what's left

No individualist solution to foundations

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By Stephen Gowans

A number of articles published here and elsewhere have been critical of progressives who have become entangled with foundations sponsored by corporations, imperialist governments and wealthy individuals. These progressives have been criticized by some for being willing to accept foundation support and by others for presenting themselves and other foundation-connected leftists as “independent” left voices. The first group of critics complains that progressives undermine their credibility by taking foundation grants and accepting foundation positions or unjustifiably enhance the credibility of the foundations they take money and jobs from. This group has no basic disagreement with the political positions of the foundation-connected progressives. The criticism of the second group, on the other hand, originates in disagreement over fundamental political positions. It defines the political position of foundation-connected progressives as pro-imperialist, not in intentions but in its effects, and argues that it is this basic political position which makes these progressives attractive to foundations. They appear to be credibly progressive – even radical – but in fact promote views that pose no real threat to corporate domination and indeed even buttress the ideological foundations of that domination. They are independent in the sense that they are not told to what to do or say, but their views considerably overlap in important ways those of their foundation sponsors.

The first group of critics argues that progressives should reject connections to corporate and government-controlled foundations, or, alternatively, should take the money but scrupulously refuse to self-censor, even if it means losing funding. The point of this article is to argue that were progressives to follow this advice, little of consequence would change.

The most significant role foundations play, is not in encouraging progressives to self-censor, either to guarantee ongoing funding or to secure funding for the first time (although this doubtlessly happens), but to funnel money to progressives who promote views that are no threat to continued ruling class domination and reinforce certain views and values that discourage leftists from emulating or supporting militant movements or parties, at home and abroad. By providing these progressives with a platform to reach a large part of the progressive community, the corporate community, through its foundations, puts these left intellectuals in a position to define for the progressive community a common sense that is at worst innocuous to the interests of foundation sponsors and more often indirectly conducive to those interests. More militant voices, whose views are uncompromisingly antagonistic to those of the foundations’ sponsors, are denied funding, and dwell, as a consequence, along the margins, where their ability to set the agenda is severely limited. This is a long-standing ruling class strategy: give the moderates a voice and marginalize the militants. If the militants can’t be marginalized, suppress them.

What would happen if those who self-censored refused to do so any longer, and renounced their ties to foundations, as the first set of critics prescribes? The same foundation money would flow to someone else who expressed the same self-censored views, only this time without the need of self-censorship. Wolfe’s quip applies not only to journalists but to intellectuals generally. “You cannot hope to bribe and twist, thank God, the British journalist. But seeing what the man will do unbribed, there’s no occasion to.”

There is no shortage of people who lean to the left who needn’t be bribed through the promise of foundation grants or implicit threats of their withdrawal to express views that are pleasing to corporate foundation sponsors – views that implicitly accept as desirable certain societal arrangements or strategies for the left to follow that allow the corporate rich to maintain their dominance and further their goals. It’s wrong to suggest that Stephen Zunes has been bought or sold out because he has accepted a position with a foundation controlled by former Michael Milken right hand man Peter Ackerman. Zunes is saying what he would have said all along, even if he hadn’t forged foundation ties. That Zunes has found a community of interest with Ackerman, who is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and head of Freedom House, simply reveals how mildly left Zunes’ views really are.

Foundation-friendly leftist views hold that the world can be changed without taking power; that hierarchical political organizations of the type that have proved successful in class and national liberation struggles of the past are undesirable and should be set aside in favor of loose, decentralized, (and therefore ineffective) movements; that the highest task for progressives is the extension of the democratic project, defined without reference to class; and that this goal should be achieved by a loose coalition of grassroots groups practicing non-violent direct action. These views are, of course, far more pleasing to the dominant class than the view that says power should be seized and held onto to accomplish concrete anti-capitalist goals (freedom from exploitation or neo-colonial domination) and that the route to power lies in the same hierarchical, disciplined organizational forms that have proved successful in the past. Z-Net style progressives are pleasing to the ruling class because they promote a strategy for the left that has no chance of success, and is built around the pursuit of nebulous goals. To conserve the status quo, all you have to do is make sure this brand of leftism receives a large “advertising” budget, to maintain the “brand’s” dominant share position in the left community. I’m borrowing marketing terminology, but it fits well. Coke has more customers than RC Cola because it has a much large advertising and promotion budget. Foundation funding is like an advertising budget that allows the foundations’ sponsors to push their preferred brand (in this case, a brand of leftism) to the fore.

Telling progressives, therefore, that they’re being manipulated by foundations is pointless and at odds with reality. Many progressives with foundation ties are not being manipulated, bribed or bought. They point out correctly that there are no strings attached to the money they receive, they say what they want to say without interference, and they’ve secured a platform they would not otherwise have to advance views they strongly believe in. To these progressives, it is the foundations that are being used, not themselves. Journalists say the same: Editors don’t tell me what to write. But, then, editors don’t have to tell journalists who implicitly accept capitalist goals and values what to say. Likewise, foundations don’t need to use the threat of withdrawing support to left intellectuals. Many left intellectuals have, without the spur of stick or carrot, adopted views that are already, in the view of foundation sponsors, desirable for a leftwing opposition to hold.

The problem, then, is much larger than one of individuals’ relations to foundations. It is a problem of a class comprised of a tiny minority, which, by virtue of owning the major productive resources, has a virtual monopoly on resources that allow it to define the common sense of the age, not only broadly, but within the left community as well, by giving a platform to those who hold desirable views. The same problem surfaces in the media, where the parallel individualist solution of importuning journalists to stop self-censoring or give up their jobs as journalists, has obvious weaknesses. There is also an obvious weakness in FAIR’s strategy of asking the mass media to forget they’re owned and controlled by corporate wealth that has an interest in propagating certain views and values.

To define the common sense view, all you have to do is make sure those whose view of the common sense is compatible with your own interests, get heard. Challenging the virtual monopoly of the corporate rich to define the ruling ideas or to define what constitutes a desirable set of views and values for the left to hold cannot be done, therefore, by urging individuals to be incorruptible, most of whom are not corrupt now and are incorruptible anyway. The challenge is a systemic one, whose solution lies in changing the system, not individuals. So long as major productive resources are privately owned, the wherewithal to define the common sense will lie within the grasp of private owners. They will use foundations to raise the visibility and voice of left intellectuals who hold desirable views to weaken left opposition and divert its energies to humanitarian, but conservative, tasks which pose no threat to the interests and continued domination of the corporate rich. The left intellectuals who rise to prominence will do so, then, not because their arguments are more compelling, their approach more realistic, or their orientation more leftist, but because they’ve been handed a platform their militant left competitors are denied.

Written by what's left

April 16, 2008 at 10:53 pm

10 Responses

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  1. This article is a disappointing but, alas, predictable retreat from the principled and critically militant position of Gowans’ previous pieces on Zunes and his legion. The imperialist Left is an organic constituent part of modern Western imperialism and can be properly understood only through a historical analysis of its origings in Western anti-communism and anti-Sovietism. We need to keep in mind that behind the intellectual gloss and “cultural riches” of the Western Left, subsidized by capitalist foundations and universities, there stands one fundamental fact: this Left is a historic product not of a revolution but of 90 years of Western reaction against the Russian Revolution (Anton Baumgarten). Gowans correctly quotes M/E. Ruling ideas are the ideas of the ruling class. But Gowans fails to conclude that this general truth applies also to the ideas of the Western Left, above all to the Left in the US where monopolistic bourgeoisie reigns supreme and unchallenged and where anti capitalist and even left-liberal intelligentsia finds itself squeezed between the powerful imperialistic bourgeoisie, the conformist and cowardly middle class, and the bourgeosified blue color workers, farmers and the big city plebs — white and colored trash, whose heads are also full of imperialist rubbish just like the heads of their Roman counterparts. One must admit that this is a hell of a situation. And no one should blame the US Left if they frankly recognized this “objective” fact and acknowledge their impotency to change the American society. Instead, the North American left choses to operate as if it had a credible record and no less credible future. This can only make it the laughing stock of the international Left.

    “Challenging the virtual monopoly of the corporate rich to define the ruling ideas or to define what constitutes a desirable set of views and values for the left to hold cannot be done, therefore, by urging individuals to be incorruptible, most of whom are not corrupt now and are incorruptible anyway.”

    What a strange, evasive, grammatically compromized languge and with what gusto Lenin would mock it! Gowans is saying that if US Left hopes to “challenge” “the rich” if only by “defining” the ideology of US capitalism and the Left’s own “desirable set of views and values” it should not separate itself from the despicable legions of US leftists engaged in the imperialist warfare against the peoples oppressed and threatened by US imperialism! Or to put it plainly, Gowans argues that a political movement cannot be conscious of its society and itself and at the same time purge itself from those who went over to the side of the class enemy. But isn’t the entire history of North American Left replete with arguments like this? Comrade Gowans, why don’t you simply confess that the power of bourgeois opinion is just too strong for you and your friends? We’ll perfectly understand this. As Russians say, on the battlefield one is not a warrior.

    Valentin Zorin

    April 17, 2008 at 1:40 pm

  2. Valentin Zorin,

    At no point did I intend “a retreat from a prinicpled and militant position” and nor did I intend to argue that the left “should not separate itself from the despicable legions of US leftists engaged in the imperialist warfare against the peoples oppressed and threatened by US imperialism.” The thesis was simple: Foundations channel money to the moderate left (the despicable pro-imperialist legions, in your terms) to overshadow “the principled and militant” voices. Suggesting, as some have done, that the left shouldn’t take money from foundations misses the point: the militant left isn’t offered the money (and wouldn’t take it anyway) and the moderate left sees nothing wrong in taking money to publicize views neither they nor foundations oppose. In any capitalist society, the moderate left, or petite bourgoisie socialists, to use orthodox Marxist terminology, will be strentghened by conservative forces as a means to weaken the militants and steer left opposition into safe, non-revolutionary directions.

    Frankly, I’m baffled at how you have arrived at your conclusions, but perhaps I failed to take sufficient care to make my points clear. Could you please point to specific parts of the article that led you to these interpretations? If they’re unclear, I wish to rectify.

    Steve

    Stephen Gowans

    April 17, 2008 at 2:30 pm

  3. Gowans wrote, “Frankly, I’m baffled at how you have arrived at your conclusions…”

    Me too. Gowans is clearly NOT siding with those who join the foundations.He is merely saying that people like Zunesare not being hypocrites and to argue against them on the basis of their supposed hypocrisy is to miss the point.

    Zorin seems to be making the broader point that US society is corrupted by imperialism from top to bottom. Unless Zoran has a clear alternative political programme for the working class, this sounds to me like a counsel of despair.

    Justin O'Hagan

    April 18, 2008 at 7:29 am

  4. Sorry, I was to busy to clarify my response to your article easrlier.

    You write:

    The thesis was simple: Foundations channel money to the moderate left (the despicable pro-imperialist legions, in your terms) to overshadow “the principled and militant” voices.

    Zorin: 1) Actually, your article does not say that this is the main or even a conscious goal of foundations. Rather this is a byproduct of the complicity between the bourgeoisie and what you call “leftists” and “progressives.” You claim that the interests of U.S. capitalists, represented by their foundations, and the interest of U.S. “leftists” and “progressives” like Zunes somehow–and nothing short of a miracle, I must add–coincide. In other words, both parties act in good faith. Only bad-tempered and morally suspect individuals can accuse Zunes and his ilk in them wishing to help the imperialists. As if Zunes’s subjective intentions was the gist of the matter. You see, your whole argument is twisted from the very beginning as well as your your language. Just compare it with your first two articles on Zunes. What a striking contrast! Now, would you agree with this proposition? Since some of the intentions or goals of Western “progressives” and Western imperialists coincide to the degree that they band together in “foundations” this is possible only because Western imperialism has a progressive side to it. By the same logic another proposition seems to be no less valid, namely: Since some of the intentions or goals of Western “progressives” and Western imperialists coincide to the degree that they band together in “foundations” this is possible only because Western “progressives” and “leftists” have an imperialist side to them. To put it briefly: There is such thing as “progressive imperialism” and the imperialist left. And why not? Aren’t “the left” and “the right” traditional categories of bourgeois politics, beginning with the French Revolution? Why can’t be then an imperialist left? Isn’t Obama a typical right-wing representative of the imperialist left, with US anarchists, defending Tibet theocracy and helping the West to subvert Mugabe, constituting its radical left flank?

    Let me quote you: “Zunes is saying what he would have said all along, even if he hadn’t forged foundation ties. That Zunes has found a community of interest with Ackerman, who is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and head of Freedom House, simply reveals how mildly left Zunes’ views really are.”

    Isn’t it just the other way of saying that Freedom House of the former CIA Director James Woolsey (The Project of the American Century) and the CFR of the Rockefellers is a “mildly left” organization? Woolsey and Zumes are left and Steven Gowans is also left. The difference between them is only in degrees of their leftism.

    Why do you use this hazy language that masks the dividing line between the bourgeois/imperialist left and the revolutionary anticapitalist and antiimperialist left. Nowhere you define what is Left: who are “moderate leftists” and “progressives” ? There are two types of intellectuals in the modern world: those who clarify ideas and ideals and those make them “nebulous”? In your previous articles on Zunes you spoke from the midst of the first, but in this last you joined the second. What in the world do you mean by “the common sense of the age”? The ruling ideas? What do mean by “the rich” who hire “mild leftists” ? Feudals? Free slaveholding citizens of Athens? The sultans of the East?

    2) The real thesis of your article is this: “The point of this article is to argue that were progressives to follow this advice, little of consequence would change.” The advice being “take the money but scrupulously refuse to self-censor, even if it means losing funding.” But the issue is not “freedom of speech.” After reading you first two articles I thought the point was to draw the dividing line between the left boot of imperialism and the antiimperialist left. I thought the issue was to politically and morally expose and condemn those pretending to be antiimperialists instead actually working for them. Was I wrong? I guess I was, because now you describe Zunes et al doing “humanitarian but conservative tasks” — another feat of “nebulous” language and politics.

    You write:

    “To define the common sense view, all you have to do is make sure those whose view of the common sense is compatible with your own interests, get heard. Challenging the virtual monopoly of the corporate rich to define the ruling ideas or to define what constitutes a desirable set of views and values for the left to hold cannot be done, therefore, by urging individuals to be incorruptible, most of whom are not corrupt now and are incorruptible anyway. ”

    Put in a plain language, it means: To rule ideologically over the hearts and minds of the working class, capitalists buy the services of those intellectuals who sell the right stuff. To challenge the ruling ideology, “the left” should not put any blame on these intellectuals who just honestly and “incorruptibly” sell their wares.

    “The challenge is a systemic one, whose solution lies in changing the system, not individuals.”

    Don’t touch Zuneses, destroy the system! But aren’t Zuneses a part of the system? Doesn’t the system reproduces itseft in part by systematically bribing intellectuals, by creating demand for a certain type of “left” wares, for a certain type of “left” whoring? Is there such a thing as a system without men?

    You conclude:

    “So long as major productive resources are privately owned, the wherewithal to define the common sense will lie within the grasp of private owners. They will use foundations to raise the visibility and voice of left intellectuals who hold desirable views to weaken left opposition and divert its energies to humanitarian, but conservative, tasks which pose no threat to the interests and continued domination of the corporate rich. The left intellectuals who rise to prominence will do so, then, not because their arguments are more compelling, their approach more realistic, or their orientation more leftist, but because they’ve been handed a platform their militant left competitors are denied.”

    So what’s your point if not to whitewash the incorruptible Zuneses and find excuse for the impotency of other incorruptible leftists like yourself who happened to sell tougher leftist wares?

    Valentin Zorin

    April 21, 2008 at 3:52 am

  5. Justin responds to my comment:

    “Unless Zoran has a clear alternative political programme for the working class, this sounds to me like a counsel of despair.”

    Zorin does not have such a programme. Nor do I think such a program can exit at all. If only because there is no such thing in history as “the working class” pure and simple. There is an imperialist working class, there is a neocolonial working class, there is Canadian working class, Polish, Russian and so on. I am not a charlatan to offer programs for the working class that exists only in the imagination of a proudly independent Western individual of leftist persuasions whatever this might mean. But when I feel a rat I call it a rat.

    Valentin Zorin

    April 21, 2008 at 3:59 am

  6. Zorin: “You claim that the interests of U.S. capitalists, represented by their foundations, and the interest of U.S. “leftists” and “progressives” like Zunes somehow…coincide.”

    Steve: On the contrary, I said their view of what the left’s strategy and goals ought to be coincide. That’s hardly the same as saying their interests coincide.

    Social democrats think social democracy is the right strategy and goal for the left. If there’s going to be a left opposition, capitalists would rather it be social democratic, or the kind of left that foundations promote: fragmented and focused on single-issues and identity politics. Agreeing on what a good strategy for the left is (but for different reasons) doesn’t mean that capitalists and social democrats think their interests are the same, and certainly doesn’t mean that I’ve said they’re the same.

    Zorin: “Only bad-tempered and morally suspect individuals can accuse Zunes and his ilk in them wishing to help the imperialists.”

    Steve: Your view seems to be that there is no false consciousness; that everyone is aware of belonging to a class and what their class’s common interests are, and that what some would call false consciousness is actually dishonesty and corruption.

    Zorin: “To put it briefly: There is such thing as “progressive imperialism” and the imperialist left.”

    Steve: Who said there was no such thing? You might recall that I wrote of “foundation-connected progressives as pro-imperialist, not in intentions but in its effects.”

    Zorin: “Let me quote you: Zunes is saying what he would have said all along, even if he hadn’t forged foundation ties. That Zunes has found a community of interest with Ackerman, who is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and head of Freedom House, simply reveals how mildly left Zunes’ views really are.”

    Isn’t it just the other way of saying that Freedom House … and the CFR of the Rockefellers is a “mildly left” organization?”

    Steve: No. It’s a way of saying (a) the CFR and Freedom House are not leftwing and (b) the reality that Zunes can find himself at home with someone connected to these two organizations shows how mildly left he is. While he presents himself, at times, as vaguely radical, his politics are liberal (i.e., mildly left.)

    Zorin: “After reading you first two articles I thought the point was to draw the dividing line between the left boot of imperialism and the antiimperialist left. I thought the issue was to politically and morally expose and condemn those pretending to be anti-imperialist’s instead actually working for them. Was I wrong?”

    Steve: There were only two articles? I thought there were more, and that everyone was getting pretty sick of them. But no, you weren’t wrong. The point of the current article was to go beyond the previous ones to explore how the left boot of imperialism comes to play the dominant role in the proletarian camp. You can say they’ve been bribed, if you wish, but you can also say there are pro-imperialist leftists who don’t need to be bribed. Zunes may be among them, or he may not be. But I can be pretty sure there are some who don’t need to be bribed who are ready to take Zunes place should he ever decide to step down. Where there’s one cockroach, there will always be more, especially where someone is establishing the conditions for them to thrive. You say, “To rule ideologically over the hearts and minds of the working class, capitalists buy the services of those intellectuals who sell the right stuff.” I agree. But many intellectuals who sell the right stuff happen to believe it’s the right stuff.

    Zorin: “You describe Zunes et al doing “humanitarian but conservative tasks” — another feat of “nebulous” language and politics.”

    Steve: I don’t believe I described Zunes specifically as doing humanitarian tasks, but it is certainly true that many foundation-funded NGOs do humanitarian tasks. It was to NGOs generally that I was referring.

    Zorin: “To rule ideologically over the hearts and minds of the working class, capitalists buy the services of those intellectuals who sell the right stuff. To challenge the ruling ideology, “the left” should not put any blame on these intellectuals who just honestly and “incorruptibly” sell their wares.”

    Steve: When you have a cold do you put the blame on your runny nose?

    Zorin: “Don’t touch Zunes, destroy the system!”

    Steve: Who said don’t touch Zunes? If I said the blame for your cold is a virus, does that equate to: “Don’t blow your nose”?

    Zorin: “Is there such a thing as a system without men?”

    Steve: No. But you seem to think there’s such a thing as men without a system.

    Stephen Gowans

    April 21, 2008 at 10:39 pm

  7. “The imperialist Left is an organic constituent part of modern Western imperialism and can be properly understood only through a historical analysis of its origings in Western anti-communism and anti-Sovietism.”

    I agree with this point.

    I believe that the Western Left–despite its radical posturing and progressive veneer–is an imperialist Left in the final analysis.

    This is ultimately because they are citizens of the imperial center, as opposed to the periphery.

    And the Western Left’s politics reflect its relatively privileged position in this global hierarchy.

    This also brings up an issue that you rarely hear addressed by the Western imperialist Left: Labor imperialism/Labor aristocracy.

    The working class in the imperial center–while subordinate to their own ruling class–is comparatively privileged compared to the workers of the developing world or periphery.

    This working class has been traditionally bought off with a cut of the superprofits exploited from the periphery by the West.

    As such, they comprise a Labor imperialist class/aristocracy. And their politics, worldview, and values are powerfully shaped according to this global socio-economic status.

    This is not to say that specific Western groups or movements can’t break from this ideological matrix, however.

    AR

    April 23, 2008 at 11:07 am

  8. I would like to clarify why the issue of the imperialist left is of such importance for the few Marxists who remain in Russia. This may also explain to Steve Gowans the emotional aspect of my critical comments on this piece. Take our “independent” trade unions. They were formed in the 1990s under the supervision of and according to the methodologies of the International Department of the AFL-CIO. I don’t need to remind you who stands behind this organism. So what we have now is the rabidly anti-communist trade-union bureaucracy who have succeeded in completely stifling our labor movement and successfully brainwash workers in anti-communism in addition to bourgeois media. And keep in mind that these workers are NOT labor aristocracy, they have no one million pension funds invested in financial institutions of Western imperialism.

    We had 8 (eight!) labor strikes in 2007 with the total of 1200 striking workers. And all of them were HUNGER STRIKES – the most shameful form imaginable. And this is the least of our problems with the imperialist labor movement and Western leftists. Thanks to the last, the Russian Left today is just as vague and deceptive a word as it is in the West. What happened is that together with all other wonders of monopoly capitalism, like sex shops, Derrida, MTV, hired killers, Hannah Arendt, pulp fiction, Holliwood marriages and the like, we have been awash with the full assortment of “left” wares — the old wives’ tales of the “New Left”, Stalinophobia, anti-Sovietism, the left brands of Russophobia (usually maskerading as struggle against Russia imperialism, the London Left is especially keen on that, anti-Slavophilisn , and even anti-PanSlavism), the ATTAK and the “human rights” crowds, the Swedish anarchists types, the Internet revolutionaries from the Netherlands, the entire gamut of “Western Marxism” theories, the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, financed by the revolutionary German Governments of Kohl et al., — in short by all the riches of the Western Left, accumulated over the last seventy years of reaction, class compromise, “entryism” and outright whoring. And all this garbage was dumped on us precisely at the moment when the post-Soviet middle-class youth was most vulnerable to everything Western and eager to swallow all this exotic rague, wrapped in nice, 100% world-revolutionary colored wrappings. Man, we have “Trotskyists” who preach that the occupation of Russia by NATO will be a “progressive” and highly welcomed event. We have “internationally known leaders of the Russian Left” who have openly associated themselves with Western TNCs, Western intelligence agencies and their agents of influence. I mean we are fucked up. We don’t want no Zuneses to tell us what is “progressive” and what is not. We don’t need left SOBs from London, helping Ukrainian security services to create the Banderovite Left. We are fed up with French trotskyists who infiltrate into the international labor movement Atlantist agents of influence from Ukraine. That’s why the only thing we ask people like Gowans in the West — expose the whores who in left disguise and under the cover of Western foundations and NGOs subvert our countries and corrupt our leftists on the dough of their imperial masters. Just do what comrade Michael Parenti does. Under the circumstances you cannot make any difference in the belly of the beast, but at least you can expose its left boot.

    Valentin Zorin

    April 30, 2008 at 3:02 pm

  9. A middle-class U.S. left movement that’s managed by foundation grant-hustlers from their Establishment foundation-subsidized NGO offices has little incentive to build a politically effective revolutionary anti-imperialist U.S. left movement that is willing to mobilize the class that funds their NGO groups. Similarly, most middle-class U.S. left professors have little incentive to encourage the growth of a politically effective revolutionary anti-imperialist student movement at the corporatized universities that pay their salaries which might politically challenge the trustees ability to control the pro-imperialist U.S. universities.

    One way anti-imperialist working-class leftists in the U.S. can begin to rid themselves of the foundation-subsidized middle-class folks who are responsible for the political ineffectivenes of the U.S. left is to demand that the grant-hustlers either rely solely on individual donations of less than $200 to fund their left activist work or stop speaking in the name of anti-imperialist U.S. working-class people.

    The acceptance of (as Eugene Debs described the philanthropic money given by Andrew Carnegie to build libraries) “blood money” by U.S. left managers from foundations was seen as unethical by most U.S. left activists prior to the 1980s. So it’s not inevitable that people in the United States who want to see radical anti-imperialist change have to passively accept being led by folks who see nothing morally and politically contradictory about groups that claim to be against the U.S. Establishment accepting money from either their “socially progressive” corporations or their tax-dodging foundations.

    Regarding the “self-censorship” induced by acceptance of foundation grants, I think the main issue is that the U.S. left grant recipients block information about the significant historical impact on politics in all countries that foundations like the Ford Foundation have had and still have from reaching their grassroots left audiences, for fear of offending their foundation sponsors (much the same way corporate media workers block uncomplimentary information about their advertisers from reaching their audiences). Consequently, the vast majority of U.S. anti-war activists and protesters that tune in to the various foundation-sponsored left media outlets still have little consciousness as to how much special influence foundations like the Ford Foundation still have on world historical developments.

    For more info about the role that foundation funding plays in the U.S. left subculture, you might want to check out the leftgatekeepers site at the following link:

    http://www.leftgatekeepers.com/

    bob f.

    June 8, 2008 at 4:53 am

  10. There was a typo in first paragraph, should ” mobilize against the class that funds their NGO groups.”

    bob f.

    June 8, 2008 at 4:55 am


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