The September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington and the ramifications define a new conjuncture for social movements and NGOs.
The global context preceding September 11 is important in understanding Washington’s reaction afterwards and the effects that both have on the perspectives and the role NGOs can play in global politics.
Prior to September 11, Washington’s international position showed clear signs of weakening. The anti-globalization mass movements from Seattle to Genoa were creating greater obstacles to the “free market agenda.” Washington’s rejection of the Kyoto protocol on global warming, its unilateral renunciation of the ABM (missile treaty) and its failure to sign the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention isolated Washington from the rest of the international community. In the Middle East, Iraq was breaking out of the US imposed boycott, becoming an active member of OPEC, and increasing ties with Arab neighbors. Iran has economic relations with Japan, Russia, the EU and most of the rest of the countries in the world contrary to the US boycott. In Latin America, formidable social movements in Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador challenged the neo-liberal model. The deepening recession in the US and Europe profoundly affected the “export model” in Mexico, Central America and the rest of Latin America and Asia. Moreover, the recession within the US was leading to massive job losses and bankruptcies, provoking a greater volatility in the stock market, already shaken by the collapse of the information technology speculative bubble.
In summary, US global hegemony was deteriorating, the internal foundations were weakening and discontent was rising – before September 11.
Post September 11
The immediate aftermath of the trauma of September 11 was, at the governmental level, a concerted effort at world mobilization based on a discourse of war. The key phrase was President’s Bush’s “Countries have to choose, you are with us or with the terrorists.” The effect of this discourse was to mobilize predictable NATO followers like Tony Blair of England, Aznar of Spain and Berlusconi of Italy. Other NATO countries entered the “alliance” with some hesitation. While most of the rest of the world condemned the terrorist attack, and expressed sympathy with the victims very few countries were eager to join an open-ended world-wide military campaign against loosely defined terrorists and nations which provide havens for terrorists. Only by tactically specifying the enemy to a narrow set of targets (Osama bin Laden) and the Taliban) was Washington able to secure minimum cooperation within the Middle East and Central Asia. But Washington has a wider agenda – war against Europe and Japan’s principal oil suppliers in the Mid-East – namely Iraq and Iran.
The key to President Bush’s world-wide “anti-terrorism” campaign is to reverse the decline of US global hegemony. To force Europe to submit to US leadership, to secure the total obedience of the Arab rulers in the Mid-East and to encourage client rulers in Asia and Latin America to increase their repressive capacities against political opposition to the neo-liberal model and US hegemony.
Bush junior seeks to recreate a New World Order, that Bush senior tried to project after the Gulf War and which deteriorated shortly thereafter. After the Gulf War emergency, the competitive interests of Europe and Japan came into conflict with U.S. hegemony, as did the emergence of social movements, North and South. It is likely that once the initial war psychosis dies off, divisions and rivalries will reappear with even greater virulence than in the early 1990’s. The extension of the war beyond Afghanistan, worldwide recession, and Washington’s attempt to gain economic advantage form its leadership of the wartime coalition can easily provoke divisions.
Nevertheless, in the short run the war mobilization involves a worldwide socio-political offensive to reverse the advances of the late 1990’s. This offensive has several common characteristics:
(1) Increasing repressive legislation, curtailing democratic freedoms and widening police power.
(2 Attempts to reverse the recession via “military Keysianism” with higher military spending and billion dollar subsidies to “adversely affected” (airlines, tourism, etc.).
(3) Restoration of U.S. hegemony via military dominance — “leadership” — and strengthening client regimes.
(4) Silencing anti-globalization movements by refocusing world attention from the evils of multinational corporations to international terrorism.
(5) Reversing U.S. isolation because of its unilateral rejection of international agreements on peace and the environment:
(C)Reject protocol banning biological warfare;
(D) Reject resolution on international human rights tribunal;
(E) Reject protocol against use of land mines.
The antiterrorist alliance strengthens U.S. global leadership since power of decision is vested exclusively in Washington. The ‘Alliance’ is an association of followers with no influence on tactics or strategy. Even NATO is excluded from any operational influence. In effect, the anti-terrorist alliance is another manifestation of unilateral state action. The imperial use of anti- terrorism extends far beyond Afghanistan. The term as applied by Washington is so loosely interpreted as to apply to any country in which resistance fighters are located, any movement engaged in social transformation, any supporters of movements, including NGO.
The Coordinator for Terrorism for the State Department, Francis Taylor, stated, “My office is working with different agencies of the government in order to design an anti-terrorist strategy for Colombia and other Andean countries. This strategy is designed to complement Plan Colombia…and the Andean Regional Initiative.” Taylor went on to state, “Today, the most dangerous international terrorist group in this hemisphere is the FARC.” The State Department centered the second part of its anti-terrorist strategy (after the Middle East) as “an offensive against terrorism in the Americas.” The U.S. Congress approved the appropriation of $730 million additional dollars “for war against terrorism…in the region.”
Imperialism today is firmly anchored in the state — the imperial state, which intervenes in the world and domestic economy to subsidize, promote and protect its MNC’s as well as to organize continuing military attacks to destroy challenges to its domination. Today more than ever in the past the imperial state is the centerpiece of empire and the driving force for multinational capital expansion.
Acting in concert, the imperial state and multinational corporations have polarized the world along class, racial, gender, national and regional lines. Imperial ideology attempts to obscure this division by polarizing the world between democracy (empire) and terrorism in order to consolidate imperial power. This polarization has also entered into the world of NGO’s.
Polarization of NGO’s
NGO’s have multiplied by the tens of thousands over the past decade, reflecting a variety of political and social perspectives, sources of funding and political allegiances. The majority of the NGO’s and the “richest” in funding are open collaborators with the Euro- American states and local neo-liberal regimes, actively working against public/social ownership. Nevertheless, in recent years a growing number of NGO’s have played an active role in the anti-globalization, anti-racist and anti-war movements which have taken place from Seattle to South Africa.
The most significant fact in the world of NGO’s is the polarization or tri-polar world of NGO’s. To simplify, NGO’s can be divided into three groups which tend to coincide with their levels of funding.
(1) NGO’s which are active promoters of neo-liberalism, working with large sums from the World Bank, USAID, and other international and state funding agencies on a “sub- contracted” basis to undermine national comprehensive welfare institutions.
(2) Reformist NGO’s which receive middle range funding from private social democratic foundations and progressive local or regional governments to fund ameliorative projects and to correct the excesses of the free market. The reformists try to “reform” the WTO, IMF and World Bank and regulate capital.
(3) Radical NGO’s are basically involved in the anti-globalization, anti-racist, anti-sexist and solidarity movements. Among the radical NGO’s there are differences n tactics (civil disobedience, direct action) goals (anti-capitalist, anti-corporate, anti-speculative capital) and alternatives (communitarian, deep ecology, socialist, self-management).
The polarization of NGO’s is mainly found in the responses to the major events like the Durban Conference. The radical NGO’s denounced as Israel as a racist country while the reformists tried to oppose racism without naming Israel and the neo-liberal NGO’s supported Washington or were silent.
The second area of differentiation is in the major demonstrations, from Seattle to Genoa, where the radical NGO’s call for the abolition of the IMF-WB, while the reformists only pursue greater regulation of speculative capital (the Tobin tax), debt forgiveness, more responsiveness to poverty needs and internal reform to make the WB-IMF more “responsive” to popular welfare and the environment.
The third area of differentiation of NGO’s is between those NGO’s (neo-liberal and reformists) who seek to collaborate with imperial (global) institutions and those which collaborate with popular mass movements. The “institutionalists” conceive of “divisions” within the institutions, their capacity to “reason” with bankers and officials to demonstrate how big business interests and environmental/welfare reforms are compatible with profits and stability. The “movement” oriented radical NGO’s believe that basic structural changes from below — redistributing power, property, income — is necessary to achieve sustainable development and social justice.
Up to now, the lessons are clear: the neo-liberal NGO’s have only succeeded in coopting local leaders, while the neo-liberal economic model has collapsed in crisis, increasing the number of poor and destitute. The reformist and radical NGO’s have grown and their actions have multiplied, the size of the anti-globalization movement has grown — while the tensions within the movements have increased. In the face of deepening polarization and economic crisis in the world, the reformist NGO’s are losing ground as interlocutors, as the imperial powers of Brussels and Washington turn toward war against the Third World and attack living standards in the North.
NGO: Rethinking Policies and Structures
In the face of this deepening polarization between empire and the popular movements, North and South, the NGO’s must rethink their internal organization, their relations to mass movements and their funding policies. Most reformist and radical NGO’s are basically cadre organizations, made up of professional staff and volunteers who “mobilize people”. While many of the causes are just, the structures are elitist. Today the most promising and dynamic movements — the unemployed workers’ movement in Argentina, the MST in Brazil, the cocaleros of Bolivia, the Zapatistas in Mexico — are based on popular assemblies and consultation, direct democracy. There is a contradiction in style and substance between the movements and the NGO’s in terms of their conceptions of struggle and organization. To resolve this contradiction which has important tactical and strategic consequences, the NGO’s must democratize their structures, and convert to forms of organization compatible with their movement partners.
In large part, the structures and orientation of the NGO’s are shaped by their funding sources. The more dependent they are on institutional financial support, rather than voluntary funding, the more they retain a hierarchical structure. The greater the degree NGO’s approximate a movement, the more likely they will depend on popular/voluntary contributions. Institutional funding involves limits on the political agenda, social demands and tactical activity. Dependence on voluntary contributions means greater engagement with the people in struggle and responsiveness to their demands along with greater political education.
The second area in which the polarization on a global scale requires NGO’s to rethink their activity is in terms of strategies. In the past, progressive (radical and reformist) NGO’s focused on micro-projects (in Central America and elsewhere) and more recently in anti- globalization mobilizations. While the “micro-projects” did improve some communities, it did not reverse the neo-liberal assaults on living standards and the take-over via privatization by foreign and domestic capital of the national wealth. The shift toward anti-globalization activity was a step forward, insofar as the progressive NGO’s recognized some of the major political- economic forces attacking the poor. However, several new problems emerged: the “anti- globalization” ideology obscured the centrality of the imperial states and their drive for world domination — exaggerating the autonomy of the IMF-WB and the MNC. Secondly, the anti- globalization activities focus largely on periodic dramatic events (Genoa, Davos, Melbourne, Prague) while doing less in day to day organizing and struggles. The question is not one of eliminating the international confrontations, but combining them with mass regional and national struggles against firings, unemployment, intensification of exploitation, etc.
The third area for “rethinking” involves funding, sponsors and collaboration with private enterprises, international institutions and governments. There has been a lengthy debate with the NGO’s on these issues. The debates have focused on the cost-benefit of accepting financial aid and sponsorship from this or that institution. For example, many NGOs discuss whether the compromises on program and activities are worth the financial contributions and “legitimate” sponsorship. Some NGO leaders have become experts in the double discourse of presenting a moderate image and securing substantial financing for militant solidarity work. Be that as it may, the larger historic record demonstrates that long term, large scale association with the “power structure” leads to the corruption of NGO leaders, and the conversion of the NGO’s into an adjunct of the neo-liberal project.
Cost-benefit analysis is too narrow a framework to evaluate NGO funding and alliances, because it fails to take account of the structure of power and the historical trajectory. Tactical compromises become strategic subordination where principals are sacrificed to maintain a burgeoning and expensive bureaucracy and infrastructure. What is to be done? The fundamental point of departure is a class commitment, a program deeply rooted in principles, a clear ideology and a transition from a “cadre” organization to a social movement that engages in solidarity struggles overseas and mass struggles at home.
Today both President Bush and Bin Laden have tried to polarize the world, one between war and terrorism, the other between empire and religion (Islam). The job of NGO’s is to reject these polarization and develop alternatives to empire and fundamentalism, that affirm the self-determination of people and secular states with comprehensive social welfare programs.
Before October 7, 2001 when Washington launched its air war against Afghanistan the progressive NGO’s (both reformist and radical) confronted the socio-economic and political polarization between the Euro-American empire and the Third World. Today that polarization includes the empire’s war against the Third World, the first phase, according to the Bush regime is to concentrate on Afghanistan, to be followed by new wars, in the near future, against other Third World countries. The war against Afghanistan is part of a long term, large scale offensive to regain U.S. global hegemony: the empire is engaged in salami tactics slicing off each independent regime that does not subordinate itself to the Euro-American alliance.
One of the most resounding victories of the empire was its ideological victory over sectors of the left and progressive NGO’s, when the latter supported the NATO bombing and invasion of Yugoslavia, the KLA terrorists in Kosova, the fundamentalists in Bosnia and the KLA directed invasion of Macedonia. In each instance the empire manipulated democratic symbols (”minority rights”) and humanitarian rhetoric to expand its sphere of influence. Many NGO’s became the tools of empire, receiving millions of dollars in exchange for their pro- imperial, humanitarian services. The imperial war logic from Iraq to Yugoslavia to Afghanistan, from the Middle East to the Balkans to Southern Asia, has led to the new colonization: two- thirds of Iraqi air space and one-third of the country is colonized; NATO military bases are present in occupied Kosova, Bosnia and Macedonia. A puppet regime is in the making in Afghanistan. New wars are planned for the Middle East and beyond, under an open-ended definition of the war against terrorism. Military threats are directed against countries which refuse to subordinate themselves to the empire’s military logic (refuse to “join the alliance”). The Marines replace the functionaries of the IMF as the emissaries of conquest. In times of economic crisis, the ruling classes deflect popular discontent and anger to external enemies; the popular movements and progressive NGO’s must oppose imperial wars and turn attention to the internal oppressors. NGO’s must link the anti-globalization struggle to the anti-war struggle and the anti-recession movements.
The Movement Runs on Five Legs
The challenge for the NGO’s today is to build movements that elaborate alternatives to five interrelated problems: (1) war and terrorism; (2) militarization and repression; (3) deepening economic recession and global crises of markets; (4) collapse of export strategies and vulnerability of neo-liberal regimes; and (5) mass unemployment and spread of poverty north and south.
Imperial wars today are “total wars” — in which all civilians and the most elemental conditions for survival (water, electricity, food, etc.) are objects of military destruction. Total war contains the seeds of genocide: whole people, as in Afghanistan, flee mass destruction and face imminent starvation; war induced deaths in Afghanistan exceed those in New York and Washington in geometrical proportion. Police-state, anti-democratic legislation is rushed through Congress and parliaments without debate, abrogating basic democratic rights in the name of security, but in reality strengthening the repressive powers of the state to limit democratic popular opposition.
War and repression displace social-economic reform as responses to the deepening economic crisis. Employers and multinationals take advantage of the war psychosis to fire millions of workers, to increase temporary workers, intensify exploitation and to lay exorbitant financial claims on the state for subsidies.
Crisis in the North is catastrophic in the South. The infamous neo-liberal “export strategies” in the Third World collapse with the decline of Euro-American markets. Further structural adjustments provoke major confrontations; basic imports are unaffordable, debts cannot be paid, the export sectors face bankruptcy, the neo-liberal state has no resources: vulnerability is everywhere, capitalist solutions are nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, war spending, subsidies for bankrupt multinationals and declining markets lead to increasing unemployment in the U.S. and Europe.
This is a time of deepening problems, but also great challenges and opportunities to pose basic questions and radical alternatives.
Perspectives and Strategies: Short and Medium Term
In the short term we face a right-wing offensive headed by the U.S.-Euro War Alliance backed by powerful MNC’s and police military forces. This offensive, through the mass media, which has openly accepted to be a mouthpiece of the Alliance, has secured the temporary support or passivity of the majority of the population in North America and Europe, but not in the Middle East or many other areas of the Third World.
Today, particularly in the U.S. and in the EU, there is a war psychosis manipulated by the state and amplified and transmitted by the mass media. In the short run this has led to the ascendancy of an irrational unanimity in which sectors of public opinion have been led to believe that dissent or criticism of the war is a form of “collaboration” with terrorism. In the U.S. the directors of the mass media have been told by the state not to publish or announce Bin Laden’s speeches nor to relate Taliban speeches without identifying them as terrorist propaganda. There was probably no need for direct state intervention as the self-censorship of the media and its wholehearted support of the war made state control unnecessary.
In this context popular social movements and progressive NGO’s have a vital educational role to play in countering state propaganda and its intellectual exponents in the mass media. It is through systematic critiques of the war propaganda and its distortions that an informed public opinion, particularly in the popular classes, can be mobilized to oppose the war and the accompanying injustices and insecurities.
Political education can follow four lines of counter-attack. Emphasis on the blatant inconsistencies and contradictions of the war message, for example, the idea that this is a humanitarian war when millions of Afghan people are displaced by the carpet bombing and are experiencing mass hunger, thirst and destruction of basic necessities (electricity, water, food, transport, etc.). The idea that state violence will uproot terrorism instead of multiplying and deepening hatred and violent retaliation. War will create a spiral of violence and the logic of prolonged and extended wars will multiply the attacks on U.S. and EU civilians. Only via changes in policy toward the political sources (Palestine, Iraq, etc.) of discontent in the Mid- East and Gulf States can the conflict be minimized and the levels of violence reduced.
The second line of political education requires an expose of the way in which socially reactionary forces in the state and in the class structure are taking advantage of the self-created “war crisis” to further their interests at the expense of the majority of working people. This is a war, like many previous wars, where the many sacrifice and the few benefit. Already in the U.S. social spending is being reduced and military expenditures are soaring. Multinational corporations are firing millions of workers and receiving huge subsidies for so-called “war damage”, while unemployment benefits are being denied. The state calls for “national unity” are being manipulated to obscure the class divisions and injustices, who is benefitting and who is losing from the “war on terrorism”. A familiar sight in the U.S. is one of fired workers driving home with a flag flying from their antennas while their corporate bosses sit down with state officials to negotiate new subsidies. The key point is that the economic crisis preceded the conflict, and the war gave the corporations a “legitimate” pretext to massively “restructure” their enterprises in order to lower costs and increase profits. By linking socio- economic losses to the war it is possible to reach millions of working people with a peace and social justice program.
The third line of political education can focus on the real and latent divisions within the War Alliance. One particularly explosive conflict is over Washington’s project to widen the war to include Iraq, Iran, Syria, etc. The EU’s principle source of petroleum is the Mid-East, and new wars will lead to a catastrophic reduction of oil supply and a geometric increase in the price of oil, which could lead to a major depression. Likewise, U.S. clients, particularly in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan and elsewhere are under enormous pressure from below and any further push from the U.S. to support the current war in Afghanistan or an extended war in neighboring countries could lead to national uprisings. In reality, the War against Afghanistan has already narrowed support for the U.S., in comparison to the broad sympathy with the victims in New York and Washington.
Fourthly, many people around the world reject Bush’s (and Bin Laden’s) dichotomous view of the world (”Either you are for us — and the war — or you are against us.”). A majority of “moderates” want the bombing to stop and for humanitarian aid to enter to feed millions of starving and displaced Afghans. Many people think that the U.S. and EU should take up the Taliban offer to negotiate and that hard evidence of Bin Laden’s involvement in the terrorist acts should be presented. The fundamental fact is that most of what is publicly known about the suspected culprits does not point to Bin Laden or to Al Qaeda. Most were middle class, non- fundamentalists, seven studied in the West (Hamburg) and five were trained at U.S. military bases. None have been identified as having been trained in Pakistan or Afghanistan or indoctrinated by mullahs in either country. These are issues that need to be disseminated widely because they conflict with the basic ideology used to justify this war.
Activism: Engaging the Public
There are three possible axis of political action in this conjuncture. One involves an “indirect approach” which involves mobilizing communities, trade unionists and neighborhoods against the socio-economic consequences of the deepening economic recession (firings/unemployment) and the elite benefits from the “war crisis” at the national/international level. The decisions by MNC to fire workers because of “world market conditions” is a powerful argument against the so-called export growth strategies and “globalization” arguments. Linking local social adversity to globalization and war is important in developing movement activity in this conjuncture.
Secondly, activity should focus on the weakest link in the so-called War Alliance: Israeli violence and dispossession of the Palestinians. Outside of the U.S. most commentators recognize that Israeli war against the Palestinians is the detonator of the current crisis. The genocidal policies of the ultra-rightist Sharon regime have united the whole Arab world,, most of European opinion and outside of the Jewish pro-Israeli lobby in the U.S. even sectors of U.S. public opinion. Even President Bush and Secretary of State Powell have paid lip-service to the idea of a Palestinian state. The political point is that focusing on Israeli intransigence can favorably polarize public opinion against the war and become the starting point to reactivate the anti-globalization movement.
The third area for activities is around the humanitarian disasters caused by wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Colombia. According to the United Nations seven million Afghans face death due to hunger because of the war, comparable to the Holocaust. Humanitarian aid can only be transported if the Anglo American bombing ceases. This is an issue that can motivate millions to pressure to end the bombing, at least temporarily. The “War Against Terror” has already turned into an escalation in the war against popular insurgent forces in Latin America. The head of the DEA in Mexico declared that the EZLN is a “terror” organization. A spokesman for the State Department has declared a massive increase of $700 million and additional military personnel to fight “FARC terrorism”. The human casualties of these new wars are grotesque: between Oct. 1-15 the Colombian military backed paramilitary killed 150 peasants and workers and the count is running. The issue of STATE terrorism is graphically illustrated as the real content of our definition as the war against terrorism.
An international tribunal on the humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan, led by international notables could focus world attention and educate public opinion on the real meaning of the war. In summary, progressive NGO’s should link their anti-globalization strategies to the deepening internal economic crisis and develop programmatic alternatives based on socializing production, redistributing income and deepening internal markets based on increased social expenditures. NGO’s should link their support for humanitarian relief with the anti-war movement and the catastrophic economic consequences for Europe resulting from an extension of the war to other Middle Eastern and Gulf countries. International alliances based on international crisis requires building rank and file organizations in each barrio, municipality and region. The NGO’s should learn the lessons from direct action movements like the MST in Brazil, the unemployed workers in Argentina who apply non-violent road pickets and strategic pressures in production and distribution.
It is clear that a right-wing offensive is underway on a world scale: so-called “security measures” are strengthening the arbitrary powers of the state at the expense of individual freedoms and collective social rights. It is also clear that a growing movement of resistance is emerging, particularly in the Muslim countries and to a considerable degree in Europe (Italy, England, France). The very extremism of Bush’s total war strategy is having a boomerang effect: the prolongation of the war and the mounting casualties is increasing the number of voices from the humanitarian, human rights groups and citizens in Muslim countries. The right- wing offensive can be turned against itself. As fears and insecurities multiply, as the war erodes the economy and as the number of people adversely affected multiplies, these “mass casualties” in the domestic economies of the EU and even the U.S. can become potential recruits for social movements. The international war alliance is likely to lead to a counter-alliance for peace and opposition to militarism. Repressive legislation can heighten democratic sensibilities; authoritarianism, breed pro-democracy movements.
Polarities and forced choices (”war or terrorism”) can boomerang, isolating their proponents before their extreme formulations. The movements must redefine polarities: globalization and war or democracy, self-determination, humane assistance to the victims of war and jobs for the unemployed. The vast majority of people refuses to choose between imperial wars and fundamentalist terror. Most will choose alternatives of secular, peaceful nations in which people are free to choose the social system which most fulfill their lives. Today the greatest threat to humanity is unilateralism — the decision of Washington to go to war, to bomb a country into the “stone age”, to reject Kyoto, missile controls, land mines abolition, international courts of justice and UN decisions which demand that Israel withdraw from the occupied territories. Unilateralism today means militarism. In the face of the world economic crisis and heightened competition, unilateralism means intensified struggle to expand control over vital resources and markets, via non-economic methods.
Unilateralism undermines any pretense of building durable alliances. Militarism alienates those who pay the cost of war: the majority of humankind. Unilateralism forces allies into opposition; economic crisis forces a re-evaluation of priorities, models, markets — challenging neo-liberal orthodoxy. Tactically it is imperative to seek the broadest possible tactical alliance against unilateralism, militarism and neo-liberalism.
History teaches us, from the two World Wars, the Algerian and Vietnam Wars, that deprivation, unequal sacrifice and the political and social cost of war undermine the initial unanimity and heighten resistance. As opposition grows from below, vertical and horizontal cleavages deepen and the imperial arrogance of a “New World Order” crumbles and opportunities for transforming the world open and the eternal hopes for peace and justice become the programmatic bases for new socio-political movements. To be part of the solution and not part of the problem, progressive NGO’s must draw a clear line of distinction between themselves and the millionaire NGO’s, like Foster Parent Plan which collects $300 million a year, MISEREOR $214 million a year, World Vision $500 million, CARE with $50 million budgets. These millionaire agencies collaborate with Euro-American imperialism and are funded to undermine social movements via class collaborationist “community” and “family development”. Today the foundations of multi-national corporations, the World Bank and the Euro-American empires invest over $7 billion for NGO’s to undermine comprehensive public development and anti-systemic movements. Progressive NGO’s can only engage in popular struggles to oppose war and resist globalization by rejecting funding from these sources which limit their commitments. All funding from the power structure carries “strings” — limits in struggles, program, tactics and strategy. To think otherwise is self-delusive. To truly become an independent force, progressive NGO’s must go to their roots, and win the allegiance of their people in order to become self-financing and live and work on voluntary donations from the people they purport to service.
This is not an easy time for NGO’s or for the popular movements, but times change, reaction over-steps boundaries. People struggle from necessity. I believe that there is a powerful resistance movement that reaches from the countryside and urban slums of Latin America, Asia and Africa to the streets, cities and anti-globalization movements of Euro-America. We must seize our opportunities and advance and reject the siren calls of defeat, death, destruction and demoralization.