Published by Political Context March 28, 2012
Feb 1, 2012: SumOfUs posts a popular image used by media outlets today to reflect the worker conditions at Chinese “sweatshops.” “Ethical capitalism” is a fantasy embraced and fetishized by the liberal/professional left.
New Delusion for 2012: SumOfUs
…Like all good Imperialists, the Philanthropoids set themselves the task of creating and training an international cadre that believed that Capitalism, and by extension the hegemony of the United States, was in their own self-interest…. In the United States, as we have seen, corporate-endowed foundations spawned the culture of NGOs…. — Arundhati Roy, Capitalism: A Ghost Story
New to the growing spiderweb of the interconnected non-profit industrial complex is SumOfUs. Behind this web you will find the most notorious players within the so-called movement – an array of bright green “climate wealth” opportunists, believers of the illusory “green” economy.
“SumOfUs is a global movement of consumers, investors, and workers all around the world, standing together to hold corporations accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable and just path for our global economy. It’s not going to be fast or easy. But if enough of us come together, we can make a real difference.”
On the twitter account (first “tweet” November 14, 2011), SumOfUs goes one step further, stating:
“We are a movement of consumers, workers and shareholders speaking with one voice to counterbalance the growing power of large corporations.”
“We’ve witnessed again and again what happens when powerful corporations get their way: Environmental and health catastrophes like Fukushima and the BP oil disaster; A global financial crisis that destroys entire economies; Rising food prices and starving children; Families from Kalamazoo to Timbuktu losing their houses and land; Poisons pouring into our air and water. You name it, corporations are behind it. But rather than being held accountable – their CEOs are often walking away with bonuses. And these injustices are largely left to continue unabated. But the world doesn’t have to be this way. And here’s the secret: We own the corporations that are causing all these problems. They rely on us to buy their products. They count on us to buy their stock. They need us to work for them. They need us to continue to elect governments that let them get away with murder. We are SumOfUs, and we’re not going to take it anymore.”
So rather than campaign on citizens divesting, that the rights for corporations be abolished, that private companies become nationalized, that citizens work together to form their own co-operatives, and that society must unite in one goal of starving the corporate machine, SumOfUs believes we further our power as “consumers” by feeding the very system that is destroying us.
All while exclaiming “We’re not going to take it anymore!” SumOfUs would have us believe that “we” – collectively, as “consumers” continuing to purchase the corporations’ products, continuing to purchase their stock, continuing, indefinitely, to work for the corporations destroying us, continuing to re-elect politicians (all controlled by a ruling hierarchy) – that we can, in fact, make the corporations “do the right thing.” This is not only a false premise, it is an assertion of complete grandiose delusion. Further, we have been hearing “we’re not going to take it anymore” from the environmental “movement” for over three decades. In this time, emissions have increased over 40% while we stand on the precipice of irreversible, cataclysmic, accelerating environmental collapse of epic proportions.
SumOfUs states it is “a new world-wide movement for a better global economy” that stands for: Fair treatment of workers and the right of every human being to make a living, safely and ethically, for themselves and their family; The right of ordinary consumers to products that are produced and marketed ethically, sustainably and transparently; and “Business models that put people and the planet first instead of being driven by shortsighted greed.” They then tell the “consumer”: “Yeah, take that deep breath, close your eyes and imagine what kind of a world that could be – and then crash back to this one.”
What SumOfUs doesn’t tell you and never will tell you, is that 1) this vision is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to achieve under the global industrialized capitalist economic system, and 2) our current economic system is absolutely dependent upon the exploitation of both people and planet to simply continue its existence. SumOfUs wishes to convince you that this suicidal economic system can be reformed. That, like Obama, corporations can be made “to do the right thing” if only we ask nicely. Yet, let’s be clear and cast all denial aside – one cannot reform an abomination.
SumOfUs, along with all the rest in the non-profit industrial complex, is banking on your hopeful ignorance, hoping you will continue to swallow their lies and join them in the game of delusion where fantasy reigns.
“Capitalism is going through a crisis whose gravity has not revealed itself completely yet. Marx said, ‘What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers.’ Capitalism is in crisis. Trickledown failed…. Capitalism’s real ‘grave-diggers’ may end up being its own delusional Cardinals, who have turned ideology into faith. Despite their strategic brilliance, they seem to have trouble grasping a simple fact: Capitalism is destroying the planet. The two old tricks that dug it out of past crises—War and Shopping—simply will not work.” — Arundhati Roy, Capitalism: A Ghost Story
The first campaign for SumOfUs sounds suspiciously familiar.
November 29, 2011, “SumOfUs: Petition urges Google to quit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce” Excerpt: “[SumOfUs] correctly point out that in 2009 Apple quit the Chamber over environmental concerns, while Nike quit the board of the Chamber shortly after, and Yahoo recently quit over internet censorship legislation.”
The “U.S. Chamber Doesn’t Speak For Me” (http://chamber.350.org/) was spawned from 350.org’s attempt to capitalize on and recruit business. The poster available for 350.org business partners states:
“Our mission is to inspire the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis – to create a new sense of urgency and of possibility for our planet. Our focus is on the number 350 – as in parts per million CO2. If we can’t get below that, scientists say, the damage we’re already seeing from global warming will continue and accelerate. But 350 is more than a number – it’s a symbol of where we need to head as a planet.”
“… Make a product with a 350 logo and educate people on the science of 350 – how Camelback did it.”
Yet, the “science” of 350 ppm put forward by 350.org is made irrelevant. That 350.org/1sky/Chamber350 refuses to acknowledge that infinite growth, the integral pivotal component of the global industrialized capitalist economic system is not compatible in any way with reversing atmospheric concentration of CO2 is somewhat beyond belief. And yet, we are expected to embrace such illusion. Common sense dictates that industrialized production, most instrumental to the global capitalist economic system, can only further destroy our shared environment. The above Camelback “success,” which 350.org/1sky/Chamber350 highlights as one such “solution” to climate change, clearly demonstrates the outright denial of the very root causes of our multiple escalating crisis by such liberal left “leaders.”
What 350.org/1Sky or the new SumOfUs has never, nor will ever, state is the truth – that 350 ppm (and definitely the pre-industrialized levels of 280 ppm called for by the People’s Agreement and the State of Bolivia) can never and will never be achieved under the global industrialized capitalist system. Further, ethics and the global industrialised capitalist system – whereby violence is inherently built into the system – by way of decimation to the planet and exploitation of those most vulnerable, can never, and will never, co-exist. To believe so is to believe in fairy tales.
The fact is, aside from good publicity for these corporate monoliths, quitting the Chamber of Commerce “over environmental concerns,” in real life, means absolutely nothing. After Apple quit the Chamber of Commerce (considered by 350.org a great victory), the company has continued to break their own records in profits. (January 24, 2012: “Apple profit doubles, thanks largely to 37 million iPhone sales in three months. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company flew past all profit expectations as it reported net income of $13.1-billion (U.S) on revenue of $46.3-billion in its first quarter ended Dec. 31.”) Africa continues to be raped and pillaged for Coltan and other vital components of such technology, which has left approximately up to or more than right million Africans dead. (Top censored story of 2003: American Companies Exploit the Congo; top censored story of 2007: High-Tech Genocide in Congo.)
And while millions continue to anguish over tragic atrocities such as the Holocaust, the Congolese genocide continues unabated. Organizations such as SumOfUs don’t touch upon such uncomfortable truths, especially when the victims are non-white. In the world of RINGOs , the continuous and relentless plunder of liberating nations by Imperialist states is simply par for the course. Certainly not a reason to stop consuming items we have lived without for approximately 100,000 years.
The questions SumOfUs will never put forward is this: Would you rather consume beyond your most basic needs, or would you rather live? Would you rather consume beyond your most basic needs, or would you rather your children have a future? Which do you value more – your iPhone or the life of an African? Which do you value more – your iPad or the life of an exploited Chinese worker, whose distress is so great they prefer death over life?
SumOfUs asks “followers” (“consumers”) to demand Joe Trader pays 1 cent per pound more to the farmers who toil in the fields to produce our food, while SumOfUs “followers” purchase $700.00 iPhones. SumOfUs represents a clear division – those who benefit (be it short-term or long-term) by the capitalist system and those who are on the receiving end of the capitalist system: the exploited who reap the fall-out. It is understood, and even embraced as natural, that those who may be so lucky to receive a 1 cent pay increase, thanks to the goodwill on behalf of the white-saviour complex, will never have the means to shop at Joe Traders, let alone purchase an iPhone. Perhaps SumOfUs will have the exploited send SumOfUs members thank you cards at Christmas time, just like World Vision. After all, those who spend their lifetime simply trying to provide the next meal to their family are in no position to decline a 1 cent per hour/per pound pay increase.
The SumOfUs organization/campaign is more than insulting. If it is not bad enough for citizens to be referred to as a “movement of consumers and workers” (why not just refer to the majority of society as proles?), in an authoritative manner the message conveyed is that “consumers” have an important role within the capitalist system – equivalent to that of an investor or shareholder. The message conveyed is that the industrialized global capitalist economic system is one in which we are, and must remain, a partner.
In short, SumOfUs promotes an ideology that stands in stark contrast to our current reality – the absolute imperative of starving/abandoning the industrialized capitalist system, before it systematically kills us.
Excerpt from the SumOfUs “LOCOG: Partner with a Sponsor the Whole World Can Celebrate” campaign:
“LOCOG has promised to stage the greenest games in Olympic history. They are the first games organizing committee to be certified to a sustainability standard called British Standard 8901. Yet, while LOCOG tells us that the London 2012 Olympics will be the greenest games ever, they have accepted the sponsorship of a company that refuses to clean up the pesticide factory in Bhopal where 400 tons of toxic chemical waste remain near a children’s play area. Dow Chemical expects that its $25 million per year Olympic sponsorship will give it a $1 billion dollar sales boost by 2020. Don’t let Dow profit off the “greenest Olympics ever” while they refuse to take responsibility for the worst industrial disaster in human history. Send a message to the London Organizing Committee that if it is committed to sustainability, they have to drop Dow as a sponsor of the games.” (Emphasis in original)
Newsflash: There is no such thing as a “green” Olympics. There is no such thing as a “sustainable” Olympics. There never will be. The “greenest Olympics ever” is perhaps the greatest attempt to greenwash the public under the guise of sustainability. SumOfUs has no intention of educating citizens on the vast social impacts and environmental consequences of an event like the Olympics; rather SumOfUs asks us to join the “Whole World” in the Olympic celebration.
This campaign must be considered an endorsement of the Olympics themselves as “the greenest ever.” One could even consider SumOfUs as advertisers of a new breed. Consider the language behind the “Apple: Is the new iPad made illegally?” campaign. SumOfUs states:
“If it is anything like Apple’s past products, the new iPad will be a sleek, gorgeous gadget … Apple says it cares about workers and requires its factories to follow the law. Well, we want to give Apple a chance to prove it. As Apple customers and potential customers, we deserve to know whether the new iPad was manufactured illegally and unethically like past Apple products. (Emphasis in original)
SumOfUs states they “want to give Apple a chance to prove” it cares about workers and requires its factories to follow the law, all while acknowledging in the same paragraph that its products have consistently been made illegally and unethically. Of course, the “consumer” isn’t urged to make the simple decision to not purchase a new iPad, instead, he/she is asked to convey a message to Apple: “We deserve to know whether workers making the new iPad were forced to work illegal and dangerous amounts of overtime.” Of course, Apple workers were forced to work illegal and dangerous amounts of overtime. Anyone with a brain understands that this has been and continues to be the case along with a multitude of other human rights abuses. Further, Apple will never share their monetary wealth with those they exploit. For this is the way of the capitalist system. The SumOfUs petition serves as an instrument to eradicate guilt by simply “clicking” and being made to feel one has performed their ethical duty. Further, under the petition, there is a survey collecting data regarding your patronage of Apple products. It would be interesting to know where this data ends up.
SumOfUs allows society to feel good about their role in the capitalist system. SumOfUs allows one to feel vindicated for one’s purchases and participation in corporate patronage. Like a confession or a prayer prior to or after a bad deed, SumOfUs eradicates guilt, makes one feel heroic, and – most importantly – protects the current economic system and thus the current power structures that exist today.
“You know, I’m an iPhone user myself, I’m an Apple consumer. I love their products. I want to be able to buy their products with pride and not feel like I’m complicit in these abuses that are taking place.” — Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, the executive director and president of the consumer advocacy group SumOfUs, speaking to Keith Olbermann, February 14, 2012
Ignoring Reality | Feeding the Denial Machine
In the March 26, 2012 article, Climate scientists: It’s basically too late to stop warming, the author writes: “Here’s what happens next: Natural climate feedbacks will take over and, on top of our prodigious human-caused carbon emissions, send us over an irreversible tipping point. By 2100, the planet will be hotter than it’s been since the time of the dinosaurs, and everyone who lives in red states will pretty much get the apocalypse they’ve been hoping for. The subtropics will expand northward, the bottom half of the U.S. will turn into an inhospitable desert, and everyone who lives there will be drinking recycled pee and struggling to salvage….”
In the March 26, 2012 article, West Antarctic Ice Shelves Tearing Apart at the Seams, the author writes: “A new study examining nearly 40 years of satellite imagery has revealed that the floating ice shelves of a critical portion of West Antarctica are steadily losing their grip on adjacent bay walls, potentially amplifying an already accelerating loss of ice to the sea.”
Flashback to 2003. From the paper The Discovery of Rapid Climate Change: “How fast can our planet’s climate change? Too slowly for humans to notice, according to the firm belief of most scientists through much of the 20th century.” “Today, there is evidence that severe change can take less than a decade. A committee of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has called this reorientation in the thinking of scientists a veritable ‘paradigm shift.’ The new paradigm of abrupt global climate change, the committee reported in 2002, ‘has been well established by research over the last decade, but this new thinking is little known and scarcely appreciated in the wider community of natural and social scientists and policymakers.’ ”
The question must be asked, where the hell do ethical iAnythings fit in a world of total chaos, collapse, death and starvation? We understand the Earth’s resources are finite. So why do we refuse to comprehend, thus ignore, the root cause of our multiple crises, that being the global industrialized capitalist economic system? The non-profit industrial complex protects the interests of their funders – this is a given to be expected. Yet the tragedy is this: today, intelligent citizens are choosing to embrace delusional ideologies that reinforce what they have been conditioned to “want” by the very corporate interests many claim to oppose, instead of choosing to protect their very future and the future of their children by facing our realities dead-on.
SumOfUs fails (purposely) to educate on the fact that corporations are bound by law to increase profits for their shareholders first and foremost. SumOfUs allows “consumers” to continue consuming while eradicating any guilt they may be feeling as the world crumbles beneath our feet. Hey, I signed the petition; I did my part, what more can I do? Truthfully, no sane person can possibly believe that any petition in 2012 can truly change the cataclysmic path we have placed ourselves on. Ten thousand signatures or 10 million, these petitions are meaningless. They are not intended to provoke any meaningful change. Rather their purpose is to influence, sway, and shape and mold public perception. This is understood between the corporate funders (via funding funneled through tax exempt foundations) and the “leaders” at the helm of the global NGO matrix: Avaaz and the Avaaz-affiliated organizations, 350.org/1Sky, and other corporate greens such as Rockefeller-founded WWF.
The Sycophants at the Helm
“… Corporate-endowed foundations administer, trade and channelise their power and place their chessmen on the chessboard, through a system of elite clubs and think-tanks, whose members overlap and move in and out through the revolving doors. Contrary to the various conspiracy theories in circulation, particularly among left-wing groups, there is nothing secret, satanic, or Freemason-like about this arrangement. It is not very different from the way corporations use shell companies and offshore accounts to transfer and administer their money—except that the currency is power, not money.” — Arundhati Roy, Capitalism: A Ghost Story
And of no surprise, this group of elite “leaders” are predominantly white and wealthy. SumOfUs reads like a big tub of dirty laundry, the same names that are continually recycled from one group to another, churned over and over again under a multitude of NGO names that just keep expanding and growing like a cancer. The bulk of foundation money funneled into these entities originates primarily from George Soros foundations, whereas the bulk of foundation money funneled into 350.org/1Sky originates primarily from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation and the William J. Clinton Foundation.
“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.” — TECH PRESIDENT website, May 24, 2010
SumOfUs’s Executive Director and Founder, Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, is a dual Australian-American citizen with online organizing on four continents and at the global level, including at Avaaz.org, GetUp.org.au, MoveOn, AccessNow, 350.org, Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection and others. She was born in Australia, and currently lives in Washington, DC.
MoveOn.org is the founder of Avaaz (along with Res Publica). MoveOn is the US version of the Australian GetUp! AccessNow is affiliated with Avaaz co-founders. 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 savoir-faire “leaders” in the world of social marketing.
SumOfUs is a 501c(4) non-profit incorporated in Washington, DC, with a 501c(3) fiscal sponsorship arrangement through the New Organizing Institute Education Fund (a George Soros entity).
SumOfUs’s Treasurer, Tate Hausman, is the director of management at MoveOn.org. Previously, he has directed a number of other national political operations such as Vote Today Ohio, a voter mobilization effort that helped swing Ohio to Barack Obama. In tandem with working on congressional campaigns, Hausman has consulted for high-impact organizations like CREDO Mobile/Working Assets and many non-profit organizations.
SumOfUs’s Secretary, Keith Goodman, founded the Repower at Home program at Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection, and developed and managed the acclaimed online Neighbor-to-Neighbor program for the 2008 Obama campaign.
The U.S. Advisory Board includes bright greens such as Bill McKibben, co-founder of Rockefeller’s 350.org and Eli Pariser, co-founder and president of the board at MoveOn.org.
The U.S. Advisory Board also includes Betsy Taylor, president of Breakthrough Strategies and Solutions. Taylor is an adviser to several donors and foundations and is on the advisory board of 350.org. Taylor was co-founder and board president of 1Sky, an incubator project of the Rockefellers, partnered and funded by in part by the Clinton Foundation. Taylor also founded and served as president of the center for yet another Soros organization, New American Dream (NAD), which “helps Americans live and consume wisely for a better world.” During her tenure, NAD was featured in the media over 1,000 times, built a network of over 100,000 citizens, and launched the “Responsible Purchasing Network,” an association representing over $50 billion in buying power. She has a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government (where Avaaz co-founders Ricken Patel, David Madden and Jeremy Heimans also attended). At the 2007 Clinton Global Initiative, President Clinton announced and personally congratulated the 1Sky team. Rockefeller Brothers Fund president Stephen Heintz, Betsy Taylor, 1Sky chair, and Jesse Fink, Mission Point Capital Partners, joined President Clinton on stage in recognition of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund commitment to 1Sky.
In 2011 1Sky officially merged with 350.org – which was most instrumental in the 1Sky creation. This union, now official, was deemed the “NEW 350″ (350/1Sky) in which Rockefeller interests sit on the 350.org board of directors with the likes of McKibben, Naomi Klein, Jay Halfon and Jessy Tolkan. [350.org staff, 350.org international advisory council, 350.org U.S. advisory council].
The SumOfUs EU Advisory Board includes:
- Paula Hannemann, social media manager, WWF Germany
- Paul Hilder, former campaign director of Avaaz and Oxfam Great Britain, vice president of global campaigns for Change.org
- Alice Jay, campaign director, Avaaz.org (Spain)
The SumOfUs Australian Advisory Board includes:
- Jeremy Heimans, CEO & co-founder of Purpose, co-founder of GetUp.org.au, Avaaz.org and AllOut.org
- Brett Soloman, formerly with Avaaz, executive director of AccessNow.org, former executive director of GetUp,org.au.
”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.” — Avaaz co-founder, Jeremy Heimans
And of course no organization with the sole duty of promoting green capitalism would be complete without the corporate kiss-ass, Kumi Naidoo, head of the notorious corporate creation, TckTckTck, and Greenpeace International. Naidoo also sits on the International Advisory Council of 350.org, along with Avaaz co-founder and Imperialist puppet, Ricken Patel.
SumOfUs is currently offering an “Operations Fellowship.” Applicants should, among other things have “experience in social change, whether it’s organizing a Save Darfur rally on campus or volunteering for the Obama campaign” while “Big Pluses” are listed as “Grant-writing experience; Experience managing funder relationships; Experience as an office manager or executive assistant; Basic familiarity with 501(c)3/(c)4 election law; Familiarity with the MoveOn/Avaaz model of organizing.”
And like all big greens that make up the non-profit industrial complex, SumOfUs assures us that it is an equal opportunity employer … Minorities and women are strongly encouraged to apply for this fellowship.” This all sounds good in theory, yet for all the rhetoric thrown around by the big greens supporting “indigenous” rights, values and leadership, try to find one big green NGO with an Indigenous person at the helm. For that matter, try to find one big green that officially supports and refuses to undermine the People’s Agreement (Cochabamba, Bolivia, April 2010) or any other Indigenous declaration.
SumOfUs – A new organization to greenwash the corporations destroying our shared planet. SumOfUs wants you to not only accept the liberal left assertion that corporate power will always dominate, they want you to show respect to the corporate powers destroying us.
Remix: March 28th, 2012
Sum of Selling Out
From the April 18, 2011 article Rockefellers’ 1Sky Unveils the New 350.org | More $ – More Delusion:
”At the same time of the 10:10:10 launch, 350.org revealed its first order of business – that of business. In 2011, the Green Market website published an article titled “350.org and Business.” The website promotes the 350 campaign to ask businesses to leave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in response to climate change; however, it neglected to critically analyze why such a campaign can only fail. The reality is that incrementalism in the face of a planetary emergency dooms humanity to failure. No amount of justification excuses any organization, large or small, to play politics in the face of our daunting climate reality. Yet 350.org is doing exactly that. Many may consider this a strong step and the greenwashing cabal will applaud; after all, if you have the token voice of the climate movement praising sweat-shop driven, mining-dependent Apple, you’ve won the day. However, the reality is this: No matter how many businesses leave the Chamber, they will still be doing what they do. Apple continues to abuse those most vulnerable while simultaneously destroying the environment for the sake of profit. Nike still manufactures shoes in China. A campaign such as this will never extricate these corporations from the business model they worship that enables several barrels of oil to be burned for the sake of the Swoosh through symbolic campaigning and the mighty victory this campaign seeks. No amount of symbolic campaigning will accomplish anything remotely close to a solution to the current planetary emergency. Such a campaign makes for good press for the times; however, in terms of outcomes, it will provide nothing of consequence to the solution set. It’s nothing less than delusion, if not a crime against humanity, that those who understand the science actually believe such campaigns are helpful beyond our psyches. Tragically, this undoubtedly will become more obvious rather soon.”
So, no thanks, SumOfUs. Some of us consider ourselves citizens – not consumers. Some of us are not interested in participating in your delusional dreams of “ethical” and “green” capitalism. Some of us, in the real world, prefer to deal with the realities that you, hand in hand with your funders, continue to deny.
Round and round the delusion goes. Where it stops nobody knows.
The new SumOfUs campaigns urge us to send a message to LOCOG, Apple, Starbucks, Novartis, corporate media conglomerates, Walmart, Carlsberg, Verizon, Microsoft, Google, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Yoplait, Lowes, Trader Joes and Johnson & Johnson. Below are my sentiments in regards to these corporate psychopaths.
Fuck Bank of America.
Fuck corporate media.
Fuck Johnson & Johnson.
Fuck the Olympics.
Fuck Trader Joes.
And most of all, SumOfUs – fuck you.
 Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, spoke March 19, 2010 at Innovative Philanthropy for the 21st Century: Harnessing the Power of Impact Investing: In this second phase of philanthropic innovation, our Rockefeller Foundation predecessors helped establish the non-governmental organization sector as the missing middle between giving and direct impact. This included support for entities we call them RINGOS, Rockefeller Foundation Initiated NGOs.
SumOfUs states they “want to give Apple a chance to prove” it cares about workers and requires its factories to follow the law, all while acknowledging in the same paragraph that its products have consistently been made illegally and unethically. Of course, the “consumer” isn’t urged to make the simple decision to not purchase a new iPad, instead, he/she is asked to convey a message to Apple: “We deserve to know whether workers making the new iPad were forced to work illegal and dangerous amounts of overtime.” Of course, Apple workers were forced to work illegal and dangerous amounts of overtime. Anyone with a brain understands that this has been and continues to be the case along with a multitude of other human rights abuses. Further, Apple will never share their monetary wealth with those they exploit. For this is the way of the capitalist system. The SumOfUs petition serves as an instrument to eradicate guilt by simply “clicking” and being made to feel one has performed their ethical duty. Further, under the petition, there is a survey collecting data regarding your patronage of Apple products. It would be interesting to know where this data ends up. SumOfUs allows us to feel good about our role in the capitalist system. SumOfUs allows one to feel vindicated for one’s purchases and participation in corporate patronage. Like a confession or a prayer prior to or after a bad deed, SumOfUs eradicates guilt, makes one feel heroic, and – most importantly – protects the current dominant economic system, and thus the current dominant power structure.