October 31, 2012
Part II | Section II of an investigative report.
Avaaz Investigative Report Series 2012 [Further Reading]: Part I | Section I | Part I | Section II | Part I | Section III | Part II | Section I | Part II | Section II
Avaaz Investigative Report Series 2017 [Further Reading]: Part I | Part II | Part III
Introduction | By Jay Taber at Intercontinental Cry
In his seminal study Science of Coercion, Christopher Simpson observed that communication might be understood as both the conduit for and the actual substance of human culture and consciousness. As Simpson noted, psychological warfare is the application of mass communication to modern social conflict.
In the U.S. Army War College manual on psychological warfare, the stated objective is to destroy the will and ability of the enemy to fight by depriving them of the support of allies and neutrals. Some of the methods used in the manual are sowing dissension, distrust, fear and hopelessness.
In the decades since these publications were first published, a new form of psywar has emerged in the form of false hope. With unlimited funding and organizational support from foundations like Ford, Rockefeller, Gates and Soros, U.S. Government propaganda now has a vast new army of non-profits that, along with corporate media and academia, serve as both a third wing of mass consciousness and a fifth column for destabilization campaigns worldwide.
As Cory Morningstar captures The Simulacrum in her multi-part series on the non-profit industrial complex, domesticating the populace is a fait accompli, and the only question remaining is what will happen if and when capitalist activism is seen for what it is. By following the money from aristocratic derivatives to embodiments of false hope like Avaaz, MoveOn, and Change, Morningstar steps through the looking glass to expose how NGOs have become a key tool of global dominance using social media as a means of social manipulation.
When the smoke generated by phony progressives clears, all that is left is an industrial wasteland of false hope and real threats. When the betrayals of NGOs like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are known, we can finally begin to exercise our responsibilities. Until then, programs like Democracy Now remain little more than adult versions of Sesame Street for the toy Che brigades.
[The article above titled “Through the Looking Glass” was published by Intercontinental Cry on September 11, 2012. Jay Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, an author, a correspondent to Fourth World Eye, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as the administrative director of Public Good Project.]
The Humanitarian Industrial Complex: The Ivory Towers within the Dark Triad
“It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.” — Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince
Image: U.S. President Barack Obama with Avaaz co-founder and former U.S. Representative Tom Perriello.
Tom Perriello’s ideologies espouse the Machiavellian principle in which “the end justifies the means.” In essence, unethical, morally reprehensible, criminal and contemptuous behaviour is justified in order to, in Perriello’s words, “expand the use of force to advance key values.” Of course, the values Perriello speaks of are American “values.” Perriello’s belief that such noble key “values” are at the foundation of today’s America demonstrates even further delusion.
It is interesting to note the parallels. Scholars often note that Niccolò Machiavelli glorified instrumentality in statebuilding, embodied by his infamous suggestion that the ends justify the means. “Violence may be necessary for the successful transfer of power and introduction of new legal institutions; force may be used to eliminate political rivals, to coerce resistant populations, and to purge previous rulers who will inevitably attempt to regain their power.”
In the 1958 essay, Thoughts on Machiavelli, Leo Strauss proposed that the Machiavellian principles, embraced as a promotion of progress, would lead directly to the modern arms race. “Strauss argued that the unavoidable nature of such arms races, which have existed before modern times and led to the collapse of peaceful civilizations, provides us with both an explanation of what is most truly dangerous in Machiavelli’s innovations, but also the way in which the aims of his apparently immoral innovation can be understood.” [Source] “Machiavelli is the only political thinker whose name has come into common use for designating a kind of politics, which exists and will continue to exist independently of his influence, a politics guided exclusively by considerations of expediency, which uses all means, fair or foul, iron or poison, for achieving its ends – its end being the aggrandizement of one’s country or fatherland – but also using the fatherland in the service of the self-aggrandizement of the politician or statesman or one’s party.” [Strauss, 1958, p. 297]
Antonio Gramsci drew great inspiration from Machiavelli’s writings on ethics, morals, and how they relate to the State and revolution in his writings on “Passive Revolution.” It was the belief of Gramsci that society can be manipulated by controlling popular notions of morality. [Gramsci (1891 – 1937), renowned for his ideology of cultural hegemony as the means of upholding the state in a capitalist society must be considered one of the most critical thinkers and influential intellectuals of the 20th century.]
In psychology, Machiavellianism denotes a personality type.
In cognitive science and evolutionary psychology, Machiavellian intelligence (known also as politicalintelligence or social intelligence) is the capacity of an entity to be in a successful political engagement with social groups. The first introduction of this concept to primatology came from Frans de Waal’s 1982 book “Chimpanzee Politics,” which described social manoeuvring while explicitly quoting Machiavelli. Machiavellian intelligence is also known as Machiavellianism.
“Machiavellianism is the art of manipulation in which others are socially manipulated in a way that the user benefits from it, whether it is to the detriment of the people being used. The user would feel little to no remorse or empathy when their actions harm others.” — Wikipedia
Further, “the ‘Dark Triad’ is a group of three personality traits: narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy, all of which are interpersonally aversive – three theoretically distinct but empirically overlapping personality constructs….That is, individuals who possess characteristics of any of the personality disorders that make up the Dark Triad are likely to be selfish, possess a grandiose sense of importance, and feel an increased sense of entitlement. Further, these individuals are often pre-occupied with dominance and power and will use aggressive tactics such as manipulation and exploitation to get whatever it is that they feel that they deserve.
“Individuals who possess characteristics of the Dark Triad do not make for good friends. Not only are they not concerned with others, they are constantly focused on their own wants and needs and will do whatever they feel is necessary to achieve their goals, regardless of the consequences to others. This blatant disregard for others may lead individuals with these aversive personalities to behave anti-socially and to commit crimes. While there has been much research done to support the link between psychopathy and criminal behavior, there is currently no research supporting a direct link between individuals with Machiavellian and narcissistic personalities and criminal behavior. It is known that individuals with these personality characteristics are often found in offender populations, but further research must be done to learn more about the dark triad and criminal offending.” [Source: A 2011 European Association of Psychology and Law – Student Society Publication, Wikipedia]
Roman Empire Emblem 753 BC – 476 AD [Senatus Populusque Romanus -“The Senate and People of Rome”]
PSYOPS or Psychological Operations: “Planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals. The purpose of psychological operations is to induce or reinforce foreign attitudes and behavior favorable to the originator’s objectives. Also called PSYOP. See also consolidation psychological operations; overt peacetime psychological operations programs; perception management.” (Source: U.S. Department of Defense)
“Interestingly enough, the thirty-eight large and medium sized American facilities spread around the globe in 2005 – mostly air and naval bases for our bombers and fleets – almost exactly equals Britain’s thirty-six naval bases and army garrisons at its imperial zenith in 1898. The Roman Empire at its height in 117 AD required thirty-seven major bases to police its realm from Britannia to Egypt, from Hispania to Armenia. Perhaps the optimum number of major citadels and fortresses for an imperialist aspiring to dominate the world is somewhere between thirty-five and forty. America is well-situated to take over – everything” (The Green Zone, p. 36).
As stated in the propaganda model theory, the leaders of modern, corporate-dominated societies employ indoctrination as a means of social control. Working in unity, the marketing, advertising, and public relations industries utilize mass communications to protect and advance the interests of elites. The theory elaborates on how powerful economists and lobbyists have often used school systems and centralised electronic communications to influence public opinion. (Note that many liberals and some academic media analysts of the left despised the “propaganda model.”) It is critical to acknowledge that the non-profit industrial complex is a vital tool of the public relations industries, as well as 21st century lobbyists – experts in centralised electronic communications to influence public opinion.
With the Harvard Journalism reports (discussed further on in this report) and the role of NGOs in opening up/attempting to pry open the doors to foreign invasion in sovereign states such as Libya, Syria, Uganda and so forth, Herman’s and Chomsky’s propaganda model theory, criticized by the liberal left, has been both prophetic and vindicated.
In the race for global domination of the Earth’s final remaining resources, our shared planet is being decimated by cabals of psychopaths in collaboration with the corporate media complex and the non-profit industrial complex. In perfect synchronicity, they promote extreme fabrications of reality that must be considered nothing less than a brilliantly executed global psyops.
Avaaz Co-founder: Tom Pravda
- Avaaz International: Co-founder
- Avaaz International: Secretary 2009
- Avaaz International: Treasurer 2010
- European Union: Advisor
- Global Witness: Intern
- Integrity: Senior Advisor
- International Center for Transitional Justice: Consultant
- Oxford Analytica: Consultant
- Res Publica: Co-founder
- UK Diplomatic Service: Member
- UK Foreign Office: Advisor
- United Nations Development Program: Consultant
- U.S. State Department: Advisor
- World Development Movement: Intern
- Balliol College, Oxford
Resides in United Kingdom
Tom Pravda is a British diplomat who co-founded both Res Publica and Avaaz. He has been listed as both secretary and treasurer to Avaaz. Pravda also sits on the advisory board of Res Publica. Pravda has worked for the United Nations in New York and is an advisor to the U.S. State Department, the UK Foreign Office and the European Union. Pravda has been a member of the UK Diplomatic Service since 2003 where he has worked on EU trade and development policy and relations with the Middle East and Africa.
Pravda is senior advisor to “Integrity.” [“While working in Afghanistan, directors Andrew Cleary and Anthony Ellis identified a need to provide organisations working in conflict, post conflict and fragile environments with insightful research and ethically driven localised consultancy services. Based on these principles they founded Integrity.”]
“Integrity” states Pravda’s qualifications as: “Tom is a diplomat and public entrepreneur, specialising in peace and security issues. At Integrity he is leading on public sector reform and good governance projects and is currently conducting independent research on global peacekeeping capacities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and West Africa. Tom is a specialist in the Great Lakes Region [not the North American ones], particularly the DRC, where he advised the U.S. State Department, the UK Foreign Office and the European Union on diplomatic, security and development strategies and programming for the region. Alongside his diplomatic career, he has set up and run successful NGOs in Africa and the U.S., most recently co-founding the world’s leading online advocacy community, Avaaz.org. He has consulted extensively on political, security, research and advocacy issues for a range of clients, including the UNDP, the International Center for Transitional Justice and Oxford Analytica.”
Oxford Analytica is “a global analysis and advisory firm which draws on a worldwide network of experts to advise its clients on their strategy and performance.” They provide an analysis services that gives “corporate and government executives a proven edge in assessing the impact of global events and turning risks into opportunities.”
Pravda has also interned for Global Witness and the World Development Movement. Global Witness receives immense funding from governments including Canada and the UK. In 2005, Global Witness also received funding from the NED for their work to “advocate for good governance of natural resource management in Liberia.”
It is unclear what NGOs Pravda has set up successfully and run in Africa, but one can safely assume 1) they were financed in whole or in part by Soros and 2) they have served and protected foreign interests since their inception.
Pravda received his degree in philosophy, politics and economics from Balliol College.
Avaaz Co-founder: David Madden
- Avaaz International: Co-founder
- GetUp!: Co-founder
- MoveOn.org: Co-founder
- TwitterPeek: Creator
- United Nations Development Program: Consultant
- World Bank: Consultant
- Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government
- University of New South Wales
Resides in New York City
David Madden, is the co-founder of the Australian NGO, GetUp, co-founder of its U.S. counterpart MoveOn.org, as well as co-founder of Avaaz.
Madden has consulted for the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program. As well, Madden has worked for the World Bank in Timor Leste, and for the United Nations in Indonesia. Prior to this, Madden served as an officer in the Australian Army.
Madden began his career with the Inspire foundation which created ReachOut.com. Reach-out.com is an organization that essentially targets the country’s most vulnerable and broken youth. ReachOut reaches out to those youth in deep pain and turmoil, such as those suffering from self-mutilation, depression, suicide, bullying and other societal problems.
Corporate Pedophilia: In the 21st century, children who have been left emotionally starved as a consequence of lack of nurturing, along with emotionally broken youth, are relentlessly targeted by corporations. This escalating, burgeoning crisis is a direct result of a toxic society. Therefore, one should not be surprised that the corporations who sponsor and enable this site to exist are none other than Bristol-Myers Squibb (through their foundation, which simply serves as a front group), “the philanthropic arm” of the Macquarie Group, the News Corporation and the American Australian Association. In other words, let us help you in your time of need while we feed you to the wolves.
Like many of his cohorts, Madden was educated at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He also attended the University of New South Wales, where he was President of the Student Guild. He is the co-author of Imagining Australia: Ideas for our Future, which he authored in 2004.
The Harvardite also understands the power of social media. Madden is credited with the creation of TwitterPeek, the world’s first and only mobile Twitter device for under $100.
In our culture’s growing addiction to instant gratification, society has become insatiable. Clicktivism serves as another form of instant gratification. “TwitterPeek” and applications like it will serve to enhance the clicktivism fetish. Remember kids, don’t think … just click.
Avaaz Co-founder: Eli Pariser
- AccessNow.org: Founding Board Member
- Al Gore: Sponsored Speech Writing
- Author: New York Times Bestselling Book, The Filter Bubble
- Avaaz International: Chairman of the Board 2006, 2010
- Avaaz International: Co-founder
- Campaign for America’s Future: Board Member
- John Kerry: Fundraising for Kerry’s Presidential Campaign
- MoveOn.org PAC: Executive Director
- MoveOn.org PAC: President
- MoveOn.org: Chairman
- MoveOn.org: Director of Foreign Policy Campaigns
- New Organizing Institute: Co-founder
- Res Publica: Advisory Board
- Roosevelt Institute: Senior Fellow
- SumOfUs: U.S. Advisory Board Member
Education: Bard College at Simon’s Rock
Resides in New York
Eli Pariser is co-founder of Avaaz as well as president/chairman of MoveOn.org’s board. Prior to position of chair, Pariser served as the Executive Director of MoveOn.org. Pariser has worked directly with former Vice President Al Gore on drafting MoveOn-sponsored speeches and assisted in fundraising for John Kerry’s presidential campaign. In December 2003 Pariser worked with Jonathan Soros, son of George Soros, on a MoveOn.org campaign. On December 9, 2004, one month after Kerry’s defeat, Pariser declared that MoveOn had effectively taken control of the Democratic Party.
In an e-mail distributed to MoveOn.org members on November 22, 2005, Pariser announced that his organization had created a spinoff entity called the New Organizing Institute, “a unique grassroots program that trains young, technology-enabled political organizers to work for progressive campaigns and organizations.”
“The Internet has made huge changes in politics…. Now, our [MoveOn’s] former Organizing Director Zack Exley is working on cultivating the next generation of ‘online organizers’ at the New Organizing Institute. The first step: find 50 talented up-and-coming organizers, put them through an all-expenses-paid training week, and place them on 2006 campaigns where they can really make a difference.”
A fellow of the Soros-funded New Organizing Institute, he served as Obama’s ghostwriter for social media applications such as Twitter.
Pariser is a founding board member of AccessNow.org, which also helped launch the New Organizing Institute, “which has trained thousands of organizers to bring people together online.”
AccessNow.org is endorsed and supported by Avaaz, MoveOn.org, Witness.org, Blue State Digital and GetUp!
The AccessNow International Advisory Board includes Andrew MacLaughlin, Vice President of Tumblr, Chris Hughes, Co-founder of Facebook and Director of Online Organizing for Obama’s Presidential Campaign, Joe Rospars, New Media Director for Obama’s 2008 Presidential Campaign and Founding Partner of Blue State Digital, Scott Heiferman, CEO and co-founder of Meetup and many other prominent technologically savvy “leaders” in the world of social marketing.
On the AccessNow Twitter account, one can view an image of the Tehran protest in the background where a Western-backed coupd’état failed in 2009.
Those in the Soros network, with the help of seemingly naïve andbourgeois technological sycophants, are building an army of technological wizards to seize and condition the minds of the global population via internet technology (primarily via cell phones), SMS applications and social media.
In addition to overseeing MoveOn.org, Pariser is the board chairman of Avaaz.org. Pariser also serves on the advisory board of Res Publica and is a board member of the Campaign for America’s Future. In 2008, Pariser transitioned the Executive Director role at MoveOn.org to Justin Ruben and became President of MoveOn’s board.
Pariser, author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Filter Bubble,undoubtedly understandsexactlywhy the corporate world has embraced him and has no qualms about funding his many ventures: Pariser understands the psychology of, and thus the power behind, personalization on the internet. He recognizes that internet via personalization poses a very real danger that people will not get exposed to viewpoints that differ from their own. Rather, they will be fed only what is familiar and, more importantly, what is comfortable, thus closing citizens off to new ideas, subjects and information that could challenge their belief systems. The “filter,” which one assumes gives us a much greater view of the wider world, is in reality, more and more effectively succeeding in screening the wider world from us. It is not difficult to understand how valuable an individual with such knowledge and perception is to the global oligarchy. The Filter Bubble reviews:
“On the Web, we often see what we like, and like what we see. Whether we know it or not, the Internet creates personalized e-comfort zones for each one of us… And what’s wrong with that? Plenty, according to Eli Pariser, the author of ‘The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding From You.’ Personalization on the Web, he says, is becoming so pervasive that we may not even know what we’re missing: the views and voices that challenge our own thinking.” — Natasha Singer, The New York Times
“Eli Pariser is no enemy of the Internet. The 30-year-old online organizer is the former executive director and now board president of the online liberal political group MoveOn.org. But while Pariser understands the influence of the Internet, he also knows the power of online search engines and social networks to control exactly how we get information — for good and for ill.” — Bryan Walsh, TIME
Pariser has been granted celebrity status by corporate media such as Good Morning America, World News Tonight and a multitude of major cable news channels. His op-eds have appeared in the Washington Post and other corporate media. Pariser lectures can be found on the C-span library as well as TED. Lavishing celebrity status on progressive voices has been an integral tool for those who wish, and most always succeed, to co-opt those who have a progressive voice or appear to/have the capacity to gain influence.
If you can’t beat’em – buy’em.
Keepyour friendscloseandyour enemies closer.
In essence, Pariser is a key asset of the elites; that of a valuable commodity.
The simple fact that corporate media bends over backwards to promote these individuals and their organizations should alone raise red flags and set off alarm bells.
The chosen ones by Rockefeller, Soros, the Clintons and others perhaps do naïvely believe that they are capable of harnessing the power of the Internet to democratize society, yet in reality, they are harnessing the power of the internet for those who wish to project their own flawed ideologies on global society. The corporate masters are using these minds to manipulate, shape and mould the public’s psyche and perceptions in order to homogenize world views, while crushing those who seek to protect their own autonomy – and resources.
Pariser has recently aligned himself with SumOfUs as a U.S. Advisory Board member and is currently working on Upworthy, a new startup focused on making trending issues go viral online.
Avaaz Co-founder: Jeremy Heimans
“From Sachs to Kristof to Invisible Children to TED, the fastest growth industry in the U.S. is the White Savior Industrial Complex.” — Teju Cole
- AllOut.org: Co-founder
- Avaaz International: Co-founder
- Davos: Award Recipient
- Ford Foundation: Award Recipient: Ford Foundation Visionary
- GetUp!: Co-founder
- McKinsey and Company: Consultant
- MoveOn.org: Co-founder
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): Consultant
- Purpose: CEO
- Purpose: Co-founder
- SumOfUs: Australian Advisory Board
- United Nations: Consultant
- World e-Government Forum: Award Recipient
- Harvard University
- University of Sydney
Resides in New York
Jeremy Heimans is co-founder of both Avaaz and GetUp! GetUp, founded in 2005, is an internationally recognized social and political online “movement” that purports to have more members than all of Australia’s political parties combined. Heimans is also co-founder and CEO of Purpose: “a profit-with-purpose business that builds movements to help solve major global problems.” On his TEDxTeen talk, Jeremy Heimans tells us to “aim higher than the president.” Well, jesus h. christ, that certainly wouldn’t be too difficult.
Jeremy Heimans has consulted for the United Nations, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the International Labour Organization(ILO), a specialized agency of the United Nations.
“The white savior supports brutal policies in the morning, founds charities in the afternoon, and receives awards in the evening.” — Teju Cole
In 2011, Heimans received the Ford Foundation’s 75th anniversary Visionaries Award. The award, which came with $100,000, declared Heimans “a next generation leader.” Heimans’s other awards include recognition from the World Economic Forum at Davos who named Heimans a Young Global Leader. Honours also came from the World e-Government Forum who named Heimans and Purpose co-founder David Madden (co-founder of GetUp!, MoveOn.org and Avaaz) among the “Top 10 People Who Are Changing the World of the Internet and Politics.” Heimans’s “contributions” have been given glowing coverage in publications such as The New York Times and The Economist. Heimans has worked for the international strategic consulting firm McKinsey & Company (“trusted advisor and counselor to many of the world’s most influential businesses and institutions”), a research scholar at Oxford University and a consultant for the UN, OECD and ILO (UN).
Heimans is co-founder of AllOut.org, as well as a member of the SumOfUs Australian Advisory Board. The only other member on this Australian advisory board is Heimans’s cohort, Brett Solomon, who is Executive Director of AccessNow.org and former Executive Director of GetUp.org.au.
On June 26, 2011, The Guardian published commentary on the “successful” “Arab Spring”:
“This is what democracy activists in the Middle East have been saying about the Arab spring. The real change for Egyptians was not the technology of Facebook – it was the moment when one by one, people realised they were not alone. As the We Are All Khaled Said Facebook page accumulated thousands and thousands of people, young Egyptians for the first time realised that together, they had the numbers. Collectively, they had power.
Many observers have been struck by the absence of visible leaders in the Arab spring uprisings. But this is precisely what online organising makes common: movements based on shared values, not charismatic leadership. The new model for social movements is not leaderless, but it is focused on building individuals’ sense of their own agency – not the leader’s power.
New movements also bring together the global and the hyper-local. Avaaz.org is helping to create a sense of global identity for individuals, where their local actions are dots on a larger canvas. Climate change campaigners 350.org have staged simultaneous days of action in local neighbourhoods throughout the world, engaging hundreds of thousands of people.”
Two red flags jump out from this article: 1) The Arab spring was not spontaneous, and 2) the fact that the Guardian promotes Rockefeller’s (and Clinton’s partner) 350.org and Avaaz as prime examples of successful movements. This would be considered an excellent example of an NGO-media partnership as outlined by Harvard. [To be discussed further in this investigative report.]
Above photograph by Dan Calliaster: Ricken Patel: “A recent portrait commission for The Guardian Newspaper. Ricken Patel is co-founder and executive director of Avaaz.org, the largest global political web movement in history with 5.5 million subscribers in all 193 countries.” (Bold emphasis added)
Just prior to this article, on June 10, 2011 in a separate Guardian interview, Heimans states:
“…’the revolution doesn’t happen when people adopt new tools, it happens when they adopt new behaviors’ is a big part of what we do at Purpose. Twenty-first century activism is all about evolving models of social interaction, with the increased ease of peer-to-peer communications, and a many-to-many model that coexists and sometimes challenges a one-to-many broadcast model. Right now we’re only glimpsing the full potential of these new ways to tap the collective power of citizens and consumers.”
Organizations such as Purpose, 350.org/1Sky, Avaaz, in a sense, play both sides of the fence. While the persona, via branding, that they exude is one of youthful grassroots, in reality, they are drinking champagne and jet-setting with the Imperialist dinosaurs keeping us caged within the twentieth-century.
TECH PRESIDENT website, May 24, 2010:
“Two of the minds behind the global advocacy platform Avaaz.org and Australia’s social action network GetUp! are taking what they learned in the non-profit online organizing space and applying it to the world of consumerism.
“[Purpose] creates 21st century movements. We look for ways that movements can help solve major global problems. To do this, we work with some of the most exciting players in the new green and social economy to help them get to scale faster and some of the world’s biggest brands to mobilize their consumers for significant social impact….
“Purpose was born out of some of the most successful experiments in mass digital participation. Our principals are co-founders of Avaaz, the world’s largest online political movement with more than nine million members operating in 14 languages, and the creators of Australia’s GetUp!, an internationally recognized social movement phenomenon with more members than all the country’s political parties combined…. Our movements are deploying huge numbers of people, online and on the ground, to influence the political process. At the same time, we are working to create the consumer demand and behavioral shifts required to bring about the kind of change that politics alone cannot.”
Purpose was founded in 2009. Both GetUp and Purpose are the creations, and ultimately the million dollar project, of Avaaz co-founders Heimans and Madden. All three of these organizations work in similar fashion to their sister organizations – MoveOn and Avaaz – by activating their members in what they term “mass digital participation.”
On the “Purpose” website, more irrelevant, brand-bolstering “highlights” along with promotion of a delusional “green” economy can be found on the media page. “Free Livestrong bracelet for your Twitter avatar” and “Avaaz’s Co-Founders Seek a Purpose-Driven Consumer Life” represent just two revealing examples of many.
What one may not notice is that Purpose is not listed as a non-profit – it is privately held.
On June 13, 2011, an interview published by The Design Observer Group, titled “How to Start a Movement in the 21st-Century,” highlighted Heimans’s latest venture, Purpose. Purpose was described as “a (for profit) New York-based consultancy on movement formation and development that has a not-for-profit arm that launches its own campaigns.”
Into the interview, when the journalist stated it actually sounded “a bit like a marketing, PR, or advertising firm,” Heimans was forthright in his answer: “The tools of marketing and design are critical to our work. We have clients who look to us because we’re good at building mass participation.”
After hiring his first employeein June 2009, by June 2011 Heimans’s company had grown to over 40 employees. And make no mistake, Heimans understands exactly what makes an NGO a success. Heimans’s staff are comprised of political organizers, behavioral economists, interaction designers, technologists, and, last but certainly not least, “brand strategists who know how to tell stories, [the] people who understand business.”
The difference between Heimans and the other Avaaz co-founders is the fact that Heimans is upfront in presenting himself, unequivocally, as a businessperson. Unlike his peers, he does not hide behind a false illusion of humanitarianism nor does Heimans pretend he is an environmentalist. Heimans’s company provides services that build “movements” for organizations. When creating his own “movements” under his “Purpose” foundation counterpart, Heimans establishes partnerships. A recent partner is the BBC. Heimans is also working with other NGOs in Rio “to make sure that ordinary Cariocas have a voice in the development that occurs there leading up to the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.”
Whereas a real environmental and social justice activist understands that the Olympics are nothing less than a thinking person’s nightmare, Heimans believes the capitalist illusion that this corporate atrocity can co-exist with social justice. Rather, the Olympics is an ongoing perpetual chain of never-ending resource depletion and exploitation belonging to 20th century (non)thinking, which serves to further corporate profit and dominance, an abomination that must end. Yet, blinded by indoctrination, bright-green “progressives” continue to reject reality and perpetuate the falsehoods: that the Olympics can be made to be “green” and “ethical.”
“Even as tech changes, the need for real human connections and storytelling will be key.” — Jeremy Heimans as featured in the Guardian Activate Summit, June 10, 2011
May 2010: Avaaz’s Co-Founders Seek a Purpose-Driven Consumer Life | Behavioral Economics
Vision: “Purpose is a global initiative that draws on leading technologies, political organizing and behavioral economics to build powerful, tech-savvy movements that can transform culture and influence policy.”
What is behavioural economics? Behavioral economics is the fusion offspring of economics and psychology. In 1979, two psychologists of Princeton and Stanford Universities published “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk.” This was considered a “breakthrough” paper on how people deal with uncertain rewards and risks. It has become one of the most widely cited papers in economics. The authors argued that the ways in which alternatives are framed – not simply their relative value – heavily influence the decisions people make. This influential paper in behavioral economics, with its meticulous equations, suggested that the core assumption of the standard model was in fact backwards: It was found that it is only the mode of presentation (framing) that matters and not the actual value of alternatives, as previously believed. As an example, one may observe this very ideology held by a professor of business administration Nava Ashraf, who has worked extensively with NGOs in Africa and the Philippines. In 2006 she noticed that “farmers and small-business owners were often not doing the things that a development policymaker or economist thinks they should do” and considered this very problematic. While working in Zambia for Population Services International, a nonprofit that seeks to focus private-sector resources on the health problems of developing nations, Ashraf stated “There are ways of manipulating people’s psychological frameworks to get them to buy things. How do you use this knowledge to get them to adopt socially useful products or services? It’s so practical, and very important in development, for anybody who wants to help people reach their goals.”
The Behavioral Economics of Hatred
The Avaaz “Good Versus Evil” campaign for the Rio Summit. Above: A downloadable poster as found on the Avaaz Press Centre published in the Financial Times. Vilification: Note the dark cast/ugly sky behind the leaders Avaaz would wish you to believe are “evil”, versus the light and sun shining through over the Imperialist obstructionist “leaders” that Avaaz is attempting to convince you are “good”. Keith Harman Snow (war correspondent, photographer and independent investigator, and a four time Project Censored award winner) discusses the art of so called “humanitarianism” via the industrial non-profit complex with precision and candor in his many lectures.
Keith Harmon Snow Discussing Western NGOs and Africa: (running time: 2:54)
Within George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, the purpose of the Two Minutes Hate is to “satisfy the citizens’ subdued feelings of angst and hatred from leading such a wretched, controlled existence. By re-directing these subconscious feelings away from the Oceanian government and toward external enemies (which likely do not even exist), the Party minimizes subversive thought and behavior.” [Source: Wikipedia] Orwell did not invent the term “two minutes hate” however; it was already in use/utilized in the First World War by British writers to satirize German propaganda.
In a somewhat similar fashion, an economist’s definition of hatred is the willingness to pay a price to inflict harm on others, according to Edward Glaeser, Princeton-educated economist and professor at Harvard.
In an article published in Harvard Magazine titled “The Marketplace of Perceptions,” author Craig Lambert writes:
“The psychological literature, [Edward Glaeser] found, defines hatred as an emotional response we have to threats to our survival or reproduction. ‘It’s related to the belief that the object of hatred has been guilty of atrocities in the past and will be guilty of them in the future,’ he says. ‘Economists have nothing to tell psychologists about why individuals hate. But group-level hatred has its own logic that always involves stories about atrocities. These stories are frequently false. As [Nazi propagandist Joseph] Goebbels said, hatred requires repetition, not truth, to be effective.’
‘You have to investigate the supply of hatred,’ Glaeser continues. ‘Who has the incentive and the ability to induce group hatred? This pushes us toward the crux of the model: politicians or anyone else will supply hatred when hatred is a complement to their policies.'”
One can safely state that the behaviour of economics of hatred has been a key component in the psychology behind the recent Avaaz campaigns attacking the sovereign states of Libya, Bolivia and Syria.
The two minutes hate has risen again.
“When we have reached the point of utilizing placards with childlike fantasies to convey a message between purported forces of ‘good and evil,’ then we will turn to those same fantasies, such as ending fuel subsidies, as being the solutions to the much deeper problems of environmental and ecological collapse from capitalism.”— Forrest Palmer
“Purpose has built global movements to fight cancer (with LIVESTRONG) and eliminate nuclear weapons in 20 years (with Global Zero, a new initiative led by more than 200 world leaders and endorsed by President Obama). Purpose also works with some of the world’s biggest companies to mobilize their consumers for social impact, and is currently incubating new consumer movements to help the green economy achieve scale, including a platform to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.”
The fact is, “free Livestrong bracelets for your twitter avatar” are never going to solve cancer. Further, there are already cures for cancer that are being suppressed in order to protect corporate interests and unfathomable corporate profits, which are only protected if people continue to be sick. Of course there is no information regarding the atrocious harassment by the FDA of Dr. Burzynski nor is there any campaign to focus attention on his plight – and cure. And the fact that President Barack Obama, President Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister David Cameron, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have endorsed Global Zero (a stated campaign to eliminate nuclear weapons in 20 years) guarantees that GlobalZero is nothing more than an effort to pacify the public today by pretending to do something in the far away future that no one has any intention of doing.
The Purpose of Purpose
The fact that Purpose works with the world’s biggest corporations “to mobilize their consumers for social impact, and is currently incubating new consumer movements to help the green economy achieve scale” is more than just a little revealing and more than just a little terrifying.
When Heimans was asked how he was going to use the $100,000 he received from the Ford Foundation, he stated:
“I’d like to use the funds to promote the idea of movement entrepreneurship and to incubate a couple more movements. We’ve been talking in a broader way about the future of consumer activism, of organizing people not as citizens but as consumers.
“We think there’s a massive untapped opportunity to organize consumers for social change.”
There you have it, as honest and blunt as it comes: “….organizing people not as citizens but as consumers.”
And if you’re not angry that citizens are considered first and foremost as consumers, to be herded like a flock of sheep in order to serve corporate interests, maybe you don’t deserve any better.
The Managing Director of Partnerships for “Purpose” is Marilia Bezerra. From 2006 to 2011 Bezerra held an integral position within the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) executive leadership. As Clinton Global Initiative director of commitments, Bezerra led the redesign of member engagement and commitments services into a year-round operation. From 2007 to 2008, Bazerra held the position of sponsorship manager of the Clinton Global Initiative where she directly managed five major sponsorship accounts, including Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Procter & Gamble, valued at over $2 million dollars. From 2006 to 2008, Bazerra held the position of Commitment Development Senior Manager for the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2009, Bezerra was Deputy Director of Commitments for the Clinton Global Initiative.
Bezerra took a central role in building the Clinton Global Initiative from its start-up. The Clinton Global Initiative was integral to the creation and funding of the Rockefellers’ incubator project 1Sky, now merged with 350.org (which was also integral to the creation of 1Sky). The CGI is a partner to 350.org/1Sky. Bill Clinton is recognized as a notable ally.
In November 2011, VoltaireNet.org reported in the article “Hillary Clinton aide at the helm of Amnesty International USA”: “Suzanne Nossel, former assistant to Richard Holbrooke in his capacity as UN Ambassador and currently Hillary Clinton’s Deputy Assistant for International Organization Affairs, has been selected as the new Executive Director of Amnesty International USA. In the discharge of her duties at the State Department, she diligently exploited human rights to benefit imperial ambitions. Ms. Nossel had previously worked for Human Rights Watch, as well as for Bertelsmann Media Worldwide and the Wall Street Journal as Vice President of Strategy and Operations.”
Up next: Part Two, Section Three
Avaaz Investigative Report Series [Links]|Further Reading:
Part I | Section I | Part I | Section II | Part I | Section III | Part II | Section I | Part II | Section II
Interesting critique. I need some time to formulate a response, but I think this kind of investigative writing and hard question asking is helpful.
This quote from Jeremy Heimans is originally from Clay Shirky: “the revolution doesn’t happen when people adopt new tools, it happens when they adopt new behaviors.”
p.s. I am the photographer/rights-holder of the David Madden photo. I agree that your use of it falls under fair use, but it is good manners to attribute your sources.
p.p.s. I am an Avaaz alum and currently at Purpose, but you could have found that out via Google.