Why Progressive Organizations Don't Advocate Egalitarian Revolution
October 10, 2014 (and updated subsequently; I apologize for any links that may no longer work as they TRULY did when I wrote this.)
[The progressive organizations discussed below include the following: Democracy Now!, Yes Magazine, The Nation Magazine, The Progressive Magazine, Mother Jones Magazine, The Albert Einstein Institution (Gene Sharp), Ubuntu Planet, Race Amity, MassEquality, City Life/Vida Urbana, Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition, Massachusetts Senior Action Council, Massachusetts Jobs With Justice, The Haymarket People's Fund, Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE) and Open Media Boston.]
If egalitarian revolution (meaning remove the rich from power, have real not fake democracy with no rich and no poor) is such a good and appropriate goal (as I and many other people believe it is) then how come there are virtually no progressive "grassroots" organizations advocating it explicitly? Is it that all the people who are fighting for a $15 minimum wage, or against unjust wars, or against local injustices such as gentrification don't WANT an egalitarian revolution? Or is there a different explanation?
There is indeed a different explanation. Most of the people in progressive organizations, just like most ordinary people in the general public, when asked, as an individual, to sign the egalitarian revolutionary declaration, "This I Believe," sign it enthusiastically. So why don't the progressive organizations advocate it explicitly? There are two reasons, both having to do with things that the ruling class does to prevent people from advocating egalitarian revolution.
The first thing the ruling class does in this regard is to prevent any egalitarian revolutionary values and aims from being expressed in the mass media or the "alternative" media. One never sees or hears or reads about anybody saying "Let's remove the rich from power, have real not fake democracy with no rich and no poor" on TV or radio or in newspapers or magazines, not even the "alternative" ones such as Democracy Now! radio or The Nation magazine. The ruling class--the very rich--control all of these media either by directly owning them or by owning the advertisers these media must please to stay in business or by funding them substantially. The rich make sure that even though most people would LOVE an egalitarian revolution, nobody will ever hear or see or read about such people.
What happens as a result of this censorship in the mass and alternative media? People conclude that even if they personally want an egalitarian revolution, it is pointless to do anything to achieve that goal because nobody else does, certainly not a majority of Americans. Here's how people with this wrong understanding of reality think: "Without a majority wanting to make an egalitarian revolution, why bother even talking about such a hopelessly impossible goal to anybody? In fact, when waging a campaign for some modest goal (like a higher minimun wage or stopping an unjust eviction caused by gentrification, etc.) it's better NOT to talk about egalitarian revolution. Why attach a goal that people DON'T support to one's modest goal for which you think it is much easier to get support? Talking about egalitarian revolution will just scare people away." Actually, telling the public that the reason you are fighting, for whatever it is that you are fighting for, is because you want to remove the rich from power and have real not fake democracy with no rich and no poor will INCREASE your support in the general public and make people see that your struggle is really theirs as well. But if one believes the ruling class's Big Lie (that nobody but you wants an egalitarian revolution) then one will think it is wise of the leaders of one's progressive organization to be silent about egalitarian revolution.
The second thing the ruling class does to prevent progressive organizations from advocating egalitarian revolution is to pay their bills on the condition that they advocate no such thing. Ruling class organizations such as the Rockefeller, Ford and Heinz foundations fund zillions (details below) of progressive "grass roots" organizations. The executive directors and similar leaders of these organizations know where their funding comes from and know what will displease their funding sources. Advocating removing the rich from power, they do not need to be told, is on the very top of the list of "NO NOs." The leaders of progressive organizations that are funded by ruling class foundations know that if they cross the line from the permissable to the un-permissable, they will lose their rent money and the money they need to pay their staff.
This is why these progressive leaders use whatever arguments they can to persuade the rank-and-file of their organization that it would be inadvisable for the organization or its members to start talking about egalitarian revolution. And due to the widespread acceptance of the Big Lie discussed above, these leaders generally are successful in persuading their rank-and-file that it would be a bad idea to talk about anything like removing the rich from power.
One of the terrible consequences of progressive organizations refusing to advocate egalitarian revolution is this. People who admire the work of these progressive organizations and respect the organizations' leaders naturally tend to draw the conclusion (unconsciously if not consciously) that trying to build an explicitly egalitarian revolutionary movement must not be a very smart or realistic thing to do because otherwise the dedicated and smart people leading progressive organizations would be doing it.
Another terrible consequence is this. When progressive organizations that are controlled by Big Money occupy all of the space, so to speak, of activism aimed at making a more equal and democratic world, it induces people to rely on these organizations rather than creating (and donating money to!) truly grass roots organizations that are NOT controlled by the rich. In this way the plutocracy controls people who otherwise would be organizing an egalitarian revolutionary movement--it keeps them busy NOT organizing such a movement.
HERE'S HOW BIG MONEY FUNDS PROGRESSIVE ORGANIZATIONS
To get a sense of how pervasive ruling class funding of progressive organizations actually is, here are some examples.
Tides (also Tides Center) is an institution that acts--on a huge scale--as an intermediary between Big Money foundations, including the Ford, Rockefeller and Heinz foundations, and a very large number of mostly little and some large progressive organizations, so that the Big Money foundations can fund the progressive organizations without a direct link. This is all explained in gory detail, including a list of all the Big Money foundations that give money to Tides, here. Tides gave its grantees, for example, $71.3 million from the Ford Foundation in 2006, $24.0 million from George Soros's Open Society Institute in 2005, $16.2 million from the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation in 2005, $10.4 million from the Heinz Endowments in 2005, $10.4 million from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in 2006, $10.0 million from the Richard King Mellon Foundation in 2005, $4.5 million from the Rockefeller Foundation and $2.9 million from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in 2005, and so forth.
A list (a pdf file) of the organizations that Tide funded in 2013 is here. (Here is the list of organizations Tides funded in 2014.) This list is very long; more than six pages are devoted to just the organizations it funded whose name starts with the letter "A". Anybody who takes the time to scan this list will find large and well-known organizations he or she recognizes, but most will be unrecognizable because they are little local community organizations, such as "3rd Street Youth Center and Clinic" and "Accion Chicago". As one scans this list one realizes that if the Big Money foundations, such as the Rockefeller, Ford and Heinz foundations, are analogous to the heart pumping blood in a human body, then Tides is analogous to the system of arteries and much smaller capillaries that distribute blood to virtually every nook and cranny of the body.
Here are just some of the organizations that Tides funded and that I recognized, in alphabetical order:
350.org, Code Pink, ACLU, American Friends Service Committee, Bread and Roses, Center for Constitutional Rights, Consumer Cauise, Daily Kos, Democracy Now!, Doctors Without Borders, Earthjustice, Equality Now, Feminist Majority Foundation, Freedom to Marry, Friends of the Earth, Fund for Nonviolence, Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools, GLSEN.org, Greenpeace Fund, Human Rights Watch, J Street, MassEquity, Ms. Foundation for Women, NAACP, NARAL, National Council of La Raza, National Lawyers Guild--San Francisco Bay Area, National Public Radio, The Other 98%, Pacifica Foundation, People for the American Way, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Planned Parenthood, Race Matters Institute, Radical Queer Affinity Collective, Refuser Solidarity Network (which says it is about "Funding social change" and calls for people to "Resist illegitimate authority"), Soujourners, Southern Poverty Law Center, Truthdig.com, United for a Fair Economy, War Resisters League, Win Without War, Witness for Peace.
None of the organizations funded by Tides advocate removing the rich from power because they would lose their funding if they did. Tides is an instrument of the ruling class, an instrument the ruling class uses to control us, specifically to ensure that we do not even think about removing the rich from power. This is why, as we will see below, Tides Foundation/Center pops up over and over again when one starts to examine closely where this or that progressive organization gets its money.
If there is a progressive "grass roots" organization in your community, and if it has money for an office and staff, there is a very good chance that its funding comes from a Big Money foundation, although not necessarily via Tides.
I decided to see what I could find out about organizations in Jamaica Plain (a neighborhood of Boston, MA) because I lived there for many years. What I found out about these little local progressive organizations illustrates what you would no doubt find out about the similar local progressive organizations in your own community.
City Life/Vida Urbana is the main organization in Jamaica Plain that fights against unjust evictions and opposes gentrification, which is a big problem currently in Jamaica Plain. Lots of good people opposed to gentrification look to City Life/Vida Urbana for leadership and support. Here's what I found out.
City Life/Vida Urbana
City Life/Vida Urbana must have a lot of money because it has a lot of staff. They get some of their funding from the Access Strategies Fund, as indicated here (scroll down and you'll see Vida Urbana listed as a recipient of funding.)
Here are the board of directors of the Access Strategies Fund. Note that one of them is Dayna Cunningham. In the fourth paragraph of her bio it tells us:
"Cunningham was an Associate Director at the Rockefeller Foundation from 1997-2004. At Rockefeller she funded initiatives that examined the relationship between democracy and race, changing racial dynamics and new conceptions of race in the U.S., as well as innovation in the area of civil rights legal work. From 2004-2006 she was associated with Public Interest Projects, a non-profit project management and philanthropic consulting firm based in New York City, where she managed foundation collaboratives on social justice issues."
Thus City Life/Vida Urbana is funded in part by an organization the board of directors of which includes a former Associate Director of the Rockefeller Foundation, that great champion of egalitarianism.
Another member of the board of directors of Access Strategies Fund is Greg Jobin-Leeds, whose bio here notes:
"Greg currently serves on committees of six investment portfolios with particular interest in mission related investing. In 2007, Greg was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to serve on the Massachusetts’ Readiness Project Leadership Council, specifically as a member of the Long-term Funding subcommittee."
Greg Jobin-Leeds's bio does not, however, note that he's a very rich guy. Rich enough so that this article about how the rich control politics could write:
"That’s why Cambridge social activists Greg and Maria Jobin-Leeds, for example, ended up hiring political consultant Mike Folgerberg to help them sort through the dizzying array of 527s before they gave $100,000 to Progressive Majority in January."
So City Life/Vida Urbana's funding organization is directed by some very wealthy people who are tight with Governor Patrick, another great champion of egalitarianism (when he isn't on trips to Israel to forge greater business ties between Zionist perpetrators of violent ethnic cleansing and Massachusetts.)
City Life/Vida Urban received $150,000 in 2013 from billionaire George Soros's Open Society Foundation, whose website states the following:
"To provide a tie-off to solidify the gains made from the replication of the CityLife/Vida Urbana’s Bank Tenant Association (BTA) organizing model. In the two years since OSF originally funded CL/VU to expand its organizing model to other communities in the Boston region and train organizers in other cities across the country on post-foreclosure defense strategies, CL/VU’s BTA campaign has become a national model for community-led responses to the foreclosure crisis."
George Soros, with a personal fortune of $24 Billion, is the 17th richest person in America (at the time this article was written; in 2019 he's lised as having "only" $8.3 billion by Forbes.) He provided City Life/Vida Urbana with the money to "expand its organizing model to other communities." Is George Soros trying to remove he rich from power and have real not fake democxracy with no rich and no poor? Unlikely.
City Life/Vida Urbana also receives funding from the Hyams Foundation. As one can read here, Adam D. Seitchik is on the board of directors of the Hyams Foundation, is its treasurer, and "is the Chief Investment Officer of Arjuna Capital." Arjuna Capital describes itself on its website here with these words (among others):
"Through our research and activism, we seek to evolve the financial ecosystem by advancing an understanding of what sustainability means for investor returns and corporate profitability. We bring the fruits of those efforts to our clients in the form of the most diverse, sustainable, profitable and suitable investment opportunities on offer."
Adam D. Seitchik's promotion of "corporate profitability" suggests that he does not intend for Hyams Foundation in any way to advance the cause of removing the rich from power and having no rich and no poor. But Seitchik apparently is fine with funding City Life/Vida Urbana. The following look at City Life/Vida Urbana's "radicalism" helps explain Seitchik's confidence that the Hyams Foundation's money is being well-spent.
City Life/Vida Urbana's website (as of March 9, 2015) has this text and a video of its leader's talk:
Seattle, Washington - City Life/Vida Urbana's Organizing Coordinator, Steve Meacham, was the keynote speaker at SAFE in Seattle's first Radical Organizing Conference. Speaking to a crowd of 130 housing and social justice activists, Meacham presented City Life's organizing model and recent victories for homeowners and tenants. "In addition to a grievance," Meacham says, "we need hope...a sense of righteousness and a sense of power."
If ever there were an occasion when City Life/Vida Urbana's leader would be expected to talk explicitly about the need for, and possibility of, egalitarian revolution to remove the rich from power and have real not fake democracy with no rich and no poor (and no unjust evictions and no gentrification!), it would be as the keynote speaker at a Radical Organizing Conference and in a speech in which he says, "we need hope...a sense of righteousness and a sense of power." But City Life/Vida Urbana's leader, as one can see in this video of his keynote speech, says not a single word about this egalitarian revolutionary goal. Nada. Why not? City Life/Vida Urbana's funding would discontinue if it advocated egalitarian revolution.
What City Life/Vida Urbana does do is this: It keeps people--the very ones who are most oppressed in our society and most likely to start thinking about building an egalitarian revolutionary movement--busy NOT building an explicitly egalitarian revolutionary movement. It thus keeps people on the treadmill of defeat, where they will be fighting unjust evictions--winning sometimes and losing others--forever and ever and ever, and never solving the Big Problem--that we live in a dictatorship of the rich--at its root with the Big Solution of egalitarian revolution. This makes Big Money happy.
Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition
Another progressive organization in Jamaica Plain is Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition. It is not obvious from its website that JPNET is not quite as local as it seems. It is part of New England New Economy Transition (NENET).
From NENET's website here one learns that "The New England New Economy Transition (New England NET) is a project of the Institute for Policy Studies based in Boston, MA....New economies are locally rooted, so New England NET roots its work in its own backyard – the diverse Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain."
The Institute of Policy Studies Board of Trustees includes Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation magazine. Ms. vanden Heuvel happens to be a member of the ultra-exclusive ruling class policy formulating organization called the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), whose members include David Rockefeller (about whom it is said if he were made president of the United States it would be a demotion), David Rockefeller Jr., John D. Rockefeller IV, Mark L. Rockefeller, Nicholas Rockefeller and Steven C. Rockefeller.
The Institute for Policy Studies Board of Trustees also include the IPS's Director, John Cavanagh. Cavanagh is on the board of directors of www.progressiveCongress.com, the website of the Congressional Progressive Caucus composed of the staunchly pro-capitalist and pro-Zionist politicians listed here.
Thus innocent-seeming little "grass roots" local community organization--Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition--has solid links to the highest levels of the American ruling class. How likely is it that the leaders of such an organization will declare that their goal is to remove the rich from power and have real not fake democracy with no rich and no poor, even if they knew that a great majority of the people in Jamaica Plain would love exactly that?
The moral of this story is that one should not allow the absence of progressive organizations calling for egalitarian revolution to make one believe that most people don't want such a revolution. Instead, talk to people about this idea, as people at PDRBoston.org are doing, and you will see that, indeed, most people would love such a revolution. You will also see that most people think it is impossible, because they think only a tiny and hopelessly weak minority agree with them. That's why PDRBoston.org is collecting signatures for "This I Believe" and aiming to collect 130 million--to let people know the truth about themselves--that in wanting egalitarian revolution they are the MAJORITY.
After writing the above, I became curious about additional progressive organizations. Below is a list of the ones I have looked at so far.
Massachusetts Senior Action Council
Back in October, 2013 I wrote (here) about how disappointed I was in the Massachusetts Senior Action Council (MSAC). MSAC describes itself as "a grassroots, senior-run organization committed to empowering seniors and others in Massachusetts to act collectively to promote the rights and well being of all people." But, like most such "grassroots" organizations, it turns out that MSAC is beholden to Big Money for much of its funding.
Here are some details. A funding organization called Common Stream funds MSAC; it gave MSAC at least $70,000 as shown on the Common Stream website here. Common Stream, in turn, gets money from a funding organization called Neighborhood Funders Group (NFG), as shown on NFG 's website here. And guess who sits on the Board of Directors of NFG? None other than Andrea Dobson, of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, as seen on the NFG web page here. When one clicks on her name one reads (here) that "Andrea Dobson is the chief operating & financial officer of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, overseeing the investment, finance, accounting, human resources, operating, and information technology functions of the Foundation."
The Board of Directors of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, as seen here, includes as its Chairman a Phillip N. Baldwin, President of Citizens Bank in Arkansas, a Freddie Black, Chairmain/CEO of Simmons First Bank in Arkansas, and a Lisenne Rockefeller who is president and chair of the Winrock Group, Inc. and Winrock Farms, Inc. Here one can read of Winrock Farms, that it is owned by Win Paul Rockefeller (son of Winthrop Rockefeller), and that "Now, his wife [Lisenne, as noted here and here] maintains family ownership. Winrock inhabits 2,500 acres of mountaintop land in addition to 5,000 acres at its base, where calves from the southeastern U.S. enjoy room to grow and acclimate before their final destinations at feedyards farther north."
And so it turns out that the "grassroots" Massachusetts Senior Action Council is beholden for much of its funding to the likes of the Rockefeller family whose members claim to privately own at least 7,500 acres of prime farm land. Is it any wonder that MSAC is not keen on mounting a serious fight against the Big Money class, and certainly not keen to aim explicitly to remove the rich from power and have real, not fake, democracy with no rich and no poor?
MSAC also received $40,000 in 2007 from the Bluecross Foundation, whose board of directors includes a Richard C. Lord who is "President and Chief Executive Officer of Associated Industries of Massachusetts (A.I.M.). A.I.M. is an employer service organization of more than 5,400 member companies." A.I.M. says of itself:
"Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) improves your company's financial performance through a unique combination of lobbying, management and human-resource services that allow you to control the environment both inside and outside your business."
The AIM board of directors includes executives from many Massachusetts businesses, including "Christopher N. Buchanan, Director Public Affairs & Govt. Relations, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Plymouth and Brian Burke, Senior Director Government Affairs, Microsoft Corporation, Cambridge."
How likely is it that MSAC can continue to receive funding from sources such as the Bluecross Foundation and the Rockefeller-linked Common Stream if it genuinely takes the side of working class people against the side of the capitalist (employer) class? On the other hand, isn't MSAC going to stay in the very good graces of its Big Money funders if it gives its working class members the illusion that they are doing all that is realistically possible to improve their lot in life, and thereby prevents them from thinking seriously about building a movement to remove the rich from power and have real not fake democracy with no rich and no poor?
Massachusetts Jobs with Justice
Massachusetts Jobs with Justice has a large office headquarters in the Jamaica Plain part of Boston and it is one of the largest progressive organizations in Boston, focused on labor issues. Who funds Jobs with Justice?
The Surdna Foundation is among the largest (in terms of wealth) top one hundred grantmaking foundations in the United States, with assets of more than $900,000,000 as of 1913. The Capital Research Center reports that "Other Surdna grantee groups are: Chicago-based Center for Labor and Community Research ($315,000 since 2010); Jobs with Justice Education Fund ($400,000 since 2009); ..." [my emphasis.] The Jobs with Justice Education Fund is a national network of organizations that includes Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, and its board of directors includes Russ Davis from the Massachusetts Jobs with Justice organization. Thus Surdna Foundation funds Massachusetts Jobs with Justice by funding the Jobs with Justice Education Fund.
Now let's see what kind of people are giving Mass. Jobs with Justice grant money. Who sits on the board of directors of the Surdna Foundation? From this website we read:
"The Surdna Foundation (SF) was established in 1917 by John Emory Andrus (1841-1934)...George P. Morrill, author of The Multimillionaire Straphanger, a biography of Andrus, describes SF's founder as “the complete laizzez faire businessman” who “believed in simple capitalism all his life.”
One of the members of the board of directors of the Surdna Foundation is Judy Belk, the President and CEO of the California Wellness Foundation (Cal Wellness). On the Cal Wellness website we read that:
"Belk is a seasoned leader with more than 25 years of senior management experience in philanthropic, government, nonprofit and corporate sectors. Before joining Cal Wellness on April 7, 2014, she served as senior vice president of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA), a position she held since 2002. She played a pivotal role in building RPA into one of the nation’s largest independent nonprofit advisory firms, which currently advises on more than $300 million annually in more than 30 countries. She launched the firm’s West Coast and Midwest operations and helped position RPA as a global “thought leader” in promoting effective strategic philanthropy, impact investing, and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives." [my emphasis]
On the board of the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors sits Marnie S. Pilsbury, Barbara Rockefeller, Michael Rockefeller, Peter C. Rockefeller and Wendy Gordon Rockefeller. The board chairman is Kevin Broderick, whose bio describes him as "a principal with the private equity firm, Meriwether Capital LLC. He was a long time member of the Boards of Rockefeller Financial Services and Rockefeller & Co." [my emphasis]. Merriwether Capital LLC makes money this way:
"We focus on privately held companies as well as corporate divestitures. We provide equity and prefer a majority position in mergers and acquisitions. Please see our Criteria page for more information on the qualities we look for in potential acquisitions.
"In partnership with management, we intend to build long-term value, by providing proper incentives, capital for growth and guidance in financial and strategic issues to achieve agreed-upon goals.
"Our private equity focus is in:
* leveraged buyouts (LBOs)
* management buyouts (MBOs)
* add-ons to existing portfolio companies"
When one sees the kind of people that a director of the Surdna Foundation is connected with, it is not hard to realize that the Surdra Foundation is not in the business of promoting anything that advocates removing the rich from power and having an egalitarian society with no rich and no poor. Any organization that relies on funding from the Surdra Foundation must choose between staying in the good graces of the Foundation or advocating egalitarianism and losing its funding. The top leaders of grant-receiving organizations such as Mass. Jobs with Justice certainly understand this even if the rank and file members do not. This is why Mass. Jobs with Justice doesn't advocate an egalitarian revolution.
The Haymarket People's Fund
Here's what the Haymarket Fund, located in Jamaica Plain, says about itself:
Haymarket People’s Fund gives money to grassroots groups of local organizations across the region who believe that change is possible. We’ve been behind the scenes, providing money to almost every major social justice movement in New England since 1974. Each year, our volunteer grantmaking panel made up of community organizers from across the region awards grants to local organizations in New England’s neighborhoods and communities. Over the course of thirty-five years, Haymarket has granted over 25 million dollars.
One hundred percent of those funds have gone to changing the status quo.
Haymarket People’s Fund gives money to grassroots groups of local people who believe that change is possible. Who believe that communities that come together with a vision of justice can get the job done, provided they have the resources. That’s where Haymarket comes in. We’ve been behind the scenes, providing money to almost every major social justice movement in New England since 1974. [my emphasis--JS]
Clearly the Haymarket Fund is a major influence on progressive organizations in Boston. But what is their influence? One major influence comes from insisting that organizations it funds must subscribe to an understanding of race and racism that is exactly the understanding the ruling class wants "radicals" to have and to preach. This understanding of racism is captured by the phrase "white privilege," a phrase that the ruling class actively promotes as a replacement for the older phrase "racial discrimination." The phrase "white privilege" says that racism benefits whites. The word "privilege" means something by which one benefits. But ordinary whites are harmed by racism and racial discrimination. The ruling class uses racial discrimination to divide and rule all ordinary people, including whites. The divide-and-rule strategy singles out people of color for worse treatment, tells whites they benefit from this, and thereby foments mistrust and resentment between people of color and whites. This destroys the only thing that ordinary people have with which to resist the domination and oppression of the ruling class--solidarity among working people of all races. What the ruling class most definitely does not want is for anybody to say loud and clear that An Injury to One is an Injury to All, that when people of color are singled out for worse treatment than whites this is a strategy of the ruling class to make white people as well as people of color easier to control, dominate and oppress.
As a member of the Somerville Divestment Project (opposed to Zionism) I was part of the group that was interviewed by the Haymarket Fund (HF) in our application for funding from them. For several years we obtained funding from HF. But when we expressed disagreement with the "whites benefit from racism" viewpoint explicitly in our last interview, funding we stopped receiving funding from HF.
The HF describes the importance it places on "proper" understanding of racism this way:
"In addition to providing grants, Haymarket supports social change movements through training and capacity building. Recognizing how significantly racism has affected the impact of social justice movements in the US, we especially focus on making available training on Undoing Racism by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (www.pisab.org), an organization we have partnered with in our own ongoing journey to embody our undoing racism principles."
Let's take a look Haymarket Fund's partner, People's Institute for Survival and Beyond (PI). PI says of itself:
"Today, The People’s Institute is recognized as one of the foremost anti-racism training and organizing institutions in the nation. In a 2002 Aspen Institute survey of eleven top racial justice organizations, five credited The People’s Institute with having the most effective anti-racist analysis." (my emphasis--J.S.)
So we see that HF is partnered with PI, which is strongly admired by the Aspen Institute. Who runs the Aspen Institute?
Walter Isaacson is President and CEO of the Aspen Instutute. The Aspen Institute provides the following information about him (I have bolded some of the most interesting parts):
President and CEO
Contact: Pat Zindulka, firstname.lastname@example.org
Walter Isaacson is the president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute based in Washington, DC. He has been the chairman and CEO of CNN and the editor of TIME magazine.
Isaacson’s new book, The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution (October 2014) is a biographical tale of the people who invented the computer, Internet and the other great innovations of our time and will be a must-read from Wall Street to Silicon Valley to Main Street.
He is the author of Steve Jobs (2011), Einstein: His Life and Universe (2007), Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2003), and Kissinger: A Biography (1992), and coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made (1986).
Isaacson was born on May 20, 1952, in New Orleans. He is a graduate of Harvard College and of Pembroke College of Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He began his career at The Sunday Times of London and then the New Orleans Times-Picayune/States-Item. He joined TIME in 1978 and served as a political correspondent, national editor, and editor of new media before becoming the magazine’s 14th editor in 1996. He became chairman and CEO of CNN in 2001, and then president and CEO of the Aspen Institute in 2003.
He is chair emeritus of Teach for America, which recruits recent college graduates to teach in underserved communities. He was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate to serve as the chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and other international broadcasts of the United States, a position he held until 2012. He is vice-chair of Partners for a New Beginning, a public-private group tasked with forging ties between the United States and the Muslim world. He is on the board of United Airlines, Tulane University, and the Overseers of Harvard University. From 2005-2007, after Hurricane Katrina, he was the vice-chair of the Louisiana Recovery Authority.
It is quite obvious from his bio that the President and CEO of the Aspen Institute is a man who travels in the highest ruling class circles and is trusted by the ruling class to oversee some of its most important institutions. It would be easy to show how the organizations on which boards Mr. Isaacson sits serve the ruling class and help it use racial discrimination to divide and rule. Let's just look at one of them--Teach for America. Here is what Black Agenda Report's Bruce Dixon writes of it in his article titled, "Why is Tim Wise Stamping the Anti-Racist Ghetto Passes at Teach for America?:
Tim Wise specializes in talking to white people about racism. Teach For America is a major player in the elitist and racist scam to privatize public education, supplying mostly white grads of elite colleges as ghetto teacher temps. Is this a match made in heaven, or in hell?
Mr. Wise is speaking at a major Teach For America event on July 19. How do we reconcile that with a stand against racism? We can't, and unless TFA is gonna pay Mr. Wise to tell them their entire practice and premise is elitist, evil and yes, racist, we're pretty sure he can't reconcile it either.
Teach For America is part of an elite bipartisan scam to privatize public education, starting, and perhaps ending with the inner city. TFA replaces qualified, experienced mostly black teachers who live in the communities they serve with mostly white temps, graduated from a 5 week course who will move on to Wall Street and other lucrative careers after only a couple seasons in the classroom.
Closing public schools and replacing experienced teachers with Ivy League missionary temps isn't something that's being done to wealthy white suburban public schools. It's only the prescribed remedy for school districts full of black and brown youth, and black and brown teachers. President Obama's signature education program, Race To The Top advances the privatization agenda in many ways, and one of these is by encouraging, really forcing, school districts to lay off, fire or reject new applications from experienced teachers and graduates of real teaching programs by the thousands in favor of the mostly white temps from elite schools that Teach For America and similar outfits provide.
There's no proof that TFA's missionaries improve ghetto schools. The truth is it takes years to become a competent teacher. TFA's purpose is to change the teacher workforce to temps not connected to students, their families or communities as a prelude to privatization. The last thing a school privatizer wants is a school full of qualified, experienced teachers deeply connected to the communities they serve with a tradition of collective action (that's what a union -- a real union – is) and who know how to run the joint themselves.
In perspective, it was Teach For America that gave us Michelle Rhee, as well as the current DC schools chancellor Henderson, who used to be Rhee's boss at TFA.
Selectively sabotaging the education of black children, dispersing experienced workforces of organized black teachers connected to their communities sounds like an indisputably racist policy on its face. Chicago teachers sued in federal court on that point and won. Apparently Teach For America needs somebody to stamp the anti-racist ghetto passes of it missionary workforce as they pass through the ghetto, so they've put an “anti-racism” educator and trainer on retainer.
So between now and July 18, we'll be carrying a petition, asking anti-racism educator Tim Wise NOT to stamp the ghetto passes of Teach For America. You can find it on our web site at www.blackagendareport.com/tfa.
Tim Wise is famous for preaching the "white privilege" Big Lie that the divide-and-rule strategy needs in order to be effective. This is what explains the "paradox" of a supposed "anti-racist" like Tim Wise being in cahoots with a racist organization like Teach for America.
Here is an Aspen Institute document that features and promotes the People's Institute (the Haymarket Fund's partner) in its Section Four (pg. 109). There are many pages in this Section Four that talk about racism and how to "fight it" but, amazingly, there is not a hint that ordinary white people as well as people of color are harmed by racial discrimination, that An Injury to One is an Injury to All. This theme is completely suppressed, to the great satisfaction, no doubt, of all the ruling class institutions that Aspen Fund President and CEO, Walter Isaacson, sits on the board of. Instead we find (pg. 71), in a large text box, this declaration:
"White privilege is a major barrier to building the kind of social movements that could bring fundamental change to this country. Social justice activists have a real stake in tearing down this barrier."
The ruling class wants "radicals" to spread the message that ordinary whites are guilty for benefiting from racial discrimination. This message makes non-whites view whites as their enemy. And it makes whites choose between either a) feeling guilty for being white, telling other whites they should feel guilty too and treating whites as the enemy if they don't confess to being guilty or b) equating "anti-racism" with "anti-white" and reacting with anger at anybody who says they're against racism. Exactly what the ruling class wants!
Who else, one might wonder, serves on the board of the Aspen Institute? Here is where the board membership is listed. We see that great anti-racist, Madeleine K. Albright, who famously declared that the killing of 500,000 Iraqi children was "worth it" because "the sanctions are working" in on the board. These sanctions were literally genocidal. One wonders how, during their board meetings, Mr. Isaacson and Ms. Albright laugh about "ending racism." Another Aspen Institute board member is Michael D. Eisner, former head of ABC and Walt Disney corporations (institutions not notable for educating the public about the racial discrimination practices of the ruling class) and, of note, a billionaire.
Is it any wonder, then, that Open Media Boston, an organization that is funded by the Haymarket People's Fund, chose (as of my writing this article six hours after I submitted the comment) not to publish a comment (provided below) on the theme that An Injury to One is an Injury to All to this article of theirs about anti-racism strategy and the I-93 blockade of commuters in the name of anti-racism? Is it any wonder they feature articles about the I-93 blockade that refuse to criticize it but no articles that do? (My similar comment to their other article uncritical of the I-93 blockade was published after they took many hours to approve it. Perhaps they are conflicted between wanting to allow free speech versus losing their funding.)
The rejected comment:
"Boston Police Commissioner Evans's Iron Fist in a Velvet Glove" at http://newdemocracyworld.org/culture/evans2.html points the accusatory finger in the right direction--at the ruling class and its police forces. Tactics that point the accusing finger at ordinary white people, such as the I-93 blockade, are wrong. Martin Luther King, Jr. explained why when he said (in The Drum Major Instinct, 1968):
"Now that's a fact. That the poor white has been put into this position--where through blindness and prejudice, he is forced to support his oppressors, and the only thing he has going for him is the false feeling that he is superior because his skin is white. And can't hardly eat and make his ends meet week in and week out."
The movement against racism can only grow strong enough to WIN if it makes it clear to all potential allies (such as working class whites who live in suburbs) that--no matter what their race--they are ALSO harmed by the ruling class's divide and rule strategy of racial discrimination to promote mistrust and resentment between people of color and whites. The movement needs to welcome these people as allies in the fight against racism, and most definitely NOT use tactics (like the I-93 blockade) that treat them in a hostile way, as an enemy who benefits from racism. It should certainly stop telling ordinary whites that they benefit from racism (which is a ruling class divide-and-rule Big Lie). This means it should call racist discrimination "racist discrimination" (which points the accusatory finger at those implementing racist policies) and not point the accusatory finger at ordinary white people by calling it "white privilege": a "privilege" is something that one benefits from, but ordinary whites are HARMED by the ruling class's divide-and-rule strategy based on racial discrimination.
It isn't just right wing racist talk radio hosts who are working to make divide and rule based on racial discrimination work. The "radical" organizations funded by organizations like the Haymarket People's Fund, partnered with--literally--the ruling class, also play a key role in making divide-and-rule work. Their function is to make white people perceive anything that purports to be "anti-racist" as anti-white, as hostile to ordinary white people. This is why Open Media Boston will not brook any criticism of the activists who, in the name of "anti-racism" and Black Lives Matter, obstructed commuters on I-93 for many hours, infuriating them as much as they could, and providing the racist right wing radio talk show hosts with a field day and a chance to recruit emotionally revved up and angry suburban whites to the side of the overt racists. Just one more example of how the ruling class uses progressive organizations to strengthen its domination of people.
Needless to say, organizations funded by sources partnered with the likes of Madeleine Albright and Michael Eisner and Walter Isaacson are not going to seriously fight to remove the rich from power and have real not fake democracy with no rich and no poor. They'd lose their funding if they did, and the top people in these "radical" organizations don't want to risk that.
Scroll down for your selected page.