Swans Commentary » swans.com April 6, 2009
Who Wants A One World Government?
by Michael Barker
(Swans - April 6, 2009) Throughout the past century, liberal elites organizing to build the institutional foundations for a one world government have regularly acted as whipping boys for conservative commentators who accuse them of conspiring to enmesh the global populace within the oppressive chains of communism. In the past, popular promoters of such misconceptions have been derived from far-right groups like the John Birch Society, but more recently the accusations have come from top religious and political leaders like Pat Robertson and Ron Paul. In the eyes of these conservative commentators, liberal elites stand guilty of promoting a one world government, or New World Order, designed to rein in individual freedom and enslave humanity. The most notable ringleader elites of this conspiracy include influential neo-centrics like George Soros (who founded the Open Society Institute), and members of the Rockefeller family -- most notably David Rockefeller and the liberal foundations that receive funding from his family.
Like most widely accepted analyses presented in the mainstream media this conservative interpretation of world events comprises an element of truth. Consequently, this article analyses the conservative interpretation of world events. It reviews the ongoing activities of groups that openly acknowledge their desire to promote a one world government and goes on to critique the left's approach to global government. It will demonstrate how the critical onslaught from the Right has, to date, served to prevent the progressive community from engaging in this critical debate; that is, the debate to shape the future of global politics to enable us to create a new peaceful world order. Finally, it offers a progressive theoretical framework to expose the disturbing ambitions of the liberal elite.
World Federalists, "Socialists," and Gorbachev Power
Elite aspirations for creating more efficient means of managing the world are not new. One of the most significant US-based organizations pushing this global agenda has been the American branch of the World Federalist Movement, a group that was first known as the World Federalists of America. Formed in the aftermath of World War I, the World Federalists of America "call[ed] for the formation of a world government with the power to make and enforce laws which will control pollution of the earth's atmosphere and water, curb the waste of its resources, and dismantle the war machines of all nations." Later, as Joseph Baratta recounts in his book, The Politics of World Federation: From World Federalism to Global Governance (Praeger, 2004), by 1939:
...as the League [of Nations] collapsed, bolder spirits began to call for establishment of a true world federal government, by delegation of sovereign powers at least for the maintenance of peace and security. ... They included Clarence Streit, author of the book that practically conjured up the movement, Union Now. Another was Tom Otto Greissemer, German émigré from Hilter's Reich, who edited World Government News. Gressemer, educator Vernon Nash, and advertising executive Mildred Riorden Blake founded the World Federalists in New York in 1941. The Wall Street lawyer and "statesman incognito" behind the Wilson and Roosevelt administrations, Grenville Clark, had some influence when the times were auspicious, and later he and Harvard international lawyer Louis B. Sohn wrote one of the classics of the movement, World Peace through World Law. (p. 3)
In 1947, this group along with World Federalists of America met in Asheville, North Carolina, with representatives of three other like-minded world-federalist organizations to merge to become the United World Federalists which boasted a roster that "read like a Who's Who of academe, science, politics, the media, the legal community, business, and labor." (1) Although this newly-formed group had substantial support from the elites, Baratta observed that in its early days, "The only substantial money to come into the [World Federalist] movement -- $1 million from McCormick reaper heiress Anita McCormick Blaine -- funded the Foundation for World Government." (2) In later years United World Federalists would undergo a number of name changes before finally settling on their current name Citizens for Global Solutions (in 2004).
Following sustained attacks from radical conservatives like Pat Robertson (author of The New World Order), world federalists have become sensitive to openly declaring ambitions to create a world government. However, the former president of the World Federalist Movement, (1991-2004), the late Sir Peter Ustinov, has openly stated that a "World Government is not only possible, it is inevitable..."; similarly, in 1992, Strobe Talbott, writing for Time magazine famously quipped, "I'll bet that within the next hundred years... nationhood as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single, global authority." (3) Significantly, David Rockefeller noted in his memoirs, how some quarters considered the Rockefeller family "internationalists" who "conspire[d] with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure, one world, if you will." His response to this accusation was: "If that's the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it." (4) On this point, Baratta observes how "Federalists want world government, like any government, not as a good in itself but as the necessary instrument to establish peace and justice. Not to talk of government is not to face squarely the issue of willing the means for the end." (p.536)
Since 2004 the work of the World Federalists of America has been presided over by the Very Rev. Lois Wilson. Just prior to becoming the acting president of the World Federalist Movement (in 2004), Rev. Wilson served as Canada's special envoy to the Sudan (1999-2002), (5) but she had also been the first Canadian to be the president of the World Council of Churches (1983-90). Around this time, Rev. Joan Brown Campbell became the first woman to be named executive director of the US office of the World Council of Churches -- a position she held from 1985 until 1991. To date Rev. Campbell is an influential member of the globalist interfaith community and is presently a board member of the World Council of Religious Leaders and The Interfaith Alliance, while she chairs the Global Women's Peace Initiative (a group whose executive director, Marianne Marstrand, is the sister-in-law of the world's leading globalists, Maurice Strong). (6)
In 1983, the World Federalist Movement formed the Institute for Global Policy, which acts as their research arm. In 2003, the Institute launched their Responsibility to Protect-Engaging Civil Society Project (R2PCS) that ostensibly "seeks to promote commitment by the international community to prevent and respond early and effectively to threats of genocide and other mass atrocities." Stephen Gowans recently exposed the selective nature of this project's concerns with human rights violations, highlighting that,
...the plight of the Palestinians is nowhere to be found on the[ir] website..., though R2PCS has much to say about "the crisis in Darfur," "the crisis in Myanmar" and "the crisis in Zimbabwe," as well as the "genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda and Bosnia, (and) crimes against humanity in Kosovo." That the humanitarian catastrophe visited upon the Palestinians is absent from the R2PCS's concerns hardly jibes with its professed mission to "promote concrete policies to better enable governments, regional organizations and the U.N. to protect vulnerable populations."
In late 2007, R2PCS formed a new initiative to build a Right to Protect (R2P) "global civil society coalition," which was supported by groups like "Oxfam International, Human Rights Watch, International Crisis Group, and Refugees International." The last three groups mentioned on the Project's Web site are all tightly connected to "humanitarian" warrior George Soros, (7) and so it is no coincidence that Anthony Fenton writes:
In short, R2P has been defined as a situation wherein "the power of the sovereign state can be legitimately revoked if the international community decides that the state is not protecting its citizens." Importantly, the state's power is not only taken in extreme instances, via military intervention. Sovereignty can also be undermined by policies imposed under the "preventive" and "rebuilding" phases of the R2P spectrum, often in the form of economic sanctions, "coercive diplomacy," "democracy promotion," "good governance," and structural adjustment programs.
Although Fenton's work focuses on the utility of R2P doctrine to imperial interventions in Haiti, he makes the more general observation that "Following the controversial inclusion of the (albeit watered-down) R2P language in the UN's 2005 World Summit Outcome document, a veritable, well-funded 'R2P Lobby' has stealthily emerged to advance and consolidate the doctrine as a 'global norm.'" The proponents of this R2P doctrine fit within an ideological grouping that I refer to as the "Project For A New American Humanitarianism." Given the World Federalist Movement's service to imperial interests, it appears paradoxical that the same group would be amongst the leading promoters of an idea called subsidiarity.
Maurice Strong, "a great believer in the principle of subsidiarity" defines this concept as ensuring that "responsibility for decision making resides at the level closest to the people affected at which it can be exercised effectively." However, Strong and the World Federalist Movement's interpretation of this democratic ideal are vastly at odds with those of groups challenging (not creating) hierarchies, for example anarchists, who strongly support the devolution of power to the people. Consequently, as Aaron deGrassi points out:
[W]hile subsidiarity may seem to portend the desirability of decentralization, the concept also raises crucial questions of who decides what is "practicable" (and hence what are the limits of decentralization), on which criteria, with which evidence, and through which processes? Deciding where to allocate powers and resources thus inherently involves "the politics of the possible," and consequently the principle of subsidiarity can and has been used across the political spectrum equally to justify higher-level intervention or non-intervention -- a tension present in the crowning pinnacle of subsidiarity to date, the Maastricht Treaty. (8)
On this latter point Takis Fotopoulos, writing in 1994, notes how in contrast to following the genuine principle of subsidiarity, the European Economic Community's implementation of the principle works by delegating "all unimportant decisions" to local decision-taking bodies.
Returning to the World Federalist Movement, Rev. Wilson took over the reins of the Movement in 2004 when the former president, actor Sir Peter Ustinov, passed away. Ustinov had served as the president of the Movement since 1991 and was a member of Ervin Laszlo's Club of Budapest -- a group that "appear[s] to be working to attempt to promote a form of spirituality that can overcome all geographic and cultural divides," which seem "well suited to other homogenizing globalizing tendencies." In 2002, Ustinov received the Club of Budapest's Planetary Consciousness Award along with the controversial Shimon Peres (see Khaled Amayreh's recent article "Shimon Peres: Murderer, Liar, and Hypocrite") and the United Nations' Messengers of Peace, Paulo Coelho (who also serves as a board member of the Shimon Peres Institute for Peace). Here it is noteworthy that in 1978 Shimon Peres was elected as vice president of Socialist International, the "worldwide organisation of social democratic, socialist and labour parties," a group that Peres described as "probably the most important nongovernmental political organization in Europe, if not in the world." (9)
During Peres's service at Socialist International, the organization's president was the late Willy Brandt (who served in this position from 1978 until 1992). At present the secretary general of Socialist International is Luis Ayala. Ayala is a patron of One World Action, a group that was cofounded by Glenys Kinnock, the wife of the former UK Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock (who is an honorary president of Socialist International, and the vice president of the pro-European membership organisation, European Movement). (10) It is noteworthy that the vice president of One World Action, Sir Sigmund Sternberg, is a Club of Budapest member, a businessman turned into a powerful interfaith philanthropist who coordinated the religious component of the World Economic Forum. Recently he assisted Tony Blair to establish the Tony Blair Faith Foundation serving as an "informal advisor." (11) Sternberg also acts as the president of the Movement for Reform Judaism, and in 1997 helped co-found the Three Faiths Forum, a group that focuses on "improving understanding between the Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities." From the Forum's founding until his death in 2008, Sidney Shipton acted as the coordinator of the Three Faiths Forum -- a strange choice given that he was a "bastion of the Zionist Establishment" who had formerly headed the UK arm of the Jewish National Fund (a Zionist colonialist agency of ethnic cleansing). In addition, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey of Clifton, who serves as a patron of the Three Faiths Forum, is the cofounder of the World Faiths Development Dialogue -- a group he set up in 1998 with the aid of prominent Zionist James Wolfensohn (the then president of the World Bank) to promote "dialogue on poverty and development". (12) One has to be sceptical of the type of just and equitable outcomes that can be achieved for Muslims by engaging in this type of dialogue with Zionists.
Socialist International and assorted interfaith groups clearly fulfill an important role in World Federalists' global governance agenda. However, coming back to the World Federalists of America (now known as the World Federalist Movement), another critical individual who helped found this group in the 1940s was the late Alan Cranston, who went on to serve as their president from 1949 until 1952. In 1945 Cranston published The Killing of the Peace, which was released in the hope that it would build support for the United Nations. Cranston remained a dedicated promoter of World Federalism until the end of his life, and in 1995 he "teamed with former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev as the chairman of the Gorbachev Foundation/USA, a San Francisco based think-tank seeking nuclear disarmament." This think tank, which was founded in 1992 by Jim Garrison and John Balbach, "set the stage for the establishment," in 1995, of another San Francisco based non-profit institution, the State of the World Forum, which was formed to "gather together the creative genius on the planet in a search for solutions to critical global challenges." The following provides a brief introduction to this unique global-level forum and the personalities that drive it.
Funding for the State of the World Forum is obtained from the Canadian International Development Agency, a multitude of liberal foundations, (13) and corporate sponsors like Booz Allen Hamilton and McKinsey & Company. John Balbach ("a pioneer of the broadband wireless industry") served as co-founder of the Forum (and also acted as vice president of the Gorbachev Foundation). Balbach presently acts as senior counsel to the Seva Foundation -- a philanthropic effort that was founded by Larry Brilliant (the executive director of Google's philanthropic project Google.org) -- and is the managing partner and founder of the international strategic consultancy Global Alliances. Balbach's consultancy, Global Alliances, "served as the founders of the first State of the World Forum," while some of their other clients include free-market environmental groups (e.g., Environmental Defense Fund, and the Natural Resources Defense Council), and world leaders like Boris Yelstin, Margaret Thatcher, and George Bush. (14)
Another important person connected to both the Gorbachev Foundation and the Forum is James Hickman. He was vice president of the Gorbachev Foundation in 1993, and served as the director of Programs and Business Affairs for the State of the World Forum (2000-04). Hickman currently sits on the latter's board of directors and in addition sits on the board of Wisdom University (see below), and on the executive committee of Citizens Democracy Corps, "a non-profit organization that supports private sector development and economic growth in emerging and transitioning economies throughout the world" -- a group that is intimately enmeshed in the US government's global democracy-manipulating activities.
Jim Garrison is the president of the Forum; the convening chairman is Mikhail Gorbachev, and founding co-chairs of the first forum (held in 1995) included leading liberal elites like Oscar Arias, Maurice Strong, Ted Turner, and Jane Goodall (see "Jane Goodall's Elite Monkey Business"). Given Oscar Arias's connection to Deepak Chopra (see (15)), a leading proponent of "capitalist spirituality," it is critical to draw attention to a significant link between the State of the World Forum and the Wisdom University. This is because in 2005 Jim Garrison became president and chairman of Wisdom University, and both the other two board members of the State of the World Forum (James Hickman and Caroline Myss) happen to be the same three board members for Wisdom University; given this overlap the following section will throw some much needed light on this ostensibly spiritual university.
Capitalist Spirituality for the New World Order
So what type of spiritual education is provided by the Wisdom University? Well, according to their Web site:
The average student enrolled at Wisdom University is a professional, with an established career and one or more advanced degrees. They have come to the conclusion that they need deeper spiritual challenges in order to maintain momentum and meaning in their lives. Our students soon discover that they can continue to grow spiritually and professionally at Wisdom University, thus combining spiritual nourishment with enhanced professional qualifications.
It appears that Wisdom University provides spiritual guidance for corporate and political elites who have lost their way (and inner peace) in the harsh capitalist, individualistic, secular world that they promote as the panacea for the world's problems. This form of globalized corporate spirituality is an important phenomenon. Paul Heelas writes in his landmark book The New Age Movement (Blackwell Publishers, 1996) how: "A significant number of New Agers have in fact moved beyond counter-cultural antagonism to the capitalistic mainstream. Instead, they incorporate the creation of prosperity." (16) This is what Jeremy Carrette and Richard King refer to in their book Selling Spirituality: The Silent Takeover of Religion (Routledge, 2005) as "capitalist spirituality," which they argue is "utilised to 'smooth out' resistance to the growing power of corporate capitalism and consumerism." (17) They write:
The interiorisation of spirituality and its location within the bounds of the modern, individual self emerged with the development of psychology in the late nineteenth century. It became popularised, however, in the 1950s and 1960s with the rise of Humanistic Psychology (particularly the work of [Abraham] Maslow), professional counselling, and psychedelic culture. Having been cast as a private and psychological phenomenon, "spirituality" has gone through a second major shift in the 1980s. This is the point at which the first privatisation -- involving the creation of individual, consumer-oriented spiritualities -- begins to overlap with an increasing emphasis upon a second privatisation of religion -- that is, the tailoring of spiritual teachings to the demands of the economy and of individual self-expression to business success. This is no better illustrated than by the various self-improvement movements of the 1980s... (18)
Michael Parenti draws our attention to the activities of the arch-democracy-manipulator, Vaclav Havel, who "now promotes a sort of New Age spiritualism." Parenti points out how Havel has...
...called for a new breed of political leader, who would rely less on "rational, cognitive thinking," and show "humility in the face of the mysterious order of Being" and "trust in his own subjectivity as his principal link with the subjectivity of the world." We should have a "sense of transcendental responsibility, archetypal wisdom," and the ability "to get to the heart of reality through personal experience." Havel lists the ecological dangers facing the world but denounces the idea of rational, collective social efforts to solve them. He denounces democracy's "traditional mechanisms" for being linked to "the cult of objectivity and statistical average." He thinks he is being visionary when in fact he is putting forth an elitist subjectivism and antidemocratic obscurantism. (19)
As Steve Bruce noted in 2006, "New Age spirituality would seem to be a strong candidate for the future of religion because its individualistic consumeristic ethos fits well with the spirit of the age." (20)
Returning to Wisdom University, in order to provide spiritual comfort to their already well-educated students the University employs fourteen faculty chairs "who teach and conduct research and other programs at Wisdom University." For instance, Caroline Myss, a "pioneer in the field of energy medicine and human consciousness," is chair of Energy Medicine, while other chairs cover subjects as diverse as Sacred Dance and Interspecies Connections. Yet, the one chair that seems particularly relevant to the topic of this essay is Barbara Marx Hubbard's chair in Conscious Evolution. (21)
Marilyn Ferguson recounts some of Hubbard's achievements in the new age classic, The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in the 1980s (Paladin Books, 1982):
In 1967, Barbara Marx Hubbard, a futurist moved by [Pierre] Teilhard's vision of evolving consciousness, invited a thousand people around the world, including [Abraham] Maslow's network, to form a "human front" of those who shared a belief in the possibility of transcendent consciousness. Hundreds responded, including Lewis Mumford and Thomas Merton. Out of this grew a newsletter and later a loose-knit organization, the [pro-space exploration group] Committee for the Future. (p.59)
Hubbard is well qualified to teach Conscious Evolution as she is the president of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution -- a group that has been "supported by major financial gifts from [the late] Laurance S. Rockefeller," amongst others. Furthermore, although not organized by Hubbard, Ferguson notes how in 1970 Lockheed Aircraft underwrote a meeting held at De Anza College in Cupertino, California, "that was the first group of scientists and physicians -- friends -- gathered in a public forum to assert their interest in spiritual realities and alternative approaches to health." She adds that within a few years similar meetings were taking place all over America, and the "Rockefeller, Ford, and Kellogg foundations funded programmes exploring the interface of mind and health." (22)
An important person working alongside Barbara Marx Hubbard at the Foundation for Conscious Evolution during the 1990s was Nancy Carroll, who served as the Foundation's executive director from 1993 to 1999. Like Hubbard, Carroll happens to be a founding board member of a group called Women of Vision and Action -- a group whose advisory board includes people like Maurice Strong's wife, Hanne Strong, and Alison Van Dyk (who is the chairman of the board and interim executive director at the Temple of Understanding at the United Nations).
Here it is interesting to return to the fact that one of Hubbard's most influential supporters at the Foundation for Conscious Evolution was David Rockefeller's brother, Laurance Rockefeller. This is noteworthy as Rockefeller dynasties activities have long provided fertile grounds for one world government conspiracy theorists (for example, in 1952 Emanuel Josephson published his book Rockefeller, 'Internationalist': The Man Who Misrules the World). Ironically Laurance Rockefeller is directly involved in funding research that advocates the legitimacy of some phenomena often categorised as conspiracy theories.
Writing in 2002, Leslie Kean, an investigative reporter and producer with Pacifica Radio, noted that "a study about to be published [on crop circles] by a team of scientists and funded by Laurance Rockefeller concludes 'it is possible that we are observing the effects of a new or as yet undiscovered energy source.'" This funding of what in many circles is considered to be non-academic research is not however an anomaly, as for instance Laurance Rockefeller has also supported the research of the late professor of psychiatry John Mack (formerly based at Harvard Medical School). (23) Indeed, John Mack, shortly before publishing his book, Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens (Charles Scribner, 1994), with funding provided by Laurance Rockefeller, founded the Program for Extraordinary Experience Research. Thus the very family that is considered to be at the heart of the one world government conspiracies (the Rockefellers) is involved in promoting research that encourages the public to believe in theories that more sceptical people consider to be conspiratorial. (24)
A significant observation is that Hubbard's spiritual work is complemented by her pro-space exploration activities, which saw her provide financial assistance to a group called the L5 Society, a group that was formed in 1975 and later merged (in 1987) with the National Space Institute to form the National Space Society. More recently, Hubbard provided the "inspiration" that (in 2005) helped launch the Council for the Future -- a joint project of three leading space advocacy groups: the Space Frontier Foundation, the National Space Society, and the Mars Society. According to their Web site:
The Council [for the Future] is shaping an Earth/Space/Human Development Agenda. The Council is also shaping a new social meme or world view that is consistent with that Agenda. As part of the meme, there is full agreement as to the imperative of extending human civilization into space, and that logical coherent steps must be taken in the very near term to facilitate that accomplishment.
Hubbard sits on the Council for the Future's board of directors alongside Rick Tumlinson. Tumlinson is linked to Walter Anderson, one of the world's leading capitalists who plans to colonize space and profit from an imperialist space agenda. Tumlinson is the executive director and cofounder of the ominously named Foundation for the International Nongovernmental Development of Space, a group that was launched with $5 million from Anderson. Anderson backed the Roton project that aimed to make space travel "affordable." In 1991 he funded the establishment of the Space Frontier Foundation. This foundation's advisory board includes a representative from the Center for Enterprise in Space, and a variety of popular authors including the late Arthur C. Clarke of 2001: A Space Odyssey fame. Like Hubbard, Clarke happened to be a member of the Club of Budapest, whose efforts to promote a form of spirituality that can overcome all geographic and cultural divides appears to be highly suited to the homogenizing practices of corporate-led globalization and the defeat of democracy.
Hubbard's direct affiliations to other liberal corporate globalizers are strong, and in 1966 she helped cofound the World Future Society -- current board members of this group include amongst others, Maurice Strong, and the former US secretary of defense and subsequent Ford Foundation president, Robert McNamara. In addition, until recently the well-known corporate futurists Alvin Toffler and his wife, Heidi Toffler, sat alongside the late Arthur C. Clarke on the World Future Society's global advisory council. Hubbard's ties to corporate-backed futurists does not bode well for her involvement in teaching any form of emancipatory lessons in higher consciousness at Wisdom University. As Murray Bookchin observed:
The radical thrust of utopian thinking, as exemplified by [Charles] Fourier, has been transmuted by academics, statisticians, and "game theorists" into a thoroughly technocratic, economistic, and aggressive series of futuramas that can be appropriately designated as "futurism." However widely at odds utopias were in their values, institutional conceptions, and visions (whether ascetic or hedonistic, authoritarian or libertarian, privatistic or communistic, utilitarian or ethical), they at least had come to mean a revolutionary change in the status quo and a radical critique of its abuses. Futurism, at its core, holds no such promise at all. In the writings of such people as Herman Kahn, Buckminster Fuller, Alvin Toffler, John O'Neill, and the various seers in Stanford University's "think tanks," futurism is essentially an extrapolation of the present into the century ahead, of "prophecy" denatured to mere projection. It does not challenge existing social relationships and institutions, but seeks to adapt them to seemingly new technological imperatives and possibilities -- thereby redeeming rather than critiquing them. The present does not disappear; it persists and acquires eternality at the expense of the future. Futurism, in effect, does not enlarge the future but annihilates it by absorbing it into the present. What makes this trend so insidious is that it also annihilates the imagination itself by constraining it to the present, thereby reducing our vision -- even our prophetic abilities -- to mere extrapolation.(25)
Like the aims of the Club of Budapest, Hubbard's work appears better geared towards constraining new thought to the stifling confines of capitalist prerogatives. This makes it especially ironic that Hubbard is a member of the Leadership Council of the Association for Global New Thought. The Association's executive director, Barbara Fields Berstein -- who also serves on the board of Hubbard's Foundation for Conscious Evolution -- is the former co-director of Harvard University's Global Negotiation Network's Abraham Path Initiative. This affiliation is significant because, as recounted in the article, "Alternative Dispute Resolution or Revolution," the activities promoted by the Global Negotiation Network's work are indicative of the type of strategies that the corporate and political elites zealously promote to boost global corporate equity, not human equality. Finally, it is interesting to point out that Berstein is a board member of EarthAction, another project that is linked to Harvard University's Alternative Dispute Resolution network through the head of their Global Negotiation Project, William Ury (who serves on the advisory board of EarthAction). Consequently, given its key role in attempting to catalyse the formation of a one world government, the following section will explore the background of this group.
Global Action to "Save the Earth"
The background of EarthAction returns us more concretely to the elite agenda for propagating a one world government. Formed in 1992 at the UN Conference on Environment and Development, or Earth Summit (which was presided over by Secretary General Maurice Strong), EarthAction now boasts that its work encompasses more than 2,600 civil society organizations from 165 countries, making it the "world's largest network of organizations, policymakers, citizens and journalists that work together for a more just, peaceful and sustainable world."
The president and executive director of EarthAction, Lois Barber, formerly served as the creative director of the World Future Council Initiative. (26) This initiative, which was launched in late 2004, led to the creation of the World Future Council, a group whose founder and first president, Jakob von Uexkull, also serves as a board member of EarthAction. (27) Uexkull is most famous among progressive circles as being the founder of Right Livelihood Award, but amongst his other responsibilities he serves on the Council of Governance of the democracy-manipulating group Transparency International, and is a patron of Friends of the Earth International.
Due to the integral role played by Barber in launching the World Future Council it is worth initially exploring their background before returning to EarthAction. Thus, according to their Web site the Council "considers itself the global advocate for the concerns of future generations in international politics." The World Future Council is comprised of 50 personalities from around the world, whose mission is to "inform and educate policy makers and opinion leaders about the challenges facing future generations while providing them with practical solutions." Council members include progressive activists like Vandana Shiva to one-worlders like Tony Colman, who is the chair of One World Trust (a group that was formed in 1951 as the "charitable arm" of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on World Government). (28) Beside board chair Jakob von Uexkull, the only other board members of the World Future Council are the "world market leader for private islands," Farhad Vladi, and Alexandra Wandel, who is the former European trade and sustainability programme coordinator of Friends of the Earth International. Between 1999 and 2006 Wandel had coordinated European NGO activities at the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conferences, and acted as an advisor to the then EU Commissioner Pascal Lamy (now the director general of the World Trade Organization) on behalf of the major European environmental NGOs.
Returning to EarthAction, the next member of their seven-person-strong board of directors is Anne Zill. In 1974, Zill co-founded two reformist projects, the Women's Campaign Fund (to "support pro-choice women for elected office") and the Fund for Constitutional Government (which is a philanthropic foundation that is "dedicated to the exposure and correction of corruption in the United States federal government.") Zill is currently the president of the latter Fund for Constitutional Government. (29) The group's chairperson, Russell Hemenway, is linked to four controversial organizations: he is the chair of the Center for National Security Studies, a trustee of the Fund for Peace, a board member of the National Security Archive (for further details see "Coopting Intellectual Aggressors"), and he is a board member of the Population Institute -- a group which is presided over by the influential neo-Malthusian, William Ryerson.
The Fund for Constitutional Government is based on the first floor of 122 Maryland Avenue in the home of their former board member, the late Stewart Mott. Like Hemenway, Stewart Mott formerly aided the work of the neo-Malthusian Population Institute by serving on their public advisory committee. The Stewart R. Mott Charitable Trust -- of which Stewart Mott was president -- is also based at 122 Maryland Avenue; but more significantly this philanthropic trust shares the same executive director as the Fund for Constitutional Government (his name is Conrad Martin). Given Mott's powerful influence on liberal activism it is worth highlighting that:
Stewart Mott originally bought 122 to house the various activities and projects of the Fund for Peace. Over the years, the building has been the first offices of the Center for Defense Information, In The Public Interest, the Center for International Policy, and the Center for National Security Studies. The house was the birthplace of the Women's Campaign Fund and Friends of Family Planning PACs. Other tenants of note include the Campaign Against Nuclear War, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Pax Americas, and the Military Families Support Network. The most recent tenant was the national DC office of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Liberal philanthropy runs in the Mott family, and Stewart Mott's father was Charles Steward Mott, the founder of the Charles Steward Mott Foundation -- a foundation on which his younger sister, Maryanne Mott, presently serves as a board member. Like many other liberal foundations, the Charles Steward Mott Foundation describes its role as existing to "support efforts that promote a just, equitable and sustainable society," a mission statement that belies reality. Indeed, a good case can be made that elite liberal philanthropy helps sustain capitalism rather than promote equitable alternatives to it. Ironically, this contradiction is not something that the Charles Steward Mott Foundation attempts to hide, as their Web site demonstrates that one of the many groups that they have provided funding to is the notorious democracy manipulator, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). (30) The Foundation's openness about being connected to a group that carries out the work that the CIA once undertook covertly is not surprising: this is because groups like the NED and Charles Steward Mott Foundation can rely upon the fact that the mainstream media (and even progressive alternative media) will do little to critique their ostensibly progressive credentials. This partly explains why the CIA transferred many of their formerly covert democracy-manipulating activities to the overt interventions that are now undertaken by the NED. The adoption of such transparency by all manner of democracy-manipulating groups helps explain why EarthAction board member Ellen Miller can comfortably sit alongside NED board member Esther Dyson on the five-person-strong board of the Sunlight Foundation, with no questions asked by the global media. (31)
The most interesting (and progressive) EarthAction board member is Jackie Smith, who is an associate professor at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies (an institute that, problematically, is a member of the "humanitarian" Save Darfur Coalition). For many years Smith's work has documented the importance of the World Social Forum, and one of her most recent books (co-authored with Marina Karides) is titled Global Democracy and the World Social Forums (Paradigm Publishers, 2007).
This book includes a short section that examines a report made to the Trilateral Commission in 1975 called The Crisis of Democracy -- a report suggesting, as Smith and Karides surmise, that the global "problems we face are not attributed to faulty economic reasoning and corporate profiteering but [instead] to the influence of 'nonexpert' citizens on economic and social policy decisions." In the spirit of plutocratic governance, Smith and Karides point out that the report recommends that "governments should encourage political passivity so that prevailing excessive citizen democratic participation can be reduced." (pp. 8-9) Referring to Holly Sklar's edited book Trilateralism: The Trilateral Commission and Elite Planning for World Management (South End Press, 1980), Smith and Karides acknowledge that "David Rockefeller, president of the Chase Manhattan Bank, founded the Trilateral Commission in 1973." Yet despite making this anti-democratic connection, Smith and Karides fail to draw attention to David Rockefeller's efforts to manipulate civil society through his liberal philanthropy; i.e., via the influential Rockefeller Foundation. This omission is concerning given the controversial support that the World Social Forum has obtained from some of the world's most powerful liberal foundations. (32)
Smith and Karides describe Francisco (Chico) Whitaker as "one of the prime movers of the forum from its inception," so it is fitting that he should be a council member of the aforementioned World Future Council. That said, although they fail to critique the influence of liberal philanthropy, they do write:
Particularly contentious is the claim by Chico Whitaker that the forum is simply a space, one without a pyramidal politics or power relations. In fact, however, the WSF does have its pyramids of power. April Biccum, for example, contends that it would be naïve to assume "that the open space is space without struggle, devoid of politics and power." Many of these struggles revolve around the organization of the forum in general and the role of the International Council (IC), the association of 150 nonelected organizations and intellectuals that decide where the global forums are held and how they are to be organized.
Many grassroots activists have criticized the IC, as well as local and regional organizing committees, for acting precisely as a closed space of representation and power, limited to certain prominent international organizations and networks with access to information and sufficient resources to travel. (p. 38)
Unfortunately, Smith and Karides do not delve any deeper into the issue, and are content in noting that while some groups critique the "closed and, at least at the time, nontransparent" nature of the forum, others like Immanuel Wallerstein have "argued, [that] the WSF could not function without an organization, one that is hierarchical, has power, and makes decisions." (p. 39) Here it should be noted that Wallerstein, who has long been an influential scholar of the Left, is a member of the Network Institute for Global Democratization, a group whose six-person-strong board of directors includes Jackie Smith. Moreover, problematically, the former chair of this network, Teivo Teivainen (2001-02 and 2005-06), has in the past been supported by an assortment of liberal foundations, including both the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. (33) Most recently, while working at the Network Institute for Global Democratization, Teivainen co-wrote the briefing paper (with Heikki Patomaki) for the Ford Foundation-supported project "Elements for a Dialogue on Global Political Party Formations" -- a project that was successfully launched in late 2005. (34) That said, Teivainen's previous seemingly uncritical relations with the foundation world may soon become a relic of the past, as since 2007 he has served on the international advisory board of the radical academic journal Critical Sociology (formerly the Insurgent Sociologist). This is particularly significant because in May 2007 Joan Roelofs guest edited a special issue of Critical Sociology (along with Daniel Faber and Robert Arnove) that provided one of the most up-to-date critical examinations of the problems associated with liberal philanthropy. Roelofs concludes her contribution to this issue by noting how the evidence demonstrates...
... that the pluralist model of civil society obscures the extensive collaboration among the resource-providing elites and the dependent state of most grassroots organizations. While the latter may negotiate with foundations over details, and even win some concessions, capitalist hegemony (including its imperial perquisites) cannot be questioned without severe organizational penalties. By and large, it is the funders who are calling the tune. This would be more obvious if there were sufficient publicized investigations of this vast and important domain. That the subject is "off-limits" for both academics and journalists is compelling evidence of enormous power. (35)
The final EarthAction board member to be examined here is Jan Roberts, a Florida-based psychotherapist who in 1995 helped found Michael Lerner's Foundation for Ethics and Meaning -- a group that aims to "encourage a holistic and community spirit of caring that promotes tolerance, justice, and reconciliation." (Lerner is most famous for being the editor of Tikkun magazine). Most significant is that in July 1999 Roberts became involved in the Earth Charter movement when she attended a small conference held in Italy on "Spirituality and Sustainability" (co-sponsored by St. Thomas University in Florida and the Center for Respect of Life and the Environment). Roberts then became involved with promoting the Earth Charter in the United States, and in 2000 Mikhail Gorbachev invited her to attend the June launch of the Earth Charter campaign at The Hague Peace Palace. (36) Gorbachev along with Maurice Strong had played a key role in "develop[ing]" the Earth Charter as a "civil society initiative" -- a process that had begun in 1994 working through organizations they each founded (Green Cross International and Earth Council respectively). (37) As a result of these and other elite meetings, in 2005 Roberts founded Earth Charter U.S., and she presently acts as an advisor to Earth Charter International, serving alongside environmentalists like Herbert Girardet (see footnote #27), "humanitarian" activists like Bianca Jagger (who is also a member of the Club of Budapest), and other assorted environmental capitalists like Amory Lovins. (38)
The four-person-strong advisory council of EarthAction bolsters EarthAction's one world government credentials. As mentioned above, one member is William Ury, but others include Nicholas Dunlop, Robert Johansen, and Michael Shuman. Dunlap, in addition to being a member of the World Future Council, is the co-founder and secretary general of the e-Parliament, and former secretary general of Parliamentarians for Global Action. Johansen is a council member of e-Parliament, and a fellow of the World Federalist Institute; however, Shuman, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, appears to be involved in research that runs counter to one world government trends. For instance, Shuman recently published the book The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition (Berrett-Koehler, 2006). That said, the Web site Small-Mart.org that developed as a result of the book is funded through grants from two major liberal foundations, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and the controversial Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Possible Scenarios for the Future
This article has suggested that there are many long-range projects and trends that provide the institutional basis for creating a corporate-driven one world government, or new world order. The advent of the most recent global crisis of capitalism means that the time has now come when the citizens of the world need to decide what type of alternative forms of governance will rise in the wake of the crisis. William I. Robinson, a professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, suggests that there are five possible responses to the current structural crisis of global capitalism. These are: (1) the advent of global neo-Keynesianism, (2) the resurgence of the Left, (3) a recoiling into national protectionism, (4) a move toward 21st century fascism, and (5) a global collapse, and the possible degeneration into global warlordism. (39) Robinson notes that he "is not predicting any one of these five happening," and he suggests that they "are not mutually exclusive." For example, he points out that you could envisage a scenario where there is "right wing neo-Keynesianism involving very authoritarian structures."
The creeping threat of fascism (on a global level) is a real and present danger, (40) but this article has been predominantly concerned with tracing a small part of the development of the structures needed to coordinate a one world government, or in Robinson's terms, "a global neo-Keynesianism...to save capitalism from itself and from potential radical challenges from below." Thus with regard to the current crisis it is fitting to cite Robinson at length on the potential of this response. He notes that:
[T]he first signs we are seeing of this are of the Obama Administration putting forward a reformist neo-Keynesianism type project. But we can also see how the transnational elites became split in the late twentieth, early 21st century, and one wing started arguing for this global neo-Keynesianism, global reformism... We see reregulation, and we see a return of state intervention to regulate and resuscitate, and organize capitalist accumulation including stimuli's and bailouts and so forth. And possibly we will see -- this is just speculation -- the states out for this option trying to ferment a shift back from financial to productive accumulation. And I would say though that if this option is to be viable, any new deal must be global. Given the extent of global integration... to talk about a new New Deal, or a neo-Keynesianism project in one country is not realistic at all... We can't talk about anything other than a global neo-Keynesianism...
This scenario faces a major contradiction, and it's that we have a globalizing economy with a nation-state based political system. I always emphasise that. So transnational state apparatus are incipient, they are unable to impose any regulation on the global economy.... Transnational elites recognize this problem. If they want to implement the global neo-Keynesianism they have to set up transnational institutions to actually regulate and organize it. So in the G-20 meeting late last year, British prime minister Gordon Brown said "We now have global financial markets, global corporations, global financial flows, but what we do not have is anything other than national and regional regulations and supervision. We need a global way of supervising our financial system. We need very large and very radical political institutional changes." (41)
However, while Gordon Brown downplays the existing mechanisms of international governance outlined in this article, it is apparent that the transnational networks and institutions needed to coordinate a global neo-Keynesianism have already been created. Such institutions represent a real and present danger to global democracy, and so it is fitting to note how Robinson ends his talk on an optimistic note as the current financial crisis "opens up space for social forces from below and collective agency to influence the course of history in ways that are not possible in times of equilibrium and stable government." He continues, this "opens up new opportunities for change and for new ideas to flourish," as "the future is never predetermined." The "future is open to us," and how we respond to this crisis will determine whether the antidemocratic forces pushing the neo-Keynesianism One World Government agenda will win out, or NOT (as I am hopeful that the case will be).
1. Strobe Talbott, The Great Experiment: The Story of Ancient Empires, Modern States, and the Quest for a Global Nation (Simon & Schuster, 2008), p.200. He adds that: "Among the notables associated then or later with world federalism were, from the literary world, John Hersey, Lewis Mumford, Robert Sherwood, Edna Ferber, Sinclair Lewis, Clifford Odets, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Upton Sinclair, James Thurber, and E. B. White; from government, politics, and the military: Supreme Court Justices Owen Roberts and William O. Douglas, Thomas K. Finletter (who would serve as Truman's secretary of the air force), Chester Bowles (governor of Connecticut), John Winans (the Republican governor of New Hampshire), Senator J. William Fulbright, and two future senators (Alan Cranston and Harris Wofford); from business and finance, W. T. Holliday (president of Standard Oil of Ohio), Beardsley Ruml (chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York), Harry Bullis (president of General Mills), Grenville Clark (a prominent former Wall Street lawyer), and Robert Gaylord (chairman of the executive committee of the National Association of Manufacturers); from the media, numerous magazine and newspaper editors, most prominently Norman Cousins, the editor of Saturday Review."
In May 1947, Cord Meyer became the first president of the United World Federalists and served in this position until 1951 when he decided to leave to join the US government's Central Intelligence Agency (where he stayed until his retirement in 1977). (back)
2. The Foundation for World Government, which was founded in 1948, was managed by Stringfellow Barr, a director of Federal Union and vice president of United World Federalists, who served as the Foundation's president from its founding year until 1958. Baratta observes that: "Most of its work took place in brilliant seminars led by Scott Buchanan and in funded studies that resulted in rather unsuccessful books prepared in the early Cold War in such new fields as functional economic and social cooperation, Gandhian nonviolence, individual educational field work anticipatory of the future Peace Corps, world development corporations like the new World Bank or future U.N. Development Programme, statecraft on the models of the Fabian Society and the World Zionist Organization, world citizenship following French, not American, models, a federation of the federalists leading to the establishment of a world federalist political party, and university institutes for world federation to conduct the intellectual research and publication necessary to guide humanity through a very long struggle toward the necessary government of the whole." (p.397) Incidentally, Barr later served as a fellow at Robert Maynard Hutchins' Ford Foundation-funded Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions from 1964 until 1969 (for further critical information on this group see "Social Engineering, Progressive Media, and William Benton" (pdf)). Anita McCormick Blaine's family fortunes (which led to the creation of the Foundation for World Government) were derived from her grandfather Cyrus McCormick, and her father, Cyrus Jr.; the former headed "the boardroom when workers struck the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company -- which led to the bloody Haymarket demonstrations in 1886 -- blacklisted employees who dared have ties to labor groups." Likewise, his son Cyrus Jr., "irate over strikes and walkouts during his reign from 1902 to 1919, refused to recognize his employees' unions." Soon after the death of Anita (in 1954) a new philanthropic body called the New World Foundation was formed, and under the guidance of Ann Blaine (Nancy) Harrison (1954-77) "New World awarded grants to large numbers of labor groups -- from the United Woodcutters Services to the Fresno Organizing Project." Nancy was the wife of the "typical Cold-War, anti-communist liberal" Gilbert Harrison, who was the editor of The New Republic from the late fifties to the mid-seventies.
Regarding more contemporary theorizers of world federalism, Baratta writes: "The primary focus of the world order school of thought led by Saul Mendlovitz and Richard A. Falk, who were originally inspired by [Grenville] Clark and [Louis] Sohn, is on this transition [of incremental U.N. reform], which they realistically call the 'struggle of the oppressed.' A similar approach at time of writing is the 20-40 year program 'Global Action to Prevent War,' led by Jonathan Dean, Randall Forsberg, and Saul Mendlovitz." (p.16) Backtracking again, it is worth recognizing that in 1960 Grenville Clark founded the World Law Fund, and four years later launched a "multinational project that became known as the World Order Models Project" (whose founding director was Mendlovitz); to this day, Baratta note, the World Policy Institute has "carried on this [projects] work" (p.508). According to the Institutes most recent online annual report (2004-05), notable members of their advisory board include State of the World Forum (see later) co-chair Oscar Arias, the editor of The Nation magazine, Katrina vanden Heuvel, and Henry Arnhold (who also happens to be a board member of the controversial "environmental" group Conservation International).
Baratta states that other organizations that "were founded at least in part by former world federalists include: the Committee on a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE) (Norman Cousins, 1957), Members of Congress for Peace through Law (Senator Joseph S. Clark, 1959), Institute for International Order (Harry Hollins, 1960), Coalition on National Priorities and Military Policy (Joseph Clark, 1969), the International Peace Academy (Ruth Young, 1970), the U.N. Special Committee on the Charter and on Strengthening the Role of the Organization (Carlos Romulo, 1974), and Parliamentarians for World Order (Nicholas Dunlop, 1978)." (p.511) (back)
3. Other sympathetic elites like Anne-Marie Slaughter suggest that "world government is both infeasible and undesirable." Slaughter draws our attention to what she calls "the globalization paradox. We need more government on a global and a regional scale, but we don't want the centralization of decision-making power and coercive authority so far from the people actually to be governed. It is the paradox identified in the European Union by Renaud Dehousse and by Robert Keohane in his millennial presidential address to the American Political Science Association. The European Union has pioneered 'regulation by networks,' which Dehousse describes as the response to a basic dilemma in EU governance: 'On the one hand, increased uniformity is certainly needed; on the other hand, greater centralization is politically inconceivable, and probably undesirable.' The EU alternative is the 'transnational option' -- the use of an organized network of national officials to ensure 'that the actors in charge of the implementation of Community policies behave in a similar manner.'" Anne-Marie Slaughter, A New World Order (Princeton University Press, 2004), p. 8.
For an example of a right-wing misplaced, albeit informative, critique of the World Federalists see, Cliff Kincaid, World Government PAC Promotes "Globalist" Takeover of Congress (pdf) (American Survival, 2006). (back)
4. David Rockefeller, Memoirs (Random House, 2002), p. 405. Marking a rare event for a progressive writer, Terrence Paupp in his book Exodus From Empire: The Fall of America's Empire and the Rise of the Global Community (Pluto Press, 2007) notes how "[David] Rockefeller, a banker and an oilman, represented an era and a coalition of interests that had little concern for the fact that their policies were devastating the Global Community and most of the people who were trying to survive within it." (p. 219) Moreover Paupp is well aware of the Orwellian practices of such democracy-manipulating elites: for a start he refers to William I. Robinson's book Promoting Polyarchy, noting: "While US policy is more ideologically appealing under the title of democracy promotion, it does nothing to reverse the growth of inequality and the undemocratic nature of global decision making." (p. 90) Later Paupp refers to James Petras's work on the manipulation of non-governmental organizations, observing how "neoliberal elites of the North have sought to contract nonprofit voluntary associations (NGOs) and convert them into their agents as strategic partners" to promote their agenda of "good governance" that "has nothing to do with democracy or human rights." (p.297) He continues that "these efforts are designed to demobilize social movements," because: "If social movements succeed in their radical opposition, there will not be a reform of the system, but rather a replacement of it." (p. 299) The problem then is not that Paupp does not recognise that elites systematically manipulate civil society, which he does, but that he fails to see how many of those same elites (most notably Rockefeller) are also the same people most zealously promoting the global governance agenda that Paupp identifies as a potential solution to elite manipulation. (back)
5. According to their Web site, Citizens for Global Solutions "was a leading supporter of a treaty to create an International Criminal Court, culminating in the creation of the treaty in Rome, August, 1998, where World Federalists played a key leadership role in organizing backing for the ICC by the NGO community."
For critical commentary of the ICC's imperial intervention in Sudan under Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo, see Stephen Gowans, "The Criminals are Running the Court," What's Left, February 11, 2009. For a more recent analysis concerning interventions in Sudan and ICC's role "as a tool of hegemonic U.S. foreign policy," see keith harmon snow, "Africom's Covert War in Sudan," Dissident Voice, March 6, 2009. Diane Johnstone also provides a useful critique of the ICC, "Do We Really Need an International Criminal Court?: Selective Justice for Failed States Only," Counterpunch, January 27/28, 2007. (back)
6. Elaine Dewar's book, Cloak of Green: The Links between Key Environmental Groups, Government and Big Business (Lorimer, 1995), contains a wealth of critical information on Maurice Strong (based on an interview she undertook with him over two days). For instance, Dewar writes: "Maurice Strong opened many doors for me in Geneva, doors I would never have thought to go through on my own. He seemed to want me to understand the full range of his works, to see how he managed complex and interrelated groups, how he managed the PGOs, the GOPs, the business lobbies, and all the other groups calling themselves NGOs who were coming to the Rio Summit, for example. He clearly considered them political levers he could use to exert public pressure on national governments on their own turf-without being seen to do so. It seemed to me this was a brilliant and subtle variation of Mackenzie King's gift to the Rockefellers -- the concept of a company union. One scholarly American commentator on King's work had described these unions as 'fake organizations,' but had also been forced to acknowledge that they endured and benefitted the industrial interests who used them for many years. Similarly, these GOPs and PGOs-private government organizations-endured: like weeds they pushed out true grassroots groups, since they took money, policy or both from governments and large corporate donors. It didn't matter that they had few members: they had means. Through constant publishing and promotion they set the margins for public debate. They pushed ideas out in public where governments had to acknowledge them. They promoted the Agenda Strong wanted set." (p. 296)
For a conservative review of Maurice Strong's life see Ronald Bailey's "International Man of Mystery: Who is Maurice Strong?," The National Review, September 1, 1997. For a more accurate analysis of Strong's work as an environmental democracy-manipulator (written from a left-wing perspective) see my forthcoming work. (back)
7. Among his numerous affiliations, liberal democracy-manipulator George Soros is a member of the board of sponsors of a think tank called the Center for War/Peace Studies, which has close relations with a number of world federalists -- like fellow sponsor, John Anderson (who is the former president of Citizens for Global Solutions). In addition, the Center's executive director, Lucy Law Webster, is the first vice chair of the council of the World Federalist Movement, a steering committee member of the World Federalist Institute, and is president of the New York Tri-State chapter of Citizens for Global Solutions. (back)
8. Aaron deGrassi, "Constructing Subsidiarity, Consolidating Hegemony: Political Economy and Agro-Ecological Processes in Ghanaian Forestry," (pdf) World Resources Institute, April 2003, p. 1.
"Establishment decentralization is presented as a rational choice made by central governments or strongly encouraged by international agencies -- usually the World Bank or USAID. In this conservative and bureaucratic form of decentralization, local government is transformed from being a direct provider of services to a facilitator. Much first world decentralization is also driven by conservative attempts to downsize government support for the poor and to diminish the public sector, all under the slogan of the 'post-welfare agenda'. As Joel Samoff has noted, such approaches use the language of 'service delivery,' 'efficiency,' and 'cost recovery.' The Kerala experiment [in India] by contrast promotes popular democracy as an alternative to conservative decentralization." T. M. Thomas Isaac & Richard W. Franke, Local Democracy and Development: The Kerala People's Campaign for Decentralized Planning (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), p.212. (back)
9. Shimon Peres, Battling for Peace (Random House, 1995), p.170. Peres presently serves on the advisory board of two important democracy-manipulating organizations, the Project on Justice in Times of Transition and the Forum 2000 Foundation. While I have summarized the work of the first group elsewhere, the second group, which was founded in 1996 by well established democracy-manipulators Vaclav Havel, Yohei Sasakawa, and Elie Wiesel, is currently headed by Oldrich Cerny -- an individual who also serves as the executive director of the free-market think tank the Prague Security Studies Institute. One especially notable member of the latter Institute's international advisory board is James Woolsey, the former director of the US Central Intelligence Agency. (back)
10. Serving alongside Neil Kinnock as a vice president of the European Movement is John Pinder, who is an influential Federalist who formerly served as the chair of Federal Union, and as the president of the European Union of Federalists. Moreover, Edward Rawson, a current council member of the World Federalist Movement actually participated in the initial 1939 meeting that founded Federal Union. (back)
11. The Tony Blair Faith Foundation was founded in 2008 by Tony Blair, an individual who should be "tried for war crimes" according to the Nobel prize-winning playwright (and One World Action patron) Harold Pinter. Thus in an utter act of hypocrisy Blair's foundation states that it "aims to promote respect and understanding about the world's major religions and show how faith is a powerful force for good in the modern world." Given Blair's track record it seems more likely that his foundation will be working to ensure that the world's major religions defer to the power of capitalism (that is, financial plunders like JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs International). This seems especially likely considering that soon after leaving the British government Blair became a part-time adviser to JPMorgan Chase, and started lecturing at the Yale Center for Faith & Culture (whose advisory board includes the vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International, Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach, who formerly served as Margaret Thatcher's special advisor, and is a patron of the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust -- which was founded by "humanitarian" warrior Baroness Cox). Here it is significant that the Jewish member of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation's advisory council is Rabbi David Rosen, the director of the American Jewish Committee's Department for Interreligious Affairs, and an honorary president of the International Council of Christians and Jews. The sole patron of the latter group is Sir Sigmund Sternberg; while other honorary presidents, aside Rosen, include the likes of Richard von Weizsacker (who is the former president of the Federal Republic of Germany and a member of the Club of Budapest). (back)
12. Until her death in 2006, Kamla Chowdhry -- an individual who played an influential role in the development of the Earth Charter movement (see later) -- served as a trustee of the World Faiths Development Dialogue, and as a co-chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women. Here it is interesting that Blu Greenberg also serves as a co-chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women; this is because her husband, Rabbi Irving Greenberg is connected to the two "humanitarian" Jewish front groups that organized the cynical Save Darfur Coalition (he served as chairman of the US Holocaust Memorial Council from 2000 until 2002, and is a member of the American Jewish World Service's advisory board). (back)
13. For criticism of liberal philanthropy, see Joan Roelofs, Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism (State University of New York Press, 2003). Also see Michael Barker, "Do Capitalists Fund Revolutions? (Part 2)," ZNet, September 9, 2007. (back)
14. Global Alliances connection to George Bush is reinforced by two members of the group's eight-person-strong advisory board, Robert Macauley and Senator Gordon Humphrey -- who are both connected to AmeriCares, as founder and advisory committee member respectively. The Big Pharma front-group, AmeriCares, has an all-star "humanitarian" advisory committee that includes the like of Barbara Bush (wife of George H.W. Bush), Prescott Sheldon Bush, Jr. (the brother of George H.W. Bush), Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Elie Wiesel. (back)
15. In addition to serving as a co-chair of the State of the World Forum, Oscar Arias (who has been the president of Costa Rica since 2006) is a member of the Club of Budapest, and is connected to many other globalist projects, the most interesting of which is perhaps the Alliance for the New Humanity. Formed in 2003, the Alliance aims to "create an alliance of people based on the awareness of humanity's interconnectedness." They go on to note that they aim to create a "sustainable world, reflecting the unity of all humanity"; and observe believe that: "If enough people shift their awareness toward social justice, human rights, and environmental sustainability, then injustice, oppression, and the destruction of the ecosystem can be stopped." To get an idea of the type of "humanitarian" activists who sat alongside Arias on the founding board of the Alliance for the New Humanity one could do well to look to Deepak Chopra: an individual who according to Jeremy Carrette and Richard King is one of the world's leading proponents of "capitalist spirituality" and "ultimate 'feel-good' spirituality for the affluent." In their detailed critique of his work Carrette and King cite the work of Susan Bridle, and here it is worth quoting her criticisms at length to get an idea of the type of activities the alliance is engaged in. "Chopra promises that we can fulfil all our worldly desires, desires that the great wisdom traditions have repeatedly reminded us are the very source of endless suffering and ignorance -- desires for immortality, unlimited wealth and unending romance, all without having to struggle or make effort in any way.... Rather than recognizing spiritual transformation as an ultimately demanding endeavor, as taught by the greatest sages, Chopra popularises the notion of an easy, feel-good spirituality, with no mention of the perennial spiritual imperatives of renunciation and one-pointed dedication. And rather than emphasizing that true spiritual life is and has always been about the death of the ego, Chopra teaches us to bend the power of the infinite to our own will.... Chopra's brand of spirituality is like fast food; while it seems to satisfy, it actually numbs the very hunger that inspires the spiritual quest in the first place."
Jeremy Carrette and Richard King, Selling Spirituality: The Silent Takeover of Religion (Routledge, 2005), pp.150-3. (back)
16. With regard to two of the "most famous" spiritual centers, the Esalen Institute (located at Big Sur, California, United States) and Findhorn (based in northeast Scotland -- the Findhorn Foundation), Heelas noted that since its founding, "the emphasis [at Findhorn] has tended to shift from counter-cultural Self actualization to a more harmonial relationship with prosperity. ...Turning to the United States, Esalen, founded in the same year (1962) as Findhorn, appears to have followed much the same trajectory". For example, Heelas cites a 1990 Fortune magazine article that reported how Laurance Rockefeller donated "$250,000 to convert the Big House ... into a corporate retreat". (p. 65) Later Heelas writes how "material from a variety of sources (including interviews, magazine articles and TV programmes) strongly suggests that the New Age is -- in measure -- drawn upon to restore the self of the go-getting individualist." (p. 147) In later 2008 he argues that "To overemphasize the case, I now argue that by and large commodification does not matter (much)." Adding that such commodification "does not invalidate the point that non-capitalist counter-currents are operative." (p.210)
Paul Heelas, Spiritualities of Life: New Age Romanticism and Consumptive Capitalism (Blackwell Publishing, 2008). (back)
17. In addition to the aforementioned example of Deepak Chopra, other leading proponents of "spiritual capitalism" identified by Carrette and King are Osho Rajneesh, Jesper Kunde (author of Corporate Religion), Rene Carayol and David Firth (who co-wrote Corporate Voodoo) and John Grant (the author of The New Marketing Manifesto.) (p. 20) (back)
18. "One of the key thinkers to set the agenda for the psychology of religion was undoubtedly William James (1842-1910)," however, Carrette and King acknowledge that: "While James cannot be held responsible for the later utilisation of his thinking, the approach he adopted was captured by later generations enjoying the benefits of free-market spirituality, which celebrated the individual." They continue: "After James and the spiritualists, the focus on states of consciousness came to dominate the psychology of religion and paved the way for a spirituality of inner consciousness. James, of course, did not bring about this transformation single-handedly, it was the development of his work by his followers, such as James Pratt (1875-1944) and, more specifically, a later generation of scholars including Gordon Allport (1897-1967) and Abraham Maslow (1908-70), who propagated an individualised understanding of religion within North American culture. It would be wrong to assume that these thinkers deliberately developed a psychology of religion for capitalism. It is rather the case that their psychology emerged in a context of a North American economic climate that celebrated the individual pursuit of wealth. Psychological ideologies flourished in such conditions. Maslow's psychology, for instance, did not reflect the Two-Thirds World or the land of his parents in Eastern Europe. Rather, it was the psychology of an affluent society that could separate out a hierarchy of needs where 'spirituality' could be separated from the basic needs of finding food, shelter and water to live. The cumulative effect of this was the emergence of a religious experience tailored for wealthy individuals rather than for social justice." (pp. 69-71) (back)
19. It is also interesting to note that, Oldrich Cerny, Havel's former National Security Advisor (1990-93) serves as the Executive Director of the aforementioned Prague Security Studies Institute (see footnote #9).
For further progressive critiques of New Age spirituality, see Michael Parenti, Land of Idols: Political Mythology in America (St. Martin's Press, 1994), Chapter 2.
For one of the first conservative critiques of the New Age movement, see Constance Cumbey, The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow: The New Age Movement and our Coming Age of Barbarism (Huntington House Publishers, 1983); Cumbey recently observed that Pat Robertson's book, The New World Order, included "material evidently directly copied" from her own book (without citation). For a conservative book covering much of the same material I have presented in this article, see Lee Penn, False Dawn: The United Religions Initiative, Globalism, and the Quest for a One-World Religion (Sophia Perennis, 2005). (back)
20. Steve Bruce, "Secularization and the Impotence of Individualized Religion," Hedgehog Review, 8 (1-2): 35-45, 2006, p. 45 cited in Heelas, 2008, p.81. (back)
21. Two other Wisdom University faculty chairs whose background is of relevance to this article are Jean Houston and Rupert Sheldrake. Jean Houston, "one of the principal founders of the Human Potential Movement" (a movement's which counts William James as among one of its earliest exponents) and is Chair of Social Artistry, a field in which since 2004 she has been training leaders in developing countries for the U.N. Development Program. In 1975, Houston chaired the U.N. Temple of Understanding Conference of World Religious Leaders, and she presently serves on the (pp. 61-2) Likewise, Rupert Sheldrake, the Wisdom University Chair for Holistic Science, also serves on the World Commission's Global Council on Spirituality and Deep Ecology. I have critiqued the World Commission elsewhere, and in another separate article have examined some of the problems associated with Deep Ecology. (back)
22. Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy, p. 285. (back)
23. According to his official online biography: "Dr Mack's efforts to bridge psychiatry and spirituality was compared by The New York Times to that of former Harvard professor William James. Dr. Mack advocated that Western culture requires a shift away from a purely materialist worldview -- which he believed was largely responsible for the Cold War, the global ecological crisis, ethnonationalism and regional conflict -- towards a transpersonal worldview which could embrace some elements of Eastern spiritual and philosophical traditions which hold that we are all connected to one another." In an interview carried out by Joe Eich-Bonni, Mack noted: "In the critical, scientific world I think that slowly there are clinicians coming to see these people -- and there are many types of anomalous experiences -- near death, telekinesis, hauntings; a whole realm of spooky paranormal and supernatural events that are increasingly being seen as part of the natural world -- as part of our basic reality. By avoiding [studying these anomalous events] we do endless harm to our planet. In a sense we have rid the planet of the entire spirit world and thereby have turned the whole earth into a marketplace of resources to be commandeered by the more aggressive among us."
For an unrelated albeit interesting critique of William James, see Alex Carey, "Reshaping the Truth: Pragmatists and Propagandists in America," Meanjin Quarterly, 35 (4), 1976, pp. 370-78. (back)
24. Criticism of the validity of such other-worldly research is outside the scope of this article. However, it should be noted that the promotion of these ideas by elite funders serves to distract attention from the real corporate powerbrokers. Indeed, many people who are distrustful of their government (and elites more generally) spend years of their lives engaged in extraterrestrial research (or readings) often to the neglect of the terrestrial realm and worldly geopolitics -- that is, the events they can actually influence (physically not just metaphysically). (back)
25. Murray Bookchin, The Ecology of Freedom (Cheshire Books, 1982), p.333. (back)
26. Barber is also the founder and president emeritus of 2020 Vision, "a US grassroots organization with 30,000 members that educates and mobilizes citizens on US environment and military policy issues." The chair of 2020 Vision's board of directors is Robert Musil, who is also a board member of Population Connection -- a controversial group that was formerly known as Zero Population Growth. Furthermore, another 2020 Vision board member, Deron Lovaas, formerly managed Zero Population Growth's sprawl educational outreach program. Liberal foundations that support the work of 2020 Vision include the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. (back)
27. The World Future Council's director of research, Herbert Girardet, has since 1994 been chairman of the Schumacher Society (UK), and presently also serves on the advisory board of Pro-Natura International (alongside elite conservationist Thomas Lovejoy) and the Earth Charter International (see footnote #38). Girardet's first major environmental project was undertaken with self-sufficiency guru John Seymour, and after three years they produced a BBC series and the book Far From Paradise (BBC Publications, 1986), which examined the history of human impact on the environment. The following year they both co-authored Blueprint for a Green Planet (Dorling Kindersley, 1987), which Girardet recalls was "one of the first books emphasising personal responsibility for countering environmental destruction through green consumerism." Given the natural sympathies of free-market environmentalism and the green consumerism propagated by this book, it is fitting to note that Girardet observed how the "publishers refused to include our final chapter, which linked personal decisions and the need for collective action." (back)
28. Two World Future Council personalities are members of the Club of Budapest, (Riane Eisler and Bianca Jagger), while other notable Council personalities include Olivier Giscard d'Estaing (who is the chairperson of the Committee for a World Parliament and a former president of France), Ashok Khosla (who serves on the executive committee of the Club of Rome, and is a founding board member of the Alliance for the New Humanity -- see footnote #15), David Krieger (who is the president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation), Rama Mani (who is an advisor to the Global Center for the Responsibilty to Protect), and Anders Wijkman (who is the president of GLOBE EU, and serves as the chair of E-Parliament -- a group that World Future Council board chair Jakob von Uexkull provides financial support to). (back)
29. The Web site of the Fund for Constitutional Government notes that they presently support or serve as a "fiscal sponsor" for the following four projects: 1) Electronic Privacy Information Center; 2) Open The Government; 3) Project on Government Oversight; and 4) the Government Accountability Project. Needless to say there is a large degree of overlap between the board members of these four projects and that of the Fund for Constitutional Government.
• Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), also serves as the chair of a group called Privacy International, which was founded in 1990 by EPIC Senior Fellow Simon Davies. Here it is notable that fellow free speech advocate Noam Chomsky serves on the international advisory board of Privacy International. Of course, Chomsky is entitled to support causes that promote privacy, but he might reconsider uncritically allying himself alongside such groups that have clear connections to global democracy-manipulators.
• The head of Open The Government, Patrice McDermott, came to this position after serving as the deputy director of the Office of Government Relations for the American Library Association -- an association whose former president, Nancy Kranich, is the treasurer of both the aforementioned Center for National Security Studies and the National Security Archive. However, before working in this position at the American Library Association McDermott served for eight years as the senior information policy analyst for OMB Watch. The vice chair of OMB Watch, Ellen Miller, is the co-founder and executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, and like Anne Zill is a board member of Earth Action.
• The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) has a number of interesting environmental connections as David Hunter, the chair of their board is also a board member of EarthRights International (a group whose Secretary is linked to those "humanitarian" warriors calling for an intervention in Darfur), while another POGO board member, Lisa Baumgartner Bonds, formerly served as vice president for communications for the free-market environmental group the World Wildlife Fund.
Finally, the most notable connection of the Government Accountability Project is their tie to One World Trust (which was formed in 1951 as the "charitable arm" of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on World Government) -- which lists them alongside groups like the World Federalist Movement and George Soros's Open Society Institute as one of their partner organizations. (back)
30. Given the Charles Steward Mott Foundation's tie to the National Endowment for Democracy it is noteworthy that Anne Zill is a board member of Women for Women International, a group that in 2003 obtained a single grant from the Endowment to promote (rather manipulate) democracy in Iraq. (back)
31. Ellen Miller is the co-founder and executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, a philanthropic body that aims to support groups that highlight government corruption. Miller is the vice-chair of OMB Watch -- a group that "was formed in 1983 to lift the veil of secrecy shrouding the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB)" and is funded by numerous liberal foundations including the Ford Foundation, the Stewart R. Mott Charitable Trust, and the Open Society Institute. Heather Hamilton a former manager of the Community Education Center at OMB Watch recently served as executive vice president of Citizens for Global Solutions. Ellen Miller is also a board member of another reformist Ford Foundation funded nonprofit called Center for Responsive Politics. (back)
32. Liberal foundations have quietly insinuated their way into the heart of the global social justice movement, and played a key role in founding the World Social Forum (WSF). As a result of the lack of critical inquiry in to the influence of liberal philanthropy on progressive organizations it is not surprising that, when critiques of the WSF are made, they tend to be met with a resounding silence by progressive activists and their media (most of which have been founded and funded by liberal foundations).
Writing in 2007 in a special issue of the journal Critical Sociology, the Research Unit for Political Economy astutely observes, the WSF "constitutes an important intervention by foundations in social movements internationally" because (1) many of the NGO's attending the WSF obtain state and/or foundation funding, and (2) "the WSF's material base -- the funding for its activity -- is heavily dependent on foundations." It is perhaps stating the obvious to note that more attention should be paid to such important critiques; however, if further critical investigations then determined that such claims were unsubstantiated then the WSF could only be strengthened. On the other hand, if activists collectively decided that the receipt of liberal foundation funding is problematic -- as happened at the 2004 WSF in Mumbai -- then further steps must be immediately taken to address the issue.
While Jackie Smith is loathe to personally mention the detrimental impact of liberal foundations on progressive social change, in a book she edited with Joe Bandy (in 2005), they include a chapter by Daniel Faber that explores this subject in depth. He writes: "Foundation support plays a fundamental role in sustaining the environmental movement. It is estimated that 5.4 percent, or $1.23 billion, of total foundation giving ($22.8 billion) went to the environment in 1999. The bulk of foundation funding, however, goes to a handful of the more politically moderate national environmental organizations. ... In short, the foundation community is throwing its financial weight behind a sector of the movement governed largely by white, middle- to upper-class advocacy organizations without active memberships." Faber then continues by observing that: "In contrast, the foundation community as a whole neglects environmental justice. In fact, given the high number of organizations and the large size of the constituencies being served, the environmental justice movement is currently one of the most underfunded major social movements in the country." However, rather than counsel environmental groups to remedy this problem by seeking more support from the public (rather than elite foundations), Faber maintains that: "The long-term success of the ecology movement in general, and EJM in particular, depends on the reorientation of foundation priorities to support grassroots organizing and base-building strategies that democratically incorporate people into problem solving around the social and environmental ills that plague communities." Consequently given his resignation to the need for foundation support, Faber concludes by observing how: "The recent creation of the progressive-oriented Funders Network on Trade and Globalization and other foundation entities is beginning to address the disparities and assist the EJM in developing these capacities." How progressive the Funders Network on Trade and Globalization is from regular liberal foundation is debatable considering that it is a project of the Rockefeller Family Fund's Environmental Grantmakers Association, and has a steering committee which is home to representatives from the major liberal foundations, i.e., Lisa Jordan, who is the deputy director of the Global and Civil Society Unit at the Ford Foundation.
Research Unit for Political Economy, "Foundations and Mass Movements: The Case of the World Social Forum," Critical Sociology, 33 (3), 2007, p. 506. Also see their earlier report, "The Economics and Politics of the World Social Forum: Lessons for the Struggle against 'Globalisation'," Aspects of India's Economy, September 2003; Daniel Faber, "Building a Transnational Environmental Justice Movement: Obstacles and Opportunities in the Age of Globalization," in Joe Bandy and Jackie Smith (eds.), Coalitions Across Borders: Negotiating Difference and Unity in Transnational Struggles Against Neoliberalism (Roman & Littlefield, 2005), pp. 51-2. (back)
33. Intriguingly, in 1955 Immanuel Wallerstein obtained a Ford Foundation African Fellowship to complete "a dissertation that would compare the Gold Coast (Ghana) and the Ivory Coast in terms of the role voluntary associations played in the rise of the nationalist movements in the two countries." Furthermore, it is interesting that Wallerstein's work was strongly influenced by the French historian Fernand Braudel, whose own research was well supported by the Ford Foundation funding. These connections certainly deserve closer scrutiny, especially considering the strong historic ties that exist between the Ford Foundation and US foreign policy elites. Indeed, now that more is known about the close alliances that existed between the leading liberal foundations and the CIA it would be interesting to revisit previous critiques of Wallerstein's theories. For example, in 1981 James Petras penned "Dependency and World System Theory: A Critique and New Directions," Latin American Perspectives, 8 (3-4), 1981, pp. 148-155. In recent years, Petras has subjected the work of leading Leftist academics (including Wallerstein) to criticism, see his 2003 article "The Responsibility of the Intellectuals: Cuba, the U.S. and Human Rights." (back)
34. Smith and Karides write: "Although some scholars and activists contend that global democracy requires the abolition of global governance institutions, others call for restructuring them, and possibly even forming a true world government in order to regulate the international economy so that it better responds to public needs. ... While there have been a number of criticisms made of the WSF by activists, many see the WSF as an important instrument for preparing the public to participate actively within, and influence the decisions of, such institutions. ... Heikki Patomaki and Teivo Teivainen suggest that the WSF 'forms a loosely defined party of opinion' from which global parties could emerge and wield influence on world politics. Desire to create a more democratic global political economy could lead to greater support for global party formation at the WSF, despite many activists' reservations about political parties."
Later they report that: "According to the survey of participants at the 2005 WSF, the majority of respondents (68 percent) think that a democratic world government would be a good idea, although only 29 percent of these think this is actually plausible." That said, they note how "although there is strong support for creating democratic global governance institutions among WSF participants, most activists prioritized local strategies for social change over global ones. Sixty percent of all survey respondents indicated that the best approach to solving the problems created by global capitalism was to strengthen local communities, rather than strengthening nation-states or creating democratic global institutions." Smith and Karides, Global Democracy and the World Social Forums, p. 76, 89, 125. (back)
35. Joan Roelofs, "Foundations and Collaboration," Critical Sociology, 33, 2007, p. 502. (back)
36. At this meeting John Hoyt was representing Earth Charter in the United States. (back)
37. With Mikhail Gorbachev acting as its founding president, Green Cross International was launched in April 1993. Green Cross's current president and CEO, Alexander Likhotal, had previously worked at the Gorbachev Foundation as their international and media director. Another notable member of Green Cross's five-person-strong board of directors is the former president and prime minister of Portugal, Mario Soares, who is also a former president of the European Movement, serves as an honorary president of Socialist International, and sits on the international advisory committee of the NED's Journal of Democracy. Honorary board members of Green Cross represent environment elites from across the world, but their US representatives include Diane Meyer Simon (see next), the actor Robert Redford (who is a trustee of the free-market Natural Resources Defense Council), media mogul Ted Turner, and the former CEO of PBS, Pat Mitchell (who is presently a board member of two NED-connected groups, Human Rights Watch and Internews). Mitchell also served as the founding president of Global Green USA (the American Arm of Green Cross International), while Diane Meyer Simon also helped found this group and is currently their president emerita. In addition, Global Green USA includes a highly regarded Hollywood celebrity on their board, Leonardo DiCaprio, and so it is fitting that like Redford, DiCaprio is a trustee of the elitist Natural Resources Defense Council.
Maurice Strong's Earth Council (US) was founded in 1990, and their current president is Jan Hartke, who also acts as the chair of the Earth Restoration Corps (which is run by Maurice's wife, Hanne Strong). On top of this, Hartke is the executive director of EarthVoice -- which is an affiliate of the Humane Society of the U.S. -- which was launched in 1991 by John Hoyt (who then served as president of the Human Society). Hoyt presently serves as vice-chair of Earth Restoration Corps, and is a commissioner of Earth Charter International. For further critical information on Humane Society board member David Jhirad, who also happens to be the vice president of Earth Council, see "Jane Goodall's Elite Monkey Business." (back)
38. Earth Charter International's council has three co-chairs: Steven Rockefeller (United States), Razeena Wagiet (South Africa), and Brendan Mackey (Australia). The son of the former vice president of the United States, Nelson Rockefeller, Steven Rockefeller is professor emeritus of religion at Middlebury College, and has served as a trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund for twenty-five years (chairing the Fund's board of trustees from 1998 to 2006). Steven is also a member of the World Commission on Global Consciousness and Spirituality's Global Council on Planetary Ethics and Values, which is home to notables like Ervin Laszlo and Vaclav Havel. The other two co-chairs of the Earth Charter council, like Steven, have similarly elitist backgrounds, as Wagiet has previously worked for WWF South Africa, and thereafter was "appointed as environmental adviser to the previous National Minister of Education, Professor Kader Asmal for four years (1999-2003)"; while Mackey co-chairs the World Conservation Union Ethics Specialist Group. For further critical information on such "environmental" group see "The Philanthropic Roots of Corporate Environmentalism." (back)
39. This section draws upon William I. Robinson's recent lecture, "The Crisis of Global Capitalism," January 28, 2009, The University of California, Santa Barbara. In the online lecture, the five alternative scenarios for possible responses to the current crisis are discussed from minutes 38 until 53. (back)
40. Robinson notes: "A forth response to the global crisis, and again I am not saying this is taking place, and this is not predictive, is what I call a 21st century fascism. The confusion here when I raised this in discussion with colleagues and with critics is that when I say the term fascism they imagine that it has to look like 20th century fascism... We don't go backwards in history, we are not going to see a new Nazism or Mussolinism: 21st century fascism would look very different, it is already looking very different where there are signs of this as a response as a project...The need for widespread organized systems of social control gives an impulse to the fascist response to this crisis."
For further discussion of the threat of fascism, see Bertram Gross, Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America (South End Press, 1980); Michael Parenti, Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism (City Light Books, 1997); Chris Hedges, American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America (Free Press, 2007). For a conservative critique of fascism, see Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning (Doubleday, 2008). (back)
41. Here it is important to recall the critical role that liberal foundations played in formulating the initial "New Deal." Joan Roelofs writes: "A major social analysis and program for reform, Recent Social Trends in the United States, was published in 1933 (President's Research Committee), initiated by President Hoover, organized by the SSRC, and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. It advocated metropolitan government and regional planning to replace obsolete local government structures, and new governance institutions, such as quasi-governmental and mixed public-private corporations. Economic and social planning was proposed to cure the Depression, and the Social Science Research Council was deemed the appropriate planning institution. The 'New Deal' was largely created with such help, although '... Roosevelt preferred to conceal the fact that so many of his major advisers on policy and some of his major programmes [sic] in social reform were the result of support by one or more of the private foundations ...'" Joan Roelofs, "Foundations and Collaboration," Critical Sociology, 33, 2007, pp. 492-3.
Similarly, the new "New Deal" that William I. Robinson refers to is likely to be influenced by so-called "green Keynesianism." This green Keynesianism is currently being promoted by the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress and the British-based New Economics Foundation -- the group that "led the first Other Economic Summit -- a fore-runner to the World Social Forum." Noted eco-socialist, John Bellamy Foster is critical of such endeavours and he says that his "take on green Keynesianism is that it is much too limited in nature, and too technologically driven, to constitute the nucleus of a full economic recovery. In fact, we are faced with a deep, long-lasting problem of economic stagnation and the crisis of financialization, as discussed in The Great Financial Crisis, which Keynesianism by its nature can do little to address... [W]hat is currently needed is not an economic recovery plan or faster economic growth, but an ecological revolution. This would necessarily be a social revolution, on a far more massive scale than anything yet imagined." (back)
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Patterns which Connect
Activism under the Radar Screen
About the Author
Michael Barker has recently handed in his PhD thesis at Griffith University in Australia. His other articles can be accessed at michaeljamesbarker.wordpress.com.