[The Rockefeller Foundation’s policies] were directed to the general problem of human behavior, with the aim of control through understanding. The Social sciences, for example, will concern themselves with the rationalization of social control; the Media and Natural sciences propose a closely coordinated study of sciences which underlie personal understanding and personal control.
- Max Mason, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, 1933
Much of [the Global Political Awakening] is also fueled by globalization, which the United States propounds, favors and projects by virtue of being a globally outward-thrusting society. But that also contributes to instability, and is beginning to create something altogether new: namely, some new ideological or doctrinal challenge which might fill the void created by the disappearance of communism… But [communism] is now totally discredited, and we have a pragmatic vacuum in the world today regarding doctrines. But I see the beginnings, in writings and stirrings, of the making of a doctrine which combines anti-Americanism with anti-globalization, and the two could become a powerful force in a world that is very unequal and turbulent.
- Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Carnegie Council, 2004
Indeed, the system being constructed and engineered by the elite is not simply a global government as we may understand the notion of government in today’s context, but an entirely new structure, driven by the social engineering techniques of science and technology, into a Global Scientific Dictatorship.
So where are we? How did we get here? Who drove us here? What ideas created these circumstances? Where are we going? Why?
These are questions I ask and seek to answer in my current book project, which is a historical, political, economic and social analysis of the ideas, institutions, and individuals of power in our world. Included in this examination is the history and emergence of the nation state, capitalism, central banking, and the rise of the powerful and dominant banking dynasties – such as Rothschild, Morgan, and Rockefeller – which have come to manifest themselves as the modern imperial families of the global era. Included in this heavily-researched study is the emergence of the concept of ‘social control’ and its manifestation through the creation of the public education system, the university education system, the development and evolution of the ‘social sciences’ as tools of ‘social engineering,’ the emergence of the major philanthropic foundations, founded, funded, and run by the dominant dynastic powers for the purposes of creating consensus among elites, and engineering consent among the governed. Also examined in the book is the apparatus of empire, including the IMF, the World Bank, the UN, the Bank for International Settlements, the Pentagon, CIA, and the uses and techniques of war and covert operations. However, the role of the foundations is a significant facet of the book.
The foundations play a significant part in the examination of power in our global society, and are a major focus of my book. The foundations were created in an era in large part defined by the elite ideology of eugenics, where the elite sought to engineer humanity itself, to establish themselves as entrenched in the social structure of the world, and to create the conditions through which that domination may be expanded and secured. The foundations not only funded and helped engineer the eugenics movement, but they have played a pivotal role in the control, co-optation, consensus-building, ideology construction, and engineering of consent in a large number of other areas: the formation and evolution of the social sciences (including political science, economics, sociology, psychology), the development and direction of science (in particular genetics, microbiology, physics, chemistry, psychiatry, medicine), the population control movement, funding and directing into ‘safe’ avenues major social movements which would otherwise threaten the global social structure and elite interests, such as the Civil Rights movement, the environmental movement, and the anti-globalization movement. The foundations have essentially created and managed a global civil society, supporting the development and proliferation of Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which act as modern equivalents to the missionary societies of the formal colonial era, whereby they contribute moderately to relieving the symptoms of imperialism and domination (such as supporting efforts for education, health care, and human rights) while ultimately undermining and co-opting indigenous resistance movements which might otherwise challenge the power structures that created those symptoms in the first place. The foundations helped establish and fund the major think tanks, such as the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg Group, and the Trilateral Commission, which function by bringing together elites from banking, industry, media, academia, politics, military, intelligence and other areas in order to help establish consensus among the elites in the broader goal of engineering a system of global governance. As such, the foundations are ‘engines of social engineering,’ effectively constructing ideology, and aiding in the institutionalization of ideas.
It is the concept of the institutionalization of ideas which is a primary focus of my book, understanding power as being particularly relevant in this context. While certainly there are individuals, families, and groups which are dominant and hold enormous power, there were first ideas and institutions which allowed and facilitated the rise of these very individuals to such positions of power. In the book, I do not refrain from naming the names of the elite, with a particular focus on the roles of the Rothschild and Rockefeller families; however, I also place these dynastic influences within a wider context: understanding that these families were only able to rise to the positions of power they now hold because of the effect of particular ideas and institutions, such as those of the nation-state, capitalism, central banking, private banking, hegemony, empire, and social engineering. More than ingenuity, it was opportunity that allowed these families to rise to power. While since coming to power, they have generally been the dominant forces in steering the direction of the global social, political, and economic structures, they are as much a product of previous social, political, and economic power structures as the rest of us are. As such, we cannot erroneously and simplistically identify all the problems of our world with a few individuals or families. This would be a monumental error if we are to ever move forward and find new solutions. It is, in fact, the power of ideas which is central to understanding our world, and in particular, the effect of the ‘institutionalization of ideas.’
While critically examining the roles of these dynastic powers in our society is imperative in order to understand how we got to this place, if we limit ourselves to that focus alone, we risk the eventual failure of any attempt at true change. If we focus simply on these dynastic influences, we neglect the role played by the various ideas and institutions which have made possible the development of dynastic power; thus, if we fail to properly understand the nature and interaction of ideas and institutions in the context of power, we will ultimately only replace the names of those who dominate the world, not the system of domination itself. If we seek to only criticize and change the dynastic rulers, new ones will rise in their place, for we would hold onto various ideas and institutions which gave rise to them in the first place. After all, if it had not been the Rothschilds or Rockefellers, it would have been someone else. Even if we remove all the ideas and institutions which these dynasties have established, we neglect to see that there were previous institutionalized ideas which brought them to power in the first place. This is the focus of my book, seeking to understand power in the context of the institutionalization of ideas.
As such, we also can come to understand a different notion of human nature, manifested and made possible only by the removal of those ideas and institutions which dominate and oppress humanity, and thus, we can see a possibility of an era of true human liberation, a true global revolution. The circumstances for this global revolution are developing and increasing. Already, we are thrust within the era of the ‘Global Political Awakening,’ where all of humanity is socially conscious, politically aware, and economically exploited. Thus, the conditions for radical change are made present. However, there still remains the multiplicity of views, understandings, ideologies, and intricacies of actions which make the ‘Global Awakening’ at present, a disunited, fractured, largely divided, often antagonistic, and easily co-opted global social phenomena.
The concept of the ‘Global Political Awakening’ has been popularized by the American imperial strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser, former director of the Council on Foreign Relations, former Bilderberg group member, and co-founder with David Rockefeller of the Trilateral Commission, who continues to serve on a number of boards of prominent elite think tanks such as the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the RAND Corporation. Brzezinski identifies the ‘global political awakening’ as the greatest strategic threat to the institutionalized powers of the world, and proposes that policies initiated by governments and other institutions must address this as the fundamental issue of our time, and thus support the expansion of global governance as a means to deal with this phenomenon. In discussing this concept, Brzezinski warned fellow elites in a speech to the Carnegie Council, that the ‘global political awakening’ remains relatively adolescent and disunited:
But I see the beginnings, in writings and stirrings, of the making of a doctrine which combines anti-Americanism with anti-globalization, and the two could become a powerful force in a world that is very unequal and turbulent.
This book attempts to help fill the “doctrinal void” that Brzezinski identifies as being the fundamental force preventing the unification of the Global Political Awakening. I am attempting to write this book as a study of power in our world unlike any previous examination: how did we get here? Where are we going? And why? Further, the book, through its more comprehensive examination of the power of ideas and institutions, simultaneously undertakes an examination of resistance and potential solutions. As such, the book attempts to articulate a ‘Philosophy of Liberation,’ one that may appeal to the majority of the world’s population.
The Philosophy of Liberation
This philosophy, intended to serve as a potential doctrine for the ‘Global Political Awakening,’ has a broad appeal which can unite the left and right, which has the potential to gain support from both socialists and libertarians. Fundamentally, it is a simple concept: the ‘philosophy of liberation’ entails the absolute and total liberation of humanity from the ideas and institutions which dominate, co-opt, control, oppress and destroy humanity. The aim in such a concept of absolute and total liberation is to free humanity so that we may understand the true ‘human nature’, which has otherwise always been subject to various forms of control and oppression.
Apart from abstract notions of liberation and freedom, however, the book proposes particular plans of action and initiative which seek to bring such ideals to reality. The critical importance of understanding power in our world as a product of ideas and institutions is that we can come to see that what is needed to change this world into something that supports and liberates humanity (as opposed to controlling and oppressing humanity) is simply… a new idea. If ideas built this world and its power structures, if ideas built the institutions which dominate and control, if ideas gave rise to the dynastic powers which rule our world like modern imperial families, then what is required to bring all of this tumbling down is a new idea.
This new idea, which I set forth in the book, is a concept of anti-institutionalism: those ideas which seek to dominate must be challenged by those which seek to liberate; the institutionalization of those dominating ideas must be challenged by a counter-institutional structure which seeks to establish a parallel global system, so that the old institutions may be made irrelevant, antiquated, and extinct. The paradox here is that we must construct a counter-hegemonic system of institutions, but that they must be endowed with a strict adherence to a ‘philosophy of liberation’ which manifests itself as ‘anti-institutionalism.’ In short, we must create anti-institutional institutions.
Why is this so? Is this not entirely contradictory?
Indeed, these are fair questions, but they have fair answers. While we may have ideas of what is ideal, what is desired, and what is important; namely, concepts of peace, justice, democracy, freedom, and liberation. But we must establish a plan of action – a concept of how to achieve those ideals – yet this can only be done by understanding the world as it is, and therefore, the plan of action for liberation must be based on a realistic conception of the world if it is to have any chance of success in changing that world.
We live in a world of institutions and ideas. That is established. To create something new, to progress toward true liberation and freedom, we have to establish plans of action that act within – though opposed to – the global power structure of ideas and institutions. This does not propose a strategy of “change from the inside” where well-intentioned people join the institutions that dominate in the hopes that they may change the system from within those institutions. That strategy leads to folly and failure. Why? Because those institutions are dominated more by ideas than they are by individuals. The idea pervades, penetrates, and dominates the institution and infects the individuals within it, so that those with even the greatest and most humane of intentions can be corrupted and have their intentions disrupted by the institution they inhabit. No, what is needed is the formation of a counter-institutional structure.
The formation of institutions can allow them to flourish, spread, expand, and proliferate in a world which is predominantly institutional. If one wants to cross the sea to get to a new shore, one must first find a way to build a boat that facilitates the crossing. When the shore is reached, the boat has no more purpose. This is the concept of the counter-institutional structure: that it is only temporary, and that these institutions may seek to institutionalize – on a global scale – ideas which imbue a ‘philosophy of liberation’, and thus, they seek to bring about their own obsolescence. They deal with the world as it is, by creating structures within the global system (instead of isolating themselves from it), and thus in the same way that the ideas and institutions which seek to dominate have become so predominant and powerful in our world, we can effectively use the system against itself until the ideas and institutions which seek to liberate can become as powerful among the world’s people. Once a ‘philosophy of liberation’ has taken hold within the world’s population, and these counter-hegemonic institutions have helped establish an alternative system – helping to create people-oriented, locally organized, yet globally cooperative polities, economies, and societies – the institutions may be made irrelevant and dismantled, so that they may not be transformed through the potential to themselves dominate and control.
While the Global Political Awakening is a present reality in the world, the conditions for a true global revolution and challenge to the global power structures has yet to manifest itself. There are movements in different places, through different peoples, with differing ideas, but they are not yet united in aim, ideology, or action. The elite are seeking to establish a system and structure of global government, and are working very hard to establish such consensus among the global elite, as well as to employ specific strategies of action to effect such a change. We must do the same in order to counter this process.
Living in the era of the ‘Technological Revolution’, we are faced with an unprecedented dichotomy, whereby we are in the circumstances where for the first time in all of human history, a truly global oppressive system and structure of governance is made possible, and simultaneously, for the first time in human history, a global resistance and revolution against power structures is made possible via the communication and information revolutions, with the ultimate potential for all of humanity to become free simultaneously. This is unprecedented. Never before have all of humanity had the possibility of achieving liberation at the same time. Thus, we have never truly had a liberated human society. This is both the greatest challenge and the greatest opportunity that humanity has ever faced. The elite see these developments in the same context, but with the perspective reversed. The elite see the greatest opportunity they have ever faced in human history as being to achieve the actual construction of a global government, never before possible, but now made plausible through advancements in technology; they also see the greatest challenge they have ever collectively faced in human history as being from a globally aware, active, and philosophically united world population seeking liberation and freedom. The elite are articulating these realities, and attempting to strategize and plan actions based upon these concepts. Brzezinski is perhaps the best example of this, as he has been articulating the notion of the ‘Global Political Awakening’ for many years, and has traveled to several of the more prominent think tanks among the imperial nations, warning the elites of the true realities of the world in which they seek to operate and dominate.
So too must the people of the world begin discussing these ideas, issues, and realities in order to establish consensus in understanding and initiatives for action. So long as we remain divided by artificial separations such as seeking change within the context of the ‘nation-state’ (as many in the anti-globalist movement seek a return to nationalism as a “solution”), which keeps them divided from the rest of the world. Only through solidarity of philosophy and action on the part of the world’s people may we come to actually and effectively create true change. The elite understand this. It’s time that we do too.
A Plan of Action: The People’s Project
The plan of action for establishing the anti-institutional counter-hegemonic system I set forth in my book is what I refer to as “The People’s Project.” The book, by setting forth a more comprehensive analysis of the global structures and systems of power, builds a solution based upon this more elaborate understanding. In particular, as the role of the philanthropic foundations is of particular interest and focus in the book, I propose that in order to properly counter the global power structures, we must create a type of ‘people’s foundation.’ This is what I refer to as “The People’s Project.”
Instead of being funded by wealthy billionaires, philanthropists, bankers and industrialists, the People’s Project would be funded by the people, using the means made available through the Technological Revolution: utilizing social media networks in order to fundraise from people and communities around the world, and to advertise, promote and disseminate the idea globally. As such, the Project is democratically funded, and in fact, it is a representation of genuine free-market principles, something which could appeal to the libertarian elements of resistance. The funding would be directed for specific initiatives and projects that the organization undertakes.
While the funding is democratic and free-market oriented, in that if an idea is not welcomed by the people, it simply wouldn’t be funded by them; the actual organization, operations, and day-to-day decision making process must be undertaken by a relatively small and cooperative group of individuals. If we attempt to make the entire decision-making process democratic, we would be attempting to manifest a democratic institution in an anti-democratic world, and it would be stalled, stagnant, and ultimately a failure. Thus, it must act as an institution of the likes of a major philanthropic foundation. Its operations must be effected and decisions made by a group of people so that it may function effectively within the global institutional system. However, this group of people must abide by a strict adherence to a ‘philosophy of liberation,’ and all the Project’s financial information, decisions, and initiatives must be made publicly available, so that they may be analyzed, discussed, and assessed by the public. The people must be treated as the patrons, since they provide the money. Projects will be proposed and planned by the group within the institution, and the people will discuss, debate, assess, and ultimately vote with their dollars. If a project does not have popular appeal or support, it will not be funded, and thus, will not move forward into action.
The initiatives of The People’s Project itself must seek to create the counter-institutional structure that would make the present global system of power structure irrelevant and extinct. As this is ultimately a process of de-institutionalization, we must understand it in a similar context: that of the de-institutionalization of psychiatric patients over the past several decades. Certainly, releasing prisoners of psychiatric institutions was the right thing to do, as the momentum built for this endeavour and many of these institutions were closed down, and their prisoners (or as they are often referred to, “patients”) were released. However, many of these released prisoners simply ended up as homeless people, having no where to go and nothing to be able to do. Does this mean that the institution was a good thing? No, it was and remains an incredibly dehumanizing idea and structure. The problem was multi-faceted: most important in the failure of de-institutionalization of psychiatric prisoners was the fact that the vast majority of society suffers a severe misunderstanding of what we commonly refer to as ‘madness’ or ‘mental illness.’ This misunderstanding is an intentional consequence of the ideas and institutions of psychiatry, psychology, and pharmacology which are extremely prominent within our society, and which have been largely influence by the major philanthropic foundations. Namely, without a more coherent understanding of what we refer to as “mental illness,” we cannot even begin to understand those who experience different emotional and psychological states of being, which we mistakenly refer to as “diseases.” However, as an impulse, we tend to quickly attempt to define, label, and control that which we do not understand, and therefore we often mistreat those who we are labeling as such. In 1933, Max Mason, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, wrote that the foundation’s policies:
were directed to the general problem of human behavior,with the aim of control through understanding. The Social sciences, for example, will concern themselves with the rationalization of social control; the Media and Natural sciences propose a closely coordinated study of sciences which underlie personal understanding and personal control. Many procedures will be explicitly co-operative between [Foundation] divisions. The Medical and Natural Sciences will, through psychiatry and psychobiology, have a strong interest in the problems of mental disease.
What we refer to as “mental illness” or “madness” is yet another avenue and means through which power is exercised in our world, and this is perhaps the most pervasive, damaging, and destructive powers that exist in our world, largely brought about through the institutions and ideas of psychiatry and psychology, which have predominantly sought the prescription laid out by the Rockefeller Foundation, “to the general problem of human behavior, with the aim of control through understanding.” Psychology and psychiatry were largely avenues through which power sought to control the human mind, not to liberate it. Indeed, it is an incredibly important though little-known fact that in 1992, the World Health Organization released a study of comparing treatment of schizophrenia in the developed and developing world (rich vs. poor) that began in 1968, which concluded that patients in poor countries “had a considerably better course and outcome than (patients) in developed countries. This remained true whether clinical outcomes, social outcomes, or a combination of the two was considered.” A follow-up study by the WHO again confirmed that in poor countries, patients suffering “severe mental health” issues had a much higher rate of recovery than those in the rich, ‘developed’ nations, which tend to treat such experiences as a biological disease, and confuse treatment with causation: as in, because we treat such conditions with chemicals (i.e., drugs), the cause of the condition must itself be chemical.
As we largely misunderstand and misinterpret (and thus mislabel) such conditions as “diseases,” we fail to be able to deal properly with those who are subject to such conditions. Thus, the process of de-institutionalization of psychiatric facilities led in most places to human tragedy. From the 1960s onward, radical psychiatrists and philosophers began to challenge the way people view and understand madness and “mental illness.” Among them were Thomas Szasz, who challenged the entire notion of “mental disease” with his famous essay and subsequent book, “The Myth of Mental Illness,” which was perhaps the greatest intellectual challenge to the entire psychiatric establishment ever developed. There was also the French philosopher Michel Foucault who took on the challenge of understanding the history, ideas and institutions of psychiatry as an exercise in power – what he referred to as ‘biopower’ – the direct influence upon the biology and psychology of the individual. There was the radical Scottish psychiatrist, R.D. Laing, who posited a different understanding of madness, explaining that, “Insanity is a sane reaction to an insane society.” And there was also the radial Italian psychiatrist, Franco Basaglia, who challenged the dominant ideas and who had actually created a successful method of de-institutionalization of psychiatric centers in Italy. Compared to the failures of North American deinstitutionalization, Italy achieved relative successes, largely at the initiative of Franco Basaglia, who sought to destroy the psychiatric institution itself. Basaglia understood that for deinstitutionalization to be successful, one must create the conditions which make the integration of patients into society possible. In one interview, Basaglia said:
It is not that we put illness aside, but rather that we believe in order to have a relationship with an individual it is necessary to establish it independent of the label by which the patient has been defined.
What Basaglia realized was that, “psychiatric diagnoses were not independent of the prevailing moral and social order which tended to define normality and abnormality in its own class-based terms.” Psychiatry then, provided a “medical rationale” behind the “institutionalized violence” against the prisoners of psychiatric hospitals, which were largely poor, dispossessed individuals. As Basaglia explained:
Once the medical pretenses are gone, we can see the misery and the poverty that are the true nature of the asylum. The specificity of madness is also gone. The deception is obvious: it is one thing to say that an institution locks up fifty ‘sick’ people. It is quite another to say hat fifty ‘poor’ people have been locked up because there is no other solution to their problems.
Psychiatry was thus understood as “a covert apparatus of brutal social control,” and psychiatric physicians were agents of social control. These technicians “diagnosed, with greater and greater precision and specificity, thus fragmenting the problem of ‘mental illness’ into a multitude of diseases so as to avoid confronting its wholeness, its unifying dimensions as a shared experience of alienated human needs.” In fact, “the inhuman regulations of the institution produce signs and symptoms that justify locking up the inmate,” and the “transformation of patient into object is almost literal.” Thus, the institution itself often creates the ‘disease’ more than the individual experiences it as separated from the institution.
Basaglia’s program of deinstitutionalization included having the patients themselves help in physically destroying the institution with their own hands, most especially the physical barriers that confined and excluded them, such as doors, bars, and window gratings. Subsequently, ‘patients’ would work in the hospital, getting paid for their work, thus replicating the notion of a paid labour force on the outside of the institution. There would be daily meetings between staff and patients, and the meetings – known as the assemblea – were gradually transformed from a venue to express personal problems “toward using it as a vehicle for translating the personal into the collective and the political.” The process of “destroying and, ultimately, closing down the wards of the [institution] had to be accompanied by the far more radical and difficult task of ‘opening up’ communities.” The anti-institutional slogan put forward in this movement was, “Freedom is Therapeutic.” Thus, “alternative solutions had to be worked out, links re-established with the community; ex-patients had to develop new personal and social identities and to regain contractual power within the community.” Hence, the process of deinstitutionalization took place on two fronts: “in the hospital and in the community.”
As the communities began to be integrated with the ex-patients, “townspeople could begin to recognize in the distress and suffering of former inmates some of the problems in living that plagued their own lives.” Further, “through the vehicle of art there existed yet another way of sensitizing the public at large to the violence of segregative control.” The physical institution itself, had been converted into a place for community interaction and life, turning wards and rooms into shops, college dorms, radio stations, and day care centers.
Basaglia had to also “confront the old and uneasy alliance between psychiatry and the law. Demedicalizing and decriminalizing madness went hand in glove.” Thus, laws had to be challenged and changed with made for a more effective and humane treatment of ‘patients’ and process of deinstitutionalization.
Why I spent so much time and space discussing the notion of psychiatry and its institutions of control is because the institution of psychiatry – both physical and ideational – can serve as a microcosm for understanding the global institution we live within today. Sociologist Erving Goffman published his monumental study of what he referred to as ‘total institutions’ in his 1961 book,Asylums. He defined the ‘total institution’ as “a place of residence and work where a large number of like-situated individuals, cut off from the wider society for an appreciable period of time, together lead an enclosed, formally administered round of life.” In short, we can understand the power structures of the world as a type of ‘total institution’: whereby people are segregated – or confined – from one another, where they live, eat, work, sleep, remain enclosed and entrapped, where their actions and personal psychological health are often resulting from the institution itself: they become a product ofthe institution, not simply a resident within it. The institution itself creates the conditions it purportedly seeks to treat. The world is, in fact, a total institution. As we move down the road to a system of global governance, that institution is being further defined, segregated, controlling, and dehumanizing. Within the total institution of global society, psychiatry does come to play a particularly dehumanizing and personally pervasive role. As a 1944 Annual Report of the Rockefeller Foundation indicated:
It is not too much to assert… that in its actual and potential contribution to general medicine, to education, to sociology, indeed to the general business of living, psychiatry, without claiming omniscience in itself, is cast for a role of fundamental importance in helping to shape any world that may come out of the present one.
Just as Basaglia sought the means to more effectively and efficiently deinstitutionalize the mental asylums, so too must we – globally – seek to create a more effective process of deinstitutionalizing global society. This requires the dual process of breaking down the institutions that confine us, while simultaneously – and more painstakingly – seeking to establish links, changes, positions, and possibilities within the community itself.
The People’s Project would seek to establish these community initiatives on a number of levels. Just as the philanthropic foundations have engineered much of our society in the world today, down to the very construction of knowledge itself, so too must The People’s Project engage in social engineering, but not with a purpose to control; rather, with a purpose to liberate. These initiatives of the major philanthropic foundations have been articulated by many of their former leaders and administrators. Warren Weaver, a director of the Rockefeller Foundation who led the natural sciences department in the 1930s, wrote that:
The welfare of mankind depends in a vital way on man’s understanding of himself and his physical environment. Science has made magnificent progress in the analysis and control of inanimate forces, but science has not made equal advances in the more delicate, more difficult, and more important problem of the analysis and control over animate forces.
In 1934, Warren Weaver wrote a proposal to the board of trustees of the Rockefeller Foundation in which he asked:
Can man gain an intelligent control of his own power? Can we develop so sound and extensive a genetics that we can hope to breed, in the future, superior men? Can we obtain enough knowledge of physiology and psychobiology of sex so that man can bring this pervasive, highly important, and dangerous aspect of life under rational control? Can we unravel the tangled problem of the endocrine glands, and develop, before it is too late, a therapy for the whole hideous range of mental and physical disorders which result from glandular disturbances? … Can we release psychology from its present confusion and ineffectiveness and shape it into a tool which every man can use every day? Can man acquire enough knowledge of his own vital processes so that we can hope to rationalize human behavior? Can we, in short, create a new science of Man?
The Foundation, however, is an important and potent example to follow for a counter-hegemonic institution. This is because of the nature of how the foundation influences and exerts its power, which while largely through funding initiatives, it can spur developments of entire fields and initiatives simply through the act of suggestion. As a former president of the Rockefeller Foundation, Raymond Fosdick, wrote in 1934 in a letter to the board of trustees of the Foundation:
We do not have to be cynical to admit that if a foundation announces an interest in anthropology or astronomy or physio-chemical reactions, there will be plenty of institutions that will develop a zeal for the prosecution of these studies. The responsibility which this inescapable fact throws upon a foundation is enormous. The possession of funds carries with it power to establish trends and styles of intellectual endeavour… Indeed we would strongly advocate a shift of emphasis in favor not only of the dissemination of knowledge, but on the practical application of knowledge in fields where human need is great and opportunity is real. As a means of advancing knowledge, application can be as effective an instrument as research.
Thus, as the Foundation influences, so too can The People’s Project influence. The key differences, however, are the ideology and patronage of the institution itself. As the former Rockefeller Foundation president Max Mason articulated, the foundation’s policies were directed “to the general problem of human behavior, with the aim of control through understanding.” The People’s Project, however, would be directed “to the general problem of human society, with the aim of liberation through understanding.” Patronage is another important difference. In the private foundation, patronage is the result of wealthy philanthropists, industrialists, bankers and billionaires who fund the foundations, and thus influence and determine the direction it takes. With The People’s Project, patronage would lie with the people, funding would be democratically accountable, and thus, the direction of a project – if undesired by the people – would be made impossible by their refusal to fund the project. It is in this sense that the People’s Project may be accountable, even while its institutional structure is undemocratic.
As for specific initiatives that The People’s Project could and should undertake, I outline this somewhat more specifically in the “Project Philosophy” on the website for the Project; however, I will explain a general concept here.
The first initiative is referred to as The People’s Book Project, whereby the book I am writing may be funded and made possible. I will publish and make available the financial information, donations received, as well as logging the hours I have worked on the book, and thus, how much I am being paid to do so. I will update the site – The People’s Book Project – with information on what I am writing about at that time, giving an up-to-date and interactive process of writing the book, with comments and suggestions from readers and supporters. The book itself will serve as the philosophical foundation for the larger initiative of The People’s Project, laying the groundwork for a more comprehensive analysis and understanding of the world, and thus, serving as the basis for which the organization understands and acts in our world. The book also, as a conclusion, proposes the concept of The People’s Project in terms of solutions. Thus, if the book is itself funded and brought into being through this initiative, its very existence will be brought about by the recommendations it sets forth in its conclusions; thus, its existence may serve as evidence of its validity as a solution.
To put it simply: the book does not simply ‘recommend’ a solution, as it’s very existence would be evidence of that solution. Once the book is complete, The People’s Project can begin to undertake its larger initiatives.
Like the foundations, it must start with the formation of ideology and consensus. That is the purpose of the book itself, to establish a concrete understanding and to support the dissemination of those ideas to people and places around the world, to help institutionalize those ideas in the institutions which the Project creates and supports. Such institutions could and should include: radical think tanks, which are designed to produce research and recommendations for strategies aimed at the global liberation of humanity. The creation of liberation-oriented think tanks, as well as supporting them to become self-sufficient (perhaps in the same democratically funded way as the Project itself) could draw intellectual talents away from the powerful think tanks, or the “alternative” think tanks, which are supported by the major foundations and which draw intellectual talents which might otherwise support radical social change and revolutionary movements into a structure, institution, and context which forces them to be placated by the ideas of slow, evolutionary change to the system, but that type of change which simply addresses the symptoms of the global system, but doesn’t challenge the power structure outright. These types of think tanks exist as controlled opposition to the dominant imperial think tanks such as the Council on Foreign Relations. These “alternative” think tanks must be made irrelevant by the development of radical, liberation-oriented think tanks which seek to directly challenge the system itself, and help in the construction of new alternatives. Their existence alone would create the potential to attract intellectual talent, and thus, become successful initiatives.
Another avenue which The People’s Project should undertake is that of supporting the formation of a ‘new economy’, essentially helping establish a parallel economy to the global system we are all subjugated under. This would initially involve supporting initiatives aimed at creating local currencies, controlled and operated by local communities. The Project should organize conferences and meetings, bringing together representatives from various community currency projects around the world, in order to help understand the different projects, the failures and successes, and come to a better understanding of what works. Further, bringing such representatives together should also facilitate the establishment of trade and exchange ties between these communities, which is important to ensure that a project of building a parallel economy and community currency does not isolate itself from the world (and thus ensure its eventual failure, as it would ultimately be crushed by power-institutional forces from without), but that the parallel economy can establish itself globally. The key difference is that instead of operating through the dominant central banks, private banks, and multinational corporations, this parallel global economy would establish itself among the people directly. Of course, this implies the absolute necessity of – early on – bringing farmers and produce distributors into this system. In this sense, control over food is essential. We must reduce and ultimately eliminate our dependence upon the dominant institutions in our world.
Once community currencies can begin to be established, an immediate initiative of those communities (which the People’s Project can help begin) is to create a community foundation, funded entirely by the community bank, which is accountable to the people, not bankers. The initiatives and projects of the community foundation would mirror those of the People’s Project, but on a local scale. It must be funded by the community bank, without interest or debt. Since the concepts of interest and debt are just ideas, all we have to do to change their existence is to simply agree, collectively, that they are bad ideas. After all, currencies are faith-based, so we need to place our faith in a different currency system which supports people, not bankers. The community foundation could then be perpetually funded by the community bank in order to support local initiatives and community projects. Of course, this is a complex process which would take a great deal of time and effort, and not least without a great many failures along the way. But the point is that we need to establish a plan of action to begin effecting change and interaction and communication on a global scale.
This is not a utopian ideal, it is a humane ideal. Up until present time, what we refer to as “human civilization” is often the process of a coercive and socially constructed method of shaping humanity to fit within the confines and adjust itself to ‘society.’ Human history continuously shows examples whereby societies were constructed and people were then forced to adjust to those societies. Often this was done violently and coercively, but also, and more effectively, and most especially in the past century, this was done through the engineering of consent. The point of this Project is to help free humanity, so that we can properly understand human nature for the first time, and thus construct society around the needs and desires of human nature. Human civilization must come to reflect human nature; human nature can no longer be shaped within the confines of human civilization. As people are largely a product of their environment, down to the very notion of what we know as “mental illness,” we must begin to reshape the environment to support the people. We must construct our society in such a way that enhances and flourishes all that is good in human nature, while minimizing and undermining all that is bad in human nature. Currently, our society does the opposite. That is why war, poverty, dehumanization, and destruction are so common, whereas cooperation, liberation, peace, and harmonious existence are so rare.
It seems quite apparent that our little experiment known as ‘human civilization’ is actually more properly identified as a “dehumanized civilization,” as it ruins, oppresses, controls, co-opts, and seeks to destroy all that is good, wonderful, and beautiful in human nature. We must then, construct a new civilization, a “humane civilization,” one that undermines the negative aspects of human nature and supports the positive. Humans have a tendency to be corrupted by too much power, no matter the intentions and beliefs of that individual, too much power in one person or institution is self destructive. Subsequently, too much power in too few hands implies the de facto circumstance of too little power in too many hands, so that the vast majority of the world’s people are left with very little power even over their own lives. This leads to poverty, despair, violence, terrorism, war, hunger, hatred, and madness. What is implied then, is that power must be decentralized, people must gain more, and institutions must have less. In such a situation, we can begin to see the potential for humanity to gain – for the first time in all of human history – the ultimate liberation, the true freedom. As such, we would be able to see the true reality of “human nature.”
If you study mice in a maze, no matter for how long you may do so, you cannot ever hope to understand the mouse outside of the context of the maze itself. The mouse or mice you study and observe are products of that maze, as they are confined within it and their lives dictated by its walls and parameters. Therefore, you can never hope to conclude a true ‘nature’ of the mouse through observing it in such circumstances. Only when you break the walls of the maze and erase its foundations, thus freeing the mice to their own devices, can you even begin to understand the nature and potential of the mouse. This is the perspective we must come to understand in regards to humanity. We can commonly deduce that it is “human nature” to be violent, to hate, to kill, to destroy; that we need states and governments and powers to stand above and look over us, preventing us from destroying ourselves. Yet, we act in accordance with the confines of our own maze – the global institutional social system – and thus, we are a product – and our nature is thus a product – of the system we live within. If our nature is violent, hateful, and destructive, it is because the system we live within has made it so. Thus, we need to liberate humanity from that system, and simultaneously create a parallel system which may help to establish a society that requires cooperation, true individuality, respect, understanding, peace, and love. We are largely a product of our environment, therefore we must change both the individual – through our personal perceptions and understanding of the world – and the environment around the individual, in order to create a truly ‘humane’ society.
These are the aims and objectives of The People’s Project. The Book Project, as the first phase in the wider initiative explained above, seeks to establish itself as a basis upon which the People’s Project would understand and act in the world.The People’s Book Project can only be made possible through the support, donations, and word of mouth of the people themselves, activated through social media and the Internet, using the unprecedented opportunity we have before us as a result of the Technological, communication and information revolutions.
Indeed, nothing would be a greater shame than to exist in revolutionary times without revolutionary ideas.
Andrew Gavin Marshall is an independent researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada, writing on a number of social, political, economic, and historical issues. He is also Project Manager of the People’s Book Project.
 Lily E. Kay, “Rethinking Institutions: Philanthropy as an Historigraphic Problem of Knowledge and Power,” Minerva (Vol. 35, 1997), page 290.
 Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Anne M. Lovell, “Breaking the Circuit of Social Control: Lessons in Public Psychiatry from Italy and Franco Basaglia,” Social Science and Medicine (Vol. 23, Issue 2, 1986), page 160.
 Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Anne M. Lovell, “Breaking the Circuit of Social Control: Lessons in Public Psychiatry from Italy and Franco Basaglia,” Social Science and Medicine (Vol. 23, Issue 2, 1986), page 161.
 Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Anne M. Lovell, “Breaking the Circuit of Social Control: Lessons in Public Psychiatry from Italy and Franco Basaglia,” Social Science and Medicine (Vol. 23, Issue 2, 1986), pages 161-162.
 Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Anne M. Lovell, “Breaking the Circuit of Social Control: Lessons in Public Psychiatry from Italy and Franco Basaglia,” Social Science and Medicine (Vol. 23, Issue 2, 1986), pages 164-165.
 Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Anne M. Lovell, “Breaking the Circuit of Social Control: Lessons in Public Psychiatry from Italy and Franco Basaglia,” Social Science and Medicine (Vol. 23, Issue 2, 1986), page 167.
 Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Anne M. Lovell, “Breaking the Circuit of Social Control: Lessons in Public Psychiatry from Italy and Franco Basaglia,” Social Science and Medicine (Vol. 23, Issue 2, 1986), page 168.
 Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Anne M. Lovell, “Breaking the Circuit of Social Control: Lessons in Public Psychiatry from Italy and Franco Basaglia,” Social Science and Medicine (Vol. 23, Issue 2, 1986), page 169.
 Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Anne M. Lovell, “Breaking the Circuit of Social Control: Lessons in Public Psychiatry from Italy and Franco Basaglia,” Social Science and Medicine (Vol. 23, Issue 2, 1986), page 170.
 Erving Goffman, Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates (First Anchor Books, New York: 1961), page xiii.
 Annual Report, The Rockefeller Foundation, 1944, page 31.
 Daniel J. Kevles, “Foundations, Universities, and Trends in Support for the Physical and Biological Sciences, 1900-1992,” Daedalus (Vol. 121, No. 4, Immobile Democracy?), Fall 1992, page 206
 Robert E. Kohler, “The Management of Science: The Experience of Warren Weaver and the Rockefeller Programme in Molecular Biology.” Minerva (Vol. 14, No. 3), 1976, page 291
 Robert E. Kohler, “The Management of Science: The Experience of Warren Weaver and the Rockefeller Programme in Molecular Biology.” Minerva (Vol. 14, No. 3), 1976, page 293
 Lily E. Kay, “Rethinking Institutions: Philanthropy as an Historigraphic Problem of Knowledge and Power,” Minerva (Vol. 35, 1997), page 290.