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nonprofit industrial complex

To Trim Richest Down To Democratic Size, We Need To Think Big

How rich have America’s super rich become? The annual compensation of Steve Schwarzman, the chief exec of the private-equity colossus Blackstone Inc., offers up one telling yardstick. In 2023, we learned earlier this year, Schwarzman’s take-home actually fell some 30 percent off what he collected the year before. But Schwarzman’s overall payday for that year, even after that tanking, still amounted to a jaw-dropping $896.7 million. The current personal net worth of Blackstone’s CEO? The Bloomberg Billionaires Index puts that figure at a sweet $42.3 billion.

Why People Say There’s A ‘Nonprofit Industrial Complex’

Lots of nonprofits do important work — like, say, In These Times, which is a reader-supported 501(c)(3). But the “nonprofit-industrial complex” refers to the larger ecosystem of elite foundations and corporate influence-peddling. Incite, a network of radical anti-state violence activists, convened a conference to detail this relationship in 2004, titled, “The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex.” Incite had been grant-funded by the Ford Foundation— funding Incite lost because of its support for Palestine. As outlined at the conference, nonprofits that depend on corporate and foundation funding do so often to the detriment of their missions. Time and energy is spent laundering the reputation of corporate funders, for example, rather than on their stated purpose.

The Rise Of The Monster DAFs

For nearly a hundred years, private foundations have been the big guns of warehouse-style philanthropy, raking in billions from their high-rolling founders and doling out grants piecemeal to grateful nonprofits. But over the past two decades, donor-advised funds, particularly those affiliated with for-profit financial institutions (such as Fidelity, Goldman and Schwab), have been rapidly and relentlessly eating into the charitable giving pie. Rising like monsters from the deep, DAFs have finally caught up with foundations as the wealthy donor’s charitable warehousing vehicle of choice — and are poised to eclipse them in just a matter of years. It was already hard enough for working charities to compete with foundations for the largess of wealthy donors.

Social Banditry For The 21st Century

At least as early as the first century A.D., shiftas of the Horn of Africa renounced their allegiance to emperors, government and law, and took to the wild where — through their disruptions of the usual business and trade — they would manage to survive as outlaws. For centuries, the Balkan haiduks roamed their lands, stealing from their Ottoman occupiers. Yi brigands and others from across the Chinese frontier sustained their economies in large part through raiding during the early 20th century. From 1917-1937, Peruvian women led bands of sharpshooters by horseback to rob the rich and give to the poor. Despite limited research and the folkloric fictionalization of the Robin Hoods of our past, social banditry seems to be present wherever even the most primordial forms of civilization have offered class inequalities.

How USAID Created Nicaragua’s Anti-Sandinista Media Apparatus

The US government has spent years cultivating a ring of right-wing media outlets in Nicaragua that played a central role in a violent 2018 coup attempt. This network is now being investigated by the Nicaraguan government on allegations of money laundering. These publications are an integral part of a political opposition that Washington has carefully managed, trained, and funded with millions of dollars over the past decade. While relentlessly accusing Nicaragua’s leftist government of corruption, they have been suspiciously obscure with their own finances and record-keeping. The institution at the heart of the US-backed influence network is called the Fundación Violeta Barrios de Chamorro para la Reconciliación y la Democracia, or Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation for Reconciliation and Democracy – often referred to simply as the Chamorro Foundation.

Lobbying Politicians Is Holding Back The Climate Movement

In early January, Labour leader Keir Starmer tweeted about his commitment to tackling the climate emergency, sharing an image of him meeting with several climate groups. The screenshot revealed all the Zoom meeting attendees: the Queen’s Council and several other Shadow Cabinet members, alongside figures from all the major wildlife and environmental charities, from Greenpeace to the WWF. The tweet showed a motley crew — a collection of old and pale smiling faces, confident in their ability to tackle the climate crisis. The tweet was quickly ridiculed. Many from the UK Student Climate Network, the group coordinating climate strikes, pointed out the advanced age of the participants, and contrasted this with the Labor leader’s refusal to meet with the student strikers.

Human Rights, Terrorism And Organized Crime

In Latin America, widespread abuses under right wing regimes in, for example, Colombia, Honduras, Haiti or Brazil get mentioned in low key terms, if at all, while false claims by US funded opposition groups in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela are amplified and broadcast with minimal or zero effort at responsible corroboration. Neither the human rights industry itself, nor the communications media and academic industries which are its main consumers, make any serious effort at investigation because they too are funded by the same or similar corporate and government investors as their human rights industry brand name suppliers.

I’ll Tell You Why The 99% Is Not In Revolt

Well-known political commentator and activist Ralph Nader was recently featured in a Truthdig article titled, “Why Aren’t the 99% Revolting?”. The points made in the article sharply illustrate the scale of growing crisis and conflict across the US and globally. It covered issues as wide-ranging as medical care, climate change, and the titanic disparity of global wealth distribution. It concluded with the following, hollow statement. “I could go on and on. Pick up the pace, readers. Senator Elizabeth Warren has correctly called for “big structural changes.” Of course, we are all asking ourselves the same thing. How bad does it have to get before widespread rebellion? How many unarmed people of color will be gunned down by police?

‘Socialism” Conference Features US Gov-funded Regime Change Activists

Socialism is now apparently brought to you by the US State Department. From July 4 to 7, thousands of left-wing activists from across the United States are gathering in Chicago for the 2019 Socialism Conference. At this event, some of the most powerful institutions on the American socialist — but avowedly anti-communist — left have brought together a motley crew of regime-change activists to demonize Official Enemies of Washington. One anti-China panel at the conference features speakers from two different organizations that are both bankrolled by the US government’s soft-power arm the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a group founded out of Ronald Reagan’s CIA in the 1980s to grease the wheels of right-wing regime-change efforts and promote “free markets” across the planet.

What’s Wrong With Secret Donor Agreements…

Arlington, VA - George Mason University President Ángel Cabrera acknowledged this month that his school gave the Charles Koch Foundation “some influence” over hiring and evaluating faculty as it accepted millions of dollars for its free-market research center, the Mercatus Center. This news rankled the academic world, but it perhaps didn’t come as a surprise. Many scholars saw this as just the latest revelation of strings-attached giving with an ideological slant – another encroachment on the sacrosanct idea that teaching and research at universities, especially public ones like George Mason, must be immune from outside influence.

Breaking Free Of The Nonprofit Industrial Complex

By Staff of The Murphy Institute - In a new article coming out in the Fordham Urban Law Journal, Professor Michael Haber connects many of today’s most important movements—from post-Occupy community organizing to the rise of the worker co-op movement to parts of the Movement for Black Lives—by looking at how activists’ growing understanding of the non-profit industrial complex has led to the creation of a new framework for social change practice, what he calls the community counter-institution.

Bolivia Flips Bird To World’s Richest Man

By Sputnik News. Last week, Bill Gates, listed as the world’s richest person, with a net worth in excess of some $79.4 billion, turned heads when he proposed that those living on less than $2 per day should invest in chickens, fancying that he could heroically survive such an austere life of extreme poverty. In a piece titled, "Why I Would Raise Chickens," the tech magnate, who earns more per year in interest alone than the poorest 45 countries in the world, lectured humanity’s most economically-depressed on surviving hardship. Wealthy American liberals heaped praise on the mega-billionaire for his humanitarian mission, without asking how people living in extreme poverty, in societies with endemic corruption and a constant threat of violence, would feed their flock.

Non-Profit Industrial Complex’s Role In Corporatized Education

By Robert D. Skeels for Truth Out and Regeneración - Those ruling society have long utilized non-profits and similar outfits as a means to further their interests, ameliorate their public image, and disseminate their ideologies. Whether we call them Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), or Non-Profit Industrial Complex (NPIC), the era of neoliberalism has seen the role of these private organizations further entrench itself in spaces that used to be that of the public commons. Perhaps the most egregious example of this is in the realm of education policy...

Prophet Of Urban Renewal Or Big Oil’s Reverend For Rent?

On Nov. 4, Richmond voters face a stark choice between mayoral candidates who have conflicting ideas about how to sustain their own city’s much-publicized renaissance. The two contenders to replace Gayle McLaughlin, who is termed out, even disagree on whether Richmond is better off eight years after the largest city in the country with a Green mayor first elected her. Both of McLaughlin’s would-be successors—city councilor Nat Bates, who is black, and Tom Butt, who is white—came together, like 1960s civil rights movement allies, to hear Reverend Young’s purely non-partisan reflections on creating “a global community of peace, prosperity, and inclusion.” As the city’s largest and, for nearly a century, most dominant employer, Chevron was clearly the senior partner in this joint venture. When For Richmond was launched, all of its $500,000 in start up money came from the energy giant, plus $100, 000 for grants distributed locally in 2013. As of a year ago, Chevron was still For Richmond’s only donor.
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