Who Owns the Movement, and Where Are They Taking It?

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

As funders of the nonprofit industrial complex, the one percent of one percenters literally own what most of us call the movement. Last summer the “Ford Foundation and anonymous donors” pledged to invest $100 million to “strengthen the next generation of social justice leaders… in what many call the Movement for Black Lives.” Do we want to go where the owners of this movement are taking us? Is there any other destination or way to ride?

Who Owns the Movement, and Where Are They Taking It?

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

For more than a generation now the accepted wisdom, whenever people aim to tackle some societal problem has been to join or start or seek employment with or volunteer for this or that nonprofit organization. It’s just the way Things Are Done. It’s worth noting that our First Black President began his professional career with the nonprofit industrial complex.

Now that the presidential election no longer takes up all the air in every room, it’s time to pay closer attention to the present and future of the peoples movement in the US, namely who owns it and where the movement’s owners are taking it.

Back in August 2016 it was announced that the “Ford Foundation and Anonymous Donors” were helping marshal $100 million dollars for “...field-building activities that strengthen the next generation of social justice leaders.  Specifically, the collaborative effort supports the infrastructure, innovation and dynamism of intersectional Black-led organizing that have become integral components of what many call the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL).”

This is not $100 million from small donors. It’s100 million in big chunks from big people who have never been shy about letting recipients of their largesse know exactly what they expect for their cash. It’s $100 million from the one percent of the one percent, who intend to pick choose and fund the next generation of black leaders, just as they did with the old ones. What activists have come to call “the movement” has in large part been the creature of its one percenter funders. This is the essence of the nonprofit model of social justice activism, and it’s why, as Warren Marr put it, NonProfits Can’t Lead the 99%.

Where the new movement’s owners and their chosen leaders want to go is anybody’s guess. The only thing we can be certain of is that revolutionary changes will not be on the agenda. $100 million can bankroll a lot of careers and organizations going in a number of different directions. One early fruit of this collaboration is a partnership between the Movement For Black Lives and J. Walter Thompson whose clients include corporate criminals Nestle, Shell Oil, and the US Marine Corps, among many others. Last month they premiered the beta version of a web site that’s supposed to tell you the location of the nearest black business.

The myth that black folks ought to be able somehow use our “black buying power” to save or spend our way out of oppression has been discredited many times, most notably by Dr. Jared Ball. But it’s one of those fairy tales one percenters really like, so it’s an obvious place to sink some of that money.

A December 30 Left Voice article by Julia Wallace and Juan Cruz Ferre levels that and some other reasonable criticisms of where the owners of the Black Lives Matter Movement seem to be taking their contraption. They correctly observe that for our people, economic justice requires an end to the capitalist system that drives gentrification, that needs privatization, and that gave birth to racism as we know it.

But the Left Voice alternative to M4BL’s boosting of the same old nonprofit industrial complex as the custodian of our movement is forming a “united front” against Trump, getting into the streets, and waging demonstrations, traffic stoppages and strikes in communities, streets and workplaces. There are lots of problems with this.

For one thing, there is pernicious and well established North American tradition of protest as empty pageantry. Think back to Malcolm X’s depiction of the 1963 March on Washington as a picnic on the mall. Now think forward to antiwar and climate and a hundred other permitted marches in front of state capitols and through canyons of empty office buildings on days when there was no business to disrupt. Though young activists have begun to break from this tradition with traffic stoppages and other tactics, we’re a long way from being able to shut down the critical infrastructure of cities and states.

The technical term for those kinds of actions are strikes and general strikes, respectively. In the absence of deeply rooted organizations supported by membership dues, email lists of millions, or at least hundreds of thousands, Left Voice’s talk about the use of the strike as a weapon capable of shutting down the prison state is transparently delusional.

I’m not saying the strike is the wrong weapon. There’s a very good reason sympathy strikes, non-economic strikes and general strikes are illegal in the US. All of these are illegal because they’re naked and unambiguous exercises of people power. The unfortunate truth is that our movements are nowhere near being able to pull those off, and we’ll never get there unless we can first build some new kinds of organizations to replace the movement’s abject dependence upon the nonprofit industrial complex and its corporate sugar daddies. When the Black Lives Matter people can organize health care workers teachers or Uber drivers in some town, that’ll be time to talk about the strike as a weapon.

Baby steps first. The only way we can begin to take the movement back from the non profits and their one percenter sugar daddies is to pull together local bodies funded by dues and voluntary contributions of members, so that they can pay staff and conduct the peoples business responsible to nobody but the people. This is only a new idea inside the United States. It’s the way Things Are Done everywhere else on the planet.

The only people I know who are intent on doing this right now are some of the left activists in the Green Party, who are committed to taking and remaking it from the bottom up and the inside out, making it member-financed, internally democratic and explicitly socialist party that can secure scores and hundreds of meeting places in every state, and pay local organizers to do what has to be done.

We’re finally past the stage when we simply say that it’s time to start taking our movement back from the nonprofit industrial complex without clear examples of how this can be done. Some of us have a plan, and we’re all over it.
Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and co-chair of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at [email protected].

4 Comments

Who Owns The Movement

I agree with Mr. Dixon. Our movement must be black people  funded and black people directed otherwise the movement will not be working in the interest of our people.  Selling chicken dinners and pies my not seem like much in a local setting but multiplied thousands of times across a country can result in meaningful funding. No one will pay for our liberation but us.

In my opinion the American Left protects the left flank of the 100 wealthiest Americans.  Soros BLM is not a grass roots organization. They got $100 million from Ford Foundation, has been approved to received $ 33 million from George Soros.  You see they spent their money with J.Walter Thompson. You don't get more Park Avenue than that. Soros BLM job is to discredit the just concerns of the Black community.  They are simply disruptive.

Eric

Walking the Walk 2

As the age-old saying goes, "You've got to Pay the Cost to be the Boss!" Crowdfunding is the newest internet based tool that would allow us to Fund The World We Want to See! Warriors are Gathering at CulturalGrassroots dot com.

DEMOSTRATIONS ORGANIZED by PAID SHEEPDOGS

There is a say "The swelling of a frog in the pond does not stop a cow from drinking the pond water"!

I have been asking myself lately,  who exactly are these organized demonstrators shouting at? Who  is listening to their shouts?

During the primaries, paid demonstrators interrupted Donald Trump's campaign events to stop him from getting the nomination. Homeless and jobless minorities were fed, clothed or given some little cash to rise to occassion. This attempf failed.  WhenTrump won the presidency, outbreak of demonstrators loaded with theme "He is not my president" were seen around the cities in USA. That did not work either!

The filthy rich (foundations) elites who are paying for these demonstrations and the sheepdongs (wolves in sheeps clothing) they hire to fill the quorum with the shouting demonstrators are most disgusting human species on earth!  Why? Because these filthy rich individuals and their wolves (all of whom have affiliation with crowd being bamboozled) do not give a "rat ass" about the lives of the people they are using to loud  their hidden agenda! This is the most blatant use, abuse and discarding of the disadvantaged population by self serving and very, very greedy two groups  people.

There is no difference between these elites and those monarchies in the Middle East who are using the economic disadvantaged poor population in their midst to bleed or die while wreaking havoc on other disadvantaged population!

The poor people are fighting and dying to further the policies of the  rich around the the world! The people being killed, maimed or left homeless and penniless are the very powerless poor! They call these poor people "collateral damage"! 

Ford Foundation

Appendix I: Ford Foundation — A Case Study of the Aims of Foreign Funding

"Someday someone must give the American people a full report of the work of the Ford Foundation in India. The several million dollars in total Ford expenditures in the country do not tell one-tenth of the story." — Chester Bowles (former US ambassador to India).

In the light of the steady flow of funds from Ford Foundation to the World Social Forum, it is worth exploring the background of this institution — its operations internationally, and in India. This is significant both in itself and as a case study of such agencies.

Ford Foundation (FF) was set up in 1936 with a slender tax-exempt slice of the Ford empire's profits, but its activities remained local to the state of Michigan. In 1950, as the US government focussed its attention on battling the 'communist threat', FF was converted into a national and international foundation.

Ford and the CIA
The fact is that the US Central Intelligence Agency has long operated through a number of philanthropic foundations; most prominently Ford Foundation. In James Petras' words, the Ford-CIA connection "was a deliberate, conscious joint effort to strengthen US imperial cultural hegemony and to undermine left-wing political and cultural influence."1 Frances Stonor Saunders, in a recent work on the period, states that "At times it seemed as if the Ford Foundation was simply an extension of government in the area of international cultural propaganda. The Foundation had a record of close involvement in covert actions in Europe, working closely with Marshall Plan and CIA officials on specific projects."2

Richard Bissell, head of the Foundation during 1952-54, consulted frequently with Allen Dulles, the head of the CIA; he left the Foundation to become special assistant to Dulles at the CIA. Bissell was replaced by John McCloy as head of FF. His distinguished career before that included posts as the Assistant Secretary of War, president of the World Bank, High Commissioner of occupied Germany, chairman of Rockefeller's Chase Manhattan Bank, and Wall Street attorney for the big seven oil corporations. McCloy intensified CIA-Ford collaboration, creating an administrative unit within the Foundation specifically to liaise with the CIA, and personally heading a consultation committee with the CIA to facilitate the use of FF for a cover and conduit of funds. In 1966, McGeorge Bundy, till then special assistant to the US president in charge of national security, became head of FF.

It was a busy collaboration between the CIA and the Foundation. "Numerous CIA 'fronts' received major FF grants. Numerous supposedly 'independent' CIA sponsored cultural organizations, human rights groups, artists and intellectuals received CIA/FF grants. One of the biggest donations of the FF was to the CIA-organized Congress for Cultural Freedom which received $ seven million by the early 1960s. Numerous CIA operatives secured employment in the FF and continued close collaboration with the Agency."3

The FF objective, according to Bissell, was "not so much to defeat the leftist intellectuals in dialectical combat [sic] as to lure them away from their positions."4 Thus FF funneled CIA funds to the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) in the 1950s; one of the CCF's most celebrated activities was the stellar intellectual journal Encounter. A large number of intellectuals were ready to be so lured. CIA-FF went so far as to encourage specific artistic trends such as Abstract Expressionism as a counter to art reflecting social concerns.

The CIA's infiltration of US foundations in general was massive. A 1976 Select Committee of the US Senate discovered that during 1963-66, of 700 grants each of over $10,000 given by 164 foundations, at least 108 were partially or wholly CIA-funded. According to Petras, "The ties between the top officials of the FF and the U.S. government are explicit and continuing. A review of recently funded projects reveals that the FF has never funded any major project that contravenes U.S. policy."

Such experiences ought to have alerted intellectuals and various political forces to the dangers of being bankrolled by such sources.

http://www.rupe-india.org/35/app1.html

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