The Warped Mind of the Ecofascism Conspiracy Theorist

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Colonos recently referred to David Suzuki in the context of DiCaprio’s documentary about climate chaos and change, the appropriately titled “11th Hour” (link should be generated automagically below) – and doing a bit of googling for that purpose led me to some presumptuous nonsense? about Suzuki being an “ecofascist”:

Eco fascism, can be used in two different ways:

  1. For specific elements of radical environmentalism which are openly affiliated with neo-fascism, or which share conceptual similarities with fascist theories. It is used critically from an external source, and somewhat less commonly used from within as a self label, to refer to various white nationalist and third positionist groups who incorporate environmentalist positions into their ideology.
  2. The term is also used as a political epithet by political conservatives to discredit deep ecology, mainstream environmentalism, and other left and non-left ecological positions, and less frequently by political leftists to discredit environmental movements they see as non-left such as deep ecology.”

So who do the conspiracy theorists think are behind this socalled ecofascism? None others than the very same kind of people that actual, radical environmentalists – anyone that I have ever met, and it is quite a few anyway – would call the greenwashers:

Greenwashing is the unjustified appropriation of environmental virtue by a company, an industry, a government, a politician or even a non-government organization to create a pro-environmental image, sell a product or a policy, or to try and rehabilitate their standing with the public and decision makers after being embroiled in controversy.The U.S.-based watchdog group CorpWatch defines greenwash as “the phenomena of socially and environmentally destructive corporations, attempting to preserve and expand their markets or power by posing as friends of the environment.” This definition was shaped by by the group’s focus on corporate behavior and the rise of corporate green advertising at the time. However, governments, political candidates, trade associations and non-government organizations have also been accused of greenwashing.

Hence, what warped, right-winger, industrialist cheerleaders call ecofascism, those who radically care for the planet call greenwashing – and you can scroll down this list quickly to get an idea who they are, or read in-depth if you like facts and figures:

“The Rockefeller Foundation (www.rockfound.org) currently values its assets at $3.1 billion. They’ve been averaging about $175 million per year in grants to various causes over the last several years. They no longer list “population control” and “environment” as distinct programs. They now deploy vague program headings such as “Working Communities”, “Global Inclusion”, “Food Security” etc., but searching deeper one discovers many of the grants allocated under these program headings are going to the usual neo-Malthusian, eco-activist NGOs.

How much actual control the Rockefeller clan maintains over the Rockefeller Foundation (their names no longer appear in the list of the Foundation’s directors) is debatable but they presumably control it by proxy. The family is manifestly in control of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (www.rbf.org) which has a mere $622 million in assets and doles out a paltry $20 million a year to various charitable endeavors. The RBF gives about $5 million a year to environmentalists. There is also the small but influential Rockefeller Family Fund, firmly presided over by living Rockefellers, which doles out only a few million dollars a year but houses the Environmental Grantmakers Association (www.ega.org) – one of the central guiding agencies for the global green movement. There are other Rockefeller foundations such as the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Geraldine Dodge Rockefeller Foundation etc., which donate to green activist causes and to eco-research in academia. And there are, no doubt, other substantial personal donations flowing from the Rockefellers to the green movement. All in, including the Rockefeller Foundation, the dynasty probably donates over $50 million per year to environmentalist/population control activity.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (www.mellon.org) currently weighs in at $3.6 billion in assets and is handing out over $180 million per year to all causes with about $20 million going to third world population suppression and an equal amount to North American green groups. The related Richard K. Mellon Foundation had $1.4 billion in assets at the end of 2002, after having given grants that year totaling $77 million. The Richard K. Mellon Foundation gives many millions to the American Land Conservation Program.

By the end of 2002 the John D. and Catherine MacArthur Foundation (www.macfdn.org) owned $3.9 billion in assets. During that year they gave away $225.9 million in grants to over 657 different groups. They gave about $12 million to green groups, while $8 million was spent on population suppression.

It’s hard to tell what’s going on with Ted Turner and his foundations these days. He appears to have fallen into some distress, financially, and maybe even ideologically. Nevertheless the Turner Foundation (www.turnerfoundation.org) and the UN Foundation (www.unfoundation.org) have been powerhouses of support to global environmentalism over the last several years. Between 1991 and 2003 the Turner Foundation handed out $222 million in overall grants while Ted’s UN Foundation handed out $575 million between 1997 and 2002. The bulk of this money went to environmentalist groups, including many extremist ones, and to Ted’s other favorite cause – population control.

Declines in the value of certain US equities shrank the Ford Foundation’s (www.fordfoundation.org) treasure to $9.1 billion by the end of 2002, down from $10.6 billion in the previous year. To accommodate this decline they reduced grant giving in 2002 to $598 million, down from $930 million in 2001. As with the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation no longer neatly breaks out its environmentalism/population control budget. A new program category: “Asset Building and Community Development” now envelops the enviro-type funding. The “Asset Building and Community Development” portfolio received $202 million dollars during the last year of record and probably somewhere near 80% of that fell into the coffers of the great green crusaders.

The Pew Charitable Trusts (www.pewtrusts.org) had assets of $4.1 billion in 2003 – a year during which grants of $143 million were disbursed to 151 non-profit societies. The Pews do clearly lay out how much they give to the environmental movement ($42 million). Their population portfolio is now named “Health and Human Services” and receives a consistent 15%ish of Pew largesse. Pew funding also has been curtailed lately. Over the previous several years Pew grant giving has frequently exceeded $200 million per year. The portion of Pew funding devoted to environmentalism continues to increase relative to their other programs such as culture and religion.

The Mott Foundation (www.mott.org) had $2 billion in assets at the end of 2002. They gave $11.9 million to the environmental movement in 2001 and $14.4 million in 2002. Similar sums were given to population programs. Overall grant giving has been hovering around $50 to $70 million per year.

The Hewlett Foundation (www.hewlett.org) assessed its assets on December 31, 2002 to be worth $5.01 billion dollars (down $900 from the previous year). In 2002 they gave out $168 million in grants with environmental and population issues each receiving around $30 million.

More investigation is needed to determine how much wealth is owned the Moore Foundation (www.moore.org) but they are definitely a multi-billion dollar outfit. They recently gave $121 million in a single grant to Conservation International. A few other large grants, one for $25 million and another for $40 million, were also recently given for ecosystem preservation projects in the developing world.

The Heinz Family Philanthropies (www.hfp.heinz.org), which appear to be firmly in the grasp of Teresa Heinz Kerry, have assets worth over $1 billion. These funds annually dole out upwards of $60 million to various causes. The environment is clearly the primary obsession at HFP.

The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (www.ddcf.org), named after the only child of tobacco tycoon James Duke, had assets of $1.5 billion on December 31, 2003. From 1997 to 2003 the Duke Foundation gave away a total of $343 million dollars of which $92 million was channeled to the Green groups.

The David and Lucille Packard Foundation (www.packard.org) valued its assets (mostly HP shares) at $6 billion on December 31, 2003. They handed out $175 million in grants in 2003 and were planning on upping that to $210 million in 2004. In 2003 they gave out $83 million to “conservation and science” and $36 million to “population”.

The Goldman Fund (www.goldmanfund.org) gave out $46 million in grants in their most recent year on record of which $13.2 million went to environmentalism and $3.4 million went to population control.

W. Alton Jones Foundation has undergone a major transformation over the last few years. The most important change was the transferring of over 1/3 of billion dollars to a new trust: the Blue Moon Fund (www.bluemoonfund.org). The Blue Moon donates $30 to $40 million per annum almost exclusively to green issues. They have a peculiar obsession with suppressing energy consumption in China. The front web page of the Blue Moon Fund, in an act of shameless revisionism, portrays the original W. Alton Jones as an eco.

Hence, less than 20 “foundation-clusters” bankroll the green movement to the tune of about $700 million per year. Sums of this general magnitude have been pouring into this social movement, from these sources, for a generation.

There are scores of lesser foundations which have chosen to follow the lead of the above-mentioned institutions and presently donate to ‘the cause’. For instance, environmentalism in definitely the number one priority at the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation (www.gddf.org) – assets $70 million – total annual grants around $4 million. The same could be said of the Merck Family Foundation (www.merckff.org) – assets $55 million, annual grants around $3 million. Almost all the $4 to $6 million leaving the Beldon Foundation (www.beldon.org) goes to eco-groups. Both the Flintridge Foundation and the Charles Heller Foundation are giving about $500,000 per year to green groups. And there are many others. So the several hundred million dollar annual donation figure cited above has to be supplemented, by some indeterminable amount, to account for the contributions of these hundreds of lesser foundations.

This research, even though done by some extremist, anti-environmentalist (does that mean a “planet murderer”?) seems useful enough: see for yourself who they are, those who claim to be washing the planet green. As far as I can tell, probably neither the extremist, anti-environmentalists nor the radical environmentlists are exclusively right. I clearly favour the view of the radical environmentalists and would think more than twice about taking greenwashing money, but it seems to me just as plausible that those rich and educated people, like the trust fund kids of oil, cars and ketchup empires, know all too well that all their wealth is built with blood money and that, merely, they are buying themselves a conscience.

On the other hand, in a moment of charity, one could also give the extremist the benefit of the doubt and agree that Theresa Heinz-Ketchup Kerry, Ted Deception Turner and the Rockefellas are the vegan children of Hitler and Satan, but that says nothing about the hard working anti-capitalist, environmentalists out there, such as RisingTide. On that view, if anything, the ecofascist conspiracy (at best or at worse?) is a conspiracy to write out that very kind of action from the equation: if only rich neo-nazis control from above and blue-eyed, sheepish following below defines environmentalism, then the status quo seems well preserved:

On a still day you can just hear the plutocracy laughing. Environmentalism is a dark green tarp they have thrown over North America. They have decreed development be slowed to a crawl and enlisted a vast ‘army of the night’ to implement this command. Here in the trenches we never engage the Kennedys, the Trudeaus or the Windsors. No, down here we get to argue with kids with daisy-counting diplomas from community colleges in their hands and grant applications to the Ford Foundation in their hip pockets; and good luck trying to change the minds of people like this. If not for environmentalist suppression of economic activity North America would be experiencing a tremendous and sustained boom that would reduce unemployment to a smidgeon of its current rate. The responsibility for all of the under-employment, all of the want of opportunity, the lack of housing, the scarcity of public funds, the poverty, the hardship, hard times and heartache people are experiencing shall be layeth upon the well-guarded doorsteps of Big Green. We smolder, we seethe and we type on.”

However, there is a different way – different from Gory Al and Ketchup Kerry, different from DiCaprio and Suzuki: anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist and spiritual environmentalism that is shared by many environmental movements, indigenous movements, and campesino movements across the world in their struggles for autonomy and environmental justice.

Environmentalism is an economic issue as much as it is a spiritual challenge. Those who suffer first and foremost from industrial pollution and consequent climate change are the poor – as always. But it also concerns leaving a liveable planet for our children to play in.

What kind of world do we want – one that is run by a filthy few for a bloody buck or one that is lived by all in common? This is “The Future according to Robert Crumb” from Whole Earth Review, Winter 1988:

(the “Fun Future” and the “Ecological Disaster” scenarios are probably the same)

The two first scenarios are two sides of the same future – a rich enclave on the inside and outside the promised land where there is no ecological justice, – the rich enclave, of course, living on borrowed time. The industrial nightmare is what the extremist wants – that is in particular why it is an extreme position – the second illusionary or technofetishist wet dream of the IT nouveau-riche almost exist for some, while the last and only viable option, really, is still on the magic cards.

Let’s go do it!

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