Do citizens who protest and organize to protect your environment inspire hope?
I admire people who interrupt their lives to fight for clean water or to save the planet. <sigh> But I'm also demoralized, because we're so out of our league, compared to highly skilled deep pocket private intelligence services working for predatory corporations.
Steve Horn reports on the history of anti-activist corporate intelligence. It started with strategies to conquer and divide activist grassroots movements and isolate their leaders, by ex-military PR men employed by corporations. That "evolved into the private intelligence agency Stratfor, which wages information warfare against today’s activists and organizers." Here's Ronald Duchin's strategy:
... a three-step formula to divide and conquer activists by breaking them up into four subtypes,...
The subtypes: “radicals, idealists, realists and opportunists.”
Radical activists “want to change the system; have underlying socio/political motives’ and see multinational corporations as ‘inherently evil,’” explained Duchin. “These organizations do not trust the … federal, state and local governments to protect them and to safeguard the environment. They believe, rather, that individuals and local groups should have direct power over industry … I would categorize their principal aims … as social justice and political empowerment.”
“Idealists…want a perfect world…Because of their intrinsic altruism, however, … [they] have a vulnerable point,” ... “If they can be shown that their position is in opposition to an industry … and cannot be ethically justified, they [will] change their position.”
The two easiest subtypes to join the corporate side of the fight are the “realists” and the “opportunists.” By definition, an “opportunist” takes the opportunity to side with the powerful for career gain, Duchin explained, and has skin in the game for “visibility, power [and] followers.”
The realist, by contrast, is more complex but the most important piece of the puzzle, says Duchin.
“[Realists are able to] live with trade-offs; willing to work within the system; not interested in radical change; pragmatic. The realists should always receive the highest priority in any strategy dealing with a public policy issue.”
Duchin outlined a corresponding three-step strategy to “deal with” these four activist subtypes. First, isolate the radicals. Second, “cultivate” the idealists and “educate” them into becoming realists. And finally, co-opt the realists into agreeing with industry.
“If your industry can successfully bring about these relationships, the credibility of the radicals will be lost and opportunists can be counted on to share in the final policy solution,”...
... “extensive files [on] forces for change [which] can often include activist and public interest groups, churches, unions and/or academia.”
Radicals are isolated and discredited using trumped up charges.
“Corporations wage war upon activists to ensure that corporate activities, power, profits and control are not diminished or significantly reformed,” said Stauber. “The burden is on the activists to make fundamental social change in a political environment where the corporate interests dominate both politically and through the corporate media.”
Stauber also believes activists have a steep learning curve and are currently being left in the dust by Pagan, MBD, Stratfor and others.
“The Pagan/MBD/Stratfor operatives are much more sophisticated about social change than the activists they oppose, they have limitless resources at their disposal, and their goal is relatively simple: make sure that ultimately the activists fail to win fundamental reforms,” he said. “Duchin and Mongoven were ruthless, and I think they were often amused by the naivete, egotism, antics and failures of activists they routinely fooled and defeated. Ultimately, this is war,... [emphasis mine]
I've seen how effective these tactics are. I used to belong to the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund and other environment organizations until they were successfully co-opted. What chance do innocents like the mother and father who founded Climate Parents have against such ruthless private intelligence organizations? It's demoralizing. Caring ordinary folks who seek reforms are like kittens, and they're like a Panzer Division.
Organizations like Stratfor are now part of how US democracy functions, along with lobbyists and dark money. This wasn't what the Founding Fathers envisioned. My husband pointed out that the constitution was written a hundred years before the industrial revolution. I've come to the conclusion that we need to invent a governing structure which fits today's technology and is responsive to citizens, rather than controlled by corporate entities.
I agree with you totally, Ruth. One thing I'm tired of is going into my e-mail and being hit up for money. I know that money is needed to make change come about, but I know very little about those who ask for the money. I have no money to give and I also want to know how much in the doations actually goes to the cause. This is something that none of them are up front with.
We are far from a free market, rather it' s a form of crony capitalism. Corporate welfare takes many forms including bailouts (banks, GM, Chrysler--by both Bush and Obama), tax breaks, 'incentives', extensive business regulations which basically keep the entrenched safe from upstart competition. And it's across the board, like the 'green fuel' company who got to sell biofuel to the Navy for $250/gallon (oh yes, they were also contributors to the Clinton's charity).
To clean things up in the business side, we need to eliminate ALL government handouts. No tax breaks, no incentives, no taxpayer subsidized energy or other projects, no protectionism.
oops this is wrong thread. Probably makes no sense.
I agree with what you say, and it's part of the larger picture. If companies like Stratfor weren't so efficient at destroying citizens protest, crony capitalism wouldn't be as triumphant here.
...the 'green fuel' company who got to sell biofuel to the Navy for $250/gallon (oh yes, they were also contributors to the Clinton's charity).
Didn't know about that, thanks. Got a link for it?