We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Ideology of Philanthropy [post of the month]

by Michael Barker. This is absolutely essential reading if you want to understand how "democracy" works under the current governing class. This class has subtly managed consensus regarding the capitalist system using philanthropic non-profit front organizations, and the practice continues today in both the peace and environmental movements. The author discusses the findings from a book published in 1983 by Edward Berman entitled, Ideology of Philanthropy. Also note that Barker has published his own articles on the same subject which he refers to in the comments section.
Despite the evident success that foundations have had in shaping ideology in the twentieth century their power is “not monolithic” and they “do allow differing points of view to be expressed, although these never or only infrequently form the basis for policy.” Indeed, most of their power is simply derived from the fact that their hegemony remains unchallenged, even from anti-capitalist activists. Yet with the increasing availability of the internet it is now much easier to break the ideological clout of foundations, and while in the past many criticisms of foundations have been rendered inaccessible to most people, this is no longer the case.