350 and IEN, both of whom are funded by Dakota Access Pipeline investor Warren Buffett, issued a joint statement on DAPL February 7. Tides Foundation, a money laundry for tar sands investors and oil industry magnates such as Buffett, is used to corrupt NGOs such as 350 and Indigenous Environmental Network. While they are allowed to oppose pipelines in order to maintain credibility as so-called “water protectors,” they are noted for maintaining silence about their benefactor’s investments in pipelines and bomb trains.
Like his accomplice Naomi Klein, Tom Goldtooth was once a principled and articulate spokesman in opposition to Wall Street, until he was seduced by the dark money flowing from the oil industry into the non-profit industrial complex. Now, like Klein, he is a caricature of his former self, hobnobbing with the elite of the NGO champagne circuit. Reduced in his role to the status of token indigenous front for the pseudo left — living out their psychodrama as Wall Street dependents in the toy revolution entertainment sector — Goldtooth has become co-opted, or as Chief George Manuel described the phenomenon — assimilated.
Always present in media events where Fourth World nations are fighting Wall Street, Goldtooth and Klein bolster the credibility of Wall Street-funded con artists like Bill McKibben, thus leading social media followers astray. Although Goldtooth is a charming speaker, he only speaks half-truths, otherwise known as whole lies. Having accepted more than half a million dollars over the years from the Tides Foundation oil industry money laundry, his organization Indigenous Environmental Network — like its partner 350 — promotes consumerism as activism. This, in turn, inhibits recruitment by authentic grassroots organizations.
Instead of taking on the formidable tasks of stopping fracking of the Bakken Shale formation in North Dakota, or ending the laying waste to the Athabaskan watershed at the Alberta Tar Sands, ‘the beautiful people’ merely travel from one photo-op to the next — between pit-stops where they replenish their coffers with ill-gotten gains from the financial elite. Vanity arrests and airtime on ‘toy Che’ media like Democracy Now! help to maintain their celebrity status; as Cory Morningstar and Forrest Palmer observe, “There is no better way to launder corporate multinational largesse than giving it to the movement that is protecting it.”
As I wrote in my op-ed Degrees of Evil: Savoring the Nuances of Co-optation, spectacle celebrities like Naomi Klein count on infantile consumers to maintain their activist credentials. As a board member of 350–funded by Rockefeller Brothers Fund and TIDES Foundation (Warren Buffett, et al)–Klein and her cohort Bill McKibben are in bed with CERES and Goldman Sachs. Yet, despite this blatantly obvious hypocrisy by the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker of Climate Evangelism, the myth of 350 as a ‘grassroots’ organization persists.
This myth might be an amusing entertainment, were it not for the fact that 350 is complicit with Wall Street in Hijacking the Environmental Movement, and guilty as Agent Saboteur of the World Peoples Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth.
So it is disappointing, but not surprising, when people like Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN)–funded by TIDES–perpetuate the myth of 350 as a small organization responsive to indigenous interests. While IEN has done some good things, they nevertheless know where their bread is buttered, and this leads them to speak half truths–which amount to whole lies. The Goldtooth interview Divide and Conquer, while enlightening about REDD, also serves as a warning about the insidious corruption of Wall Street-funded NGOs–IEN included.