Capitalism: A Ghost Story

Editor’s Note: Arundhati Roy is one of my favorite writers, but this speech is particularly long (yet still very much worth the time), so the video is included for your convenience.


Rockefeller to Mandela, Vedanta to Anna Hazare…. How long can the cardinals of corporate gospel buy up our protests?

by Arundhati Roy

Corbis (From Outlook, March 26, 2012)
Antilla the Hun Mukesh Ambani’s 27-storey home on Altamont Road. Its bright lights, say the neighbours, have stolen the night.

Is it a house or a home? A temple to the new India, or a warehouse for its ghosts? Ever since Antilla arrived on Altamont Road in Mumbai, exuding mystery and quiet menace, things have not been the same. “Here we are,” the friend who took me there said, “Pay your respects to our new Ruler.”

Antilla belongs to India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani. I had read about this most expensive dwelling ever built, the twenty-seven floors, three helipads, nine lifts, hanging gardens, ballrooms, weather rooms, gymnasiums, six floors of parking, and the six hundred servants. Nothing had prepared me for the vertical lawn—a soaring, 27-storey-high wall of grass attached to a vast metal grid. The grass was dry in patches; bits had fallen off in neat rectangles. Clearly, Trickledown hadn’t worked.

But Gush-Up certainly has. That’s why in a nation of 1.2 billion, India’s 100 richest people own assets equivalent to one-fourth of the GDP.

The word on the street (and in the New York Times) is, or at least was, that after all that effort and gardening, the Ambanis don’t live in Antilla. No one knows for sure. People still whisper about ghosts and bad luck, Vaastu and Feng Shui. Maybe it’s all Karl Marx’s fault. (All that cussing.) Capitalism, he said, “has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, that it is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells”.

In India, the 300 million of us who belong to the new, post-IMF “reforms” middle class—the market—live side by side with spirits of the nether world, the poltergeists of dead rivers, dry wells, bald mountains and denuded forests; the ghosts of 2,50,000 debt-ridden farmers who have killed themselves, and of the 800 million who have been impoverished and dispossessed to make way for us. And who survive on less than twenty rupees a day.

Mukesh Ambani is personally worth $20 billion. He holds a majority controlling share in Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), a company with a market capitalisation of $47 billion and global business interests that include petrochemicals, oil, natural gas, polyester fibre, Special Economic Zones, fresh food retail, high schools, life sciences research and stem cell storage services. RIL recently bought 95 per cent shares in Infotel, a TV consortium that controls 27 TV news and entertainment channels, including CNN-IBN, IBN Live, CNBC, IBN Lokmat, and ETV in almost every regional language. Infotel owns the only nationwide licence for 4G Broadband, a high-speed “information pipeline” which, if the technology works, could be the future of information exchange. Mr Ambani also owns a cricket team.

RIL is one of a handful of corporations that run India. Some of the others are the Tatas, Jindals, Vedanta, Mittals, Infosys, Essar and the other Reliance (ADAG), owned by Mukesh’s brother Anil. Their race for growth has spilled across Europe, Central Asia, Africa and Latin America. Their nets are cast wide; they are visible and invisible, over-ground as well as underground. The Tatas, for example, run more than 100 companies in 80 countries. They are one of India’s oldest and largest private sector power companies. They own mines, gas fields, steel plants, telephone, cable TV and broadband networks, and run whole townships. They manufacture cars and trucks, own the Taj Hotel chain, Jaguar, Land Rover, Daewoo, Tetley Tea, a publishing company, a chain of bookstores, a major brand of iodised salt and the cosmetics giant Lakme. Their advertising tagline could easily be: You Can’t Live Without Us.

According to the rules of the Gush-Up Gospel, the more you have, the more you can have.

The era of the Privatisation of Everything has made the Indian economy one of the fastest growing in the world. However, like any good old-fashioned colony, one of its main exports is its minerals. India’s new mega-corporations—Tatas, Jindals, Essar, Reliance, Sterlite—are those who have managed to muscle their way to the head of the spigot that is spewing money extracted from deep inside the earth. It’s a dream come true for businessmen—to be able to sell what they don’t have to buy.


A whole spectrum of corruption A. Raja being led to jail in connection with the 2G scandal. (Photograph by Sanjay Rawat)

The other major source of corporate wealth comes from their land-banks. All over the world, weak, corrupt local governments have helped Wall Street brokers, agro-business corporations and Chinese billionaires to amass huge tracts of land. (Of course, this entails commandeering water too.) In India, the land of millions of people is being acquired and made over to private corporations for “public interest”—for Special Economic Zones, infrastructure projects, dams, highways, car manufacture, chemical hubs and Formula One racing. (The sanctity of private property never applies to the poor.) As always, local people are promised that their displacement from their land and the expropriation of everything they ever had is actually part of employment generation. But by now we know that the connection between GDP growth and jobs is a myth. After 20 years of “growth”, 60 per cent of India’s workforce is self-employed, 90 per cent of India’s labour force works in the unorganised sector.

Post-Independence, right up to the ’80s, people’s movements, ranging from the Naxalites to Jayaprakash Narayan’s Sampoorna Kranti, were fighting for land reforms, for the redistribution of land from feudal landlords to landless peasants. Today any talk of redistribution of land or wealth would be considered not just undemocratic, but lunatic. Even the most militant movements have been reduced to a fight to hold on to what little land people still have. The millions of landless people, the majority of them Dalits and adivasis, driven from their villages, living in slums and shanty colonies in small towns and mega cities, do not figure even in the radical discourse.

As Gush-Up concentrates wealth on to the tip of a shining pin on which our billionaires pirouette, tidal waves of money crash through the institutions of democracy—the courts, Parliament as well as the media, seriously compromising their ability to function in the ways they are meant to. The noisier the carnival around elections, the less sure we are that democracy really exists.

India’s new megacorps—Tatas, Jindals, Essar, Reliance—are those who’ve moved to the head of the spigot that’s spewing money extracted from inside the earth.

Each new corruption scandal that surfaces in India makes the last one look tame. In the summer of 2011, the 2G spectrum scandal broke. We learnt that corporations had siphoned away $40 billion of public money by installing a friendly soul as the Union minister of telecommunication who grossly underpriced the licences for 2G telecom spectrum and illegally parcelled it out to his buddies. The taped telephone conversations leaked to the press showed how a network of industrialists and their front companies, ministers, senior journalists and a TV anchor were involved in facilitating this daylight robbery. The tapes were just an MRI that confirmed a diagnosis that people had made long ago.The privatisation and illegal sale of telecom spectrum does not involve war, displacement and ecological devastation. The privatisation of India’s mountains, rivers and forests does. Perhaps because it does not have the uncomplicated clarity of a straightforward, out-and-out accounting scandal, or perhaps because it is all being done in the name of India’s “progress”, it does not have the same resonance with the middle classes.

In 2005, the state governments of Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand signed hundreds of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with a number of private corporations turning over trillions of dollars of bauxite, iron ore and other minerals for a pittance, defying even the warped logic of the free market. (Royalties to the government ranged between 0.5 per cent and 7 per cent.)

Only days after the Chhattisgarh government signed an MoU for the construction of an integrated steel plant in Bastar with Tata Steel, the Salwa Judum, a vigilante militia, was inaugurated. The government said it was a spontaneous uprising of local people who were fed up of the “repression” by Maoist guerrillas in the forest. It turned out to be a ground-clearing operation, funded and armed by the government and subsidised by mining corporations. In the other states, similar militias were created, with other names. The prime minister announced the Maoists were the “single-largest security challenge in India”. It was a declaration of war.

On January 2, 2006, in Kalinganagar, in the neighbouring state of Orissa, perhaps to signal the seriousness of the government’s intention, ten platoons of police arrived at the site of another Tata Steel plant and opened fire on villagers who had gathered there to protest what they felt was inadequate compensation for their land. Thirteen people, including one policeman, were killed, and 37 injured. Six years have gone by and though the villages remain under siege by armed policemen, the protest has not died.

Meanwhile in Chhattisgarh, the Salwa Judum burned, raped and murdered its way through hundreds of forest villages, evacuating 600 villages, forcing 50,000 people to come out into police camps and 3,50,000 people to flee. The chief minister announced that those who did not come out of the forests would be considered to be ‘Maoist terrorists’. In this way, in parts of modern India, ploughing fields and sowing seed came to be defined as terrorist activity. Eventually, the Salwa Judum’s atrocities only succeeded in strengthening the resistance and swelling the ranks of the Maoist guerrilla army. In 2009, the government announced what it called Operation Green Hunt. Two lakh paramilitary troops were deployed across Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

After three years of “low-intensity conflict” that has not managed to “flush” the rebels out of the forest, the central government has declared that it will deploy the Indian army and air force. In India, we don’t call this war. We call it “creating a good investment climate”. Thousands of soldiers have already moved in. A brigade headquarters and air bases are being readied. One of the biggest armies in the world is now preparing its Terms of Engagement to “defend” itself against the poorest, hungriest, most malnourished people in the world. We only await the declaration of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which will give the army legal immunity and the right to kill “on suspicion”. Going by the tens of thousands of unmarked graves and anonymous cremation pyres in Kashmir, Manipur and Nagaland, it has shown itself to be a very suspicious army indeed.

While the preparations for deployment are being made, the jungles of Central India continue to remain under siege, with villagers frightened to come out, or go to the market for food or medicine. Hundreds of people have been jailed, charged for being Maoists under draconian, undemocratic laws. Prisons are crowded with adivasi people, many of whom have no idea what their crime is. Recently, Soni Sori, an adivasi school-teacher from Bastar, was arrested and tortured in police custody. Stones were pushed up her vagina to get her to “confess” that she was a Maoist courier. The stones were removed from her body at a hospital in Calcutta, where, after a public outcry, she was sent for a medical check-up. At a recent Supreme Court hearing, activists presented the judges with the stones in a plastic bag. The only outcome of their efforts has been that Soni Sori remains in jail while Ankit Garg, the Superintendent of Police who conducted the interrogation, was conferred with the President’s Police Medal for Gallantry on Republic Day.

We hear about the ecological and social re-engineering of Central India only because of the mass insurrection and the war. The government gives out no information. The Memorandums of Understanding are all secret. Some sections of the media have done what they could to bring public attention to what is happening in Central India. However, most of the Indian mass media is made vulnerable by the fact that the major share of its revenues come from corporate advertisements. If that is not bad enough, now the line between the media and big business has begun to blur dangerously. As we have seen, RIL virtually owns 27 TV channels. But the reverse is also true. Some media houses now have direct business and corporate interests. For example, one of the major daily newspapers in the region—Dainik Bhaskar (and it is only one example)—has 17.5 million readers in four languages, including English and Hindi, across 13 states. It also owns 69 companies with interests in mining, power generation, real estate and textiles. A recent writ petition filed in the Chhattisgarh High Court accuses DB Power Ltd (one of the group’s companies) of using “deliberate, illegal and manipulative measures” through company-owned newspapers to influence the outcome of a public hearing over an open cast coal mine. Whether or not it has attempted to influence the outcome is not germane. The point is that media houses are in a position to do so. They have the power to do so. The laws of the land allow them to be in a position that lends itself to a serious conflict of interest.


The litfests Along with film, art installations, they have replaced the 1990s obsession with beauty contests. (Photograph by Tribhuvan Tiwari)

There are other parts of the country from which no news comes. In the sparsely populated but militarised northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, 168 big dams are being constructed, most of them privately owned. High dams that will submerge whole districts are being constructed in Manipur and Kashmir, both highly militarised states where people can be killed merely for protesting power cuts. (That happened a few weeks ago in Kashmir.) How can they stop a dam?

The most delusional dam of all is Kalpasar in Gujarat. It is being planned as a 34-km-long dam across the Gulf of Khambhat with a 10-lane highway and a railway line running on top of it. By keeping the sea water out, the idea is to create a sweet water reservoir of Gujarat’s rivers. (Never mind that these rivers have already been dammed to a trickle and poisoned with chemical effluent.) The Kalpasar dam, which would raise the sea level and alter the ecology of hundreds of kilometres of coastline, had been dismissed as a bad idea 10 years ago. It has made a sudden comeback in order to supply water to the Dholera Special Investment Region (SIR) in one of the most water-stressed zones not just in India, but in the world. SIR is another name for an SEZ, a self-governed corporate dystopia of “industrial parks, townships and mega-cities”. The Dholera SIR is going to be connected to Gujarat’s other cities by a network of 10-lane highways. Where will the money for all this come from?

After three years of trying to flush out the rebels, the Centre’s said it’ll deploy the armed forces. In India, this is not war, it’s ‘Creating a Good Investment Climate’.

In January 2011, in the Mahatma (Gandhi) Mandir, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi presided over a meeting of 10,000 international businessmen from 100 countries. According to media reports, they pledged to invest $450 billion in Gujarat. The meeting was scheduled to take place at the onset of the 10th anniversary year of the massacre of 2,000 Muslims in February-March 2002. Modi stands accused of not just condoning, but actively abetting, the killing. People who watched their loved ones being raped, eviscerated and burned alive, the tens of thousands who were driven from their homes, still wait for a gesture towards justice. But Modi has traded in his saffron scarf and vermilion forehead for a sharp business suit, and hopes that a 450-billion-dollar investment will work as blood money, and square the books. Perhaps it will. Big Business is backing him enthusiastically. The algebra of infinite justice works in mysterious ways.The Dholera SIR is only one of the smaller Matryoshka dolls, one of the inner ones in the dystopia that is being planned. It will be connected to the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), a 1,500-km-long and 300-km-wide industrial corridor, with nine mega-industrial zones, a high-speed freight line, three seaports and six airports, a six-lane intersection-free expressway and a 4,000 MW power plant. The DMIC is a collaborative venture between the governments of India and Japan, and their respective corporate partners, and has been proposed by the McKinsey Global Institute.

The DMIC website says that approximately 180 million people will be “affected” by the project. Exactly how, it doesn’t say. It envisages the building of several new cities and estimates that the population in the region will grow from the current 231 million to 314 million by 2019. That’s in seven years’ time. When was the last time a state, despot or dictator carried out a population transfer of millions of people? Can it possibly be a peaceful process?

The Indian army might need to go on a recruitment drive so that it’s not taken unawares when it’s ordered to deploy all over India. In preparation for its role in Central India, it publicly released its updated doctrine on Military Psychological Operations, which outlines “a planned process of conveying a message to a select target audience, to promote particular themes that result in desired attitudes and behaviour, which affect the achievement of political and military objectives of the country”. This process of “perception management”, it said, would be conducted by “using media available to the services”.

The army is experienced enough to know that coercive force alone cannot carry out or manage social engineering on the scale that is envisaged by India’s planners. War against the poor is one thing. But for the rest of us—the middle class, white-collar workers, intellectuals, “opinion-makers”—it has to be “perception management”. And for this we must turn our attention to the exquisite art of Corporate Philanthropy.

Of late, the main mining conglomerates have embraced the Arts—film, art installations and the rush of literary festivals that have replaced the ’90s obsession with beauty contests. Vedanta, currently mining the heart out of the homelands of the ancient Dongria Kondh tribe for bauxite, is sponsoring a ‘Creating Happiness’ film competition for young film students whom they have commissioned to make films on sustainable development. Vedanta’s tagline is ‘Mining Happiness’. The Jindal Group brings out a contemporary art magazine and supports some of India’s major artists (who naturally work with stainless steel). Essar was the principal sponsor of the Tehelka Newsweek Think Fest that promised “high-octane debates” by the foremost thinkers from around the world, which included major writers, activists and even the architect Frank Gehry. (All this in Goa, where activists and journalists were uncovering massive illegal mining scandals, and Essar’s part in the war unfolding in Bastar was emerging.) Tata Steel and Rio Tinto (which has a sordid track record of its own) were among the chief sponsors of the Jaipur Literary Festival (Latin name: Darshan Singh Construction Jaipur Literary Festival) that is advertised by the cognoscenti as ‘The Greatest Literary Show on Earth’. Counselage, the Tatas’ “strategic brand manager”, sponsored the festival’s press tent. Many of the world’s best and brightest writers gathered in Jaipur to discuss love, literature, politics and Sufi poetry. Some tried to defend Salman Rushdie’s right to free speech by reading from his proscribed book, The Satanic Verses. In every TV frame and newspaper photograph, the logo of Tata Steel (and its tagline—Values Stronger than Steel) loomed behind them, a benign, benevolent host. The enemies of Free Speech were the supposedly murderous Muslim mobs, who, the festival organisers told us, could have even harmed the school-children gathered there. (We are witness to how helpless the Indian government and the police can be when it comes to Muslims.) Yes, the hardline Darul-Uloom Deobandi Islamic seminary did protest Rushdie being invited to the festival. Yes, some Islamists did gather at the festival venue to protest and yes, outrageously, the state government did nothing to protect the venue. That’s because the whole episode had as much to do with democracy, votebanks and the Uttar Pradesh elections as it did with Islamist fundamentalism. But the battle for Free Speech against Islamist Fundamentalism made it to the world’s newspapers. It is important that it did. But there were hardly any reports about the festival sponsors’ role in the war in the forests, the bodies piling up, the prisons filling up. Or about the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, which make even thinking an anti-government thought a cognisable offence. Or about the mandatory public hearing for the Tata Steel plant in Lohandiguda which local people complained actually took place hundreds of miles away in Jagdalpur, in the collector’s office compound, with a hired audience of fifty people, under armed guard. Where was Free Speech then? No one mentioned Kalinganagar. No one mentioned that journalists, academics and filmmakers working on subjects unpopular with the Indian government—like the surreptitious part it played in the genocide of Tamils in the war in Sri Lanka or the recently discovered unmarked graves in Kashmir—were being denied visas or deported straight from the airport.

But which of us sinners was going to cast the first stone? Not me, who lives off royalties from corporate publishing houses. We all watch Tata Sky, we surf the net with Tata Photon, we ride in Tata taxis, we stay in Tata Hotels, we sip our Tata tea in Tata bone china and stir it with teaspoons made of Tata Steel. We buy Tata books in Tata bookshops. Hum Tata ka namak khate hain. We’re under siege.

If the sledgehammer of moral purity is to be the criterion for stone-throwing, then the only people who qualify are those who have been silenced already. Those who live outside the system; the outlaws in the forests or those whose protests are never covered by the press, or the well-behaved dispossessed, who go from tribunal to tribunal, bearing witness, giving testimony.

But the Litfest gave us our Aha! Moment. Oprah came. She said she loved India, that she would come again and again. It made us proud.

This is only the burlesque end of the Exquisite Art.

Though the Tatas have been involved with corporate philanthropy for almost a hundred years now, endowing scholarships and running some excellent educational institutes and hospitals, Indian corporations have only recently been invited into the Star Chamber, the Camera stellata, the brightly lit world of global corporate government, deadly for its adversaries, but otherwise so artful that you barely know it’s there.

What follows in this essay might appear to some to be a somewhat harsh critique. On the other hand, in the tradition of honouring one’s adversaries, it could be read as an acknowledgement of the vision, flexibility, the sophistication and unwavering determination of those who have dedicated their lives to keep the world safe for capitalism.

Their enthralling history, which has faded from contemporary memory, began in the US in the early 20th century when, kitted out legally in the form of endowed foundations, corporate philanthropy began to replace missionary activity as Capitalism’s (and Imperialism’s) road opening and systems maintenance patrol. Among the first foundations to be set up in the United States were the Carnegie Corporation, endowed in 1911 by profits from the Carnegie Steel Company; and the Rockefeller Foundation, endowed in 1914 by J.D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil Company. The Tatas and Ambanis of their time.

Some of the institutions financed, given seed money or supported by the Rockefeller Foundation are the UN, the CIA, the Council on Foreign Relations, New York’s most fabulous Museum of Modern Art, and, of course, the Rockefeller Center in New York (where Diego Riviera’s mural had to be blasted off the wall because it mischievously depicted reprobate capitalists and a valiant Lenin. Free Speech had taken the day off.)

J.D. Rockefeller was America’s first billionaire and the world’s richest man. He was an abolitionist, a supporter of Abraham Lincoln and a teetotaller. He believed his money was given to him by God, which must have been nice for him.

Here’s an excerpt from one of Pablo Neruda’s early poems called Standard Oil Company:

Their obese emperors from New York
are suave smiling assassins
who buy silk, nylon, cigars
petty tyrants and dictators.

They buy countries, people, seas, police, county councils,
distant regions where the poor hoard their corn
like misers their gold:
Standard Oil awakens them,
clothes them in uniforms, designates
which brother is the enemy.
the Paraguayan fights its war,
and the Bolivian wastes away
in the jungle with its machine gun.

A President assassinated for a drop of petroleum,
a million-acre mortgage,
a swift execution on a morning mortal with light, petrified,
a new prison camp for subversives,
in Patagonia, a betrayal, scattered shots
beneath a petroliferous moon,
a subtle change of ministers
in the capital, a whisper
like an oil tide,
and zap, you’ll see
how Standard Oil’s letters shine above the clouds,
above the seas, in your home,
illuminating their dominions.

When corporate-endowed foundations first made their appearance in the US, there was a fierce debate about their provenance, legality and lack of accountability. People suggested that if companies had so much surplus money, they should raise the wages of their workers. (People made these outrageous suggestions in those days, even in America.) The idea of these foundations, so ordinary now, was in fact a leap of the business imagination. Non-tax-paying legal entities with massive resources and an almost unlimited brief—wholly unaccountable, wholly non-transparent—what better way to parlay economic wealth into political, social and cultural capital, to turn money into power? What better way for usurers to use a minuscule percentage of their profits to run the world? How else would Bill Gates, who admittedly knows a thing or two about computers, find himself designing education, health and agriculture policies, not just for the US government, but for governments all over the world?

Over the years, as people witnessed some of the genuinely good the foundations did (running public libraries, eradicating diseases)—the direct connection between corporations and the foundations they endowed began to blur. Eventually, it faded altogether. Now even those who consider themselves left-wing are not shy to accept their largesse.

RIL owns 27 TV channels. But the reverse is also true. Dainik Bhaskar owns 69 companies with interests in mining, power generation, real estate and textiles.

By the 1920s, US capitalism had begun to look outwards, for raw materials and overseas markets. Foundations began to formulate the idea of global corporate governance. In 1924, the Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations jointly created what is today the most powerful foreign policy pressure group in the world—the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), which later came to be funded by the Ford Foundation as well. By 1947, the newly created CIA was supported by and working closely with the CFR. Over the years, the CFR’s membership has included 22 US secretaries of state. There were five CFR members in the 1943 steering committee that planned the UN, and an $8.5 million grant from J.D. Rockefeller bought the land on which the UN’s New York headquarters stands.All eleven of the World Bank’s presidents since 1946—men who have presented themselves as missionaries of the poor—have been members of the CFR. (The exception was George Woods. And he was a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation and vice-president of Chase-Manhattan Bank.)

At Bretton Woods, the World Bank and IMF decided that the US dollar should be the reserve currency of the world, and that in order to enhance the penetration of global capital, it would be necessary to universalise and standardise business practices in an open marketplace. It is towards that end that they spend a large amount of money promoting Good Governance (as long as they control the strings), the concept of the Rule of Law (provided they have a say in making the laws) and hundreds of anti-corruption programmes (to streamline the system they have put in place.) Two of the most opaque, unaccountable organisations in the world go about demanding transparency and accountability from the governments of poorer countries.

Given that the World Bank has more or less directed the economic policies of the Third World, coercing and cracking open the markets of country after country for global finance, you could say that corporate philanthropy has turned out to be the most visionary business of all time.

Corporate-endowed foundations administer, trade and channelise their power and place their chessmen on the chessboard, through a system of elite clubs and think-tanks, whose members overlap and move in and out through the revolving doors. Contrary to the various conspiracy theories in circulation, particularly among left-wing groups, there is nothing secret, satanic, or Freemason-like about this arrangement. It is not very different from the way corporations use shell companies and offshore accounts to transfer and administer their money—except that the currency is power, not money.

The transnational equivalent of the CFR is the Trilateral Commission, set up in 1973 by David Rockefeller, the former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski (founder-member of the Afghan Mujahideen, forefathers of the Taliban), the Chase-Manhattan Bank and some other private eminences. Its purpose was to create an enduring bond of friendship and cooperation between the elites of North America, Europe and Japan. It has now become a penta-lateral commission, because it includes members from China and India. (Tarun Das of the CII; N.R. Narayanamurthy, ex-CEO, Infosys; Jamsheyd N. Godrej, managing director, Godrej; Jamshed J. Irani, director, Tata Sons; and Gautam Thapar, CEO, Avantha Group).

The Aspen Institute is an international club of local elites, businessmen, bureaucrats, politicians, with franchises in several countries. Tarun Das is the president of the Aspen Institute, India. Gautam Thapar is chairman. Several senior officers of the McKinsey Global Institute (proposer of the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor) are members of the CFR, the Trilateral Commission and the Aspen Institute.

Coercing a woman out of a burqa is not about liberating her, but about unclothing her. Coercing a woman out of a burqa is as bad as coercing her into one.

The Ford Foundation (liberal foil to the more conservative Rockefeller Foundation, though the two work together constantly) was set up in 1936. Though it is often underplayed, the Ford Foundation has a very clear, well-defined ideology and works extremely closely with the US state department. Its project of deepening democracy and “good governance” are very much part of the Bretton Woods scheme of standardising business practice and promoting efficiency in the free market. After the Second World War, when Communists replaced Fascists as the US government’s enemy number one, new kinds of institutions were needed to deal with the Cold War. Ford funded RAND (Research and Development Corporation), a military think-tank that began with weapons research for the US defense services. In 1952, to thwart “the persistent Communist effort to penetrate and disrupt free nations”, it established the Fund for the Republic, which then morphed into the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions whose brief was to wage the cold war intelligently without McCarthyite excesses. It is through this lens that we need to view the work Ford Foundation is doing, with the millions of dollars it has invested in India—its funding of artists, filmmakers and activists, its generous endowment of university courses and scholarships.The Ford Foundation’s declared “goals for the future of mankind” include interventions in grassroots political movements locally and internationally. In the US, it provided millions in grants and loans to support the Credit Union Movement that was pioneered by the department store owner, Edward Filene, in 1919. Filene believed in creating a mass consumption society of consumer goods by giving workers affordable access to credit—a radical idea at the time. Actually, only half of a radical idea, because the other half of what Filene believed in was the more equitable distribution of national income. Capitalists seized on the first half of Filene’s suggestion, and by disbursing “affordable” loans of tens of millions of dollars to working people, turned the US working class into people who are permanently in debt, running to catch up with their lifestyles.


Embracing death Microcredit has been the bane of many a farmer. Many have been forced to commit suicide.

Many years later, this idea has trickled down to the impoverished countryside of Bangladesh when Mohammed Yunus and the Grameen Bank brought microcredit to starving peasants with disastrous consequences. Microfinance companies in India are responsible for hundreds of suicides—200 people in Andhra Pradesh in 2010 alone. A national daily recently published a suicide note by an 18-year-old girl who was forced to hand over her last Rs 150, her school fees, to bullying employees of the microfinance company. The note said, “Work hard and earn money. Do not take loans.”

There’s a lot of money in poverty, and a few Nobel Prizes too.

But which of us sinners was going to cast the first stone? We watch Tata Sky, surf the net with Tata Photon, sip Tata Tea. Hum Tata ka namak khate hain!

By the 1950s, the Rockefeller and Ford foundations, funding several NGOs and international educational institutions, began to work as quasi-extensions of the US government that was at the time toppling democratically elected governments in Latin America, Iran and Indonesia. (That was also around the time they made their entry into India, then non-aligned, but clearly tilting towards the Soviet Union.) The Ford Foundation established a US-style economics course at the Indonesian University. Elite Indonesian students, trained in counter-insurgency by US army officers, played a crucial part in the 1965 CIA-backed coup in Indonesia that brought General Suharto to power. Gen Suharto repaid his mentors by slaughtering hundreds of thousands of Communist rebels.Eight years later, young Chilean students, who came to be known as the Chicago Boys, were taken to the US to be trained in neo-liberal economics by Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago (endowed by J.D. Rockefeller), in preparation for the 1973 CIA-backed coup that killed Salvador Allende, and brought in General Pinochet and a reign of death squads, disappearances and terror that lasted for seventeen years. (Allende’s crime was being a democratically elected socialist and nationalising Chile’s mines.)

In 1957, the Rockefeller Foundation established the Ramon Magsaysay Prize for community leaders in Asia. It was named after Ramon Magsaysay, president of the Philippines, a crucial ally in the US campaign against Communism in Southeast Asia. In 2000, the Ford Foundation established the Ramon Magsaysay Emergent Leadership Award. The Magsaysay Award is considered a prestigious award among artists, activists and community workers in India. M.S. Subbulakshmi and Satyajit Ray won it, so did Jayaprakash Narayan and one of India’s finest journalists, P. Sainath. But they did more for the Magsaysay award than it did for them. In general, it has become a gentle arbiter of what kind of activism is “acceptable” and what is not.


Team Anna Whose voice are they, really?. (Photograph by Sanjay Rawat)

Interestingly, Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement last summer was spearheaded by three Magsaysay Award winners—Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi. One of Arvind Kejriwal’s many NGOs is generously funded by Ford Foundation. Kiran Bedi’s NGO is funded by Coca Cola and Lehman Brothers.

Though Anna Hazare calls himself a Gandhian, the law he called for—the Jan Lokpal Bill—was un-Gandhian, elitist and dangerous. A round-the-clock corporate media campaign proclaimed him to be the voice of “the people”. Unlike the Occupy Wall Street movement in the US, the Hazare movement did not breathe a word against privatisation, corporate power or economic “reforms”. On the contrary, its principal media backers successfully turned the spotlight away from massive corporate corruption scandals (which had exposed high-profile journalists too) and used the public mauling of politicians to call for the further withdrawal of discretionary powers from government, for more reforms, more privatisation. (In 2008, Anna Hazare received a World Bank award for outstanding public service). The World Bank issued a statement from Washington saying the movement “dovetailed” into its policy.

Like all good Imperialists, the Philanthropoids set themselves the task of creating and training an international cadre that believed that Capitalism, and by extension the hegemony of the United States, was in their own self-interest. And who would therefore help to administer the Global Corporate Government in the ways native elites had always served colonialism. So began the foundations’ foray into education and the arts, which would become their third sphere of influence, after foreign and domestic economic policy. They spent (and continue to spend) millions of dollars on academic institutions and pedagogy.

Joan Roelofs in her wonderful book Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism describes how foundations remodelled the old ideas of how to teach political science, and fashioned the disciplines of “international” and “area” studies. This provided the US intelligence and security services a pool of expertise in foreign languages and culture to recruit from. The CIA and US state department continue to work with students and professors in US universities, raising serious questions about the ethics of scholarship.


Uniquely placed Nandan Nilekani, ‘CEO’ of Project UID. (Photograph by Jitender Gupta)

The gathering of information to control people they rule is fundamental to any ruling power. As resistance to land acquisition and the new economic policies spreads across India, in the shadow of outright war in Central India, as a containment technique, the government has embarked on a massive biometrics programme, perhaps one of the most ambitious and expensive information-gathering projects in the world— the Unique Identification Number (UID). People don’t have clean drinking water, or toilets, or food, or money, but they will have election cards and UID numbers. Is it a coincidence that the UID project run by Nandan Nilekani, former CEO of Infosys, ostensibly meant to “deliver services to the poor”, will inject massive amounts of money into a slightly beleaguered IT industry? (A conservative estimate of the UID budget exceeds the Indian government’s annual public spending on education.) To “digitise” a country with such a large population of the largely illegitimate and “illegible”—people who are for the most part slum-dwellers, hawkers, adivasis without land records—will criminalise them, turning them from illegitimate to illegal. The idea is to pull off a digital version of the Enclosure of the Commons and put huge powers into the hands of an increasingly hardening police state. Nilekani’s technocratic obsession with gathering data is consistent with Bill Gates’s obsession with digital databases, “numerical targets”, “scorecards of progress”. As though it is a lack of information that is the cause of world hunger, and not colonialism, debt and skewed profit-oriented, corporate policy.

Corporate-endowed foundations are the biggest funders of the social sciences and the arts, endowing courses and student scholarships in “development studies”, “community studies”, “cultural studies”, “behavioural sciences” and “human rights”. As US universities opened their doors to international students, hundreds of thousands of students, children of the Third World elite, poured in. Those who could not afford the fees were given scholarships. Today in countries like India and Pakistan there is scarcely a family among the upper middle classes that does not have a child that has studied in the US. From their ranks have come good scholars and academics, but also the prime ministers, finance ministers, economists, corporate lawyers, bankers and bureaucrats who helped to open up the economies of their countries to global corporations.

Corporate philanthropy is as much a part of our lives as Coca Cola. Global finance buys into protest movements via NGOs. More troubled an area, more the NGOs.

Scholars of the Foundation-friendly version of economics and political science were rewarded with fellowships, research funds, grants, endowments and jobs. Those with Foundation-unfriendly views found themselves unfunded, marginalised and ghettoised, their courses discontinued. Gradually, one particular imagination—a brittle, superficial pretence of tolerance and multiculturalism (that morphs into racism, rabid nationalism, ethnic chauvinism or war-mongering Islamophobia at a moment’s notice) under the roof of a single, overarching, very unplural economic ideology—began to dominate the discourse. It did so to such an extent that it ceased to be perceived as an ideology at all. It became the default position, the natural way to be. It infiltrated normality, colonised ordinariness, and challenging it began to seem as absurd or as esoteric as challenging reality itself. From here it was a quick easy step to ‘There is No Alternative’.It is only now, thanks to the Occupy Movement, that another language has appeared on US streets and campuses. To see students with banners that say ‘Class War’ or ‘We don’t mind you being rich, but we mind you buying our government’ is, given the odds, almost a revolution in itself.

One century after it began, corporate philanthropy is as much part of our lives as Coca Cola. There are now millions of non-profit organisations, many of them connected through a byzantine financial maze to the larger foundations. Between them, this “independent” sector has assets worth nearly 450 billion dollars. The largest of them is the Bill Gates Foundation with ($21 billion), followed by the Lilly Endowment ($16 billion) and the Ford Foundation ($15 billion).

Nilekani’s technocratic obsession with gathering data is consistent with that of Bill Gates, as though lack of information is what is causing world hunger.

As the IMF enforced Structural Adjustment, and arm-twisted governments into cutting back on public spending on health, education, childcare, development, the NGOs moved in. The Privatisation of Everything has also meant the NGO-isation of Everything. As jobs and livelihoods disappeared, NGOs have become an important source of employment, even for those who see them for what they are. And they are certainly not all bad. Of the millions of NGOs, some do remarkable, radical work and it would be a travesty to tar all NGOs with the same brush. However, the corporate or Foundation-endowed NGOs are global finance’s way of buying into resistance movements, literally like shareholders buy shares in companies, and then try to control them from within. They sit like nodes on the central nervous system, the pathways along which global finance flows. They work like transmitters, receivers, shock absorbers, alert to every impulse, careful never to annoy the governments of their host countries. (The Ford Foundation requires the organisations it funds to sign a pledge to this effect.) Inadvertently (and sometimes advertently), they serve as listening posts, their reports and workshops and other missionary activity feeding data into an increasingly aggressive system of surveillance of increasingly hardening States. The more troubled an area, the greater the numbers of NGOs in it.Mischievously, when the government or sections of the Corporate Press want to run a smear campaign against a genuine people’s movement, like the Narmada Bachao Andolan, or the protest against the Koodankulam nuclear reactor, they accuse these movements of being NGOs receiving “foreign funding”. They know very well that the mandate of most NGOs, in particular the well-funded ones, is to further the project of corporate globalisation, not thwart it.

Armed with their billions, these NGOs have waded into the world, turning potential revolutionaries into salaried activists, funding artists, intellectuals and filmmakers, gently luring them away from radical confrontation, ushering them in the direction of multi-culturalism, gender, community development—the discourse couched in the language of identity politics and human rights.

The transformation of the idea of justice into the industry of human rights has been a conceptual coup in which NGOs and foundations have played a crucial part. The narrow focus of human rights enables an atrocity-based analysis in which the larger picture can be blocked out and both parties in a conflict—say, for example, the Maoists and the Indian government, or the Israeli Army and Hamas—can both be admonished as Human Rights Violators. The land-grab by mining corporations or the history of the annexation of Palestinian land by the State of Israel then become footnotes with very little bearing on the discourse. This is not to suggest that human rights don’t matter. They do, but they are not a good enough prism through which to view or remotely understand the great injustices in the world we live in.


‘Mining happiness’ Vedanta is stripping all that the Dongria Kondh tribals hold sacred. (Photograph by Sandipan Chatterjee)

Another conceptual coup has to do with foundations’ involvement with the feminist movement. Why do most “official” feminists and women’s organisations in India keep a safe distance between themselves and organisations like say the 90,000-member Krantikari Adivasi Mahila Sangathan (Revolutionary Adivasi Women’s Association) fighting patriarchy in their own communities and displacement by mining corporations in the Dandakaranya forest? Why is it that the dispossession and eviction of millions of women from land which they owned and worked is not seen as a feminist problem?

The hiving off of the liberal feminist movement from grassroots anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist people’s movements did not begin with the evil designs of foundations. It began with those movements’ inability to adapt and accommodate the rapid radicalisation of women that took place in the ’60s and ’70s. The foundations showed genius in recognising and moving in to support and fund women’s growing impatience with the violence and patriarchy in their traditional societies as well as among even the supposedly progressive leaders of Left movements. In a country like India, the schism also ran along the rural-urban divide. Most radical, anti-capitalist movements were located in the countryside where, for the most part, patriarchy continued to rule the lives of most women. Urban women activists who joined these movements (like the Naxalite movement) had been influenced and inspired by the western feminist movement and their own journeys towards liberation were often at odds with what their male leaders considered to be their duty: to fit in with ‘the masses’. Many women activists were not willing to wait any longer for the “revolution” in order to end the daily oppression and discrimination in their lives, including from their own comrades. They wanted gender equality to be an absolute, urgent and non-negotiable part of the revolutionary process and not just a post-revolution promise. Intelligent, angry and disillusioned women began to move away and look for other means of support and sustenance. As a result, by the late ’80s, around the time Indian markets were opened up, the liberal feminist movement in a country like India has become inordinately NGO-ised. Many of these NGOs have done seminal work on queer rights, domestic violence, AIDS and the rights of sex workers. But significantly, the liberal feminist movements have not been at the forefront of challenging the new economic policies, even though women have been the greatest sufferers. By manipulating the disbursement of the funds, the foundations have largely succeeded in circumscribing the range of what “political” activity should be. The funding briefs of NGOs now prescribe what counts as women’s “issues” and what doesn’t.

The NGO-isation of the women’s movement has also made western liberal feminism (by virtue of its being the most funded brand) the standard-bearer of what constitutes feminism. The battles, as usual, have been played out on women’s bodies, extruding Botox at one end and burqas at the other. (And then there are those who suffer the double whammy, Botox and the Burqa.) When, as happened recently in France, an attempt is made to coerce women out of the burqa rather than creating a situation in which a woman can choose what she wishes to do, it’s not about liberating her, but about unclothing her. It becomes an act of humiliation and cultural imperialism. It’s not about the burqa. It’s about the coercion. Coercing a woman out of a burqa is as bad as coercing her into one. Viewing gender in this way, shorn of social, political and economic context, makes it an issue of identity, a battle of props and costumes. It is what allowed the US government to use western feminist groups as moral cover when it invaded Afghanistan in 2001. Afghan women were (and are) in terrible trouble under the Taliban. But dropping daisy-cutters on them was not going to solve their problems.

In the NGO universe, which has evolved a strange anodyne language of its own, everything has become a “subject”, a separate, professionalised, special-interest issue. Community development, leadership development, human rights, health, education, reproductive rights, AIDS, orphans with AIDS—have all been hermetically sealed into their own silos with their own elaborate and precise funding brief. Funding has fragmented solidarity in ways that repression never could. Poverty too, like feminism, is often framed as an identity problem. As though the poor have not been created by injustice but are a lost tribe who just happen to exist, and can be rescued in the short term by a system of grievance redressal (administered by NGOs on an individual, person to person basis), and whose long-term resurrection will come from Good Governance. Under the regime of Global Corporate Capitalism, it goes without saying.

Indian poverty, after a brief period in the wilderness while India “shone”, has made a comeback as an exotic identity in the Arts, led from the front by films like Slumdog Millionaire. These stories about the poor, their amazing spirit and resilience, have no villains—except the small ones who provide narrative tension and local colour. The authors of these works are the contemporary world’s equivalent of the early anthropologists, lauded and honoured for working on “the ground”, for their brave journeys into the unknown. You rarely see the rich being examined in these ways.

Having worked out how to manage governments, political parties, elections, courts, the media and liberal opinion, there was one more challenge for the neo-liberal establishment: how to deal with growing unrest, the threat of “people’s power”. How do you domesticate it? How do you turn protesters into pets? How do you vacuum up people’s fury and redirect it into blind alleys?

Here too, foundations and their allied organisations have a long and illustrious history. A revealing example is their role in defusing and deradicalising the Black Civil Rights movement in the US in the 1960s and the successful transformation of Black Power into Black Capitalism.

The Rockefeller Foundation, in keeping with J.D. Rockefeller’s ideals, had worked closely with Martin Luther King Sr (father of Martin Luther King Jr). But his influence waned with the rise of the more militant organisations—the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panthers. The Ford and Rockefeller Foundations moved in. In 1970, they donated $15 million to “moderate” black organisations, giving people grants, fellowships, scholarships, job training programmes for dropouts and seed money for black-owned businesses. Repression, infighting and the honey trap of funding led to the gradual atrophying of the radical black organisations.

Stones were pushed up Soni Sori’s vagina to get her to ‘confess’. Sori remains in jail; her interrogator, Ankit Garg, was awarded the police medal this Republic Day.

Martin Luther King Jr made the forbidden connections between Capitalism, Imperialism, Racism and the Vietnam War. As a result, after he was assassinated, even his memory became a toxic threat to public order. Foundations and Corporations worked hard to remodel his legacy to fit a market-friendly format. The Martin Luther King Junior Centre for Non-Violent Social Change, with an operational grant of $2 million, was set up by, among others, the Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Mobil, Western Electric, Procter & Gamble, US Steel and Monsanto. The Center maintains the King Library and Archives of the Civil Rights Movement. Among the many programmes the King Center runs have been projects that “work closely with the United States Department of Defense, the Armed Forces Chaplains Board and others”. It co-sponsored the Martin Luther King Jr Lecture Series called ‘The Free Enterprise System: An Agent for Non-violent Social Change’. Amen.A similar coup was carried out in the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. In 1978, the Rockefeller Foundation organised a Study Commission on US Policy toward Southern Africa. The report warned of the growing influence of the Soviet Union on the African National Congress (ANC) and said that US strategic and corporate interests (i.e., access to South Africa’s minerals) would be best served if there were genuine sharing of political power by all races.


Black ‘liberation’ Or a bow to the Washington Consensus?. (Photograph by Reuters, From Outlook, March 26, 2012)

The foundations began to support the ANC. The ANC soon turned on the more radical organisations like Steve Biko’s Black Consciousness movement and more or less eliminated them. When Nelson Mandela took over as South Africa’s first Black President, he was canonised as a living saint, not just because he was a freedom fighter who spent 27 years in prison, but also because he deferred completely to the Washington Consensus. Socialism disappeared from the ANC’s agenda. South Africa’s great “peaceful transition”, so praised and lauded, meant no land reforms, no demands for reparation, no nationalisation of South Africa’s mines. Instead, there was Privatisation and Structural Adjustment. Mandela gave South Africa’s highest civilian award—the Order of Good Hope—to his old supporter and friend General Suharto, the killer of Communists in Indonesia. Today, in South Africa, a clutch of Mercedes-driving former radicals and trade unionists rule the country. But that is more than enough to perpetuate the illusion of Black Liberation.

The rise of Black Power in the US was an inspirational moment for the rise of a radical, progressive Dalit movement in India, with organisations like the Dalit Panthers mirroring the militant politics of the Black Panthers. But Dalit Power too, in not exactly the same but similar ways, has been fractured and defused and, with plenty of help from right-wing Hindu organisations and the Ford Foundation, is well on its way to transforming into Dalit Capitalism.

Dalit Inc ready to show business can beat caste’, the Indian Express reported in December last year. It went on to quote a mentor of the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DICCI). “Getting the prime minister for a Dalit gathering is not difficult in our society. But for Dalit entrepreneurs, taking a photograph with Tata and Godrej over lunch and tea is an aspiration—and proof that they have arrived,” he said. Given the situation in modern India, it would be casteist and reactionary to say that Dalit entrepreneurs oughtn’t to have a place at the high table. But if this is to be the aspiration, the ideological framework of Dalit politics, it would be a great pity. And unlikely to help the one million Dalits who still earn a living off manual scavenging—carrying human shit on their heads.

Do we need weapons to fight wars? Or do we need wars to create a market for weapons? It’s the one thing that the US hasn’t outsourced to China.

Young Dalit scholars who accept grantsfrom the Ford Foundation cannot be too harshly judged. Who else is offering them an opportunity to climb out of the cesspit of the Indian caste system? The shame as well as a large part of the blame for this turn of events also goes to India’s Communist movement whose leaders continue to be predominantly upper caste. For years it has tried to force-fit the idea of caste into Marxist class analysis. It has failed miserably, in theory as well as practice. The rift between the Dalit community and the Left began with a falling out between the visionary Dalit leader Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar and S.A. Dange, trade unionist and founding member of the Communist Party of India. Dr Ambedkar’s disillusionment with the Communist Party began with the textile workers’ strike in Mumbai in 1928 when he realised that despite all the rhetoric about working class solidarity, the party did not find it objectionable that the “untouchables” were kept out of the weaving department (and only qualified for the lower paid spinning department) because the work involved the use of saliva on the threads, which other castes considered “polluting”.Ambedkar realised that in a society where the Hindu scriptures institutionalise untouchability and inequality, the battle for “untouchables”, for social and civic rights, was too urgent to wait for the promised Communist revolution. The rift between the Ambedkarites and the Left has come at a great cost to both. It has meant that a great majority of the Dalit population, the backbone of the Indian working class, has pinned its hopes for deliverance and dignity to constitutionalism, to capitalism and to political parties like the BSP, which practise an important, but in the long run, stagnant brand of identity politics.

In the United States, as we have seen, corporate-endowed foundations spawned the culture of NGOs. In India, targeted corporate philanthropy began in earnest in the 1990s, the era of the New Economic Policies. Membership to the Star Chamber doesn’t come cheap. The Tata Group donated $50 million to that needy institution, the Harvard Business School, and another $50 million to Cornell University. Nandan Nilekani of Infosys and his wife Rohini donated $5 million as a start-up endowment for the India Initiative at Yale. The Harvard Humanities Centre is now the Mahindra Humanities Centre after it received its largest-ever donation of $10 million from Anand Mahindra of the Mahindra Group.

When Mandela took over, socialism disappeared from the ANC agenda. Today, a clutch of Mercedes-driving ex-radicals and trade unionists rule the country.

At home, the Jindal Group, with a major stake in mining, metals and power, runs the Jindal Global Law School and will soon open the Jindal School of Government and Public Policy. (The Ford Foundation runs a law school in the Congo.) The New India Foundation funded by Nandan Nilekani, financed by profits from Infosys, gives prizes and fellowships to social scientists. The Sitaram Jindal Foundation endowed by Jindal Aluminium has announced five cash prizes of Rs 1 crore each to be given to those working in rural development, poverty alleviation, environment education and moral upliftment. The Reliance Group’s Observer Research Foundation (ORF), currently endowed by Mukesh Ambani, is cast in the mould of the Rockefeller Foundation. It has retired intelligence agents, strategic analysts, politicians (who pretend to rail against each other in Parliament), journalists and policymakers as its research “fellows” and advisors.ORF’s objectives seem straightforward enough: “To help develop a consensus in favour of economic reforms.” And to shape and influence public opinion, creating “viable, alternative policy options in areas as divergent as employment generation in backward districts and real-time strategies to counter nuclear, biological and chemical threats”.

I was initially puzzled by the preoccupation with “nuclear, biological and chemical war” in ORF’s stated objectives. But less so when, in the long list of its ‘institutional partners’, I found the names of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, two of the world’s leading weapons manufacturers. In 2007, Raytheon announced it was turning its attention to India. Could it be that at least part of India’s $32 billion defence budget will be spent on weapons, guided missiles, aircraft, warships and surveillance equipment made by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin?

Do we need weapons to fight wars? Or do we need wars to create a market for weapons? After all, the economies of Europe, US and Israel depend hugely on their weapons industry. It’s the one thing they haven’t outsourced to China.

In the new Cold War between US and China, India is being groomed to play the role Pakistan played as a US ally in the cold war with Russia. (And look what happened to Pakistan.) Many of those columnists and “strategic analysts” who are playing up the hostilities between India and China, you’ll see, can be traced back directly or indirectly to the Indo-American think-tanks and foundations. Being a “strategic partner” of the US does not mean that the Heads of State make friendly phone calls to each other every now and then. It means collaboration (interference) at every level. It means hosting US Special Forces on Indian soil (a Pentagon Commander recently confirmed this to the BBC). It means sharing intelligence, altering agriculture and energy policies, opening up the health and education sectors to global investment. It means opening up retail. It means an unequal partnership in which India is being held close in a bear hug and waltzed around the floor by a partner who will incinerate her the moment she refuses to dance.

In the list of ORF’s ‘institutional partners’, you will also find the RAND Corporation, Ford Foundation, the World Bank, the Brookings Institution (whose stated mission is to “provide innovative and practical recommendations that advance three broad goals: to strengthen American democracy; to foster the economic and social welfare, security and opportunity of all Americans; and to secure a more open, safe, prosperous and cooperative international system”.) You will also find the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation of Germany. (Poor Rosa, who died for the cause of Communism, to find her name on a list such as this one!)

Though capitalism is meant to be based on competition, those at the top of the food chain have also shown themselves to be capable of inclusiveness and solidarity. The great Western Capitalists have done business with fascists, socialists, despots and military dictators. They can adapt and constantly innovate. They are capable of quick thinking and immense tactical cunning.

But despite having successfully powered through economic reforms, despite having waged wars and militarily occupied countries in order to put in place free market “democracies”, Capitalism is going through a crisis whose gravity has not revealed itself completely yet. Marx said, “What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.”

The proletariat, as Marx saw it, has been under continuous assault. Factories have shut down, jobs have disappeared, trade unions have been disbanded. The proletariat has, over the years, been pitted against each other in every possible way. In India, it has been Hindu against Muslim, Hindu against Christian, Dalit against Adivasi, caste against caste, region against region. And yet, all over the world, it is fighting back. In China, there are countless strikes and uprisings. In India, the poorest people in the world have fought back to stop some of the richest corporations in their tracks. Capitalism is in crisis. Trickledown failed. Now Gush-Up is in trouble too. The international financial meltdown is closing in. India’s growth rate has plummeted to 6.9 per cent. Foreign investment is pulling out. Major international corporations are sitting on huge piles of money, not sure where to invest it, not sure how the financial crisis will play out. This is a major, structural crack in the juggernaut of global capital.

Capitalism is in crisis. The international financial meltdown is closing in. The two old tricks that dug it out of past crises—War and Shopping—simply will not work.

Capitalism’s real “grave-diggers” may end up being its own delusional Cardinals, who have turned ideology into faith. Despite their strategic brilliance, they seem to have trouble grasping a simple fact: Capitalism is destroying the planet. The two old tricks that dug it out of past crises—War and Shopping—simply will not work.

I stood outside Antilla for a long time watching the sun go down. I imagined that the tower was as deep as it was high. That it had a twenty-seven-storey-long tap root, snaking around below the ground, hungrily sucking sustenance out of the earth, turning it into smoke and gold.

Why did the Ambanis’ choose to call their building Antilla? Antilla is the name of a set of mythical islands whose story dates back to an 8th-century Iberian legend. When the Muslims conquered Hispania, six Christian Visigothic bishops and their parishioners boarded ships and fled. After days, or maybe weeks at sea, they arrived at the isles of Antilla where they decided to settle and raise a new civilisation. They burnt their boats to permanently sever their links to their barbarian-dominated homeland.

By calling their tower Antilla, do the Ambanis hope to sever their links to the poverty and squalor of their homeland and raise a new civilisation? Is this the final act of the most successful secessionist movement in India? The secession of the middle and upper classes into outer space?

As night fell over Mumbai, guards in crisp linen shirts with crackling walkie-talkies appeared outside the forbidding gates of Antilla. The lights blazed on, to scare away the ghosts perhaps. The neighbours complain that Antilla’s bright lights have stolen the night.

Perhaps it’s time for us to take back the night.

Jason Rink is the Editor-in-Chief of The Liberty Voice. Executive Director of the Foundation for a Free Society. He is the producer and director of Nullification: The Rightful Remedy, and the author of “Ron Paul: Father of the Tea Party” the biography of Congressman Ron Paul. See more of his work at his writing at JasonRink.com and his film production work at FoundationMedia.org.

3 Comments

  1. Robin

    March 22, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Wow, couldn’t read all that. ADD maybe, but I get the point. Learned a new word lately…Oligarchy it applies to this country and soon to ours.
    That Henry Ford, sure liked that book “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion”

  2. sherry

    March 23, 2012 at 7:17 am

    I sympathize, so I added the video. She’s easy on the eyes anyway. Ever watch “We”? LOVE that one!

  3. Nalliah Thayabharan

    July 10, 2012 at 7:49 am

    Africa is almost four times the size of the United States of America in land size and in all kinds of riches, especially in raw materials such as platinum, cobalt, uranium, tantalum, gold, diamonds and oil. There is hardly an agricultural product that cannot be grown in Africa. Africa’s arable land for food security is reported to be the largest in the world. But Africa’s riches including her human resources have been brutally looted by imperialist countries for centuries and still are, even under supposedly liberated Africa. Africa was destroyed by imperialist Europe and is still being destroyed by Europe. The effects of colonialism past and present are visible all over Africa.

    Africa is the Mother of Humanity. Africa is the cradle of the first human civilisation – the Mother of Nations. The First Renaissance on this planet was the African Renaissance. Africa was “the first world” economically. Ancestors of Africa built the pyramids which even in this 21st century no one can reproduce. Africans built the city of Memphis in ancient Egypt in 3100 B.C. Greeks built Athens in 1200 B.C. The Romans built Rome in 1000 B.C. Up to the 14th century A.D. Africa was ahead of Europe or on par with Europe militarily. The Romans used spears and Africans used spears in war. Earlier educated Greeks received their education in Africa, to be precise in Mizraim (ancient Egypt). Africans invented writing. It was Hieroglyphics before 3000 B.C. and Hieratic alphabet shortly after this. Demotic writing was developed about 6OO B.C., while a Kushite script was used in 300 B.C. Other African scripts were Merotic, Coptic, Amharic, Sabean, G’eez, Nsibidi of Nigeria and Mende of Mali. There were many others such as the Twi alphabet of the Twi people of Ghana.

    The Africa was the place of birth of human kind, and that for thousands of years…Africa was in the forefront of all world progress. In Africa that history began. Africa remains the privileged source of the manifestations of intense human creativity. Up to the 14th century A.D. Africa was ahead of Europe or on par with Europe militarily. The Romans used spears and Africans used spears in war. Earlier educated Greeks received their education in Africa, to be precise in Mizraim (ancient Egypt). The people of Azania whose country colonialists called “South Africa” through the British imperialist Union of South Africa Act 1909; mined gold and copper in Mapungubwe as early as the 9th century.

    The “Atlantic” Ocean was called the Ethiopian Sea as late as 1626 and the “Indian” Ocean the Azanian Sea. The Azanian civilisation, has a long history. Azania like Kush, Mizraim, Egypt, Kemet, Ethiopia means Blackman’s country or continent. In 1930 excavations at Mapungubwe in the area of Limpopo River revealed skeletal remains of people that became known as ancient Azanians.These Africans were also referred to as Kushites or descendants of Kush.
    In fact, in 1990, Dr. Gert Viljoen who was F.W. de Klerk’s Minister of Constitutional Affairs gave reasons why his apartheid colonialist regime would not negotiate with those African revolutionaries who subscribed to the Azanian school of thought.

    Africa has suffered the worst genocide and holocaust at the hands of the architects of slavery and colonialism. What is called “European Renaissance” was the worst darkness for Africa’s people. Armed with the technology of the gun and the compass it copied from China, Europe became a menace for Africa against her spears. So-called “civilised” Europe also claiming to be “Christian” came up with the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. There was massive loss of African population and skills. Some historians have estimated that the Gold Coast (today’s Ghana) alone, lost over 2 million of its people to slavery for four hundred years.

    What would have been Britain’s level of development had millions of her people been put to work as slaves out of their country over a period of four centuries?

    As if slavery had not already done enough damage to Africa’s people, European leaders met in Germany from December 1884 to February 1885 at the imperialist Berlin Conference. The Belgian King Leopold stated the purpose of the Berlin Conference as “How we should divide among ourselves this magnificent African cake.”

    Africa was thus plunged into another human tragedy. Through the Berlin Treaty of February 26, 1885, the European imperialists sliced Africa into “Portuguese Africa”, “British Africa”, “German Africa”, “Italian Africa,” “Spanish Africa”, “French Africa” and “Belgian Africa.” There was no Africa left for Africans except Ethiopia, encircled by paupers of land dispossessed people who were now the reservoir of cheap native labour for their dispossessors.

    Somalia, a tiny African country, had the misfortune of becoming “British Somaliland”, “Italian Somaliland”, and “French Somaliland.” Colonial brutality on the colonised Africans knew no bounds. Here are a few examples of atrocities committed against Africans by colonialists. A British philosopher, Betrand Russell wrote about some of these colonial atrocities perpetrated by Belgium in the Congo in the name of “Western Christian Civilisation.” Russell wrote, “Each village was ordered by the authorities to collect and bring in a certain amount of rubber – as much as the men could bring in by neglecting all work for their own maintenance.

    If they failed to bring the required amount, their women were taken away and kept as hostages…in the harems of colonial government employees. If this method failed…troops were sent to the village to spread terror, if necessary by killing some of the men…they were ordered to bring one right hand amputated from an African victim for every cartridge used.” (Introduction To African Civilisations, John G. Jackson 310-311)

    The result of these atrocities according to Sir H.H. Johnston was the reduction of the population in the Congo from twenty million to nine million people in fifteen years.

    The worst genocide also occurred in Namibia in 1904. Namibia was then a German colony. The Herero people resisted German colonialism. A well armed army under General Lothar von Trotha defeated the Hereros at the Battle of Waterberg. The German colonial aggressors drove these Africans from their land to the desert where there was no water. Seventy percent of the Herero population died of dehydration in that desert. In South Africa the Khoisan people were exterminated by colonialists after being hunted like animals and dispossessed of their land.

    Colonised Africans were treated not only as sub-humans, they were denied basic rights such as education and the right to land for decent housing, farming, mining and fishing. Colonial functionaries were honoured for barbaric actions and atrocities. The British government honoured its colonial officials such as “Sir Andries Stockkenstrom”. He had earlier said:

    “The question of robbing natives of their land is not whether it is right or wrong to plunder their land, massacre and exterminate the Hottentots, the Kaffirs…the simple question is will it PAY? But if the Bible and the missionary stands in the way of this one thousand per cent profit…If in short, they cannot promote the great work of converting a nation of shop-keepers into a nation of millionaires,…gun powder will produce a more efficient gospel for the purpose of our system of civilisation.” (R.U. Kenny, Piet Retief, Cape Town and Pretoria: Human & Reason, 1976 page 77)

    When introducing inferior education for African mental enslavement in South Africa, Hendrik F. Verwoerd that arch implementer of apartheid colonialism said, “There is no place for him (the African) in the European community above the level of certain forms of labour. Until now, he (the African) has been subjected to a school system which drew him away from his community and misled him by showing him the green pastures of the European society where he is not allowed to graze.” (‘Apartheid: The Story Of A Dispossessed People, Motsoko Pheko page 150 Marram Books London 1984)

    Slavery and colonialism enriched Europe and reduced Africa to abject poverty. The riches of Africa and her raw materials fuelled the economies of imperialist countries. The British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill bore testimony to this fact when he said:

    “Our possession of the West Indies gave us the strength, the support, but especially the capital, the wealth, at the time when no other European nations possessed such reserve, which enabled us to come through the great struggles of the Napoleonic Wars. The keen competition of commerce in the 18th and 19th centuries enabled us not only to acquire this appendage of possessions which we have, but also to lay the foundations of that commercial and financial leadership which when the world was young,…enabled us to make our great position in the world.” (‘The Long Road To Humanity’, by Stanton A. Coblentz page 325 and Introduction To African Civilisations John G. Jackson page 306)

    It was against this background of genocide in the name of “European civilisation” that Africans in the Diaspora who had been shipped from Africa and enslaved in the West Indies and in the Americas realised that the solution to Africa’s people both at home and abroad was Pan-Africanism. Pan-Africanism is a political philosophy that was conceived in the womb of Africa. Pan-Africanism was formally organised in 1900 by Selvester Henry Williams.

    It’s relevance to Africa’s people as a solution to their problems is indisputable. Its effectiveness and prowess were demonstrated at the 5th Pan African Congress in Manchester in 1945. It is Pan Africanism that won present political freedom for Africa and reversed the African tragedy and humiliation that was orchestrated at the Berlin Conference. It is Pan Africanism that brought about the Organisation of African Unity, the African Union, the Pan African Parliament and Africa Liberation Day that Africa’s people throughout the world are commemorating each year. It is Africa’s Pan Africanist spirit that led to assisting African Liberation Movements of Southern Africa against colonialism.

    Pan Africanist pioneers including a few in the Diaspora such as Henry Sylvester Williams, Marcus Garvey, W.E. B. Du Bois, George Padmore, C.L.R. James, Frantz Fanon, Yosef Makonen, Malcom X, John Hendrik Clarke, Edward Wilmot Blyden, Binito Sylvania and Martin Delany, worked so hard to bring Africans to where they are today.In fact, Marcus Garvey was the first to organise Africans globally on the principles of Black Consciousness and Pan Africanism.

    The pioneers of liberation in Africa such as Nkrumah, Patrce Lumumba, Julius Nyerere, Ahmed Ben Bella, Abdel Nasser, Modibo Keita, Ahmed Sekou Toure fought, the first stage of African liberation with distinction. That is political freedom. But they are now reminding this generation that there is much to be done. True sons and daughters of Africa must tighten their belts for a more fierce war. That is a war against neo-colonialism – the last stage of imperialism. The battle cry is now for economic liberation of Africa and her technological advancement.

    A glaring example of the riches of Africa is the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country of Patrice Lumumba. Economic experts have pronounced that, when developed Congo alone can feed and provide electricity for the whole of Africa. During the Second World War, the Nazi forces of Hitler over-ran Belgium. The Belgians established their government-in-exile in London. How did Belgium manage financially? Well, Congo was their colony. Let this come from the horse’s mouth. Godding was the Colonial Secretary of the Belgian Government-in- exile. He boasted:
    “During the War, the Congo was able to finance expenditure of the Belgian Government-in-exile in London, including the diplomatic service as well as the cost of armed forces in Europe and America. The Belgian gold reserve could be left intact.”

    To this minute, Africa’s riches are fuelling the economies of imperialist countries. Africans remain the poorest people in the world amidst their own riches in their own African Continent. As the late President Kwame Nkrumah put it, “If Africa’s resources were used in her own development they would place Africa among the most modernised continents of the world. But Africa’s wealth is used for the development of overseas interests.”

    Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe the Pan-Africanist giant that was banned “this side of eternity” as John B. Vorster put it, declared, “The potential wealth of Africa in minerals, oil, hydro-electric power, and so on, is immense.” Sobukwe envisioned that by the end of the 20th century, “the standard of living of the African masses will undoubtedly have arisen dramatically.” Lo! This has not happened.

    Perhaps, venerated Martyr Steve Biko was being prophetic of the African condition, when he said, “At the end of it all, the Blacks have nothing to lean on, nothing to cheer them up at the present moment, and very much to be afraid of the future.”

    Whenever an African country is about to be liberated, imperialists have always divided liberation movements into radicals, extremists and militants and so-called moderates. Colonialists have often called these so-called moderates to the “negotiating table” and offered them the flag and parliament – things Africans never made the fundamental objective of their liberation struggle.

    From day one of the arrival of colonial invaders in Africa, the primary objective of Africans’ struggle was repossession of their land and its riches taken from Africans at gunpoint. Anyone one who doubts this historic fact must consult Kings Sekhukhene, Makado, Hintsa, Cetshwayo, Moshoeshoe, Makana and Bambatha, even Mzilikazi for that matter. Land is what African people have died for, for over three hundred years of their existence, in their case in Azania.

    A Kenyan political activist and former presidential candidate, Koigi Mamwere, captured this truism accurately in April 2000 when he proclaimed:

    “Today, Europeans own almost all the land in the Americas, almost all the good land in Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania and most of the best land in African countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Kenya. To acquire this land outside Europe, Europeans did not use law, justice or money. They took the land and its riches with the gun….Europeans continue to own millions and millions of hectares of the best land in Africa….Whatever Robert Mugabe’s past mistakes, we must agree that on this one question of finally redistributing land to African people, he is 1OO% right…”

    “Regime change” is the new name coined by imperialists to continue with colonialism in a new form. The political situation in “post independent” Africa demonstrates that any true leaders, who the imperialists perceive as a threat to their economic interests, are targeted through aggressive campaigns such as “regime change.” Some of these leaders were Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Chief Moshodi Abiola and recently Maummar Gaddafi.

    So far, imperialists have found President Robert Mugabe a hard nut to crack. Two British Prime Ministers, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and President George Bush of America have become despicable casualties in the battle field of “regime change” in Zimbabwe against President Robert Mugabe. The imperialist European leaders have gone down the political drain, on the shores of Africa. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France who enthusiastically created a “New Libya” in the imperialist war for “regime change” ia already the political dustbin of history.

    Mugabe is still standing. He is still in command. Africa needs more African leaders like President Mugabe. Otherwise, Africa’s authentic liberation will never arrive.

    Under America’s Bill Clinton’s government Chief Moshodi Abiola, a democratically elected Presidential candidate was prevented from taking power in Nigeria. Abiola was a staunch defender of Africa’s economic liberation. In 1993, he convened the First Pan African Conference on Reparations. In his speech inter alia, he said:

    “Our demand for reparations is based on the tripod of moral, historical and legal argument….Who knows what path Africa’s social development would have taken if great centres of African civilisation had not been destroyed in search of human cargo by Europeans? Who knows how our economics would have developed?”

    Chief Abiola added, “It is international law which compels Nigeria to pay its debts to Western banks. It is international law that must now demand Western nations to pay us what they have owed us for nearly six centuries.”

    There are two main things that Africans must do to advance Africa’s authentic liberation. African rulers must exercise sovereignty over African lands and riches and use them for the benefit of their people. This is true national independence from colonialism and imperialism. Secondly, education is the key to the development of Africa, wise control of her raw materials and use of her human resources. Quality education is the key to creating, owning and controlling Africa’s wealth and mentally decolonising her people’s captured minds.

    Africa needs a diverse education that is tailored to the economic needs of her people. That education must be free for the poor. No African child must be without education, merely because of his or her condition of poverty. And these African children must be taught the true history of Africa, not the colonial history of Africa’s invaders that is full of perfidy to protect their colonial interests.

    All African countries must prioritise the study of science, technology, economics and finance and of course International Law. Africa’s children must be equipped with skills and professions that arm their countries with technological capacity to process Africa’s raw materials and export them to the outside world as finished goods. An African nation that exports its raw materials unprocessed will remain a perpetual pauper.

    Where there is urgent need or desperate lack of high technology to process raw materials rapidly, African countries must exchange Africa’s raw materials for high technology; not for cash or foreign goods. Countries that enrich themselves from Africa’s raw materials are secretive and refuse to transfer technology to Africa. Knowledge is power.

    Africans both on the continent and in the Diaspora must have the agenda for economic liberation of Africa and technological advancement.

    Pan-Africanism is more relevant to the African world today than when it was formalised over one hundred and twenty years ago. Yes, Africans may be Jamaicans, Tanzanians, Trinidadians, Kenyans, Zimbabweans, Angolans, Nigerians, Ghanaians, Basotho, Zambians, Namibians, South Africans, Azanians, African Americans, Afro- Brazilians etc. But the train that will take all Africans to their destination and give them power to take their destiny into their hands is the Pan African train.

    It is not ethnicity, regionalism, sectarian politics or flirtation with the forces of neo-colonialism and imperialism. Forces that are determined to make Africans their perpetual slaves work together against Africans. A divided Africa cannot defeat these plunderers and thieves.

    Africans need to ignite their Pan African Nationalism. Pan African Nationalism is the privilege of all Africans wherever they may be to love themselves and to give their way of life preference. Pan African Nationalism views the personhood and humanity of the African people and of the people of African descent as equal to any other human beings on this planet. Pan African Nationalism rejects with contempt any philosophy that holds that Africa’s people are destined to exist in servitude to other human beings. Pan African Nationalism does not look down on other members of the human race.

    But it demands justice for African people. Africa’s riches belong to Africans. They are there for the benefit of the African people. They are not there to fuel foreign economies and perpetuate economic exploitation and poverty of African people.

    The ultimate goal of African political struggle was to regain African lands and economic power, and rapidly advance Africa’s people technologically.

    The question is not whether economic liberation for Africa is winnable. The critical question is whether African can afford not to win such a life and death struggle and therefore, continue to be the wretched of the earth in their own country and continent. The economic freedom of Africa is winnable. But it starts with the recognition that the greatest damage colonialism did was on African minds. Africans must decolonise their minds. Only mentally liberated Black people with a vision for their country and continent can win Africa’s authentic liberation for themselves and their children.

    Jews had been living in North Africa for many centuries when Europeans expanded their toehold on the dark continent in the 19th century. Some Jewish communities trace their presence in North Africa from Roman times. The expulsion of the Jews from the Iberian peninsula in the late 15th century gave the local Jewish communities a demographic and economic boost, especially in Oran and Algiers. A lot of Jews kept their Iberian tongue (Ladino) as a lingua franca among themselves, similar to the function of Yiddish for their Eastern European brethren.

    In 1830 the French occupied most of the coastal plains of modern day Algeria and gradually began to root their colonial occupation into local communities. Indigenous tribes supplied soldiers for auxiliary colonial troops called Harkis and the Jews were recruited as local officials. From 1845 rabbis from the French mainland were sent to local Jewish communities “to inculcate unconditional obedience to the laws, loyalty to France, and the obligation to defend it.” The French government granted Algerian Jews French citizenship in 1870, putting them on a par with the French colonists from the mainland.

    During the 19th century most Jews in North Africa discarded local customs and clothing in favor of the French language, culture and dress. Their affiliation with French culture and power also brought Jews protection, as in Tunisia after 1855. After a legal dispute with the local Arab Prince about blasphemy, the French emperor Napoleon III intervened with a naval force in favor of the Jews. Jews were subsequently granted equal religious rights but more legal rights than locals: Jewish assessors were attached to criminal courts to provide input on the sentences incurred by Jews charged with crimes in order to safeguard a fair trial.

    Jewish collusion with the French in the occupation of North Africa, ultimately encompassing Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, had also negative side-effects in regions which were not firmly in French control. In Morocco, which remained independent until the beginning of the 20th century, Jews were always targeted by the public when the French launched military campaigns against Morocco or other local powers defying French expansion. Jews were seen as traitors by the local population, which were deprived of the right to vote and were economically deprived in favor of French settlers and their Jewish henchmen.

    In Algeria the number of French citizens reached 1.4 million in 1961 (13% of the total population), including 140,000 Jews (10% of all French citizens). Those settlers dominated public life in the big cities, enjoyed colonial privileges and were in control of the economy. Jews were often the middlemen between the French rulers and the local subjects, because they knew the country best. The local Muslim population resented French occupation, not in the least place by their display of cultural-religious power by erecting huge cathedrals and synagogues. The Algerian war of independence was an exceptionally brutal one with terrorism, torture and murder squads from both sides. It was been estimated that approximately 1,000,000 Algerians lost their lives in the struggle for independence.

    The French in Algeria had the ruthless parachute general Massu and the OAS (Organisation de l’armée secret: Secret Army), which was ultimately suppressed by none other than De Gaulle. De Gaulle granted Algeria independence in 1962, which led to the exodus of French colonials (Pieds noirs: blackfeet) and their Jewish collaborators. In the newly founded Algerian republic, both Christians and Jews were excluded from Algerian citizenship in revenge for support for the French occupation.

    Most Jews left Algeria for France but a substantial portion went to Israel, the post-colonial apartheid state in the Middle East. Israel was founded in 1948 by a Jewish settler-minority from Europe, which deposed the Arab majority by brutal expulsion. The remaining natives were politically disenfranchized and economically exploited, similar to the French occupation of Algeria. It was (and is) seen as an offspring of European colonial domination: for example, the Balfour Declaration of 1916 by the colonial power Britain, and the Israel’s siding with the colonial powers France and Great-Britain against Egypt during the Suez crisis in 1956.

    The Six Day War of 1967 sealed the fate of most Jewish communities in North Africa as locals cracked down on them as a result of Israeli victory over Syria, Jordan and Egypt. The point here is that in the case of French colonialism and throughout their history, Jews have not only been victims but have also been deeply complicit in actions now viewed as morally repugnant by the international community. The fact that throughout the Western world Jews are seen only as victims is far more an indication of Jewish power to control their image than a reflection of historical reality.

    On November 23rd 2010, an important story reported in the Hebrew press of the Zionist entity, then picked up by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Press TV, revealed a rather bothersome development. A retired “Israeli” colonel by the name of Avi Sivan had died in a helicopter crash near Yaounde, the capital of the Central African nation of Cameroon. Sivan was responsible for training the Cameroonian presidential guard and was also the head of the Jewish supremacist entity’s military delegation to Cameroon . The question was, “if the Zionist entity’s tentacles in Africa had penetrated a nation as geopolitically obscure as Cameroon, where else was it reaching?” To be blunt, the answer is, “everywhere.” On the books, the usurping Jewish regime has intelligence contacts in Eritrea, Kenya, Malawi, Zaire, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Egypt and Morocco.

    Off the books, the list is even more extensive and thus, a brief but precise overview is necessary. Firstly, it must be understood that even America’s policies towards Africa, in fact, its entire geopolitical network of stratagems for the continent, are shaped by the Zionist regime itself and its plethora of think tanks. Secondly, the pestilential plan of senior “Israeli” foreign policy advisor Oded Yinon, “A Strategy For Israel In The 1980s,” a plot discussed on numerous occasions here at Mask of Zion, which features the fragmentation and dissolution of Sudan and Libya as prominent points, has been exported by the Zionist regime across the African continent. “Yinon Africa” is being assisted by the Ugandan dictatorship of Museveni, the corrupt regime in Kenya and the longtime marionette of Zionism, Ethiopia. The objectives of “Yinon Africa” are to balkanize the continent on three lines: ethno-linguistics, skin color and religion. Additionally, the concept of a US Military Central Command in Africa (AFRICOM), was designed and promoted by the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies (IASPS), the same Zionist think tank that produced the infamous “Clean Break” papers.

    The malevolent apartheid regime of South Africa is perhaps where the Jewish supremacist entity’s ties were the strongest. In South Africa, Jews benefited and thrived under the racist regime’s protection, maintaining and strengthening their ties with the Zionist entity. The Board of Deputies of South African Jewry, a major Zionist Lobby front on the African continent, declared “neutrality” in regards to apartheid so Jewish interests weren’t compromised. The “Israeli” security establishment saw the relationship with South Africa so vital in fact that, it actually believed the ties saved the Jewish “state” from extinction. The Zionist entity didn’t just provide a plethora of arms to the apartheid regime, it “created the South African arms industry.” Zionist occupation officers also assisted Pretoria with its operations (read: atrocities) in Angola and, from the illegal Jews-only colony of Kibbutz Beit Alfa, “Israel” developed a profitable industry selling anti-riot vehicles to the apartheid regime. Most astoundingly, Zionism provided South Africa with nuclear technology and expertise, helping it build its own miniature nuclear arsenal (45). Needless to say, every drop of South African blood spilled by the apartheid regime, especially in its last days, is on the hands of “Israel.”

    Speaking of Angola, where the Zionist entity was active with South African forces, it should be mentioned that Angolan warlord Jonas Savimbi, the seemingly eternal darling puppet of America’s Jewish Lobby, the neoconservative establishment and “Israel,” was assassinated by Zionist special forces when he no longer served a purpose.

    Nowhere has the usurping and criminal Zionist entity been more successful in executing destruction than Sudan, a prime target of the Yinon Plan in its past and current incarnations. Oil-rich Sudan has been cracked in half, its unity split and destroyed. The Zionist dragon’s military-intelligence apparatuses designed this balkanization, instigated it, funded the players and from Uganda to Ethiopia, it still maintains agents and assets to uphold the new fragmented Sudanese status quo. “Israel” has already entered the new, fabricated nation-state of ‘South Sudan.’ The deceptive and dangerous IsraAID, backed by Zionist Lobby organizations like the American Jewish Committee and United Jewish Appeal, is on the ground. The newly-created Zionist puppet state has opened its doors to “Israeli” companies to do business in the fields of agriculture, infrastructure, security and medicine, business worth hundreds of millions of dollars. South Sudan views this gesture as gratitude for the Zionist dragon’s committed military and intelligence support to its ‘rebellion.’ And now, to make the relationship between South Sudan and Zionism globally legitimate, full diplomatic relations have been established between the two entities so Tel Aviv can officially take control of South Sudan’s oil-rich economy.

    “Israel” has been exceedingly active in Ethiopia for decades upon decades but 1990 is where relations hit new peaks. The Zionist regime fueled the Ethiopian Civil War as a testing ground for what it could do with its real enemies, Iraq, Syria and Iran. “Israel” supplied the regime ofwar criminal and collaborator Mengistu Haile Mariam with cluster bombs, several hundred IOF military trainers to guide the Ethiopian Army, 150,000 bolt-action rifles and an unknown number of its patented “Uzi” machine gun. The assistance has continued under the rule of Ethiopian Prime Minister and horrific human rights abuser Meles Zenawi Asres, in power since the fall of Mariam, with the most recent development being the purchase of murderous drones from the “Israeli” firm, Bluebird.

    Kenya has been dear to the heart of the Jewish “state” since its assistance to Mossad and Aman during Operation Entebbe. In late November, the Kenyan regime signed a security pact that would have “Israeli” security consultants sent to the East African nation to govern its assault against the Islamic Resistance of occupied Somalia, Al-Shabab. The Somali Resistance assailed the Kenyan regime for the traitorous move, slamming the deal as an attack on Islam. The Zionist entity has provided Kenya with weapons in the past and this pact will significantly expand the existent ties, which is promising for “Israeli” arms firms; as usual, the innocent civilians already being butchered in the Zionist proxy war are of no concern to the Jewish “state”,considering that the civilians are of African origin and therefore “cursed” in Zionist eyes.

    The “Israel”-Kenya dirty deal is already “bearing fruit,” as Kenya has allowed the usurping Jewish entity to house 5 drones in a Kenyan military base on the border with Somalia in exchange for a stash of heavy weaponry and 13 “Israeli” military advisors making their home in Kenya. The Zionist drones have illegally taken to the skies in Somalia and launched hellish missile attacks, with the latest one murdering at least 17 innocents and wounding more than 60 others. A 53-year old IAF engineer named Hanoch Miller, who founded a defense firm called Radom Aviation which has worked with “Israeli” Aerospace Industries, has been caught attempting to smuggle weapons to the pathetic puppet regime in Somalia, which is fully complicit in the crimes against the Somali people carried out by the US-backed UN-AU occupation. Though Miller appears to be acting independently, this is highly suspect due to his elite status in the IAF and the fact that the Zionist entity wants to establish relations with the regime (54). Only because of the steadfast Resistance of Al-Shabab has Somalia not been colonized, but it is indeed in the sights of the Merhav Group of “Israel,” a powerful Mossad-run consortium headed by elite Mossad agent Yosef A. Maiman that has already taken over the energy interests of occupied Afghanistan.

    Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, a revolutionary and four-decade resistor of Zionism and Western domination loved dearly by his people, is dead. In an operation led by NATO and its rebels, Gaddafi was sodomized and tortured before he was murdered. The invasion, which took place on the Jewish revenge holiday of Purim, like Iraq before it, was designed by the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), the renamed Jewish-Zionist “Cabal” once known as the Project for a New American Century, and the despicable lies of “human rights violations” and “impending genocide” used by the Zionist media to sell the invasion to the world were generated by UN Watch, a Zionist affiliate of AIPAC’s foreign policy wing, the American Jewish Committee, and headed by “Israeli” citizen Hillel Neuer. Gaddafi was planning to introduce a gold dinar into the African economy for oil trade, a move that would have devastated Jewish-Zionist financial domination of the continent. The NATO rebels are not only willing to recognize the usurping Zionist regime, they are prepared to let it establish a base in eastern Cyrenaica on a 30-year lease. Gaddafi is spinning in his grave.

    Another African revolutionary life that “Israel” ended was that of Mehdi Ben Barka, routinely described as the “Moroccan Che Guevara” and, “the Frantz Fanon of Morocco.” The Zionist entity’s Mossad kidnaped the great revolutionary theoretician and murdered him in cold blood.

    Nigeria as of late has been rocked by an unrelenting campaign of violent car bombings, including a horrific attack on Christmas Day, which the Zionist media blames on an Islamic group known throughout the capital of Abuja and other cities for its social services, Boko Haram. Nigerian Muslims view the attacks as a means of instigating a religious war to divide the country on ethno-sectarian lines, as per one of the directives of “Yinon Africa,” and Nigerian Muslims also reject the idea that Boko Haram is behind the sophisticated attacks, saying it is far beyond their scope and antithetical to their agenda. They say that Boko Haram has become a “boogeyman” used by the Goodluck Jonathan regime to obtain Western grants. It is not by luck of any sort that the bombings in Nigeria began right around the same time that the Jonathan regime brought in a team of Mossad and CIA operatives, overseen by “Israeli” Ambassador to Nigeria Moshe Ram, to probe (read: run) its security services. The Zionist entity is attempting to break up Nigeria using the same successful methods it used in Sudan and it couldn’t be any clearer.

    “Israeli” activity has even been found as far as the tiny island state of Madagascar, where an “illegal commando unit” of Zionist mercenaries led by 60-year old Joseph Akiva from the illegal Jewish settlement of Netanya were involved in a savage crackdown that left dozens of protesters dead. Akiva and his band of goons were suppressing rivals of former Madagascar President Marc Ravalomanana. Despite business interests on the Indian Ocean island involving construction, Akiva has been extradited back to occupied Palestine for his murderous criminal activity.

    One of the most unknown examples of Zionist puppetry in Africa was “Emperor” of the Central African Republic, Jean-Bédel Bokassa. The closest friend of the megalomaniacal Bokassa was one of the usurping Jewish entity’s “famous generals,” General Shmuel Gonen-Gorodish. The “Israeli” general, in addition to his military and security advice, built up the public relations of Bokassa throughout the globe. Gonen-Gorodish also embezzled large amounts of taxes and customs from the state treasury. Though their relationship didn’t last long, when a military coup ousted Bokassa from power, Gonen-Gorodish helped him flee to the Ivory Coast, where, ironically enough, the luxury hotels, palaces of the rulers and monopolistic companies were all built with the close assistance of the private firms and racist Histadrut of the Zionist entity.

    The coastal West African nation of Sierra Leone has been pillaged by some of the most vile elements of International Jewry. From the Brooklyn neighborhood of Brighton Beach, the small, troubled and diamond-rich Sierra Leone was “virtually run” by Marat Balagula, the Ukranian-Jewish mob boss of the most powerful criminal organization on earth, the Red Mafiya. Sierra Leone’s president, Joseph Momoh, didn’t have any problem with the Jewish syndicate setting up global smuggling and money laundering operations in Freetown because Balagula’s associates, in return, bankrolled Momoh’s 1985 presidential campaign. The Jewish ultra-gangster’s main contact in Sierra Leone was a Mossad agent named Shabtai Kalmanovitch, who trained Momoh’s presidential guard and assisted in the crushing of an attempted coup in 1986. Balagula and Kalmanovitch were introduced by Rabbi Ronald Greenwald, a frontman for the interests of Marc Rich, the famous billionaire Jewish criminal pardoned by Bill Clinton. This revelation shows a clear nexus between the “Israeli” entity and organized crime, united in the ancient Jewish hatred of the Black man, working together for the furtherance of Jewish interests.

    In the Congo, where a catastrophic genocide has been occurring since 1996, in which up to 10 million people have died at a maddening rate of 1,500 a day, the profiteers of this downright insidious humanitarian disaster are almost exclusively Jewish and intimately linked to the larger network of international Zionism that has been responsible for every major conflict of the last century. Led by Dan Gertler, the grandson of Moshe Schnitzer, an Irgun terrorist known throughout the Zionist entity as “Mr. Diamond” and for founding the “Israel” Diamond Exchange in Tel Aviv in 1960, which today brings the usurping regime $14 billion annually in blood business, there is a Jewish-Zionist network in the Congo so interlocked, so powerful and so domineering, that it can truly make one’s head spin.

    Gertler, a member of the influential Chabad Lubavitch supremacist gangster cult and guided by Rabbi Chaim Yaakov Leibovitch, is in bed with Jewish diamond dynasties that include the families of Templesman, Oppenheimer, Mendell, Blattner, Hertzov and Steinmetz, his main partner. The Chabadnik criminal bought off the Congolese government in exchange for high-level “Israeli” defense and intelligence assistance. The endeavors of Gertler and Beny Steinmetz, one of the richest Jews in the Zionist entity, have proliferated and today, they have a monopoly over Congo’s diamonds, a dominant stake in Congo’s copper and the largest cobalt-mining company in the world. And all of this blood money ties into Jewish organized crime, “Israeli” arms dealers, multiple influential Chabad houses and the Zionist occupation itself all the way up to Netanyahu’s office. Gertler, a Jewish supremacist of the highest order, revels in sucking the Congo’s blood and he’s so sadistically thirsty for it, he just won’t stop his criminality until there is nothing left but millions more dead.

    If the late Mehdi Ben Barka was the “Moroccan Che Guevara,” then Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara, the Burkinabé revolutionary, Pan-Africanist and righteous leader of Burkina Faso from 1983-1987, was certainly the “Che Guevara of Africa.” Sankara was known for his incorruptibility and radical (and successful) policies that included land reform, women’s rights, literacy promotion, education, famine prevention, resource nationalization, anti-neoliberalism, anti-Zionism, anti-imperialism, public health care, social justice and legal punishment for all previous oppressors, colonialist and collaborator alike. Thomas Sankara was nothing short of remarkable. Unfortunately however, his extraordinary and pristine life came to an end on October 15th, 1987, when he was overthrown and executed in a coup d’état by incumbent Burkinabé president, Blaise Compaoré. It has been known, for quite some time, rather undisputably in all actuality, that French intelligence and the CIA aided the coup, but there is yet another player that isn’t discussed.

    Not only has the usurping Zionist entity’s Foreign Affairs Ministry described Burkina Faso as “one of ‘Israel’s’ most loyal friends in Africa,” but Blaise Compaoré is an honorary member of The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, a known front for the usurping Jewish regime’s Mossad in which Yosef A. Maiman, the aforesaid Mossad agent who runs the Merhav Group of “Israel” consortium that is currently targeting Somalia, sits on the Board of Directors. The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation wasfounded by Argentine Jewish supremacist Baruch Tenembaum, a devoted Talmudist, Kabbalist and Zionist who made it his life’s work to undermine Christianity (69). The fact that Compaoré belongs to such an organization is damning; he is a Mossad asset and has been one from the moment that he sold his soul and Burkina Faso to the enemies of Thomas Sankara. Moreover, in a startling admission from former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas, it is now known that French intelligence is compromised and has been so for some time; the Zionist entity controls it. This is yet another damning piece of evidence that Thomas Sankara was indeed a martyr made so by Zionism.

    The fallen Burkinabé hero’s widow, Mariam Sankara, declared with her head held high, “What remains above all of my husband is his integrity.” Indeed. And just one week before Mossad asset Compaoré led the coup against him which would result in his untimely death at the tender age of 36, Thomas would famously state, “While revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill ideas .” Indeed again.

    The ideas of Thomas Sankara have not died; they are more alive now than ever before, in the hearts of the Islamic Resistance of Somalia and the Libyan Green Resistance fighting Zionist-designed occupations of their ravaged homelands, and in the streets of Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco, fighting counterrevolutions and repressive, pro-“Israel” dictatorships. What the people of Africa, Black and Arab, Christian and Muslim, and everything in between, must know, is that the Zionist entity, inspired by a primordial Jewish supremacist ideology, has no interest in your land except to exploit it, and exploit you. Zionism is a cancer that infests, infects and destroys everything in its path. But like any other cancer, it can be counteracted and cut out, so it never returns.

    O’ Africa! Cut out the Zionist cancer from your midst. Cut it out like a knife to flesh and vow never to mix with it again. It is what Sankara would have wanted. It is what Gaddafi would have wanted. It is what Mehdi Ben Barka would have wanted. It is the right thing to do; the just thing, for all of the martyrs of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. For Rwanda. For the Congo. For Burkina Faso. For Somalia. For Zimbabwe. For Uganda. For anyone and everyone who has suffered at the hands of the usurping Jewish entity; to all oppressed people from Africa to what lies beyond its beautiful and ancient borders, heed the call: cut out the Zionist infestation before it is too late. Cut it out before you wake up one morning to the cruel jackboot of Jewish cultural imperialism stepping on your soul, with no Fela Anikulapo Kuti to remind you of the “Zombie” that now personifies your very existence.

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