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350.org reveals its first order of business: Business

350.org reveals its first order of business: Business

Lorna Salzman

2011-01-28

This appeal by 350.org to the business community defines the words "craven" and "capitulation".

First, assign your first grade students some simple tasks. Make them feel good about it. Pin a medal on them for good citizenship. Announce to the world that you have formed a partnership with business to clean things up a bit (caution: do not mention the fact that business bears the biggest blame for climate change by promoting economic growth and overconsumption since your pupils will have to clean up the mess all by themselves).

Then after your pupils pin a medal on you for not giving them too much homework or anything that would take too much time or money, touch them all up for contributions to your toothless empty campaign that cares more about protecting its Brand (350: The Fun Way to Save the World) than about protecting humanity and the earth. Invite them to a Power Breakfast to thank them for their support.

Take advantage of the "power"image of your Fearless Leader by insuring that his bland content-less message continues to be heard and absorbed by the public loudly enough that other voices with real solutions are drowned out and characterized as cranky contrarians or seething hypercritical activists who resent your Fearless Leader’s rise to fame.

350.org: Our First Order of Business is Business.

Eat your heart out, eco-freaks and radicals.

http://www.350.org/en/people/business#keep-reading

Manufacturing Discontent

Manufacturing Discontent
by Gregory Vickrey

This piece continues the series being presented by Cory Morningstar and Gregory Vickrey and is part of their anticipated and controversial book and multimedia project due out in 2011.

It is safe to assume that in modern political arenas, an approach to the climate change emergency through conventional directives will not work. Indeed, across every movement, from single payer health care to American wars and occupations abroad, the conventional has failed. And while we are very skilled at making excuses and providing analysis for some aspects of that failure, we are not very good at determining other, alternative mechanisms for change. The climate change movement is no exception to this reality.

Ineffective and otherwise corrupted major political parties in the United States and elsewhere reflect the failure of the masses to control our own political will, expand the solution sets we may desire, and reconstruct the fabric of society at its foundation. Corporate control of those parties, and more directly, elections and political offices, limits our collective effectiveness on the policy-making playgrounds of Washington DC and other capitals. And again, recent history on the global and national stages shows the climate movement no less co-opted by the rapacious institute of corporate control.

Capitalism is a sacrosanct concept for most, even though the modern system of capitalism isn’t pure by any means – in both positive and negative ways. Yet observing the modern capitalistic approach to the global economy through the climate lens demands we become critical of the very system that, to one degree or another, has provided for our lives of comfort in the first world. For instance, any analysis of a modern company like Nike demonstrates that both LeBron James and you and me can wear the hottest kicks as basketball season arrives, but those kicks are manufactured through the modern capitalistic directive of cheap labor – by the exploited hands of men, women, and children in southeast Asia in sweatshops and hell holes – and shipped worldwide via inefficient container ships and trucks wholly dependent upon fossil fuels.

Our shoes and sense of fashion, like nearly everything else in life, are intimately connected to the carbon economy.

Given that those in the climate change movement stand to piss off multi-national corporate conglomerates, the politicians they control, and LeBron James with any sort of meaningful approach, most have gone the way of standardized emails, sanitized campaigns, and symbolic actions.

NRDC was a lead author of the worthless bills peddled in the US Congress in 2010 that would have continued to subsidize fossil fuels and nuclear power, enriched the corporations behind their largest funders, and sacrificed future generations.

350.org wasted time, money, and activists organizing symbolic parties around the globe in the hopes that some leader somewhere would do something sometime, while selling a bunch of tshirts (guess where most are made) and propelling big oil (350 funders are dripping in it) back to the top of the greenwashing list.

The Nature Conservancy continues its close “win-win” partnership with BP.

Pensacola Beach

All three, and plenty more, would like to keep us convinced that if only we green our consumptive way of life, we can keep it, with little or no sacrifice.

They are wrong.

And that means we are wrong.

Realistically, we know at best we have until 2020 to fully enact the changes necessary to overcome the fossil fuel economy and all if its derivatives. There is nothing comfortable about that reality, but it is the only opportunity we have to stem the tide of the global climate emergency. No part of the current economic and political systems has the flexibility to bring appropriate leadership, action plans, and strength of will to the fore. To quote your favorite American Democrat, Barack Obama: “It took a hundred years for health care (d)reform.” The psychology of entrenchment alone prevents significant movement from happening within 10 years; further, the fossil fuel aspect of the economy is the engine that drives the thing, controlling or having a powerful hand in nearly every facet of life, as well as policy. Knowing that, what makes anyone one of us believe the powers-that-be will wake up early enough in the 10 year period to acknowledge the need for removal of the carbon economy and the corporations that drive it, implement that removal, and maintain civil society as it currently is all at the same time? For argument’s sake, if a person is put in power to dismantle it against the will of the fossil fuel stasi, what sort of civil unrest will the fossil fuel economy create in order to stall the mechanics of change and sustain themselves?

Critical reflection should quickly allow us to answer these questions.

We no longer can afford to be afraid to read the truth. We no longer can afford to be afraid to reflect on our failure. We no longer can afford to avoid answering. We no longer can afford to avoid challenging the system for what it is.

Manufacturing discontent is an important method for the climate movement to employ in order to implement sound reasoning for moving away from modern capitalism and its predatory effects to something of the people. It is probably the most important component, because learning the truth about corporate control of our lives inherently leads to discontent amongst all but the richest in society. In order to spread the truth, the movement must create the mechanisms to deliver it in light of the greenwashing, debtwashing, status quo delivery of commercial policy and politics. Yet the calculus for creation isn’t difficult. Most people are burdened to the point of despair by debt, disease, and disaster. The discontent rests uneasily beneath the surface.

We simply need to set it free.

It is a scary notion to think about enacting. Few things are scarier than recognizing the system that allows us our creature comforts will fail – whether we control it via transition or not. Knowing that we probably have 10 years to implement the change required is frightening. Afraid as we are, however, an alternative is coming, and the question remains as to whether or not that alternative way of life will be one we collectively design. Climate reality is forcing the decision upon us. The system is preventing any semblance of action designed to preserve life. The responsibility is ours.

Positive systemic change as a goal can profoundly effect our ability to salvage what we can under the climate emergency, and alter other despotic modern conditions besides, from resource wars to global poverty to individual health. Implementation of that change beyond the impacts of our collective dissent will require a new brand of strategy and tactics, employed under the banner of humanity.

Discontent will drive components of change from beginning to end, perpetuating failure or manufacturing success.

One significant baseline where discontent rages and appears ready to be shaped lies within the constructs of the modern financial system, and there are reasons to believe allies across the political spectrum can unite in common purpose – overwhelming the status quo. Those engaged in climate activism – and most types of activism geared towards the collective – tend to lose these potential allies from the start, typically because the issue in hand has been given false AKA’s or due to the general perception of the movement itself.

Take five minutes now to silently consider the peace movement over the last few years. Your judgment at the end of those moments will likely be sound and profound.

Now look around the globe, and observe France, Portugal, the UK, Greece…

Do you see what can be seen?

When the opportunity to do what is right presents itself, as well as the means, we need to rise up and grasp it; for when it comes, there are only two ends: prevail or fail.

Up next in the series: Streets and Policies – Actions and Enactions for Everyone, From Darfur to DC.

Gregory Vickrey is a consultant for various projects and may be reached at: gregory.

When Silence Kills | The Art of Annihilation

Published November 8, 2010 | Huntington News: http://bit.ly/d0OEOd | | http://bit.ly/bVUXif

As we stand on the edge of apocalypse, we must wake up and acknowledge that what the big greens are not saying is far more important than what they are saying.

From the Non-Profit Industrial Complex with Love. Excerpts from a controversial new book to be released 2010-2011. This article – When Silence Kills | The Art of Annihilation –is thethird in a series in which we continue to discuss the connection between environmental campaigns and their corporate sponsors.

When Silence Kills | The Art of Annihilation

By Cory Morningstar

 

“The evidence that large-scale climate change is unavoidable has now become so strong that healthy illusion is becoming unhealthy delusion. Hoping that a major disruption to the Earth’s climate can be avoided is a delusion. Optimism sustained against the facts, including unfounded beliefs in the power of consumer action or in technological rescue, risks turning hopes into fantasies. Sooner or later the constant striving to control events must come up against reality. How long will it be before well-meaning people who have accepted the message of green consumerism – that we can all make a difference by changing our personal behavior – begin to say to themselves, ‘I have been doing the right things for years, but the news about global warming just keeps getting worse?’ Clinging to hopefulness becomes a means of forestalling the truth.” – Clive Hamilton, Requiem for a Species

Criminal Negligence

What defines criminal negligence? In Canada, the criminal code states that lack of intent to harm is no defence if the damage results from conscious acts performed in careless disregard for others: “Everyone is criminally negligent who (a) in doing anything, or (b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do, shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons” (where “duty” means a duty imposed by law). Significantly, Section 222(5)(b) states that “a person commits homicide when, directly or indirectly, by any means, he causes the death of a human being, by being negligent.”

In the United States, the definition of criminal negligence is even more compelling: “Crimes Committed Negligently (Article 33.1) A crime shall be deemed to be committed with clear intent, if the man or woman was conscious of the social danger of his actions (inaction), foresaw the possibility or the inevitability of the onset of socially dangerous consequences, and willed such consequences to ensue.” “A crime shall be deemed to be committed with indirect intent, if the man or woman realized the social danger of his actions (inaction), foresaw the possibility of the onset of socially dangerous consequences, did not wish, but consciously allowed these consequences or treated them with indifference.” “A Crime Committed by Negligence (Article 33.1): A criminal deed committed thoughtlessly or due to negligence shall be recognized as a crime committed by negligence.” “A crime shall be deemed to be committed thoughtlessly, if the man or woman has foreseen the possibility of the onset of socially dangerous consequences of his actions (inaction), but expected without valid reasons that these consequences would be prevented.” “A crime shall be deemed to be committed due to negligence if the man or woman has not foreseen the possibility of the onset of socially dangerous consequences of his actions (inaction), although he or she could and should have foreseen these consequences with reasonable.”

A Moral Minefield – RINGOS

Why is it that well informed international environmental NGOs who claim to represent the best interests of civil society are not accusing the climate skeptics, the big investment banks and the fossil fuel energy corporations of high crimes against humanity? Is it because they fear that their funding from wealthy friends such as the Rockefellers will decline?

Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, spoke March 19, 2010 at Innovative Philanthropy for the 21st Century: Harnessing the Power of Impact Investing: “In this second phase of philanthropic innovation, our Rockefeller Foundation predecessors helped establish the non-governmental organization sector as the ‘missing middle’ between giving and direct impact. This included support for entities – we call them RINGOS, Rockefeller Foundation Initiated NGOs.”

The concept of philanthropy was first embraced in the days of 19th century American robber barons. As the monetary wealth of these robber barons grew to astronomical levels, so did the anger of the working classes. Philanthropy was the answer to this problem, resulting in the end of public hostility and the acceptance of obscene individual wealth. And how we have evolved. Today, the CEOs of the top ten green groups in the U.S. rake in from $308,000 to $496,000 per year. (Remember that the next time they call you for a donation, needed to push corporate hand-out suicide pacts, passed off as “win-win” legislation.)

Meanwhile, the Global Humanitarian Forum reported in 2009 that every year, climate change leaves over 300,000 people dead and exacts economic losses of US$125 billion. Four billion people are vulnerable, and 500 million people are at extreme risk. An estimated 325 million people are seriously affected by climate change every year. This estimate is derived by attributing a 40 percent proportion of the increase in the number of weather-related disasters from 1980 to current climate change and a 4 percent proportion of the total seriously affected by environmental degradation based on negative health outcomes.

Sandy Gauntlett, Oceania focal point for the Global Forest Coalition, is amazed that no one has yet charged large corporations with negligent homicide as a result of their actions in deforestation. Gauntlett states: “When we look at the amount of climate gases resulting from deforestation alone, we see enough emissions created by some countries to account for the level of unprecedented climate catastrophes occurring around the planet.” He adds: “Even worse than the actions of the corporate criminals responsible for the rise in climate emissions, at least morally, are the actions of some of the large environmental NGOs. These NGOs, who made their names and reputations as defenders of the victims of environmental abuse, now seem to be courting the corporate lobby in the belief that within these actions lies the solution to all of the problems of the world created by the corporate lobby. These are the people to whom we have given our voices, our monies and our mandate. To think that they are prepared to even consider working with the creators of this devastation is like being stabbed in the back by an old friend.”

Gauntlett continues: “Even more so we, as Pacific Indigenous Peoples, ask that when they call for your donation, you remember the small island states who, 10 years ago, asked for urgent action by the rest of the world, pointing out that their (the industrialized world’s) growth was resulting in coral bleaching, flooding, and salination of the fresh water supplies without which the islands face a grim and very uncertain future. Several years ago, when French nuclear testing in the Pacific seemed at least partially responsible for contamination and health problems on small Pacific atolls, the Rainbow Warrior sailed out and relocated people from the most threatened islands. The world cheered these environmental heroes and all of us gave monies, time and energy to support Greenpeace and other organizations who were daring to take on the might of the developed world in defense of the small islands. So impactful was the campaign by Greenpeace at the time that the French Government sent saboteurs and spies into the harbour of a political ally to sink the flagship of the organization. A photographer paid for denying the French with his life. The scuttled ship was towed to Matauri Bay at the beaches of local Maori and sunk there as a permanent memorial to those horrible days. It is an incident I remember well as I had been on the ship only the day before. I later went on to work at Greenpeace as a fundraiser and believed passionately in their mission statement and campaigns.”

Gauntlett’s final words on this subject demonstrate a growing sentiment across the globe: “Amazingly, times change and the once proud and anti-market campaigners of Greenpeace seem to (like myself really) have grown old and tired of banging heads against brick walls, and with regret, I have decided to never again give money to or support Greenpeace while I am uncertain of the level of cooperation between them and the industrial lobby. After more than 30 years of environmental action and support, it is time that I took back my mandate and gave it instead to organisations that I trust with the same amount of certainty I once did with Greenpeace. They are certainly not alone and probably far from being the worst, but this is the country where the Rainbow Warrior lies as a memorial to defiance.”

The Ethics Resource Center’s 2007 National Nonprofit Ethics Survey reports troubling observations. The report states that conduct that violates the law or an organization’s standards is on the rise, and nonprofit violations have reached levels comparable to business and government. It observes that financial fraud is higher in nonprofit organizations than it is in business or government and furthermore, the boards, while critical in shaping the perceptions of employees with regard to ethics, are not setting clear ethics standards for their organizations. Where boards have heavy influence, we also see high levels of misconduct. In conclusion they state: “The recent erosion of ethical behavior in this sector is very troubling, and the trend cannot be allowed to continue.”

Runaway Climate Change

Leading climate expert James Hansen (among many other scientists from several disciplines) believes that methane clathrates (or hydrates) played a crucial role in the largest mass extinction, the “end-Permian” event 251 million years ago, in which more than 90 percent of terrestrial and marine species were exterminated. Methane clathrate is frozen methane gas that lies on ocean floor sediment off the continental coasts of our planet. Since 1992 it has been recognized that the shallow Arctic methane clathrates would be subject to melting by global warming, releasing methane gas into the atmosphere (U.S. Geological Survey Marine and Coastal Geology Program, Gas (Methane) Hydrates – A New Frontier, September 1992).

The end-Permian event was accompanied by a temperature rise of as little as 6ºC. Life took 50 million years to recover the diversity that had existed prior to the mass extinction. It is considered that methane clathrates may also have played a role in other mass extinctions, such as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), which occurred 55 million years ago. Hansen warns that humanity is putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere today at a rate that is 10,000 times higher than the rate during the PETM.

In Hansen’s recent book, according to the penultimate chapter, The Venus Syndrome, it might be even worse. Hansen posits a possible future Earth in which a “runaway greenhouse effect” takes over: anthropogenic global warming from greenhouse gases causes a massive increase of water vapor into the atmosphere as the heated oceans evaporate, which in turn causes further warming. Today, the Arctic methane clathrate deposits are destabilizing, and if not re-stabilized will release vast amounts of methane into the atmosphere and add more acid to our oceans. The oceans will then become more acidified by dissolution of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This scenario would end all life on Earth. Today, the rate of ocean acidification exceeds anything witnessed in the past 65 million years.

Tragically, the Arctic summer sea ice has now passed its tipping point to melt down – the Arctic has finally shifted to a new climate pattern in which “normal” has become obsolete (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 21 October 2010). A recent study (funded by the National Science Foundation, the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council in Canada, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, and the European Research Council) shows that even though during the Pliocene Epoch (2.6 to 5.3 million years ago) it was about 34 degrees Fahrenheit, or 19 degrees Celsius, warmer than today, CO2 levels were only slightly higher than present. According to another study by David Lawrence, this means that the rate of permafrost thaw will likely triple. No Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPPC) climate model currently incorporates the amplifying feedback from methane released by a defrosting tundra. Leading scientist Shakhova and colleagues estimate that roughly eight million tons of methane are now leaking into the atmosphere each year from the East Siberia Sea. As previously stated, studies suggest that the destabilization of methane clathrates likely triggered the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum that saw global temperatures rise by around 6°C (over 20,000 years as opposed to what we are experiencing / causing over 200 years) with a corresponding rise in sea level as the whole of the oceans warmed. The rate of carbon addition at that time almost equals the rate at which carbon is being released into the atmosphere today.

“My view is that the climate has already crossed at least one tipping point, about 1975-1976, and is now at a runaway state, implying that only emergency measures have a chance of making a difference…” “The costs of all of the above would require diversion of the trillions of dollars from global military expenditures to environmental mitigation.” – Andrew Glikson, Earth/Paleo-climate scientist

Drinking the Kool-Aid

The model-based projections of the rate of future global warming take no account of the loss of the Arctic summer ice, nor of the methane emissions from thawing permafrost, nor of the methane emissions from the melting Arctic gas hydrates. It has been well known for a long time that these are by far the greatest dangers, all unavoidable with enough warming. To date, the world has agreed to being led (to the gallows) by the climate modellers. Yet, the models have already been proved to be sensationally wrong. Modellers are not climate experts, nor in life sciences, nor ecologists – the climate science leaders are complex math/computer modellers. The reliance on models has given the governments and compromised NGOs an excuse to do nothing.

As it is, the IPCC relies on models that exclude approximately half of the adverse climate change impacts on food crop production (two examples being heat waves and floods). Even so, the IPCCstates that the absolute limit for agriculture is a 3ºC global average warming (from pre-1900). Beyond a 3ºC temperature increase, we had best consider that agriculture would enter into an irreversible decline headed to collapse in all regions of the world, even when we use the dangerously incomplete models that attempt to give us a sense of what is coming down the pipe.

What do the big greens have to tell us about the alarming changes to our food crop production now being witnessed? Nothing. The big greens have been deadly silent. They continue to ignore the risks and the projections of global warming and climate disruption on our food security. We have to expect disastrous impacts on northern hemisphere agriculture resulting from the loss of the summer sea ice in the Arctic. If the Arctic summer sea ice is already in irreversible melt down, as many scientists now believe, the food security situation of the northern hemisphere is no better, and perhaps even worse, than that of the southern hemisphere.

Meanwhile in Canada, the Harper regime government has the propaganda machine working overtime, selling the lie of “Climate Prosperity” to Canadian citizens while planning to slip 16 billion of our tax dollars to his friends at Lockheed Martin for F-35 stealth fighter jets. Compare this to the four-year, $1.43-billion ecoEnergy program, introduced in 2007, which provided money to corporations for the development of false solutions passed off as new clean-energy technology. This program expires in 2011. The new budget (2010) offers a token $25 million for the next four years. Military budgets have steadily increased from $15 billion in 2005-2006, to $18 billion in 2008-2009, and this year $20.6 billion – representing one-fifth of the total government direct program spending on an annual basis. The 2010 budget is 56% higher than the 1998-99 budget. But why spend money on clean, safe renewable energies that will save lives when you can spend money that results in the extermination of men, women and children in the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq? And why do anything to protect citizens from catastrophic climate change when you can unveil an outrageous greenwash campaign instead? For the Conservative government led by Stephen Bush Harper, this massive Suncor-sponsored campaign to reframe dangerous climate change as something positive for Canada’s economy and our children is just another example of the dangerous denialism that has slowly and effectively saturated the most critical issue of our time.

Denialism has proven to be almost as effective as Jonestown Kool-Aid. For many years, Western democracy has been considered and designed as governance by a process of negotiation and compromise between three partners: 1) governments 2) corporations, and 3) civil society (with the big greens at the forefront). In the case of our Earth, her inhabitants and climate, we must consider this nothing less than a three-way silent truce for global catastrophe.

“The truth, indeed, is something that mankind, for some mysterious reason, instinctively dislikes. Every man who tries to tell it is unpopular, and even when, by the sheer strength of his case, he prevails, he is put down as a scoundrel.” – H. L. Mencken,Chicago Tribune, 23 May 1926

Soma and the Big Greens | A Love Story

“The service had begun. The dedicated soma tablets were placed in the centre of the table. The loving cup of strawberry ice-cream somawas passed from hand to hand and, with the formula, ‘I drink to my annihilation,’ twelve times quaffed.” – Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World

In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, the soma routine was not a private addiction; it was nothing less than a political institution. Soma was the very essence of life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness – all of which were guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. However, this most valued of the slaves’ subjects’ absolute privileges was, at the same time, by far the most powerful instrument of rule in the dictator’s arsenal. The systematic drugging of citizens for the benefit of the state (and incidentally, of course, for their own pleasure and amusement) was a main vice in the policy of the world controllers. Soma was invaluable. The daily soma ration was nothing less than insurance against personal maladjustment, social unrest and the spread of subversive ideas. [www.huxley.net] Sound familiar?

Where is the line that distinguishes the bystander from the perpetrator when atrocity becomes both systemic and political? Passive messaging and symbolic campaigns creatively and successfully do nothing less than deny the existence of universal truth and scientific knowledge. Such brilliant tactics effectively and subtly refute the crisis, thus enabling further denial discourse and behavior. If we do not challenge and successfully eradicate what has evolved into the universalizing of symbolism and hegemonic ideology of the big greens, indeed, we will be crushed by them. The evidence is upon us that climate change is now incontrovertible, as is the realization that this is by far the greatest catastrophe to ever confront our species.

One Sky – But Many Puppets

Truth and Deception

“We were warned repeatedly by highly paid consultants and well-funded studies that discussion of global warming or the climate crisis was unproductive. But we reject the either/or dichotomy, and maintain, as our founding 1Sky principles above suggest, that we must be clear about the planetary emergency we are facing….” – 1Sky Board of Directors (Jessica Bailey, KC Golden, Bracken Hendricks, Bill McKibben, Billy Parish, Vicky Rateau, Gus Speth and Betsy Taylor), 6 August 2010

The above is a key statement that supports the (non)meaning behind what climate justice activists have come to call “the big greens.” Organizations whose CEOs live fat cat lifestyles thanks to exorbitant paychecks that exceed those of state senators. The faux climate movement no longer reflects the reality we must all face – now or never. This is it. Pollyanna’s cheerleading days have officially expired and it is time to send her and her fellow cheerleaders packing. On August 6, 2010 the big greens state that we must be clear about the planetary emergency we are facing, yet, immediately following this statement, they call upon citizens to celebrate and participate in a day of actions that had nothing to do with solving a planetary emergency and everything to do with perpetuating a meaningless brand.

McKibben and friends are planting daffodils in the shape of 3-5-0 as the planet advances in a crisis of such magnitude that our children will most likely not survive it. Not so surprising considering in Cochabamba Kelly Blynn, 350.org co-founder, explicitly stated that they (350.org) would NEVER change their brand (by endorsing/reflecting the 300 ppm as per the People’s Agreement) as 350 was “the most powerful brand in the world.” Her words – as spoken in Cochabamba in April 2010. McKibben now refers to the number 350 as “iconic.” They have come to believe their own hype. Pass the soma please….

We can acknowledge that 350.org has been most successful in creating global awareness in regards to the number 350 – that being the uppermost amount in parts per million of atmospheric carbon that humanity must target. However, the reality is that we are at 390 today and only accelerating. Is this considered dangerous climate interference as defined by the IPCC? The answer is yes. Did NASA’s James Hansen call upon civil society to declare a planetary emergency in 2008? The answer is yes. Yet McKibben and friends speak of neither. Hansen’s dire plea is ignored. Dead silence. Epic fail. Most critical, why do McKibben and friends not educate on the necessary emissions reductions we must achieve if we are ever to get back to 350? It has been known by scientists for years that only zero CO2 emissions can make atmospheric CO2 drop. Nothing less. Could it therefore be considered nothing less than criminal negligence for McKibben, 350.org and friends to tell us that we are on the road to hell but refuse to give directions to the only way to get off that road (a freshly paved one of eco-asphalt lined with happy daffodils and shiny new electric cars, no less)? The map to safety is M.I.A.

“No one on the corner has swag like us? – Hit me on my banner prepaid wireless? – We pack and deliver like UPS trucks? – Already in hell just pumping that gas – ??All I wanna do is (BANG BANG BANG BANG!)? – And (KKKAAAA CHING!) – ?And take your money” – Paper Planes, by M.I.A.

Message to Pollyanna – this is Cassandra. Please go away before you kill us all. We don’t want to go down on your sinking ship.

The big greens understand the global implications of runaway climate change – the implications being the elimination of humanity and all evolutionarily advanced life. They recognize the current major calamities all over the globe. Yet, they continue to deny out loud to the public the critical state of the atmosphere, confirmed by the world’s leading research organizations; NASA, NSCDC, Potsdam, Tyndall, Hadley-Met, CSIRO, BOM, the world’s academies of science and others. By depriving the public of the gravity of this emergency, big greens effectively ensure that humanity remains ineffective in the imperative, urgent task of implementing changes in our social and economic spheres – at a speed and magnitude of such force, the world has yet to ever witness an effort of such scale.

“We are unleashing hell on Australia.” – Prof. Neville Nicholls, world expert and lead author for the IPCC, Monash University

“… many, many scientists now … are frantically, hysterically worried.” – Professor Ann Henderson-Sellers, former head of the UN’s World Climate Research Program, now at Macquarie University

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told the Oxford 4 Degrees and Beyond Conference that “Political reality must be grounded in physical reality or it’s completely useless.” Schellnhuber briefed U.S. officials from the Barack Obama administration who chided him that his findings were “not grounded in political reality” and that “the [U.S.] Senate will never agree to this.” Schellnhuber told them that the U.S. must reduce its emissions from its current 20 tonnes of carbon per person average to zero tonnes per person by 2020 to have even a chance of stabilizing the temperature increase at around 2ºC.

Could it be that 350.org does not campaign on the imperative of zero because 350 ppm, in fact, demands a zero fossil fuel economy at breakneck speed? This is a vital observation being that the money “donated” by such foundations as the Rockefeller Brothers Fund is only possible because of an explosive oil economy that continues to break record profits in the billions.

Did any of the big greens ever message the critical Potsdam Institute information to their supporters? (TckTckTck, for example, claims to have over 17 million members.) Of course not – informing U.S. citizens of the reality that they must achieve zero emissions by 2020 to avoid catastrophic 2ºC could result in: 1) negative impact on the economy, and/or 2) negative impact on NGO funding, and/or 3) negative impact on the brand.

Dangerous Messaging

The dangerous symbolic messaging that the big greens churn out has done far more damage than good. Such passive messaging, in which they excel, ensures that society remains indoctrinated under the illusion of happiness only made possible by consumer capitalism. This indoctrination has been suicidal. Literally. What is even uglier is that it seems McKibben and friends have accepted, therefore believe, their marketing strategists’s advice that there is no other way to reach their audience – other than to appeal to their selfish identity. Do they believe that their supporters (Americans being their primary target) are so shallow that the only way to entice change is to market campaigns and messaging that will lure citizens by feeding into the most negative characteristics of the human species – those of selfishness, greed and apathy? Such marketing campaigns succeed not by motivating people to make any meaningful change or sacrifice, rather such marketing motivates individuals to do only the actions that people may consider when they are not motivated enough to make a real change or sacrifice.

Big greens may not have zero faith in humanity – but they certainly do appear to have zero faith in their target audience. They have identified their audience first and foremost as self-serving consumers – as opposed to recognizing and building upon the fact that these are people. Citizens. With families. A reality that encompasses characteristics to be nourished. It is true that contemporary profit-driven, capitalistic and money-worshipping wealthy societies have fallen into a death trap, losing perspective and failing to realize that the value of money is totally subjective. However, does this mean that organizations should cater to these characteristics – brought about by relentless corporate messaging that has inundated and polluted our minds – thereby reaffirming them? Do we believe that our citizens are so shallow and so past the point of human sentience, empathy, capacity for critical thinking, and the ability to love beyond themselves that we just continue to distribute soma to the masses? Because the 21-year-old marketing prodigy told us so in between texting his investment banker on his Blackberry?

We may have lost our own self worth, beaten down by unwavering, relentless indoctrination – our bare souls laid siege by unabashed propaganda hell, but should the role of those who claim to speak for civil society not be the one to help civil society reclaim our humanness?

Fittingly, in our consumer capitalism society we now find that even social conscience itself has become a hot commodity. If the markets see our social conscience as an asset to exploit – and they absolutely do – at least this means we still collectively have a conscience, even if we have to peel back a thousand brands to eventually uncover it.

“People with strong intrinsic values must cease to be embarrassed by them. We should argue for the policies we want not on the grounds of expediency but on the grounds that they are empathetic and kind; and against others on the grounds that they are selfish and cruel. In asserting our values we become the change we want to see.” – George Monbiot

Unfortunately, the multimillion dollar social structure of the non-profit industrial complex is ruled by the expediency of public relations, politics and funding – not by high moral values. Furthermore, we are all ruled by the multi-billion-dollar banks who remind us of our enslavement to the system whenever we threaten to allow our moral values to lead us.

The bizarre “party” on 10:10:10 forgot to mention in the “top ten” ideas for the day that we must use all of our democratic powers and rights – including our moral obligation to break the laws that continue to protect the corporations while sentencing people to certain death. 350.org and partner TckTckTck proclaimed on 10:10:10, “We Own the Media Today.” In reality, the media own 350.

The Consequences of Modern Day Soma

Deconstruction, reconstruction, muzzling and outright lies within the corporate-owned mainstream media (MSM) have been a long-term barrier to truth. From organizing public support for controversial issues that threaten our very well being, even when our own children will be paying the ultimate price, to ensuring that certain political “leaders” are elected, or that women start smoking and the public keeps buying the consumer products they don’t need which ensures billions in corporate profits, the role of “communication” has been and remains pivotal. Today we witness that mainstream communication and public relations have become nothing more than basic propaganda, because the underlying facts and reality have to be reconstructed and watered down to make the message easy to swallow.

The plutocracy needs us to continue to buy crap we don’t need, consume things we don’t need, waste things we never needed to begin with, and most important of all – to quit thinking. Be passive. Be complacent. Dissent is effectively framed as unpatriotic or ungrateful. Take your soma three times a day, more if necessary.

The greatest threat to the corporate power that has a complete stranglehold on our global society, including governments, is a society of people who can sustain themselves independent of the corporate institution. A zero-carbon perpetual-energy world made up of citizens who embody and value the right to critical thinking, free of mind pollution, provides the greatest threat to corporate power. No corporation can dominate every drop of sunshine. No corporation can capture every breath of wind.

“So here we are, forming an orderly queue at the slaughterhouse gate. The punishment of the poor for the errors of the rich, the abandonment of universalism, the dismantling of the shelter the state provides: apart from a few small protests, none of this has yet brought us out fighting. The acceptance of policies which counteract our interests is the pervasive mystery of the 21st Century. In the United States, blue-collar workers angrily demand that they be left without healthcare, and insist that millionaires should pay less tax. In the UK we appear ready to abandon the social progress for which our ancestors risked their lives with barely a mutter of protest. What has happened to us?” – George Monbiot

2100|Tomatoes and Flat Screens for the Bourgeois

In a “good news scenario” posted on 4 October 2010, titled Policy Reform to 350, McKibben envisions the future. A scenario whereby global society reverses levels of CO2 in the atmosphere to 350ppm by 2100 – this made possible by the consequences suffered by way of devastation that finally resulted in the imperialist governments waking up and smelling the coffee – thus acting. McKibben assumes in this scenario that governments are simply unaware, which is not at all true. Governments are absolutely aware of the consequences that we will face – and they have chosen not to act. They have all been briefed, in no uncertain terms, by the world’s foremost scientists and military experts.

The scenario McKibben writes of is neither factual, nor is it scientific. Indeed, he omits the most critical aspect of failing to deal with this crisis at breakneck speed – that of the amplifying feedbacks, many of which are now operational. Climate change has a full spectrum of dangerous consequences spread over many centuries into the future, however McKibben makes no mention of this reality. The reality that this scenario excludes is this: If we do not stabilize the climate by achieving virtual zero carbon emissions within a decade (Annex 1, or developed, countries), positive feedback mechanisms will continue to amplify, and become irreversible. This would result in runaway climate change. Humans will not survive this. The positive feedbacks will not simply retreat when Nature sees that we have finally learned our lesson and repented, as McKibben fantasizes within the article. He makes zero mention of tipping points and the point of no return. In fact, his scenario is survivable, including plug-in cars, tomatoes and even flat screen televisions. There is no mention of the billions who will have perished south of the equator nor is there mention that Africa will now be a furnace – void of all life. In McKibben’s “good news scenario,” exceeding 2ºC does not lead to uncontrollable temperatures of 4ºC, 6ºC, 8ºC and higher. This fantasy demonstrates the ultimate in denialism. If the “leader” of 350.org is believing in such delusional fantasy while packaging it as possible and rational, we are in terminally serious trouble. NGOs should be opposing this nonsense head on – but they won’t. Because in the Non-Profit Industrial Complex, when it comes to the critical issues of climate change, mum is the word.

350.org would like you to believe that 350 ppm is the most important number in the world. Not true. 350 ppm is recognized by climatologist James Hansen as the highest tolerable carbon level allowing survival of life on Earth. In reality, we need to get back down to levels below 300 ppm in order to re-freeze the Arctic sea ice. Then return to pre-industrial levels, which we know were safe. Until then, the Arctic sea ice will continue to accelerate in its death spiral, accelerating feedbacks. As we lose the albedo effect (reflection of sun off the ice), the solar energy, rather than being reflected, is then absorbed into the ocean. Such warming amplifies further feedbacks such as ocean acidification and melting of permafrost, which has led to the current situation of destabilized methane hydrates that are now leaking methane into the atmosphere. There is double the amount of carbon in the methane hydrates than in the entire atmosphere. We’re talking big numbers here.

These are all tipping points, beyond which catastrophic runaway feedback loops become irreversible. At this point, no amount of human ingenuity will save us. No amount of monetary wealth will save us. The term runaway greenhouse effect is best described as the conditions that led to the current greenhouse state of Venus. Terrifying? Yes. Yet this is the path we are currently on. For anyone who wishes to see what is happening to our ice – as you read this – watch the unbelievable time lapse footage that has only recently been witnessed by scientists. It is nothing less than incredible. You will understand the enormity of our situation once you see these images: http://bit.ly/bbH8mV

Thawing frozen soils could unleash a carbon bomb – massive volumes of carbon dioxide and methane frozen in the earth’s soils are a “time-bomb ticking under our feet.” – World Congress of Soil Science, 4 August 2010

Watch for the next article – fourth in the series, in which we continue to discuss the connection between environmental campaigns and their corporate sponsors. Article number one in the series ‘10:10:10 – Marketing, Manipulation, and the Status Quo’ and article number two in the series ‘Explosive Climate Report Text Revealed’ can be read at: http://bit.ly/cUYCrn

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

What really happened in Cochabamba? 10:10:10 | 350.org | Marketing, Manipulation, and the Status Quo

What really happened in Cochabamba? 350.org actively worked to undermine Bolivia’s position (JuneUNFCCCSubmission by the Plurinational State of.pdf) (300ppm, 1C, etc.) and The People’s Agreement itself.

From a recent 350.org email announcement: A photo of a child in Cochabamba with the brand 350 on drawn on her face. Exploitation and deception at its best. To this day, 350.org does not support the People’s Agreement.

A girl in Cochabamba, Bolivia reminds us what the stakes are in the fight to solve the climate crisis.

When states demonstrate more leadership and ethics than the ‘environmental movement’ itself … as we stand on the edge of the apocalypse – we are in big fucking trouble!

10:10:10 – Marketing, Manipulation, and the Status Quo | Published on United Progressives October 8th, 2010 | http://bit.ly/aiCAZg | http://bit.ly/dhSXCx | http://bit.ly/am8Tot

10:10:10 – Marketing, Manipulation, and the Status Quo

Published on United Progressives October 8th, 2010 | http://bit.ly/aiCAZg | http://bit.ly/dhSXCx | http://bit.ly/am8Tot

As we stand on the edge of apocalypse, we must wake up and acknowledge that what the big greens are not saying is far more important than what they are saying.

By Cory Morningstar, with  Gregory Vickrey

CODE GREEN: “The good intentions of participants of 350 aside, requesting world leaders to reduce carbon emissions is unfortunately not going to work. Bill McKibben asserts that world leaders will listen “if we’re loud enough,” but that’s simply untrue. If we stick with symbolic action, the destruction will become progressively worse, and we will continuously lose ground and be reduced to begging for mercy that will never be granted. Those in power (and their political representatives) will only stop destroying the planet if they are forced to do so. The immediate threat of social disorder and economic disruption will make them listen. An immediate and serious threat to their wealth and well-being will make them listen.”

Understanding 10:10:10

All big greens and little greens alike are promoting the latest climate change campaign, 10:10:10, on the front page of every website and in every email. Two of the main promoters of 350.org’s 10:10:10 ‘Global Work Party’ are none other than corporate darling TckTckTck and, of course, Greenpeace International. Making the intimate link between the two, Kumi Naidoo is the Executive Director of the organization and chairs the Global Campaign for Climate Action, the group behind TckTckTck.

The escalating climate crisis – scientists now refer to it as the ‘6th extinction’ – has now been transformed to a party.

10:10:10 states, “A strong and vibrant climate movement will create the political space for our champions to lead; take-on the big polluters and bought-off politicians who are blocking progress; and help us implement innovative climate solutions from the ground up.” Completely ignoring the intent of their own rhetoric, some of the top ideas on the 10:10:10 website for the party are: organize a tree planting, work on a community garden or an organic farm, go for a bike ride, or do a trash cleanup. Once again, the emphasis of this latest symbolic big green campaign avoids the root causes of climate change; the current state of accelerating climate change according to the latest science; the false solutions being sold as just goods; and a stark, deafening silence on the People’s Agreement constructed in Cochabamba, Bolivia, April 2010. (It is important to note here that this is the only agreement to date that has the potential to save humanity from suicidal extinction. This last, despite 350.org’s presence in Cochabamba, with its own representatives positioned as ‘presidents’ of several working groups.)

The 10:10:10 campaign does not demand that all nations and all non-government organizations (NGOs) formally acknowledge the world is far beyond dangerous interference with the climate system. Why not? Leading scientist John Holdren has been explaining this since 2006. Holdren is advisor to President Barack Obama for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

The 10:10:10 campaign does not demand that nations and NGOs declare a global climate state of emergency. Why not? NASA climate scientist James Hansen has appealed for such a declaration since 2008. Further, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that civil society must be the organ to make this declaration – yet those who claim to represent civil society — as 350.org often does — spew rhetoric instead of reality.

Nature’s Razor

The greatest danger to survival of life lies within combined Arctic feedback cycles, all of which are now operational. None of the climate models used by IPCC include any of the Arctic feedbacks below. This makes all projections of potential increase in global temperature, as well as any contrived limits on human emissions, dangerously misleading.

Arctic sea ice volume has reached the lowest level ever recorded, prompting the director of the National Snow & Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, Mark Serreze, to state, “The Arctic summer sea ice cover is in a death spiral. It’s not going to recover…I hate to say it but I think we are committed to a four- to six-degree warmer Arctic.”

Methane release from melting permafrost is the most dangerous amplifying feedback in the carbon cycle. Earlier this year we were witness to a science stunner. Scientists found that the vast Siberian Arctic shelf methane stores are now destabilizing and venting. National Science Foundation issued our world a wake-up call: “Release of even a fraction of the methane stored in the shelf could trigger abrupt climate warming.”

Scientists have discovered that the seas are acidifying ten times faster today than 55 million years ago when a mass extinction of marine species occurred. The increasing acidity reduces the amounts of calcium carbonate available to plankton and other species which require it to form shells and skeletons. Studies show phytoplankton have died off more than 40% since 1950 and continue to do so at an accelerating rate. “This is an almost unprecedented geological event,” stated Andy Ridgwell, an earth scientist at the University of Bristol.

Making matters significantly worse for humanity, food security manifests itself as a second state of emergency intimately connected with climate.

The worst ever environmental and health catastrophe is now inevitable, and we must render a comprehensive global emergency response. Nations and NGOs who refuse to acknowledge destructive climate interference and the inherent state of global climate emergency are, in effect, supporting and perpetuating the status quo: a general state of denial of, and inaction toward, the worst crime ever committed against humanity.

In the presence of fact and a recognizable path to global extinction, the only target that now matters is zero carbon. To save humanity, fossil fuels must be completely abandoned. Every other target, without distinction, leads to irreversible climate catastrophe.

Yet we are told to throw a global day of action for 24 hours each year (this year, 10:10:10), no matter the challenges science purports and reality verifies. And somehow this party will grow into a new movement to take on these challenges, and this reality that no one discusses.

Symbolism must be an omnipotent force.

“Get to Work” – 350.org

“One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.” – Chinua Achebe – Nigerian Writer

For too long, the environmental movement – led by the big greens – has locked the climate movement into a two-pronged strategy comprised of lobbying partisan, corrupt politicians, and climbing into bed with any – and nearly every – corporate power, in the pursuit of symbolic victories, the ecstasy of the illusion of power, and to integrate the DC cocktail circuit. Even in this, the movement has failed.

After the largest oil spill in history earlier this year, the movement and its most powerful leaders did not call for a ban on all offshore drilling; instead, they urged citizens to demand a temporary moratorium on new offshore drilling. Having no ability in the art of negotiation, and displaying an approach that was sophomoric, at best, they failed to properly secure the half-solution they sought, and the loopholes continue the cataclysmic trends that existed before the Deepwater Horizon entered our consciousness. Epic fail.

Nearly two decades after the first climate convention in Rio, global emissions are up over 40% and planetary boundaries are being crossed. We now stand on the cusp of humanity’s most dangerous moment. For those two decades the big greens have been flirting and sleeping with the enemy, and no matter their willingness are still shamed come morning, because the BPs of the world are welcome to plant their decadent seed in any of the big greens, and the governments around the globe besides, without any recourse.

What more evidence do we need to see in order to accept that backroom lobbying and symbolic campaigning has not worked and will not work?

“Politically feasible.”
“Politically possible.”
“Reasonable.”
“The best we can get.”
“Win-win.”

Big greens can’t yet comprehend the concept of morning remorse. It takes a spine to accept the guilt.

Fossil fuels must be completely abandoned. We have already stated that, from the perspective of reality. Let us say it again. Fossil fuels must be completely abandoned. Nature won’t be giving us a pat on the back or boost our resumes for what we deem politically feasible, and the physics of nature is not about to come to the table for negotiations on entropy. Better is not better when better still means dead. Massive climate emergency movements in every country are the only forces with the potential to drive politicians toward effective action against greenhouse gas emissions. That is the only way to win time for our Earth – and ourselves.

Symbolism

 

Image from Keith Farnish’s ‘The Unsuitablog’:

“it is an utterly pointless task trying to make Industrial Civilization sustainable or “environmentally friendly”, because the nature of civilization is to destroy, to take what it wants to achieve its aims and only stop when it runs out of energy, people or space. It only stops when it collapses – it never stops of its own accord.”

Thus, we find ourselves in yet another bizarre situation and ready to party on 10:10:10 with international climate change organization TckTckTck; with Greenpeace; with 350.org; with World Wildlife Federation (WWF); with more than 350 other dance partners; and, not without significance, with Havas Worldwide, the world’s sixth largest advertising company, and creator of the TckTckTck campaign. Havas clients include Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Pfizer, BP and several other multinational conglomerates who indiscriminately rape and pillage our Earth, while exploiting the most vulnerable communities, cultures, and societies around the globe, in exchange for nothing more than financial profits and cash windfalls, seeking infinite gains on a finite planet.

When we fight multinationals, we call them corporate criminals. When we take their money, we call them partners.

The climate change movement is said to oppose oil giants controlled by Rockefeller and friends. Yet the foundations and charities of Rockefeller and friends generously fund progressive environmentalists with the purpose being to ultimately oversee and influence various and significant activities.

Recall the fairytale in which the witch decorates her home as a gingerbread house in order to entice the children inside and ultimately cook them to kibble in a pot of boiling water. We are those children – and we are being manipulated to admire the grand illusion of democracy set before us as we march as one towards our own demise.

Not so bad, says 10:10:10 and friends. We can throw a party along the way, and the conscientious among us can pre-order caskets made of green, sustainable bamboo manufactured in a Chinese sweatshop.

Last year, on 350.org’s Global Day of Action (October 24, 2009), TckTckTck was shiny, new and present. In Canada, on Parliament Hill, between 1,000 and 2,000 people assembled throughout the morning and afternoon. The crowd received instructions to move apart, and individuals were then told reach their hands to the sky and pretend they were clocks. Next, they were told to chant “TckTckTck!” while rotating arms in analog fashion. TckTckTck … TckTckTck … faster! Faster! It is no stretch of the imagination to envision Havas and their corporate CEO friends – friends who push for more nuclear power, more genetic engineering, more cloning, more water privatization, more growth, more consumption – sitting back and laughing their asses off at those of us at Parliament Hill and all around the globe that day, people-clocks chanting their corporate branded slogan TckTckTck as the world burned.

Denialism

Big greens want us to believe that we will fall into a pit of despair once we accept the situation as dire and will become immobilized. Is this true? No. In fact, history demonstrates time and time again that when faced with cataclysmic emergencies, people and communities pull together. Facing disaster, citizens of nations have shown they can unite for the common good. Sure, when we face the facts that now exist, despair is only human. The question is whether acknowledging our circumstances will immobilize us or give us the truth we need to face a daunting task. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche distinguished between what he called the “pessimism of strength” and the “pessimism of weakness”. “Pessimism of weakness” means succumbing to apathy in the face of overwhelming odds. “Pessimism of strength” means facing up to the facts, acknowledging the danger fully, and making a decision about how best to act. In other words, fear is good, and these parameters define our sense of responsibility.

Big greens are certainly aware that we are now in a death-spiral brought about by the capitalist, consumptive, and corporate domination of society. Yet they actively choose to remain muzzled on the subject. Power structures in place today do not act, and never will act, to stop climate change, because the changes so desperately needed by those most vulnerable on the planet are in direct conflict to the needs and rapacious desires of capital. Capital has no empathy. Capital has no children to love and protect. Capital has only one imperative, and that is to grow. Under the current economic system, the penultimate measure of success is profit. Corporations exist to maximize profits while externalizing costs. That is their nature. They cannot behave otherwise. Spewing greenhouse gases, toxins, and chemicals into the environment is a fundamental feature of capitalism employed by modern corporations and governments, and accounts for most of the pollutants directed into our air, water, and earth. Waste, pollution, and ecological destruction are built into the system.

Retribution

September 27th, 2010. From Chris Hedges Column on TruthDig:

“Nemesis was the Greek goddess of retribution. She exacted divine punishment on arrogant mortals who believed they could defy the gods, turn themselves into objects of worship and build ruthless systems of power to control the world around them. The price of such hubris was almost always death. Nemesis, related to the Greek word némein, means “to give what is due.” Our nemesis fast approaches. We will get what we are due. The staggering myopia of our corrupt political and economic elite, which plunder the nation’s wealth for financial speculation and endless war, the mass retreat of citizens into virtual hallucinations, the collapsing edifices around us, which include the ecosystem that sustains life, are ignored for a giddy self-worship.”

Are we ready for such reflection? Is it past time to start talking about the core issues, the root causes of climate change? Is it past time to start questioning why those who claim to speak for civil society refuse to discuss these very issues?

The most provocative tool for comprehending abject behavior we have learned as climate justice activists is this: when issues are not being tackled by directly addressing the root of the problem, one must ask why.

To answer this question, this “why”, we have discovered there is one tactic which uncovers more information than any other single tactic.

It is this:

Follow the money.

Funding 10:10:10

This 350.org project, 10:10:10, in whole or in part, is funded by Global Greengrants Fund (GGF), an entity which works with, and receives funding from, the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation and others, including ‘1% for the Planet’ (slogan: “Keep Earth in Business”). On July 21, 2010, GGF announced a partnership with 350.org: “Greengrants is excited to launch a new initiative of the Greengrants Climate Fund: the 350 Project Fund. Led by 350.org, the campaign to build a global movement for climate solutions, this initiative builds momentum and funds for climate solutions worldwide.”

Who is Global Greengrants? GGF states: “Our advisers and partners are currently focusing on REDD and REDD+ efforts around climate mitigation. REDD stands for ‘Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and (forest) Degradation’. It is one of the areas of discussion at COP15 where some believe the most positive movement was made.”

In fact, REDD is one of the most contentious false solutions being fought by Indigenous peoples and grassroots climate activists all over the world. GGF has announced that through the establishment of their new pro-REDD ‘Climate Fund’, they were, and remain, involved in sponsoring delegates to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conferences such as COP15. This has proven to be a very successful formula for ensuring that anti-REDD Indigenous voices have been silenced from international conferences and climate talks, conveying to the general public the falsehood that REDD has been embraced far and wide. Those with no financial means to attend COP quite effectively have their mouths gagged and therefore become invisible on the global stage.

Those who agree with false solutions continue to be funded. Those who do not are replaced.

From the Rockefeller site:
RBF grantee Sustainable Markets Foundation’s 350.org launched its new web site, gearing up for “10/10/10, the Global Work Party” on October 10, 2010. Organizers are encouraging individuals worldwide to do something to combat global warming in their communities. More than a thousand groups in over 100 countries already have registered their events with 350.org, which include a bicycle repair day in New Zealand, planting thousands of trees in Uganda, and installing solar stoves for a carbon-neutral picnic in Bolivia.

These are all nice events, and are likely being organized by well-intentioned individuals. Unfortunately, none of them – or any semblance of them – will save us from catastrophic climate change.

Has the climate crisis (d)evolved into a mere Earth Day event to be held on an annual basis – a festive party to be celebrated? The symbolic Earth Hour, organized by industrial nonprofit complex World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), is now held each spring. 350.org a.k.a. Sustainable Markets Foundation a.k.a. 350.org Project a.k.a. 10:10:10 now claims a global climate party in the fall. Perhaps if we participate in Earth Hour or the Global Day of Action (or both!), and recycle our cans, bottles, and paper products at home, we can all feel we did our part until next year.

The Rockefellers certainly would like us to think so.

The Rockefeller family – think big oil (as big as oil gets) – is another primary funder of 350.org (Sustainable Markets Foundation). The Rockefellers, with other members of the plutocracy such as the Clinton family, were also instrumental in the creation of 1Sky, sister of 350.org. An organization which pushes false solutions and grossly inadequate climate legislation under the guise of ‘grassroots’ democracy, 1Sky is a prime example of an NGO created for the power elite. It operates as a think tank where past, present, and future policy analysts, high-ranking government officials, business leaders and CEOs, intellectuals, journalists, and conservative activists come together to develop political vision and strategy. Many well-intentioned, well-respected individuals are manipulated into lending their involvement to such institutes, which in turn lends credibility to 1Sky, 350.org, and their ilk when they deserve none.

We would like to name every foundation and corporate entity that funds 350.org and 10:10:10, and how many hundreds of thousands of dollars they receive to implement the tactics of manipulation put forth by their corporate partners, but they choose not to respond to our requests for information. Likewise, they refuse to share the information on their websites, or in any other public forum.

Why it Matters

“It’s difficult to get a man to understand something if his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” Upton Sinclair

Whether directly or indirectly, industry and industry-linked foundations steer environmental organizations away from grassroots movements and create an elite-structured caviar class of environmentalists financially motivated to pursue ‘business as usual’ solutions. Today there is a deafening silence as well as cries for censorship on this critical topic, even within the climate justice movement itself.

Silence kills and silence is complicity in the escalating climate disruption, climate emergency and climate genocide that is predicted to kill billions this century. Earth and paleoclimate scientist, Dr. Andrew Glikson of the Australian National University states that “informed people are now staring into the abyss”.

Pablo Eisenberg at Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute has stated, “although we know that our socioeconomic, ecological, and political problems are interrelated, a growing portion of our nonprofit world nevertheless continues to operate in a way that fails to reflect this complexity and connectedness.” This unwillingness to confront the broader issues of climate change such as militarism, livestock, and the capitalistic practices inherent in the current corporatocracy, is at the heart of the crisis of the climate change movement. Behind closed doors, the organizations manipulating and exploiting 10:10:10 know and understand the dilemma created by their infatuation with the corporate power structure. Yet the big greens refuse to advance these fundamental issues. And to be fair, they can’t. For if they were to be effective, in a meaningful way that actually started a paradigm shift, they would quickly be cut off from their generous ‘partners’. These groups have become barriers to the movement. They no longer represent civil society, but stand as walls to protect the system. They utilize the coercive tactic of inviting supposed leaders of civil society into sanitized circles of power, and simultaneously repress the rank and file climate movement.

Why are the big greens and compromised NGOs spewing out meaningless targets for legislation which do nothing more than ensure a death sentence for humanity? It is because they have become corporations themselves. They are, in essence, subsidiaries of the very corporations that they claim to oppose. There can be no meaningful mass movement when dissent itself is generously funded by those same corporate interests who must be targets of the protest movement.

In this short RSA Animate, radical sociologist David Harvey asks if it is time to look beyond capitalism, towards a new social order that would allow us to live within a system that could be responsible, just and humane. (View his full lecture at the RSA).

Reading Between the Lies

We must start turning off the faucets of the propaganda machine. Information flows from dominate forces that keep our society passive, dumbed down and stupefied. Humans display a universal propensity to deny uncomfortable realities—we actively repress intelligence and reason. Big Greens now employ marketing strategists to poll the public in order to ensure any messaging is palatable before campaigns and campaign messages are rolled out. This ensures the sad fact that the mainstream movement no longer leads, but rather capitulates to the status quo. The movement is now being shaped by marketing executives rather than activists. Big greens simply tell the public what they (the big greens) calculate the public wants to hear while at the same time protecting the system upon which they (the big greens) feast. Unfortunately, for ourselves and for our children, such denialism will ensure humanity’s certain famine – and ultimate demise.

“The masses have never thirsted after truth. They turn aside from evidence that is not to their taste, preferring to deify error, if error seduce them. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim” – Gustave Le Bon 1895.

“For us to maintain our way of living, we must… tell lies to each other, and especially to ourselves… the lies act as barriers to truth. These barriers… are necessary because without them many deplorable acts would become impossibilities” – Derrick Jensen 2000.

Now we have three partners slithering out of the rot of the decayed carcass that was the climate change movement: 350.org, Greenpeace, and Rainforest Action Network (RAN) have joined hands to sing a new version of Kumbayah with the grand illusion of waking the dead, and anyone can join the circle of song – provided we adhere to their guidelines. God forbid we challenge the system for what it is – a rapacious beast devouring humanity in the name of capitalism. Doing that doesn’t provide the win-win type of ‘solution’ these groups and their funders demand. Don’t begin to consider surprise actions that challenge corporate elites and the political structure directly. Don’t be provocative. Don’t plan for the potential need for self-defense. Don’t disturb dinner plans. Don’t miss yoga class.

Follow the lead of Bill McKibben (350.org), Phil Radford (Greenpeace USA), and Becky Tarbotton (RAN) and put three additional nails into the coffin of humanity. The Earth is beyond reacting to the tactics employed by those controlled by corporations, shared by tweets, and defined by actions that happen on a Saturday afternoon and end just in time for the next episode of Law and Order.

Aggressive action is required.

Mario Savio and Peter Camejo knew this. In the 1960’s they galvanized the souls of Berkeley into a force that would not be denied, and would not be repressed.

Those of us in the climate fight must not be denied, and we must not be repressed.

“Who raises money to protect rainforests yet greenwashes their first time logging? Who celebrates their 25th anniversary twice? Who has no scientists yet sets policy it refuses to defend? Rainforest Action Network @RAN of course.” – Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet

Climate reality dictates that there are no solutions within our cushy envelopes of political negotiation. We no longer have the luxury of playing nice and limiting sacrifice. There is no reason for our favorite big environmental groups to sit down with industry and hammer out a compromise; the Earth is already screaming at us that half-measures won’t work. There is no reason to believe that if we change a bunch of light bulbs or recycle all those plastic bottles or rock our Prius on the way to a Global Work Party we are part of the solution. We aren’t. We must strive for what defeatists and their enablers deem impossible. The science dictates a systemic upheaval that will shock us all, and we can choose to endure, or choose to die.

The alarms are sounding. All 5 of them. And we ask you this: if your neighbor’s house is burning, and you called 911 twenty minutes ago, and there has been no response, what would you do? Would you fill a bucket from your sink, toss the water on the blaze, pat yourself on the back, and conclude you’ve done your part? Would you throw a party next to the blaze with other neighbors, cheering the fact that they also brought their buckets of water? Or would you realize the structure, as it once stood, is now lost, and it is time to rebuild a better one, perhaps resistant to flame?

None of the placating, enabling, corrupt entities herein is prepared to tell you the truth. Most of them recognize it, as they have seen the same science we have. They understand the deadly consequences of ocean acidification, plankton kills, methane releases, ice shelf deterioration, and temperature extremes; yet their agenda, cozy as it sounds through rhetoric and repetition, does nothing to curtail this reality: the truth will hurt.

We have no time to argue over strategy and tactics. We have limited time (and only the planet really knows what hour it is) to implement massive, global changes. And we have a system in place that will refuse and refute every critical mode for the required paradigm shift part and parcel. That leaves little choice for those of us alive today.

The carbon economy must end. An optimist should say we have until 2020 to accomplish that. By every means necessary we must bring it to an end. We believe that requires an absolute refusal on the part of us, the masses, to continue to participate in it.

Pick a date, and after? Don’t participate.

Attend the Global Work Party. And when you realize the effort is going nowhere, let that uncomfortable reality demonstrate that we should attend a Global Work Shutdown.

The truth is not, and will not be, televised. We must collectively recognize that the solution set we must enact is far more complex than any one of us currently believes, or can rightly handle within the constructs of current society. Tactics that generate financial upheaval, such as refusal to pay debts to banking institutions, must be employed. Corporations must be exorcised through aggressive carbon taxation in the short-term, and severed from the subsidizing bonds to governments of the people. Criminal prosecutions against complicit individuals, corporations, and countries must take place. The car must die. Corporate media and irrelevant distraction must be abandoned. The insatiable, commodified narcissism poisoning our culture must fade. As it does, an new age of creativity and imagination must reawaken with fervor, re-energizing both the spirit and the means of our global community.

Wake up. Tear down. Rise Up.

“Humans claim to be uniquely capable of logical thought, forward planning and moral judgment. None of these unique capabilities are evident in the mainstream international dialogue on responses to climate change. The time has come to rise above primitive tribal instincts and exercise our full human capacities in confronting climate change. The time has come to act with intelligence, foresight and compassion for the mutual benefit of all.” – William Rees – originator of the “ecological footprint” concept and co-developer of the method.

The People’s Movement has been Hijacked – Manufacturing Dissent

“Manufacturing Dissent”: the Anti-globalization Movement is Funded by the Corporate Elites

Michel Chossudovsky and General Joe | 23.09.2010 04:31 | Analysis | Anti-militarism | Social Struggles | World

“How is the process of manufacturing dissent achieved?
Essentially by “funding dissent”, namely by channelling financial resources from those who are the object of the protest movement to those who are involved in organizing the protest movement.
Co-optation is not limited to buying the favors of politicians. The economic elites –which control major foundations– also oversee the funding of numerous NGOs and civil society organizations, which historically have been involved in the protest movement against the established economic and social order. The programs of many NGOs and people’s movements rely heavily on both public as well as private funding agencies including the Ford, Rockefeller, McCarthy foundations, among others.
The anti-globalization movement is opposed to Wall Street and the Texas oil giants controlled by Rockefeller, et al. Yet the foundations and charities of Rockefeller et al will generously fund progressive anti-capitalist networks as well as environmentalists (opposed to Big Oil) with a view to ultimately overseeing and shaping their various activities.”

The People’s Movement has been Hijacked
by Michel Chossudovsky

“Everything the [Ford] Foundation did could be regarded as “making the World safe for capitalism”, reducing social tensions by helping to comfort the afflicted, provide safety valves for the angry, and improve the functioning of government (McGeorge Bundy, National Security Advisor to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson (1961-1966), President of the Ford Foundation, (1966-1979))???”By providing the funding and the policy framework to many concerned and dedicated people working within the non-profit sector, the ruling class is able to co-opt leadership from grassroots communities, … and is able to make the funding, accounting, and evaluation components of the work so time consuming and onerous that social justice work is virtually impossible under these conditions” (Paul Kivel, You call this Democracy, Who Benefits, Who Pays and Who Really Decides, 2004, p. 122 )???”Under the New World Order, the ritual of inviting “civil society” leaders into the inner circles of power –while simultaneously repressing the rank and file– serves several important functions. First, it says to the World that the critics of globalization “must make concessions” to earn the right to mingle. Second, it conveys the illusion that while the global elites should –under what is euphemistically called democracy– be subject to criticism, they nonetheless rule legitimately. And third, it says “there is no alternative” to globalization: fundamental change is not possible and the most we can hope is to engage with these rulers in an ineffective “give and take”. ??While the “Globalizers” may adopt a few progressive phrases to demonstrate they have good intentions, their fundamental goals are not challenged. And what this “civil society mingling” does is to reinforce the clutch of the corporate establishment while weakening and dividing the protest movement. An understanding of this process of co-optation is important, because tens of thousands of the most principled young people in Seattle, Prague and Quebec City [1999-2001] are involved in the anti-globalization protests because they reject the notion that money is everything, because they reject the impoverishment of millions and the destruction of fragile Earth so that a few may get richer.
This rank and file and some of their leaders as well, are to be applauded. But we need to go further. We need to challenge the right of the “Globalizers” to rule. This requires that we rethink the strategy of protest. Can we move to a higher plane, by launching mass movements in our respective countries, movements that bring the message of what globalization is doing, to ordinary people? For they are the force that must be mobilized to challenge those who plunder the Globe.” (Michel Chossudovsky, The Quebec Wall, April 2001)
The term “manufacturing consent” was initially coined by Edward S Herman and Noam Chomsky.
“Manufacturing consent” describes a propaganda model used by the corporate media to sway public opinion and “inculcate individuals with values and beliefs…”:
The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function to amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfill this role requires systematic propaganda. (Manufacturing Consent by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky)
“Manufacturing consent” implies manipulating and shaping public opinion. It establishes conformity and acceptance to authority and social hierarchy. It seeks compliance to an established social order. “Manufacturing consent” describes the submission of public opinion to the mainstream media narrative, to its lies and fabrications.
“Manufacturing dissent”??In this article, we focus on a related concept, namely the process of “manufacturing dissent” (rather than “consent”), which plays a decisive role in serving the interests of the ruling class.
Under contemporary capitalism, the illusion of democracy must prevail. It is in the interest of the corporate elites to accept dissent and protest as a feature of the system inasmuch as they do not threaten the established social order. The purpose is not to repress dissent, but, on the contrary, to shape and mould the protest movement, to set the outer limits of dissent.
To maintain their legitimacy, the economic elites favor limited and controlled forms of opposition, with a view to preventing the development of radical forms of protest, which might shake the very foundations and institutions of global capitalism. In other words, “manufacturing dissent” acts as a “safety valve”, which protects and sustains the New World Order.
To be effective, however, the process of “manufacturing dissent” must be carefully regulated and monitored by those who are the object of the protest movement.
“Funding Dissent”
How is the process of manufacturing dissent achieved?
Essentially by “funding dissent”, namely by channelling financial resources from those who are the object of the protest movement to those who are involved in organizing the protest movement.
Co-optation is not limited to buying the favors of politicians. The economic elites –which control major foundations– also oversee the funding of numerous NGOs and civil society organizations, which historically have been involved in the protest movement against the established economic and social order. The programs of many NGOs and people’s movements rely heavily on both public as well as private funding agencies including the Ford, Rockefeller, McCarthy foundations, among others.
The anti-globalization movement is opposed to Wall Street and the Texas oil giants controlled by Rockefeller, et al. Yet the foundations and charities of Rockefeller et al will generously fund progressive anti-capitalist networks as well as environmentalists (opposed to Big Oil) with a view to ultimately overseeing and shaping their various activities.
The mechanisms of “manufacturing dissent” require a manipulative environment, a process of arm-twisting and subtle cooptation of individuals within progressive organizations, including anti-war coalitions, environmentalists and the anti-globalization movement.
Whereas the mainstream media “manufactures consent”, the complex network of NGOs (including segments of the alternative media) are used by the corporate elites to mould and manipulate the protest movement.
Following the deregulation of the global financial system in the 1990s and the rapid enrichment of the financial establishment, funding through foundations and charities has skyrocketed. In a bitter irony, part of the fraudulent financial gains on Wall Street in recent years have been recycled to the elites’ tax exempt foundations and charities. These windfall financial gains have not only been used to buy out politicians, they have also been channelled to NGOs, research institutes, community centres, church groups, environmentalists, alternative media, human rights groups, etc. “Manufactured dissent” also applies to “corporate left” and “progressive media” funded by NGOs or directly by the foundations.
The inner objective is to “manufacture dissent” and establish the boundaries of a “politically correct” opposition. In turn, many NGOs are infiltrated by informants often acting on behalf of western intelligence agencies. Moreover, an increasingly large segment of the progressive alternative news media on the internet has become dependent on funding from corporate foundations and charities.
Piecemeal Activism
The objective of the corporate elites has been to fragment the people’s movement into a vast “do it yourself” mosaic. War and globalization are no longer in the forefront of civil society activism. Activism tends to be piecemeal. There is no integrated anti-globalization anti-war movement. The economic crisis is not seen as having a relationship to the US led war.
Dissent has been compartmentalized. Separate “issue oriented” protest movements (e.g. environment, anti-globalization, peace, women’s rights, climate change) are encouraged and generously funded as opposed to a cohesive mass movement. This mosaic was already prevalent in the counter G7 summits and People’s Summits of the 1990s.
The Anti-Globalization Movement
The Seattle 1999 counter-summit is invariably upheld as a triumph for the anti-globalization movement: “a historic coalition of activists shut down the World Trade Organization summit in Seattle, the spark that ignited a global anti-corporate movement.” (See Naomi Klein, Copenhagen: Seattle Grows Up, The Nation, November 13, 2009).
Seattle was an indeed an important crossroads in the history of the mass movement. Over 50,000 people from diverse backgrounds, civil society organizations, human rights, labor unions, environmentalists had come together in a common pursuit. Their goal was to forecefully dismantle the neoliberal agenda including its institutional base.
But Seattle also marked a major reversal. With mounting dissent from all sectors of society, the official WTO Summit desperately needed the token participation of civil society leaders “on the inside”, to give the appearance of being “democratic” on the outside.
While thousands of people had converged on Seattle, what occurred behind the scenes was a de facto victory for neoliberalism. A handful of civil society organizations, formally opposed the WTO had contributed to legitimizing the WTO’s global trading architecture. Instead of challenging the WTO as an an illegal intergovernmental body, they agreed to a pre-summit dialogue with the WTO and Western governments. “Accredited NGO participants were invited to mingle in a friendly environment with ambassadors, trade ministers and Wall Street tycoons at several of the official events including the numerous cocktail parties and receptions.” (Michel Chossudovsky, Seattle and Beyond: Disarming the New World Order , Covert Action Quarterly, November 1999, See Ten Years Ago: “Manufacturing Dissent” in Seattle).
The hidden agenda was to weaken and divide the protest movement and orient the anti-globalization movement into areas that would not directly threaten the interests of the business establishment.
Funded by private foundations (including Ford, Rockefeller, Rockefeller Brothers, Charles Stewart Mott, The Foundation for Deep Ecology), these “accredited” civil society organizations had positioned themselves as lobby groups, acting formally on behalf of the people’s movement. Led by prominent and committed activists, their hands were tied. They ultimately contributed (unwittingly) to weakening the anti-globalization movement by accepting the legitimacy of what was essentially an illegal organization. (The 1994 Marrakech Summit agreement which led to the creation of the WTO on January 1, 1995). (Ibid)
The NGO leaders were fully aware as to where the money was coming from. Yet within the US and European NGO community, the foundations and charities are considered to be independent philanthropic bodies, separate from the corporations; namely the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, for instance, is considered to be separate and distinct from the Rockefeller family empire of banks and oil companies.
With salaries and operating expenses depending on private foundations, it became an accepted routine: In a twisted logic, the battle against corporate capitalism was to be be fought using the funds from the tax exempt foundations owned by corporate capitalism.
The NGOs were caught in a straightjacket; their very existence depended on the foundations. Their activities were closely monitored. In a twisted logic, the very nature of anti-capitalist activism was indirectly controlled by the capitalists through their independent foundations.
“Progressive Watchdogs”
In this evolving saga, the corporate elites whose interests are duly served by the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO, will readily fund (through their various foundations and charities) organizations which are at the forefront of the protest movement against the WTO and the Washington based international financial institutions.
Supported by foundation money, various “watchdogs” were set up by the NGOs to monitor the implementation of neoliberal policies, without however raising the broader issue of how the Bretton Woods twins and the WTO, through their policies, had contributed to the impoverishment of millions of people.
The Structural Adjustment Participatory Review Network (SAPRIN) was established by Development Gap, a USAID and World Bank funded NGO based in Washington DC.
Amply documented, the imposition of the IMF-World Bank Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) on developing countries constitutes a blatant form of interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states on behalf of creditor institutions.
Instead of challenging the legitimacy of the IMF-World Bank’s “deadly economic medicine”, SAPRIN’s core organization sought to establish a participatory role for the NGOs, working hand in glove with USAID and the World Bank. The objective was to give a “human face” to the neoliberal policy agenda, rather than reject the IMF-World Bank policy framework outright:
“SAPRIN is the global civil-society network that took its name from the Structural Adjustment Participatory Review Initiative (SAPRI), which it launched with the World Bank and its president, Jim Wolfensohn, in 1997.
SAPRI is designed as a tripartite exercise to bring together organizations of civil society, their governments and the World Bank in a joint review of structural adjustment programs (SAPs) and an exploration of new policy options. It is legitimizing an active role for civil society in economic decision-making, as it is designed to indicate areas in which changes in economic policies and in the economic-policymaking process are required. ( http://www.saprin.org/overview.htm SAPRIN website, emphasis added)
Similarly, The Trade Observatory (formerly WTO Watch), operating out of Geneva, is a project of the Minneapolis based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), which is generously funded by Ford, Rockefeller, Charles Stewart Mott among others. (see Table 1 below).
The Trade Observatory has a mandate to monitor the World Trade Organization (WTO), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA and the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). (IATP, About Trade Observatory, accessed September 2010).
The Trade Observatory is also to develop data and information as well as foster “governance” and “accountability”. Accountability to the victims of WTO policies or accountability to the protagonists of neoliberal reforms?
The Trade Observatory watchdog functions does not in any way threaten the WTO. Quite the opposite: the legitimacy of the trade organizations and agreements are never questioned.
Table 1 Minneapolis Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) largest donors ?(for complete list click here)
Ford Foundation $2,612,500.00 1994 – 2006
Rockefeller Brothers Fund $2,320,000.00 1995 – 2005
Charles Stewart Mott Foundation $1,391,000.00 1994 – 2005
McKnight Foundation $1,056,600.00 1995 – 2005
Joyce Foundation $748,000.00 1996 – 2004
Bush Foundation $610,000.00 2001 – 2006
Bauman Family Foundation $600,000.00 1994 – 2006
Great Lakes Protection Fund $580,000.00 1995 – 2000
John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation $554,100.00 1991 – 2003
John Merck Fund $490,000.00 1992 – 2003
Harold K. Hochschild Foundation $486,600.00 1997 – 2005
Foundation for Deep Ecology $417,500.00 1991 – 2001
Jennifer Altman Foundation $366,500.00 1992 – 2001
Rockefeller Foundation $344,134.00 2000 – 2004
Soruce: http://activistcash.com/organization_financials.cfm/o/16-institute-for-agriculture-and-trade-policy
The World Economic Forum. “All Roads Lead to Davos”
The people’s movement has been hijacked. Selected intellectuals, trade union executives, and the leaders of civil society organizations (including Oxfam, Amnesty International, Greenpeace) are routinely invited to the Davos World Economic Forum, where they mingle with the World’s most powerful economic and political actors. This mingling of the World’s corporate elites with hand-picked “progressives” is part of the ritual underlying the process of “manufacturing dissent”.
The ploy is to selectively handpick civil society leaders “whom we can trust” and integrate them into a “dialogue”, cut them off from their rank and file, make them feel that they are “global citizens” acting on behalf of their fellow workers but make them act in a way which serves the interests of the corporate establishment:
“The participation of NGOs in the Annual Meeting in Davos is evidence of the fact that [we] purposely seek to integrate a broad spectrum of the major stakeholders in society in … defining and advancing the global agenda … We believe the [Davos] World Economic Forum provides the business community with the ideal framework for engaging in collaborative efforts with the other principal stakeholders [NGOs] of the global economy to “improve the state of the world,” which is the Forum’s mission. (World Economic Forum, Press Release 5 January 2001)
The WEF does not represent the broader business community. It is an elitist gathering: Its members are giant global corporations (with a minimum $5 billion annual turnover). The selected non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are viewed as partner “stakeholders” as well as a convenient “mouthpiece for the voiceless who are often left out of decision-making processes.” (World Economic Forum – Non-Governmental Organizations, 2010)
“They [the NGOs] play a variety of roles in partnering with the Forum to improve the state of the world, including serving as a bridge between business, government and civil society, connecting the policy makers to the grassroots, bringing practical solutions to the table…” (Ibid)
Civil society “partnering” with global corporations on behalf of “the voiceless”, who are “left out”?
Trade union executives are also co-opted to the detriment of workers’ rights. The leaders of the International Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU), the AFL-CIO, the European Trade Union Confederation, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), among others, are routinely invited to attend both the annual WEF meetings in Davos, Switzerland as well as to the regional summits. They also participate in the WEF’s Labour Leaders Community which focuses on mutually acceptable patterns of behavior for the labor movement. The WEF “believes that the voice of Labour is important to dynamic dialogue on issues of globalisation, economic justice, transparency and accountability, and ensuring a healthy global financial system.”
“Ensuring a healthy global financial system” wrought by fraud and corruption? The issue of workers’ rights is not mentioned. (World Economic Forum – Labour Leaders, 2010).
The World Social Forum: “Another World Is Possible”
The 1999 Seattle counter-summit in many regards laid the foundations for the development of the World Social Forum.
The first gathering of the World Social Forum took place in January 2001, in Porto Alegre, Brazil. This international gathering involved the participation of tens of thousands of activists from grass-roots organizations and NGOs.
The WSF gathering of NGOs and progressive organizations has been held simultaneously with the Davos World Economic Forum (WEF). It was intended to voice opposition and dissent to the World Economic Forum of corporate leaders and finance ministers.
The WSF at the outset was an initiative of France’s ATTAC and several Brazilian NGOs’:
“… In February 2000, Bernard Cassen, the head of a French NGO platform ATTAC, Oded Grajew, head of a Brazilian employers’ organisation, and Francisco Whitaker, head of an association of Brazilian NGOs, met to discuss a proposal for a “world civil society event”; by March 2000, they formally secured the support of the municipal government of Porto Alegre and the state government of Rio Grande do Sul, both controlled at the time by the Brazilian Workers’ Party (PT)…. A group of French NGOs, including ATTAC, Friends of L’Humanité, and Friends of Le Monde Diplomatique, sponsored an Alternative Social Forum in Paris titled “One Year after Seattle”, in order to prepare an agenda for the protests to be staged at the upcoming European Union summit at Nice. The speakers called for “reorienting certain international institutions such as the IMF, World Bank, WTO… so as to create a globalization from below” and “building an international citizens’ movement, not to destroy the IMF but to reorient its missions.” (Research Unit For Political Economy, The Economics and Politics of the World Social Forum, Global Research, January 20, 2004)
From the outset in 2001, the WSF was supported by core funding from the Ford Foundation, which is known to have ties to the CIA going back to the 1950s: “The CIA uses philanthropic foundations as the most effective conduit to channel large sums of money to Agency projects without alerting the recipients to their source.” (James Petras, The Ford Foundation and the CIA, Global Research, September 18, 2002)
The same procedure of donor funded counter-summits or people’s summits which characterized the 1990s People’s Summits was embodied in the World Social Forum (WSF):
“… other WSF funders (or `partners’, as they are referred to in WSF terminology) included the Ford Foundation, — suffice it to say here that it has always operated in the closest collaboration with the US Central Intelligence Agency and US overall strategic interests; the Heinrich Boll Foundation, which is controlled by the German Greens party, a partner in the present [2003] German government and a supporter of the wars on Yugoslavia and Afghanistan (its leader Joschka Fischer is the [former] German foreign minister); and major funding agencies such as Oxfam (UK), Novib (Netherlands), ActionAid (UK), and so on.
Remarkably, an International Council member of the WSF reports that the “considerable funds” received from these agencies have “not hitherto awakened any significant debates [in the WSF bodies] on the possible relations of dependence it could generate.” Yet he admits that “in order to get funding from the Ford Foundation, the organisers had to convince the foundation that the Workers Party was not involved in the process.” Two points are worth noting here. First, this establishes that the funders were able to twist arms and determine the role of different forces in the WSF — they needed to be `convinced’ of the credentials of those who would be involved. Secondly, if the funders objected to the participation of the thoroughly domesticated Workers Party, they would all the more strenuously object to prominence being given to genuinely anti-imperialist forces. That they did so object will be become clear as we describe who was included and who excluded from the second and third meets of the WSF….
… The question of funding [of the WSF] does not even figure in the charter of principles of the WSF, adopted in June 2001. Marxists, being materialists, would point out that one should look at the material base of the forum to grasp its nature. (One indeed does not have to be a Marxist to understand that “he who pays the piper calls the tune”.) But the WSF does not agree. It can draw funds from imperialist institutions like Ford Foundation while fighting “domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism” (Research Unit For Political Economy, The Economics and Politics of the World Social Forum, Global Research, January 20, 2004)
The Ford Foundation provided core support to the WSF, with indirect contributions to participating “partner organizations” from the McArthur Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the W. Alton Jones Foundation, the European Commission, several European governments (including the Labour government of Tony Blair), the Canadian government, as well as a number of UN bodies (including UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP, ILO and the FAO) .(Ibid).
In addition to initial core support from the Ford Foundation, many of the participating civil society organizations receive funding from major foundations and charities. In turn, the US and European based NGOs often operate as secondary funding agencies channelling Ford and Rockefeller money towards partner organizations in developing countries, including grassroots peasant and human rights movements.
The International Council (IC) of the WSF is made up of representatives from NGOs, trade unions, alternative media organizations, research institutes, many of which are heavily funded by foundations as well as governments. (See Fórum Social Mundial). The same trade unions, which are routinely invited to mingle with Wall Street CEOs at the Davos World Economic Forum (WSF) including the AFL-CIO, the European Trade Union Confederation and the Canadian Labor Congress (CLC) also sit on the WSF’s International Council (IC). Among NGOs funded by major foundations sitting on the WSF’s IC is the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) (see our analysis above) which oversees the Geneva based Trade Observatory.
The Funders Network on Trade and Globalization (FTNG), which has observer status on the WSF International Council plays a key role. While channelling financial support to the WSF, it acts as a clearing house for major foundations. The FTNG describes itself as “an alliance of grant makers committed to building just and sustainable communities around the world”. Members of this alliance are Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers, Heinrich Boell, C. S. Mott, Merck Family Foundation, Open Society Institute, Tides, among others. (For a complete list of FTNG funding agencies see FNTG: Funders). FTNG acts as a fund raising entity on behalf of the WSF.
Western Governments Fund the Counter-Summits and Repress the Protest Movement
In a bitter irony, governments including the European Union grant money to fund progressive groups (including the WSF) involved in organizing protests against the very same governments which finance their activities.
“Governments, too, have been significant financiers of protest groups. The European Commission, for example, funded two groups who mobilised large numbers of people to protest at EU summits at Gothenburg and Nice. Britain’s national lottery, which is overseen by the government, helped fund a group at the heart of the British contingent at both protests.” (James Harding, Counter-capitalism, FT.com, October 15 2001)
We are dealing with a diabolical process: The host government finances the official summit as well as the NGOs actively involved in the Counter-Summit. It also funds the anti-riot police operation which has a mandate to repress the grassroots participants of the Counter-Summit.
The purpose of these combined operations, including violent actions committed by anti-riot police forces (including larcen and vandalism), is to discredit the protest movement and intimidate its participants. The broader objective is to transform the counter-summit into a ritual of dissent, which serves to uphold the interests of the official summit and the host government. This logic has prevailed in numerous counter summits since the 1990s.
At the 2001 Summit of the America in Quebec City, funding from the Canadian federal government to mainstream NGOs and trade unions was granted under certain conditions. A large segment of the protest movement was de facto excluded from the People’s Summit. This in itself led a second parallel venue, which some observers described as a “a counter-People’s Summit. In turn, organizers agreed with both the provincial and federal authorities that the protest march would be move towards a remote location some 10 km out of town, rather than towards the historical downtown area were the official FTAA summit was being held behind a heavily guarded “security perimeter”.
“Rather than marching toward the perimeter fence and the Summit of the Americas meetings, march organizers chose a route that marched from the People’s Summit away from the fence, through largely empty residential areas to the parking lot of a stadium in a vacant area several miles away. Henri Masse, the president of the Federation des travailleurs et travailleuses du Quebec (FTQ), explained, “I deplore that we are so far from the center-city…. But it was a question of security.” One thousand marshals from the FTQ kept very tight control over the march. When the march came to the point where some activists planned to split off and go up the hill to the fence, FTQ marshals signalled the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) contingent walking behind CUPE to sit down and stop the march so that FTQ marshals could lock arms and prevent others from leaving the official march route.” (Katherine Dwyer, Lessons of Quebec City, International Socialist Review, June/July 2001)

Security Perimeter, Quebec City 2001??The Summit of the Americas was held inside a four kilometer ?”bunker” made of concrete and galvanized steel fencing. The ?10 feet high “Quebec Wall” encircled part of the historic city ?center including the parliamentary compound of the National ?Assembly, hotels and shopping areas.

Quebec City, April 2001

Quebec City 2001, Building the Security fence

Quebec City April 2001

Toronto G20 Security Fence $5.5 million, June 2010
NGO Leaders versus their Grassroots
The establishment of the World Social Forum (WSF) in 2001 was unquestionably a historical landmark, bringing together tens of thousands of committed activists. It was an important venue which allowed for the exchange of ideas and the establishment of ties of solidarity.
What is at stake is the ambivalent role of the leaders of progressive organizations. Their cozy and polite relationship to the inner circles of power, to corporate and government funding, aid agencies, the World Bank, etc, undermines their relationship and responsibilities to their rank and file. The objective of manufactured dissent is precisely that: to distance the leaders from their rank and file as a means to effectively silencing and weakening grassroots actions.
Most of the grassroots participating organizations in the World Social Forum including peasant, workers’ and student organizations, firmly committed to combating neoliberalism were unaware of the WSF International Council’s relationship to corporate funding, negotiated behind their backs by a handful of NGO leaders with ties to both official and private funding agencies.
Funding to progressive organizations is not unconditional. Its purpose is to “pacify” and manipulate the protest movement. Precise conditionalities are set by the funding agencies. If they are not met, the disbursements are discontinued and the recipient NGO is driven into de facto bankruptcy due to lack of funds.
The WSF defines itself as “an open meeting place for reflective thinking, democratic debate of ideas, formulation of proposals, free exchange of experiences and inter-linking for effective action, by groups and movements of civil society that are opposed to neo-liberalism and to domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism, and are committed to building a society centred on the human person”. (See Fórum Social Mundial, accessed 2010).
The WSF is a mosaic of individual initiatives which does not directly threaten or challenge the legitimacy of global capitalism and its institutions. It meets annually. It is characterised by a multitude of sessions and workshops. In this regard, one of the features of the WSF was to retain the “do-it-yourself” framework, characteristic of the donor funded counter G7 People’s Summits of the 1990s.
This apparent disorganized structure is deliberate. While favoring debate on a number of individual topics, the WSF framework is not conducive to the articulation of a cohesive common platform and plan of action directed global capitalism. Moreover, the US led war in the Middle East and Central Asia, which broke out a few months after the inaugural WSF venue in Porto Alegre in January 2001, has not been a central issue in forum discussions.
What prevails is a vast and intricate network of organizations. The recipient grassroots organizations in developing countries are invariably unaware that their partner NGOs in the United States or the European Union, which are providing them with financial support, are themselves funded by major foundations. The money trickles down, setting constraints on grassroots actions. Many of these NGO leaders are committed and well meaning individuals acting within a framework which sets the boundaries of dissent. The leaders of these movements are often co-opted, without even realizing that as a result of corporate funding their hands are tied.
Global capitalism finances anti-capitalism: an absurd and contradictory relationship.
“Another World is Possible”, but it cannot be meaningfully achieved under the present arrangement.
A shake-up of the World Social Forum, of its organizational structure, its funding arrangements and leadership is required.
There can be no meaningful mass movement when dissent is generously funded by those same corporate interests which are the target of the protest movement. In the words of McGeorge Bundy, president of the Ford Foundation (1966-1979),”Everything the [Ford] Foundation did could be regarded as ‘making the World safe for capitalism'”.

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This article needs to be distributed widely and debated vigorously within the activist community and beyond. Please share it widely with that purpose in mind.

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/world/2010/09/459684.html

Why Does 350.org Not Fight for the People of Africa & Small Island States? 350.org Cop15 video shows Africans Demand that the World Not Exceed 1C

350.org claims to ‘be building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis – the solutions that science and justice demand’ yet, their organization, sister organizations, partners and ‘green friends’ continue to fight for and support grossly inadequate legislation that condemns Africans and those on Small Island States to certain death. How is this climate justice?

They do not educate nor support the core cause of climate change, that of our current economic system. This system is absolutely dependent on economic growth, overconsumption and cheap energy in the Global North.  System change, massive reduction and conservation are absolutely essential, yet these most critical issues are conspicuously absent.

Why does Bill McKibben give accolades to NRDC, who under their USCAP partnership supports 450-550ppm? Referring to the failed cap & trade bill (cap & trade – a known false solution) McKibben stated: “The Washington environmental community did absolutely everything they possibly could,” “All the rest of us owe them a great debt of gratitude.” See article: http://bit.ly/a2jhWe

Why does 350.org not promote and stand behind The People’s Agreement, from Cochabamba, Bolivia, April, 2010 which demands 1C not be exceeded and a return to 300 ppm down to pre-industrial levels? (read agreement here: http://bit.ly/9PLNsY) Why do they continue to undermine this agreement, even in Bonn? See 350.org / TckTckTck.org Bonn coverage here:http://bit.ly/bJNTl9. At COP 15, a representative from the IPCC stated that at 2 degrees rise, the poor, the disenfranchised and the vulnerable would not survive, and at 1.5 degrees rise, they might survive, yet, 350.org pushes for the brand ‘350’ as the target rather than the 1C small island states need simply to survive.  At COP15, Evo Morales on behalf of the Bolivian people stated: “Our objective is to save humanity and not just half of humanity. We are here to save mother earth. Our objective is to reduce climate change to [under] 1C. [above this] many islands will disappear and Africa will suffer a holocaust,” he said. Limiting warming to 1C would need an end to all emissions and billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide to be sucked from the air and stored.  Why is a government leading the way for a real climate change movement instead of 350.org & friends? More on 350.org partner TckTckTck: http://bit.ly/4s9zjC & http://bit.ly/am8qX1.  At Cop15, the G77 called for targets of 1C, 52% by 2017, 65% by 2020, 80% by 2030 & well above 100 by 2050. There can be no denying of what targets those most vulnerable have asked the NGOs to support.  Watch this incredible outreach to NGOs by Ambassador Lumumba Stanislaus-Kaw Di-Aping of the G77: http://youtu.be/s0_wvZw0fOU

Why does 350.org not educate supporters on false solutions which mean ‘business as usual’? See ‘Hoodwinked in the Hothouse – False Solutions’ here: http://bit.ly/cWlmRN Why does 350.org not inform supporters that the not only do the wealthy countries have less than ten years left before their carbon budgets are exhausted (just to keep under catastrophic 2C!). See carbon budget for 2010-2050: http://bit.ly/81riGq & http://bit.ly/cy2dEG.

What no big green wants to talk about is the fact that our planet will never stabilize until we reach virtual ZERO. The single most important and definite conclusion of the entire 2007 IPCC assessment is being ignored. The IPCC states that only zero carbon emissions could stabilize atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.  From the IPCC report:: “In fact, only in the case of essentially complete elimination of emissions can the atmospheric concentration of CO2 ultimately be stabilized at a constant level.”  We don’t need small steps, not incremental progress, not doing less bad: zero. Zero emissions is the only way we can save human civilization. Learn what no big greens are telling you about the climate change science: http://bit.ly/9sYOE8

Civil society must stop supporting corporate green organizations who are dependent and heavily funded by foundations. We must choose to support those groups who are independent of powerful foundations and special interests.  Examples of such uncompromised groups are Via Campesina, Climate SOS, Rising Tides North America, Mobilization for Climate Justice, etc. etc.  Not certain? Just ask grassroots climate justice groups exactly who funds them in order to make an informed decision.  Simply UNSUBSCRIBE from the strategically crafted rhetoric. Foundations are simply assets of the dirty oil industry. Many ENGO’s have maintained unaccountability through a major funding disparity with grassroots and community led resistance, and protect that massive funding disparity through a lack of accountability. Whether directly or indirectly, industry and foundations that are linked to industry steer ENGO politics away from grassroots movements and create an elite structured caviar class of environmentalist that is tied to ‘business as usual’ solutions.

Support the real grassroots climate activist groups – they need you. The window is closing. Symbolic campaigns are meaningless in the face of catastrophe. Last chance to save humanity. More on ‘big greens’ here: http://bit.ly/djA4Se

On October 12, 2010: Change the system, not the climate! Call for a global day of direct action for climate justice: http://bit.ly/aD8Sza

[vodpod id=Video.2664096&w=425&h=350&fv=%26rel%3D0%26border%3D0%26]

Bill McKibben. Eaarth: reviewed by Javier Sethness

August 18, 2010

Earth has died … but Eaarth offers few solutions

Bill McKibben. Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet. Times Books, 2010. 272 pages. ISBN: 978-0-8050-9056-7

reviewed by Javier Sethness

According to North American environmental activist Bill McKibben, planet Earth has died.

Its replacement does not, however, constitute dialectical progress toward a higher or better state: the new-born planet, named Eaarth by McKibben in his book of the same name, follows instead from the brutality and thoughtlessness engaged in by much of humanity since its historical emergence.

In McKibben’s estimation, the Holocene geological epoch — characterized by a narrow range of fluctuation in average global temperatures that has allowed for humanity’s rise and development on Earth over the past 12,000 years — can no longer be said to exist, as a result of human interference with planetary climate systems and human-induced environmental destruction generally conceived. Eaarth, referred to elsewhere as the Anthropocene, jeopardizes the survival of much of humanity and the continuation of a great deal of life itself.

Such-world historical regression is “pretty outrageous,” as a climatologist McKibben quotes in the work has it; for McKibben, indeed, it represents “the deepest of human failures.” In light of such challenges, though, McKibben suggests that “we must keep fighting, in the hope that we can limit [the] damage” visited by constituted power on humanity and the planet. Like Noam Chomsky, he sees no legitimate alternative to struggle.

As an academic concerned with environmental studies, McKibben is cognizant of the dire nature of the present state of affairs. On the new Eaarth, he mentions that billion-person famines could be regular events by the middle of the present century, that the flow of the Euphrates and Nile rivers could decline significantly in the near future, and that glacier retreat in the Himalayas and Andes could cause the water supplies of billions to dwindle within decades.

In light of the various horrors climate catastrophe could visit upon us, McKibben suggests that humanity recognize limits to what Max Horkheimer terms its seemingly “boundless imperialism” — as Meadows et al. have emphasized since the publication of Limits to Growth in 1972— and jettison “the consumer lifestyle” altogether, instead adopting a “Plan B” characterized by the sharing of resources between Northern and Southern societies within the context of a joint effort to thoroughly re-arrange global society on rational-ecological grounds.

McKibben here re-affirms the goal of attaining an atmospheric carbon-concentration of 350 parts per million (ppm), noting that carbon-concentrations higher than 350 ppm jeopardize the capabilities of human society to function. Toward this end he endorses what he calls a “clean-tech Apollo mission” and an “ecological New Deal,” arguing that such thoroughgoing changes be accompanied by a return to small-scale organic agriculture on the part of humanity generally conceived. This final recommendation, it should be said, is not terribly different from those made by Via Campesina.

Despite the critical and important perspectives made by McKibben in Eaarth, in the end much of his argument offers little more than platitudes that reinforce existing power-arrangements.

McKibben blames the regression to Eaarth and for future catastrophes on “modernity,” which he defines as “the sudden availability” of “cheap fossil fuel” in the eighteenth century CE. There is no recognition at any point in the work, of the processes which resulted in the onset of the capitalist mode of production during this period of human history, and there is no critique of the highly destructive nature of capitalism in general.

It should not be surprising, then, that his present recommendations do not include a call for the abolition of capitalist social relations.

Furthermore, he rather bizarrely seems, against all evidence, to view the current U.S. president as some sort of messianic figure worthy of devotion, claiming Obama to be “a president using centralized power to good ends” who is working “aggressively” toward the creation of a global climate-change accord.

Such highly irrational views, of course, are typical of liberal environmentalists. By presenting the accession of Ronald Reagan to the U.S. presidency in 1981 as the onset of a markedly irresponsible socio-environmental regime — one he would have us believe as being dramatically different from that overseen by his predecessor, Jimmy Carter— McKibben once again betrays his ties to hegemonic politics.

Unsurprisingly, he also endorses the imperial scheme presently being considered to erect vast solar plants in North Africa for use by European consumers and seems to support the maintenance of existing dams and the building of new ones for the development of “clean” hydropower.

McKibben presents these reactionary perspectives while attributing responsibility for the current socio-environmental predicament to an amorphous ‘we’-as though the impoverished, the young, and other excluded groups have had any sort of choice on climate policy, let alone the course of history.

This contrasts significantly with views advanced by Chomsky, who in June 2009 suggested a thought-experiment by which North-Americans 50 years ago were to have been given the choice of directing resources either toward the development of “iPods and the internet” or instead the creation of “a livable and sustainable socioeconomic order”— a false choice, as Chomsky points out, for no such offer has ever been made.

Indeed, McKibben’s assertion of a vague collective responsibility has more in common with comments made in March 2010 by world-renown Earth scientist James Lovelock, who then alarmingly claimed humanity not yet to have “evolved” to the point at which it is “clever enough” to deal with climate change. That McKibben claims at one point in Eaarth that “[w]e don’t pay much attention to poor people” should need little comment.

In words, McKibben recognizes the catastrophes we face, but his solutions — a return to small-scale agriculture coupled with a “green Manhattan project” — fall far short of the challenge. And even then, Eaarth includes little reflection on the terrifyingly repressive actions that capitalists and their defenders may well take to attempt to maintain their privileges in a climate-destabilized world, as Gwynne Dyer does in Climate Wars (2008).

McKibben fails even to systematically examine the alarming impacts climate change could have on future agricultural production-considerations that may well prove important for the viability of his ‘back to the land’ project!

Though Bill McKibben is no Walter Benjamin, we can perhaps hope that parts of Eaarth can help move humanity towards Benjamin’s concept of revolution— the “attempt by the passengers” on a metaphorical train “to activate the emergency brake” before it plunges into the abyss.

Javier Sethness is a libertarian socialist and rights-advocate. He maintains the blog Notes toward an International Libertarian Eco-Socialism.

http://climateandcapitalism.com/?p=2991&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+climateandcapitalism%2FpEtD+%28Climate+and+Capitalism%29

Clicktivism is Ruining Leftist Activism

Published on Thursday, August 12, 2010 by the Guardian/UK

Reducing activism to online petitions, this breed of marketeering technocrats damage every political movement they touch

by Micah White

A battle is raging for the soul of activism. It is a struggle between digital activists, who have adopted the logic of the marketplace, and those organizers who vehemently oppose the marketization of social change. At stake is the possibility of an emancipatory revolution in our lifetimes.

The conflict can be traced back to 1997 when a quirky Berkeley, California-based software company known for its iconic flying toaster screensaver was purchased for $13.8m (£8.8m). The sale financially liberated the founders, a left-leaning husband-and-wife team. He was a computer programmer, she a vice-president of marketing. And a year later they founded an online political organization known as MoveOn. Novel for its combination of the ideology of marketing with the skills of computer programming, MoveOn is a major center-leftist pro-Democrat force in the US. It has since been heralded as the model for 21st-century activism.

The trouble is that this model of activism uncritically embraces the ideology of marketing. It accepts that the tactics of advertising and market research used to sell toilet paper can also build social movements. This manifests itself in an inordinate faith in the power of metrics to quantify success. Thus, everything digital activists do is meticulously monitored and analyzed. The obsession with tracking clicks turns digital activism into clicktivism.

Clicktivists utilize sophisticated email marketing software that brags of its "extensive tracking" including "opens, clicks, actions, sign-ups, unsubscribes, bounces and referrals, in total and by source". And clicktivists equate political power with raising these "open-rate" and "click-rate" percentages, which are so dismally low that they are kept secret. The exclusive emphasis on metrics results in a race to the bottom of political engagement.

Gone is faith in the power of ideas, or the poetry of deeds, to enact social change. Instead, subject lines are A/B tested and messages vetted for widest appeal. Most tragically of all, to inflate participation rates, these organizations increasingly ask less and less of their members. The end result is the degradation of activism into a series of petition drives that capitalize on current events. Political engagement becomes a matter of clicking a few links. In promoting the illusion that surfing the web can change the world, clicktivism is to activism as McDonalds is to a slow-cooked meal. It may look like food, but the life-giving nutrients are long gone.

Exchanging the substance of activism for reformist platitudes that do well in market tests, clicktivists damage every genuine political movement they touch. In expanding their tactics into formerly untrammeled political scenes and niche identities, they unfairly compete with legitimate local organizations who represent an authentic voice of their communities. They are the Wal-Mart of activism: leveraging economies of scale, they colonize emergent political identities and silence underfunded radical voices.

Digital activists hide behind gloried stories of viral campaigns and inflated figures of how many millions signed their petition in 24 hours. Masters of branding, their beautiful websites paint a dazzling self-portrait. But, it is largely a marketing deception. While these organizations are staffed by well-meaning individuals who sincerely believe they are doing good, a bit of self-criticism is sorely needed from their leaders.

The truth is that as the novelty of online activism wears off, millions of formerly socially engaged individuals who trusted digital organizations are coming away believing in the impotence of all forms of activism. Even leading Bay Area clicktivist organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to motivate their members to any action whatsoever. The insider truth is that the vast majority, between 80% to 90%, of so-called members rarely even open campaign emails. Clicktivists are to blame for alienating a generation of would-be activists with their ineffectual campaigns that resemble marketing.

The collapsing distinction between marketing and activism is revealed in the cautionary tale of TckTckTck, a purported climate change organization with 17 million members. Widely hailed as an innovator of digital activism, TckTckTck is a project of Havas Worldwide, the world’s sixth-largest advertising company. A corporation that uses advertising to foment ecologically unsustainable overconsumption, Havas bears significant responsibility for the climate change TckTckTck decries.

As the folly of digital activism becomes widely acknowledged, innovators will attempt to recast the same mix of marketing and technology in new forms. They will offer phone-based, alternate reality and augmented reality alternatives. However, any activism that uncritically accepts the marketization of social change must be rejected. Digital activism is a danger to the left. Its ineffectual marketing campaigns spread political cynicism and draw attention away from genuinely radical movements. Political passivity is the end result of replacing salient political critique with the logic of advertising.

Against the progressive technocracy of clicktivism, a new breed of activists will arise. In place of measurements and focus groups will be a return to the very thing that marketers most fear: the passionate, ideological and total critique of consumer society. Resuscitating the emancipatory project the left was once known for, these activists will attack the deadening commercialization of life. And, uniting a global population against the megacorporations who unduly influence our democracies, they will jettison the consumerist ideology of marketing that has for too long constrained the possibility of social revolution.

© 2010 Guardian/UK

Micah White is a contributing editor at Adbusters and an award-winning activist. He lives in Berkeley and is writing a book about the future of activism. His website is here

Code Green | Someday Soon Animation | 350.org

Someday Soon

November 2nd, 2009

The good intentions of participants of 350 aside, requesting world leaders to reduce carbon emissions is unfortunately not going to work. Bill McKibben asserts that world leaders will listen “if we’re loud enough,” but that’s simply untrue. If we stick with symbolic action, the destruction will become progressively worse, and we will continuously lose ground and be reduced to begging for mercy that will never be granted.

Those in power (and their political representatives) will only stop destroying the planet if they are forced to do so. The immediate threat of social disorder and economic disruption will make them listen. An immediate and serious threat to their wealth and well-being will make them listen.

http://www.minimumsecurity.net/stephaniemcmillan/codegreen/?p=183#comments

About

Code Green began in August 2009 as a weekly editorial cartoon focused on the environmental emergency.

In its first month, the cartoon appeared in the Los Angeles Times and Daily Beast. Reprints are easy and affordable — reprint info here.

Stephanie McMillan has been a political cartoonist since 1992. She creates the comic strip Minimum Security five days a week for United Media’s comics.com. Her cartoons have appeared on hundreds of websites and in print publications worldwide including the Los Angeles Times, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Yes! Magazine, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

She has two books, a comics collection, Attitude Presents Minimum Security (NBM, 2005) and a graphic novel with writer Derrick Jensen, As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial (Seven Stories Press, 2007).

Contact Stephanie McMillan:

steph (a) minimumsecurity.net

P.O. Box 460673
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33346

http://www.minimumsecurity.net/stephaniemcmillan/codegreen/

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