestrating the media spotlight. [See photos in the above slider.]

On the day following the 350.org-Avaaz press release, December 15, 2018, NGOs and institutions alike scrambled to catapult the words of Thunberg into the hearts and minds of citizens all over the world.  From the UN, to Avaaz, to the World Bank, to grass roots resistance, all clamoured to spread young Thunberg’s words. But one NGO took it upon itself to redact many of Thunberg’s words, releasing an abbreviated version (79K views on Facebook). With no disclaimer to its audience, Avaaz removed four excerpts from Thunberg’s speech. [4] The two excerpts that follow, which were cut by Avaaz, are most revealing:

Two of the excerpts that have been cut from Greta’s speech, are most revealing:

“You only speak of the green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake.”

 

“But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet. Our civilisation is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money.”

It is not surprising Avaaz would strike Greta’s comments considering a primary function of Avaaz is to promote market solutions that accelerate “green” economic growth – in servitude to “a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money.”

In the following Avaaz campaign, the NGO employs Thunberg’s face to place pressure on Sweden for corporate non-solutions, such as in this instance, “large scale CO2 reduction”. This is holistic framing for carbon capture storage technologies.

Here it is imperative to refer to the August 24, 2017 press release “Bellona seminar on Nordic CCS cooperation”. From the release:

“Now politicians have to go ahead so that we can build full-scale CO2 capture facilities as quickly as possible,’ said Tandberg. Three full-scale facilities in Norway are planned, but not yet granted, with a preliminary price tag of NOK 12.6 billion (EUR 1.28 billion)…

 

Norway is leading in capture, transportation and storage technologies, and can export the knowledge and facilities. There is potential for a completely new industry to be built. However it depends on whether Norway is able to keep its position. It is urgent to build the CCS plants, develop the technology further and get full-scale CCS infrastructure, and a Nordic cooperation can facilitate this process.”

This is a prime example of one of the main functions of NGOs. To generate popular demand from the citizenry that will in turn support the legislation required for projects that serve to benefit industry, rather than people and planet. Prior to the contracts being signed or a shovel breaking ground to build the infrastructures that will comprise the “global architecture in the age of the fourth industrial revolution” – legislation is required. And just like a proverbial snowball turning into an avalanche, the legislation begets money for a budget with bidding and construction to commence shortly thereafter.

What better way to create a demand for something detrimental to both the environment and the populace, than to package it under climate change solutions, with the lovely and innocent face of Greta.  With reality turned on its head,  industry doesn’t have to impose its will on the people – the people will impose it on themselves, via Avaaz et al. The people are thus engineered to  demand the very false solutions that the corporations have had up their sleeves for years and even decades.

Hence, the non-profit industrial complex and the media, both financed/funded by the word’s power elite, are amalgamated with and by corporate power. Together they work in unity, toward one common goal: economic growth. Hence, market solutions are always THE solutions. It is not simply a matter of placing the economy first before everything else. Rather, its placing the economy first at the EXPENSE of everything else. And everyone else. And all life on this planet.

To look at the scale of such so-called solutions, one need look no further than the Carbon Tracker The 2013 “Unburnable Carbon Report” – page 12:

“Given that the average annual rate of storage in 2015 is projected by the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute (2012) to be about 2.25 million tonnes for 16 CCS projects, a total of nearly 3800 CCS projects would need to be operating by 2050 under the idealised scenario.”

The idealised scenario “offers about an 80% chance of not exceeding a warming of more than 2°C.”

May 14, 2015:

“As with all the shaping of our shared futures by the elite, the pathway to CCS is clear in the 2008 Green Alliance paper, A Last Chance for Coal, with contributions from Ben Caldecott while at the Policy Exchange think tank. The paper notes that it is critical Europe’s commitment to CCS be realized before 2020; 12 short years away from the paper’s publication date. The year 2020 is a critical date of vast significance – a recurring deadline for all environmental market solutions to be in place.”

[Further reading: AVAAZ: The Globe’s Largest & Most Powerful Behavioural Change Network]

[Further reading: McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street]

Jamie Margolin – Zero Hour

Jamie Margolin is the teenage founder of This Is Zero Hour and “one of the 13 plaintiffs suing Washington State for its failure to take adequate action on climate change.” (As disclosed in ACT I of this series, Margolin – and her NGO Zero Hour – accounted for two of the six accounts tagged by We Don’t Have Time on the very first post reporting Greta Thunberg’s school strike). Margolin attended Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps (a three-day conference) that took place in Seattle on June 27-29, 2017. [Source] In July 2017, Margolin began organizing for a youth climate march in Washington, D.C. and launched Zero Hour. On February 27, 2018, exactly eight months after her first day at the Climate Reality Leadership Corps, Margolin would be featured in Rolling Stone magazine. Prior to her meteoric rise to stardom, Margolin interned  in Hillary Clinton’s campaign office in Seattle. The following passage demonstrates what has now become the normal corporate promotion of youth:

“The youngest speaker at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco this week is Jamie Margolin of Seattle, who founded the Zero Hour youth climate march this past July and led its flagship action in Washington, D.C. At 16, Margolin presents a youthful contrast to most of the GCAS leadership, like California Governor Jerry Brown (80); former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (76); and China’s top climate diplomat, Xie Zhenhua (68).” [Source]

In the 21st century manufactured movements and revolutions, today’s “leaders” (fabricated by corporate owned and funded media) are no longer enemies of the establishment – rather, they  do events together – with establishment figures such as New York Mayor Bill de Blasio – adulating over our new “revolutionaries”  while tagging them and tweeting their praises.  When the establishment itself loves our movements and our “faces of the future” – we know we have already lost tomorrow.

“Donate”: Jamie Margolin, teenage founder of This Is Zero Hour | Climate Reality Project webpage banner

On cue, on December 5, 2018, Time Magazine voted Greta Thunberg as one of the most influential teens (now the most sought after and targeted demographic by corporations) of 2018 while Jamie Margolin, founder of Zero Hour, Climate Reality leader and teen influencer, was lauded over by Teen Vogue. [July 19, 2018, Climate Change Puts the Future at Risk, So I’m Taking Action; November 5, 2018, 21 Under 21: Jamie Margolin Knows Climate Justice is the Key to All Justice; December 1, 2018, The Teen Vogue Summit 2018]

Teen Vogue, December 5, 2018″ “15-Year-Old Activist Greta Thunberg Schooled World Leaders on Climate Change at a United Nations Summit”

In the above image, Margolin lends her celebrity status to prop up the brands Global Citizen and Johnson & Johnson. Global Citizen is perhaps the most egregious NGO in the non-profit industrial complex with its grotesque model of shallow, hollowed-out “activism” and corporatization. Recently Global Citizen has introduced “points” that can be accumulated by clicking on actions. In a blatant emulation of credit cards (the more money you spend, the more points you acquire), the more actions you click, the more points you acquire. These points can then be redeemed for access to celebrity events and concerts.

This is the social engineering of unquestioning compliance and  instantaneous acquiescence. In order to receive the reward, one must perform the action requested. If you do not comply, you simply do not receive the points.  Here the encouragement for critical thought and debate is deliberately and strategically erased from the equation.

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 25: The Zero Hour Movement Founder & President Jamie Margolin attends Global Citizen – Movement Makers at The Times Center on September 25, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Global Citizen)

 

NGOs are not the only entities to exploit youth. Corporate partners that finance their endeavours also provide lofty sums of money to have their toxic legacies greenwashed. In July 2018 Johnson and Johnson was ordered to pay “nearly $4.7 billion US in total damages to 22 women and their families after they claimed asbestos in Johnson & Johnson talcum powder contributed to their ovarian cancer, in the first case against the company that focused on asbestos in the powder… Six of the 22 plaintiffs in the latest trial have died from ovarian cancer. … Mark Lanier, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, said in a statement that Johnson & Johnson had covered up evidence of asbestos in their products for more than 40 years.” [Source]

Par for the course, partnerships and endorsements for corporations inflicting violence upon both children and planet are a hallmark of the non-profit industrial complex. This is not the only lawsuit that has been launched against Johnson & Johnson nor will it be the last. There are also 1200 pending lawsuits in the US alone. against Johnson & Johnson. Johnson & Johnson is not the exception – it is the normal.

“Global Citizen – Movement Makers. In This Photo: (L-R) Ladan Manteghi, Jamie Margolin, and Afroz Shah speak onstage during Global Citizen – Movement Makers at The Times Center on September 25, 2018 in New York City.” (Sept. 24, 2018 – Source: Noam Galai/Getty Images North America)

Bill Gates (Breakthrough Energy, Mission Innovation) with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for Global Citizen.

Jamie Margolin – teenage founder and executive director of This is Zero Hour, founded in 2017 (June 30, 2017, twitter)

Jamie Margolin, speaking via Skype at the Climate Emergency Plan presentation, (We Don’t Have Time, Climate Utmaning, the Club of Rome), November  24, 2018:

“We don’t just think about, oh there’s carbon in the air and we need to lower it, we think of how did the carbon get there?, like how did we allow a system that could lead us to such destruction?”

The system that Margolin refers to is that of global capitalism, an economic system that is devouring everything in its path. A promise to destroy the planetary ecosystems of our shared futures. And it’s not as though Margolin has not begun to understand the glaring systems intersecting at the nexus of our multiple crisis, such as capitalism, colonialism, racism, patriarchy.

Rather, Margolin does in fact possess the basic building blocks of knowledge that are required for the long road ahead of instilling and inspiring the revolutionary changes that are required amongst the youth. Yet by positioning herself with those that bring into fruition and profit from everything Margolin touches upon, she tragically denigrates her own analysis by merely calling for better cups for Starbucks rather than the elimination of Starbucks altogether. Hence, on her current path, Margolin does more harm than good for the very systemic issues she articulates so well.

With “crude capitalists“, such as Gore, de Blasio and others, now capturing the last vestiges of youth that even have such awareness (an awareness that is slowly dying out), soon the systemic structures that allow capitalism and oppression to flourish will have no opposition whatsoever. We are reaching the point there is no distinction whatsoever between our “movements” and the coalitions created to further our oppression and servitude. The fact that Margolin serves as a face for Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project – when saving capitalism is Gore’s number one priority (as we will learn in ACT III), grinds all of Margolin’s articulate words – and actions – to dust. Gore uses Greta, Margolin and all the youth they mobilize – by destroying the very futures these youth are hoping to save – all in servitude to economic growth and capitalism for the world’s power elite.

Also of relevance to the Thunberg campaign is the race to capture the Millennial and Generation Z. With increasing frequency, this capture is primarily achieved by the manufactured and heavily funded youth “movements”. “Movements” teeming with potential consumers, fully exploitable by those that benefit from, and in many cases contribute to, the steady stream of funding. The title Generation Z has been applied to those connected from birth to online media, to whom “instant gratification is the norm.” The demographic is today the most powerful and sought after audience in North America. As an illustration of the terms popularity, Zero Hour’s Margolin actually refers to herself as “generation Z.”

The November 8, 2018 Barclays article, Gen Z: Step Aside Millennials reports that this demographic (children born between 1995 and 2009), the same demographic that youth leaders like Greta Thunberg and Jamie Margolin, belong to,  appeal to, and influence, are quickly becoming the new “consumer giants” and “mega influencers”:

“By 2020, Generation Z will be the largest group of consumers globally. They will account for 40% of consumers in the US, Europe and BRIC countries and 10% in the rest of the world. Companies that don’t engage with Gen Z successfully could rapidly lose market share. Some of them may only be 9 years old, but Gen Z already have huge spending power. In the US, Gen Z currently have $200 billion in direct buying power but $1 trillion in indirect spending power by influencing household spending*. Gen Z’s advanced digital knowledge and ability to assess factors such as price and availability from a young age make them increasingly influential in family spending decisions.”

In the eyes of bankers and capitalists, this group of youth are mere consumers. Dollar signs. Not children, youth or even people.

Faux activism comes with many perks inclusive of six-figure salaries, jet-setting, and “Ted Talks”. Plus, the best hipster eco-brands money can buy. Perhaps the most enticing perk – is access. Access to the halls of power. With the media fawning all over every reformist word, the faux activist can fall in love with his/her/x own image all over again. Everyone wants to be a star. Everyone wants to live the luxurious life. Everyone wants to belong to the champagne circuit.

All on the backs of the most oppressed. All on the backs of the most vulnerable. Yet the paradox is this – we are their vehicle. Our resistance captured and channeled directly back into the very systems crushing us.

A Coupe De Grace

Greta Thunberg is being strategically exploited by the World Bank, the UN, and the non-profit industrial complex that serves the ruling classes. They are using her to advance their own self-interests and objectives – that are in direct opposition to everything this young woman brilliantly articulates. This is being presented as a “leaderless movement” – very much the “New Power” methodology and religion for the capitalists – theorized by Jeremy Heimans (Avaaz/Purpose) for mass movement building – that serves the most powerful and destructive forces on the planet.

The manipulation of young, malleable minds is at the foundation of Western indoctrination in order to insulate a failing system and mask the market solutions being designed to address it. Market “solutions” that benefit the rich at the expense of  the environment. Hence, the youth are always the sacrificial lambs of the non-profit industrial complex.

 

 [Further reading: From Stable to Star – The Making of North American “Climate Heroes”]

[Further Reading: Targeting Millennials: The 30 Trillion Dollar Jackpot]

[Further Reading: The Pygmalion Virus in Three Acts [2017 AVAAZ SERIES, PART II]

 

End Notes:

[1] “According to WE.org, ‘WE is made up of WE Charity and ME to WE. Both are part of the WE Movement, also known as ‘WE’ and ‘We.'” – “WE Charity used to be called Free The Children, and before that, Kids Can Free The Children. ME to WE is a private, for-profit business, but WE prefers to call it a ‘social enterprise.'” [Source]

[2] The COP24 Stepping Up Climate Action is a campaign initiated by the UN with Connect4Climate. The campaign of “global leaders, thinkers, activists and influencers” includes Greta Thunberg. “Connect4Climate is a global partnership program under the Communication for Climate Change Multi-Donor Trust Fund of the World Bank Group. The Trust Fund was initiated by the Italian Ministry of Environment, and in 2014 it was joined by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.”

[3] Video: Greta & Svante Thunberg – Straight Talk, Dec 9, 2019 [ 15:31 in]; Grist, December 5, 2018: “I will sit there every Friday until Sweden is aligned with the Paris agreement,” she told a packed auditorium in Katowice.

[4] 1) “You only speak of the green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake.”

2) “But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet our civilisation is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money.”

3) “Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than its what is politically possible, there is no hope. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis.”

4) “We have run out of excuses and we are running out of time.”

 

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

 

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

 

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Political Economy of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

By Cory Morningstar with Forrest Palmer

January 17, 2019

 

“What’s infuriating about manipulations by Non Profit Industrial Complex is that they harvest good will of the people, especially young people. They target those who were not given skills and knowledge to truly think for themselves by institutions which are designed to serve the ruling class. Capitalism operates systematically and structurally like a cage to raise domesticated animals. Those organizations and their projects which operate under false slogans of humanity in order to prop up the hierarchy of money and violence are fast becoming some of the most crucial elements of the invisible cage of corporatism, colonialism and militarism.” Hiroyuki Hamada, artist

 

 

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent has been written in five acts.

ACT I – Greta Thunberg, the current child prodigy and face of the youth movement to combat climate change, serves as special youth advisor and trustee to the burgeoning mainstream tech start-up, “We Don’t Have Time”.

ACT II – In this act we illustrate how today’s youth are the sacrificial lambs for the ruling elite. Also in this act we introduce the board members and advisors to “We Don’t Have Time.” We explore the leadership in the nascent We Don’t Have Time and the partnerships between the well established corporate environmental entities: Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, 350.org, Avaaz, Global Utmaning (Global Challenge), the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum (WEF).

ACT III – Here, we deconstruct how Al Gore and the planets most powerful capitalists are behind today’s manufactured youth movements and why. We explore the We Don’t Have Time/Thunberg connections to Our Revolution, the Sanders Institute, This Is Zero Hour, the Sunrise Movement and the Green New Deal. We also touch upon Thunberg’s famous family, in particular Thunberg’s celebrity mother, Malena Ernman (WWF Environmental Hero of the Year 2017), and her August 2018 book launch. We then explore the generous media attention afforded to Thunberg in both May, 2018 and April, 2018, by SvD, one of Sweden’s largest newspapers.

ACT IV – In this act, we examine the current campaign, now unfolding, in “leading the public into emergency mode”. More importantly, we summarize, who and what this mode is to serve.

ACT V – In the final act, we look at the Guardian and Extinction Rebellion. We take a closer look at the Green New Deal, which, like Extinction Rebellion, has plans to go global in scale. We explore how mainstream NGOs are attempting to safeguard their influence by going underground through Extinction Rebellion groups being organized in the US and across the world. We look at the weak and essentially non-existent demands – eerily reminiscent of the 2009 TckTckTck “demands”. Lastly we look at the power of celebrity – and how it has become a key tool for both capital and conformity.

[Note: This series contains information and quotes that have been translated from Swedish to English via Google Translator.]

 

A C T   O N E

 

“How is it possible for you to be so easily tricked by something so simple as a story, because you are tricked? Well, it all comes down to one core thing and that is emotional investment. The more emotionally invested you are in anything in your life, the less critical and the less objectively observant you become.” — David JP Phillips, We Don’t Have Time board of directors, “The Magical Science of Storytelling”

 

Greta Thunberg, We Don’t Have Time, Facebook, October 26, 2018

 

August 2018, Finance Monthly, co-founder of We Don’t Have Time, Ingmar Rentzhog

We Don’t Have Time

As this term is quickly becoming the quote du jour as a collective mantra to address the ongoing environmental disaster that can best be described as a nod to the obvious, it’s true that we don’t have time. We don’t have time to stop imperialist wars – wars being the greatest contributor to climate change and environmental degradation by far – but we must do so. Of course this is an impossible feat under the crushing weight of the capitalist system, a US war economy, and the push for a fourth industrial revolution founded on renewable energy. Yet inconvenience has nothing to do with necessity in regards to addressing a particular situation. What is never discussed in regard to the so-called “clean energy revolution” is that its existence is wholly dependent on “green” imperialism – the latter term being synonymous with blood.

But that’s not what this article is about.

This article is about new financial markets in a world where global economic growth is experiencing stagnation. The threat and subsequent response is not so much about climate change as it is about the collapse of the capitalist economic system. This article is about the climate wealth opportunity of unprecedented growth, profits, and the measures our elite classes will take, in order to achieve it – including the exploitation of the youth.

What is We Don’t Have Time?

 

“Our goal is to become among the biggest players on the internet.” — Ingmar Rentzhog, We Don’t Have Time, December 22, 2017, Nordic Business Insider

On August 20, 2018 a tweet featuring a photo of “a Swedish girl” sitting on a sidewalk was released by the tech company We Don’t Have Time, founded by its CEO Ingmar Rentzhog:

“One 15 year old girl in front of the Swedish parliament is striking from School until Election Day in 3 weeks[.] Imagine how lonely she must feel in this picture. People where just walking by. Continuing with the business as usual thing. But the truth is. We can’t and she knows it!”

Rentzhog’s tweet, via the We Do Not Have Time twitter account, would be the very first exposure of Thunberg’s now famous school strike.

Above: “We Don’t Have Time” tweet, August 20, 2018

Tagged in Rentzhog’s “lonely girl” tweet were five twitter accounts: Greta Thunberg, Zero Hour (youth movement), Jamie Margolin (the teenage founder of Zero Hour), Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, and the People’s Climate Strike twitter account (in the identical font & aesthetics as 350.org). [These groups will be touched upon briefly later in this report.]

Rentzhog is the founder of Laika (a prominent Swedish communications consultancy firm providing services to the financial industry, recently acquired by FundByMe), appointed chair of the think tank Global Utmaning (Global Challenge in English) on May 24, 2018, and serves on the board of FundedByMe. He is a member of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Organization Leaders, where he is part of the European Climate Policy Task Force. He received his training in March 2017 by former US Vice President Al Gore in Denver, USA, and again in June 2018, in Berlin.

Founded in 2006, Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project is a partner of We Don’t Have Time.

The We Don’t Have Time Foundation cites two special youth advisors and trustees: Greta Thunberg and Jamie Margolin. [Source]

Mårten Thorslund, Chief Marketing and Sustainability Officer (CSO) of We Don’t Have Time took many of the very first photos of Thunberg following the launch of her school strike on August 20, 2018. In the following instance, photos taken by Thorslund accompany the article written by David Olsson, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of We Don’t Have Time, This 15-year-old Girl Breaks Swedish Law for the Climate, published August 23, 2018:

“Greta became a climate champion and tried to influence those closest to her. Her father now writes articles and gives lectures on the climate crisis, whereas her mother, a famous Swedish opera singer, has stopped flying. All thanks to Greta.

 

And clearly, she has stepped up her game, influencing the national conversation on the climate crisis?—?two weeks before the election. We Don’t Have Time reported on Greta’s strike on its first day and in less than 24 hours our Facebook posts and tweets received over twenty thousand likes, shares and comments. It didn’t take long for national media to catch on. As of the first week of the strike, at least six major daily newspapers, as well as Swedish and Danish national TV, [1] have interviewed Greta. Two Swedish party leaders have stopped by to talk to her as well.” [Emphasis added]

The article continues:

“Is there something big going on here? This one kid immediately got twenty supporters who now sit next to her. This one kid created numerous news stories in national newspapers and on TV. This one kid has received thousands of messages of love and support on social media…. Movements by young people, such as Jaime Margolin’s #ThisIsZeroHour that #WeDontHaveTime interviewed earlier, speaks with a much needed urgency that grown-ups should pay attention to…” [Emphasis in original]

Yes – there was, and still is, something going on.

It’s called marketing and branding.

“- Yesterday I sat completely by myself, today there is one other here too. There are none [that] I know.” — Greta Thunberg, August 21, 2018,  Nyheter newspaper, Sweden [Translation via Google]

The “one kid immediately got twenty supporters” – from a Swedish network for sustainable business. What is going on – is the launch of a global campaign to usher in a required consensus for the Paris Agreement, the New Green Deal and all climate related policies and legislation written by the power elite – for the power elite. This is necessary in order to unlock the trillions of dollars in funding by way of massive public demand.

These agreements and policies include carbon capture storage (CCS), enhanced oil recovery (EOR), bio-energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), rapid total decarbonisation, payments for ecosystem services (referred to as “natural capital”), nuclear energy and fission, and a host of other “solutions” that are hostile to an already devastated planet. What is going on – is a rebooting of a stagnant capitalist economy – that needs new markets – new growth – in order to save itself. What is being created is a  mechanism to unlock approx. 90 trillion dollars for new investments and infrastructure. What is going on is the creation of, and investment in, perhaps the biggest behavioural change experiment yet attempted, global in scale. And what are the deciding factors in what behaviours global society should adhere to? And more importantly, who decides? This is a rhetorical question as well now the answer: the same Western white male saviors and the capitalist economic system they have implemented globally that has been the cause of our planetary ecological nightmare. This crisis continues unabated as they appoint themselves (yet again) as the saviours for all humanity – a recurring problem for centuries.

+++

“Our goal is to become at least 100 million users. It is an eighth of all who have climbed on social media. Only last month we managed to reach 18 million social media accounts according to a media survey that Meltwater news made for us. At Facebook, we are currently seven times the number of followers among the world’s all climate organizations. We are growing with 10,000 new global followers per day on Facebook.” — Ingmar Retzho interview with Miljö & Utveckling, October 15, 2018

We Don’t Have Time identifies itself as a movement and tech startup that is  currently developing “the world’s largest social network for climate action”. The “movement” component was launched on April 22, 2018. The web platform is still in the progress of being built, but is to launch on April 22, 2019 (coinciding with Earth Day). “Through our platform, millions of members will unite to put pressure on leaders, politicians and corporations to act for the climate.” The start-up’s goal to rapidly achieve 100 million users has thus far attracted 435 investors (74.52% of the company’s shares) via the web platform FundedByMe.

The startup intends to offer partnerships, digital advertising and services related to climate change, sustainability and the growing green and circular economy to “a large audience of engaged consumers and ambassadors.”

We Do Not Have Time is mainly active in three markets: social media, digital advertising and carbon offsets. [“In the US alone estimated market for carbon offsetting amount to over 82 billion USD of which voluntary carbon offset represents 191 million USD. The market is expected to increase in the future, in 2019 estimated 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions to be associated with any kind of cost for offsetting.”] As the company is a niche organization, social networks are able to provide services tailored to platform users. The startup has identified such an opportunity by offering its users the ability to purchase carbon offsets through the platform’s own certification. This option applies to both the individual user of the platform as a whole organizations/companies on the platform.

One incentive of many identified in the start-up investment section is that users will be encouraged to “communicate jointly and powerfully with influential actors.” Such influencers are Greta Thunberg and Jamie Margolin who both have lucrative futures in the branding of “sustainable” industries and products, if they wish to pursue this path in utilizing their present celebrity for personal gain – a hallmark of the “grassroots” NGO movement. [Further reading: The Increasing Vogue for Capitalist-Friendly Climate Discourse]

The tech company is banking on creating a massive member base of “conscious users” that will enable “profitable commercial collaborations, for example, advertising”:

“Decision makers – politicians, companies, organizations, states – get a climate rating based on their ability to live up to the users’ initiative. Knowledge and opinion gather in one place and users put pressure on decision makers to drive a faster change.”

 

“The main sources of revenue come from commercial players who have received high climate rating and confidence in the We Don’t Have Times member base.[2] … The revenue model will resemble the social platform of TripAdvisor.com’s business model, which with its 390 million users annually generates over $ 1 billion in good profitabilityWe will work with strategic partners such as Climate Reality leaders, climate organizations, bloggers, influencers and leading experts in the field.”

Video: We Don’t Have Time promotional video, published April 6, 2018 [Running time: 1m:38s]

A “state of conscious and permanent visibility assures the automatic functioning of power.” — Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish

Comparable to other social media endeavors where “likes”, “followers”, and unfathomable amounts of metadata determine financial success, the fact that the business is virtual enables high profit margins. The return on investment, best described as mainstream acquiescence and desirability by way of exposure, will be obtained through future dividends. In anticipation of this projected success, the tech company plans to take its business to the stock exchange in the near future. (Think Facebook and Instagram). The most critical component to the success of this startup (like its predecessors) is achieving a massive member base. Therefore, according to the company it “will work actively with both enlisting influencers and creating content for various campaigns linked to the hashtag #WeDontHaveTime.”

 

 

On April 18, 2018 the crowdfunding platform FundedByMe (utilized by We Don’t Have Time to enlist investors) acquired Ingmar Rentzhog’s Laika Consulting. Excerpts from the press release are as follows:

“FundedByMe today announced that they acquire 100% of the shares in the established financial company Laika Consulting AB, a leading communications agency in financial communications. As a result, the company doubles its investment network to close to 250,000 members, making it the largest in the Nordic region. The acquisition is a strategic step to further strengthen FundedByMe’s range of financial services…

 

[Ingmar Rentzhog] will continue to work on strategic client projects for FundedByMe and Laika Consulting in part-time. Moreover he takes a role in the company’s board. The majority of his time he will focus on climate change through the newly established company, “We Don’t Have Time”, as a CEO and founder.” [Emphasis added] [Source] [3]

 

We Don’t Have Time Software App: The Latest Wave of Western & Corporate Ideology at Your Fingertips

 “He treats his mother, the earth, and his brother, the sky, as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep or bright beads. His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert.” — Chief Seattle, 1780-1866

In October 2016 Netflix aired the third season of Black Mirror, “a Twilight Zoneesque anthology TV series about technological anxieties and possible futures.” The first episode “Nosedive” posits a shallow and hypocritical populace in which “social platforms, self-curation and validation-seeking” have become the underpinning of a future society. [Black Mirror’s third season opens with a vicious take on social media]. The disturbing episode shares parallels to the concept behind We Don’t Have Time. The difference being instead of rating people exclusively, we will be rating brands, products, corporations and everything else climate related.

Acquisition International Magazine Issue 10, 2018 

The not unintended results will be tenfold. The corporations with the best advertising executives and largest budgets will be the winners. Greenwashing will become an unprecedented method of advertising as will the art of “storytelling” (no one ever said a story has to be true). Small or local businesses with little financial means will more than often be the losers. Especially hit will be migrant entrepreneurs whose cultures differ from ours in the West – where “Western democracy” is the only democracy that is valid.

Adding to the conversation as to who is ultimately benefiting from this endeavor from a cultural, social, geographical and ethnic perspective is the fact that “subconscious biases about race or gender, is a proven problem on many crowdsourced platforms.” [Source] Ultimately, this means that in order to acquire the needed support as a multimedia platform, the self-interest of the Western world must be at the fore with no concern for the Global South – other than what we can continue to steal from her.  The inconvenient truth is that all roads lead to the same collective (if even subconscious)  goal: the preservation of whiteness.

Rentzhog assures his audience that “our core, though, will remain, namely to empower our users to put pressure on world leaders so that they move faster towards an emission-free world and environmentally sustainable solutions and policies.” [Acquisition International Magazine Issue 10, 2018]

An “emission-free world” sounds enticing – yet there are no plans whatsoever to retract our growth economies. “Environmentally sustainable solutions” … according to who? According to a tribal elder who upholds the principles of “the seventh generation” (the Indigenous belief that humans must properly provide for its descendants by ensuring that our actions in the present allow the Earthly survival of seven succeeding generations – not to be confused with Unilever’s Seventh Generation acquisition) – or according to the World Bank? (We all know the answer to this rhetorical question.)

Another inconvenient truth, regarding the above promise, is that there is growing pressure on governments to increase Federal research and development funding to develop and deploy “deep decarbonisation” technologies as one of the primary “solutions” to climate change. This was proposed at the Paris Climate Accord with Bill Gates’ “Mission Innovation” initiative which committed to doubling government investment in energy technology.

“We want it to cost more, in terms of revenue, public support and reputation, to not work on lowering emissions and improve environmental sustainability, whereas those that lead the way should be recognized for this. Our vision is to create a race towards environmental sustainability and CO2 neutrality, making it the core priority for businesses, politicians and organizations worldwide.” — Acquisition International Magazine Issue 10, 2018 

Here again, we must look closely at language and framing. Who are “those that lead the way”? Are they referring to Western citizens who can fit all their belongings in a duffle bag? [Here it must be said that the environmental heroes in the West are NOT the Richard Bransons or Leonardo DiCaprios of the world. The real heroes for the environment, due to their almost non-existent environmental footprint, are  the homeless – despite the scorn they receive from society as a whole.] Are they referring to the African Maasai who to this day, literally leave no trace? Or are “those that lead the way” Unilever and Ikea (represented on the We Don’t Have time board). This is another rhetorical question we all know the answer to. Notice the mention of CO2 “neutrality” rather than a drastic reduction of CO2 emissions. Convenient language when one of the main pillars of the business model is the sale of carbon offsets – rationalizing a continuance of the same carbon based lifestyle by constructing a faux fantasy one, that anyone with monetary wealth, can buy into.

As online reviews and ratings systems have become a Western staple of determining the worthiness of a person, group or corporation,  the internet presently is a primary source of determining the quality of an entity. One example of this type of system is the online site Trip Advisor, which utilizes user feedback as a measuring stick of a hotel, airline, car rental, etc.  As the Trip Advisor rating system is the revenue model We Don’t Have Time seeks to emulate, we will explore this particular rating system.

Whereas a reputable and established website such as Trip Advisor is based on an actual experience – We Don’t Have Time evaluations are more geared toward promises into the future regarding a green technology revolution and/or the effectiveness of advertising in making people believe the veracity of these promises. By utilizing fake accounts (think Twitter and Facebook), strategically orchestrated campaigns will effectively allow the app to break political careers and demonize people and countries based on the numbers of ratings (“climate bombs”). These bombs can be administered against any foe that does not embrace the technologies (sought by the West to benefit the West) of this so-called revolution, regardless if the reason for doing so is justifiable or not.

The word “bombs” itself will become reframed. Rather than associating bombs with militarism (never touched upon by We Don’t Have Time) the word bomb itself will eventually become first and foremost associated with ratings, bad products, bad ideas and bad people. Such is the power of language and framing when combined with social engineering. Here, the behavioural economics of hatred can be weaponized – a virtual new form of soft power. The Nicaraguan Sandinista government who did not sign onto the Paris Agreement because it is too weak (and serves only Western interests) could quickly become a pariah on the global stage- as the West controls the stage. Already a target for destabilization, the soft power app would be applied as the ruling class sees fit.

When one contemplates the non-profit industrial complex, it must be considered the most powerful army in the world. Employing billions of staff, all inter-connected, today’s campaigns, financed by our ruling oligarchs can become viral in a matter of hours just by the interlocking directorate working together in unity toward a common goal to instil uniform  thoughts and opinions, which gradually create a desired ideology. This is the art of social engineering. Conformity and emotive content as tools of manipulation has been and always will be the most powerful weapons in the Mad Men’s  toolbox. If 300, 000 people have already voted with “climate hearts” on a “trending” topic in under 48 hours – it must be a great idea.

“Nobody wants to be bottom of the class.”  Ingmar Retzhog, We Don’t Have Time, December 22, 2017, Nordic Business Insider

To be clear, the West is in no position to “teach” (nudge/engineer) the “correct” value system regarding sustainability to the world, when the biggest polluters on the planet are manufactured into “climate leaders” and “climate heroes”. This is reality turned on its head. A reality we are conditioned to accept. Institutions such as the United Nations in tandem with the media, spoon-feed this insanity (that defies all logic) to the global populace, in servitude to the ruling classes.

“Nudging”: Acquisition International Magazine Issue 10, 2018 

Finally, but certainly not lastly, this behavioral science platform lends itself to the continued devolvement of critical thinking. With virtually everything and everyone to rate all day long – who has time to look in depth at any given policy or product that after all, sounds, looks and feels simply amazing due to sophisticated marketing coupled with behavioural change tactics? It is vital to keep in mind that social engineering – and massive profit – are the key merits and purpose of this application.

 

End Notes:

[1] TV 2 Danmark Danish public service, SVT Swedish public service, TV 4 News, Metro TV, Dagens Nyheter, Aftonbladet (August 20, 2018), Sydsvenskan, Stockholm Direkt, Expressen (August 20, 2018) , ETC, WWF, Effekt Magazin, GöteborgsPosten,Helsingborgs Dagblad, Folkbladet, Uppsala Nya tidning, Vimmerby Tidning, Piteå Tidningen, Borås Tidning, Duggan, VT, NT, Corren, OMNI, WeDontHaveTime CEO viral FaceBook post that mention it first. [Source]

[2] Click-based advertising based on highly rated companies that want to drive traffic to their websites; Targeted web advertising for companies that want to reach out to environmentally aware users in different segments; Business subscriptions where companies and organizations have the opportunity to interact with the members and get the right to use the We Don’t Have Times brand and the company’s rating in their marketing [Source]

[3] “Laika Consulting was one of the first companies in Sweden to work with crowdfunding when we established the brand in 2004. I look forward to follow the company’s growth closely. A combination of Laika’s expertise in listed companies, together with FundedByMe with its international and digital presence, can create new opportunities for growth.”says Laika’s CEO, Ingmar Rentzhog.” [Source]

 

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

 

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

 

Philanthropic Capitalist Foundations and Corporate Environmentalism

Le Partage

January 2019

By Nicolas Casaux

 

 

Translation from French to English via DeepL Translator

 

The two examples below of funding from Jane Goodall’s NGO (Jane Goodall Institute) and 350 (.org) are quite representative of how mainstream ecology works. The leading figures and organizations in the field of ecology, those that are often reported in the media, are rarely, if ever, revolutionary. Their discourse is often limited to various platitudes, encouraging all kinds of false solutions and stating relatively hollow proposals, or worse (ending poverty/developing green energy and technology/developing organic/go to work by bike/developing sustainable development/vote for the good guys/etc.). And their actions are palliative (which can, however, in some cases, be really important).

Jane Goodall’s NGO funding

*

NGO 350.org funding

The same reasons that push the mass media (which, on the whole, belong to[1] – and broadly convey the ideology of – the same class of individuals found behind philanthrocapitalist foundations) to promote the ecologism of large NGOs and some subsidized personalities (by the private or public), push private philanthrocapitalist foundations and/or public organizations to finance these NGOs and individuals: they are harmless for today’s capitalist industrial society.

Thus the NGO 350.org was created and continues to be financed by the Rockefellers and many other ultra-rich capitalists; thus the Jane Goodall Foundation is financed by various philanthrocapitalist foundations and even directly by a few corporations, including an airline company; and thus WWF, which is financed by and collaborates with various multinationals (Coca-Cola, HSBC, etc.).) and foundations; and thus Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s , “founded with the support of three banks […] : BNP Paribas, the Swiss bank Lombard Odier, and Cortal Consors, BNP’s subsidiary specialising in online trading for individuals”, which collaborates with Total[2] and is “financed in particular by donations from companies such as Casino, Suez or BNP[3]”; thus Cyril Dion’s film Demain was subsidised by AFD and co-produced with France Télévisions, as well as his documentary film Après-Demain ; etc.

Ultimately, these heavily subsidized, funded and mediated NGOs and personalities are a kind of ecological guarantor of capitalist industrial society. They make it possible to channel and control popular concerns about the fate of the natural world. Their ecologism is to ecology what modern electoral systems are to democracy. A fraud. About these general public ecologists, Jaime Semprun’s Encyclopedia of Nuisances wrote in its Address to all those who do not want to manage nuisances but remove them, in June 1990, that they:

“are in the field of the fight against nuisances what trade unionists were in the field of workers’ struggles: intermediaries interested in preserving the contradictions for which they regulate, negotiators dedicated to bargaining (the revision of standards and harmfulness rates replacing the percentages of wage increases), advocates of the quantitative as economic calculation extends to new fields (air, water, human embryos or synthetic sociability); in short, new brokers of an economic subjection whose price must now include the cost of a “quality environment”. We are already seeing the establishment, co-managed by “green” experts, of a redistribution of the territory between sacrificed and protected areas, a spatial division that will regulate hierarchical access to nature goods. As for radioactivity, there will be something for everyone.

 

To say that the ecologists’ practice is reformist would still do it too much credit, because it is directly and deliberately in line with the logic of capitalist domination, which unceasingly extends, by its very destruction, the field of its exercise. In this cyclical production of evils and their aggravating remedies, ecologism will have been only the reserve army of an era of bureaucratization, where “rationality” is always defined far from the individuals concerned and any realistic knowledge, with the renewed disasters that this implies. […]

 

It is therefore not a kind of extremist purism, let alone “politics of the worst”, that invites us to stand out violently from all the ecological planners of the economy: it is simply the realism about the necessary future of all this. The consequent development of the fight against nuisances requires clarifying, through as many exemplary denunciations as necessary, the opposition between ecolocrats – those who derive power from the ecological crisis – and those who do not have interests distinct from all dispossessed individuals, nor from the movement that can enable them to eliminate nuisances through the “rational dismantling of all commercial production”. If those who want to suppress nuisances are necessarily on the same ground as those who want to manage them, they must be present as enemies, otherwise they will be reduced to figuring in the spotlight of the directors of spatial planning. They can only really occupy this ground, i.e. find the means to transform it, by asserting without concession the social criticism of nuisances and their managers, installed or postulated. »

Their criticism of nuisance management, which is also a criticism of the management of popular concerns and disputes, is in line with the denunciation of the NGOization of resistance formulated, among others, by Arundhati Roy:

The NGO-ization of Resistance, Arundhati Roy, August 16, 2004

Gil Scott-Heron had sung it, the revolution will not be televised, and the collective INCITE! rightly adds that it will not be subsidized either.

 

End Notes:

  1. https://www.bastamag.net/Le-pouvoir-d-influence-delirant-des-dix-milliardaires-qui-possedent-la-presse ?
  2. https://www.zonebourse.com/TOTAL-4717/actualite/Total-accord-avec-la-Fondation-GoodPlanet-25542889/?iCStream=1 ?
  3. https://www.lemonde.fr/les-decodeurs/article/2015/09/16/l-empire-yann-arthus-bertrand-en-5-chiffres_4759524_4355770.html ?

 

[Nicolas Casaux is a member of the international organization Deep Green Resistance.]

PODCAST: Brazil and the US Left’s Imperial Blindspot

Brasil Wire

December 28, 2018

Interview with Brian Mier

 

 

In an interview on the WNUR Chicago radio show This is Hell, which aired on Saturday, December 22, 2018, Brasil Wire co-editor Brian Mier explained what Jacobin and the Western / Northern left media at large got wrong about politics in pre-coup Brazil – focusing attacks on the country’s leading left PT party and ignoring both voices from the PT itself, and the broader threat of US imperialism as the right set the stage for a takeover. The following are the transcripts, edited for readability:

Chuck Mertz: The US Left, hell all the western and global north left, abandoned Brazil’s left when they were needed most during a fascists coup that overthrew their democratically elected leader. Here to hopefully figure out why this happened and how to make certain it doesn’t happen again is our correspondent in São Paulo, Brazil, Brian Mier, co-author of the article How the US Left Failed Brazil: Why did the US left media bash a successful democratic socialist party during a right wing coup?Brian wrote that article with Sean T. Mitchell and Bryan Pitts.

Welcome back to This is Hell Brian. You write that after an electoral defeat to the far right Jair Bolsonaro fueled largely by fake news and blatantly partisan judicial measures against the PT, the Workers Party, Brazil’s largest leftist party, is now often extolled on the US left for its democratic socialist successes. Yet it is easy to forget what a transformation this was for north American leftist outlets. Before we get to their criticisms, the left’s criticisms of the PT and Jacobin Magazine’s criticisms of the PT, what explains, to you, why it took these leftist magazines and organizations so long to not recognize how unfair the impeachment of Dilma was, how unfair the charges against Lula were, how far right the alternative to Dilma and Lula and the PT was and now is in the form of Jair Bolsonaro and his new government that includes other former members of the military junta? PT aside, Brian, why didn’t the leftist publications you researched realize how justice was corrupted in a strategy by the far right to unfairly put those behind the dictatorship back in control of Brazil?

Brian MierI think that there was some mention – a little bit – that what was going on against Dilma Rousseff was unfair but I think that Brazil is just a very big and confusing country that is not that easy to understand and the media in general, journalism, tends to deal with these kinds of mind stopping cliches to try to break down issues into binary things like, ‘either they are left or they are right’, or ‘either they are good or they are bad’. There is always one simple cause for everything in most of what you read in journalism and that just didn’t work to explain what was happening against Dilma Rousseff. I really don’t know why, I just know that it happened. You’ve been listening to me talking about this for years. When the coup was launching against Dilma Rousseff I remember a listener wrote in and said “why is Brian defending someone like Dilma Rousseff?” I guess the way things have played out it’s pretty obvious now. But I just know what happened – I can’t really explain why. I have different theories which I can get into in more depth as this conversation progresses.

CM: We’ve had conversations where you’re ripped on the New York Times’ coverage of Brazil. Last week we had Cole Stangler on the show, live from Paris, about how we get the yellow vest movement wrong and Cole and I talked about recent New York Times coverage of the yellow vests, framing it as being those who support fighting climate change against those who want lower taxes, which the person who started the movement, on social media, explicitly said the movement was not about in the very beginning in his very first announcement online. As Cole pointed out in Jacobin and the Nation, the yellow vest movement is about the wealthy getting tax cuts while the rest of France has to pay higher taxes, it’s about fiscal fairness, it’s about class. So I asked Cole if that is why the Times gets the yellow vests wrong, because reporting on issues of class is, at the very least, challenging to the Times. How much in what you see wrong in the reporting of the mainstream news media, again before we get to the left, of the paper of record, the New York Times, when it comes to Brazil is the problem because Brazil is a story of class? Is the problem that the Times has problems with reporting on class whether it is in France or Brazil or anywhere for that matter?

BM: No, not at all. The problem with the Times and the Guardian and the Washington Post is that they are just voices for the expanded US State, in the Gramscian, Marcusian sense of the term, which includes the corporations, the government, the political parties and the media which supports all of this mess. So what you are getting in the New York Times is straight up corporate and government propaganda in favor of the coup. The New York Times rarely strays from the State Department line in any country in Latin America and you see that with their reporting on Venezuela and Nicaragua. There is no investigative work being done whatsoever – it’s all just PR favoring corporate interests and the US government and state department interests.

September 30, 2018: “Women in Brazil marches against far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro. Meanwhile, social organizations demonstrate in support of the Workers’ Party candidate Fernando Haddad.” [TeleSUR]

CM: So for you it’s not an inability or an unwillingness to talk about class, it’s a willingness to promote US interests?

BM: Well if you look, they just hired Juliana Barbassa as their Latin America desk editor and she came straight from this Rockefeller founded corporate think tank named AS/COA (Americas Society/Council of the Americas), which was directly involved in the Chilean coup – at one point they offered half a million dollars to Chilean senators in 1970 to block Salvador Allende from taking power, and they’ve been involved in almost every coup in Latin America and they are funded by all the big oil companies, by Boeing, by Microsoft, and they have this corporate PR publication called Americas Quarterly which has a revolving door with the New York Times, so Juliana Barbassa was the assistant managing editor of Americas Quarterly, and now she is the New York Times Latin America desk editor. So what does that mean? It means that the New York Times is simply parroting corporate PR about Latin America in general. I wouldn’t say it’s a failure – I would say they understand what the class issues are, but they have poor intentions. They are not actually doing journalism they are doing PR.

CM: You write that you focus mostly on Jacobin Magazine because it is the publication perhaps most associated with the rise of electorally competitive democratic socialism in the United States and because it so clearly exemplifies the broader trend we identify, so Jacobin, the publication that is the best example of the rise of democratic socialism in the US, is too highly critical of the Brazilian left, and here you are as a member of the Brazilian left being critical of Jacobin. Why is there this kind of disconnect between the US left and the rest of the left or maybe more accurately Brian, it’s the left of the global north and the left of the global south. What explains their disconnect and can there actually ever be international unity or are those two different kinds of leftists existing in two different kinds of environments so the chances of unity are very small?

BM: I think there are all kinds of chances for solidarity and unity in the international left. The whole point of the First International was to foster this, right? I think it´s possible. And I think that in the 1980s, before the internet, we had these publications like NACLA and Covert Action Quarterly which was founded by Phillip Agee, the CIA Diaries author, and there were some really interesting magazines and zines which you could buy in these cool bookstores and the subject number 1 in writing about the leftist struggle in Latin America was always US imperialism. I think it is outrageous that the American left stopped talking about US imperialism in Brazil and in other countries in Latin America. Me and my colleagues Sean and Bryan did a systematic reading of all 38 articles that Jacobin published between 2014 and the end of 2017 about Brazil and none of them mentioned US imperialism. None of them mentioned American petroleum companies. What is the point about even writing about Latin America as an American, or presenting articles by others as an American publication, if you are not going to talk about the elephant in the room which is the fact that the US held 44 successful coups in Latin America over a 100 year period. Hilary Clinton admitted to supporting the 2009 coup in Honduras in her own autobiography last year, and obviously, after Brazil discovered huge amounts of petroleum and developed new technology for deep water drilling that no one else had, obviously the US would be interested in the petroleum, so why would you run 38 consecutive articles that don’t mention US imperialism? Because when you fail to mention US imperialism, all that is left for you really is to just talk about what kind of mistakes the Brazilian left made. “Look, they failed”… This is why the article is ironically called the Failure of the US Left, you know, because you can’t talk about failure of the PT party or the Brazilian left without talking about who they were fighting and what the power differential was. You are talking about a political party that controlled 22% of Congress, never controlled the military, never controlled Congress or the Senate, or the Judiciary, fully, going up against the petroleum interests of the most powerful imperialist nation in the World. So you have to look at who they were fighting if you are going to talk about what they failed to do. But even so, wouldn’t it be better to start by listening to them talk about what they think they did right and what they think they did wrong? Because in all 38 of these articles they didn’t talk to anyone from the PT party once, or the CUT, the largest labor union federation in Brazil which has 7 million members and is the flesh and blood of the PT party really, the base that has been supporting it all along – that Lula came out of. Or even the Landless Peasants Movement [Landless Rural Workers Movement/MST] which is, by far, the largest and most important social movement in Brazil. The one time they ran an interview with someone from the MST, it was a 7 year old interview from a year in which the MST was supporting a candidate from a different political party, PSOL, in the Presidential elections. But in 2017, they were fully behind the PT party. So why would they run a 7 year old interview at that point? Just to build this narrative that the PT is no longer left, the PT is a neoliberal party, it´s failure, its sellout is what caused the coup- all of this kind of line of thinking that permeates all 38 of these articles. And what is ironic is the entire U-Turn that they did in 2018, which I attribute to Bhaskar (Sunkara) visiting Brazil and actually seeing what was going on down here and saying, ‘hey, slow down, we’ve got to give some solidarity to the PT party.’ They are the most powerful left political party in Latin America. They had 47 million votes this year even though they lost, and the party that Jacobin was pumping up as the future of the Brazilian left, which is the PSOL, got 500,000 votes. They were less electorally significant than the American Green Party.

CM: And you mention the difference between the two parties. One is that the PT has had a lot of success and that the other party hasn’t had a lot of success, but also PSOL, they kind of embrace the academic purity of the left, while the PT embraces the more populist left. Is that the delineation that we might be seeing when it comes to the US left criticism of left movements overseas, that they side with the more academic purist left and don’t like the populist left. Is that the big division that is happening within the left more generally, that it is academic left vs populist left?

BM: You know, Chuck, I can’t really talk authoritatively about the rest of the world’s left. What I do know a lot about is Brazil and so I will limit my comments to this and you can generalize accordingly. It is true that the PSOL party is dominated by academic leftists. And you would think that that would naturally appeal to American academic leftists and some of these publications like the Nation and Jacobin and whatever – I don’t know what they pay but they get writers who are grad students who are kind of academically orientated. But the PT party also has a huge and rich intellectual and academic tradition. Paulo Freire was one of the founders of the PT, and if you look at their presidential candidate this year, Fernando Haddad, he is a [Political Science] professor at the best university in Brazil [USP], and they have a lot of congressmen and senators who came out of academia because they were teachers union leaders, like Margarida Salomão, who is a Congresswoman from the PT [Minas Gerais], who has a doctorate and a post-doctorate in linguistics from UC Berkeley and was a teachers union leader, so just saying that it is because they sided with academia against the working class on this left divide in Brazil is not really that accurate. And I think they also missed a lot of nuance which is that the PSOL is a faithful ally of the PT in Brazil. They provide a lot of really needed and good criticism of the PT but when push comes to shove, in Congress, they vote together in over 90% of the issues. After the first round of elections was over this year, the PSOL supported Fernando Haddad in the second round. But if you read these 38 Jacobin articles, that nuance is kind of lost as well.

CM: So, Brian, just a few more questions for you. Does the PT simply not reflect the left that Jacobin supports? What’s wrong with applying ideological purity? Why shouldn’t our allegiance and concert be toward and about ideology first above and beyond everything else including the amazing outcomes that PT has had? Why shouldn’t we focus on ideology and ideological purity first?

BM: Well,first of all, Jacobin has been supporting the PT for the last year- they have done a 180 on the PT. But ideological purity is needed. It’s like how Gramsci said these small political parties serve educational and moralist purposes. I think that they are important for pulling the bigger parties farther to the left. Just as in the US we have these parties like the Libertarians who never get any votes but they pull the Republicans farther to the right, these small parties have an important role. But when you are not from that country, when you are from the country that just caused the coup, whose corporations are benefiting from the coup, for example through the [USD] $300 Billion tax cut that was made after the 2016 coup to US petroleum companies operating in Brazil, you know, then it begins to look like taking this pure left posture is actually just a very non-threatening thing to do that doesn’t threaten State Department objectives or capitalist institutions. In fact, it performs a validating role so that the conservatives can say, “we have a democracy in Brazil because we have these guys”, you know, who never threaten power. So I think it is a complex issue but I don’t think that, in the middle of a coup, adopting a far left ideological posture to attack the one party that has the base and the size and strength to try to counter fascism in a country is very helpful. In fact its like one of the leaders of the MST told me, sometimes this vanguard left posture is not revolutionary, it’s anti-revolutionary. Because if the main reason that the PT didn’t win the election this year was several years of anti-PTism in the media coming from the right, why would anti-PTism on the left help anything? If anything it just feeds farther into the conservative narrative. And you see talking points from Jacobin and from other left American publications being used in corporate media like the Guardian and the New York Times now, saying things like, “the PT has to be more humble. It has to publicly apologize for its mistakes.” And things like that. I believe that issue originated in Jacobin.

CMAnother thing that you point out is the Landless Workers Movement, the MST, another key actor in the Brazilian organized left. It was influential in the legalization of homesteading on unproductive or stolen land and despite constant media opposition and agribusiness violence, has obtained deeds for around 400,000 small farms since the 1980s. When we began This is Hell in 1996, this was the first aspect of Brazilian life that really grabbed my interest, the MST, and I know we had several interviews in the 1990s with members of Friends of the MST and other groups. You say that in contrast to their disdain for CUT, the Labor Union Federation that works, kind of, with the PT (but they are totally two different organizations), Jacobin authors seldom directly criticize what David Harvey, in a personal conversation with one of the authors, called, “the most perfect social movement in the world.” Rather they generally ignore the MST. In your opinion what doesn’t attract the US left in the form of Jacobin or anyone, to the most perfect social movement in the World, the MST.

BM: Well, first of all I worked with the MST for five years and they are much farther left in practice than anyone I’ve ever met from Jacobin. Because they actually squat on land that’s been stolen by ranchers and loggers and start farming on it, and resist, sometimes at gunpoint, to hold on to this land. And they are socialists, they have deep connections with the world left and the Cuban government, they developed a critical adult literacy methodology with direct help from Paulo Freire and they are real leftists who actually practice what they preach and they support the PT. So this puts these ideological purity measurers in an very uncomfortable position when they have to explain that the MST has been supporting the PT all these years.

CM: Just one last question for you Brian. You write that to their credit US left media have unequivocally condemned Bolsonaro and Jacobin is helping lead a solidarity campaign for the PT and Brazilian left, but what if the US left had moderated its criticism earlier to defend the PT against the developing coup. “Would there have been greater solidarity with Dilma Rousseff? Greater resistance to the Temer government’s attack on the working class? An earlier recognition of the threat of Bolsonaro? There is no way to know but perhaps it’s time for the US left to turn its critical gaze back on to itself.” What do you hope the US left would see when it reexamines itself following the way in which it reacted to the rise of Brazil’s right and to what happened to Brazil’s left?

BM: First of all I want to say that we took Jacobin as an example and gave it a high level of scrutiny. And I know Jacobin publishes a lot of good stuff in the US. But regarding your question, I think that these people on the American left who write about Latin America and other places should reflect about what the role of an American leftist really should be in this situation. Does it help to go and tell people in other countries that they are wrong? Or should they be looking at what their country is doing and how its actions are affecting these other countries, especially in the 3rd World. Because if you are just going to be bad mouthing people in another country because their left isn’t pure enough, what is the point? Why not talk about what your country is doing? It takes a little bit more courage to do that. But I think that is what the American left should be asking in terms of how it deals with issues in Latin America. What’s happened since the 1980s when left publications have just stopped talking about US imperialism? Is it because of grant funding? Is it due to all these foundations like the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation who are funding magazines that used to be really hard left like NACLA? I just don’t understand what is going on. What is even the point of doing it if you are not talking about what your country is doing to screw everybody over in the rest of the world? The US is the biggest imperialist country in the World. It’s stealing everybody’s oil, it’s killing people all over the place. And instead of talking about what it’s doing in Nicaragua or Venezuela or Brazil, you are just going to write about the mistakes that Brazilians or the Nicaraguans made? I think that is the question they should be asking themselves. Why aren’t we talking about our own country?

Listen to the interview here:

[Brian Mier is an editor at Brasil Wire and a freelance writer and producer.]

Nicaragua and the Corruption, Cooptation of Human Rights

Tortilla Con Sal

January 5, 2019

By Stephen Sefton

 

Carrie Reichardt & The Treatment Rooms Collective “Power to the People” Quote by Berthldt Brecht  –  Disobedient Objects exhibit, 2014

 

Since the demise of the Soviet Union, almost 30 years ago, abuse and debasement of human rights concerns have served increasingly to create pretexts promoting Western dominance around the world. From former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, to Iraq and Sudan, to Ivory Coast, Libya and Syria, to Myanmar and Ukraine, Western governments have used non governmental human rights organizations and abuse of the United Nations system to attack countries resisting the demands of US and allied elites and the governments they control. In Latin America, that dynamic has long targeted Cuba, more recently Venezuela, now Nicaragua and will soon attack Bolivia and probably Mexico too, if the new progressive government there shows too much independence. The US and European elites have stepped up their efforts at regime change in Latin America and the Caribbean so as to guarantee access to and control of the region’s abundant natural resources, because Chinese and Russian influence is blocking their accustomed control of the majority world in Eurasia and Africa.

Like Venezuela previously, Nicaragua has been targeted by the US dominated Organization of American States using local US and European funded non-profit proxies inside Nicaragua and Western corporate dominated non-governmental organizations. They have manipulated international and regional human rights institutions so as to violate fundamental precepts of international law like self-determination and non-intervention. Just as in the 1980s in Nicaragua, Angola, Mozambique and elsewhere, and now both Venezuela and Nicaragua again, violent armed non-governmental actors have been used to destabilize the country and create a context allowing false reporting of human rights concerns so as to discredit revolutionary governments.

As independent US writer Max Blumenthal pointed out in an interview in July last year, “…how I know that there was a regime change operation afoot – and when I say “regime change operation,” I mean an attack not just on a government but on the nation-state, a plan to reduce a country to a failed state like Libya – is that Ken Roth surfaced after the Nicaraguan government had essentially won and removed the roadblocks, allowing the economy which had bled $500 million to start functioning again, allowing citizens to start moving around. Ken Roth, the dictator of Human Rights Watch, who has been in the same position for 25 years, catering to a small cadre of billionaires and elite foundations with almost no constituency base, blamed the government for every single death.  Meaning that zero Sandinistas died according to Ken Roth.”

Blumenthal’s insight into the inextricable relationship between human rights NGOs and Western corporate elites suggests a series of points which categorically undermine glib acceptance of false human rights accusations against Nicaragua. The Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and NGOs like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are all guilty of extreme bad faith, non-compliance with basic norms and adherence to long discredited theoretical nostrums. In effect, they are themselves all accomplices to very serious human rights violations by Nicaragua’s US supported armed opposition. Four main considerations apply.

Firstly, on technical grounds none of these organizations have adhered even to the Huridocs guidelines, a tool created by and for Western government and corporate funded human rights organizations. The guidelines propose concepts and good practice in relation to fact-finding, documentation and monitoring of human rights violations. The IACHR, the UNOHCHR. Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have categorically failed to comply with  the HURIDOCS guidelines. In terms of fact finding, they systematically omit sources and facts that contradict or exclude their preferred finding. In terms of documentation, they systematically exclude abundant documentation from Nicaraguan government ministries, from the public prosecutor’s office, from the legislature’s Truth and Justice Commission, from the Institute of Legal Medicine and from the Office of the Procurator for Human Rights.

All that information to a greater or lesser extent contradicts the bogus fact finding of the OAS, the UN and foreign NGOs. In terms of monitoring the situation in Nicaragua, all those institutions and organizations depend exclusively on virulently politically biased local media, NGOs and opposition activists. So even on their own terms, their methodology does not comply with basic concepts and standards and, thus, the kinds of cases they have built to justify their findings would never stand up to impartial legal scrutiny. One farcical aspect of their approach has been to accuse the Nicaraguan government of repressing local media when their main sources by far are abundant citations of false reports from those same local media, relayed via dishonest local human rights NGOs.

Secondly, in theoretical terms, the approach of the IACHR, the UNOHCHR and foreign NGOs like Amnesty International has been to exclude violations by non-State actors, exactly the same faithless alibi they all used during the Cold War. But that theoretical framework has been outdated since 1993 when the UN Human Rights Convention in Vienna explicitly recognized the role of non-State actors in human rights abuses (thus recognizing how the US government and its allies used irregular forces, like the Contra in Nicaragua, RENAMO in Mozambique and UNITA in Angola, to apply systematic terrorism against civilian populations). As Carlos Emilio Lopez a leading Nicaraguan human rights activist and legislator has pointed out:

“In 1993, with the approval of the Vienna Declaration of Human Rights, the subject of respect for human rights was re-conceptualized. For many years it was considered that only States should respect human, rights but that understanding is already out of date. The reconceptualization of human rights is that States must respect human rights but companies, churches, organizations must also do so, social organizations, oligopolies, the media, people as individuals. In other words, we are all obliged to respect human rights, not only State institutions.” Thus, every time Amnesty International or the IACHR claim their remit excludes non-State actors, they are appealing to a theoretical framework 30 years out of date deliberately so as to wash their hands of abuses by political actors with whom they sympathize.

Thirdly, specifically with regard to Amnesty International, their organization has been corrupted and co-opted over many years now by corporate influence via links through their senior personnel with corporate globalization advocates whose explicit aim is to undermine and diminish the role of sovereign nation states. Amnesty International’s Secretary General and senior directors, their International Board and its Secretary General’s Global Council freely advertise their background working either directly with multinational corporations, or with corporate funders  or with other heavily corporate funded non profits. In this, Amnesty International, like Human Rights Watch, is very similar to the Purpose/AVAAZ corporate human rights conglomerate. Their human rights activities are guided by emphatic neoliberal hostility to nation-State governments, such that their reporting deliberately sets out to exclude or discredit information from government or other official sources. More broadly in Latin American and the Caribbean, accompanying the encroaching cooptation of NGOs by corporate predators like Purpose, the overtly political Atlas network supports NGOs promoting extreme right wing policies across the region, thus facilitating the ascent to power of fascists like Jair Bolsonaro.

Above: Par for the course marketing. No expense is spared by in the multitude of Amnesty International demonization campaigns targeting leaders that defy US foreign policy. This 2011 ad was created by the advertising firm Euro RSGC (Havas Creative), co-founder of TckTckTck (GCCA).

Fourthly, that corporate corruption and cooptation of Sean MacBride‘s original vision of the role and work of Amnesty International and similar organizations, is clearly manifest in their demonstrable bias in favor of US and allied countries’ foreign policy priorities. In that regard, Professor Francis Boyle, among many others, has been an authoritative and trenchant critic of Amnesty International’s role in Palestine and elsewhere, whereby it downplays or minimizes violations by States allied to NATO countries. On the other hand, institutions like the IACHR and the UNOHCHR and organizations like Amnesty International, systematically exaggerate and even invent violations in countries targeted by NATO member country governments. Thus in Latin America, the current horrific record of human rights violations in Colombia and, until AMLO, in Mexico, has been played down and minimized, while events in Cuba, Venezuela and now Nicaragua have been systematically misrepresented.

All these concerns about the practical bad faith, theoretical dishonesty, corporate co-optation and outright political bias of human rights institutions and organizations should give any intellectually honest person of progressive views pause. People genuinely concerned about human rights should reassess what they think they know about Nicaragua and about Venezuela too. The US and allied country corporate elites are determined to use the governments, institutions and NGOs they have bought, to destroy resistance to their domination in Latin America and the Caribbean. However, the 60th anniversary this year of Cuba’s revolution, together with the 40th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua and the 20th anniversary of Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution suggest they will not have things all their own way.

 

[Stephen Sefton lives in Nicaragua and is a founder of Tortilla con Sal.] 

The Right’s New Clothes – Are the Latin American Youth

A network of Conservative Think-tanks & Foundations from the United States, such as Koch, Cato & Templeton, are financing young Latin Americans to fight Left Governments and defend old positions with a new language

Brasil Wire

June 15, 2015

By Marina Amaral

 

“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” – John Kenneth Galbraith.

 

Original version in Portuguese at Agência Pública. English Translation for Brasil Wire by Angela Milanese. Republished under Creative Commons license.


Our body is the first private property we have. It is up to each of us to decide what to do with it,” says a young blonde woman in Spanish with a firm voice while moving gracefully across the stage at the Liberty Forum, which is adorned with the logos of the event’s official sponsors: Tobacco company Souza Cruz, Gerdau Group, Petróleo Ipiranga and the RBS Group (a local Globo TV affiliate).  A sold out crowd at the 2000-seat auditorium of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre (PUC-RS) bursts into laughter and applause for Gloria Álvarez, a 30-year-old Guatemalan daughter of a Cuban father and a mother descended from Hungarian immigrants.

gloria1

Glória Álvarez, a star of the Latin American youth. Photo: Fernando Conrado

Gloria, or @crazyglorita (55,000 followers on Twitter and 120,000 on Facebook) rose to stardom among Latin American rightwing youth at the end of last year, when a video shot at the Ibero-American Youth Parliament held in Zaragoza (Spain), in which she attacks Latin American “populism,” went viral. At the Liberty Forum, the most high profile event promoted by Brazil’s rightwing, Gloria and the former Republican governor of South Carolina, David Bensley, are the only two people – among the 22 Brazilian and foreign speakers – scheduled to deliver keynote speeches at the three-day event, called “Roads to Freedom.”

A radio broadcaster for 10 years, now hosting her own TV show, Gloria is a captivating showoman. She addresses the audience with ease, which is mostly made up of PUC-RS students, one of the best and most expensive universities in southern Brazil. “Who here calls themselves conservative or libertarian, raise their hands,” she asks the audience. When she sees a roomful of raised hands, she relaxes. “Ah, ok,” she replies. Alvarez is the young leader of the National Civic Movement (MCN), a small Guatemalan organization that sprung up in 2009 in the wake of movements that unsuccessfully demanded the impeachment of the social democrat President Álvaro Colom. Her mission, she explains, is to teach her ideological peers how to “charm and seduce people on the left and how to defeat the bearded and beret-cladded Che Guevara crowd.”

The first lesson is to use “#PopulismovsRepública,” a hashtag she created to overcome the “obsolete division between right and left.”

“An intellectually honest leftist must recognize that the only way out is employment and a modern, 21st century rightwinger must recognize that sexuality, morality and drugs are individual problems. He is not the moral authority of the universe,” she continues, amid thunderous applause.

There should be no guilt, neither moral nor social, she teaches. The message is individual freedom, youth “empowerment,” low taxes and a minimal state – the agenda of the neoliberal right (in economic terms) across the world. “Wealth is not transferred, ladies and gentlemen. Wealth is created, starting in each one of your little heads,” she says. In the same vein, Gloria also criticizes social welfare programs for the poor, affirmative action programs for women, blacks, people with disabilities, even the very concept of minorities. “There are no minorities. The smallest minority is the individual and he is best served in a meritocracy.”

“There is a truth that every human being must reach to find peace, if they don’t want to live as a hypocrite. All of us, seven-and-a-half billion human beings inhabiting this planet, are selfish. This is the truth, my dear friends in Brazil. We are all selfish. Is this bad? Is this good? No, it’s just the reality,” she says categorically. “There are people who don’t accept this truth and come up with this wonderful idea: ‘No! [Gloria shouts, imitating a man’s voice] I will build the first unselfish society!’ Be careful, Brazilians, be careful, Latin America! Those wise guys are like Stalin in the Soviet Union, or Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un in North Korea, Fidel Castro in Cuba or Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. Why do we keep following those hypocrites like sheep?  Because [Gloria grimaces and imitates a frail woman elderly voice] they teach us that it’s wrong to be selfish and that to think of ourselves is a sin. How many of you haven’t heard someone say we need a good man who doesn’t care only for himself,” she says, bending as she speaks, and then standing up to regain her proud upright posture.

“Look, gentlemen, unless it’s a Martian, this man does not exist, never existed and never will exist.”

Frantic applause.

But, she explains, the “champions of freedom” also bear their share of responsibility. They do not know how to communicate their ideas, or how to use technology to “empower citizens” and “liberate” Latin America. If you keep discussing macro-economics, GDP and so on, “we will lose the battle. We need to learn with the populists and talk in a way that people understand, make them identify with what we’re saying,” she explains. “And let me give you another piece of advice. Since they say that us, conservatives are damned exploiters,” she quips ironically. “I’ve found a wonderful way to define the concept of private property, which makes the leftists go like ‘wow!’”

“Private property is what we amass in our lifetime, starting with our first properties: body and mind.” The past, she explains, isn’t the same to everyone, so this amassing is personal. She continues, “This humanizes us, gives us, disgraceful conservatives, a bit of a heart.”  Laughter. Applause.

“There are people who want the right to health care, education, work, housing. The UN even wants to establish a human right to internet access,” she scoffs disdainfully, even though she had just declared that technology is the key to changing the world. “Imagine that, in this auditorium, some of you want the right to education, others the right to health care, and others want the right to housing. So if I give you education, everyone here will pay for it, and you will be VIPs, while they will be second-class citizens. If I give them health care, everyone in this auditorium will pay for their health, and they will be VIPs. If I give them houses, I will take from you to provide houses for them, and they will be the VIPs. This isn’t social justice, this is inequality before the law,” she concludes, again amid laughter and applause.

“If everyone in Latin America is entitled to life, liberty and private property, then everyone goes after education, health care and the house they want, without the need of a super-Chávez, super-Morales and super-Correa.” Ovation. Whistles. Before closing her 40-minute speech, Gloria invites the public to challenge the “victimization of Latin-Americans” and “blaming the Yankees” worldview, which undermines self-esteem and the courage to take risks, required by the entrepreneurial spirit. The audience gives her a standing ovation.

Neoliberals and Libertarians

Gloria Álvarez does not really represent anything new. The main difference is the language she uses. The MCN movement receives “funding from some of the largest companies in the traditional business elite,” according to investigative journalist Martín Rodríguez Pellecer, who is the director of the Guatemalan online media site Nómada (an Agência Pública partner). “I came to know, from sources close to them, that one of the companies that support their public campaigns and congress lobbying is Azúcar de Guatemala, an extremely powerful cartel of 13 companies. (Guatemala is the world’s fourth largest sugar exporter). Guatemalan companies, by the way, have investments in Brazilian plants.”

The same can be said about her ideas. Despite their seductive title, libertarians are “a minority segment among the schools of thought that gained influence in the post-war era, in opposition to the Keynesian-inspired interventionist policies,” explains the economist Luiz Carlos Prado, from the Rio de Janeiro Federal University.

After the 1970s oil crisis, pro-market economists such as Friedrich Hayek (Nobel Prize 1974), monetarists from the Chicago school of economics led by Milton Friedman (Nobel Prize 1976) and neoclassicists associated with Robert Lucas, Jr. (Nobel Prize 1995) came to dominate global economic thought, and became known to the public under the single label “neoliberal.” Their concepts were brought to Latin America by the most conservative sectors of American society, represented mainly by think thanks with ties to Ronald Reagan. After losing Republican primaries in 1968 and 1976, Reagan was finally elected president in 1980, with Friedman as a major adviser. The same ideas also dominated the government of Margaret Thatcher (1979-1991) in the United Kingdom.

“The supporters of classical liberalism also supported political freedom, but this school of economic thought called ‘neoliberalism’ advocates non-intervention of the state in the economy, without demonstrating a particular concern for political freedom. In some cases, and without any shame, they allied themselves with dictatorships, such as the military regime of Pinochet in Chile,” says Prado.

Gloria Álvarez’s Guatemala is a good example of how libertarian ideas came to fruition in Latin America. In 1971, “a significant part of the Guatemalan economic elite embraced neoliberalism and adopted it as its political project. That was when they founded the Francisco Marroquin University (UFM),” explains Rodríguez.

“The University was founded by Manuel Ayau, known as El Muso, in allusion to Mussolini. Ayau adopted the fascist, anti-communist platform of the National Liberation Movement [MLN, a Guatemalan political party]. Since then, the UFM has been preparing political and academic cadres trained to discredit the very concepts of government and social justice.”

As a result, Guatemala was transformed into the Latin American country that collects the least in taxes (11% to GDP) and the one that least redistributes them,” he says.

Álvarez studied at UFM and “became a libertarian, but she is a little less conservative than her professors, who are a mix of neoliberalism and Opus Dei [a conservative religious institution]. She declares herself to be an atheist and a supporter of abortion rights. Although she has become a star on the Latin American right, she is a minor figure on the Guatemalan right. She has no political base and is not a political candidate for elected office. I see her more as a libertarian enfant terrible,” concludes Rodríguez.

Libertarians resurfaced with full force in the United States after the 2008 financial crisis (and the subsequent clamor for market regulation) and as a reaction to the election of Barack Obama.

Libertarians preach the supremacy of the individual over the state, absolute market freedom and the unfettered defence of private property. Libertarians claim that the economic crisis, which threw 50 million people into poverty, was not caused by the lack of financial market regulation, but rather by government protectionist policies towards certain sectors of the economy. They also emphatically reject the social policies promoted by the Obama administration. However, a significant portion of libertarians distance themselves from traditional rightwing positions on social issues. In the name of individual freedom, they defend positions usually associated with the left, such as the legalization of drugs and a more tolerant approach towards homosexuals. GOP Senator Rand Paul, a presidential hopeful, is one of the best known faces of the libertarian movement.

“Libertarians that are Tea Party supporters (a radical rightwing faction of the Republican Party) are also associated with think thanks such as the Cato Institute. They make up the post-modern right, represented, for example, by David Cameron in the UK, who modernized the ‘rolling back’ of the welfare state agenda,” says Prado.

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“Who is John Galt?”, “Less Marx More Mises”. Photo: Instituto Liberal do Nordeste

Prado looks amused when I mention Brazilian libertarians, followers of the Austrian school of Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. “The Austrian school is a very minor strain, even in academia,” he declares. “Who are those libertarians? In Brazil, we have sophisticated economists who follow schools of economic thought, such as the neoclassical school of Nobel Prize winner Robert Lucas and other similar approaches. Rightwing politicians lacking depth, such as Ronaldo Caiado [a senator from the centre-western state of Goiás, affiliated with the Democratic Party (DEM)], and a conservative middle class that reads [popular rightwing columnist] Rodrigo Constantino of Veja magazine,” he concludes.

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Senator Ronaldo Caiado. Photo: Fernando Conrado

Caiado and Constantino are veteran participants of the Liberty Forum in Porto Alegre. The novelty is that the Tea Party’s libertarians are at last able to present themselves, to Brazilian youth, as an attractive new face for the right.

Come to the Street, Citizen

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On April 12, the eve of the Forum, Gloria Álvarez made a speech at the second round of nationwide demonstrations against President Dilma Rousseff. Dressed in a sequin shirt featuring the design of the Brazilian flag, in front of about 100,000 people at Paulista Avenue in São Paulo, Álvarez railed against “cursed populism.”  (see video of Gloria’s speech here).  From atop a truck, the leader of the Come to the Street movement (VPR), Rogério Chequer, introduced Álvarez as “one of the greatest representatives of the battle against the populism of the São Paulo Forum.” [The Sao Paulo Forum (Foro de São Paulo) is an annual conference of leftist political parties, social movements and organizations from Latin America and the Caribbean.]

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Among those who led the anti-government protests in March and April, Chequer’s movement was one of the last to take up the cause of impeachment. That delay earned him a public rebuke from the elderly Olavo de Carvalho, a polemical rightwing pundit, who accused him of “toucan wimpiness.” Toucan is the symbol of Brazil’s main opposition party, the Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB).

The Free Brazil Movement (MBL), mostly known through the figure of its leader, Kim Kataguiri, which adopted the cause of impeachment from the get-go, broke up with Chequer publicly, publishing pictures of him standing next to PSDB Senator José Serra at the Aécio Neves presidential campaign. PSDB Senator Neves was dubbed a “traitor” for his hesitation in demanding the impeachment of the elected president. They reconciled after a delegation led by Neves and Caiado made a controversial visit to Caracas, Venezuela.

Incidentally, Caiado participated in the opening night of the Liberty Forum. Lacking Glorita’s irreverent grace, the conservative rural senator drew applause from the audience with sound bites against government corruption and references to the São Paulo Forum (video). Caiado also demanded the resignation of President Dilma Rousseff and attacked the Brazilian State Development Bank (BNDES).

Interestingly, his accusations were made under logos of the Gerdau Group and Ipiranga Petróleo (from the Ultra group), which are two of the largest borrowers of BNDES loans, according to data collected by one of Brazil’s largest newspapers, Folha de São Paulo. Between 2008 and 2010, both companies individually obtained more than R$1 billion worth of bank loans.

The southern entrepreneur Jorge Gerdau is one of the creators of the Liberty Forum, established in 1988 with the aim of promoting a debate between various schools of thought. The most important conservative gathering in the country, it nevertheless included, in its first incarnations, guest speakers such as former President Lula of the Workers Party (PT), former Minister José Dirceu, a minister in the Lula administration, and the late Rio de Janeiro state governor and leftist Leonel Brizola.

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It was there that, in 2006, the most prominent rightwing think tank in Brazil – the Millennium Institute – was officially launched. Armínio Fraga (who would have been finance minister if Aécio Neves had been elected) is its best-known figure in the field of economics. Its backers are the Gerdau Group, publishing company Editora Abril   and Pottencial Insurance, which belongs to Salim Mattar, who also owns Localiza Rent a Car.  Suzano Papel e Celulose [paper and cellulose], Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and the Évora group (from the Ling brothers) are also supporters. In 1984, William Ling helped create the Institute of Business Studies (IEE). Comprised of young business leaders, the IEE organized the Forum from the start. His brother Winston Ling founded the Liberty Institute in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, while William Ling’s son Anthony Ling has ties to the group Students for Liberty [Estudantes Pela Liberdade (EPL)], which created the Free Brazil Movement. Hélio Beltrão of the Ultra Group is one of the founders of the Millennium Institute, though he has his own institute as well, the Mises Brazil.

Brazil’s network of neoliberal and libertarian think tanks includes two more entities: The Open Order Institute, which holds youth seminars; and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Ethics and Human Economics (CIEEP) in Rio de Janeiro, linked to Opus Dei. The jurist Ives Gandra, who wrote a controversial opinion piece stating that there is legal basis for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, is a member of its board of advisers.

Like the Millennium Institute, the majority of these organizations have been created recently. The original seed was the Liberal Institute, established in 1983 by Donald Stewart Jr., a civil engineer from Rio de Janeiro, who passed away in 1999. According to “The dictatorship of contractors: (1964-1985),” a doctoral thesis written by the historian Pedro Henrique Pedreira Campos, from the Fluminense Federal University (UFF), Donald Stewart Jr.’s  company, Ecisa (Engineering, Commerce and Industry S.A.), was one of Brazil’s largest construction firms during the military dictatorship. Stewart partnered with Leo A. Daly Company, a US construction business, to build schools in the northeast region of the country, funded by a regional government development agency, known as SUDENE. The participation of an American company in the project was a requirement to get financing from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), which operated as a front for the CIA during the cold war era of Latin American dictatorships.

Donald Stewart was also an old friend of a crucial character in this story, Alejandro Chafuen, a 61-year-old Argentinian living in the US. Stewart and Chafuen are members of the exclusive Mont Pelèrin Society, founded by no other than the Guatemalan Hayek. Launched in 1947 in Switzerland, with headquarters in the US, the organization comprises the most committed libertarians. El Muso, the founder of Gloria Álvarez’s alma mater, the Francisco Marroquín University, was the first Latin American to chair the Mont Pelèrin Society, while the University’s current rector, Gabriel Calzada, is a board member, along with the Brazilian Margaret Tsé, the CEO of the Liberty Institute, which is the ideological backer of the Institute of Business Studies.

Meanwhile, the president of the Mont Pelèrin Society, the Spaniard Pedro Schwartz Girón, also actively fosters think tanks associated with the Foundation for Analysis and Social Studies (FAES), a foundation with ties to the Spanish Partido Popular (PP).

FAES, which is chaired by former Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar, promoted the Ibero-American Youth Parliament, the event that catapulted Álvarez into fame. Pedro Schwartz, Alejandro Chafuen and the Colombian Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza, who co-authored the book “The Perfect Latin American Idiot, ” a hit with rightwing youth, attended the Latin America’ panel at the Liberty Forum. Chafuen also took part, discreetly, in the April 12 protests in Porto Alegre. He posted a photograph of the demonstration on his Facebook page. The photo shows Chafuen, dressed in the Brazilian national team shirt, hugging the young Brazilian political scientist Fábio Ostermann. Ostermann is the coordinator of the Free Brazil Moment, which is how the Students for Liberty (EPL) decided to call their anti-government movement.

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Alejandro Chafuen & Fábio Ostermann

The southerners Fábio Ostermann and Anthony Ling, and the southeasterner Juliano Torres are the founders of the local chapter of Students for Liberty, an organization that plays a crucial role in the network between American conservative think tanks – especially those that define themselves as libertarians – and “anti-populist’’ Latin American youth. Mr. Chafuen, who leads the Atlas Network since 1991, is their mentor.

The Atlas Network (the trade name for the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, adopted in 2013) is a type of meta think tank that specializes in promoting the establishment of libertarian organizations throughout the world. It receives funds from its partner libertarian foundations in the US, or from local entrepreneurial think tanks that are geared toward the fostering of young leaders, especially in Latin American and Eastern Europe. According to its Form 990, which all non-profit entities must file with the IRS, Atlas Network’s revenue in 2013 totalled $ 11,459,000. Resources allocated to programs outside the US were US$6.1 million, of which US$2.8 million were directed to Central America and US$595,000 to South America.

With the exception of the Fernando Henrique Cardoso Institute, all the organizations mentioned in this article are part of the Atlas Network in Brazil, along with Gloria Álvarez’s MCN, the Francisco Marroquin University and Students for Liberty (which was founded inside the Atlas Network in 2012). Furthermore, in addition to the aforementioned resources, there are much more sizeable programs operated by the Atlas Network, which are funded by other foundations.

The discreet charm of Mr. Chafuen

Sitting in the VIP room of the Liberty Forum, Mr. Chafuen rose to his feet to greet Kim Kataguiri, who made a surprise visit. The undisguised glee from this demure gentleman, a libertarian with ties to Opus Dei, was my cue to ask for an interview. The main parts are transcribed below.

Q: How did you get close to Brazil?

A: I started to work with my Brazilian friends of liberty in 1998 with Donald Stewart, and I always remember how lonely he felt in his quest for freedom. To arrive in Porto Alegre on the same day of the protest and see all these people, not all libertarians, but people from different social strata of Brazilian society, arguing things that are very consistent with the essence of a free society, it reminded me of these pioneers. Because, yes, there were so many people on the street, so many souls, it left me pleasantly surprised and wondering what will happen next, and how can we harness the enthusiasm of so many young people to produce lasting change in Brazil.”

Q: What kind of changes?

A: Coming from the outside, it’s difficult to say, it’s unique to each country. Look at Spain today, in which political parties lost ground to new movements, such as Podemos from the left, or their opposite in Catalonia, the Ciudadanos. In the United States, for instance, we have the Tea Party, a spontaneous movement that instead of founding a new party, opted to become a trend within a party, and now all but one of the major Republican presidential candidates identify themselves with the Tea Party and seek its support. Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, they all come from the Tea Party and are pretty much opposed to the traditional republicans. So this is not an answer that a foreigner can give, especially in Brazil, which is a world unto itself, with so many diverse cultures. We can offer some ideas, but it’s up to them, the ones I saw on the streets, the young and the not so young, to attract more members of civil society, and to institutionalize all this.”

I mention to him that, at the Forum, people speak a lot about freedom – without basis in reality – and that they actually compare Brazil to Venezuela.

A: Yes, the situation here is very different from Venezuela, but you must be vigilant. Freedom isn’t lost just like that, from one day to another. Venezuela was one of the most prosperous countries and look what happened. Populism in Latin American weakens institutions. They let entrepreneurs feel free to invest for some time, allow freedom of expression, and then sooner or later they change the rules of the game. Chávez’s first nationalizations and expropriations happened years after he took power. Yes, you have considerable freedom here. But there are some things that pervert freedom, which is the non-compliance with laws, privilege, corruption, and crony capitalism. It’s a false freedom. It’s like putting a fox in the chicken coop and telling them, ‘you are free now.’ Then the problems start [bribery allegations], business owners are required to enter the game, and they end up taking the blame. It takes two to dance a tango, as they say in Argentina.

Q: Are the guys from the Free Brazil Movement strong enough to promote social change?

A: I developed a model to explain how things happen, which has four elements: first – ideas, since human beings think before acting, or at least we should; second – motivation, because economy is motivation; third – action, because ideas without action are just ideas; the fourth is providence or, depending on what your beliefs are, luck. So you get to work with ideas, some leaders emerge, laws change, and that affects society’s motivation…a typical change doesn’t happen overnight. This pressure builds up and suddenly something happens. And then there is a scandal, another scandal, a magazine with courage, some young men from São Paulo decide, “I’ll leave college and fight against it.” [Kim Kataguiri and Renan Haas, from the MBL, recently announced the decision to leave college to devote themselves to the movement.]  And then the movement is out there in the streets. It’s a combination of factors that we have seen at other times in history.

Mr. William Waack [a Globo TV journalist], who got an award here, said to us at a luncheon, before the opening of the Forum, that the only movement he covered that was like this was the fall of the Berlin Wall. He exaggerated a bit, but we don’t know yet what will happen with this movement.

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Globo TV Journalist William Waack receiving award

Q: After the first anti-government protest in March of this year, the Atlas Network published a piece on its site celebrating the crucial role of its partner, Students for Liberty, in the protests against President Dilma Rousseff and the Workers Party in Brazil. Do you feel responsible for this movement?

A: Our role [in regard to Students for Liberty] is the power of nurturing. These human beings, we call them intellectual entrepreneurs, people with new ideas who see solutions and decide to invest their capital in them. It’s like in business. So we offer them training programs, try to support them financially, encourage them to be committed, to not be too much of a partygoer. But Atlas does not support political parties. We withdraw our support if there is any partisan interest. We don’t accept resources from the government but we can offer some guidelines, new ideas about a free society, from classical liberalism to libertarianism, from religious to atheists, but it’s up to each person to choose. Many of us in our organization have a very negative view about the top-down approach. So we try to encourage people, help them meet each other. Now, for example, all over the world, people might be asking, ‘can we emulate the Brazilians?’ So we celebrate, but we’re careful not to take credit for the results, for what happens locally.

Q: In Venezuela, an Atlas partner organization, the CEDICE Libertad, and the Cato Institute, which funds Atlas programs for students, allied with local businessmen. They were accused by the Chávez government of fomenting opposition among students.  

A: I am vice president of CEDICE, and this is not true. Every so often, some CEDICE members might have engaged in some political activity. But one thing is political life, the polis; another is to work exclusively with one political party. We have worked with-and received at CEDICE-Leopoldo López [who is in jail] and his party, the Internacional Socialista; María Corina Machado [a former congresswoman] and Antonio Ledezma [the mayor of Caracas, arrested in March amid accusations that he was involved in a coup plot]. The answer is that we cannot give up the fight for freedom and some people get into politics. But the Atlas Network doesn’t get involved in local politics. The battle is not between left and right but between right and wrong. And now if you excuse me, I have to go and get ready for my speech.

Q: One last question, please, to dispel rumours. The ties between the Koch foundation and Students for Liberty, through direct funding as well as funding from other foundations associated with the Koch brothers have aroused suspicions, since the Kochs own oil industries that could have interests in this country.

A: The Atlas Network receives 0.5% in funding from the Kochs. The Students for Liberty, I don’t know. Goodbye.

Students for Liberty and the Free Brazil Movement

The executive director of Students for Liberty (EPL), Juliano Torres, was more forthcoming about the link between the EPL and the Free Brazil Movement, a brand name created by the EPL to participate in street demonstrations without compromising US organizations that are prevented, by IRS rules, from donating funds to political activists. He told me in a phone interview that “several members of the EPL wanted to participate in the 2013 ‘Free Pass’ protests in Brazil but we receive funding from organizations such as the Atlas Networks and Students for Liberty, which are forbidden by IRS rules to get involved in political activities. So we said, ‘members of the EPL can participate as individuals, but not as an organization, to avoid problems.’ So we decided to create a brand name. It wasn’t an organization, just a brand that we could use in the streets, called the Free Brazil Movement. Me, Fábio [Ostermann] and Felipe França, who are from Recife and São Paulo, plus four, five people – we created the logo and the Facebook campaign. Then the demonstrations ended and so did the project. So we were looking for someone to take over; we had more than 10,000 likes on our Facebook page, pamphlets. Then we found Kim [Kataguiri] and Renan [Haas], who made this incredible shift in the movement, with the marches against Dilma and things like that. Incidentally, Kim is a member of the EPL, so he was also trained by the EPL. Many of the local organizers are members of the EPL. They act as members of the Free Brazil Movement, but they were trained by us, through leadership courses. Kim, by the way, will participate in a charity poker tournament that Students for Liberty will organize in New York to raise funds. He’ll be a speaker. He’ll also be a speaker at the international conference in February.”

Torres, who is paid by the EPL, tells me that he has two online meetings per week with American headquarters and that he and other Brazilians take part every year in an international conference, with expenses paid, and in a leadership meeting in Washington. The budget of the Students for Liberty for this year in Brazil should reach R$300,000.

“In the first year, we had approximately R$8,000. In the second year we had about R$20,000, and from 2014 to 2015 it grew considerably. We receive funding from other external organizations too, such as the Atlas Network. The Atlas, along with Students for Liberty, are our main donors. In Brazil, one of our major donors is the Friederich Naumann Institute, which is a German organization. They are not allowed to give money but they pay for our expenses. So there were meetings in the south, in Porto Alegre, and in the southeast, in Belo Horizonte. They rented the hotel, paid for the meeting room, lunch and dinner. There are also some individual donors who make donations to us.”

The launching of the EPL in Brazil took place after Torres participated in a 2012 summer workshop for thirty students in Petropolis, sponsored by the Atlas Network. “Right there, we made a draft, a plan, and then we contacted Students for Liberty to officially join the network,” he says.

After that, Torres went through several training programs at Atlas. “There is one they call MBA, there is a program in New York, and also online training. We recommend to all people who work in positions of a certain responsibility to also go through the Atlas Network training programs.”

The US headquarters was impressed by the results obtained by Brazilians. “In 2004 and 2005, there were about 10 people in Brazil who identify themselves with the libertarian movement. Today, the results we have, within the global network of Students for Liberty, are very good. One way to measure the performance of a region is to look at the number of local coordinators. We have more coordinators than any region, including North America, Africa and Europe, individually. The organization has existed, in the United States, for eight years; in Europe, for four years; here, for three years. So we are getting better results in less time, which provides us with a greater influence in the organization.”

There are two Brazilians (out of ten members) at the International Board of Students for Liberty. This year’s report devotes a page to the protests from the MBL in Brazil. A Brazilian, Elisa Martins, who has a degree in economics from the Santa Maria University, is responsible for international scholarships and young leadership training programs at the Atlas Network.

The programs are carried out in partnership with other foundations, especially the Cato Institute, the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and the Institute of Human Studies, all organizations linked with the Koch family, one of the richest in the world. In the last two decades, the 11 foundations tied with the Kochs poured US$800 million into the American network of conservative foundations. Another important partner is the John Templeton Foundation, another American billionaire. With considerably larger budgets than the Atlas Network, these organizations develop fellowship programs, funded by them and executed by Atlas. An example of these projects is the expansion of the Students for Liberty Network, financed by the John Templeton Foundation, which closed 2014 with over $ 1 million budget.

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Thus, even though it appears in third place among the backers of Students for Liberty, the Atlas Network, through its partner, raises a considerably larger volume of funds. All major donors of Students for Liberty are also Atlas donors. It is not always possible to know the origin of the money, despite the legal obligation to fill the IRS 990 form. American conservative organizations distribute money through several different channels, making it impossible to know the original source of the money that reaches each the recipient.

Rightwing foundations have been under scrutiny by the media and groups such as Conservative Transparency.

These investigations have exposed questionable use of resources for lobbying in Congress and state governments, and financing controversial causes such as opposition to climate change legislation. In response, in 1999 the foundations created two philanthropic investment funds, Donors Trust and Donors Capital Management. These investment funds do not require donors to disclose their names in the IRS 990 forms. Thus, the Donors Trust is the largest backer of Donors Capital Management (and vice versa). The Koch foundations are the main suspect of pouring money into these funds.

The 2014-2015 Students for Liberty report shows an impressive amount of fundraising: US$3.1 million, compared with only US$35,768 raised when the organization was launched in 2008. US$1.7 million came from foundations, according to the report, which does not detail the amount donated by each institution.

The Charles Koch Institute is listed but according to the report, it provides grants to American students only, while the Charles Koch Foundation, which distributes grants to students through a number of foundations, is not mentioned in the report.

Another Koch family foundation, the Institute of Human Studies (IHS), is a major contributor to student fellowship programs. Only in 2012, it distributed US$900,000 in grants, according to a form submitted to the IRS.

The Atlas Network is one of the IHS’ major partners. The MBL coordinator, Fabio Ostermann, for example, mentions in his résumé that he was a Koch Summer Fellow at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.  Ostermann is an aid of Representative Marcel van Hattem, a politician from Rio Grande do Sul, affiliated with the Progressive Party (PP) and pointed out by Kim Kataguiri as the only Brazilian politician who fully embraces the MBL’s ideas. The young representative was elected with the financial backing of the Gerdau and Évora groups, the latter belonging to the father of Anthony Ling, who is a founder of the EPL. Van Hattem also took courses at the Acton Institute University, the most religious of the organizations that are part of the Atlas and Koch Foundation fellowship network.

Acton lists combatting “sin” as one of its core principles, stating that the ubiquity of sin requires the limitation of the state.

Maté Party

The Liberty Forum ended in the same way the street demonstrations that preceded it did, with a chanting of “Dilma out,” “PT out.” [PT -Partido dos Trabalhadores, or Workers Party].

Representative van Hattem in a passionate speech, thanked the Forum for his election.

“If I am a representative today, I also owe it to the Liberty Forum,” he said. He then made an interesting distinction between the 2013 demonstrations, which were spontaneous, disorganized and comprised multiple parties; and the 2015 protests, in which “we have an agenda.”

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The program was modified to include Kim Kataguiri, who was not initially listed as a speaker. Kataguiri was embraced by sponsors such as Jorge Gerdau and Hélio Beltrão, posed for pictures with several fans, as well as his friend Bene Barbosa, who was promoting a book defending the freedom to bear arms. He then went to the auditorium, once again full of students.

Sitting on the couch, Kataguiri waited for van Hattem to list the usual litany of accusations against the São Paulo Forum, the totalitarian power of the Workers Party and “the biggest corruption scandal of the universe.”  Every soundbite and rhetorical red meat was greeted with rousing applause. Van Hattem stirred up the audience, displaying the bond he had established with them, telling them “the avant-garde today isn’t leftist, it’s libertarian.  Well-informed youth go to the streets and ask for less Marx and more Mises. They like Hayek not Lenin. They carry signs with the hashtag #Olavoisright,” [referring to the aforementioned rightwing pundit Olavo de Carvalho].

Van Hattem then left the podium and, walking across the stage, walked towards Kataguiri. “The next step is up to you, but it’s hard. The Brazilian system is averse to new ideas. Today, Kim, the communist congressman Juliano Roso called you a fascist,” he said. And finally, “I just want to conclude by saying that the streets are saying: ‘PT out!’” Applause, screams. The crowd sung in chorus, “‘Ole, ole, ole, ole, we are on the street just to overthrow the PT’.”

It was the cue for Kataguiri’s entrance. Wearing sneakers and walking around the stage, Kataguiri urged the “neoliberal institutions” to get out of “our neoliberal bubble, our libertarian bubble, our conservative bubble and take the country,” and asserted, “It is time for us to break the monopoly of the leftist youth. We have to change this image of the defender of the free market as an old uncle wearing boots who supports the military regime. We are the opposition. We want to privatize Petrobras. We want a minimal state. Brasília will not dictate the people; the people will dictate Brasília.”

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Kim Kataguiri, public figurehead of MBL

Three days after the Forum, Kim Kataguiri left for his March for Freedom toward Brasília, attracting a meager turnout of people, while Gloria Álvarez embarked on a tour that took her from Argentina to Venezuela, effusively reported on her social network. In Argentina, she visited Buenos Aires and Azul, after an invitation by the Argentina Rural Society. Her speeches at the National University in Tucumán were organized by the Federalism and Liberty Foundation, which includes on its international board, the Atlas Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the CEDICE Libertad, and the Ecuadorian Institute of Political Economy.

These organizations are all part of the Atlas Network, as are the other organizations that organized Álvarez’s trip –  Students for Liberty (Bolivia and Ecuador), the CEDICE (Venezuela), and the Foundation for Progress (Chile).

The most interesting thing about Álvarez’s trip, however, was not mentioned on her social network, or even in Chilean newspapers. On April 23, she and dissident Cuban blogger Yaoni Sánchez met with the conservative former President Sebastián Piñera after they delivered speeches at the Adolfo Ibañez University in Viña del Mar.

The meeting with the ex-president was reported on twitter by a former minister of the Piñera administration, the economist Cristián Larroulet. He posted a photo – the only photo in which Álvarez and Sánchez appear together – with the caption, “President Piñera with Yoani Sánchez and Gloria Álvarez, two examples of Latin American women fighting for freedom.” Larroulet is the founder of the think tank Liberty and Development, a natural partner of the Atlas Network.

Ioni