“The billionaire takeover of civil society”


That’s the chilling title of an even more chilling article, subtitled “Wealthy ‘progressives’ are shaping political life through a dense web of interconnected NGOs” (non-governmental organizations).  It’s a long article and dense with detail, making it hard to excerpt small portions to gain a sense of what’s going on:  but that very detail makes it extremely valuable.

If you want to know how the progressive left came to dominate last November’s elections, and put so many of its extremist candidates into Congress, this article explains it better than anything else I’ve read.

Here are a couple of excerpts to give a taste of what it contains.  They are not comprehensive, and should not be treated as such, but rather read in the context of the entire piece.

As the founder and operator of a pro-democracy civil-society organisation, I’ve often been astounded at calls to give NGOs a greater say in rule-making, more visibility during negotiations and privileged access to decision-makers. Because I know what few people do – that small, member-driven, self-funded NGOs are relatively rare.

Instead, the kind of organisation that tends to drive the political agenda is generally billionaire (or at least multimillionaire) funded.

. . .

And that is exactly what we’re going to do here: just wonder at the concentration of power behind a bazillion different brand names and hope people understand how it affects their lives … Many of these funds fund other funds. That fund other funds. That fund other funds … One could write not just a book, but an entire encyclopaedia on this topic. However, for the sake of brevity, let’s focus on a few of the groups that receive funding in this convoluted manner, because as we shall see they form something like a political conveyor belt, covering all aspects of the political process.

. . .

The ‘engineered’ aspect of many of these social-change organisations comes through in myriad ways. For example, members frequently refer to ‘how-to’ manuals and books for creating social change (of any kind) according to a fairly technical blueprint. In addition, some organisations are supported by other organisations with the same funders. For example, Sunrise members specifically credit Momentum (which is also part of the NMV investment portfolio) with training them.

In an hour-long webinar posted on Momentum’s webpage, Sunrise members Sara Blazevic and Will Lawrence, together with Momentum members Cicia Lee and Lissy Romanov, explain the ins and outs of this training. The talk included references to the need (also frequently referenced by Extinction Rebellion) to activate 3.5 per cent of the population for environmental change, and featured such statements as ‘Momentum taught us that movements don’t happen by accident’, and that they needed to ‘prepare in advance a movement to go viral’. Speakers stressed the need to become ‘the dominant political alignment’ which ‘defines the common sense of society’ and ‘directs social and economic policy’. Having realised that this would require ‘tak[ing] over the entire United States and all the institutions in it’, they began ‘finding and developing our first leaders’. This involved moving activists into ‘dorm-style Sunrise Movement Houses for three to six months’ in order to create leaders who had a deep level of commitment ‘for everything that would come afterwards’.

. . .

… the entire impression is of a very steered, technocratic process that attempts to achieve theoretical concepts (‘3.5 per cent mobilisation’, ‘dominant political alignment’) through a kind of brute-force factory production. It is an impression that is heightened when you realise that Sunrise isn’t just powered by a spontaneous coming together of the minds, but gets its core funding and support from ‘angel investors’.

. . .

On one level, it is great that young people are taking part in politics. But on another level it is incredibly fake. The youthful participants aren’t so much being empowered as instrumentalised. After all, they are part of the portfolio of an investment fund that is using them to ‘shift power’, with part of the strategy being to shame politicians for not being nice enough to hysterical children.

So, is power being shifted?

The Sunrise Movement credits itself with pressuring representatives into agreeing to a Select Committee on the Green New Deal, as well as contributing to getting a Green New Deal passed for the state of Maine. Its website also claims that the group contacted ‘over 6.5million voters in the primaries and Presidential Election’, which helped to elect Joe Biden.

While the results are certainly mixed, I think it is fair to say that Republican efforts to eliminate limits on political spending may have backfired and that ‘progressives’ may have overtaken them in the ‘tactical funding’ department.

There’s much more at the link.

The article goes into depth on not just NGO’s and their funding, but also how they seek to manipulate public information, engineer public discussion along lines favorable to their perspective, select and elect candidates who will do their bidding, and work together to achieve their goals.  As the article notes (bold, underlined text is my emphasis):

These organisations constantly cite each other’s work, recycle the same personnel and fund, ‘support’ and ‘partner with’ each other’s projects on multiple different levels. Moreover, perhaps the most startling thing for me in conducting this impromptu investigation was how many people I knew who were on the boards, steering committees or staff of these organisations. And I don’t mean know of. I mean, personally, know. Because that’s how far-reaching and yet incestuous this sector is. It’s virtually impossible to be politically active without running into them, yet they stick together like a highly-funded clan.

. . .

And, while we’re at it, let’s abandon the pretence that these funders are keen on deconstructing their own power. No, they have created an end-to-end web of political institutions, and a dependent hand-out culture, where nothing happens without money and a tsunami of gushing praise for those brave enough to ‘speak truth’ to the power that pays their salary… and continues to do so.

After all the screaming about the Koch brothers’ insidious influence on politics, it turns out that, for some, the near naked exercise of oligarchic power wasn’t the issue at all. It was that the wrong people were doing it. As much as they shouted about a commitment to democracy, they were only really ever committed to getting their own way. And they have – proudly – out-oligarched their enemies.

With a twist.

The old villains, like the Kochs and Murdoch, First of His Name, were seemingly concerned with self-enrichment. Essentially self-absorbed, they pursued politics to get what they wanted (more money), hurting other people in the process. By contrast, ‘philanthropists’ like Omidyar and Murdoch II are set on changing your life for ‘the greater good’. They have convinced themselves that, since they are on a holy mission, everything they do and all the money they expend in pursuit of those goals is somehow justified. The ruthless businessmen of yesteryear are being replaced by priests of higher morals who just happen to be phenomenally rich. The oldies pursued their interests selfishly – the newbies are convinced that their interests are your interests. And they are spending a great deal of money trying to convince the rest of the world of that, too.

The entire article, although long, is more than worth your time to read it.  It shows clearly that Big Brother is no longer exclusively to be found in the corridors of the Capitol or the White House, or in corporate boardrooms.  Big Brother has expanded to take over networks of influence throughout civil society, all funded by those with an agenda and determined to impose it on the rest of us.

It goes without saying that this is antithetical to democracy;  yet it’s a real and present danger that threatens to overwhelm democracy and replace it with a faux sense of community support, entirely manufactured and without real societal foundation or acceptance.

I can only suggest most strongly that you need to read the whole article, and then think about it, and re-read it more than once.  It shows more clearly than anything else I’ve read recently how last November’s elections were stolen, and democracy in America overturned;  and it shows very clearly the huge job ahead of us to restore that democracy.  Those who’ll try to stop us are very well organized and very well funded.  It’s going to be an uphill battle . . . but it has to be fought.



  1. I read as much as I could without becoming quite disenchanted with it all.

    Like Old NFO, I don't see how we can win.

  2. Sadly, that is the kind of fight no one wins… War does not determine who is right, war determines who is left.

  3. "I don't see how we can win…"

    Waitwaitwait…last I looked, that whole shiny internet technocancer hobgoblin runs on electricity, amirite?

    In a country (and world) that's about 1.2 Gigazillion fiatbux in debt.

    "That's a nice grid you got there. Be a shame if anything happened to it…" – Guido and Vito's Protection Service

    "don't see how we can win"??

    That was sarcasm, dry as toast in the Sahara, right?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *