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Netwar in the Big Apple: Wall Street versus the Indigenous Peoples Movement

 By Jay Taber

July 29, 2014

 

Architects of the Final Solution

In the run-up to the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in September at UN headquarters in New York, propaganda will inundate the infosphere, lending an atmosphere of pandemonium, and leaving many hopeless about the prospects for conflict resolution between Indigenous nations and modern states. For a few, though, widespread hopelessness within the Indigenous Peoples Movement, the human rights movement and the environmental movement is good.

For ubercapitalists like Bill Gates and their sycophants like William Jefferson Clinton — who promote the false hope of neoliberal globalization — terminating the collective ownership of Indigenous nations, in exchange for totalitarian corporate control of the planet’s resources, is a dream coming true. As architects of the final solution, they — along with the World Bank, Ford and Rockefeller Foundations — view the UN Millenium Development Goals as a blueprint for annihilation of the world’s Indigenous societies.

Crushing the Indigenous Peoples Movement is a crucial step in realizing their dream.

Principles of Psywar

With the advent of the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Indigenous Peoples Movement required the linking of national, regional, and local movement resources through a process of dialogue and integration. The involvement of moral authorities and civil society organizations helped to assure the proper movement emphasis on moral sanction, central to constructing new relationships between nations and states. But moral sanction alone is insufficient to constrain reactionary political violence and official repression. That will require continuous research, analysis, and investigation — the civil society equivalent of wartime intelligence operations — in order to weather the psychological warfare associated with the disease of dominion.

Psychological warfare, according to Paul Linebarger of the School of Advanced International Studies, is a continuous process not controlled by laws, usages, and customs of war — covert, often disguised as the voice of institutions and media — a non-violent persuasion waged before, during, and after war.

Most countries, notes Linebarger, suffer from ideological confusion—an instability of basic beliefs. “In states anxious to promote a fixed mentality, the entire population lives under conditions approximating the psychological side of war. Allegiance in war,” says Linebarger, “is a matter of ideology, not of opinion.” Coordinated propaganda machines, he observes, include psywar, public relations, general news, and public education. “Psywar,” he warns, “has in private media facilities, in an open society, a constantly refreshed source of new material that, when selectively censored, can prevent non-governmental materials from circulating.”

Mainstream Media and the Corporate Agenda

Mainstream media, when it mentions conflicts between Indigenous nations and modern states, portrays these conflicts as challenges to be resolved by assimilating Indigenous cultures into market systems. Extinguishing tribal sovereignty, annihilating tribal resources, coercing tribal leaders, and implementing the final solution; this is the corporate agenda mainstream media supports.

When these conflicts cannot be ignored, mainstream media looks for compromised NGOs to speak for Indigenous Peoples, thereby marginalizing Indigenous intellectuals, diplomats, and governing authorities—a mass communications tactic examined under the concept of Netwar. While mainstream media informs, it does not make information comprehensible; what it leaves out is essential to knowledge that allows readers to form their own judgment, rather than consume corporate distortions and state propaganda.

A Free Authentic Life

As Kalle Lasn, publisher of Adbusters Magazine said when interviewed in the July 2001 issue of The Sun, “It’s impossible to live a free authentic life in America today …Our emotions, personalities, and core values have become programmed.” Lasn, a former advertising executive for thirty years, understands the power of propaganda as advertising. He also understands the keys to undermining this corrupting influence—persistent ridicule, and appeals to conscience.

Antonio Gramsci, writing in Prison Notebooks, observes that, “Civil society operates without ‘sanctions’ or compulsory ‘obligations’, but nevertheless exerts a collective pressure and obtains objective results in the form of an evolution of customs, ways of thinking and acting, and morality. The eclipse of a way of living and thinking cannot take place without a crisis.” Civil society today, I would argue, exists in a perpetual state of crisis — some fabricated and some real — that, with the advent of alternative media, desktop publishing, and Internet communication, offers an unprecedented opportunity to begin this eclipse.

As Gramsci observed from prison in 1930s Fascist Italy, “If the ruling class has lost its consensus, i.e. is no longer leading but only dominant, exercising coercive force alone, this means the great masses have become detached from their traditional ideologies and no longer believe what they used to [thus] the exercise of force to prevent new ideologies from imposing themselves leads to skepticism and a new arrangement—a new culture.” If the Indigenous Peoples Movement is to succeed in creating a new culture based on mutual respect, the ways of thinking of the old culture must be strategically challenged.

Theater of War

In doing graduate research for the thesis included in my second book, I developed a curricular proposal that incorporated the study of psychological warfare as a key component of effective social activism. The more I observe discussion online about social conflict now taking place on the Internet and public airwaves, the more I realize how widespread and entrenched the misunderstanding of the nature of this conflict is, and in turn how important it is for those engaged in this war of ideas to acquaint themselves with at least the basic principles if not tactics of psywar. For those unable to access the classic texts on this topic — Psychological Warfare by Paul Linebarger, and The Science of Coercion by Christopher Simpson — I’ll try to recall them here.

For starters, there are two things to always keep in mind: the target audience, and the purpose of the message. In a theater of war — physical or psychological — there are combatants and non-combatants and at least two sides, as well as many interests. In communicating social transformation, psywar will be employed at different times and in different ways depending on the audience targeted and what the message transmitter is attempting to affect.

In recruiting the uninvolved or uncommitted, the message might convey an urgent threat, a righteous cause, a juicy opportunity, or a chance for revenge. In retaining the involved, a message would likely include an appeal to pride and expectations of victory. In undermining the resolve of the enemy, messages generally try to create doubts about all the above.

Counter-power in the Network Society

One area often overlooked by novices to psychological warfare, however, is the use of messages crafted and delivered for the purpose of preventing the enemy from effectively mobilizing audiences potentially supportive of its views, goals, and objectives. These strategically-developed messages — sometimes overt, sometimes covert — are those most-commonly associated with gray and black ops, white being forthright, gray misleading, and black counterfeit.

Understanding these techniques of mass communication — deployed in abundance in politics, campaigns, and advertising today — is essential for those who care about where the world is heading, even if in the end they decide to avoid the field of social conflict themselves. Once educated on the topic, they can at least refrain from unwittingly undermining those with whom they agree. Manuel Castells, in his paper Communication, Power and Counter-power in the Network Society, has a lot more to say on this.

The first principle of psywar is never repeat the talking points of your enemy. The second principle is to deny them a platform to misinform. To offer a platform, out of some misguided sense of evenhandedness, is to further the credibility and legitimacy of those who undermine our movements.

Controlling Consciousness

Wall Street’s vertical integration of controlling consciousness is based on five components: ownership of media, fabrication of news, integration of advertising with state propaganda, financing of foundations and brokerages, and co-option of NGOs and grassroots groups. While many well-meaning people are channeled into the latter by the concerted collaboration of all the former, the corporate agenda that determines the policies, practices and projects of these NGOs is anything but benign.

Indeed, the distractions, distortions and deceit promoted by the scoundrels, malefactors and curs — working on behalf of Wall Street villains — to mesmerize the naive in order to lead them astray, pose a lethal threat to Indigenous Peoples and their desperate movement of liberation. Pretending otherwise, in order to coddle the credulous, accomplishes nothing noble. Indeed, it only perpetuates misperceptions that urgently need to be shattered.

September 20-26 2014, in New York City, the Wall Street/NGO convergence around climate change, Indigenous Peoples human rights, and corporate derivative philanthropy, promises to be one of the super spectacles of the decade. Shining a light on that shadowy affair is something that simply has to be done. Unfortunately, there is no painless way of doing that, for it is way past time for an awakening.

Fantasies about Political Power

Fantasies about political power, however, are hard to break. People want to believe that activism led by Wall Street stooges, funded by Wall Street derivatives, and promoted by Wall Street media is revolutionary. Where do they get such ideas?

If you want to stop the environmental destruction from mining Tar Sands bitumen, Powder River Basin coal, and Bakken Shale oil, you stop fossil fuel export. You don’t do XL protests at the White House, organize fossil fuel divestment on college campuses, or hold a climate change march in New York.

These ineffective strategies are great for making Wall Street titans like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates even more obscenely wealthy, but they do nothing for improving the environment. Yet, because activism is based on feeling good — as opposed to doing good — Americans are routinely led by Wall Street’s pied pipers into endless (and meaningless) “movements.”

Making Americans feel good about losing strategies is the main objective of Wall Street-funded NGO pooh-bahs. Keeping Americans distracted with pointless projects dissipates the energies of well-intentioned youth, creating cynicism and hopelessness over time. Meanwhile, Wall Street titans make money from fossil fuel consumption and pollution, hand over fist.

The fact they colonize Indigenous territories by capitalizing on this pollution via REDD & carbon “credits” that accelerate the displacement of Indigenous peoples – seizing the planet’s final remaining rich & diverse rainforests in the process – is lost in the mist.

There are many ways to reduce energy dependence, increase energy conservation, and disconnect energy security from militarism. None of them are supported by Wall Street.

Bedlam in Gotham

Bedlam in Gotham, by all accounts, is going to be a three-ring circus:

  1. September 20-21 People’s Climate Change March
  2. September 22-23 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples
  3. September 24-26 World Summit on Indigenous Philanthropy

All the Ford and Rockefeller PR puppets from the non-profit industrial complex will be swarming for media attention to keep those grants flowing. A players program in advance would be immensely helpful.

When the pandemonium is in full swing, it will be difficult for consumers to sort out the noise from the information, let alone knowledge, intelligence or understanding. Once the spell is broken, though, consciousness could cascade. Since there’s no way to predict or force that, keeping a counter-narrative presence is the only way of giving them a chance of coming out of the consumer coma and becoming citizens again.

Mammon’s Missionaries

Continuing our discussion on co-option, I should note that Naomi Klein – as a board member of the Rockefeller Foundation-funded 350.org — functions as an emissary to co-opt Indigenous activist/intellectuals like Arthur Manuel and Leanne Simpson. Having branded herself as part of the eco-avant-garde, Klein’s diplomacy is part of the mission of Wall Street NGOs to assimilate Indigenous thought leaders into the corporate fold.

Manuel, as a Seventh Generation Fund/Ford Foundation-sponsored activist in 2013 — appointed by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to coordinate the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus — collaborated with UN Global Coordinating Group leader Debra Harry in an attempt to exclude tribal governing authorities from participating in the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, and later joined Harry in a fraudulent attempt to cover up their mischief. Manuel, the son of one of CWIS’s founders (where I am an associate scholar), is an articulate and intelligent Indigenous advocate. He has since apparently parted company with NAIPC, but his betrayal of trust remains a black mark on his record.

Simpson seems to have more integrity than Manuel, and I hope she does not get seduced by the insidious forces of Wall Street. The NGOs corrupted by UN flattery and foundation funds are responsible for much of the turmoil taking place behind the scenes of the media spectacle in which 350.org’s Bill McKibben is a star, and promise to be a problem in the lead up to the WCIP in New York come September.

In many respects, Klein and McKibben are like the church missionaries that initially helped subdue the Indigenous Peoples of Canada and the US. Instead of the religion of Christianity, however, they proselytize on behalf of the faith in corporate philanthropy, all the while posing as pious champions of the environment, colonized and downtrodden. This is psychological warfare at its most repugnant.

A Culture of Imbeciles

Guy Debord, author of The Society of the Spectacle, once remarked, “There are two parallel counterrevolutionary confusionist tactics: the partial cooption of new values, and a deliberately anticultural industrially facilitated production, the latter being a natural continuation of the imbecilization of young people begun in their schools and families. We have arrived at a stage of ideological absence in which advertising has become the only active factor, overriding any preexisting critical judgment or transforming such judgment into a mere conditioned reflex.”

I thought of this remark when reading that 350.org — the pied piper of pious poseurs— are promoters of the upcoming climate change march in New York City. Parade of imbeciles would perhaps be a better description.

Four plus decades later, Debord’s 1967 treatise Society of the Spectacle remains one of the most profound analyses of modern humanity. Oblivious to the deepening separation of industrial civilization from reality, even scholars of ongoing social disintegration rarely mention Debord’s penetrating insights and ideas. As another generation of state-educated children lose the capacity to think for themselves, keeping the intellectual fires burning remains a formidable task.

Producing fantasy in Hollywood and Washington is by now such a prescribed art, that the psychological warfare conducted 24/7 against the minds of all Americans has become child’s play. Few even question their fantasies as such. NGOs like 350.org tap into these fantasies about political power, perpetuate and capitalize on them. Pooh-Bahs of the non-profit industrial complex, like McKibben, become their Messiahs.

Absent coherent analysis based on research, social networks become part of the spectacle. As political researchers know, little of progressive activism is based on research and analysis, and much is based on preconceptions or what is fundable. As any astute observer can see, dependence limits strategies.

Debord’s remarks on the early development of a culture of imbeciles illustrate that revolutions like the one led by 350.org become exercises in silliness. The fact that media brain-damaged Americans are incapable of withdrawing themselves from the spectacle’s spell, is cause for considerable worry.

Allowing oneself to be herded from panicked horror to panicked horror does nothing to end the cycle of destruction; for that one needs to keep one’s cool, and to devise means of disrupting the seamless spectacle that shadows us through our daily lives. Only then, can the awakening begin.

Subverting Spectacle

Perpetuating systematic fraud on a global scale requires active support by academia, media, and commerce. Indoctrination through education, information and advertising thus bolster official propaganda in a circular reinforcement of the distorted world view required for institutionalized fraud to continue unchallenged.

As a closed loop system designed to prevent penetration of independent ideas, perspectives or analysis, this totalitarian cover-up of crimes against humanity — exercised to sustain the system — remains all-encompassing, until some unmediated event or thought breaks through. And when that happens, all sectors of the loop scramble to attack the intruder, rapidly responding to explain away the cognitive dissonance, introduced by the momentary glimpse of reality.

Wasted Energy

In my comment on the 350.org-led college campus fossil fuel divestment campaign, I noted that divestment won’t change a thing environmentally. It will only change ownership of some shares from public institutions to private ones–like the banks we bailed out with our tax dollars. Given the money to be made on the booming fossil fuel industry, I’m sure the banks will be delighted to acquire these shares, and in turn leave the public with no voice at future shareholder meetings.

Moral theatrics like this divestment campaign might make activists and students feel virtuous, but they do nothing for the environment, human rights or democracy. They bring big bucks into the coffers of NGOs like 350.org, but they do not change public policy. Nor do they influence corporate behavior, other than in public relations and marketing. I guess that’s why corporate foundations fund NGOs that promote such nonsense.

As of last summer, students on 300 campuses across the US were organizing fossil fuel divestment campaigns. That’s a lot of wasted energy, especially when we need that energy to change the political and economic system that awards fraud and punishes honesty.

As Cory Morningstar observed in her article on 350.org’s divestment tour, launched by Bill McKibben, “Such sophisticated public relations campaigns as this one are quite genius in a multitude of ways. Cloaked under the guise of tackling the root causes of the global climate crisis, such campaigns change nothing. Rather, they ensure the populace is participating in what it has been convinced is meaningful action – and nothing more.” As noted in her article, all market investing is about exploiting people and dismantling ecosystems. If students want to save the planet, they should start organizing for political power to change the market system, not rally to switch investments from one exploiting portfolio to another.

Given the influence such high profile campaigns have on the naive, one might return to the simple maxim of follow the money for guidance. In the case of McKibben and 350.org, one has to ask why such capitalist titans as Rockefeller would fund an NGO that might threaten the power of the oligarchy they symbolize. As Morningstar illustrates, the answer is they don’t.

Fording the River

The omnipresent Ford Foundation is an ideological supporter of the World Bank (a mega co-developer of dams, mining and plantations in Indigenous territories), and a UN Millenium Development Goals supporter — along with Bill Gates and Bill Clinton — who do the same. Co-opting Indigenous peoples is a key objective of their neoliberal privatization project. Taking money from Ford Foundation is thus equivalent to taking money from Shell Oil, Rio Tinto or Monsanto.

Ford Foundation is known for funding NGOs promoting civil rights, while simultaneously supporting the state and corporate neglect of Indigenous human rights. Civil rights do not conflict with capitalism, while human rights do.

Anti-Indian organizations in the US believe tribal governments should be abolished, and work toward that end. Their main argument is that civil rights guarantee equality under domestic law, ignoring the fact that international law recognizes the human rights of Indigenous nations to make their own laws.

Protecting their territories and properties requires Indigenous nations to invoke international law and treaties that supersede domestic civil law. By undermining the implementation of Indigenous human rights law, Ford Foundation arguably abets racism and religious bigotry against Indigenous peoples.

As Indigenous nations and modern states prepare for the upcoming UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, corporations like Shell Oil and foundations like Ford are spreading money around to co-opt Indigenous activists and NGOs. While this bribery ensures Indigenous NGOs will be in attendance at the UN event, these partnerships and dependencies ensure they will not challenge the capitalist system in anything but moral theatrics.

Indeed, some of the recipients of Ford Foundation money have already demonstrated a willingness to attack Indigenous governing authorities in order to protect their state-approved, foundation-funded privileges at the UN. Ford Foundation funded brokerages include International Funders for Indigenous Peoples, and the Seventh Generation Fund.

Because Ford Foundation funds academic institutions or NGOs or conferences does not mean that anyone working at these institutions or NGOs or attending their conferences supports neoliberal philosophy. What Ford tries to do is shape public opinion in favor of neoliberalism; supporting capitalist-oriented humanitarianism is essential to that psychological warfare.

Total War

Competing with systematic deception by following the rules established by and for the high criminals themselves is ridiculous; that is why Debord and Lasn urged subverting spectacle and jamming culture as crucial to free thought. Just offering an alternative point of view is not enough.

Given the total war attitude of those attempting to maintain their unearned privileges obtained by the supreme fraud, we who are not governing authorities can set aside for the time being any notions of diplomacy and concentrate on winning the war. There will be plenty of time to negotiate when we have the strength to make our threat to autocracy real.

Dependence Limits Strategies

George Manuel, chief of the National Indian Brotherhood (known today as the Assembly of First Nations), once remarked, “Assimilation is annihilation.” As president of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples from 1975-1981, Manuel’s work was foundational to the Indigenous Peoples Movement we see today.

Assimilation of indigenous peoples by corporations, church and state is facilitated by creating financial and psychological dependence. As Chief Manuel’s partner in forming the Center for World Indigenous Studies in 1984, Rudolph C. Ryser once noted that “Dependence limits strategies.”

Indeed, dependence on corporations and billionaire philanthropies has corrupted Indigenous leaders, and compromised Indigenous activism. Something Public Good Project has exposed in its coverage of the indigenous non-profit industrial complex.

One of the assimilated Indigenous NGOs exposed by IC Magazine is First Peoples Worldwide, a non-profit funded in part by Shell Oil. A non-profit whose role in this theatre of the absurd is to help corporations assimilate Indigenous leaders, by creating dependence that leads to cultural annihilation.

Featured frequently at Indian Country Today, First Peoples Worldwide propaganda posing as news is meant to psychologically undermine the Indigenous Peoples Movement that Chief Manuel and Dr. Ryser helped create, and to introduce non-sequiturs like Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), as though they are valid concepts. As Wrong Kind of Green reports in the evolution of CSR, corporations have never acted for the benefit of society, and it is the current threat to the legitimacy of the corporation that CSR seeks to counteract.

Degrees of Evil

Mind games of the non-profit industrial complex aren’t hard to decipher; the gullible simply have to decide they no longer want to be coddled by bromides, no longer treated as infantile consumers of spectacle. Once they reach the point of being skeptical, the charades of capitalist activism come clearly into view.

Spectacle celebrities like Naomi Klein, while raising valid (albeit hypocritical) criticism of the complex, count on infantile consumers to maintain their activist credentials. Serving as proxies for consumer rage, yet asking nothing serious of them as citizens, makes these capitalist activists popular and profitable PR puppets. (I especially love Ms. No Logo‘s logos.)

When Klein cuddled up to the apparently assimilated Indigenous activist Arthur Manuel on the celebrity panel at the Idle No More conference, she was branding Manuel with the approval of the heavyweight philanthropies behind her. Manuel, already co-opted by Ford Foundation through the Seventh Generation Fund, has wisely chosen not to sell out directly like Rebecca Adamson of First Peoples Worldwide.

Using philanthropic cutouts to maintain plausible deniability of co-optation, while strategically clever, however, is not immune from exposure by those willing to look. Once those masquerading as agents for change are revealed, non-profits like 350 dot org are seen for what they really are—extensions of Wall Street.

While these charades might seem harmless to naive consumers of the non-profit spectacle, they unfortunately interfere with the ability of authentic activists and Indigenous governing authorities to successfully challenge Wall Street and the modern states it has corrupted. When PR puppets — Indigenous or otherwise — dominate social media, the infantile, the skeptical, and the naive albeit well-intentioned youth are all led astray.

Chutzpah personified would be Naomi Klein — board member of 350 dot org — talking about Big Green opportunism. I guess that’s why elites like Rockefeller fund it.

As for scams, it’s hard to imagine a more losing strategy than the 350 dot org fossil fuel divestment campaign. Shifting university shares in oil companies to Wall Street is hardly going to improve corporate behavior.

Theatre of the Absurd

Bankrolling Indigenous cultural events, Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, and Indigenous NGOs might be good business for corporate criminals like Shell Oil, but Indigenous self-determination grants take us into the theatre of the absurd.

While this phenomenon is not surprising, given the idea comes from the preeminent corporate social responsibility darling — Shell Oil partner First Peoples Worldwide — the fact it isn’t rejected outright by anyone with intelligence and integrity shows how far down the road we have gone on the corporate collaboration model.

As corporate brokers like Rebecca Adamson promote this and other methods of assimilating Indigenous peoples into the corporate system, it would be wise to remember the maxim, “Dependence limits strategies.”

While corrupting Indigenous governing authorities and Indigenous NGOs is the raison d’etre of First Peoples Worldwide, similar to the roles played by McKibben and Klein, the role of Indigenous thought leaders like Adamson is more akin to Christian missionaries who played a similar function in converting Indigenous peoples on behalf of corporate states in the 16th Century.

I guess that’s what one might call coming full circle.

Corporate Social Responsibility

As the one-month countdown to the glorious UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples begins, corporate acolytes like First Peoples Worldwide will be graciously blessed with development derivatives lovingly laundered through philanthropic foundations like Ford, Gates and Soros. Spreading such altruistic largesse around to enlighten ungrateful naysayers and ill-mannered critics of Indigenous helping-hand policies by such selfless entities as FPW benefactor Shell Oil, after all, has to be handled with care.

While First Peoples Worldwide and other special helpers labor overtime to share the gospel with Indigenous NGOs and to convert Indigenous governing authorities, the corporate social responsibility theme needs to be promoted with confidence. As a sign of its devotion as unrivaled CSR evangelical, FPW chumminess on Twitter is especially heartwarming. Last summer, when FPW shared its Proud to be Indigenous campaign bromides on list serves during the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, I felt an uplifting spirit unfulfilled since the I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke TV sing-along ads of my impressionable youth.

As part of this merciful enlightenment, no doubt enjoyed by so many, the CSR theme — brought to us by benevolences like Shell Oil — generously saturates the infosphere, until even the most cynical and hardened souls among us erupt into fits of neoliberal ecstasy. As the World Bank and Wall Street lay loving hands on this righteous revival, Indigenous missionaries like First Peoples Worldwide’s Rebecca Adamson could go into convulsions of holy rapture.

Here Come the COPPs

As I noted in regard to the credibility issue haunting the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus, these Indigenous lobbyists at the UN have grown so accustomed to the prestige of hobnobbing with UN bureaucrats and diplomats that they have lost sight of what is at stake in the UN process. While Indigenous governing authorities struggle to democratize the UN — which has marginalized them, simultaneously with providing a play pen for Indigenous NGOs at the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues — the UN bureaucracy has been busy creating the illusion of inclusion.

To wit, the secretariat for the Permanent Forum in Spring 2013 announced the UNPFII Twelfth Session, May 20-31 in New York, will include a “dialogue” with the World Bank. As perhaps the most hostile of UN agencies to the Indigenous Peoples Movement and the implementation of Indigenous sovereignty under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the World Bank generated bags of bromides for the Indigenous patsies to use in press releases to impress their foundation funders. How to posture around this topic and others consumed the Indigenous Global Caucus (a.k.a. COPPs–charlatans, opportunists and pious poseurs) that met May 18 and 19 at UN Plaza.

The only potential bright spot in the secretariat announcement was the May 22 meeting with Indigenous journalists to “strategize” on the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, also held at UN Headquarters in New York.  Somehow, though, I don’t think the UN staff had journalists at IC Magazine in mind.

Grandstanding by First Peoples Worldwide — in the form of the “Proud to be Indigenous” campaign — reminded us that corporate-financed NGO promises are, as always, Too Good to be True. As I noted in March 2013, the corporate buy-in promoted by FPW’s president, Rebecca Adamson, is valuable brokering to her backers like Shell Oil. While her poverty-pimping brokerage might attract compromised or corrupt tribal leaders, it also undermines the Indigenous Peoples Movement. As the leading exponent of Indigenous assimilation, First Peoples Worldwide might be able to co-opt their NAIPC friends, but the grassroots activists know a COPP when they see one.

Implementing Indigenous Human Rights

There are several aspects of the UN human rights agenda that contribute to the invisibility of Indigenous rights enshrined in the 2007 UN Declaration. First and foremost of the obstacles to implementing the rights of Indigenous peoples, has been the refusal of the UN to recognize Indigenous nations as political entities worthy of participation in UN decision-making. If the governing authorities of Indigenous nations remain excluded from UN diplomatic processes, Indigenous peoples will remain marginalized from discussions on world issues. As noted at IC, this exclusionary obstacle at the UN has been challenged by 72 American Indian tribes, its removal deemed essential to resolving grievances and eliminating violence against indigenous nations.

As I observed in Making it Happen, democratizing the international community cannot be limited to the international institutions created by modern states. As Indigenous nations assert their human rights of self-determination and self-governance, new institutions are required. Something my colleague Rudolph C. Ryser addresses in his 2012 book, Indigenous Nations and Modern States.

As I wrote in Obstacles to Peace, the UN was formed by (and functions to serve the interests of) modern states, not Indigenous nations. Looking at Israel — a state created by the UN — and its ongoing human rights abuses toward the Indigenous peoples of Palestine, we can see how the UN has actually been an obstacle to peaceful political development. By acceding to American demands for crippling economic sanctions against Palestine, the UN has undermined their ability to manage their own affairs, in turn creating the desperation and humanitarian crisis to which cynical NGOs often cater. In another example, the UN — at U.S. urging — approved the Indonesian annexation of West Papua over the protest of Papuan Indigenous peoples, leading to the current human rights abuses there. As Dr. Ryser remarked, by reinforcing the illusion that the UN can or will relieve the pain from the violence of colonialism, “The UN Human Rights Council stands as one of the significant obstacles to dynamic political development in the Fourth World.”

Given the U.S. influence as a permanent UN Security Council member, and as one of four UN member states to oppose the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, it is fanciful to think the UN will ever be able to deliver on full human rights implementation for Indigenous nations. That can only happen in a neutral setting, where the diplomatic missions of Indigenous nations and modern states come together on an equal footing, to resolve grievances and to negotiate a more democratic, inclusive future.

As I noted in Public Relations Puppets, since the UN General Assembly declaration in 2007, the UN bureaucracy — in order to provide cover for the REDD Ponzi scheme of carbon-market trading by transnational corporations and investment banks — actively excluded Indigenous nations delegates from participating in climate change talks. In Poznan, Copenhagen and Cancun, the UN repeatedly found new ways to silence Indigenous peoples. As I wrote, dispelling the notion of the UN as an honest broker is critical to understanding the need for new institutions that aren’t controlled by states and markets. As Dr. Ryser stated, “The UN promises to permanently lock these nations into a cage of political subjugation.”

With the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples just around the corner, mainstream media will be falling all over itself to help the UN and its member states continue excluding Indigenous nations from meaningful participation in world affairs. Breaking the chains of their subjugation requires ending the silence.

 

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

 

 

 

Moolah Boodle Lucre Simoleons

July 22, 2014
By Jay Taber

nonprofitindustrialcomplex

Wall Street’s vertical integration of controlling consciousness is based on five components: ownership of media, fabrication of news, integration of advertising with state propaganda, financing of foundations and brokerages, and co-option of NGOs. While many well-meaning people are channeled into the latter by the concerted collaboration of all the former, the corporate agenda that determines the policies, practices and projects of these NGOs is anything but benign.

Indeed, the distractions, distortions and deceit promoted by the scoundrels, malefactors and curs — working on behalf of Wall Street villains — to mesmerize the naive in order to lead them astray, pose a lethal threat to Indigenous Peoples and their desperate movement of liberation. Pretending otherwise, in order to coddle the credulous, accomplishes nothing noble. Indeed, it only perpetuates misperceptions that urgently need to be shattered.

Two months from now, in New York City, the Wall Street/NGO convergence around climate change, Indigenous Peoples human rights, and corporate derivative philanthropy, promises to be one of the super spectacles of the decade. Shining a light on that shadowy affair is something that simply has to be done. Unfortunately, there is no painless way of doing that, for it is way past time for an awakening.

Bedlam in Gotham, meanwhile, is going to be a three-ring circus:

  1. September 20-21 People’s Climate Change March
  2. September 22-23 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples
  3. September 24-26 World Summit on Indigenous Philanthropy

All the Ford and Rockefeller PR puppets from the non-profit industrial complex will be swarming for media attention to keep those grants flowing. Moolah, boodle, lucre, simoleons–a love fest for compromised NGOs, philanthropic brokerages and corporate foundations.

ICs position on the brokerages and foundations undermining the Indigenous Peoples Movement is non-negotiable: IC opposes the philanthropic system of assimilating Indigenous Peoples; this is core IC policy.

These editorials illustrate that policy in more detail:

The following definitions might be unsettling, but nevertheless useful:

CULTURE
Artistic and intellectual customs and achievements of a particular civilization. Refined appreciation of this.

IMBECILE
Person of abnormally weak intellect, esp. an adult with a mental age of about five.

CULTURE of IMBECILES
Ideological absence in which advertising has become the only active factor, overriding any preexisting critical judgment or transforming such judgment into a mere conditioned reflex. Inability to develop any political consciousness

[Jay 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 activists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations. Email: tbarj [at] yahoo.com Website: www.jaytaber.com]

Australia’s Climate Movement Has Been Bought for a Pittance

We Suspect Silence

May 13, 213

by empathiser

“Self censorship is a powerful force, the result of the misapplication of intuition and the imperative to self aggrandise. Self censorship means choosing not to pursue the truth, a form of pragmatism that has helped activists maintain employment by satisfying an organisational remit communicated through funding arrangements and alliances with similarly funded groups. It leads to many important things being unsaid, many independent lines of inquiry being left unpursued.”

sold-sign

If you follow the money in the Australian environmental scene you will find that at the end of many a cul-de-sac and dark alley there is a cluster of unaccountable American foundations. The two most prominent of these are the Rockefeller Funds and the Pew Charitable Trusts, both founded on big oil money back in the early 20th century. They represent ultra wealth transferred from corporations designed to turn a profit to foundations designed to last forever. These American foundations and their Australian counterparts like the Poola Foundation are designed, we are told, to support innovation in the non-profit sector.

My intuition tells me that many foundations exist to capture the resistance, to stymy militantism, and to feed into the messaging sphere ideas that are anti-revolutionary. After 20 years of wondering why the environmental movement was so profoundly ineffective, and being a person who always tried hard to do the right thing, I joined the action only to have my spidey senses constantly tingling. The last few years have been both strange and exhilarating. I have a sense that in my small, militant, volunteer group I am working with good and fearless people, but I also have a sense that in the wider movement I am surrounded by a herd of captives to climate alarmism. I have come to believe quite firmly that foundation money catalyses ineffectiveness, that self censorship has constrained innovation and militancy at the behest of conditional funding.

Caravan of Doom

SONY DSC

Intercontinental Cry

October 25, 2013

By Jay Taber

 

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

 

[Jay Taber 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 director of Public Good Project. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]

Working for Warren: Corporate Greens

 

buffet

Intercontinental Cry

June 4, 2013

By Jay Taber

 

In Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse–Part II, Cory Morningstar examines the political theatre of the non-profit industrial complex around the transport of oil, and how corporate greens — financed by oligarchs like Rockefeller, Gates and Buffett — are effectively destroying any meaningful activism in the US. At a time when half the total energy produced in the US is wasted due to inefficiencies, protesting pipelines only to have oil shipped by rail is arguably a meaningless activity. But as Morningstar explains, it is funded.

 

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

 

North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus Credibility Issue

Amazon Watch

WKOG editor: As a side note, Amazon Watch, like many NGOs are created as incubator projects by foundations such as Ford and Rockefeller in order to shape, manage and control movements, as well as dissent. According to Wikipedia: “Founded in 1996, Amazon Watch is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California. It works to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin.” What Wikipedia does not tell you is the fact that Ford “gave a grant, beginning January 12, 1987, to the Brazilian Foundation for the Conservation of Nature (BFCN), the oldest, most establishment-connected conservation group in Brazil which had also gotten funds from WWF U.S. since 1983. The Ford Foundation said BFCN hired Mallas “as a member of the project staff.” She was listed as the co-ordinator of a meeting that was to plan an organization called “Amazon Watch”. The grant ($22,850) was later reduced to $16,000, which covered the actual expenditures: it came from Ford’s Rural Poverty and Resources Division, the section later run by Peter May who went on to work with Clay, Groeneveld, the Body Shop, et al. The BFCN was headed in 1987 by Admiral Ibsen De Gusmao Camara, who acted as the liaison with Ford Foundation on the Amazon Watch project. The admiral’s term as president of BFCN  ended in the fall of 1987. The new president fired everyone the admiral had hired.” [Source: Cloak of Green: The Links between Key Environmental Groups, Government and Big Business by Elaine Dewar (Jan 1 1995)] – Another example of a popular incubator project that operates under the guise of “grassroots” is Rockefellers’ 1Sky/350.org. 

Intercontinental Cry

May 3, 2013

By Jay Taber

On the NAIPC listserv this week, Robert Free Galvan asks some important questions of the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus and the elite indigenous lobbyists who manipulate it to conform to the UN colonial model. He interestingly asks about the funding of such lobbying from notorious foundations as Ford.

Foundation Funding: Tightening the Bonds of Our Own Oppression

February 15, 2013

Author/illustrator Stephanie McMillan of Minimum Security writes:

The awareness of capitalism’s core mechanisms (as opposed to its effects) is so crucial because the system has numerous methods of assimilating our struggles, and we have to make sure we don’t get sidetracked. It diverts discontent into forms that reinforce its own institutions. These are very sophisticated and persuasive – they make people feel that they are making a difference when in fact they’re tightening the bonds of their own oppression.
 
FoundationFundingPrison
 
Lisa Inti, WKOG, adds:
 
It seems that when one attempts to engage in a critical discussion regarding the political problems of working with these and other foundations, and especially when one is interested in naming them as the gently repressive “evil” cousins of the more prototypically evil right-wing foundations, the establishment Left becomes profoundly defensive of its financial patrons. I would argue that this is a liberal-progressive vision that marginalizes the radical, revolutionary, and proto-revolutionary forms of activism, insurrection, and resistance that refuse to participate in the Soros charade of “shared values”, and are uninterested in trying to “improve the imperfect.” The social truth of the existing society is that it is based on the production of massive, unequal, and hierarchically organized disenfranchisement, suffering, and death of these populations who are targeted for containment and political/social liquidation –a violent social order produced under the dictates of “democracy,” “peace,” “security,” and “justice” that form the historical and political foundations of the very same white civil society on which the NPIC Left is based.
 

If we take seriously, for the sake of argument, the political analysis articulated by Palestinians struggling against the Israeli occupation, or that of imprisoned radical intellectuals/activists and their free-world allies desperately fighting to dismantle and abolish the prison industrial complex, or that of Indigenous peoples worldwide who, to paraphrase Haunani-Kay Trask, are literally fighting against their own planned obsolescence, then it should become clear that the Soros philosophy of the Open Society, along with other liberal foundation social imaginaries, are at best philanthropic vanities. At worst, we can accuse the Soros, Ford, Mellon, and Rockefeller foundations, and their ilk of NGOs and non-profit organizations, of accompanying and facilitating these massive structures of human domination, which simply cannot be reformed or “reconciled” in a manner that legitimates anything approaching a vision of liberation or radical freedom.” –Dylan Rodriguez (The Political Logic of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex)
 
McMillan adds:

Elections, corporate-funded nonprofits, NGOs and CBOs, personal change, political pressure, culture-jamming, tinkering with the economy, green jobs, withdrawing our support, symbolic protests – all are offered up as options for dissent. None of them are sufficient; on the contrary, they serve to reinforce the system’s authority and the illusion of democracy.

crossroads

If you like this cartoon and text, please consider contributing to make them a book! Ends at midnight PST tonight (February 15, 2013). http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/capitalism-must-die

Philanthropic Colonization

By

 Jan 10, 2013

Intercontinental Cry

Writing at Wrong Kind of Green, Michael Barker examines social engineering by the capitalist elite via stolen wealth laundered through private foundations. As Barker notes, for billionaire capitalists like Bill Gates, the state is merely a tool to be harnessed for profit maximization, thus enabling a small power elite to shape global society for their own ends.

Perhaps most telling, says Barker, are the covert, anti-democratic campaigns funded by corporations like Gates’ Microsoft aimed at protecting itself from anti-trust actions brought by the U.S. Government. By manipulating media and spying on journalists, Microsoft — the source of Gates’ philanthropic endeavors — joins foundations like Ford and Rockefeller in undermining democracy worldwide. As these three titans of philanthropy lead the way in promoting genetically modified monoculture, by necessity removing governments and indigenous peoples that get in their way, one has to ask how it is that these plutocrats get away with it.

As Barker notes, the philanthropic colonization of civil society is a clear and present danger to democratic governance, and the first step in countering their insidious influence is for progressive activists to dissociate from their foundations. As Barker admits, creating democratic revenue streams won’t be easy, but it is necessary in order to free ourselves from the corrosive social engineering of liberal elites.

As the Planet Burns: Hot Air, Photo Ops and Bill McKibben’s “Greenest” City

Counterpunch

November 05, 2012

by MICHAEL DONNELLY

 

“Superstorm” Sandy exposed many things about (our) Darth Cheney’s unsustainable “non-negotiable American Way of Life.” Besides the in-your-face revelations of just how bad our fossil-fuel-addicted industrial/consumer society has screwed with Mother Nature (and there have been and will be tons of verbiage written on that front), what it reveals about the sorry state of civic life at the End of Empire is the most telling.

Faux Debates

After Climate never being mentioned in the three presidential “debates;” post-Sandy, we now have President Obama disingenuously noting in an MTV interview, “I’m surprised it didn’t come up in the debates.”

Apparently, Obama would have us believe he was just a passive observer at the debates (all three, not just that first one) – on this issue, anyway. He, like Romney, strayed from the topic and brought up other issues over and over – if they mattered to him/them.

Faux Compassion

We have the spectacle of half-billionaire GOP standard-bearer Mitt Romney purchasing $5000 in food goods from Wal-Mart, so people could “donate” the items – none of which relief groups actually want – back to him at a contrived storm relief photo-op.

The coreless Mitt Headroom went from saying, “Disaster relief is immoral. FEMA should be privatized” during the Primary Campaign to this on Halloween: “I believe that FEMA plays a key role in working with states and localities to prepare for and respond to natural disasters. As president, I will ensure FEMA has the funding it needs to fulfill its mission, while directing maximum resources to the first responders who work tirelessly to help those in need, because states and localities are in the best position to get aid to the individuals and communities affected by natural disasters.”

Another artificial GOP photo-op had VP candidate Paul Ryan delaying packing storm relief supplies in Wisconsin so he wouldn’t finish up before the photos could be snapped. (This was on the heels of Ryan’s fake photo-op at a closed soup kitchen two weeks earlier.)

President Obama, on the other hand – while far more compassionate, but still not connecting the climate dots – scored the photo-op that probably won him reelection; strolling through devastated parts of New Jersey arm-in-arm with his erstwhile attack dog opponent Gov. Chris Christie assessing the storm damage and encouraging shocked citizens.

Faux Science

Of course, the propagandists at Fox News and DRUDGE trotted out “expert” after “expert” to tell us that Climate Change/Global Warming, even if it did exist, had little to do with Sandy.

Faux Environmentalism

The New York myopia and narcissism of the sham Climate warrior Bill McKibben was also stunningly revealed.

First McKibben tweeted this drivel on Oct. 29th: “Obviously no place deserves this kind of storm — but NYC, America’s greenest city, in some ways deserves it least of all.”

Yep, “greenest” if you ignore the millions of serfs (both carbon-based and carbon-powered) providing the food, other necessities and consumer junk trucked in by fossil fuel on a 24/7/365 basis; if you ignore the massive coal-generated kilowattage; the trash dumping in the ocean; a once-great ecosystem with dozens of creeks, swamps and diverse forest now reduced to an ecosystem dominated by three species: humans, rats and roaches – with bedbugs making a run as the new scourge as feverishly reported recently in the New York-centric media; if you don’t notice the concrete, glass, steel and invasive species replacing the natural habitat, etc.

New York City has a huge carbon footprint despite population concentration, which indeed, also compacts pollution. But, even by the most liberal measuring of per capita carbon use, NY places Fourth among the top 100 US metros. On that score along NY is not the “greenest,” even in the US.

When you consider that much of the eco-cost of the huge metro is externalized in destroyed mountains for coal and other resource colony ecosystems that are stripped and sent on that 24/7 inbound commodity procession. Even the Coltan; that Unobtainium that powers the digital culture that powers New York’s Shipwreck Cove of Finance Capital – who ultimately bear a lot of responsibility for the entire predicament – has a host of ecological and genocidal – human and other primates -implications. This “greenest” wishful-thinking just doesn’t hold up.

While Gaia Burns

But then again, McKibben is a pro at ignoring the real bad actors, especially if they are Democrats, and real carbon implications. Scientists say that the highest safe level of 350 parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere has long ago been passed – 350.org is the name of McKibben’s astroturf eco-group. Who starts their campaign at the highest (maybe) safe level,  anyway? The Arctic has already passed the 400 ppm milestone.  It stood at 275 ppm before the industrial age began.

McKibben is also an expert at ignoring a major part of the overall carbon footprint…claiming repeatedly that personal use doesn’t matter. I know my personal use matters and I’m trying to lessen it all the time. I know we’ve all been born into this situation and that doesn’t mean we’re all horrible people because of it. It’s just that someone like McKibben just HAS to know better. If you are going to put yourself out there front and center, you have to set a personal example. As Dylan wrote, to live outside the law (in this case our deadend industrial society), you have to be honest.

His never-ending roadshow continues to spew more carbon than his group has gotten sequestered. Just flying in activists from all over the country to get arrested at his Obama campaign rally, er, Keystone Pipeline protest, also spewed more carbon than the group has ever succeeded in preventing – ironically, many of the planes were fueled from tar sands-derived bitumen! (Far better they had burned the carbon flying in all the scientists who are in accordance and had them descend on Congress and the White House – now there’d be a Occupy with an agenda – until some action was /is taken.)

Of course, the “no-talk rules” about such stuff is clear – the entire “Environmental” Movement at the top, and increasingly at the local levels, is funded and controlled by the fossil fuel industry though the Pew Charitable Trusts (Sun Oil Co) and the Rockefeller Fund. As always, and across the “Green” group rosters, the great Upton Sinclair dictum comes into play, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

McKibben followed up his “greenest city” absurdity up with an all-about-me-and-my New York piece in The Guardian .

“I’m an environmentalist: New York is as beautiful and diverse and glorious as an old growth forest. It’s as grand, in its unplanned tumble, as anything ever devised by man or nature.”

Wow! Just wow! No real environmentalist I know would ever make such an anthropocentric statement…not even close; certainly, none of the many forest protection allies from across the country that I’ve long known and worked with.

Diverse as an old growth forest? How can anyone think that an ecosystem dominated by those three species can actually be compared to one with hundreds of dependent species – an ecosystem that provides massive amounts of clean water and clean air while sequestering carbon. The planet and humanity could survive quite nicely – possibly thrive – without NYC. But, neither NYC, humankind, nor thousands of innocent other species could sans the forests. Chateaubriand’s observation that “Forests precede civilizations, deserts follow them” still holds, no matter how many “green” cities rise and fall in the interim.

So, just how concerned was Bill McKibben personally for the city he “loves best?” Did he drop everything and rush to aid the storm victims, as did the local Occupy folks who paddled canoes around the city helping out? Did he inform Obama that this was the tipping point and no more “green” endorsements would be coming the Dems way unless they put Climate front and center? Did he take stock of 350.org’s own massive carbon use and the vanity, ineptitude and ultimate service to the industrial culture of its campaign?

Nope. McKibben was so concerned he wrote a bunch of self-serving, shortsighted nonsense and then got on the 350.org “sustainable bus” (whatever that is; it has to be better than hopping yet another Tar Sands-fueled jet) to travel off to give a series of talks decrying other people’s carbon use.

MICHAEL DONNELLY is a long-time NW Ancient Forest activist. He gave up flying a few years ago when educated on its devastating climate impacts. He can be reached at Pahtoo@aol.com

 

White Philanthropy For Black (Mis)education

February 22, 2012

By Michael Barker

Ceasefire Magazine

Michael Barker looks at the central, highly ideological, role played over the past 150 years by US white philanthropists in shaping education policies for blacks, promoting the freedom of the few to exploit others, and the freedom of the many to endure it.

Black students during a class on the assembly and repair of telephones at Hampton Institute (1899)

Controlling the spread and evolution of institutionalized education has always been a foremost concern of the ruling class. Barely disguised by the humanitarian rhetoric of philanthropy, white power brokers have played a central role in ensuring that the steady extension of educational facilities across the globe serves to miseducate the bulk of its recipients: promoting the freedom to exploit others (for a few) and the freedom to endure exploitation (for the rest).

William Watkins’ book The White Architects of Black Education: Ideology and Power in America, 1865-1954 (Teachers College Press, 2001) thus provides a clear-sighted analysis of the history of black education. A historical undertaking which Manning Marable has described as “an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the complex relationships between white philanthropy and black education.”[1]

Watkins “destroys the myth that the debate between [W.E.B.] DuBois and Booker T. Washington over the character of schooling actually determined the future of educational policy toward African Americans.” Demonstrating that while the debates between such influential men may have been important, ultimately they “were minor players in the formation of black schooling and the philosophy that lay behind it.”

In this way Watkins “cuts to the very heart of the matter,” reviewing the key contributions made by the real power brokers such as General Samuel Chapman Armstrong, J.L.M. Curry, William Baldwin, Robert Ogden, Thomas Jesse Jones, Franklin Giddings, and the Rockefeller and Phelps Stokes’ family, friends and funds.[2]

Of Watkins’ architects of Black education, “none is more important than Samuel Chapman Armstrong (1839-1893)” — an individual who “was an effective and farsighted social, political, and economic theorist working for the cause of a segregated and orderly South.” Having served as a missionary and solider; in 1865, following the end of the Civil War, Armstrong joined the Freedman’s Bureau, and a few years later (as their operations were wound down, owing to white opposition), he went on to found the Hampton Institute.

In this work, Armstrong sought to avoid class conflict, and aimed to reconcile the differences between racial supremacists and those seeking equality while “working for the powerful”; promoting a “version of human uplift [that] was absolutely compatible with the most despotic and oppressive political apparatus.” Appropriately he went on to serve as the mentor for Booker T. Washington, who emerged as the Hampton Institute’s “prize student.”[3]

With such influential protégés, Armstrong and his Hampton Institute’s message of racial accommodation, gradualism and moderation was spread far and wide, and “played no small role in creating a Black compradore class for the twentieth century.” The importance of this endeavour should not be underestimated.