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Tagged ‘Militarism‘

Down the Bunny Hole

Public Good Project

December 6, 2016

By Jay Taber

rabbit-hole-3

Alice in Wonderland (1903)

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

 

[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and journalists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]

 

FLASHBACK | Fabric of Identity

The Destructive Energy of Avaaz

Digital remix by: Luke Orsborne for Wrong Kind of Green

October 17, 2016

avaaz-nfz-propaganda

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

 

 

The Alternative View Conference: Vanessa Beeley on the NGO Complex

The Wall Will Fall

April 10, 2016

by Vanessa Beeley

 

AV7 Speakers Collage_2

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

Alternative View UK

 

THE NGO SOFT POWER COMPLEX: 

HUMANITARIANS OR “EXECUTIONERS”?

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

March 13 2014

by Miquel Amoro?s

Energy crisis and social crisis – Miquel Amoro?s

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

Energy Crisis and Social Crisis – Miquel Amorós

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Miquel Amorós

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

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

WATCH: Pinkwashing of American Foreign Policy in the Middle East

Uploaded July 11, 2012

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

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

Pink Ribbons, Inc.

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

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

Big, Glitzy Marches Are Not Movements

In 1963 and today, the real work happens elsewhere.

Boston Review

August 28, 2013
Robin D. G. Kelley

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

 

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

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

Under Empire, All Life is Imperiled

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One Year On

Counterpunch Weekend Edition May 24-26, 2013

by JAVIER SETHNESS CASTRO

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

– Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialectics

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

The Silent Death of the American Left

by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR

 

Is there a Left in America today?

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

Pious Poseurs

Intercontinental Cry

By

Jun 24, 2012

When the Government of India wanted to promote a nuclear arms race with Pakistan, it literally resorted to using puppet shows in villages and towns across the countryside that employed traditional mythological figures in service to nuclear Armageddon. Instead of riding white steeds, the heroes mounted ICBMs.

The Indian government, of course, isn’t the only regime that uses mythology or puppets to manipulate public opinion in support of foreign aggression. While in the US those puppets have traditionally taken on the form of talking heads on corporate and public television, they are increasingly represented in the form of NGO PR puppets employed in the moral theatrics industry.

As the credibility of politicians and pundits plummets, it is these PR puppets that are increasingly responsible for bolstering public support for militarism in general and militarized humanitarian intervention in particular. For the generations that grew up on Sesame Street, it is an easy transition to taking their cues from the friendly faces of these Wall Street wankers cum pious poseurs.

 

 

[Jay Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, an author, a correspondent to Fourth World Eye, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as the administrative director of Public Good Project.]

Anti-democratic Offensive

By May 11, 2012

As the United States Departments of State and Defense gear up for a new round of destabilization campaigns in South America in 2013 and 2014, the second generation of democratic renewal under leaders like Evo Morales faces a grave threat. Unlike the crude coups and dictatorships of the Cold War and earlier banana republics, this anti-democratic offensive makes exaggerated use of ephemeral pseudo activism in the form of color revolutions used so extensively by the CIA in North Africa and Eastern Europe. Recent snubbing of the US and Canada by South American governments at the Organization of American States may signal a resistance to returning to the days of old, but until they reject neoliberalism and its corrupting influence, they are still susceptible to international markets opening the door to US military control.

[Jay Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, an author, a correspondent to Fourth World Eye, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as the administrative director of Public Good Project.]

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