The following is a file from the archives, fragments from a long-since jettisoned text that had proven itself unwieldy in articulation and in dire need of critical reconsideration in its theoretical approach. That said, I’ve dusted it off and posted it here because I feel that the historical developments outlined here can assist, in some small way, to understanding the complexity of ‘democracy promotion’ in foreign policy, and the relationship between pro-democracy struggles emanating from within civil societies (both domestic and transnational) and the forces of globalized capitalism that all too often modulates the veracity of its flows with the adaption of a progressive – and even at times, utopian – face. This cosmetic reworking is intimately coupled with a process that could only be called the “structuralization” of dissent, something that poses great questions for the capabilities and tactical realities of contemporary modes of resistance.
This text comes from the same cloth as the two-part essay I’ve already posted here, “From Socialism to Neoliberalism: A Story of Capture”; it is highly recommended that these two be read prior to this. Also, pieces of this essay recently found their way into my “Grassroots Globalization: Underneath the Rhetoric of Democracy Promotion” in the Corporate Watch anthology Managing Democracy, Managing Dissent: Capitalism, Democracy, and the Organization of Consent.
“From Socialism to Neoliberalism, A Story of Capture (Part 1 and Part 2); another good corollary to this text would be “Between the Transnational Capitalist Class and the Global Civil Society: The Structures of Imperial Protocol” (found here)
In 1966, the president of the National Students Association (NSA), Phil Sherburne, leaked information to an Students for a Democratic Society member named Michael Wood, suggesting that the organization a recipient of covert funding from the CIA. Wood, in turn, took this information to the leftist magazine Ramparts, which began year-long investigations into the matter. The conclusions posed by the publication launched a firestorm of controversy, identifying a widespread pattern of agency funding of student activist organizations and other seemingly progressive outlets. Amongst those named was the NSA, the American Newspaper Guild, the American Teachers Federation, and in confirmation of longtime suspicions, the AFL-CIO.i
Much of what Ramparts had unveiled were aspects of a covert CIA operation titled “Operation Mockingbird.” It part of the agency’s desire to “control and shape both the extent to which the existence of intelligence activities and organizations were reported on the media and the manner in which they were depicted when discussed,”ii – in other words, Mockingbird was both a program of censorship and a platform for propaganda, geared towards managing the flow of information that could affect the public support for Washington’s Cold War policies. As a part of the operation, both reporters and the executives of the firms they worked for were brought under the influence of the agency. Time Magazine, Newsweek, and the Washington Post were just a few of the long litany of major media outlets that would be revealed as partaking in the covert operation. After Ramparts had brought the scandal to the general public’s attention, major media outlets began to report on the stories, and the New York Times fingered a CIA officer, Cord Meyer, as being a central cog in Mockingbird.iii
Cord Meyer had a history unlikely for a CIA asset. Along with his wife, Mary Meyer, he had been a proponent of the ideology of World Federalism and had been elected president of the United World Federalists in 1941. Because World Federalism had been a long pastime of the Ivy League liberals of the Eastern Establishment, it had been long regarded with animosity by many of the far left. Communists often regard it as “reactionary utopianism,” and the American Communist Party dismissed the idea unified world government as “weaken[ing] the struggle for progress” by seeking passageways to global peace that never tackled the problems of class and capitalism.iv In many ways, the ideas of World Federalism would presage the Trilateralist theory of global interpendence, and central tenets of the ideology would go on to influence the developing of democracy promotion in the post-Soviet years. Regardless, in the 1950s the US government still regarded World Federalism with a degree of suspicion.
Meyer was brought into the CIA in the early 50s by Allen Dulles himself, and upon relocating to Washington, he and Mary integrated themselves into the “Georgetown Set,” a small but prestigious group of people (most connected to the world of intelligence agencies) who met regularly. Other members included Dulles, Richard Helms, Frank Wisner, Richard Bissell, and Paul Nitze [for more on Bissell and Nitze, see “Reading Notes on S.M. Amadae’s Rationalizing Democracy“. Jay Lovestone’s friend and handler in the CIA, James Jesus Angelton, was also a frequent attendee to the meetings; the spymaster and Meyer would quickly become close associates.v Meyer’s duties in Mockingbird focused largely on the relations between the CIA and the AFL-CIO – just as Angelton liaised with Lovestone, Meyer’s principle contact inside the federation’s international department was Edwin Wilson.1vi When Mockingbird collapsed after Ramparts’ revelations, Meyer bemoaned to union officials that “something has got to be done to stop this. It’s doing a lot of damage.”vii
Meyer continued to voice his discontent at a meeting of the CIA’s high-level 303 meeting. Present with him was the agency’s director Richard Helms, McGeorge Bundy’s former assistant Walt Rostow, and Cyrus Vance. Debating the best way to handle the situation without casting aside an important function of the agency’s inner workings, Meyer suggested that legislation be drafted for the formation of a new institution that continues the funding of organizations without the CIA’s fingerprints on it. Helms, intrigued by the concept, recommend that a study group for this hypothetical institution be created under the direction of the White House.viii While it is unknown whether any such study group occurred or not, it was an important turn of events – it was the first recorded instance of a non-covert agency that worked in the manner many of the CIA.
The Ramparts scandal led Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield to call for an in depth investigation into any and all of the CIA’s covert activities inside the United States. In response, President Johnson quickly put together the three-person Katzenbach Commission, led by U.S. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach. In doing so, Johnson undercut the growth of wider demands for an all-inclusive investigation of the CIA’s activities.ix The Katzenbach Commission’s conclusions followed closely with the ideas of Meyer, that a public-private institution be created to take over funding from the CIA. Following this, President Johnson convened an eighteen person commission to study this proposal, chaired by Dean Rusk.x
Dante Fascell, a Florida Democrat, also played a role in trying to establish just such an organization. In April of 1967 he took a bill before Congress that would create an “Institute of International Affairs,” an “initiative that would authorize overt funding for programs to promote democratic values.”xi Underneath this progressive veneer, however, Fascell had ties to the intelligence community. Living in Miami, he was a known associate of a Cuban exile-turned multimillionaire named Jorge Mas Canosa, who had trained in the CIA’s Brigade 2506 for the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Presumably under the discretion of the agency (he was known to work with CIA agent E. Howard Hunt), Canosa spent much of his time running ‘commando operations’ against Cuba.xii During this period Fascell was also linked to the editor of the Miami Times, William Calhoun “Bill” Baggs, who had “friendly ties with Cord Meyer” (though in reality this most likely referred to a relationship derived from Operation Mockingbird).xiii Within several years of the failed legislative proposal, Fascell threw his lot into with the Jacksonites and Shachtmanites in the CDM.
A decade later, Fascell was at it again. In 1978 he teamed up with Donald M. Fraser (D-MIN), a former member of United World Federalists with Cord Meyer, and attempted to pass a bill creating a “quasi-autonomous non-governmental organization” to fund and aid NGOs around the world. This organization was to be called the Institute for Human Rights, and would function identically to how the later National Endowment for Democracy would perform by providing technical and financial assistance to organizations around the globe under the rubric of human rights.
Unfortunately for Fascell, the legislation once again failed to catch on with Congress. The idea did catch the eye, on the other hand, of a political scientist working for Freedom House named George Agree. Agree had been studying the Stiftungen, a set of foundations in Germany that worked in conjunction with each of the country’s primary political parties. Funding for the foundations flowed from the German government and had been utilized to finance like-minded social movements in other countries. The foundations had been a particular success in the democratic transitions that occurred in Spain and Portugal in the mid-1970s, and thus were seen as a potential model for an American institute to replace the exposed functions of the CIA.xiv
Joining forces with Charles Manatt (the chairman of the Democratic National Committee) and William Brock (the chairman of the Republican National Committee), Agree formed a bipartisan coalition to further research the logistics of creating a US equivalent of the Stiftungen, and in 1979 they launched the American Political Foundation. The Foundation’s membership drew on a vast array of interests: Lane Kirkland, Dante Fascell, Henry Kissinger, and Zbigniew Brzezinski were all tapped for board positions, and the CDM’s Allen Weinstein (who, incidentally, was suspected of being a CIA agent)xv became chairman.xvi The foundation represented an important cross-section of multiple elite interests, all bound by a common interest in American economic and military supremacy and connected, in one way or another, to the nation’s intelligence community or foreign policy apparatuses. Professor William Robinson has noted that the membership of the American Political Foundation fell into three primary categories:
One is members of the inner circle of second-generation post-World War II national security and foreign policymakers such as Kissinger, Brzezinski, and Richard Allen, all former National Security Advisors. Another is top representatives of the four major constituencies that made up the post-World War II foreign-policy coalition – the Democrat and Republican Parties, labor and business. The third is operatives from the US intelligence and national security community. These intelligence and security operatives include people associated with the CIA and dozens of front organizations or foundations with which it works, as well as operatives from the USIA [US Information Agency].xvii
A Democratic Presidency
In 1981 former CPD member Ronald Reagan was elected president, winning out over Carter’s second bid for the White House. Reagan had appeared as an answer to the liberal elitism of his predecessor. With the far-right and evangelical religious groups constituting much of his voting base, Reagan had taken a tone on the campaign trail that was dismissive of liberal establishment fixtures such as the Trilateral Commission, which had become equated with communism in the minds of many due to the organization’s rising prominence in John Birch Society literature. In one interview Reagan had stated “I don’t believe that the Trilateral Commission is a conspiratorial group, but I do think its interests are devoted to international banking, multinational corporations, and so forth. I don’t think that any Administration of the U.S. Government should have the top nineteen positions filled by people from any one group or organization representing one viewpoint. No, I would go in a different direction.” But like Carter before him, however, he too drew his cabinet from the ranks of the Trilateral Commission and the CFR. Vice president George Bush, Secretary of State Alexander Haig (and later George P. Schultz), CIA director William Casey, as well as the secretaries of the Treasury, Commerce, Defense, the World Bank, and the Council of Economic Advisors all had either CFR or Trilateral Commission (and in some instances, both) credentials in their resumes.xviii
Reagan also brought numbers from the SD/USA, CDM and AFL-CIO network into his administration. Elliot Abrams was brought into as Assistant Secretary of State, and Gershman was selected as the Representative to the U.N.’s Committee on Human Rights. Kirkpatrick was particularly close to the president; he had become enamored with an essay she had written in Commentary titled “Dictators and Double Standards,” which attacked both Carter’s mishandlings of foreign policy and proposed that support for right-wing authoritarian states was not only an acceptable option, it was a moral imperative.xix J. Peter Grace, although he had distanced himself from this growing complex (he had been dismissed from his position in the AIFLD by Kirkland) aside from his member in the CPD, was selected by Reagan to head up the Private Sector Survey on Cost Control (also known as the Grace Commission). Not surprisingly, the corporate leader utilized his position to recommend the rolling back of public sector funding.xx
In 1982 President Reagan gave a speech at Westminister Palace, proposing an initiative to “to foster the infrastructure of democracy–the system of a free press, unions, political parties, universities.” Following this, the administration released an initial grant, totaling around $300,000 to $400,000, to the American Political Foundation to further cultivate the initiative.xxi The Foundation utilized the funding to launch the “Democracy Program,” networking together notable figures from the two large political parties, policymakers, and intellectuals. As the chart below shows, the Program was microcosmic of the diversity of the American Political Foundation itself:
Board Members, Staffers and Consultants
|William E. Brock||Chairman||Senator from Tennessee (1971-1977), Chairman of the RNC (1977-1981), US Trade Representative (1981-1985), American Political Foundation founder, Center for Strategic and International Studies|
|Charles T. Manatt||Co-Chairman||Chairman of the DNC (1981-1985), American Political Foundation founder|
|Frank Fahrenkopf||Co-Chairman||General counsel of Nevada Republican Committee (1972-1975), Chairman of the NRC (1975-1983)|
|Anthony Lake||Vice-Chairman||Director of Policy Planning (1977-1981), Freedom House, Council on Foreign Relations, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace|
|Ben Wattenberg||Vice-Chairman||League for Industrial Democracy, Social Democrats USA, Coalition for a Democratic Majority, American Enterprise Institute|
|Richard Allen||Executive Board||National Security Advisor (1981-1982), Council on Foreign Relations|
|Christopher Dodd||Executive Board||Representative from Connecticut (1975-1981), Senator from Connecticut (1981-2011)|
|Dante Fascell||Executive Board||Congressman from Florida (1955-1993), Council on Foreign Relations|
|Peter Kelly||Executive Board||Democrat National Committee finance chair (1981-1985)|
|Lane Kirkland||Executive Board||AFL-CIO, Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, Committee on the Present Danger, Rockefeller Foundation|
|Thomas Reed||Executive Board||Director of National Reconnaissance Office (1976-1977),|
|Michael Samuels||Executive Board||US Chamber of Commerce|
|George Agree||Executive Board||Freedom House, American Political Foundation founder|
|Sarah Weddington||Co-Counsel||Prominent attorney|
|Edward Weidenfeld||Co-Counsel||Staff Director of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs (1971–1973), President’s Commission on White House Fellows (1977), Chairman of the Advisory Panel for Foreign Disaster Relief (USAID appointment, 1982)|
|Allen Weinstein||Program Director||Coalition for a Democratic Majority, American Political Foundation chairman, rumored CIA agent, professor at Georgetown University|
|Eugenia Kemble||Consultant||Social Democrats USA, Coalition for a Democratic Majority, AFL-CIO, American Teacher Federation, Committee on the Present Danger, sister of Penn Kemble|
|John Loiello||Consultant||DNC, US Information Agency|
|John Sullivan||Consultant||US Chamber of Commerce|
|William Douglas||Consultant||Author of Developing Democracy, professor at Georgetown University|
|Alexandra Glowacki||Consultant||Center for Strategic International Studies|
|Robert Hunter||Consultant||Council on Foreign Relations, Center for Strategic and International Studies, RAND Corporation, National Security Council|
|Raymond Gastil||Consultant||Hoover Institution, Freedom House (director)|
|Howard Penniman||Consultant||American Enterprise Institute (resident scholar)|
|Ralph Goldman||Consultant||Department of Political Science, San Francisco University|
|Robert Goldwin||Consultant||American Enterprise Institute (resident scholar)|
|David Newsom||Consultant||Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University|
|Joseph Godson||Consultant||Center for Strategic and International Studies, Jewish Labor Committee, father of Roy Godson|
|George Weigel||Consultant||The American Initiatives Project (subset of the World Without War Council)|
|Jonathan Davidson||Consultant||International Studies Association (executive director)|
|Thomas Paine||Consultant||Department of Government, Hillsdale College|
|Steven Blank||Consultant||Multinational Strategies, Inc.|
|Caroline Beeson||Consultant||Specialist in Asian Studies|
Sources: “The Democracy Program” American Political Foundation, July 27th, 1983; various bios
Looking at the chart above one can notice several recurring aspects. The primary seats of power of the Republican and Democrat parties, their respective National Committees, was well represented through the aforementioned Block and Manatt, as well as several lower profile actors from each organization. Five CFR members, four CDM/CPD members, three Freedom House members, and two Chamber of Commerce members partook in the program, in addition to two direct representatives from the AFL-CIO (including their president), and two members of the SD/USA and the LID. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) held several prominent interests on the board; this academic think-tank had essentially been a crucible of the Cold War mentality, drawing its funding from right-wing philanthropies and acting as a secondary State Department of sorts by hosting figures such as Kissinger, Brzezinski, Joseph Nye, and Frank Carlucci amongst its trustees and counselors. Historically the CSIS has been close to both the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and Georgetown University,xxii so it is unsurprising to find several Georgetown professors and AEI scholars on the board of the program.
Indicators to the program’s perception of democracy can be found by the presence of William Douglas as a counselor. In 1972 he had written Developing Democracy, an early piece on democracy promotion that proved to be wildly influential on the American Political Foundation’s initiative. Douglas’ projected democracy, however, was certainly firmly grounded in a low-intensity framework; he went as far as to call it “regimented democracy.” In his work he wrote
That a firm hand is needed is undeniable. However, it is harder to accept the claim that only a dictatorship can provide the sufficient degree of firmness. First, in regard to keeping order, what is involved is basically effective policy work, and there is no reason why democratic regimes cannot have well-trained riot squads… democratic governments may be able to do the same things as dictatorships to overcome centripetal social forces: use police to stop riots, strike bargains with the various groups to keep them reasonably satisfied, and out the army when peaceful means fail… There is no denying the need for organizations structures by which the modernized elite can exercise tutelage. However… it is common experience that in obtaining the desired behavior from a balky mule, a balky child, or a balky peasant, the real key is to find just the right balance between carrot and stick… Democracy can provide a sufficient degree of regimentation, if it can build up the mass organizations needed to reach the bulk of the people on a daily basis. Dictatorship has no monopoly on the tutelage principle.xxiii
In January of 1983 President Reagan signed into law National Security Decision Directive 77 (NSD77), “which laid out a comprehensive framework for employing political operations and psychological warfare in US foreign policy.”xxiv The directive dove-tailed what the White House had termed Project Democracy – the encompassing shift in foreign policy attitude towards a liberal mindset, complete with the transformation of covert funding to overt funding for operations abroad.xxv NSDD 77 formally established the Office of Public Diplomacy, a soon to be banned propaganda outfit that became embroiled in the Iran-Contra scandal, and also established a Special Planning Group for Public Diplomacy under the auspices of the National Security Council that networked together the leadership of the USIA, USAID, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense.xxvi Through these maneuvers, the primary mechanisms of propaganda and humanitarian aid were linked together directly with the central defensive apparatuses of the state. This meant that barriers, which had previously been circumvented clandestinely by the intelligence community and philanthropies such as the Ford Foundation, were officially torn down, forming a single bloc that countered the diplomatic overtures that characterized the US’s Cold War mentality throughout the 1970s.
Six months later the American Political Foundation’s Democracy Program issued its final report, titled “The Commitment to Democracy: A Bipartisan Approach,” to the Reagan White House.xxvii Chocked full of patriotic imagery, invoking quotations from Abraham Lincoln to the latest President’s Westminster address, the report outlined a model directly adapted from the German Stiftungen that they referred to as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The NED would act as a clearinghouse for government funds, transferring them to four subsidiary organizations that existed under its umbrella. The proposed organizations to exist under the NED mantle would each by aligned with the four elements that made up the Democracy Program itself, reflecting a common power bloc between the various sectors of elite opinion: there was the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), each working with their affiliate political party, and the Center for International Enterprise (CIPE), a pro-business organization connected to the US Chamber of Commerce. The AFL-CIO’s FTUI and AIFLD would represent big labor (much later being condensed into a single organization, the International Center for Labor Solidarity, or the Solidarity Center for short). Additional funding would be directed into adjunct organizations such as Freedom House. Together, the NED and its network would distribute funding and provide training and technical assistance in aiding ‘emergent democracies’ in turbulent transition periods; the pro-business, low intensity democratic formula they were to provide was a sort of unspoken rule.
In May of 1983 Dante Fascell, with sponsorship from Representative Benjamin Gilman (who served with Jeane Kirkpatrick and Carl Gershman as part of the US delegation to the United Nations) and Clement Zablocki (the chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee since 1977) introduced House Resolution 2915, which was the official legislation for the Reagan administration’s new bipartisan model of foreign policy and public diplomacy.xxviii It contained the budget allocations for the USIA, continuing the precedent set by NSDD77, as well as for the Board for International Broadcasting (the parent body of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty programs), Inter-American Foundation, and the Asia Foundation, a body that had been created in the 1960s by the CIA (and headed up by former Ford Foundation president Paul Hoffman) to fund anti-communism academics and activists in Asia, particularly in North Vietnam.xxix The bill also contained the requests for authorization and funding for the creation of the NED. It became law on November 22nd, 1983.
Right off the bat the NED was identified in its legislative stipulations as a non-governmental organization, quickly came under the control of the forces that propelled its creation. Fascell briefly served at the organization’s chairman, before stepping aside in favor of the former Assistant Secretary of State John Richardson. Richardson was certainly fit for the job; his long list of credentials included working as a lawyer at the Sullivan & Cromwell law firm, a stint at the International Rescue Committee, and a time as president of the National Committee for a Free Europe (a CIA front and creator of Radio Free Europe).xxx He joined the State Department in 1969 and held post there until 1977; after this he joined the Center for Strategic and International Studies before finally assuming his position in the NED. Under his watch Carl Gershman, at the urging of Lane Kirkland, was elected the president of the Endowment – a position he holds until this day.xxxi
If the Reagan administration wanted to maintain a progressive aura about itself, many members connected to the project did little to maintain this appearance. Comparing the NED with the CIA, former agency director William Colby noted that it was no longer “necessary to turn to the covert approach. Many of the programs which… were conducted as covert operations [can now be] conducted quite openly and consequentially, without controversy.”xxxii Allen Weintein was a bit more cavalier. “A today of what we do today,” he explained, “was done covertly twenty five years ago by the CIA.”xxxiii
Much akin to its secretive forefather, throughout the course of the 1980s the NED would connect itself with many of the historic upheavals around the globe, many of which were liberatory struggles against imperialist powers or dictatorial governments. These cases, which included the fight against the USSR by the Solidarity labor union and the anti-Pinochet movement in Chile, will be covered in the following chapters, as well as their less publicized and more controversial role in Iran-Contra. The NED took lengths to distance itself from the bad publicity that had become the hallmark of the CIA – the staggering failures of interventionist foreign policy and hidden espionage practices, as well as the failure in Vietnam, the Watergate scandal, and the revelations of the Rockefeller and Church Committees had left both the American public and many legislators resistant to heavy handed approaches to Cold War politics. It was therefore tantamount that the NED appear in as humanitarian light as possible. It was a narrow line to walk, which led a worried Eugenia Kemble, then serving as head of the FTUI, to send a memo to Gershman, warning the NED president to “avoid advertising” certain fund allocations that would “either be endangered or embarrassed if specific budgets were published or announced.”xxxiv
Regardless of her warnings, NED actions that were reminiscent of the CIA were uncovered by investigative journalists. The endowment briefly became the subject of controversy when it became known that it had saw fit to release funds to organizations in France through the FTUI.xxxv Perceiving that the country was “threatened by the Communist apparatus,” Irving Brown had funneled the money into two organizations; the smaller recipient had been Force Ouvriere (FO), an anti-communist trade union that had been in contact with the CIA in the 1950s.xxxvi The majority of the money, totaling around $575,000, went to a right-wing extremist group called the Union Nationale Inter-universitaire (UNI) for “the purpose of blocking… dangerous communist influences in Francois Mitterand’s socialist party.”xxxvii The UNI itself had been the youth organization of the Service d’Action Civique (SAC), a pro-Gaullist militia with ties to the SDECE (the French intelligence services), and the criminal underworld of drug trafficking.xxxviii Several years before the NED started dumping money into this shadowy arena, the SAC had been implicated in the “Auriol massacre,” a killing spree that had left police inspector Jacques Massie and his family dead.
Gershman suspended the funding for the French operations, promising investigations of the grant recipients. The move drew the ire of Irving Brown. “The suspension was wrong,” he told reporters. “Investigate. Check. Sure. But I have always believed that someone is not guilty until proven otherwise. I’m not questioning the endowment’s motives. I’m questioning their judgment. I don’t run from the first whiff of powder. Remember, tomorrow if there is no National Endowment for Democracy, we’ll survive. Even better.”xxxix In retrospect, however, Gershman’s hasty decision makes a bit more sense – the NED was being named by Justice Department and Senate investigators in the growing revelations of North’s Iran-Contra network. Bad press would detract from the endowment’s work in Poland, Chile, and South Africa.
Other agencies were popping up to augment the NED’s democracy promotion agenda, such as the US Institute of Peace (USIP). “A funding conduit and clearinghouse for research on problems inherent to U.S. strategies of ‘low intensity conflict,’”xl the USIP had been formed a little over a year after the creation of the NED through the signing into legislation of the “United States Institute of Peace Act.”xli Like its NED, which could be characterized as its sister organization, the USIP was a formal attempt to put a progressive veneer on Washington’s Cold War mentality – the creation of it had long been a demand of a great many peace activists. It was also very much cut from the same cloth as the NED – the World Without War Council, which had been represented in the American Political Foundation’s Democracy Program through George Weigel, solicited some 90,000 signatures to support the creation of the Institute.xlii
The early USIP did differ from the NED in many ways. For example, it appeared to be closer to the US government, with the President handpicking the members to sit on the board.xliii Thus, it was not surprising to find many people with ties to the Reagan White House, the NED, or the various strands that had coalesced over the 1960s to weave the tapestry of the Democracy Promotion networks. For example, early board rosters list the American Political Foundation’s Allen Weinstein as a principle, alongside the NED’s first chairman, John Richardson.xliv Jeane Kirkpatrick’s husband, Evron Kirkpatrick, as well as Max Kampelman, a director of Freedom House and veteran of the CPD, also had board directorships. Incidentally, both men had years earlier been president and vice president of the CIA money conduit that had been revealed in the Ramparts debacle, the Operations and Policy Research, Inc.xlv The USIP was also linked to the Israeli lobby (a close ally of the early democracy promoters and proto-neonconservatives) through their second president, Samuel W. Lewis.xlvi Lewis was simultaneously in the employment of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think-tank directed to helping analyze Middle East issues that had been founded by several members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobbying agency.xlvii
USIP also interlocked with the extended network that the earlier CPD was integrated with. Three of its first board members, William Kintner, John Norton Moore, and W. Scott Thompson had worked earlier as strategists at the American Security Council,xlviii and between the three of them had wider affiliations with the CIA, Freedom House, the USIA, and U.S. Global Strategy Council. The Cold Warrior personas of board members such as these certainly drove the USIP; as journalist Sara Diamond would observe in 1990:
Nearly half its board members played some role in the Iran-contra operations, and an analysis of the USIP’s grantmaking priorities since 1986 reveals substantial funding for “scholars” already on the take from other military and intelligence agencies… A careful analysis of the USIP’s annotated list of 238 grant projects through early 1990 reveals undeniable favoritism toward researchers committed to Cold War paradigms.xlix
The procedural dynamics of the NED, the USIP, and other democracy promoting bodies were certainly drawn from the methodology implemented earlier by the CIA and philanthropies of the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, both at home and abroad. As […] will demonstrate, the NED works directly with peace activists and social change movements to successfully co-opt or undercut growing radicalism in order to impose as low-intensity democratic format that is ultimately beneficial for US strategic interests and economic imperatives. However, this overview has provided us with another interesting dynamic – these procedures quite often mimic the ones that brought the individuals who made up the SD/USA and the LID into the higher strata of institutionalized politics. Faced with the potential to actually work inside the political machine, the peace activists allowed themselves to be consumed by the establishment powers, causing them to little by little discard the ideologies that had so driven them in the first place. It is through this process that, to draw on Bayard Rustin as an example, one can go from being a radical committed to nonviolent resistance to joining the ranks of those who cloak defense contracts in moral justifications. In this capacity the endowments, the philanthropies, and the agencies have the potential to act as a passageway of sorts, ironing out the contradictions of discontent and provide an invitation for grassroots players an opportunity to access the levers of power.
The hegemonic passageways were many. For example, the young socialist’s alignment with much of the New York intelligentsia, personified in Commentary magazine, derived mainly from the two group’s common support for the state of Israel, which had incorporated many aspects of socialism and commitment to labor unionization into its governance. But even this was eclipsed by the importance of how democracy itself was understood. Kahn had rejected fully participatory democracy as being congruous with full autonomy, noting that both majority-based and consensus-based models had fallen short, at least for the rowdy SDS, of delivering a stable system where each voice could be heard. From there, it was the Vietnam War that marked the other major division, and the repercussions from the tragic events that unfolded in Southeast Asia resonated everywhere. It had driven the socialists directly into the arms of Henry Jackson, and it had led Huntington and the Trilateral Commission to seek ways to dampen the sudden democratic rebirth. This resurgence had also led Colonel Oliver North to proclaim that “In Vietnam … we won all the battles and then lost the war …. I would also point out that we didn’t lose the war in Vietnam. We lost the war right here in this city.”l Avoiding another Vietnam was essential, and democracy promotion was the perfect band-aid to cover the lingering wound. Appealing to both the right and the left, it is a concept that provides a perfect vehicle for the pacification of the discontented.
The NED and its subsidiary and parallel organizations became the institutionalized international power of the SD/USA. As mentioned earlier, the AFL-CIO president effectively lobbied the endowment to have Carl Gershman appointed president, while Tom Kahn’s FTUI became formally integrated into the complex with the stroke of a pen. David Jessup, another SD/USAer, became a special assistant at the FTUI’s partner organization, the AIFLD, the new president of which, William Doherty, has sat on the SD/USA’s national advisory council. Rachelle Horowitz joined the board of the NDI; her husband, Tom Donahue, straddled the boards of the NED, the AFL-CIO, the CFR, and the Brookings Institution. Sandra Feldman followed Bayard Rustin’s lead and joined Freedom House. Many others followed suit, including Jay Mazur (he split his time between Freedom House, the AIFLD, the FTUI, and the Trilateral Commission), and John T. Joyce (who rose from the SD/USA to the executive council of the AFL-CIO, and joined the boards of the NED, the NDI in addition to Freedom House). Joshua Muravchik moved to Freedom House and then shifted even further rightward – he joined the American Enterprise Institute along with Ben Wattenberg, as well as two prominent Israeli lobbying organizations, the aforementioned Washington Institute for Near Eastern Affairs and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). Adrian Karatnycky, on the other hand, became the president of Freedom House and a member of the CFR. Eugenia Kemble, as discussed earlier, became one of the top administrators at the FTUI; her brother, Penn Kemble, soon found himself embroiled in Iran-Contra and would later be appointed the director of the USIA.
The latent strains of Trotskyism imbedded in these individuals continued to persist inside the democracy promotion apparatuses, albeit one that, like the SD/USA itself, was subsumed into an American hegemonic framework. In place of a proletarian movement is the US itself, acting as the revolutionary vanguard, the arbiter of an internationalist democratic consciousness. However, under the gaze of the democracy promoters the internationalist spirit is re-concentrated inside the formulations of the nation-state itself. This is reflective of the internal contradiction that often plagued the would-be adherent of Trotskyism; as Jim Percy, the founder of Australia’s Socialist Worker’s Party, would write, “The essence of internationalism is that you seek to make revolution in your own country.” He continues:
Today in many advanced capitalist societies we see the same thing in the labour movement. Many offer solidarity with revolutions abroad and this is positive. But their practice at home is one of servile collaboration with their own ruling class, which in the long run, undermines their internationalism.li
Could there be a better description of the AFL-CIO and their comrades in the NED? Indeed, they offer solidarity and support, but it is one of capitalized internationalism, and frequently the ties to overseas struggles are not only conducted in conjunction with ‘boots on the ground’ social movements but also with elite-dominated democracy promotion vehicles that promote similar top-down methodologies of resistance. These organizations include the aforementioned German Stiftungen , the British Westminster Foundation for Democracy (opened nearly a decade after the NED), Canada’s International Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development (created in 1988), or the Australian Centre for Democratic Institutions (created in 1997). All of these contribute to revolutionary action, yet by focusing on nation-state centered models they cast away the more radical commitments of their forbearers. Likewise, as we will see in the coming chapters, a large portion of their work exists in a realm separate from social activism, where the fostering of technocratically-minded elites is the target of a large bulk of funding and influence. Even this seems to harken back, in some ways, to certain schools of socialist thought that placed planning and management in the hands of technocrats. This is reaffirmed by Professor Joan Roelofs in her work Foundations and Public Policy, where she draws a “historic connection” between philanthropic foundation’s “social engineering ideology” during the Progressive Era and the thoughts of elite-oriented socialist intellectuals such as Claude-Henri d Saint Simon, August Comte, John Stuart Mills, and the British Fabians.lii Indeed, many of the people who went on to help create the NED could be seen as contemporaries of the Fabian Society – the League for Industrial Democracy was often viewed as the organization’s American counterpart.
The dynamic of technocratic, state-centric yet pro-capital movement-building works in a methodology derived directly from the liberation struggles that fueled so much of the radicalism of the sixties (certain organizations, such as the Weatherman faction from the SDS, viewed themselves as the American contingency in a perceived transnational revolution spurned by the various nationalist movements around the globe).liii These struggles, by simultaneously framing themselves in a Trotsky-esque international context and making the national sovereignty the purpose of their revolutions, fell into the same contradiction that plagued Trotskyism at large, and in doing so did advanced internationalism under the guise of globalized capitalism. Theorists Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri have summed up this dialectic quite well, citing notable struggles led by Gandhi, Ho Chi Minh, and Nelson Mandela:
National sovereignty means freedom from foreign domination and the self-determination of peoples, and thus signals the definitive defeat of colonialism. The progressive functions of national sovereignty, however, are always accompanied by powerful structures of internal domination… the equation nationalism equals political and economic modernization… serves to mobilize popular forces and galvanize a social movement, but where does the movement lead and what interests does it serve? In most cases it involves a delegated struggle, in which the modernization project also establishes in power the new ruling class that is charged with carrying it out. The revolution is thus offered up, hands and feet bound, to the new bourgeoisie… the revolutionaries get bogged down in ‘realism,’ and modernization ends up lost in the hierarchies of the world market. It not the control exerted by the world market, however, the opposite of the nationalist dream of an autonomous, self-centered development? The nationalism of anticolonial and anti-imperialist struggles effectively functions in reverse, and the liberated countries find themselves subordinated in the international economic order… From India to Algeria to Cuba to Vietnam, the state is the poisoned gift of national liberation. [emphasis in original]liv
The grasp of the new bourgeoisie is a precarious one – in colonial society the economics of the oppressed are intimately tied to the economics of the oppressor. As we will see in the coming pages, the loss of the colonizer or dictatorship, or other turbulent, status-quo shifting events leads to a loss of capital, resulting in either steady market decline or outright financial collapse. Facing the painful realities of economic destabilization, the newly liberated turn to the quickest route of modernization, and nationalist idealism and protectionism is cast aside for the world market. With this process, the factory and the assembly line become, quite often, the defining images of the Third and Second Worlds. The cataclysmic impact of these events on the nation’s populations is well known – employment may only exist in low-paying sweatshops, housing becomes tenements and national identity is fundamentally altered by the influx of western cultural thoughts and practices. The very nation that was worked so hard for literally withers away, borders dissolving for goods to flow across them. Yet this is a crucial and irreversible aspect of the dialectic of “democracy promotion” – development in the globalized world cannot exist outside the borders of capitalism, yet paradoxically, it frequently means a boom time for the domestic elites and technocrats, whose position in both the social classes of the nation and the transition order is already secured by the democracy promoting bodies.
This is exactly the methods employed by the NED and other democracy promoting bodies, which would grow in power as the decade wore on, racing towards the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fulfillment of the liberal elite’s projected world – transnationalist interdependence. But first the NED turned its eye to a region that the AFL-CIO, under the management of Lane Kirkland and Tom Kahn, had been working in for several years: the country of Poland, where a worker uprising was exposing the first signs of impotence in the mighty Soviet Union and would serve as the template for ‘offering up the revolution’ to the global economy.
i Philip Agee “CIA Infiltration of Student Groups: The National Student Association Scandal” Campus Watch Fall, 1991, pg. 12-13, http://www.cia-on-campus.org/nsa/nsa2.html
ii Glenn P. Hastedt Spies, Wiretaps, and Secret Operations ABC-CLIO, 2011, pg. 517
iii Agee “CIA Infiltration of Student Groups”
iv Cord Meyer Facing Reality pg. 50
v C. David Heyman The Georgetown Ladies’ Social Club: Power, Passion, and Politics in the Nation’s Capital Atria Books, 2004 pg. 165-167
vi Joseph Trento Prelude to Terror: Edwin P. Wilson and the Legacy of America’s Private Intelligence Network Carrol and Graf, 2006 pg. 39
vii Hugh Wilford The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America Harvard University Press, 2009 pg. 238
viii “Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, Volume X, National Security Policy, Document 134,http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1964-68v10/d134
ix ed. Athan Theoharis The Central Intelligence Agency: Security Under Scrutiny Greenwood Press, 2006, pg. 174
x Richard Helms A Look Over My Shoulder: A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency Presidio Press, 2004 pg. 369-370
xi David Lowe “Idea to Reality: The NED at 25” http://www.ned.org/about/history
xii Jane Franklin “The Cuba Obsession” The Progressive, July, 1993
xiii Nina Burleigh A Very Private Woman: The Life and Unsolved Murder of Presidential Mistress Mary Meyer Bantam, 1999
xiv Thomas Carothers Aiding Democracy Abroad: The Learning Curve Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1999 pgs. 30-31
xv Alexander Vassiliev Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America Sheridan Books, 2009 pg. xlii
xvi Robinson Promoting Polyarchy pg. 90
xviii John Murkirs and Michael Ayers “Political and Policy Implications of Centralized Private Sector Planning” Journal of Economic Issues Vol. 17, No. 4, December, 1983
xix Jeane J. Kirkpatrick “Dictators and Double Standards” Commentary November, 1979 http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/dictatorships-double-standards/
xx J. Peter Grace “President’s Private Sector Survey on Cost Control, A Report to the President Volume 1” January 12th, 1984 http://www.uhuh.com/taxstuff/gracecom.htm
xxi Ralph Morris Goldman The Future Catches Up pg. 137
xxii James Allen Smith Strategic Calling pg. 8
xxiii William Douglas Developing Democracy pgs. 16-22, cited in Robinson, Promoting Polyarchy pg. 84
xxiv Robinson Promoting Polyarchy pg. 91
xxvi National Security Decision Directive 77 memo, January 14th, 1983 http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/nsdd/23-1966t.gif
xxvii “The Commitment to Democracy: A Bipartisan Approach” The American Political Foundation’s Democracy Program, July 27th, 1983 http://www.ned.org/docs/democracyProgram.pdf
xxviii H.R.2915 Bill Summary and Status, 98th Congress http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d098:HR02915:@@@L&summ2=m&
xxix Chester Covert Network pg. 51; William Blum Killing Hope pg. 248
xxx John Richardson’s autobiography A New Vision for Democracy: Toward Human Solidarity Through Global Democracy. For the information on the National Committee for Free Europe, see Blum Killing Hope pg. 62
xxxi Ranier Thiel Nested Games of Democracy Promotion: The United States and the Polish Liberalization of 1980-1989 VS Verlag, 2010, pg. 223
xxxii Robinson Promoting Polyarchy pg. 88
xxxiii Michael Barker “’Democratic Imperialism:’ Tibet, China, and the National Endowment for Democracy” Centre for Research on Globalization, August 13th, 2007 http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6530
xxxiv Undated memo from Eugenia Kemble to Carl Gershman, cited at “Free Trade Union Institute” Right Web http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/articles/display/Free_Trade_Union_Institute
xxxv Stanley Meisler “Allocation of Funds in France Embarrassing” Los Angeles Times February 6th, 1986 http://articles.latimes.com/1986-02-06/news/mn-4751_1_cio
xxxvi Lori Lyn Bogle The Cold War: Cold War Espionage and Spying pg. 101
xxxvii Gerald Sussman Branding Democracy pg. 119, note 10
xxxviii Daniele Glanser NATO’s Secret Armies pg. 100
xxxix Meisler “Allocation of Funds”
xl Sara Diamond, Richard Hatch “Operation Peace Institute” Z Magazine July/August 1990
xli “The United States Institute of Peace Act” October 19th, 1984 http://www.usip.org/files/file/usip_act.pdf
xlii Diamond, Hatch “Operation Peace Institute”
xliii Letter from Karen Dacek, program assistant, United States Institute of Peace, February 27, 1989, cited in “United States Institute of Peace” Right Web, http://rightweb.irc-online.org/articles/display/united_states_institute_of_peace
xliv Biennial Report of the United States Institute of Peace, 1989
xlv Ido Orin Our Enemies and the US pg. 161
xlvi Diamond, Hatch “Operation Peace Institute
xlvii Ibid; John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2007, pg. 175
xlviii Diamond, Hatch “Operation Peace Institute”
li The Democrat Socialist Party and the Fourth International pg. 20
lii Foundations and Public Policy pgs. 208-209
liii The internationalist imperatives of the Weather Underground are fully detailed in their opening manifesto, “You Don’t Need A Weatherman To Know Which Way The Wind Blows,” written by Karin Asbley, Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, John Jacobs, Jeff Jones, Gerry Long, Home Machtinger, Jim Mellen, Terry Robbins, Mark Rudd and Steve Tappis and published in New Left Notes, June 18th, 1969.
liv Empire pgs. 132-133
“It’s a vision for a gated community of the rich, where everything is private and no taxes are paid, far outside of the sovereign territory of the nation-state. Historian Raymond Craib talks about visions for rightwing libertarian enclaves, from the failed attempt to build the Republic of Minerva on a coral reef in the South Pacific, to the Seasteading Institute plan to construct a floating city off of San Francisco.”
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