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U.S. | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism

Communique on USSF Pieing by Agents aNGie O'tool and Cherry Karim
by BWB - Co-optation Watch cell ( peoplearetalking [at] gmail.com )
Monday Jul 2nd, 2007 9:13 AM
Pies fly when you are having fun-- and so do fliers. The text that accompanied the media coverage of the pieing was taken from the flier distributed on the scene. The following is the statement from the agents themselves.
People are talkin, talking 'bout people
I hear them whisper, you won't believe it
They think we're lovers kept under covers
I just ignore it, but they keep saying
We laugh just a little too loud
We stand just a little too close
We stare just a little too long
Maybe they're seeing, something we don't, Darlin'
--Bonnie Raitt, "Something to Talk About"

People were talking at the historic, very first United States Social Forum. Talking. Talking talking talking. We know, because we were listening. And talking, ourselves, too, sure. Talking. Listening. Not surprisingly, a major topic was the role of non-profits in the global movement for social justice. Officially, it was the theme of workshops and presentations. Unofficially, it was the continuation of an ongoing conversation that was recently revived by the Zapatistas' Sexta Declaración de la Selva Lacandona. At least. Recently. I mean, people have been talking about that since, like, the 60's, right? So people were talking, right? Talking about the Non-Profit Industrial Complex, right?

According to LIP MAGAZINE, the US non-profit sector is the seventh largest economy in the world. At a conference put on by INCITE! in 2004 called The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex, "movement builders from within the [Non-Profit Sector] spoke of the paralysis, disempowerment and ineffectiveness of the nonprofit world." This year, 2007, a collection of essays was released by the same group under the same title. We invite this movement to pick up copies of that book and take a look in the mirror. Like Bonnie Raitt sings, "maybe they're seeing something we don't."

On Saturday, June 30th Medea Benjamin, self-appointed spokesperson for popular movements, received a tasty banana cream pie courtesy of the Bakers Without Borders, Co-optation Watch cell. The tactic of delivering our critique of just desserts was specifically chosen as a social critique from within our peoples’ movement which mobilizes a tradition of tricksters, clowns, jesters, pranksters and yippies to make serious commentary in a playful way. And while our actions were playful, the issues which motivated us were serious. So, in the spirit of Hopi clowns, court jesters, and buffoons of all ages, Bakers Without Borders offer this movement a mirror—at the bottom of a pie tin—for self-reflection. Are these funhouse mirrors the clowns hold up? Do we really take ourselves that seriously? Have our heads really swollen that big?

Global Trade-Off and Code Pinkerton represent the vanguard of the Non-Profit Industrial complex. All of us in the Co-optation Watch cell of Bakers Without Borders have collaborated with Global Trade-Off and Code Pinkerton, at some point, to some extent. That's how big they are. And sadly, many of our allies, feel like we cannot publicly express our concerns. But know this—we are many. We call Code Pinkerton, Global Trade-Off, and the many non-profits like them to account for co-opting, manipulating, and exploiting local community organizing and resources, the world over, as they engage in "parachute activism" where they drop into communities with no meaningful attempt at equal-footing collaboration with long-standing community groups. Here, there, and everywhere. Shine a spotlight; hold up a microphone; there they are: speaking for you.

However you engage this topic, the Co-optation Watch cell of Bakers Without Borders invites you to join us on the low road, that dusty path that stretches across the grass roots and mud puddles. And feel free to bring pie. We like pie. Mmmmm, pie...

In splooshy solidarity,

Agents aNGie O'tool and Cherry Karim

"Never doubt that a small, committed group of people with pies can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by @ Resistor
Monday Jul 2nd, 2007 10:00 AM
Medea wasn't the only one in need of a pie at the social forum.

In many regards, the US Social Forum felt like 2 Social Forums: one where well-funded white middle class professional NGO staff stayed in corporate hotels, ate at corporate chains and attended parties at fancy venues every night and one where many showed up on a shoestring budget crashing on couches, eating cheap food (BTW, where was Food Not Bombs? oh yeah the Social Forum organizers told them they couldn't serve at the USSF) and spending time being hassled for their badges by the Civic Center's private security.

Many of the NGOers don't understand the animosity of local activists, autonomous collectives, people of color based community groups and the mass of unpaid people fighting to make a better world possible towards their co-optation agendas. Hopefully this action is something to think about before they "parachute" into local struggles as self-appointed leaders and experts in what needs to be different.

by guess
Monday Jul 2nd, 2007 10:09 AM
You know, I read this and think... are these people for real?

Equating Code Pink with the Pinkerton Agency?

Are you smoking crack?

by The Pies of War
Monday Jul 2nd, 2007 11:43 AM
Medea Benjamin is a faux-radical who first came to fame in 1999. While at the famous 1999 WTO protests in Seattle and mouthing anti-globalization rhetoric, Benjamin chastised protestors who took to the symbolic destruction of NON-CIVILIAN targets like Nike Town, while avoiding destruction of local businesses—clear evidence that this was far from “mindless” property destruction. After defending the property of multinational corporations, Benjamin subsequently issued pronouncements to the mainstream press that assisted in the creation of the “good protestor"/"bad protestor” dichotomy, later used successfully in years following by mainstream political groups to sedate popular protests and make them as planned, unsurprising, reflective of “good protestors,” and in truth, futile as possible.

Benjamin became a lead booster of the disastrous ABB strategy. In a widely circulated letter and in a petition, she denounced the candidacy of Ralph Nader and spread lies about his campaign’s alleged bankrolling by REPUBLICANS. But in truth, as a study by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics showed, Republican donors only made up 4% of the Nader campaign’s money, and such funds came from individuals, as the Nader campaign was the only one not to accept money from any political action committees or corporations. This 4% figure contrasted with the 25% of Nader voters in 2000 who were registered Republicans, and was less than polling data indicating how many Nader 2004 voters were Republicans. Moreover, according to the Center, Nader’s funds from registered Republican donors gave more money to Democrats than Nader.

Meanwhile, Benjamin embarked on a tour of hypocrisy and silliness. While embracing an ever hawkish pro-war candidate in her petitions and denouncing Evil Ralph Nader, the only high-profile anti-war candidate (David “.05%” Cobb doesn’t count), Benjamin simultaneously engaged in anti-war prank activity at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions that had little effect other than to invoke pity on the part of some observers and contempt from others for their showboatish, inconsequential nature. At the Republican National Convention, for example, Benjamin unwrapped an anti-war banner on the floor of the convention. Oooooooh. Medea, between anti-war banners versus NOT SUPPORTING A PRO-WAR CANDIDATE and HELPING BUILD A GENIUINE ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT; we’ll take the latter.

Benjamin’s actions indeed helped demobilize the anti-war movement, which in February of 2003 had reached historic levels. But as its “leaders” increasingly succumbed to the ABB epidemic, they found the credibility of the movement severely hampered by their support for a pro-war war criminal. Rather than rectify this contradiction, they instead shut the movement down entirely. Thus there was not a single major anti-war march between the spring of 2004 and the election, and an anti-war, anti-occupation position, now supported by the majority of Americans, remained off the table during the Presidential campaign.

As for Benjamin’s showboating, Kevin Zeese had the following to say: “She can keep dropping her anti-war banners and playing her anti-war pranks. They’re entertaining, but people should remember that when it came to elections she urged people to vote for a candidate who said we have to win the war. She supported a candidate who said he would send more troops and could manage the war better Kerry’s mantra was the complete opposite of a peace message. The bottom line is this: when it comes to elections don’t follow Medea Benjamin, follow peace advocates who refuse to support war candidates.”

On the anti-war movement for which Benjamin served as a “leader,” Zeese added: “People like Medea Benjamin did great damage to the peace movement and I’m not sure it can recover. Her misleadership led them down the path of being taken out of the presidential race. How do you recover from that? The direction of the country is set during the presidential debate—especially on issues like war and peace. Half the country wanted our troops home, more than half thought the Iraq invasion was wrong, yet the peace movement, thanks to misleaders like Benjamin, was led into the Valley of Death for all movements, the Democratic Party.”

Recently, after the disastrous election results stemming from Kerry’s inability to provide any positive economic or political alternative to Bush, Benjmain expressed regret in the pages of the liberal-bourgeois ABB rag, The Nation, for her Kerry support. But rather than issue an apology to Nader, Benjamin instead promised to build the Green Party for the future.

Good luck trying to “build” from ruins, Benjamin. And as for your apology, well, thanks, two months afterwards, when it has a total meaning and influence of precisely zero.

Medea Benjamin, thanks for killing your political children and people who
looked to you for leadership. You make us all want to puke.
http://Truth in Advertising.
by Charles Paul
( charles.paul [at] gmail.com ) Monday Jul 2nd, 2007 12:18 PM
I'm still puzzled as to why Medea Benjamin was pied...

She did sell out the anti-war movement in 2004 by bashing Nader... but guess what: so did MOST of the left. It was NOT solely her fault. And she is hardly the icon for that kind of behavior.

I remember, I was there, and I was ashamed at having to work on worthy causes with all of these suddenly pro-Democrat fools.

Get over it, or get pies ready for the entirety of MoveOn, The League of Independent Voters, etc... etc... for succumbing to the philosophically shoddy leadership of Washington lobbyists. And that's a lot of pies. A LOT.

Those pies be should saved for worthier targets, like the actual warmongers. Medea Benjamin supports some radical movements with her pocketbooks and with her fame.

There are exponentially more rich people who would rather use their pull to support the fascists. Place a pie in their face first.


swift_boat_anarchists_1.jpg
swift_boat_anarchists_1.jpg

Why do you hide your face? Medea said she won't press charges and has the courage of her convictions. So who are you to physically attack a woman from behind, run away and then black-out your own face?
by whipped cream
Monday Jul 2nd, 2007 2:05 PM
Swift Boat Anarchists.

Pitch perfect.
by watch your language
Monday Jul 2nd, 2007 3:03 PM
"physically attack"
Um the evidence related to this pieing points to the pie being placed on her face. The after photo that Media put in her article, shows her smiling and mugging for the camera with no facial bruising or lacerations. It wasn't a cow pie or a meat pie, but perhaps some sort of non dairy cream thing. Non dairy cream could be seen as an attack on good taste, a la twinkie. We need to know what that filling was? But has anyone ever been attacked or actually been the victim of violence, those types of experiences are not someting that leave you smiling for the camera after they happen. That just doesn't happen in real life, sorry been there. Have you ever taken one straight in the face?
Why swift boat anarchsits, I bet these people aren't even anarchists...everytime anything happens that you self righteous 'progressives' don't like or disagree with you cry anarchist.
From what I can tell, they seem like life long activists who give a sh*t about who sucks up the media time and for why.
If she would have just licked it off and let it slide (not down her face), hen this would have blown over, now we all get to look at the dirty underside of ourselves and wish there was a little more toilet paper to go around.
I propose a radical vs. progressive pie fight...then we can all take it straight in the face....
HA!

Reading the comments below on Medea Benjamin being pie'ed in the face at the USSF, i feel compelled to respond.

I applaude this action for a few reasons:

1) the debate it has created around the role of non-profits and figure-heads in the movement
2) the fact that the only folks who will actually take note of this are us in the left, and thus the debate that this action has inspired is an internal debate for us on the left
3) no real harm was done, save the embarrassment and fear that Medea has to deal with, which i regret. But Medea you should take solace in the fact that your being targeted has created space for a real and important debate, which would not have happened if some random local activist had been pied in the face. Probably most of us have done things in the past for which we deserve being pied in the face for as well.

Now on to the debate.

I've been to an INCITE! workshop on the non-profit industrial complex and think their analysis is on point, and very relevant to what's happening in the movement right now. The fact that many non-profits are dependant on foundations for funding means that they will always at the end of the day be most accountable to those funders, because they always have to have their hand in the hat. This absolutely effects the work of non-profits for the worse and requires them to fall into the traps of self-aggrandizement and competition with other activists to prove to foundations that "their work" was the crucial straw in making such and such action successful.

BUT AT THE SAME TIME,

I get a whiff of adolescent insecurity from this action. I imagine those who did this action as the same kind of folks who'd give the finger to their mothers, or blame their parents for all of their problems.

I say this as an activist who spends at least 40 hours a week doing mostly unpaid organizing, and then works another 30 hours a week at a shit job to survive. The problem i have with the kind of folks who i imagine to have done this action is that i've seen so many of them disappear. I've seen so many "radicals" decry the non-profit industrial complex claiming they do the real work of the revolution only to whither, get lost, or disempowered, only to leave their work as organizers out of bitterness and disillisionment.

The fact is that revoluationary struggle is a LIFELONG struggle. I applaud people like Medea Benjamin for being able to make a LIFE of organizing to bullding another world, a reality. Fuck, i would love to make a career out of the work i do and i know it would enable me to do that work more effectively. Does that mean i should go bend over at the whim of foundations, or claim that MY WORK is the most essential so that foundations will continue to keep the money flowing, no.

But to those who are calling for others to take a look in the mirror, i ask you to do the same. How long can we do our work if we don't have a strategy for how its going to enable us to survive?? How effectively can we do our work if we're wasting too many hours a week doing mindless shit-labor??

I'm sure many of you have found ways to do wonderful, meaningful, imporant work AND sustain yourselves and your families in the process. I applaud all of you. I'm just tired of seeing my "radical" friends bicker and blame everyone else only to disappear and give up on the struggle

Medea i'm sorry you had to take one in the face for us to be able to have important discussions like this. But i hope you see some of the good that's come of it as well. To the BWB folks, thanks for taking action to spur such an imporant debate within the left. I hope you aren't too self-righteous to realize that you probably deserve a pie in the face too!!

by Overworked activist
Monday Jul 2nd, 2007 9:39 PM
Somebody writes:
"I say this as an activist who spends at least 40 hours a week doing mostly unpaid organizing, and then works another 30 hours a week at a shit job to survive. The problem i have with the kind of folks who i imagine to have done this action is that i've seen so many of them disappear. I've seen so many "radicals" decry the non-profit industrial complex claiming they do the real work of the revolution only to whither, get lost, or disempowered, only to leave their work as organizers out of bitterness and disillisionment."

I don't have problems with this kind of action and think that the USSF was the perfect venue for this tasty action. The USSF, after all, is a confab of NGO activists and liberal progressives with money and lifestyles who can afford to fly to Atlanta.

I'm an underpaid activist who probably spends over 50 hours a week on various activist projects, several of which are seen as important to both my local community and to the bigger movements. I'm underemployed, so I mostly subsist on odd jobs. I'm one of those activists whose professional career went south due to my public activism. I'm now at the point of applying to a local auto parts store for work. I've also been involved in the anti-globalization movement and have worked with prominent NGO activists who work with Medea and her NGO network.

Medea's activism certainly can be inspiring at times and she should get credit for founding Code Pink. But MEDEA is the face of Code Pink, not a rotating group of leaders for that organization. It's Medea's group. She was once again the face of Code Pink in that recent Washington Post feature.

But Medea is a professional activist who has the means to start groups like Code Pink and fly to NGO confabs like the USSF in Atlanta. Her activism is supported by the well-funded *liberal* NGOs she works for. These NGOs amplify her voice above others and give her a stable living when she travels around doing her stunts. How many people like you and me could keep our jobs, feed our families, and do the activism that Medea is privileged to do?

Medea is the poster child for parachute NGO activism. This is why people are criticizing her. And pieing her.

But Medea isn't just a leader who benefits from her NGO connections. No, she is something far worse. Medea is the water carrier for those who seek to disempower our movements. She may not be conscious of this, but those of us radicals who have worked closely with NGOs understand all too well what kind of strings these groups will pull when they are ordered to. One of the comments above alludes to Medea's role in the pro-Kerry movement. Others have criticized Medea for marginalizing radical activists when she talks to the Medea. NGOs do some great work and there are lots of wonderful NGO activists, but there is a dark side to NGOs. Most of it has to do with how NGOs mistreat their employees, but NGOs also are corrupted by the power.

Medea is not some innocent leader in the anti-war movement. She is a political player who got pied for some legitimate reasons. Hopefully, she will have a laugh about this and contemplate her role in the anti-war movement.
by Nick Cooper
Tuesday Jul 3rd, 2007 2:22 PM
There is love involved making and sharing a pie with someone, and disdain involved in putting it into their face. Allies who have gotten big-heads make better targets for such double-edged critiques than the powerful. Folks who cause pain and suffering deserve less ridiculous systems of justice where they can be charged and cross-examined.

It struck me as somewhat brave to do the pie-ing because it risked arrest and other physical and legal consequences. As much as Medea's supporters may be on "her side" of this incident, they probably wouldn't support her pressing charges, and Medea knows that. So, her good decision not to do so is strategically necessary, and shouldn't merit too much applause.

I hope that if I get (or have already gotten) so pretentious that someone decides to pie me, that they will keep it vegan and that I will be cool enough to take a "yeah you got me" attitude instead of whining about it. Unless they break my nose or something, in which case I will whine.

Medea said "It felt very violent. In fact, I am still shell-shocked. When people I don’t know approach me to say hello, I flinch and brace myself for a beating."

I hope that she doesn't feel she needs to keep looking over her shoulder for other pie-ers. I can't imagine why such a thing would be repeated (but who knows). There are many other sorts of risks that Medea and all of us take as activists all the time, about which we should probably be more concerned than pies. But I support her request for a lunch with her critics. Being open to receiving criticism and dialogue are super important.

To all the people who are getting so angry at each other in this debate -- chill out, enjoy yourselves, we're not in Guantanamo yet.
by Maria Concepcion
Wednesday Jul 4th, 2007 4:55 PM
Regardless of the merit of your claims against Medea Benjamin, your pie antic was stupid. Don’t you think most of us “on the left” aren’t aware of the pitfalls that you mention? Why didn’t you all stick around to vent after the pie was thrown rather than run? Is this your example of true democracy and solidarity?

Channel your anger, lest you become one of the many who’ve left “the left” because the right welcomed their self-righteous destructiveness. There have been many, usually happens around age 36. Immature lost souls that they are.

Why did your pie smasher run off? Your disrespect for a human being committedly doing what she believes best is what smug spoiled brats do. Probably never worked a day in the fields for your food, have never gone hungry and have always had running water. Go back to pre-school and learn some basic social skills. Then you can start to persuade the rest of us. Or are the many activist groups that come and go just for kids who opt-out once they burn off their defiance and parental antagonism?

Yes! Be creative, but persuasive and respectful. Your outrage, if well-founded, is more than wonderful, use it wisely. If you spend your time throwing dirt (or pies), thinking this will solve our planet’s miseries, you’re just losing ground and deepening the fault lines for the left to falter completely yet once more, including you. Criticism is essential to significant results. When it builds, not when it bullies. Why not confront Medea at this world forum and film it for us all to see her response? Instead, you chose to hit and run.

By the way, do any of the banana cream bakers know any history at all? Or said another way, how irresponsible to compare Code Pink to Pinkerton thugs.

(All text in quotes is from Wikipedia’s article on Emma Goldman).
“In New York City, Goldman met and lived with Alexander Berkman, who was an important figure of the anarchist movement in the United States at the time. The two became lovers, and remained close friends until his death in 1936. With the influence of anarchist writers such as Johann Most, Berkman and Goldman became convinced that direct action, including the use of violence, was necessary to effect revolutionary change (see propaganda of the deed).
Goldman and Berkman were consumed by the Homestead strike, where the strikers had seized the Homestead plant and locked out management. After Pinkerton detectives attempted to take back the factory and expel the strikers, a riot broke out, causing the deaths of several men. Berkman, with the support of Goldman, decided to take violent action in support of the strikers by assassinating the factory manager, Henry Clay Frick, in retaliation for his role in hiring Pinkerton detectives to retake the factory.”

See any analogies below?

“While Berkman and Goldman had believed they were following Johann Most's precepts for revolutionary change, they were soon disillusioned by their former mentor. One of Berkman's most outspoken critics after the assassination attempt was none other than Johann Most, who had always, noted Goldman, "proclaimed acts of violence from the housetops." Yet in Freiheit, Most attacked both Goldman and Berkman, implying Berkman's act was designed to arouse sympathy for Frick. According to the historian Alice Wexler, Most's motivations, may have been inspired by jealousy of Berkman, or possibly by his changing attitudes towards the effectiveness of political assassination as tool to force revolutionary change.
Goldman was enraged by Most's accusations. She was not angered by his implication of her complicity in the assassination plot, but by Most's criticism of the utility of the assassination, as well as the suggestion Berkman was attempting to arouse sympathy for Frick. Goldman promptly demanded that Most retract his criticism or prove his insinuation that she and Berkman were insincere in their revolutionary motivation. When he refused to reply, she carried a horsewhip to his next lecture. After he refused to speak to her, she lashed him across the face, then broke the whip over her knee and threw the pieces at him. She later regretted her assault, confiding to a friend, "At the age of twenty-three, one does not reason."

She later regretted it, but do you think Emma would have smashed a pie in someone’s face and run off? Everyone knew it was Emma, and she chose a whip, not whipped cream.

“After two years, Goldman and Berkman left Russia, having witnessed the full results of the Bolshevik rise to power. Her time there led her to reassess her earlier belief that the end justifies the means. Goldman accepted violence as a necessary evil in the process of social transformation. However, her experience in Russia forced a distinction. She wrote: "I know that in the past every great political and social change, necessitated violence.... Yet it is one thing to employ violence in combat as a means of defense. It is quite another thing to make a principle of terrorism, to institutionalize it to assign it the most vital place in the social struggle. Such terrorism begets counter-revolution and in turn itself becomes counter-revolutionary."

I’m not saying pie throwing equates to an act of terrorism, but no matter how much attention they call to an issue, violent acts of any degree, and particularly assaults on the person, are ultimately harmful to our hopes for a world with peace and human dignity. Plain and simple. Need examples of solidarity that have brought permanent changes to the power structure?: Ghandi, MLK, Mothers of Plaza de Mayo. In Emma's time it was shortening the work day to 8 hours. Maybe just promoting a 35 hour work week might not seem revolutionary today, but think of how that would contribute to children, education, health, love and to organizing efforts. We just might have the time to bring about some radical changes with lasting and peaceful solidarity. Now that's revolutionary. Anger is a legitimate emotion that teaches us, but violence needs to become so stigmatized, that all humans, everywhere, show it no tolerance in any form, by whatever means. If not, we'll just keep going in ever-widening circles of poverty, militarization and de-evolution, destroying our species and our habitat, until one day the planet goes on its merry rotating way without any naked apes, because they chose hostility and attack on each other rather than solidarity and cooperation. Remember the Amazon native at the first Environmental Summit in Brazil who shamed the "advanced" society attendees with his sable-machete dance? His powerful message was more than any Wall Street Ad agency could have dreamed up, yet he didn't physically assault anyone. This is more creative than pie smashing, and isn't physically invasive: Next time do a mesmerizing "Shamen you" dance in which you energize the person to see things your way. Give them the opportunity to respond. Like it or not, we're all related, and all evolving or self-destructing together. Engage people creatively, and instead of whining about the pieces of the media and funds pie, let's dance and cooperate, not co-optate, so we can create and collectively enjoy the Whole Damn Pie Shop. Then and only then, those who want to celebrate in a free-for-all pie slapping World dance will have earned the right to use food to pie and be pied. And Bakers without Borders will likely, by popular demand, have the funds, the people, and the privilege of baking ALL the pies for this worldwide ego leveling experience!
by thanks
Friday Jul 6th, 2007 5:47 AM
Did you ever see a picture of Emma Goldman smiling?

Nope.

Not dancing either, all rumors to the contrary.
by "looking to make a profit"
Friday Jul 6th, 2007 8:29 PM
fair-trade-profit.jpg
fair-trade-profit.jpg

I was looking at the Code Pink website, and sure enough my options to change the world involve limos, fancy cruise ships and 4 star hotels.

Code Shopper and Global Consumption.

To Those Who Threw a Pie in My Face, Let’s Swap Recipes
http://codepinkalert.org/article.php?id=3200

These are links from the main blog page:

Code Pink Travel
http://www.ytbtravel.com/codepink

More joy. Less guilt!
http://www.alonovo.com/community/affiliate/96

Shopping for Good
http://www.igive.com/welcome/

Or, there is the Global Exchange store which is much larger, and states, "If you are looking to sell Fair Trade crafts in order to make a profit..."

Sorry, but I would like to think people were not simply selling "Fair Trade" crafts in order to make a profit.
by point
Saturday Jul 7th, 2007 7:41 AM
You know, shit costs money. Unless you are independently rich...

When I went to Cuba, not with GX, cigars helped me pay. Their cigars, my importing. What's wrong with that? I'm poor and couldn't have really gone otherwise unless I had some way to pay for it. I paid for my trips to SF for years by working there all summer. I couldn't just show up and scene around (though I did watch the crusties pan handle out of their cars and act like I was supposed to work to pay their way).

Whatever.

Fair trade doesn't mean selling someone else's goods for no profit, silly. I don't know if organizing "fair trade" makes real sense in a world so unfair. Imperialism isn't just a problem of the rate of exchange.

In any case, I'm waiting for the anarchist pies to deal with their own shit. It was well-mentioned above that Bound Together Books has sold materials advocated sex with children from NAMBLA for years. Why? Because there are pedophiles on staff who are "indespensible" for the running of the bookstore.

Where's the pie for those who advocate raping children, and who hide behind an "anarchist" political identity to justify their predatory fantasies?

I guess the rumors are true, being an anarchist means never having to say you're sorry.
by no points there
Saturday Jul 7th, 2007 12:51 PM
hi "point"

This is not about anarchists or anarchism and most of the people reading this are not even familiar with Bound Together Books. Bringing up people who advocate raping children is totally ridiculous here. Go serve some pie to the head of Bound Together Books if you want. The Co-optation Watch cell of Bakers without Borders have people talking about the role of NGOs in the movement for social justice. There are many people who have spoken out against the action taken by the Bakers, but at the same time there are a significant number of people that have valid concerns about actions taken, and not taken, by Medea Benjamin, CodePink, Global Exchange and other NGOs. There were many hands making and baking that banana cream pie.
by VFPDissident
Sunday Jul 8th, 2007 6:50 PM
Violence, contrary to popular belief, is not part of the anarchist philosophy. It has repeatedly been pointed out by anarchist thinkers that the revolution can neither be won, nor the anarchist society established and maintained, by armed violence. Recourse to violence then is an indication of weakness, not of strength, and the revolution with the greatest possibilities of a successful outcome will undoubtedly be the one in which there is no violence, or in which violence is reduced to a minimum, for such a revolution would indicate the near unanimity of the population in the objectives of the revolution. ... Violence as a means breeds violence; the cult of personalities as a means breeds dictators--big and small--and servile masses; government--even with the collaboration of socialists and anarchists--breeds more government. Surely then, freedom as a means breeds more freedom, possibly even the Free Society! To Those who say this condemns one to political sterility and the Ivory Tower our reply is that 'realism' and their 'circumstantialism' invariably lead to disaster. We believe there is something more real, more positive and more revolutionary to resisting war than in participation in it; that it is more civilised and more revolutionary to defend the right of a fascist to live than to support the Tribunals which have the legal power to shoot him; that it is more realistic to talk to the people from the gutter than from government benches; that in the long run it is more rewarding to influence minds by discussion than to mould them by coercion.
Source: Vernon Richards, "Anarchism and violence" in What Is Anarchism?: An Introduction by Donald Rooum, ed. (London: Freedom Press, 1992, 1995) pp. 50-51.
... violence is the whole essence of authoritarianism, just as the repudiation of violence is the whole essence of anarchism.
Source: Errico Malatesta, "Anarchism, Authoritarian Socialism and Communism" in What Is Anarchism?: An Introduction by Donald Rooum, ed. (London: Freedom Press, 1992, 1995) p. 59.
by VFPDissident
Sunday Jul 8th, 2007 6:56 PM
A second hazard facing mass movements is the NGO-isation of resistance. It will be easy to twist what I'm about to say into an indictment of all NGOs. That would be a falsehood. In the murky waters of fake NGOs set up to siphon off grant money or as tax dodges (in States like Bihar, they are given as dowry), of course there are NGOs doing valuable work. But it's important to turn our attention away from the positive work being done by some individual NGOs, and consider the NGO phenomenon in a broader political context.

In India, for instance, the funded NGO boom began in the late 1980s and 1990s. It coincided with the opening of India's markets to neoliberalism. At the time, the Indian state, in keeping with the requirements of structural adjustment, was withdrawing funding from rural development, agriculture, energy, transport, and public health. As the state abdicated its traditional role, NGOs moved in to work in these very areas. The difference, of course, is that the funds available to them are a minuscule fraction of the actual cut in public spending. Most large well-funded NGOs are financed and patronised by aid and development agencies, which are in turn funded by Western governments, the World Bank, the U.N., and some multinational corporations. Though they may not be the very same agencies, they are certainly part of the same loose, political formation that oversees the neoliberal project and demands the slash in government spending in the first place.

Why should these agencies fund NGOs? Could it be just old-fashioned missionary zeal? Guilt? It's a little more than that.

NGOs give the impression that they are filling the vacuum created by a retreating state. And they are, but in a materially inconsequential way. Their real contribution is that they defuse political anger and dole out as aid or benevolence what people ought to have by right. They alter the public psyche. They turn people into dependent victims and blunt the edges of political resistance. NGOs form a sort of buffer between the sarkar and public. Between Empire and its subjects. They have become the arbitrators, the interpreters, the facilitators of the discourse. They play out the role of the "reasonable man" in an unfair, unreasonable war.

In the long run, NGOs are accountable to their funders, not to the people they work among. They're what botanists would call an indicator species. It's almost as though the greater the devastation caused by neoliberalism, the greater the outbreak of NGOs. Nothing illustrates this more poignantly than the phenomenon of the U.S. preparing to invade a country and simultaneously readying NGOs to go in and clean up the devastation.

In order to make sure their funding is not jeopardised and that the governments of the countries they work in will allow them to function, NGOs have to present their work - whether it's in a country devastated by war, poverty or an epidemic of disease - within a shallow framework more or less shorn of a political or historical context. At any rate, an inconvenient historical or political context. It's not for nothing that the "NGO perspective" is becoming increasingly respected.

Apolitical (and therefore, actually, extremely political) distress reports from poor countries and war zones eventually make the (dark) people of those (dark) countries seem like pathological victims. Another malnourished Indian, another starving Ethiopian, another Afghan refugee camp, another maimed Sudanese... in need of the white man's help. They unwittingly reinforce racist stereotypes and re-affirm the achievements, the comforts, and the compassion (the tough love) of Western civilisation, minus the guilt of the history of genocide, colonialism, and slavery. They're the secular missionaries of the modern world.

Eventually - on a smaller scale, but more insidiously - the capital available to NGOs plays the same role in alternative politics as the speculative capital that flows in and out of the economies of poor countries. It begins to dictate the agenda.

It turns confrontation into negotiation. It depoliticises resistance. It interferes with local people's movements that have traditionally been self-reliant. NGOs have funds that can employ local people who might otherwise be activists in resistance movements, but now can feel they are doing some immediate, creative good (and earning a living while they're at it). Charity offers instant gratification to the giver, as well as the receiver, but its side effects can be dangerous. Real political resistance offers no such short cuts.

The NGO-isation of politics threatens to turn resistance into a well-mannered, reasonable, salaried, 9-to-5 job. With a few perks thrown in.

Real resistance has real consequences. And no salary.
Source: Public Power in the Age of Empire by Arundhati Roy.
Did anyone see the speech Media gave after the Dems caved on the funding bill in March? She was very upset with the Dems. In fact, she said she felt like a battered wife. Here's a transcription of part of her remarks, courtesy LeftIontheNews blog.

"I feel like a battered wife tonight. And I feel like a battered wife because I'm right like on the outskirts of the Democratic Party. And I keep coming back to the party. I keep coming back. I keep coming back. I keep thinking, 'There's something good there. There's something good there. I'm gonna' go back, I'm gonna' find something good.'

"Like all of you, I worked hard in November 2006 to get the Democrats back in power, and like all of you, I got my hopes up. And I feel tonight like I got beat up again. And I do that because I did get my hopes up. And I had a vision that the Democrats finally understood that the American people were so way ahead of them on this war in Iraq that they were going to catch up.
...
"I had a vision that something like that was going to happen. And now I feel like an absolute idiot battered wife. How could we have let ourselves be so deceived? But you know what? We worked hard. And the thing is that we're going to keep working hard."

SO Media sends her minions back to the lying Democrats, to work hard to elect those corporate whores.

This is what Kevin Zeese was talking about. How does the peace movement keep going when its leadership promotes pro-war candidates, like the ones currently running for president (except Mike Gravel).

I wish it was Media who had announced her retirement, rather than Cindy. But Cindy is coming back, IN SPITE OF MEDIA. I'm supporting Cindy. Bet Media won't.
by arin pieman kay
( pieman [at] pieman.org ) Thursday Jul 12th, 2007 9:04 PM
i liken the pieing of medea benjamin to the pieing of jerry brown....they have both spouted cool progressive ideas but they let themselves get co-opted by the democrats!!! a pie is in order to set things straight in these cases...of course, the right wing slimeballs are candidates for the cavalcade of baked goods.....anyway, let 1,000 pies fly!!!!
by durruti
Saturday Jul 21st, 2007 7:25 PM
Fascism is not to be debated. It is to be smashed.
by John Thielking
( pagesincolor [at] aol.com ) Tuesday Jul 31st, 2007 1:24 PM
I ordered two copies of "The Revolution Will Not Be Funded". One for me and one for my store. I've read about half way through the book and it seems to be a collection of essays by different authors all describing their disillusionment with the "system" and non-profits in general. So far there is not one author who completely divorces themselves from the non-profit model. Some point out the limitations of the model, but they never seem to move much beyond it. One author in particular seems stuck on using words characteristic of white upper class society, such as "disarticulation, existential opposites, contemporaneous meditation, and subaltern truths." As a rule, when using words or phrases not in common use by the man on the street, one should explain in plain English their meaning. As an example, in another comment I wrote on this site, when I mentioned the concept of "friable" asbestos material, I also mentioned that this means the material breaks into smaller particles when it gets wet. I don't expect anyone but a civil engineer or a Bay View Hunters point activist to be familliar with what the term "friable" means.

As for me, I plan on paying my taxes for my store (when it starts making a profit) while trying to mold it into an activist center. I don't intend on compromising my politics or wasting my time doccumenting my "goals" just so I can get foundation funding. I also don't mind pissing off half of my potential customers, since the other half will just shop at my store twice as much anyway. The real compromise I make is that my tax money can be used by the govt for stuff I don't believe in, such as funding the war, but that's the breaks.