Andrew Gavin Marshall

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A Brief Message for Humanity: We Want to be Free!

Can you hear it? Taste it? Smell it? See it? Touch it? … Can you feel it? The people of the world are waking up, rising up, acting up, fed up, not giving up, but getting up, standing up, climbing up… looking up. Around the world, in every place, in every case, in every situation, circumstance, and altercation, the powers of our world, sitting firm in their positions, atop the institutions of our domination, proffering the ideas of our indoctrination, seek to confuse, divide, control, co-opt, crush, define, repress, overrun, undermine, and cause distress… to all those people, everywhere, who look forward with new eyes, crying out to the world, and in to themselves, “We want to be free!”

No cry, echoed through all eternity, ever carried such prominence, such eternal relevance and for all past and present circumstance. “We want to be free!”

No single idea, before or hereafter, has such enormous power, such overwhelming possibility, such unsurpassable resonance with the potential for such everlasting permanence. “We want to be free!”

From Tunisia, to Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Palestine… to Greece, France, and Spain, Germany, England, Iceland, and Italy… across the lands of Asia, and the sea itself, to Canada, America (even the South)… Honduras, Chile, and Brazil, from Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina, to the birthplace of humanity in that continent across the ocean, that great and wonderful landmass with those great and wonderful people in Africa. Everywhere, people cry out the same. “We want to be free!”

Everywhere, at all times and in all places, there are those among us, not separate, but indeed, very much human, who have lost their way, thrown their heart to the wind, love only themselves and their bank accounts, who seek to dominate, obfuscate, eradicate, the earth they plunder, and push the rest of us under, control, corrupt, and devastate. Their cause is profit and power, their means are deception and dehumanization, and yet their greatest weakness is their own deprivation, their disassociation, endless demoralization and reckless devastation. All they touch and control, has no warmth of heart, no hope of happiness, no joy of love like that which may be found in the smallest country, in the poorest village, with the poorest family, with the saddest story and the hardest life. For even in the greatest of tragedies, humans reach out to one another and find each other in their hearts and minds, hopes and dreams, actions and interactions.

Do not hate and despise those who sit above, in their towers of despair, in their prisons of profit, their cells of control, for they live, daily, paying the price for power. By segregating themselves from everyone else, they deprive themselves of all the humanity they can experience, learn, and love. Do not hate them, for they are weak and petty. Pity them for their self-isolation, love them for their human weakness, which we all share alike. Any such position of power can turn the most benevolent of beings into the most treacherous of tyrants. It is not the human which is depraved, but the society built up around us which makes the human depraved. Don’t hate the people, help the people! For they too, know not what freedom tastes, smells, sounds, looks and feels like. Let us show them the way, let all of us, together and forever, cry out, “We want to be free!”

Let them hear us, fear us, hate us, hurt us, push us, press us, crush us, curse us, and let them see us stand back on our feet, look above and beyond their petty positions, and again cry out, “We want to be free!” Let them see what humanity is capable of creating, instead of destroying. Let them see how humanity can cooperate, not segregate. Let them see, and tremble, and falter and fail, for when they come crashing down to the earth upon which we all stand, from which we all are provided our necessities of life, let us offer them a hand, lift them up, and join the call, “We want to be free!”

This is not the beginning of the end, this is the end of the beginning. This struggle will not be fought and won in the streets of New York, in the sands of the Middle East, in the mountains of Asia or the plains of Africa. This struggle will be fought and won inside every individual human being on this planet, in your heart and mind. But we come together, these new and wonderful days, to see and meet one another, as if for the first time, and to feel what it is to be ‘human’, to be standing side by side, crying out, “No more!” No more war, no more injustice, no more racism and militarism and hatred and dehumanization, no more plundering and destruction, no more segregation and isolation, no more empire and domination, no more institutions and executions, no more division and deprivation. No more. No more. We want to be free!

We want to be free!

We want to be free.

And so, some day, not today, perhaps not tomorrow, perhaps not this year or the next, perhaps not in my lifetime or those of all the rest, but some day… free, we will be. You can feel it, today, everywhere. Always. It’s within each of us and between all of us. It’s here, just see it, take it, and make it yours!

In our struggle for freedom, to throw off the chains that bind us, we become the idea that unites us. The very act of demanding and seeking freedom, requires all the efforts to release those chains and shackles which hold your mind in thinking that there is no way, no chance, no point. The very call, “We want to be free!” is an act of freedom. For all the institutions and ideas of power built up around us, individually and collectively, have been put there to prevent us from ever making such a call, from ever standing up against them, from ever speaking from our hearts and acting from our instincts.

If you want freedom, be freedom. The only way to get it, is to act like you already have it. And indeed, in truth, you do.

So stand, unite, and call out to the world as they call back to you, “We want to be free!”

And some day soon, so it will be.

Don’t Divide, UNITE! From Occupy Wall Street to Liberate the World

By: Andrew Gavin Marshall

Having watched closely the development and rapid growth of the ‘Occupy’ movement from when it began on Wall Street in September to its current global scope, where on October 15th it is expected to erupt in hundreds of cities around the world, there are various concerns and issues which I feel the need to discuss in a little more detail.

First, there is the very real threat of having the movement co-opted, whether by philanthropic foundations, political parties, NGOs, union reps or more likely, an amalgamation of them all simultaneously. This threat is present and pervasive. For those who ignore the potential of co-optation, the result can only be for the movement to be made ineffective for true change.

However, there is another threat, more subtle, and yet, even more damaging than co-optation. This threat comes from not only the movement, but the wider population itself. In a word: division. While closely following the developments in regards to politicians, philanthropists, and long sold-out activist organizations aligning with the movement in order to assert their authority over it, I have been even more disturbed by many reports, voices, criticisms, and perspectives of the wider alternative media and ‘awakening’ population, particularly in the United States, but also elsewhere as the movement spreads. The easiest way for a movement to be co-opted is for the movement to first be divided against itself. So I would like to delve into a little more detailed observations on this issue.

What is the threat of co-optation?

I have written and spoken on this issue previously. I recently wrote an article entitled, “Against the Institution: A Warning for Occupy Wall Street,” in which I explained the methods through which co-optation takes place, as well as another article, “End the Fed… but don’t stop there!“, in which I expressed support for the development of the Occupy the Fed movement, but warned against such a narrow focus, and finally, I did an interview with Russia Today in which I warned about the potential for co-optation and methods to guard against it.

So, at the risk of repeating myself, I will just quickly summarize my points here.

Co-optation is the process whereby established, institutional powers join a movement with the intent to direct the movement into an area which is ‘safe’ for the institutional elite. The ‘institutional elite’ (or global and national elite, if you prefer), are those who own, direct, control, fund, and steer the various institutions and dominant ideologies of our world, including (but not limited to): corporations, international organizations, the State, education, psychiatry, the media, political parties, NGOs, philanthropic foundations, think tanks, the military, intelligence, central banks and private banks.

Principally, co-optation of social movements is made most effective through the efforts of philanthropic foundations. Foundations (most notably the Carnegie, Ford, and Rockefeller Foundations) were created in the early 20th century with a dual purpose: to create consensus among the elites (through the formation of ideology, think tanks, shaping the educational system, etc), and more importantly, the engineering of consent (also through education, as well as facilitating the rise of the consumer society, constructing ideology, organizing Non-governmental organizations – NGOs – and directing social movements). When money from a foundation enters a social movement, it has several effects. Often, the movement may start out as or be organically developing into a radical movement aimed at altering the actual social structure – or system – of which the philanthropists themselves sit atop. Philanthropic foundations were founded by and are still run by bankers, industrialists, the heads of universities, think tanks, and other social and cultural leaders.

When the money from a foundation enters a social movement, it begins to organize the movement. It removes the radical concepts (or demands) and begins to organize around what they consider “acceptable” demands, which are those which promote “reform” (not revolution), which can be enacted through legislation. The funding helps create activist organizations, NGOs, non-profits and lobbying groups. Those within the movement who promote the reformist and legalistic “demands” are then elevated into leadership positions through foundation funding. Those who are radical may even be tempted into such positions with the hope and promise of “making change.” Thus, the foundations ‘professionalize’ the movement. The leaders direct organizations, sit over large budgets, and have comfortable salaries. They are invited to international conferences of NGOs, corporations, international organizations, and governments. Their purpose is to “speak for the people” in such meetings, but by being professionalized in such a way, they are removed from the people. In fact, their new-found personal wealth, status, respect, and ‘inclusion’ into the global institutional structure makes them dependent upon that very structure and system for their own well-being and sense of self-worth. Thus, they will only pursue “reformist” and “legalistic” changes to the system, never radical or revolutionary, as they are now personally dependent upon that system. The foundations will integrate the movements with particular NGOs, other activist organizations, and particular political parties, which will then “take on the agenda” (albeit the heavily “reformist” agenda) of the movement, create legislation, and seek “change” from within the system.

Ultimately, the result is that the movement is made ineffective. Reforming the system is akin to rearranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic. However, while often creating seemingly benevolent changes, the effects are subtle, yet severe. By turning a potentially radical movement into a reformist co-opted movement, through the effective seclusion of the radical and revolutionary elements and ideas of the movement, the mass of the people behind it are mobilized behind the reformist agenda. As legislation is passed, “causes” promoted, political parties participating, and media attention growing, the movement loses its steam and becomes complacent. The legislation addresses their “demands,” and now that the “professional” and “organized” movement has taken up the cause, the people can go back to sleep and feel comfortable in that they were a part of some effort at “change.” However, by promoting change within the system, instead of creating a new social, political, and economic reality, the changes themselves are ineffective. This is because the fundamental problem, whether the issue is racism, economic exploitation, poverty, war, empire, austerity, tyranny, exclusion, discrimination, and political oppression, the problem rests in the ideas and institutions of power. If the institutional system itself is not addressed as THE problem, no alterations to that system will sufficiently address the particular concern of the activists and social movements.

I have begun a Facebook page to promote the issues and make others aware of the threat of co-optation. Please “like” the page, share ideas, issues, articles, videos, and concerns (as well as SOLUTIONS!) to help stop co-optation!

Solidarity or Co-optation?
In regards to the Occupy Movement, the unions in the United States and elsewhere began showing support and solidarity with the movement, marching with them, and speaking out in favour of their causes. One of the effects this has had has been for those on the right, or the more libertarian social movements, to demonize the Occupy movement, or for those critical of co-optation to decry the movement as “controlled.” Even in my warnings against co-optation, I have mentioned the threat from unions, which has led many on the left to criticize me.

Thus, I feel it is important to differentiate between solidarity and co-optation. Solidarity implies a type of social empathy, in seeing how the cause or struggles of one movement or people is the cause and struggle of your own movement or people. Solidarity is an incredibly important and necessary development, especially in the context of today’s globalized world. Solidarity allows for people the world over to understand and believe that the struggle of one person is the struggle of all people in all places, and indeed it is. Thus, solidarity, no matter with whom, should not be shunned. There is, however, a fine line between solidarity and co-optation.

Co-optation emerges when those who declare solidarity then begin to speak “for” the movement, assume leadership positions within the movement, promote their particular agendas as the agendas of the entire movement, and effectively steer it into directions which they desire. This process must be guarded against.

Now, on unions specifically, there are some things to keep in mind. Historically, as unions began to rapidly emerge in the 19th century in America, the entire century was marked with labour struggles, worker uprisings, protests, activists, and rebellion. At that time, especially in the latter half of the 19th century, the unions were largely organizing against the Robber Baron industrialists and bankers, such as JP Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Harriman, Carnegie, Astor, and Vanderbilt. The protests and rebellions were often repressed brutally by state police or even the national guard, often demanded and paid for by those very industrialists and bankers. Interesting to note that the NYPD, which has been repressing the Occupy Wall Street movement, received a $4 million donation from JP Morgan Chase. Funny how some things never change.

At that time, the unions were incredibly radical, often socialist, communist, or anarchistic. They presented a major threat to the established power, and so the 20th century saw the development of new institutions and ideas to properly manage a disgruntled populace and radical social movements. It was in this context, in the early 20th century, in which the working class and lower classes were increasingly radical, and the middle class was increasingly anti-capitalist and distrustful of the banking and industrial elite, that we saw the emergence of philanthropic foundations and public relations. In turn, both the fields of public relations and the foundations helped facilitate the development of the ‘consumer culture’ in America, with the aim, as one banker with Lehman Brothers, Paul Mazer said, “We must shift America from a needs- to a desires-culture.” The bankers funded the entertainment industry, Hollywood, Times Square, advertising, and the development of department stores; the foundations helped create credit unions to allow middle class people to borrow in order to finance consumption, and public relations put a new face on corporate America and made consumption the past-time of the middle class. The aim was to separate the middle class from the working class, which were in the context of the late 19th and early 20th century, becoming dangerously close to uniting against the common enemy (the system itself).

The most influential political theorist of the era, Walter Lippmann (the Zbigniew Brzezinski of his era), articulated the need for the “engineering of consent” among the majority of people, so that society may be ordered and controlled from above, while the desires of the lower classes were created and amused by the true ruling powers. Edward Bernays, the “father of public relations,” wrote in his 1928 book, “Propaganda”:

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.

The elite, it can be said, were highly effective in dividing the working class and poor from the middle class. The middle class became dependent upon the system for a particular standard of living (defined by the ability to consume). Radical ideologies were then increasingly made irrelevant, demonized, and erased from the political consciousness. Any criticism of the system was then easily lopped into the category of the “Red Menace” of Communism, a boogeyman which still apparently exists for many right-leaning populations.

While the unions began as radical and indeed, revolutionary entities, this is not what they are today. The unions exist as they are, and are only able to be present in today’s institutional system, by having made the decisions to cooperate with big business and big government, and simply promote minor reforms and critiques to the system. They claim to speak for the workers of the world, but increasingly, especially since the emergence of the neoliberal era, they have come to consistently sell-out the workers. Throughout the Third World, as the neoliberal “Washington Consensus” was spread by the IMF and World Bank as a result of the 1980s debt crisis, union reps were bought off by government and business interests, made their pockets full while stabbing the workers in the back.

In regards to the Occupy Movement, solidarity with unions is not a bad thing. Here’s why: solidarity does not imply unions co-opting the movement (that must be prevented), but it does imply a solidarity with workers. Indeed, workers in America and around the world have suffered much more at the result of decisions and actions by banks, corporations, and governments than the middle class have. But solidarity with a growing and global movement is important, because so long as the movement remains grassroots, or seeks to promote its grassroots and radical potential, the movement can itself be an example for the workers and unions to return to their radical roots. Lead by example!

This seemingly reflexive impulse to simply denounce the entire movement the moment an organization, individual, or idea one does not agree with associates itself with the movement is the height of ignorance. Solidarity with workers and unions is important and necessary. But, if leadership in the movement develops (as it tends to with all social movements), let it develop organically from among the people, let it remain radical and revolutionary, and let it lead those it stands in solidarity with by showing them the way forward to grassroots, globalized, revolutionary social movements.

Destroyed From Within

This hits on another major issue, that of internal and external divisions. In this era, in the midst of the Technological Revolution providing more information and easier global communication than ever before in human history, people have the capacity to come together, to organize, unite, become activated and educated, and seek and promote change together, around the world. This is unprecedented in human history. A totally unique position for humanity to be in, and the greatest opportunity for true liberation humanity has ever had. Let’s not screw this up!

What I am referring to is that even for all the very real threats of institutional co-optation, we the people, seem to be doing a pretty good job of making the movement ineffective before the elite even have a chance to.

Unfortunately, one of the methods through which the movement is becoming divided is in regards to those who see a threat of co-optation. This is largely done through the alternative media and various social critics and activists. While keeping an eye out for the institutions and individuals commonly associated with co-optation, the moment that politicians, activist organizations, philanthropists or others show “solidarity” with the movement, many critical observers simply denounce the movement as “co-opted,” as in: it’s a done deal, party’s over, it’s “controlled” and it’s all a conspiracy! Go home, give up, the end.

Here is why this is an awful position to take: it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If one sees the sharks circling and yells, “It’s over, jump in the water and get it over with!” one may forget that there is still a paddle in the boat. There is still hope. But for the boat to get to shore, attention must be called to the sharks, and those who call attention to the risks, may help steer it best to safety. If those who see the risks inherent simply then jump off the boat, the others remain unaware of those risks, and the boat will likely sink amidst the swarm of sharks. Instead, the movement needs the critical voices, those who see and seek to avoid co-optation. These voices are needed to help mobilize the movement away from co-optation. After all, while the sharks may be circling, we have a much better chance together than alone.

So, to those who denounce the movement as already co-opted and controlled, I have this to say: is it not better to see the problems and make others aware so that they may be avoided, rather than denounce the entire movement, isolate yourself from it, and them from you? After all, once you segregate yourself from the movement, you segregate your ideas from the movement. The most unfortunate aspect of this is that in diversity, there is strength. Diversity of ideas and beliefs is a great thing. The power of uniting regardless of these diversities, and in fact, because of them, is the only way forward.

The elite are constantly engaged in attempting to establish consensus, work together, create common ideology, establish mutual interests, and implement coordinated action. This is their strength. And I am not talking about political parties, Republican and Democrat, they are a sideshow developed for popular consumption, just like Hollywood. The elite – the true rulers of our world – constantly and often effectively seek to establish consensus in ideas and action. Yet, we the people, tend to actively engineer divisions and segregation. This is our GREATEST weakness. The elite love this. They love it especially because it does not even require their active participation. We can do it all on our own!

Examples of this in regards to the Occupy movement are as follows: I have seen articles and comments, blogs and alternative news, critics and dissenters, who denounce or decry the movement because there are “socialists,” “communists,” “anarchists,” or that the movement is “anti-Capitalist,” and thus, a “communist conspiracy by bankers.” Because the movement does not articulate MY specific ideas, the movement is therefore irrelevant and controlled. The movement decries Wall Street, and not the Fed, therefore it is controlled and co-opted! The Fed is the problem, not Wall Street! … These are very common denunciations of the movement.

Well, for those who focus on the Federal Reserve: indeed, the Federal Reserve is one of the MAIN problems, and in fact, the global central banking system itself. However, I find myself confused by those who seem to have enough knowledge of the Fed to know that it “needs to go,” but then state that “Wall Street is not the problem.” My confusion is this: Wall Street owns the Fed. The Federal Reserve System, composed of 12 regional Fed banks, which are themselves private banks, the most powerful of which is the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, are controlled by the banks. The board of directors of the NY Fed includes Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase. JP Morgan Chase is one of the principal shareholders in the New York Fed, as are the other major Wall Street banks. Thus, Wall Street owns and runs the Fed for the benefit of the Wall Street banks. So, those who claim we should focus on the Fed and not Wall Street are missing the critical point: they are almost identical, represent the same interests, work to the same ends, and are so heavily integrated that we should be against both (not to mention all other institutions of power).

In fact, many of those who claim that the Fed is the problem and the movement is controlled had themselves for years been highly critical of Wall Street. Yet, it seems, that as soon as others are critical of the same institution, but articulate different philosophies, they are wrong, the movement is controlled, and they are protesting against the wrong things. This creates needless divisions. Instead, would it not be more effective to join the movement and seek to educate the mass of the movement about the Federal Reserve System, instead of denouncing them simply for not knowing? After all, by denouncing them, you segregate yourself and your ideas from the movement. Subsequently, you complain that the movement doesn’t share your ideas, and is therefore wrong and controlled. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It must be understood that the majority of the Occupy movement is made up of students and average people, hurt by the economic crisis, or disturbed by the declining social conditions, the political apathy to make change, and the general dissatisfaction with the status quo, These are reasonable things to make people active and motivated. Do not expect the majority of these people to be as ‘aware’ of the large plethora of issues at hand, or to understand the system as well as those who have made a living out of studying it. I have seen footage from the movement where protesters denounce Wall Street and in the same breath endorse Obama. It’s absurd, yes, Obama is a Wall Street product (much like a derivative!), but don’t denounce the entire movement as a result. Instead, should we not seek to educate, engage, and interact with those people in the hopes of enlarging their perspective? But then, it is always much easier to denounce, disregard, and dismiss than it is to engage, participate, and integrate. What we may not realize is that dismissal only segregates our ideas and analysis from the wider population.

This is an Opportunity! Don’t Ignore it, Take it!

All too often we miss the forest for the trees. We so easily segregate ourselves from one another, as opposed to uniting together. We see the superiority of our own ideas, and demonize all others. Passive observation is always so much easier than active participation. The notion that libertarians have nothing to learn from socialists is as absurd as the notion that socialists have nothing to learn from libertarians. Yet, both groups so often demonize one another, and always keep each other at a distance, segregated, divided, and thereby both sides of the spectrum become ineffective. Both demonize each other based upon false conceptualizations of each philosophy. Socialists, and for that matter, many on the left, identify libertarians with neoliberalism, and thus, as part of the problem, as the status quo itself. Libertarians, for their part, see socialists as absolute Marxist Communists and, many on the right as well, tend to associate socialism with Communist China, the Soviet Union, or North Korea, and therefore they see socialists as wanting to destroy all individuality and freedom in favour of the all-encompassing power of ‘the State.’ This division was not always present, and it’s time it is relegated to the dustbin of history. We cannot move forward lest we move forward together.

There is, however, a philosophy which is known almost paradoxically as “Libertarian Socialism.” One would find this an absurd oxymoron, but it is an actual philosophy. It is often interchangeable with the term “anarchism.” Anarchism itself is perhaps the most effectively demonized and dismissed political philosophy, as well as the most misunderstood, not to mention the one with the most potential to unite the masses of people. It is an incredibly diverse philosophy, not dogmatic or strict, but incredibly all encompassing. Anarchism is simply the belief in human freedom being the necessary condition for human happiness, and that it is institutions of authority which make humanity depraved, violent, corrupt, and controlled. Anarchists have presented the most authoritative critique of the state, as well as various institutions of power. It’s origins and developments can be found in ancient Chinese Taoism, and it emerged as a distinct philosophy organically in several different civilizations, eras, and ideas: in ancient China, Rome, Greece, early Christianity, Medieval Europe, and the word “anarchist” first was used to describe a philosophical position in the 19th century, with philosophers like William Godwin, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Mikhail Bakunin, Peter Kropotkin, Leo Tolstoy, and into the 20th century with theorists like Emma Goldman and many others. In fact, it was the anarchist philosopher, Bakunin, who presented the greatest challenge to Karl Marx at the First International, as Marx sought to (and ultimately did) have Bakunin and the anarchists sidelined and made irrelevant in the Socialist International. Bakunin, for his part, predicted that Marxism is too authoritarian, as it would use the state to establish a dictatorship, and that if ever attempted, it would establish a “Red bureaucracy” all the more tyrannical than the government it was supposed to replace. Of course, Bakunin was correct in predicting this, but we don’t commonly learn about philosophers or philosophies which are accurate, that might have the undesired side effect of educating us.

Instead, we hear the word “anarchism” and think of violence, lawlessness, chaos, disorder, and primitive nature. Anarchism is in fact about the triumph of individuality, and the necessity of community; that the individual is best supported through communal ties. The promotion of absolute freedom from all structures of authority, along with a stressing of individuality (and with it, ingenuity and creativity), as well as the importance of community and interaction, has allowed this philosophy to attract communists, socialists, liberals, conservatives, and libertarians. In fact, it has allowed for mutual cooperation across the spectrum, for anarchism does not sit upon the left/right paradigm, but rather upon the freedom/tyranny paradigm. It is able to remove socialism and communism from authoritarian elements (which promote the state), and is also able to remove libertarianism from its arch-capitalist concepts which promote corporations and banks at the behest of the rest. Anarchism is capable of mixing the ‘free market’ ideals of libertarians with the social principles of socialists.

I stress this point simply to press the idea that there is mutual ground upon which the left and right are able to unite, to come together, act together, and learn from one another. I comfortably place myself within the anarchist philosophy largely because it is not dogmatic. For many years, I struggled to define my own views: I was neither conservative nor liberal, I identified with many social principles of socialists, yet was attracted to the freedom-promoting ideals of libertarians. I felt that Marxist analysis had much to offer, but I had great distaste for its proffered solutions. Through my own individual research on a wide range of subjects, I came to see not capitalism as the problem, nor the state as the sole problem. The problem then, I found, was that I was expected to identify “one” cause of all problems, and therefore, take “one” stance, and offer “one solution.” I could not do this. I found interesting and indeed important ideas in a wide array of philosophies, theories, critiques and concepts, but could not adhere to “one.” Rather, I would seek to take the ideas I liked from each, remove those I didn’t, and throw them together to form my own perspective as a kind of “hodge podge” philosophy. The result, was that I tended to identify the concept of power centralization itself as the issue: the notion of ideas and institutions of power depriving individuals and the collective of humanity the power of self-determination. When I quite literally stumbled into some anarchist philosophy, I realized that this concept has been articulated for thousands of years, developed organically by many civilizations, cultures, religions, and individuals. Known as different things at different times, it all tended to fall under the umbrella of anarchism, and what a wide, all-encompassing umbrella it is. What other philosophy could you have such variations of ideas so as to include what are known as “anarcho-communists” and “anarcho-Capitalists,” and that they may have such common ground to stand upon?

Diversity is Strength

Do not fear different ideas, radical concepts, or foreign philosophies. Engage, learn, teach, debate, articulate, DE-segregate, include, interact, unify, energize, challenge yourself and others, develop and grow. We do not all need to have ONE opinion, ONE idea, ONE solution. All we need is ONE reason to unite, yet we all too often overlook that very blatant, obvious reason to find many reasons for which we can divide. All it takes is one reason to unite, very simple: we are all in this together. That’s it! All the rest is salad dressing. We are all in this little world together. You don’t have to like every idea or every other person, you don’t have to think the same or act the same or dress the same or believe the same, all you have to do is be aware that we are, all of us, here on this little planet together. That realization makes it necessary that we begin to find common ground to stand on. This does not mean we need to have ONE idea, for once we have one dogmatic concept, it becomes institutionalized and corrosive and destructive.

Diversity is strength.

It amazes me, how in doing my own research for several years now, I find myself feeling so secure, so determined and even stubborn on the ‘correctness’ or ‘righteousness’ of a particular idea or understanding I have come to embrace. And then… I do more research, discover more things, delve into more history, more philosophy, more ideas, more analysis… and suddenly, I have to challenge all my preconceived notions and beliefs. Suddenly, I have to refine all my “correct” ideas to become “more correct.” And then, like it says on your bottle of conditioner, “rinse, repeat.” The one thing I have come to stop being surprised by, is that I am constantly surprised. My own beliefs, ideas, understanding and philosophy is in a constant state of growth, as I am in a constant state of learning. And yet, every time I come to some new conclusion, it seems as if my mind says, “Well then, that’s it, I’ve got it… now I’m done… right?” And then, I happen across some new subject, some new idea, or issue… and “rinse, repeat.”

We must learn to all put aside our inherent biases, to engage with our own knowledge, but with the acceptance that we have more to learn from others. Because, we do! Whether or not you believe it, we do. And we won’t ever move forward in this world unless we move forward together. The elite know this. They have always known this since ancient times. That is why elites seek to divide and conquer. But the system that has developed up and around humanity for the several thousand years of our existence on this little planet has become so ingrained in the human conception of itself that we no longer require the elite to divide us, we do such a good and effective job of it ourselves!

Humanity must mature from its adolescent stage of development where we have authority figures telling us how to dress, what to think, where to go and what to do. It’s time humanity becomes an ‘adult.’ In short, we need to grow up! Put aside the petty differences which do us no good, find our common ground to stand on, and move forward together.

The funny thing is, once we are capable of doing that, the elite become a sideshow. When we do that, we realize that the elite are always a sideshow. They become totally irrelevant, archaic, and useless. To change the world, we must change our selves. The true revolution requires no seizure of power or usurpation of the state. The true revolution is a philosophical revolution, fought and won internally. The growing and developing global protest Occupy Movement is an important step in establishing global solidarity, in truly experiencing the ‘power’ of individuals when they come together, in understanding that we are all indeed, together.

If the movement becomes a truly effective engine for change, it will have to promote solidarity with all peoples and groups all over the world, it will not demand anything of institutions and power structures, but demand change only of itself, and as such, seek to forge cooperation, education, understanding, and actively create new ideas and a new social reality.

If it is to be truly effective, not only must it guard against institutional co-optation, but it must more so guard against internal divisions and segregation. Whether the movement isolates itself from others, or others isolate themselves from the movement, the effect is the same.

But always remember…

Diversity is Strength!

Andrew Gavin Marshall is an independent researcher and writer and is Project Manager of The People’s Book Project.

VIDEO: Occupy Wall Street Infiltration?

My latest interview with RT, in which I discuss the issue of the potential for Occupy Wall Street to be infiltrated, co-opted and controlled, and what could be done to prevent this, both in terms of ideas and action.

Please help prevent co-optation of the Occupy Movement. Join the “STOP Co-Optation” facebook page, discuss ideas, promote information, and share with friends!

STOP Co-Optation of the ‘Occupy’ Movement

For more on this subject, see:

Against the Institution: A Warning for Occupy Wall Street

End the Fed… but don’t stop there!

A Revolutionary Idea for a Revolutionary Time: A Plan of Action for the Global Political Awakening

VIDEO: Make Revolution, Not Reform: A Warning to the ‘Occupy’ Movement

For more information, see:

“End the Fed… but don’t stop there!”

“Against the Institution: A Warning for ‘Occupy Wall Street’.”

“A Revolutionary Idea for a Revolutionary Time: A Plan of Action for the Global Political Awakening.”

“The People’s Book Project.”

 

End the Fed… but don’t stop there!

End the Fed… but don’t stop there!

By: Andrew Gavin Marshall

In solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement, an Occupy the Fed (referring to the Federal Reserve System in the United States) has sprung up. I would just like to make a few comments related to this issue, as I think ending the Fed is very important (along with the entire central banking system), however, many who advocate an ‘end to the Fed’ often present it as a type of all-encompassing solution, as if ending the Fed will end all the problems faced by humanity at our present situation. I hope to shed some light upon this misleading notion.

The Fed is certainly an integral aspect of the system, as is the entire global central banking system. But it was itself a product of the system, and it’s not like America or the world were wonderful utopias of freedom, equality, and justice prior to the central banks or the Fed. They simply were the manifestation of the next logical step in power structures. The problem then, lies not with the Fed alone (though it is necessary to END it), but the true struggle, and the true source of change, can come only from the great struggle against ‘the institution’ itself. Whether a central bank, a private bank, a State, a corporation, an international financial institution, the UN, the IMF, World Bank, WTO, NATO, the military, philanthropic foundations, psychiatry, the church, the media, education, etc., it is ‘the institution’ and ‘the idea’ which must be challenged. Ideas are powerful things, and when institutionalized, they become corrosive, oppressive, segregative, divisive, controlling and dehumanizing. The Institution seeks to define humanity, and thus forces humanity to conform to its definition, to fit within the confines of our global institutional structures. Instead, we need to create a society that conforms to human nature. How do we do this? First, we must discover our true human nature. As long as “civilization” has existed, humans have been defined, controlled, and oppressed by various ideas and institutions.

As such, our ‘nature’ has only been viewed within the confines of the structure that controls us. When you study mice in a maze, no matter for what length of time or what the maze is constructed of and looks like, you cannot deduce the nature of the mouse separate from the context of the maze. To understand the true nature of the mouse, you must tear down the maze, stand back, and observe as life seeks out new opportunity, exploration, discovery, creativity, and purpose. In short, freedom. We must tear down the maze, tear down the walls, the institutions and ideas which seek to define and control humanity. We have to set humanity free in order to understand our true nature, and thus, construct a society based upon that nature. Simultaneously to the de-institutionalization of society, we must construct alternatives through communities, collective groupings, cooperative voluntary associations of individuals and localities, where people directly control and operate the economy, the polity, the society itself. It does not require hierarchy, institutions, authority and coercion. It requires only the will and the ability to see the system for what it is in its entirety, and to act accordingly.

So what is a possibility? What type of ideas can we move forward with? Many people may cringe, revile, and reject the notion of ‘anarchy,’ but their prejudices in regards to anarchy lead one to associate it reflexively with chaos, violence, and disorder. Anarchy is not what one typically thinks. Anarchy is not chaos or violence or lawlessness. Anarchy is simply the concept that the burden of proof is on the structure of power, and if that structure has no legitimacy, it should not exist. Anarchy is where true democracy and true freedom flourish, where people don’t fight one another or seek to control and dominate, but where they cooperate, integrate, communicate, liberate and grow together. Technology would not be the enemy, but the means through which we establish, maintain, and give growth to a new global philosophy of liberation, through which communities and peoples around the world can interact and communicate directly with one another – and NOT through a particular lens of power – but as individuals, as equals. They can learn from each other, grow together. Anarchy is the understanding that freedom for one requires freedom for all, from all which seeks to define, control, and oppress humanity.

Never before has the aim of such a global society been made possible, but it is precisely because of technology – communication and information – that such a concept may become practical and plausible. It is precisely that everyone can see, communicate, and understand one another and our collective struggles as human beings which will allow us to understand that it is the structures, ideas, and institutions of power which must be laid to rest. If you merely replace the institution with another, change the flag, usurp the power over the institution, no matter the intent, the desire, the hope… the institution will corrupt those who sit atop. All of human history is evidence of this.

Humans were not meant to live in a system where so few are able to control so many. Power was not meant to be centralized, and thereby removed from the people. Individual psychology is evidence of this. Power is necessary in the life of all individuals, the power to lead one’s own life and seek out your own destiny, ideas, experience your creativity and to discover and be who you are to the best of your abilities. When we lack this power over our own lives, our societies become sick. The social is a reflection of the psychological, and the psychological is a reflection of the social; just as the sky reflects the ocean, and the ocean reflects the sky. To be free, personally, individually, psychologically, emotionally, politically, economically, socially, and truly… we can no longer accept this perverted system we call “civilization.”

Humanity is still in its adolescent stage, where we remain dependent upon those who brought us here. Now it is time to use the tools we have acquired through our collective historical childhood and adolescence so that the whole of humanity may now ‘grow up’ and create a society befitting of a free thinking and acting individual.

So yes, End the Fed… But for the sake of humanity, don’t stop there!

For more information on this subject, see my recent article: Against the Institution: A Warning for ‘Occupy Wall Street’

And for a wider perspective of the ‘Institutional’ system and means of creating a new one, see my report: A Revolutionary Idea for a Revolutionary Time: A Plan of Action for the Global Political Awakening

Andrew Gavin Marshall is an independent researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada, and is Project Manager of The People’s Book Project.

Against the Institution: A Warning for ‘Occupy Wall Street’

While I fully endorse the efforts and actions of the Occupy Wall Street protests, now emerging internationally, there are concerns which need to be addressed and kept in mind as the movement moves forward.

The process through which a potentially powerful movement may be co-opted and controlled is slight and subtle. If Occupy Wall Street hopes to strive for the 99%, it must not submit to the 1%, in any capacity.

The Occupy movement must prevent what happened to the Tea Party movement to happen to it. Whatever ideological stance you may have, the Tea Party movement started as a grass roots movement, largely a result of anti-Federal Reserve protests. They were quickly co-opted with philanthropic money and political party endorsements.

For the Occupy Movement to build up and become a true force for change, it must avoid and reject the organizational and financial ‘contributions’ of institutions: be they political parties, non-profits, or philanthropic foundations. The efforts are subtle, but effective: they seek to organize, professionalize, and institutionalize a movement, push forward the issues they desire, which render the movement useless for true liberation, as these are among the very institutions the movement should be geared against.

This is not simply about “Wall Street,” this is about POWER. Those who have power, and those who don’t. When those who have power offer a hand in your struggle, their other hand holds a dagger. Remain grassroots, remain decentralized, remain outside and away from party politics, remain away from financial dependence. Freedom is not merely in the aim, it’s in the action.

The true struggle is not left versus right, democrat versus republican, liberal versus conservative, or libertarian versus socialist. The true struggle is that of people against the institution: the State, the banks, the central banking system, the corporation, the international financial institutions, the military, the political parties, the mainstream media, philanthropic foundations, think tanks, university, education, psychiatry, the legal system, the church, et. al.

The transfer of power from one institution to another does not solve the crisis of our ‘institutional society,’ whereby a few have come to dominate so much, to concentrate so much power at the expense of everyone else having so little. True liberation will result only from opposition to ‘the institution’ as an entity. Placating power from one institution to another renders resistance ineffective. The power structures must be discredited, and power must be distributed to the people, through voluntary associations, communal groupings, and people-powered (and people-funded!) initiatives.

In order to survive as a movement, money will become a necessity. Do not turn to the non-profits and philanthropic foundations for support. The philanthropies, which fund and created the non-profits and NGOs, were themselves created to engage in ‘social engineering’: to ‘manufacture consent’ among the governed, and create consensus among the governors. The philanthropies (particularly those of Carnegie, Ford, and Rockefeller) fund social movements and protest organizations so as to steer them into directions which are safe for the elites. The philanthropies are themselves run by the elite, founded by bankers and industrialists striving to preserve their place at the top of the social structure in the midst of potentially revolutionary upheaval. As the president of the Ford Foundation once said, “Everything the foundation does is to make the world safe for capitalism.”

Money from philanthropies will organize the movement into a more professionalized entity, will direct its efforts around the promotion of legalistic reform, making slight changes to the system’s symptoms, promoting particular legislation, rallying around very specific issues removed from their global historical context. The effect is to turn anti-system revolutionaries into legalistic reformers. With such funding, movement organizers are drawn into the world of NGOs, international conferences, international institutions, aid agencies, and mainstream political participation. The leaders of the movement become professionalized and successful, both in prestige and finances. Thus, their own personal position becomes dependent upon promoting reform, not revolution; on maintaining the system (with minor changes to the aesthetic), not moving against it. The movement itself, then, would be institutionalized.

For the finances to grow without the threat of institutional dominance, the money must come from the people. A truly populist cause could be funded by the people. Keep the people in charge.

If we truly want freedom and liberation, we must begin to act free and liberated. If we want the ‘true liberation,’ we must understand the true system of power that confines, oppresses, segregates, exploits, impoverishes, and controls us. It is not a matter of the state or the banks or the corporations. It is a matter of the institution, itself. The structures of power must be struggled against so that we may come to liberate humanity from all that confines it, and experience what our true ‘human nature’ is.

If one studies mice in a maze, no matter for how long or what the maze is built of, looks like, feels like, you cannot deduce the nature of the mouse separate from that of the maze. Break down the maze and you may observe the true nature of the mouse. We have been living, always, within a maze. The walls are constructed as institutions which direct, steer, manipulate, define and segregate us from one another.

First we must tear down the barriers that bind us from ourselves, and then we may truly understand what it is to be human and free.

Andrew Gavin Marshall

Project Manager, The People’s Book Project

A Revolutionary Idea for a Revolutionary Time: A Plan of Action for the Global Political Awakening

[The Rockefeller Foundation’s policies] were directed to the general problem of human behavior, with the aim of control through understanding. The Social sciences, for example, will concern themselves with the rationalization of social control; the Media and Natural sciences propose a closely coordinated study of sciences which underlie personal understanding and personal control.

– Max Mason, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, 1933[1]

Much of [the Global Political Awakening] is also fueled by globalization, which the United States propounds, favors and projects by virtue of being a globally outward-thrusting society. But that also contributes to instability, and is beginning to create something altogether new: namely, some new ideological or doctrinal challenge which might fill the void created by the disappearance of communism… But [communism] is now totally discredited, and we have a pragmatic vacuum in the world today regarding doctrines. But I see the beginnings, in writings and stirrings, of the making of a doctrine which combines anti-Americanism with anti-globalization, and the two could become a powerful force in a world that is very unequal and turbulent.

– Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Carnegie Council, 2004[2]

Introduction

We are in revolutionary times. Our societies – the political, economic, and social institutions and ideas that comprise our global, national, and local social structure – are in a state of transformation. We are entering into the Greatest Depression in history, our governments are driven by the logic of imperial insanity, whereby we are increasingly headed for a World War III scenario. The imperial strategists who advise and determine the policies of our nations are bent on a system of total global control. We undertake an imperialist war against the country of Libya, we seek to expand the global war into Pakistan, largely in order to challenge China’s growing influence in the world, and we have set the stage for another imperialist war in Yemen. The covert apparatus – military and intelligence – of our imperialistic nations have and continue to employ the techniques and support of terrorism in order to achieve strategic goals, including using terrorism against our domestic populations themselves.

The middle classes of the Western industrialized world are on the verge of total extinction, with the likely result of leading to riots, rebellion, and revolution. We have entered the era of the ‘Global Political Awakening,’ where for the first time in human history, as American imperial strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski articulated, “almost all of humanity is politically activated, politically conscious and politically interactive. Global activism is generating a surge in the quest for cultural respect and economic opportunity in a world scarred by memories of colonial or imperial domination.” With the Arab uprisings, we have seen a new phase in the Global Political Awakening, which is itself a process in the long road to world revolution. Naturally, our imperial governments seek to co-opt, control, or totally oppress these revolutionary sentiments into more evolutionary, stable, and secure structures.

Elite think tanks such as the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg Group, and the Trilateral Commission work to establish consensus among elites in a global project of social engineering, seeking to establish a system and structure of global governance and ultimately, global government. A major facet of this global social engineering project is through the global economic crisis – the Greatest Depression – whereby a great global debt depression will create and conditions necessary to serve as an excuse for a global government. Already, this process is well under way in the establishment of global economic governance, in the forms of a global central bank and a global currency.

Indeed, the system being constructed and engineered by the elite is not simply a global government as we may understand the notion of government in today’s context, but an entirely new structure, driven by the social engineering techniques of science and technology, into a Global Scientific Dictatorship.

So where are we? How did we get here? Who drove us here? What ideas created these circumstances? Where are we going? Why?

Understanding Power

These are questions I ask and seek to answer in my current book project, which is a historical, political, economic and social analysis of the ideas, institutions, and individuals of power in our world. Included in this examination is the history and emergence of the nation state, capitalism, central banking, and the rise of the powerful and dominant banking dynasties – such as Rothschild, Morgan, and Rockefeller – which have come to manifest themselves as the modern imperial families of the global era. Included in this heavily-researched study is the emergence of the concept of ‘social control’ and its manifestation through the creation of the public education system, the university education system, the development and evolution of the ‘social sciences’ as tools of ‘social engineering,’ the emergence of the major philanthropic foundations, founded, funded, and run by the dominant dynastic powers for the purposes of creating consensus among elites, and engineering consent among the governed. Also examined in the book is the apparatus of empire, including the IMF, the World Bank, the UN, the Bank for International Settlements, the Pentagon, CIA, and the uses and techniques of war and covert operations. However, the role of the foundations is a significant facet of the book.

The foundations play a significant part in the examination of power in our global society, and are a major focus of my book. The foundations were created in an era in large part defined by the elite ideology of eugenics, where the elite sought to engineer humanity itself, to establish themselves as entrenched in the social structure of the world, and to create the conditions through which that domination may be expanded and secured. The foundations not only funded and helped engineer the eugenics movement, but they have played a pivotal role in the control, co-optation, consensus-building, ideology construction, and engineering of consent in a large number of other areas: the formation and evolution of the social sciences (including political science, economics, sociology, psychology), the development and direction of science (in particular genetics, microbiology, physics, chemistry, psychiatry, medicine), the population control movement, funding and directing into ‘safe’ avenues major social movements which would otherwise threaten the global social structure and elite interests, such as the Civil Rights movement, the environmental movement, and the anti-globalization movement. The foundations have essentially created and managed a global civil society, supporting the development and proliferation of Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which act as modern equivalents to the missionary societies of the formal colonial era, whereby they contribute moderately to relieving the symptoms of imperialism and domination (such as supporting efforts for education, health care, and human rights) while ultimately undermining and co-opting indigenous resistance movements which might otherwise challenge the power structures that created those symptoms in the first place. The foundations helped establish and fund the major think tanks, such as the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg Group, and the Trilateral Commission, which function by bringing together elites from banking, industry, media, academia, politics, military, intelligence and other areas in order to help establish consensus among the elites in the broader goal of engineering a system of global governance. As such, the foundations are ‘engines of social engineering,’ effectively constructing ideology, and aiding in the institutionalization of ideas.

It is the concept of the institutionalization of ideas which is a primary focus of my book, understanding power as being particularly relevant in this context. While certainly there are individuals, families, and groups which are dominant and hold enormous power, there were first ideas and institutions which allowed and facilitated the rise of these very individuals to such positions of power. In the book, I do not refrain from naming the names of the elite, with a particular focus on the roles of the Rothschild and Rockefeller families; however, I also place these dynastic influences within a wider context: understanding that these families were only able to rise to the positions of power they now hold because of the effect of particular ideas and institutions, such as those of the nation-state, capitalism, central banking, private banking, hegemony, empire, and social engineering. More than ingenuity, it was opportunity that allowed these families to rise to power. While since coming to power, they have generally been the dominant forces in steering the direction of the global social, political, and economic structures, they are as much a product of previous social, political, and economic power structures as the rest of us are. As such, we cannot erroneously and simplistically identify all the problems of our world with a few individuals or families. This would be a monumental error if we are to ever move forward and find new solutions. It is, in fact, the power of ideas which is central to understanding our world, and in particular, the effect of the ‘institutionalization of ideas.’

While critically examining the roles of these dynastic powers in our society is imperative in order to understand how we got to this place, if we limit ourselves to that focus alone, we risk the eventual failure of any attempt at true change. If we focus simply on these dynastic influences, we neglect the role played by the various ideas and institutions which have made possible the development of dynastic power; thus, if we fail to properly understand the nature and interaction of ideas and institutions in the context of power, we will ultimately only replace the names of those who dominate the world, not the system of domination itself. If we seek to only criticize and change the dynastic rulers, new ones will rise in their place, for we would hold onto various ideas and institutions which gave rise to them in the first place. After all, if it had not been the Rothschilds or Rockefellers, it would have been someone else. Even if we remove all the ideas and institutions which these dynasties have established, we neglect to see that there were previous institutionalized ideas which brought them to power in the first place. This is the focus of my book, seeking to understand power in the context of the institutionalization of ideas.

As such, we also can come to understand a different notion of human nature, manifested and made possible only by the removal of those ideas and institutions which dominate and oppress humanity, and thus, we can see a possibility of an era of true human liberation, a true global revolution. The circumstances for this global revolution are developing and increasing. Already, we are thrust within the era of the ‘Global Political Awakening,’ where all of humanity is socially conscious, politically aware, and economically exploited. Thus, the conditions for radical change are made present. However, there still remains the multiplicity of views, understandings, ideologies, and intricacies of actions which make the ‘Global Awakening’ at present, a disunited, fractured, largely divided, often antagonistic, and easily co-opted global social phenomena.

The concept of the ‘Global Political Awakening’ has been popularized by the American imperial strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser, former director of the Council on Foreign Relations, former Bilderberg group member, and co-founder with David Rockefeller of the Trilateral Commission, who continues to serve on a number of boards of prominent elite think tanks such as the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the RAND Corporation. Brzezinski identifies the ‘global political awakening’ as the greatest strategic threat to the institutionalized powers of the world, and proposes that policies initiated by governments and other institutions must address this as the fundamental issue of our time, and thus support the expansion of global governance as a means to deal with this phenomenon. In discussing this concept, Brzezinski warned fellow elites in a speech to the Carnegie Council, that the ‘global political awakening’ remains relatively adolescent and disunited:

But I see the beginnings, in writings and stirrings, of the making of a doctrine which combines anti-Americanism with anti-globalization, and the two could become a powerful force in a world that is very unequal and turbulent.[3]

This book attempts to help fill the “doctrinal void” that Brzezinski identifies as being the fundamental force preventing the unification of the Global Political Awakening. I am attempting to write this book as a study of power in our world unlike any previous examination: how did we get here? Where are we going? And why? Further, the book, through its more comprehensive examination of the power of ideas and institutions, simultaneously undertakes an examination of resistance and potential solutions. As such, the book attempts to articulate a ‘Philosophy of Liberation,’ one that may appeal to the majority of the world’s population.

The Philosophy of Liberation

This philosophy, intended to serve as a potential doctrine for the ‘Global Political Awakening,’ has a broad appeal which can unite the left and right, which has the potential to gain support from both socialists and libertarians. Fundamentally, it is a simple concept: the ‘philosophy of liberation’ entails the absolute and total liberation of humanity from the ideas and institutions which dominate, co-opt, control, oppress and destroy humanity. The aim in such a concept of absolute and total liberation is to free humanity so that we may understand the true ‘human nature’, which has otherwise always been subject to various forms of control and oppression.

Apart from abstract notions of liberation and freedom, however, the book proposes particular plans of action and initiative which seek to bring such ideals to reality. The critical importance of understanding power in our world as a product of ideas and institutions is that we can come to see that what is needed to change this world into something that supports and liberates humanity (as opposed to controlling and oppressing humanity) is simply… a new idea. If ideas built this world and its power structures, if ideas built the institutions which dominate and control, if ideas gave rise to the dynastic powers which rule our world like modern imperial families, then what is required to bring all of this tumbling down is a new idea.

This new idea, which I set forth in the book, is a concept of anti-institutionalism: those ideas which seek to dominate must be challenged by those which seek to liberate; the institutionalization of those dominating ideas must be challenged by a counter-institutional structure which seeks to establish a parallel global system, so that the old institutions may be made irrelevant, antiquated, and extinct. The paradox here is that we must construct a counter-hegemonic system of institutions, but that they must be endowed with a strict adherence to a ‘philosophy of liberation’ which manifests itself as ‘anti-institutionalism.’ In short, we must create anti-institutional institutions.

Why is this so? Is this not entirely contradictory?

Indeed, these are fair questions, but they have fair answers. While we may have ideas of what is ideal, what is desired, and what is important; namely, concepts of peace, justice, democracy, freedom, and liberation. But we must establish a plan of action – a concept of how to achieve those ideals – yet this can only be done by understanding the world as it is, and therefore, the plan of action for liberation must be based on a realistic conception of the world if it is to have any chance of success in changing that world.

We live in a world of institutions and ideas. That is established. To create something new, to progress toward true liberation and freedom, we have to establish plans of action that act within – though opposed to – the global power structure of ideas and institutions. This does not propose a strategy of “change from the inside” where well-intentioned people join the institutions that dominate in the hopes that they may change the system from within those institutions. That strategy leads to folly and failure. Why? Because those institutions are dominated more by ideas than they are by individuals. The idea pervades, penetrates, and dominates the institution and infects the individuals within it, so that those with even the greatest and most humane of intentions can be corrupted and have their intentions disrupted by the institution they inhabit. No, what is needed is the formation of a counter-institutional structure.

The formation of institutions can allow them to flourish, spread, expand, and proliferate in a world which is predominantly institutional. If one wants to cross the sea to get to a new shore, one must first find a way to build a boat that facilitates the crossing. When the shore is reached, the boat has no more purpose. This is the concept of the counter-institutional structure: that it is only temporary, and that these institutions may seek to institutionalize – on a global scale – ideas which imbue a ‘philosophy of liberation’, and thus, they seek to bring about their own obsolescence. They deal with the world as it is, by creating structures within the global system (instead of isolating themselves from it), and thus in the same way that the ideas and institutions which seek to dominate have become so predominant and powerful in our world, we can effectively use the system against itself until the ideas and institutions which seek to liberate can become as powerful among the world’s people. Once a ‘philosophy of liberation’ has taken hold within the world’s population, and these counter-hegemonic institutions have helped establish an alternative system – helping to create people-oriented, locally organized, yet globally cooperative polities, economies, and societies – the institutions may be made irrelevant and dismantled, so that they may not be transformed through the potential to themselves dominate and control.

While the Global Political Awakening is a present reality in the world, the conditions for a true global revolution and challenge to the global power structures has yet to manifest itself. There are movements in different places, through different peoples, with differing ideas, but they are not yet united in aim, ideology, or action. The elite are seeking to establish a system and structure of global government, and are working very hard to establish such consensus among the global elite, as well as to employ specific strategies of action to effect such a change. We must do the same in order to counter this process.

Living in the era of the ‘Technological Revolution’, we are faced with an unprecedented dichotomy, whereby we are in the circumstances where for the first time in all of human history, a truly global oppressive system and structure of governance is made possible, and simultaneously, for the first time in human history, a global resistance and revolution against power structures is made possible via the communication and information revolutions, with the ultimate potential for all of humanity to become free simultaneously. This is unprecedented. Never before have all of humanity had the possibility of achieving liberation at the same time. Thus, we have never truly had a liberated human society. This is both the greatest challenge and the greatest opportunity that humanity has ever faced. The elite see these developments in the same context, but with the perspective reversed. The elite see the greatest opportunity they have ever faced in human history as being to achieve the actual construction of a global government, never before possible, but now made plausible through advancements in technology; they also see the greatest challenge they have ever collectively faced in human history as being from a globally aware, active, and philosophically united world population seeking liberation and freedom. The elite are articulating these realities, and attempting to strategize and plan actions based upon these concepts. Brzezinski is perhaps the best example of this, as he has been articulating the notion of the ‘Global Political Awakening’ for many years, and has traveled to several of the more prominent think tanks among the imperial nations, warning the elites of the true realities of the world in which they seek to operate and dominate.

So too must the people of the world begin discussing these ideas, issues, and realities in order to establish consensus in understanding and initiatives for action. So long as we remain divided by artificial separations such as seeking change within the context of the ‘nation-state’ (as many in the anti-globalist movement seek a return to nationalism as a “solution”), which keeps them divided from the rest of the world. Only through solidarity of philosophy and action on the part of the world’s people may we come to actually and effectively create true change. The elite understand this. It’s time that we do too.

A Plan of Action: The People’s Project

The plan of action for establishing the anti-institutional counter-hegemonic system I set forth in my book is what I refer to as “The People’s Project.” The book, by setting forth a more comprehensive analysis of the global structures and systems of power, builds a solution based upon this more elaborate understanding. In particular, as the role of the philanthropic foundations is of particular interest and focus in the book, I propose that in order to properly counter the global power structures, we must create a type of ‘people’s foundation.’ This is what I refer to as “The People’s Project.”

Instead of being funded by wealthy billionaires, philanthropists, bankers and industrialists, the People’s Project would be funded by the people, using the means made available through the Technological Revolution: utilizing social media networks in order to fundraise from people and communities around the world, and to advertise, promote and disseminate the idea globally. As such, the Project is democratically funded, and in fact, it is a representation of genuine free-market principles, something which could appeal to the libertarian elements of resistance. The funding would be directed for specific initiatives and projects that the organization undertakes.

While the funding is democratic and free-market oriented, in that if an idea is not welcomed by the people, it simply wouldn’t be funded by them; the actual organization, operations, and day-to-day decision making process must be undertaken by a relatively small and cooperative group of individuals. If we attempt to make the entire decision-making process democratic, we would be attempting to manifest a democratic institution in an anti-democratic world, and it would be stalled, stagnant, and ultimately a failure. Thus, it must act as an institution of the likes of a major philanthropic foundation. Its operations must be effected and decisions made by a group of people so that it may function effectively within the global institutional system. However, this group of people must abide by a strict adherence to a ‘philosophy of liberation,’ and all the Project’s financial information, decisions, and initiatives must be made publicly available, so that they may be analyzed, discussed, and assessed by the public. The people must be treated as the patrons, since they provide the money. Projects will be proposed and planned by the group within the institution, and the people will discuss, debate, assess, and ultimately vote with their dollars. If a project does not have popular appeal or support, it will not be funded, and thus, will not move forward into action.

The initiatives of The People’s Project itself must seek to create the counter-institutional structure that would make the present global system of power structure irrelevant and extinct. As this is ultimately a process of de-institutionalization, we must understand it in a similar context: that of the de-institutionalization of psychiatric patients over the past several decades. Certainly, releasing prisoners of psychiatric institutions was the right thing to do, as the momentum built for this endeavour and many of these institutions were closed down, and their prisoners (or as they are often referred to, “patients”) were released. However, many of these released prisoners simply ended up as homeless people, having no where to go and nothing to be able to do. Does this mean that the institution was a good thing? No, it was and remains an incredibly dehumanizing idea and structure. The problem was multi-faceted: most important in the failure of de-institutionalization of psychiatric prisoners was the fact that the vast majority of society suffers a severe misunderstanding of what we commonly refer to as ‘madness’ or ‘mental illness.’ This misunderstanding is an intentional consequence of the ideas and institutions of psychiatry, psychology, and pharmacology which are extremely prominent within our society, and which have been largely influence by the major philanthropic foundations. Namely, without a more coherent understanding of what we refer to as “mental illness,” we cannot even begin to understand those who experience different emotional and psychological states of being, which we mistakenly refer to as “diseases.” However, as an impulse, we tend to quickly attempt to define, label, and control that which we do not understand, and therefore we often mistreat those who we are labeling as such. In 1933, Max Mason, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, wrote that the foundation’s policies:

were directed to the general problem of human behavior, with the aim of control through understanding. The Social sciences, for example, will concern themselves with the rationalization of social control; the Media and Natural sciences propose a closely coordinated study of sciences which underlie personal understanding and personal control. Many procedures will be explicitly co-operative between [Foundation] divisions. The Medical and Natural Sciences will, through psychiatry and psychobiology, have a strong interest in the problems of mental disease.[4]

What we refer to as “mental illness” or “madness” is yet another avenue and means through which power is exercised in our world, and this is perhaps the most pervasive, damaging, and destructive powers that exist in our world, largely brought about through the institutions and ideas of psychiatry and psychology, which have predominantly sought the prescription laid out by the Rockefeller Foundation, “to the general problem of human behavior, with the aim of control through understanding.” Psychology and psychiatry were largely avenues through which power sought to control the human mind, not to liberate it. Indeed, it is an incredibly important though little-known fact that in 1992, the World Health Organization released a study of comparing treatment of schizophrenia in the developed and developing world (rich vs. poor) that began in 1968, which concluded that patients in poor countrieshad a considerably better course and outcome than (patients) in developed countries. This remained true whether clinical outcomes, social outcomes, or a combination of the two was considered.”[5] A follow-up study by the WHO again confirmed that in poor countries, patients suffering “severe mental health” issues had a much higher rate of recovery than those in the rich, ‘developed’ nations, which tend to treat such experiences as a biological disease, and confuse treatment with causation: as in, because we treat such conditions with chemicals (i.e., drugs), the cause of the condition must itself be chemical.

As we largely misunderstand and misinterpret (and thus mislabel) such conditions as “diseases,” we fail to be able to deal properly with those who are subject to such conditions. Thus, the process of de-institutionalization of psychiatric facilities led in most places to human tragedy. From the 1960s onward, radical psychiatrists and philosophers began to challenge the way people view and understand madness and “mental illness.” Among them were Thomas Szasz, who challenged the entire notion of “mental disease” with his famous essay and subsequent book, “The Myth of Mental Illness,” which was perhaps the greatest intellectual challenge to the entire psychiatric establishment ever developed. There was also the French philosopher Michel Foucault who took on the challenge of understanding the history, ideas and institutions of psychiatry as an exercise in power – what he referred to as ‘biopower’ – the direct influence upon the biology and psychology of the individual. There was the radical Scottish psychiatrist, R.D. Laing, who posited a different understanding of madness, explaining that, “Insanity is a sane reaction to an insane society.” And there was also the radial Italian psychiatrist, Franco Basaglia, who challenged the dominant ideas and who had actually created a successful method of de-institutionalization of psychiatric centers in Italy. Compared to the failures of North American deinstitutionalization, Italy achieved relative successes, largely at the initiative of Franco Basaglia, who sought to destroy the psychiatric institution itself. Basaglia understood that for deinstitutionalization to be successful, one must create the conditions which make the integration of patients into society possible. In one interview, Basaglia said:

It is not that we put illness aside, but rather that we believe in order to have a relationship with an individual it is necessary to establish it independent of the label by which the patient has been defined.[6]

What Basaglia realized was that, “psychiatric diagnoses were not independent of the prevailing moral and social order which tended to define normality and abnormality in its own class-based terms.” Psychiatry then, provided a “medical rationale” behind the “institutionalized violence” against the prisoners of psychiatric hospitals, which were largely poor, dispossessed individuals. As Basaglia explained:

Once the medical pretenses are gone, we can see the misery and the poverty that are the true nature of the asylum. The specificity of madness is also gone. The deception is obvious: it is one thing to say that an institution locks up fifty ‘sick’ people. It is quite another to say hat fifty ‘poor’ people have been locked up because there is no other solution to their problems.[7]

Psychiatry was thus understood as “a covert apparatus of brutal social control,” and psychiatric physicians were agents of social control. These technicians “diagnosed, with greater and greater precision and specificity, thus fragmenting the problem of ‘mental illness’ into a multitude of diseases so as to avoid confronting its wholeness, its unifying dimensions as a shared experience of alienated human needs.” In fact, “the inhuman regulations of the institution produce signs and symptoms that justify locking up the inmate,” and the “transformation of patient into object is almost literal.”[8] Thus, the institution itself often creates the ‘disease’ more than the individual experiences it as separated from the institution.

Basaglia’s program of deinstitutionalization included having the patients themselves help in physically destroying the institution with their own hands, most especially the physical barriers that confined and excluded them, such as doors, bars, and window gratings. Subsequently, ‘patients’ would work in the hospital, getting paid for their work, thus replicating the notion of a paid labour force on the outside of the institution. There would be daily meetings between staff and patients, and the meetings – known as the assemblea – were gradually transformed from a venue to express personal problems “toward using it as a vehicle for translating the personal into the collective and the political.”[9] The process of “destroying and, ultimately, closing down the wards of the [institution] had to be accompanied by the far more radical and difficult task of ‘opening up’ communities.”[10] The anti-institutional slogan put forward in this movement was, “Freedom is Therapeutic.” Thus, “alternative solutions had to be worked out, links re-established with the community; ex-patients had to develop new personal and social identities and to regain contractual power within the community.” Hence, the process of deinstitutionalization took place on two fronts: “in the hospital and in the community.”[11]

As the communities began to be integrated with the ex-patients, “townspeople could begin to recognize in the distress and suffering of former inmates some of the problems in living that plagued their own lives.” Further, “through the vehicle of art there existed yet another way of sensitizing the public at large to the violence of segregative control.” The physical institution itself, had been converted into a place for community interaction and life, turning wards and rooms into shops, college dorms, radio stations, and day care centers.[12]

Basaglia had to also “confront the old and uneasy alliance between psychiatry and the law. Demedicalizing and decriminalizing madness went hand in glove.”[13] Thus, laws had to be challenged and changed with made for a more effective and humane treatment of ‘patients’ and process of deinstitutionalization.

Why I spent so much time and space discussing the notion of psychiatry and its institutions of control is because the institution of psychiatry – both physical and ideational – can serve as a microcosm for understanding the global institution we live within today. Sociologist Erving Goffman published his monumental study of what he referred to as ‘total institutions’ in his 1961 book, Asylums. He defined the ‘total institution’ as “a place of residence and work where a large number of like-situated individuals, cut off from the wider society for an appreciable period of time, together lead an enclosed, formally administered round of life.”[14] In short, we can understand the power structures of the world as a type of ‘total institution’: whereby people are segregated – or confined – from one another, where they live, eat, work, sleep, remain enclosed and entrapped, where their actions and personal psychological health are often resulting from the institution itself: they become a product of the institution, not simply a resident within it. The institution itself creates the conditions it purportedly seeks to treat. The world is, in fact, a total institution. As we move down the road to a system of global governance, that institution is being further defined, segregated, controlling, and dehumanizing. Within the total institution of global society, psychiatry does come to play a particularly dehumanizing and personally pervasive role. As a 1944 Annual Report of the Rockefeller Foundation indicated:

It is not too much to assert… that in its actual and potential contribution to general medicine, to education, to sociology, indeed to the general business of living, psychiatry, without claiming omniscience in itself, is cast for a role of fundamental importance in helping to shape any world that may come out of the present one.[15]

Just as Basaglia sought the means to more effectively and efficiently deinstitutionalize the mental asylums, so too must we – globally – seek to create a more effective process of deinstitutionalizing global society. This requires the dual process of breaking down the institutions that confine us, while simultaneously – and more painstakingly – seeking to establish links, changes, positions, and possibilities within the community itself.

The People’s Project would seek to establish these community initiatives on a number of levels. Just as the philanthropic foundations have engineered much of our society in the world today, down to the very construction of knowledge itself, so too must The People’s Project engage in social engineering, but not with a purpose to control; rather, with a purpose to liberate. These initiatives of the major philanthropic foundations have been articulated by many of their former leaders and administrators. Warren Weaver, a director of the Rockefeller Foundation who led the natural sciences department in the 1930s, wrote that:

The welfare of mankind depends in a vital way on man’s understanding of himself and his physical environment. Science has made magnificent progress in the analysis and control of inanimate forces, but science has not made equal advances in the more delicate, more difficult, and more important problem of the analysis and control over animate forces.[16]

In 1934, Warren Weaver wrote a proposal to the board of trustees of the Rockefeller Foundation in which he asked:

Can man gain an intelligent control of his own power? Can we develop so sound and extensive a genetics that we can hope to breed, in the future, superior men? Can we obtain enough knowledge of physiology and psychobiology of sex so that man can bring this pervasive, highly important, and dangerous aspect of life under rational control? Can we unravel the tangled problem of the endocrine glands, and develop, before it is too late, a therapy for the whole hideous range of mental and physical disorders which result from glandular disturbances? … Can we release psychology from its present confusion and ineffectiveness and shape it into a tool which every man can use every day? Can man acquire enough knowledge of his own vital processes so that we can hope to rationalize human behavior? Can we, in short, create a new science of Man?[17]

The Foundation, however, is an important and potent example to follow for a counter-hegemonic institution. This is because of the nature of how the foundation influences and exerts its power, which while largely through funding initiatives, it can spur developments of entire fields and initiatives simply through the act of suggestion. As a former president of the Rockefeller Foundation, Raymond Fosdick, wrote in 1934 in a letter to the board of trustees of the Foundation:

We do not have to be cynical to admit that if a foundation announces an interest in anthropology or astronomy or physio-chemical reactions, there will be plenty of institutions that will develop a zeal for the prosecution of these studies. The responsibility which this inescapable fact throws upon a foundation is enormous. The possession of funds carries with it power to establish trends and styles of intellectual endeavour… Indeed we would strongly advocate a shift of emphasis in favor not only of the dissemination of knowledge, but on the practical application of knowledge in fields where human need is great and opportunity is real. As a means of advancing knowledge, application can be as effective an instrument as research.[18]

Thus, as the Foundation influences, so too can The People’s Project influence. The key differences, however, are the ideology and patronage of the institution itself. As the former Rockefeller Foundation president Max Mason articulated, the foundation’s policies were directed “to the general problem of human behavior, with the aim of control through understanding.”[19] The People’s Project, however, would be directed “to the general problem of human society, with the aim of liberation through understanding.” Patronage is another important difference. In the private foundation, patronage is the result of wealthy philanthropists, industrialists, bankers and billionaires who fund the foundations, and thus influence and determine the direction it takes. With The People’s Project, patronage would lie with the people, funding would be democratically accountable, and thus, the direction of a project – if undesired by the people – would be made impossible by their refusal to fund the project. It is in this sense that the People’s Project may be accountable, even while its institutional structure is undemocratic.

As for specific initiatives that The People’s Project could and should undertake, I outline this somewhat more specifically in the “Project Philosophy” on the website for the Project; however, I will explain a general concept here.

The first initiative is referred to as The People’s Book Project, whereby the book I am writing may be funded and made possible. I will publish and make available the financial information, donations received, as well as logging the hours I have worked on the book, and thus, how much I am being paid to do so. I will update the site – The People’s Book Project – with information on what I am writing about at that time, giving an up-to-date and interactive process of writing the book, with comments and suggestions from readers and supporters. The book itself will serve as the philosophical foundation for the larger initiative of The People’s Project, laying the groundwork for a more comprehensive analysis and understanding of the world, and thus, serving as the basis for which the organization understands and acts in our world. The book also, as a conclusion, proposes the concept of The People’s Project in terms of solutions. Thus, if the book is itself funded and brought into being through this initiative, its very existence will be brought about by the recommendations it sets forth in its conclusions; thus, its existence may serve as evidence of its validity as a solution.

To put it simply: the book does not simply ‘recommend’ a solution, as it’s very existence would be evidence of that solution. Once the book is complete, The People’s Project can begin to undertake its larger initiatives.

Like the foundations, it must start with the formation of ideology and consensus. That is the purpose of the book itself, to establish a concrete understanding and to support the dissemination of those ideas to people and places around the world, to help institutionalize those ideas in the institutions which the Project creates and supports. Such institutions could and should include: radical think tanks, which are designed to produce research and recommendations for strategies aimed at the global liberation of humanity. The creation of liberation-oriented think tanks, as well as supporting them to become self-sufficient (perhaps in the same democratically funded way as the Project itself) could draw intellectual talents away from the powerful think tanks, or the “alternative” think tanks, which are supported by the major foundations and which draw intellectual talents which might otherwise support radical social change and revolutionary movements into a structure, institution, and context which forces them to be placated by the ideas of slow, evolutionary change to the system, but that type of change which simply addresses the symptoms of the global system, but doesn’t challenge the power structure outright. These types of think tanks exist as controlled opposition to the dominant imperial think tanks such as the Council on Foreign Relations. These “alternative” think tanks must be made irrelevant by the development of radical, liberation-oriented think tanks which seek to directly challenge the system itself, and help in the construction of new alternatives. Their existence alone would create the potential to attract intellectual talent, and thus, become successful initiatives.

Another avenue which The People’s Project should undertake is that of supporting the formation of a ‘new economy’, essentially helping establish a parallel economy to the global system we are all subjugated under. This would initially involve supporting initiatives aimed at creating local currencies, controlled and operated by local communities. The Project should organize conferences and meetings, bringing together representatives from various community currency projects around the world, in order to help understand the different projects, the failures and successes, and come to a better understanding of what works. Further, bringing such representatives together should also facilitate the establishment of trade and exchange ties between these communities, which is important to ensure that a project of building a parallel economy and community currency does not isolate itself from the world (and thus ensure its eventual failure, as it would ultimately be crushed by power-institutional forces from without), but that the parallel economy can establish itself globally. The key difference is that instead of operating through the dominant central banks, private banks, and multinational corporations, this parallel global economy would establish itself among the people directly. Of course, this implies the absolute necessity of – early on – bringing farmers and produce distributors into this system. In this sense, control over food is essential. We must reduce and ultimately eliminate our dependence upon the dominant institutions in our world.

Once community currencies can begin to be established, an immediate initiative of those communities (which the People’s Project can help begin) is to create a community foundation, funded entirely by the community bank, which is accountable to the people, not bankers. The initiatives and projects of the community foundation would mirror those of the People’s Project, but on a local scale. It must be funded by the community bank, without interest or debt. Since the concepts of interest and debt are just ideas, all we have to do to change their existence is to simply agree, collectively, that they are bad ideas. After all, currencies are faith-based, so we need to place our faith in a different currency system which supports people, not bankers. The community foundation could then be perpetually funded by the community bank in order to support local initiatives and community projects. Of course, this is a complex process which would take a great deal of time and effort, and not least without a great many failures along the way. But the point is that we need to establish a plan of action to begin effecting change and interaction and communication on a global scale.

This is not a utopian ideal, it is a humane ideal. Up until present time, what we refer to as “human civilization” is often the process of a coercive and socially constructed method of shaping humanity to fit within the confines and adjust itself to ‘society.’ Human history continuously shows examples whereby societies were constructed and people were then forced to adjust to those societies. Often this was done violently and coercively, but also, and more effectively, and most especially in the past century, this was done through the engineering of consent. The point of this Project is to help free humanity, so that we can properly understand human nature for the first time, and thus construct society around the needs and desires of human nature. Human civilization must come to reflect human nature; human nature can no longer be shaped within the confines of human civilization. As people are largely a product of their environment, down to the very notion of what we know as “mental illness,” we must begin to reshape the environment to support the people. We must construct our society in such a way that enhances and flourishes all that is good in human nature, while minimizing and undermining all that is bad in human nature. Currently, our society does the opposite. That is why war, poverty, dehumanization, and destruction are so common, whereas cooperation, liberation, peace, and harmonious existence are so rare.

It seems quite apparent that our little experiment known as ‘human civilization’ is actually more properly identified as a “dehumanized civilization,” as it ruins, oppresses, controls, co-opts, and seeks to destroy all that is good, wonderful, and beautiful in human nature. We must then, construct a new civilization, a “humane civilization,” one that undermines the negative aspects of human nature and supports the positive. Humans have a tendency to be corrupted by too much power, no matter the intentions and beliefs of that individual, too much power in one person or institution is self destructive. Subsequently, too much power in too few hands implies the de facto circumstance of too little power in too many hands, so that the vast majority of the world’s people are left with very little power even over their own lives. This leads to poverty, despair, violence, terrorism, war, hunger, hatred, and madness. What is implied then, is that power must be decentralized, people must gain more, and institutions must have less. In such a situation, we can begin to see the potential for humanity to gain – for the first time in all of human history – the ultimate liberation, the true freedom. As such, we would be able to see the true reality of “human nature.”

If you study mice in a maze, no matter for how long you may do so, you cannot ever hope to understand the mouse outside of the context of the maze itself. The mouse or mice you study and observe are products of that maze, as they are confined within it and their lives dictated by its walls and parameters. Therefore, you can never hope to conclude a true ‘nature’ of the mouse through observing it in such circumstances. Only when you break the walls of the maze and erase its foundations, thus freeing the mice to their own devices, can you even begin to understand the nature and potential of the mouse. This is the perspective we must come to understand in regards to humanity. We can commonly deduce that it is “human nature” to be violent, to hate, to kill, to destroy; that we need states and governments and powers to stand above and look over us, preventing us from destroying ourselves. Yet, we act in accordance with the confines of our own maze – the global institutional social system – and thus, we are a product – and our nature is thus a product – of the system we live within. If our nature is violent, hateful, and destructive, it is because the system we live within has made it so. Thus, we need to liberate humanity from that system, and simultaneously create a parallel system which may help to establish a society that requires cooperation, true individuality, respect, understanding, peace, and love. We are largely a product of our environment, therefore we must change both the individual – through our personal perceptions and understanding of the world – and the environment around the individual, in order to create a truly ‘humane’ society.

These are the aims and objectives of The People’s Project. The Book Project, as the first phase in the wider initiative explained above, seeks to establish itself as a basis upon which the People’s Project would understand and act in the world. The People’s Book Project can only be made possible through the support, donations, and word of mouth of the people themselves, activated through social media and the Internet, using the unprecedented opportunity we have before us as a result of the Technological, communication and information revolutions.

Indeed, nothing would be a greater shame than to exist in revolutionary times without revolutionary ideas.

Andrew Gavin Marshall is an independent researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada, writing on a number of social, political, economic, and historical issues. He is also Project Manager of the People’s Book Project.


[1] Lily E. Kay, “Rethinking Institutions: Philanthropy as an Historigraphic Problem of Knowledge and Power,” Minerva (Vol. 35, 1997), page 290.

[2] Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Choice: Global Domination or Global Leadership. Speech at the Carnegie Council: March 25, 2004: http://www.cceia.org/resources/transcripts/4424.html

[3] Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Choice: Global Domination or Global Leadership. Speech at the Carnegie Council: March 25, 2004: http://www.cceia.org/resources/transcripts/4424.html

[4] Lily E. Kay, “Rethinking Institutions: Philanthropy as an Historigraphic Problem of Knowledge and Power,” Minerva (Vol. 35, 1997), page 290.

[5] The International Pilot Study of Schizophrenia. Leff, J. Psychological Medicine, 22 (1992):131-145: http://www.madinamerica.com/madinamerica.com/Antipsychotic%20drugs%20and%20chronic%20illness.html

[6] Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Anne M. Lovell, “Breaking the Circuit of Social Control: Lessons in Public Psychiatry from Italy and Franco Basaglia,” Social Science and Medicine (Vol. 23, Issue 2, 1986), page 160.

[7] Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Anne M. Lovell, “Breaking the Circuit of Social Control: Lessons in Public Psychiatry from Italy and Franco Basaglia,” Social Science and Medicine (Vol. 23, Issue 2, 1986), page 161.

[8] Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Anne M. Lovell, “Breaking the Circuit of Social Control: Lessons in Public Psychiatry from Italy and Franco Basaglia,” Social Science and Medicine (Vol. 23, Issue 2, 1986), pages 161-162.

[9] Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Anne M. Lovell, “Breaking the Circuit of Social Control: Lessons in Public Psychiatry from Italy and Franco Basaglia,” Social Science and Medicine (Vol. 23, Issue 2, 1986), pages 164-165.

[10] Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Anne M. Lovell, “Breaking the Circuit of Social Control: Lessons in Public Psychiatry from Italy and Franco Basaglia,” Social Science and Medicine (Vol. 23, Issue 2, 1986), page 167.

[11] Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Anne M. Lovell, “Breaking the Circuit of Social Control: Lessons in Public Psychiatry from Italy and Franco Basaglia,” Social Science and Medicine (Vol. 23, Issue 2, 1986), page 168.

[12] Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Anne M. Lovell, “Breaking the Circuit of Social Control: Lessons in Public Psychiatry from Italy and Franco Basaglia,” Social Science and Medicine (Vol. 23, Issue 2, 1986), page 169.

[13] Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Anne M. Lovell, “Breaking the Circuit of Social Control: Lessons in Public Psychiatry from Italy and Franco Basaglia,” Social Science and Medicine (Vol. 23, Issue 2, 1986), page 170.

[14] Erving Goffman, Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates (First Anchor Books, New York: 1961), page xiii.

[15] Annual Report, The Rockefeller Foundation, 1944, page 31.

[16] Daniel J. Kevles, “Foundations, Universities, and Trends in Support for the Physical and Biological Sciences, 1900-1992,” Daedalus (Vol. 121, No. 4, Immobile Democracy?), Fall 1992, page 206

[17] Robert E. Kohler, “The Management of Science: The Experience of Warren Weaver and the Rockefeller Programme in Molecular Biology.” Minerva (Vol. 14, No. 3), 1976, page 291

[18] Robert E. Kohler, “The Management of Science: The Experience of Warren Weaver and the Rockefeller Programme in Molecular Biology.” Minerva (Vol. 14, No. 3), 1976, page 293

[19] Lily E. Kay, “Rethinking Institutions: Philanthropy as an Historigraphic Problem of Knowledge and Power,” Minerva (Vol. 35, 1997), page 290.