Global Exchange Noam Chomsky (c) with Global Exchnage Co-founders Kevin Danaher (l) and Kirsten Moller (r)

Global Exchange Noam Chomsky (c) with Global Exchange Co-founders Kevin Danaher (l) and Kirsten Moller (r)

For 25 years, (Global Exchange) has been at the forefront of the struggle to put people and planet first, and I am proud to call myself a supporter of their work. ~Noam Chomsky

Annie Leonard (c) with Global Exchange board members Walter (l) and Wanda (r)

Annie Leonard (c) with Global Exchange board members Walter (l) and Wanda (r)

Global Exchange is a hard-hitting, grassroots human rights organization with a legacy of winning important victories for workers and the environment. They have my support! ~Annie Leonard


We have the support of Noam and Annie. Do we have yours?

Your support truly makes the difference. Your organizing. Your phone calls. Your emails. Your donations.

Just look at what you made possible in 2013!

With your help, we:

  • Mobilized grassroots support to tell Ghirardelli Chocolate “go Fair Trade”
  • Engaged 12 California communities to work towards banning fracking, and
  • Brought our message for peace and justice in Mexico to the White House. 

But we are not done! 2014 will be a critical year to advance our mission for social, economic and environmental justice and we need you with us!

Join Noam, Annie, and thousands of others as we work together to resist injustice, envision alternatives, and take action.

Please, make your year end donation today. Thank YOU!

Noam Chomsky Human Rights Award speech Global Exchange’s 2013 Human Rights Awards took place on May 9th 2013, and the evening included a number of inspiring speeches.

Tears were shed. Hearts were lifted. Audience members adjourned for the evening poised to act.

Good news! Videos of the Human Rights Award speeches are now online here and also viewable below. Special thanks goes out to John Hamilton, KPFA and Democracy Now! for the filming.

Here’s a rundown of 2013 Human Rights Award Recipients and Presenters:

chomsky-2005-62-150x150Human Rights Award: Global Exchange honored the life work of political critic and activist, Noam Chomsky. Randall Wallace, of the Wallace Action Fund, introduced Prof. Chomsky.
PWikiLeaks-Website-Logo-150x150eople’s Choice Award: Wikileaks/Julian Assange was presented the award by Kiki Kapany of the Julian Assange Legal Defense Committee, and the award was accepted by whistleblower hero, Daniel Ellsberg.

crystalGrassroots Award: Crystal Lameman received the Grassroots award. She was introduced by Global Exchange Executive Director Carleen Pickard.



The Speeches:

Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky – 2013 Human Rights Award Honoree from Global Exchange on Vimeo.


Wikileaks & Julian Assange – 2013 People’s Choice Award Winner from Global Exchange on Vimeo.

Crystal Lameman

Crystal Lameman – 2013 Grassroots Human Rights Awards recipient from Global Exchange on Vimeo.

More about the Awardees:

Noam Chomksy’s insightful and sharp analysis of corporate capitalism reveals the underpinnings of class warfare. His searing critique of U.S. military interventions, support for undemocratic regimes, its foreign policy and ambitions for geopolitical dominance has educated, challenged, and inspired millions for over 50 years, making him both a controversial and beloved figure for social change.

Crystal Lameman, is a member of the Beaver Lake Cree First Nation. With infectious dedication and passion, Crystal is fighting for her community and land, for the rights of First Nations in Canada and to stop the tar sands.

Wikileaks is a valuable tool for human rights activists the world over. Wikileaks helps whistle blowers bring forth information that is vital to public debate and have helped push stories hidden by secretive governments or ignored by corporate oriented media to the fore.

 Take-ActionTAKE ACTION!

If you’ve watched the speeches above, you know that together we have a LOT of work to do.

Noam Chomsky had this to say about Global Exchange: For 25 years, this organization has been at the forefront of the struggle to put people and planet first, and I am proud to call myself a supporter of their work.

Please consider supporting Global Exchange and making a donation today. As our special way of saying thank you, with your gift today of $50 or more, you’ll receive a book signed by Noam Chomsky.


Truth-tellers like Edward Snowden dispel a mythology constructed by the corporate cinema, the corporate academy and the corporate media.

Truth-tellers like Edward Snowden dispel a mythology constructed by the corporate cinema, the corporate academy and the corporate media.

In June 2013, US former NSA technical contractor and CIA employee turned whistleblower Edward Snowden shared details of top-secret US and British government information to the press, revealing  information about a variety of classified intelligence programs.

Speaking of whistleblowers, one month before Global Exchange presented Wikileaks and Julian Assange with the People’s Choice Award at our 11th Annual Human Rights Award, along with Human Rights Award recipient Noam Chomsky and Grassroots award winner Crystal Lameman.

Wikileaks/Julian Assange’s award was presented by Kiki Kapany, of the Julian Assange Legal Defense Committee, and accepted by whistleblower hero, Daniel Ellsberg. You can listen to Julian Assange’s speech (read by Daniel Ellsberg) in the following video:

So back to Edward Snowden; the following post written by renowned investigative journalist and documentary film-maker John Pilger originally appeared on The Tyee:

Why Edward Snowden Is a Hero: NSA leaks illuminate US government at edge of new kind of fascism

In his book, Propaganda, published in 1928, Edward Bernays wrote: “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”

The American nephew of Sigmund Freud, Bernays invented the term “public relations” as a euphemism for state propaganda. He warned that an enduring threat to the invisible government was the truth-teller and an enlightened public.

In 1971, whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg leaked U.S. government files known as The Pentagon Papers, revealing that the invasion of Vietnam was based on systematic lying. Four years later, Frank Church conducted sensational hearings in the U.S. Senate: one of the last flickers of American democracy. These laid bare the full extent of the invisible government: the domestic spying and subversion and warmongering by intelligence and “security” agencies and the backing they received from big business and the media, both conservative and liberal.

Speaking about the National Security Agency (NSA), Senator Church said: “I know that the capacity that there is to make tyranny in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law … so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”

On June 11, following the revelations in the Guardian by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, Daniel Ellsberg wrote that the U.S. had now reached “that abyss”.

Snowden’s revelation that Washington has used Google, Facebook, Apple and other giants of consumer technology to spy on almost everyone, is further evidence of modern form of fascism — that is the “abyss”. Having nurtured old-fashioned fascists around the world — from Latin America to Africa and Indonesia — the genie has risen at home. Understanding this is as important as understanding the criminal abuse of technology.

Google and the White House

Fred Branfman, who exposed the “secret” destruction of tiny Laos by the U.S. Air Force in the ’60s and ’70s, provides an answer to those who still wonder how a liberal African-American president, a professor of constitutional law, can command such lawlessness. “Under Mr. Obama,” he wrote for AlterNet, “no president has done more to create the infrastructure for a possible future police state.” Why? Because Obama, like George W Bush, understands that his role is not to indulge those who voted for him but to expand “the most powerful institution in the history of the world, one that has killed, wounded or made homeless well over 20 million human beings, mostly civilians, since 1962.”

In the new American cyber-power, only the revolving doors have changed. The director of Google Ideas, Jared Cohen, was adviser to Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state in the Bush administration who lied and said Saddam Hussein could attack the U.S. with nuclear weapons. Cohen and Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt — they met in the ruins of Iraq — have co-authored a book, The New Digital Age, endorsed as visionary by the former CIA director Michael Hayden and the war criminals Henry Kissinger and Tony Blair. The authors make no mention of the Prism spying program, revealed by Edward Snowden, that provides the NSA access to all of us who use Google.

Control and dominance are the two words that make sense of this. They are exercised by political, economic and military designs, of which mass surveillance is an essential part, but also by insinuating propaganda in the public consciousness. This was Edward Bernays’s point. His two most successful PR campaigns were convincing Americans they should go to war in 1917 and persuading women to smoke in public; cigarettes were “torches of freedom” that would hasten women’s liberation.

It is in popular culture that the fraudulent “ideal” of America as morally superior, a “leader of the free world”, has been most effective. Yet, even during Hollywood’s most jingoistic periods there were exceptional films, like those of the exile Stanley Kubrick, and adventurous European films would have U.S. distributors. These days, there is no Kubrick, no Strangelove, and the United States market is almost closed to foreign films.

Targeted for state vengeance

When I showed my own film, The War on Democracy, to a major, liberally-minded U.S. distributor, I was handed a laundry list of changes required to “ensure the movie is acceptable”. His memorable sop to me was: “OK, maybe we could drop in Sean Penn as narrator. Would that satisfy you?” Lately, Katherine Bigelow’s torture-apologizing Zero Dark Thirty and Alex Gibney’s We Steal Secrets, a cinematic hatchet job on Julian Assange, were made with generous backing by Universal Studios, whose parent company until recently was General Electric. GE manufactures weapons, components for fighter aircraft and advance surveillance technology. The company also has lucrative interests in “liberated” Iraq.

The power of truth-tellers like Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and Edward Snowden is that they dispel a whole mythology carefully constructed by the corporate cinema, the corporate academy and the corporate media.

WikiLeaks is especially dangerous because it provides truth-tellers with a means to get the truth out. This was achieved by Collateral Damage, the cockpit video of an U.S. Apache helicopter allegedly leaked by Bradley Manning. The impact of this one video marked Manning and Assange for state vengeance. Here were U.S. airmen murdering journalists and maiming children in a Baghdad street, clearly enjoying it, and describing their atrocity as “nice”.

Yet, in one vital sense, they did not get away with it; we are witnesses now, and the rest is up to us.

Noam ChomskyTAKE ACTION!  A message for you from Noam Chomsky:

“I recently had the opportunity to spend an evening in San Francisco celebrating 25 years of human rights activism with Global Exchange at their annual Human Rights Awards. I had a wonderful time celebrating the work of Global Exchange and my fellow honorees – Crystal Lameman, fighting to stop the tar sands, and Julian Assange and Wikileaks, exposing government and corporate secrets.

For 25 years, this organization has been at the forefront of the struggle to put people and planet first, and I am proud to call myself a supporter of their work.”

Please consider supporting Global Exchange and making a donation today. As our special way of saying thank you, with your gift today of $50 or more, you’ll receive a book signed by Noam Chomsky.

The Beatles had it right. We all get by with a little help from our friends.

Other things they got right: long hair and mustaches.

Other things they got right: long hair and mustaches.

We’ve certainly had our fair share of help along the way, often coming from the most unexpected places. When Global Exchange first started in 1988, our office was furnished with donations, our decor a mishmash of orange desks and a number of posture-enhancing chairs from a Catholic girls school (some of which are still in the office today!) A kindly guy at Kinkos let us come in after midnight to print our pamphlets for free. And our first major donor gave us $15,000 – allowing us to hire our first staff person AND buy a laser printer. (Laser printers were a pretty big deal back in 1988).

The perfect color for driving global revolution

The perfect color for driving global revolution

The generosity and dedication of many people helped us through our early days, and a diverse, international network of supporters continues to provide the foundation and strength for all we do. A quarter century of help from our friends has allowed us to accomplish a great deal in advancing human rights and promoting resilient ecosystems. From challenging the travel ban to Cuba to demanding Freedom From Oil, you’ve been there.

But we’re not done yet. Far from it.

We’re putting out a call to our support network to help us drive the next quarter century of change by becoming Global Exchange Monthly Sustainers (GEMS). By making a regular, monthly gift, you can provide a bedrock of financial support that allows us to focus our energies on the most pressing issues of our time: ending the drug war, stopping fracking, and getting money out of politics.

Sign up here to become a Global Exchange Monthly Sustainer.


One of these could be yours if you become a GEMS today. Blue desk not included.

Over the next month, we’re recruiting 25 new monthly givers, each giving $25 or more a month: 25 GEMS for 25 years! We’re going to raise $7,500 to give our work a boost over the coming year.

Will you be one of the 25? A gift awaits you.

There’s a special bonus when you become a GEMS at $25 or more a month; you will receive a book signed by Noam Chomsky, our 2013 Human Rights Award Honoree. If you’re interested, you better hurry. We can only guarantee books for the first 25 people to sign up at $25 or more a month.

Click here to sign up now.

And if you happen to have an extra orange desk lying around…just kidding.


Global Exchange staff at 2013 Human Rights Awards gala Photo Credit: Global Exchange

Wow, last Thursday was quite a night!

Global Exchange celebrated its 11th annual Human Rights Awards on May 9, 2013.

Photos from the event are below, plus lots more are posted on Facebook and Flickr.

We had a great time with everyone who came to the Palace of Fine Arts, and we’re grateful for the support of our donors, sponsors, and volunteers.

Together, we helped shine a spotlight on the work of our amazing honorees; People’s Choice Awardee Julian Assange and Wikileaks (chosen by online voters by a wide margin), Grassroots Awardee Crystal Lameman, and Human Rights Awardee Noam Chomsky.

It’s hard to deliver highlights from the night because there were so many! And this, coming from a woman who has been to almost every annual Human Rights Awards gala since its inception.


Grassroots Award Winner Crystal Lameman Photo Credit: Global Exchange

Ok, but if I HAD to pick one, I’d say it was the speeches. They were moving and honest and left listeners wanting to act.

Grassroots Honoree Crystal Lameman delivered a sobering account of how her community and First Nations in Canada is impacted by the Tar Sands and how through determination they’re fighting to stop the Tar Sands.


Daniel Ellsberg accepting award on behalf of Julian Assange and Wikileaks Photo Credit: Global Exchange


Daniel Ellsberg and Jacob Appelbaum accepted the People’s Choice Award on behalf of Julian Assange and Wikileaks. We were excited to welcome back Daniel Ellsberg who accepted Bradley Manning’s People’s Choice Award last year.

Daniel read Julian Assange’s acceptance speech which you can read here. The part about spies in the audience gave attendees quite a chuckle, and this snippet really stood out for me, referring to Human Rights Award Honoree Noam Chomsky:

Noam, you are the sea; relentless and enduring. Crashing wave after wave of understanding into towering cliffs of lies, eroding them at their base. The rotten foreshore of empire has a precipitous overhang as a result. You have inspired and continue to inspire many, including me.


Day of the Dead themed catering staff Photo Credit: Global Exchange

Besides the inspiring speeches, the evening included a silent auction, a Day of the Dead altar with catering staff from Work of Art catering who dressed the part, and musical entertainment by Rupa and the April Fishes.


Global Exchange Executive Director Carleen Pickard speaking at the 2013 Human Rights Awards Photo Credit: Global Exchange

The 2013 Human Rights Awards gala was also an opportunity for us to celebrate our 25th anniversary with many of those who have contributed to our successes over the years. Executive Director, Carleen Pickard, spoke from the podium about Global Exchange’s vision, victories and called for our collective action for climate justice.

Holding the event at the Palace of Fine Arts was perfectly fitting; the first Global Exchange Human Rights Awards gala was held there 11 years ago, adding a full-circle element to the evening.

As we take stock of Global Exchange at 25, despite the daunting challenges we still face, we look forward to celebrating more successes in the years to come.

Global-Exchange-25-Year-AnnTAKE ACTION!





Rupa-and-the-April Fishes

Rupa and the April Fishes

The 11th Annual Human Rights Awards gala is happening next week in San Francisco, and I’m excited to share with you the latest addition to our stellar lineup of special guests.

The global alternative sounds of Rupa and the April Fishes will support the Human Rights Awards on May 9th!

Back from a whirlwind world tour spanning North America, Europe and Asia, Rupa & the April Fishes will bring their global alternative sound to Global Exchange’s Human Rights Awards. The band has been touring heavily over the past 6 years, documenting the mix social upheaval and hope they witness around the world, from Central America to Greece, from the slums of India to their own Mission district of San Francisco.

Whether singing in French, Spanish, English, Romany, Tzotzil or Hindi, the April Fishes’ sound is “ecstatic and powerfully evocative” (LA Times) led by Rupa’s voice, which is “saucy, mysterious, and comparable in power to the late Amy Winehouse” (BUST Magazine). Their latest album BUILD, called “soulful and sensuous” by Relix Magazine, was produced with Todd Sickafoose (Ani DiFranco, Andrew Bird) and shows off the breadth of the band’s diverse chops.

We’re thrilled to have Rupa and the April Fishes as our special guests to help celebrate Global Exchange’s 25th anniversary. It’s going to be quite a night, as we honor the life’s work of Noam Chomsky, political theorist, writer, and activist, along with Grassroots Honoree Crystal Lameman and People’s Choice Winner Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

2013-Human-Rights-AwardGet your tickets now! They will sell out.

Questions have been rolling in about our upcoming Human Rights Awards Gala happening on May 9, 2013 in San Francisco. So we came up with this Top Five list to help:


2013 Human Rights Awards Honoree Noam Chomsky

1. Will Noam Chomsky actually be there in person?

Why yes, 2013 Human Rights Awards Honoree Noam Chomsky WILL be there at the Palace of Fine Arts on May 9th, in the flesh!

Also being honored this year; Grassroots Award Honoree Crystal Lameman, member of the Beaver Lake Cree First Nation, and People’s Choice Awardee Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

How cool is that?!

2. Do I need to get my tickets now?

If you want to make sure you are able to attend, then yes, we strongly urge you to get them now to secure your spot(s). They are selling faster than ever before, and this year is extra special as we celebrate our 25th Anniversary.

Tickets ARE expected to sell out, so pick up your Human Rights Awards gala tickets soon.

Work of Art platter from 2012 Human Rights Awards gala

Work of Art platter from 2012 Human Rights Awards gala

3. Will there be food and drinks?

Yes! Work of Art Catering will be providing beautifully presented, scrumptious eats and Frey Vineyards will be available for you fans of delicious-tasting organic, biodynamic, sulfite-free wines.

For you cocktail lovers, as a follow up to the wildly popular Justice n’ Ginger signature drink served at last year’s gala, this year we will be mixing up Caipirinhas, the national cocktail of Brazil, featuring organic, hand-crafted Novo Fogo cachaça.

Annie Leonard Human Rights Awards speech

Annie Leonard delivering her 2012 Human Rights Award acceptance speech

4. What happens at a Human Rights Awards Gala?

Where to begin?! A good place to start is this wrap up post about last years’ Human Rights Awards Gala.

In addition to delicious appetizers and drinks, guests can expect inspiring speeches by the Honorees, a silent auction filled with unique items, dancing to a live band, schmoozing with fellow guests, and a whole lot more.

5. Is there anything else I need to know?

There’s one more surprise guest who will be attending the 2013 Human Rights Awards gala, but we can’ divulge who it will be until April 29th, so stay tuned!

Still have questions?

Hope to see you there!

Oh, and if you want a double-dose of Noam Chomsky, our friends at Meca are celebrating their 25th anniversary and will have Prof. Chomsky speak at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland on May 8th.

WikiLeaks-Website-LogoGlobal Exchange is pleased to announce that Julian Assange and Wikileaks have won the 2013 Human Rights Awards People’s Choice Contest by receiving the most votes from supporters of Global Exchange and human rights around the world.

Thank you for participating in the 2013 People’s Choice Award contest in advance of our 11th Annual Human Rights Awards and 25th Anniversary celebration on May 9th in San Francisco, CA. Once again this contest had tremendous nominees and thousands of voters from around the globe.

Wikileaks is a valuable tool for human rights activists the world over. Wikileaks helps whistle blowers bring forth information that is vital to public debate. It has helped push stories hidden by secretive governments or ignored by corporate oriented media to the fore.

Examples include exposure of insider trading at JP Morgan and the censorship of UK media outlets including BBC and The Independent. Wikileaks also revealed the inner dysfunction of Copenhagen climate negotiations and gave content to discontent that sparked the early Arab Spring protests. The shocking ‘Collateral Murder’ video depicted alleged war crimes by U.S. airmen, who appear to knowingly shoot innocent Iraqis from the air.

To learn more about Wikileaks, here’s a video clip of Bill Maher interviewing Julian Assange:

Crystal Lameman

Grassroots Award Winner Crystal Lameman

Introducing our Grassroots Award Winner!

Crystal Lameman, member of the Beaver Lake Cree First Nation, will receive the 2013 Grassroots Human Rights Award.

So please join us to honor Julian Assange and Wikileaks, Noam Chomsky and Crystal Lameman on Thursday, May 9 from 6:30PM to 8:30PM at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco for a night of inspiration, celebration, and fun.

2013-Human-Rights-AwardGet Your Human Rights Awards Gala Tickets Today

Tickets On Sale NOW! Special Early Bird price available until April 11th.


credit: Donna Coveney/MIT

This article was posted to Alternet on March 5, 2013 with the subhead “Capitalism as it exists today is radically incompatible with democracy.” We are proud to honor Noam Chomsky’s work on May 9, 2013 at our 11th Annual Human Rights Awards, where Dr. Chomsky will accept the award. To attend this event and share Global Exchange’s 25th Anniversary, purchase early-bird tickets before April 11!

There is “capitalism” and then there is “really existing capitalism.”

The term “capitalism” is commonly used to refer to the U.S. economic system, with substantial state intervention ranging from subsidies for creative innovation to the “too-big-to-fail” government insurance policy for banks.

The system is highly monopolized, further limiting reliance on the market, and increasingly so: In the past 20 years the share of profits of the 200 largest enterprises has risen sharply, reports scholar Robert W. McChesney in his new book “Digital Disconnect.”

“Capitalism” is a term now commonly used to describe systems in which there are no capitalists: for example, the worker-owned Mondragon conglomerate in the Basque region of Spain, or the worker-owned enterprises expanding in northern Ohio, often with conservative support – both are discussed in important work by the scholar Gar Alperovitz.

Some might even use the term “capitalism” to refer to the industrial democracy advocated by John Dewey, America’s leading social philosopher, in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

Dewey called for workers to be “masters of their own industrial fate” and for all institutions to be brought under public control, including the means of production, exchange, publicity, transportation and communication. Short of this, Dewey argued, politics will remain “the shadow cast on society by big business.”

The truncated democracy that Dewey condemned has been left in tatters in recent years. Now control of government is narrowly concentrated at the peak of the income scale, while the large majority “down below” has been virtually disenfranchised. The current political-economic system is a form of plutocracy, diverging sharply from democracy, if by that concept we mean political arrangements in which policy is significantly influenced by the public will.

There have been serious debates over the years about whether capitalism is compatible with democracy. If we keep to really existing capitalist democracy – RECD for short – the question is effectively answered: They are radically incompatible.

It seems to me unlikely that civilization can survive RECD and the sharply attenuated democracy that goes along with it. But could functioning democracy make a difference?

Let’s keep to the most critical immediate problem that civilization faces: environmental catastrophe. Policies and public attitudes diverge sharply, as is often the case under RECD. The nature of the gap is examined in several articles in the current issue of Daedalus, the journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Researcher Kelly Sims Gallagher finds that “One hundred and nine countries have enacted some form of policy regarding renewable power, and 118 countries have set targets for renewable energy. In contrast, the United States has not adopted any consistent and stable set of policies at the national level to foster the use of renewable energy.”

It is not public opinion that drives American policy off the international spectrum. Quite the opposite. Opinion is much closer to the global norm than the U.S. government’s policies reflect, and much more supportive of actions needed to confront the likely environmental disaster predicted by an overwhelming scientific consensus – and one that’s not too far off; affecting the lives of our grandchildren, very likely.

As Jon A. Krosnick and Bo MacInnis report in Daedalus: “Huge majorities have favored steps by the federal government to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions generated when utilities produce electricity. In 2006, 86 percent of respondents favored requiring utilities, or encouraging them with tax breaks, to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases they emit. Also in that year, 87 percent favored tax breaks for utilities that produce more electricity from water, wind or sunlight  [ These majorities were maintained between 2006 and 2010 and shrank somewhat after that.

The fact that the public is influenced by science is deeply troubling to those who dominate the economy and state policy.

One current illustration of their concern is the “Environmental Literacy Improvement Act” proposed to state legislatures by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-funded lobby that designs legislation to serve the needs of the corporate sector and extreme wealth.

The ALEC Act mandates “balanced teaching” of climate science in K-12 classrooms. “Balanced teaching” is a code phrase that refers to teaching climate-change denial, to “balance” mainstream climate science. It is analogous to the “balanced teaching” advocated by creationists to enable the teaching of “creation science” in public schools. Legislation based on ALEC models has already been introduced in several states.

Of course, all of this is dressed up in rhetoric about teaching critical thinking – a fine idea, no doubt, but it’s easy to think up far better examples than an issue that threatens our survival and has been selected because of its importance in terms of corporate profits.

Media reports commonly present a controversy between two sides on climate change.

One side consists of the overwhelming majority of scientists, the world’s major national academies of science, the professional science journals and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

They agree that global warming is taking place, that there is a substantial human component, that the situation is serious and perhaps dire, and that very soon, maybe within decades, the world might reach a tipping point where the process will escalate sharply and will be irreversible, with severe social and economic effects. It is rare to find such consensus on complex scientific issues.

The other side consists of skeptics, including a few respected scientists who caution that much is unknown – which means that things might not be as bad as thought, or they might be worse.

Omitted from the contrived debate is a much larger group of skeptics: highly regarded climate scientists who see the IPCC’s regular reports as much too conservative. And these scientists have repeatedly been proven correct, unfortunately.

The propaganda campaign has apparently had some effect on U.S. public opinion, which is more skeptical than the global norm. But the effect is not significant enough to satisfy the masters. That is presumably why sectors of the corporate world are launching their attack on the educational system, in an effort to counter the public’s dangerous tendency to pay attention to the conclusions of scientific research.

At the Republican National Committee’s Winter Meeting a few weeks ago, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal warned the leadership that “We must stop being the stupid party … We must stop insulting the intelligence of voters.”

Within the RECD system it is of extreme importance that we become the stupid nation, not misled by science and rationality, in the interests of the short-term gains of the masters of the economy and political system, and damn the consequences.

These commitments are deeply rooted in the fundamentalist market doctrines that are preached within RECD, though observed in a highly selective manner, so as to sustain a powerful state that serves wealth and power.

The official doctrines suffer from a number of familiar “market inefficiencies,” among them the failure to take into account the effects on others in market transactions. The consequences of these “externalities” can be substantial. The current financial crisis is an illustration. It is partly traceable to the major banks and investment firms’ ignoring “systemic risk” – the possibility that the whole system would collapse – when they undertook risky transactions.

Environmental catastrophe is far more serious: The externality that is being ignored is the fate of the species. And there is nowhere to run, cap in hand, for a bailout.

In future, historians (if there are any) will look back on this curious spectacle taking shape in the early 21st century. For the first time in human history, humans are facing the significant prospect of severe calamity as a result of their actions – actions that are battering our prospects of decent survival.

Those historians will observe that the richest and most powerful country in history, which enjoys incomparable advantages, is leading the effort to intensify the likely disaster. Leading the effort to preserve conditions in which our immediate descendants might have a decent life are the so-called “primitive” societies: First Nations, tribal, indigenous, aboriginal.

The countries with large and influential indigenous populations are well in the lead in seeking to preserve the planet. The countries that have driven indigenous populations to extinction or extreme marginalization are racing toward destruction.

Thus Ecuador, with its large indigenous population, is seeking aid from the rich countries to allow it to keep its substantial oil reserves underground, where they should be.

Meanwhile the U.S. and Canada are seeking to burn fossil fuels, including the extremely dangerous Canadian tar sands, and to do so as quickly and fully as possible, while they hail the wonders of a century of (largely meaningless) energy independence without a side glance at what the world might look like after this extravagant commitment to self-destruction.

This observation generalizes: Throughout the world, indigenous societies are struggling to protect what they sometimes call “the rights of nature,” while the civilized and sophisticated scoff at this silliness.

This is all exactly the opposite of what rationality would predict – unless it is the skewed form of reason that passes through the filter of RECD.

(Noam Chomsky’s new book is “Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire. Conversations with David Barsamian.” Chomsky is emeritus professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.)

Global Exchange Staff all gussied up at the 2012 HRA

Global Exchange Staff all gussied up at the 2012 HRA

Global Exchange is Celebrating 25 Years of Changemaking

It doesn’t always pay to be fashionably late. Case in point, if you want to celebrate with us at our annual Human Rights Awards Gala, you can enjoy some serious savings if you secure your place early.

Now through April 11th, tickets are just $95 each, compared to the regular price of $115. You can purchase Early-bird Human Rights Awards Gala Tickets here.

Join us for a night of fun. Mingle and chat about Fair Trade over cocktails and delicious appetizers.  Spark up a conversation about human rights in Mexico with thought leaders from the Bay Area and beyond. Savor a spoonful of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream with members of the Global Exchange staff (it’s true, we love ice cream). It’s a great time for people to catch up with old friends and make a few new ones.


2013 Human Rights Award Honoree Noam Chomsky

This year’s honoree will be none other than the renowned political theorist and intellectual, Noam Chomsky. Global Exchange is excited to celebrate his vast accomplishments across diverse fields including political theory, philosophy, and international relations. As a guest at the event, you’ll enjoy an intimate setting along with our honoree.

What’s more, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in the ever-popular silent auction. Guests will bid on sustainable Fair Trade products, amazing getaways, and much more!  Global Exchange is celebrating 25 years of change-making, and we’ll be premiering a new video showcasing our 25 year journey during the gala.

Palace of Fine Arts. Photo Credit: www.palaceoffinearts.org

Palace of Fine Arts. Photo Credit: www.palaceoffinearts.org


Save the date:

All of us at Global Exchange are excited to have you join us at this year’s Human Rights Awards. Remember to save the date and buy tickets, and join us May 9th at the historic Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, California.

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Keep up to date about this year’s Human Rights Awards gala on Twitter with hashtag #HRA13.