The Ford Foundation and the CIA, by James Petras

For those absolutely devoid of scruples, charity fraud is the field par excellance, in which you can simultaneously harvest kudos for your humanitarianism and make off with vast bundles of untaxed cash. Convictions for charity fraud are so rare as to be nonexistent, so any criminals operating in other fields of endeavor are incurring unnecessary risks.

The Ford Foundation and the CIA, by James Petras

Postby admin » Wed Feb 03, 2016 4:48 am

The Ford Foundation and the CIA
by James Petras
Rebelión
5 December 2001

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Introduction

The CIA uses philanthropic foundations as the most effective conduit to channel large sums of money to Agency projects without alerting the recipients to their source. From the early 1950s to the present the CIA's intrusion into the foundation field was and is huge. A U.S. Congressional investigation in 1976 revealed that nearly 50% of the 700 grants in the field of international activities by the principal foundations were funded by the CIA (Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War, Frances Stonor Saunders, Granta Books, 1999, pp. 134-135). The CIA considers foundations such as Ford "The best and most plausible kind of funding cover" (Ibid, p. 135). The collaboration of respectable and prestigious foundations, according to one former CIA operative, allowed the Agency to fund "a seemingly limitless range of covert action programs affecting youth groups, labor unions, universities, publishing houses and other private institutions" (p. 135). The latter included "human rights" groups beginning in the 1950s to the present. One of the most important "private foundations" collaborating with the CIA over a significant span of time in major projects in the cultural Cold War is the Ford Foundation.

This essay will demonstrate that the Ford Foundation-CIA connection was a deliberate, conscious joint effort to strengthen U.S. imperial cultural hegemony and to undermine left-wing political and cultural influence. We will proceed by examining the historical links between the Ford Foundation and the CIA during the Cold War, by examining the Presidents of the Foundation, their joint projects and goals as well as their common efforts in various cultural areas.

Background: Ford Foundation and the CIA

By the late 1950s the Ford Foundation possessed over $3 billion in assets. The leaders of the Foundation were in total agreement with Washington's post-WWII projection of world power. A noted scholar of the period writes: "At times it seemed as if the Ford Foundation was simply an extension of government in the area of international cultural propaganda. The foundation had a record of close involvement in covert actions in Europe, working closely with Marshall Plan and CIA officials on specific projects" (Ibid, p.139). This is graphically illustrated by the naming of Richard Bissell as President of the Foundation in 1952. In his two years in office Bissell met often with the head of the CIA, Allen Dulles, and other CIA officials in a "mutual search" for new ideas. In 1954 Bissell left Ford to become a special assistant to Allen Dulles in January 1954 (Ibid, p. 139). Under Bissell, the Ford Foundation (FF) was the "vanguard of Cold War thinking".

One of the FF first Cold War projects was the establishment of a publishing house, Inter-cultural Publications, and the publication of a magazine Perspectives in Europe in four languages. The FF purpose according to Bissell was not "so much to defeat the leftist intellectuals in dialectical combat (sic) as to lure them away from their positions" (Ibid, p. 140). The board of directors of the publishing house was completely dominated by cultural Cold Warriors. Given the strong leftist culture in Europe in the post-war period, Perspectives failed to attract readers and went bankrupt.

Another journal Der Monat funded by the Confidential Fund of the U.S. military and run by Melvin Lasky was taken over by the FF, to provide it with the appearance of independence (Ibid, p. 140).

In 1954 the new president of the FF was John McCloy. He epitomized imperial power. Prior to becoming president of the FF he had been Assistant Secretary of War, president of the World Bank, High Commissioner of occupied Germany, chairman of Rockefeller's Chase Manhattan Bank, Wall Street attorney for the big seven oil companies and director of numerous corporations. As High Commissioner in Germany, McCloy had provided cover for scores of CIA agents (Ibid, p. 141).

McCloy integrated the FF with CIA operations. He created an administrative unit within the FF specifically to deal with the CIA. McCloy headed a three person consultation committee with the CIA to facilitate the use of the FF for a cover and conduit of funds. With these structural linkages the FF was one of those organizations the CIA was able to mobilize for political warfare against the anti-imperialist and pro-communist left. Numerous CIA "fronts" received major FF grants. Numerous supposedly "independent" CIA sponsored cultural organizations, human rights groups, artists and intellectuals received CIA/FF grants. One of the biggest donations of the FF was to the CIA organized Congress for Cultural Freedom which received $7 million by the early 1960s. Numerous CIA operatives secured employment in the FF and continued close collaboration with the Agency (Ibid, p. 143).


From its very origins there was a close structural relation and interchange of personnel at the highest levels between the CIA and the FF. This structural tie was based on the common imperial interests which they shared. The result of their collaboration was the proliferation of a number of journals and access to the mass media which pro-U.S. intellectuals used to launch vituperative polemics against Marxists and other anti-imperialists. The FF funding of these anti-Marxists organizations and intellectuals provided a legal cover for their claims of being "independent" of government funding (CIA).

The FF funding of CIA cultural fronts was important in recruiting non-communist intellectuals who were encouraged to attack the Marxist and communist left. Many of these non-communist leftists later claimed that they were "duped", that had they known that the FF was fronting for the CIA, they would not have lent their name and prestige. This disillusionment of the anti-communist left however took place after revelations of the FF-CIA collaboration were published in the press. Were these anti-communist social democrats really so naive as to believe that all the Congresses at luxury villas and five star hotels in Lake Como, Paris and Rome, all the expensive art exhibits and glossy magazines were simple acts of voluntary philanthropy? Perhaps. But even the most naive must have been aware that in all the Congresses and journals the target of criticism was "Soviet imperialism" and "Communist tyranny" and "leftist apologists of dictatorship" -- despite the fact that it was an open secret that the U.S. intervened to overthrow the democratic Arbenz government in Guatemala and the Mossadegh regime in Iran and human rights were massively violated by U.S. backed dictators in Cuba, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and elsewhere.

The "indignation" and claims of "innocence" by many anti-communist left intellectuals after their membership in CIA cultural fronts was revealed must be taken with a large amount of cynical skepticism. One prominent journalist, Andrew Kopkind, wrote of a deep sense of moral disillusionment with the private foundation-funded CIA cultural fronts. Kopkind wrote:

"The distance between the rhetoric of the open society and the reality of control was greater than anyone thought. Everyone who went abroad for an American organization was, in one way or another, a witness to the theory that the world was torn between communism and democracy and anything in between was treason. The illusion of dissent was maintained: the CIA supported socialist cold warriors, fascist cold warriors, black and white cold warriors. The catholicity and flexibility of the CIA operations were major advantages. But it was a sham pluralism and it was utterly corrupting" (Ibid, pp. 408-409)."

When a U.S. journalist Dwight Macdonald who was an editor of Encounter (a FF-CIA funded influential cultural journal) sent an article critical of U.S. culture and politics it was rejected by the editors, working closely with the CIA (Ibid, pp. 314-321). In the field of painting and theater the CIA worked with the FF to promote abstract expressionism against any artistic expression with a social content, providing funds and contacts for highly publicized exhibits in Europe and favorable reviews by "sponsored" journalists. The interlocking directorate between the CIA, the Ford Foundation and the New York Museum of Modern Art lead to a lavish promotion of "individualistic" art remote from the people -- and a vicious attack on European painters, writers and playwrights writing from a critical realist perspective. "Abstract Expressionism" whatever its artist's intention became a weapon in the Cold War (Ibid, p. 263).

The Ford Foundation's history of collaboration and interlock with the CIA in pursuit of U.S. world hegemony is now a well-documented fact. The remaining issue is whether that relationship continues into the new Millenium after the exposures of the 1960s? The FF made some superficial changes. They are more flexible in providing small grants to human rights groups and academic researchers who occasionally dissent from U.S. policy. They are not as likely to recruit CIA operatives to head the organization. More significantly they are likely to collaborate more openly with the U.S. government in its cultural and educational projects, particularly with the Agency of International Development.

The FF has in some ways refined their style of collaboration with Washington's attempt to produce world cultural domination, but retained the substance of that policy. For example the FF is very selective in the funding of educational institutions. Like the IMF, the FF imposes conditions such as the "professionalization" of academic personnel and "raising standards." In effect this translates into the promotion of social scientific work based on the assumptions, values and orientations of the U.S. empire; to have professionals de-linked from the class struggle and connected with pro-imperial U.S. academics and foundation functionaries supporting the neo-liberal model.

As in the 1950s and 60s the Ford Foundation today selectively funds anti-leftist human rights groups which focus on attacking human rights violations of U.S. adversaries, and distancing themselves from anti-imperialist human rights organizations and leaders. The FF has developed a sophisticated strategy of funding human rights groups (HRGs) that appeal to Washington to change its policy while denouncing U.S. adversaries their "systematic" violations. The FF supports HRGs which equate massive state terror by the U.S. with individual excesses of anti-imperialist adversaries. The FF finances HRGs which do not participate in anti-globalization and anti-neoliberal mass actions and which defend the Ford Foundation as a legitimate and generous "non-governmental organization".


History and contemporary experience tells us a different story. At a time when government over-funding of cultural activities by Washington is suspect, the FF fulfills a very important role in projecting U.S. cultural policies as an apparently "private" non-political philanthropic organization. The ties between the top officials of the FF and the U.S. government are explicit and continuing. A review of recently funded projects reveals that the FF has never funded any major project that contravenes U.S. policy.

In the current period of a major U.S. military-political offensive, Washington has posed the issue as "terrorism or democracy," just as during the Cold War it posed the question as "Communism or Democracy." In both instances the Empire recruited and funded "front organizations, intellectuals and journalists to attack its anti-imperialist adversaries and neutralize its democratic critics. The Ford Foundation is well situated to replay its role as collaborator to cover for the New Cultural Cold War.

James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghampton University, New York, and author of: Globalization Unmasked: Imperialism in the 21st Century with Henry Veltmeyer (Zed Books, 2001) James Petras is a frequent CRG contributor. His web site in English is at: http://www.rebelion.org/petrasenglish.htm A superset list of his articles in Spanish is at: http://www.rebelion.org/petras.htm

Copyright James Petras 2001, For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .
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Re: The Ford Foundation and the CIA, by James Petras

Postby admin » Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:30 am

Celebrating Gloria Steinem
by Ford Foundation
DECEMBER 19, 2013

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In November, President Obama awarded the iconic feminist activist and writer Gloria Steinem with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the United States. Last night, friends, colleagues and compatriots gathered at foundation headquarters to celebrate Steinem’s profound achievements and lasting influence.

“This medal belongs to all of you. It is a medal for the movement,” Steinem told the crowd after an introduction by Ford Foundation President Darren Walker. “We are linked, not ranked....We’re on the cusp of something big, something that says we’re a circle, and not hierarchical.”

Steinem has been a leading figure in the women’s rights movement since the early 1970s, one of the most visible figures advocating for women’s ability to take control of and make decisions about their own lives. Her visionary leadership contributed to many of feminism’s triumphs, and helped build institutions that continue to advance freedom and justice for women.

“Very few people have had the staying power—and the adaptability—of Gloria Steinem,” said LaShawn Jefferson, Ford’s program officer for Protecting Women’s Rights. “She’s been able to show how women’s rights are applicable and relevant in all areas of life.”

For us at the Ford Foundation, Gloria Steinem is a continuing inspiration—and a valued partner in the ongoing work of social change.
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Re: The Ford Foundation and the CIA, by James Petras

Postby admin » Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:31 am

Gloria Steinem Discussing Her Time in the CIA

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Re: The Ford Foundation and the CIA, by James Petras

Postby admin » Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:31 am

Melvin J. Lasky
by Wikipedia
2/3/16

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Melvin Jonah Lasky
Born: January 15, 1920, New York, NY, USA
Died: May 19, 2004, Berlin, Germany
Nationality: Polish-American
Alma mater: University of Michigan
Occupation: editor, journalist, author
Religion: Jewish
Spouse(s): Brigitte (Newiger) Lasky, Helga Hegewisch
Children: Vivienne Lasky, Oliver Lasky


Melvin Jonah Lasky (15 January 1920 – 19 May 2004) was an American journalist, intellectual, and member of the anti-Communist left. He founded the German journal Der Monat in 1948 and edited Encounter, the journal of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, a CIA front organization, from 1958 to 1991.

For decades, these publications received funding from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).Lasky did admit to knowing about the CIA's role; however, rumors that he was actually a CIA agent were never substantiated.[1] In 1947, Lasky wrote an influential document that made the case for a cultural Cold War intended to win over European intellectuals.

He was the older brother of Floria Lasky, an influential entertainment lawyer, and Joyce Lasky Reed, the President and founder of the Fabergé Arts Foundation and former Director of European Affairs at the American Enterprise Institute.

Early life and World War II

Lasky was born in The Bronx of New York City and schooled at City College of New York. He continued his education at University of Michigan and Columbia University.[2] He briefly considered himself a Trotskyist but at 22 moved away from communism entirely because of disgust with Stalin.[3] He began working for the New Leader in New York and was editor from 1942–1943.[4] Lasky wrote an editorial during this time criticizing the Allies for failing to address The Holocaust directly in their World War II efforts.[5]

He served in World War II as a combat historian for the 7th Army. Lasky remained in Germany after the war, making his home in Berlin, where he worked for American military governor Lucius D. Clay. During this time, Lasky was an outspoken critic of the United States' earlier reluctance to intervene to stop the genocide of European Jews.

Germany and Der Monat

After Lasky left the Army, he became a German correspondent for the New Leader and for the Partisan Review.[6] In 1947, Lasky sent a message to General Lucius D. Clay which became known as "The Melvin Lasky Proposal". In this document, Lasky argued for a more aggressive campaign of cultural and psychological operations to combat the Soviet Union in the Cold War.[2] It reads:

The time-honored U.S. formula of 'shed light and the people will find their own way' exaggerated the possibilities in Germany (and in Europe) for an easy conversion . . . It would be foolish to expect to wean a primitive savage away from his conviction in mysterious jungle-herbs simply by the dissemination of modern scientific and medical information . . . We have not succeeded in combatting the variety of factors—political, psychological, cultural—which work against U.S. foreign policy, and in particular against the success of the Marshall Plan in Europe.[7]


Soon after, Lasky received Marshall Plan funding to create the German-language journal Der Monat ("The Month"), airlifted into Berlin during the 1948 Soviet blockade. Its purpose was to support U.S. foreign policy and win over German intellectuals views that were socially progressive but anti-communist.[8] Der Monat continued as a prominent highbrow Germanophone journal, incorporating essays and articles from many Western European and North America intellectuals as well as dissidents from the Eastern Bloc. Contributors included Theodor Adorno, Hannah Arendt, Franz Borkenau, Thomas Mann, Arthur Koestler, Raymond Aron, Ignazio Silone, Heinrich Böll, Hans Sahl, Max Frisch, T. S. Eliot, Saul Bellow, Milovan Djilas, Richard Löwenthal, Peter de Mendelssohn, Hilde Spiel, Hermann Kesten. The journal also received funding from the Ford Foundation and the CIA.[9]

Lasky helped to found the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) at a 1950 conference he organized in West Berlin. Frank Wisner, of the CIA's Office of Policy Coordination, criticized Lasky for making American sponsorship of the conference too obvious. [10] Although temporarily expelled from the CCF by Wisner, Lasky was included again in 1953 as a member of the "Tri-Magazine Editorial Committee", which established policies and topics for Der Monat, Preuves, and Encounter.[11] As part of this committee, Lasky argued that these magazines must express some dissent against the American government or risk being perceived as propaganda.[12]

Der Monat was sold to Die Zeit and temporarily ceased publication in 1971. From 1978 until 1987, Der Monat (now titled Der Monat (Neue Folge) or simply Der Monat (N. F.)) re-surfaced as a Die Zeit quarterly without Lasky's involvement as editor-in-chief, but Lasky remained publisher along with his German wife Helga Hegewisch, while the journal's new editor-in-chief was SPD politician and later German Minister of Culture Michael Naumann. A new economy & marketing publication called Der Monat appearing in Germany since 1997 has nothing to do with the former journal's socio-political concept and design.

Encounter

In the Anglosphere, Lasky was best known for his role as Editor-in-Chief of Encounter. He succeeded Irving Kristol, the original editor and founder, in 1958 and helped turn the young magazine into one of the most highly regarded periodicals in Europe. Lasky steered Encounter to represent the point of view of the anti-Communist, anti-Totalitarian Left, and reportedly favored the journal's political side over its more purely cultural endeavors.[13]

The time-honored U.S. formula of 'shed light and the people will find their own way' exaggerated the possibilities in Germany (and in Europe) for an easy conversion . . . It would be foolish to expect to wean a primitive savage away from his conviction in mysterious jungle-herbs simply by the dissemination of modern scientific and medical information . . . We have not succeeded in combatting the variety of factors—political, psychological, cultural—which work against U.S. foreign policy, and in particular against the success of the Marshall Plan in Europe.[7]


He remained at Encounter until the magazine folded in 1991.

Both Encounter and Der Monat had long received funding from the CIA-sponsored Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF). [size=120][b]Lasky denied knowledge of CIA funding in a 1966 letter (written jointly with Irving Kristol and Stephen Spender) to the New York Times.[14] However, Lasky confessed privately to Frank Kermode (recruited as editor in 1965) that he had known about CIA funding for some years.[15] In 1967, Ramparts and other publications revealed the CIA's relationship to the CCF and its publications, embarrassing many who were involved.[16]

Other activities and private life

Lasky was the author of many books including Utopia and Revolution, Voices in the Revolution, On the Barricades and Off, and The Language of Journalism.



He was married twice, to Brigitte Lasky (née Newiger) with whom he had two children, Vivienne Lasky and Oliver Lasky, and to German novelist Helga Hegewisch.

Lasky died in May 2004 of a heart ailment. In an obituary in the Guardian from Andrew Roth, he was described as "a very vocal poseur" in 1930s New York and at a later encounter, "he had grown thinner on top and thicker about the middle, but what never altered was his sardonic half-sneer and nasal whine. "[4] A portion of Lasky's unpublished memoirs appears in News from the Republic of Letters, as well as in The Berlin Journal, Spring, 2007.

The Lasky Center for Transatlantic Studies

In October 2010, the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich opened the Lasky Center for Transatlantic Studies, a research center associated with the university's American Studies department. The Lasky Center is home to Lasky's personal library and papers. Its director is Christof Mauch.[17]

Published Works

• 1988. The Use and Abuse of Sovietology. Transaction Publishers.
• 1988. On the Barricades, and Off. Transaction Publishers.
• 2000. The Language of Journalism: Newspaper Culture. Transaction Publishers.
• 2004. Utopia and Revolution: On the Origins of a Metaphor. Transaction Publishers.
• 2005. European Notebooks: New Societies and Old Politics, 1954-1985. Transaction Publishers.
• 2006. Voices in a Revolution: The Collapse of East German Communism. Transaction Publishers.
• 2007. Media Warfare: The Americanization of Language. Transaction Publishers.
• 2014. Profanity, Obscenity and the Media, Volume Two. Transaction Publishers.

See also

• Der Monat (German Wikipedia)
• Encounter (magazine)
• Congress for Cultural Freedom

Bibliography

• Saunders, Francis Stonor, Who Paid the Piper?: CIA and the Cultural Cold War, 1999, Granta, ISBN 1-86207-029-6 (USA: The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters, 2000, The New Press, ISBN 1-56584-596-X).
External links[edit]
• Melvin J. Lasky, 84; Outspoken Anti-Communist, Washington Post, May 27, 2004
• Cold Warrior: Saying goodbye to Melvin J. Lasky, Reason Online, June 2, 2004
• Letters They Wouldn't Publish, The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, January 23, 2006
• A Brief Encounter: Melvin Lasky is a legend. Better yet, he dislikes Maureen Dowd., Wall Street Journal, April 6, 2001
• Republic of Letters

References

1. Saunders, Cultural Cold War (1999), p. 44. "And what of Melvin Lasky? Was he not an ideal candidate to join the swelling ranks of the CIA? It would later be alleged that Lasky had become an agent. This he consistently denied. Like Thaxter in [Saul Bellow's novel] Humboldt's Gift, the rumour 'greatly added to his mysteriousness.' His constant presence at the forefront of the CIA's cultural Cold War for the next two decades would not go unnoticed."
2. Lasky, Melvin (21 May 2004). "Melvin Lasky". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
3. Botsford, Keith (Fall–Winter 2004). "François Bondy & Melvin J. Lasky". Republic of Letters (14/15). Retrieved 17 September2012.
4. Roth, Andrew (21 May 2004). "Melvin Lasky: Cold warrior who edited the CIA-funded Encounter magazine". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
5. Medoff, Rachel (23 January 2006). "Letters They Wouldn't Publish". New York Times. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
6. Saunders, Cultural Cold War (1999), p. 28.
7. quoted in: Saunders, Cultural Cold War (1999), p. 29.
8. Saunders, Cultural Cold War (1999), p. 30. "The result was Der Monat, a monthly magazine designed to construct an ideological bridge between German and American intellectuals and, as explicitly set forth by Lasky, to ease the passage of American foreign policy interests by supporting 'the general objectives of U.S. policy in Germany and Europe. Set up with General Clay's backing on 1 October 1948, under Lasky's editorship, it was printed initially into Munich and airlifted into Berlin aboard the allied cargo planes on which the city depended during the blockade."
9. Saunders, Cultural Cold War (1999), p. 30. "Across the years,Der Monat was financed through 'confidential funds' of the Marshall Plan, then from the coffers of the Central Intelligence Agency, then with Ford Foundation money, and then again with CIA dollars. For its financing alone, the magazine was absolutely a product—and an exemplar of—American Cold War strategies in the cultural field."
10. Saunders, Cultural Cold War (1999), p. 85. "Wisner returned to the problem of Melvin Lasky, whose peacock presence throughout the Berlin conference had so infuriated him. His earlier command to have Lasky removed from centre-stage having been so blatantly ignored, he wrote an angry internal memo, 'Berlin Congress for Cultural Freedom: Activities of Melvin Lasky,' stating that Lasky's visibility was 'a major blunder and was recognized as such by our best friends in the State Department . . .'"
11. Saunders, Cultural Cold War (1999), p. 217."
12. Saunders, Cultural Cold War (1999), p. 218"
13. Bagnall, Nicholas (17 March 2003). "Nil desperandum: Articles of Faith: the story of British intellectual journalism". New Statesman. Retrieved 17 September 2012. . . . nor the deliberate philistinism of Encounter's editor Melvin Lasky, whom Berry reports as having described Stephen Spender's bookish part in that magazine as 'Elizabeth Bowen and all that crap'.
14. Saunders, Cultural Cold War (1999), p. 378. "Spender added his signature to that of Kristol and Lasky in a letter to the New York Times, dated 10 May 1966, which stated: 'We know of no "indirect" benefactions. . . we are our own masters and part of nobody's propaganda,' and defended the 'independent record of the Congress for Cultural Freedom in defending writers and artists in both East and West against misdemeanors of all governments including that of the US."
15. Saunders, Cultural Cold War (1999), p. 384. "This was the moment of Lasky's soi-disant confession: he admitted to Kermode that he had known of CIA support for some years now, but that he could not possibly say this publicly."
16. Stern, Sol (Winter 2010). "The Ramparts I Watched". City Journal. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
17. "Lsky Center for Transatlantic Studies". LMU Munich. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
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Re: The Ford Foundation and the CIA, by James Petras

Postby admin » Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:31 am

Who Stole Feminism?
by Wikipedia
2/3/16

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Image
Cover of the first edition
Author: Christina Hoff Sommers
Country: United States
Language: English
Subject: Feminism
Published: June 3, 1994 (Simon & Schuster)
Media type: Print (hardcover and paperback)
Pages: 320
ISBN: 978-0684801568


Who Stole Feminism? How Women Have Betrayed Women is a 1994 book by Christina Hoff Sommers, a writer who was at that time a philosophy professor at Clark University. It received wide attention for its attack on American feminism, and it was given highly polarized reviews divided between conservative and liberal commentators.[1]

Sommers's book popularized the idea that there is a split within American feminism between what she called "equity feminism" and "gender feminism". Sommers contends that equity feminists seek equal legal rights for women and men, while gender feminists seek to counteract historical inequalities based on gender. Some feminist scholars responded that there was no such split in feminism, and that Sommers was promoting the social viewpoint of victim blaming. Some reviewers praised the book, while others claimed that Sommers' research, facts, and assumptions were flawed.

Summary

Sommers argues that, "American feminism is currently dominated by a group of women who seek to persuade the public that American women are not the free creatures we think we are". Sommers uses the term "gender feminism" to refer to the ideology of feminists who believe that "our society is best described as a patriarchy, a 'male hegemony,' a 'sex/gender system' in which the dominant gender works to keep women cowering and submissive." Sommers criticizes feminist authors such as Gloria Steinem and Naomi Wolf, writing that in The Beauty Myth (1990), Wolf falsely claims that 150,000 women die of anorexia each year. According to Sommers, while "most experts are reluctant to give exact figures", the actual figure is likely to be somewhere between 100 and 400 deaths per year. She writes that many feminist theorists and researchers have dealt with male critics by calling them "sexist" or "reactionary", and female critics by calling them "traitors" or "collaborators", and that such tactics have "alienated and silenced women and men alike." Sommers identifies with what she calls "equity feminism", based on belief in fair treatment for everyone.[2]

In Sommers' view, gender feminism began to develop in the middle of the 1960s, partly as a result of the influence of thinkers such asKarl Marx, Jean-Paul Sartre, Herbert Marcuse, and Frantz Fanon. She points to Michel Foucault as an influence on Wolf and Susan Faludi. Discussing the influence of feminists on college campuses, Sommers argues that in many cases feminist "consciousness-raisers are driving out the scholars". She adds that, "The gender feminists have proved very adroit in getting financial support from governmental and private sources" and "hold the keys to many bureaucratic fiefdoms, research centers, women's studies programs, tenure committees, and para-academic organizations. It is now virtually impossible to be appointed to high administrative office in any university system without having passed muster with the gender feminist".[3]

Writers Sommers expresses a favorable view of include philosopher Janet Radcliffe Richards, author of The Sceptical Feminist(1980), Katie Roiphe, author of The Morning After (1993), whom Sommers defends against criticism from Katha Pollitt, and literary critic Camille Paglia. Sommers argues that Paglia's Sexual Personae (1990) should have led to her being "acknowledged as an outstanding woman scholar even by those who take strong exception to her unfashionable views", and criticizes the Women's Review of Books for calling the book a work of "crackpot extremism" and feminist professors at Connecticut College for comparing it to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf (1925).[4]

Reception

Early reviews and responses

Who Stole Feminism? was first reviewed in Kirkus Reviews in April 1994, two months prior to publication. The staff at Kirkus said that Sommers' book highlighted instances of "shoddy" research in feminist studies but failed to tell the reader about similar poor quality research in other fields. Sommers was said to be confused about categories of feminism, to have invented a sort of "gender feminism" to fit her purpose of promoting her brand of liberal feminism, and that "ironically, she weaves a theory of conspiracy equal in force to those she seeks to debunk." Kirkus said that Sommers presumed to speak for the majority of feminists "without providing persuasive evidence that most women are liberal feminists." Sommers was praised for her valid challenges to feminist ideology, but her assumptions were described as flawed.[5]

A book review published in June 1994 by Nina Auerbach in The New York Times Book Review was widely seen.[6] Auerbach, a scholar of Victorian literature, was highly critical of Sommers, finding fault with her facts and logic; Auerbach said that the John M. Olin Foundation which paid for the book's publication should have found "a less muddled writer" for the task. Sommers responded to the criticism by saying that the Times should not have assigned Auerbach to the review, since as an organizer of a feminist event portrayed negatively in the book, she was sure to be prejudiced against the ideas in the book. Conservatives such as Jim Sleeper,Howard Kurtz and Rush Limbaugh defended Sommers; Limbaugh said that the Times was attempting to "kill this book".[7]

Editor Deirdre English writing in The Washington Post Book World was appreciative of the investigative aspect of Sommers' work but she questioned the polarized depiction of feminism. Calling Sommers a "well-published conservative [who] is itching for a fight", she said the book would likely provoke debate "as well as some retractions". English said of the book that "the root question is whether women want equality with men as they are, in the world men have shaped, or if women seek change in that world".[8]

Linda Hirshman was critical of facts found in the book; writing in the Los Angeles Times, Hirshman said that Sommers made mistakes in regard to her passages about the historic practice of a husband beating his wife to maintain discipline; Hirshman said that Sommers pointedly left out a case wherein the husband was not convicted.[9] Laura Flanders reviewed the book negatively in Extra!, published by progressive media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). Flanders said that Sommers made the same mistakes she accused feminists of making, such that Sommers' book contained "unsubstantiated charges", cites to "advocacy research", and statistical errors likely based on a misreading of the source material.[10]

The book was positively reviewed by Cathy Young who was an executive colleague of Sommers in the Women's Freedom Network. It was also highly praised in the National Review by Sommers' close friend Mary Lefkowitz.[7] Paglia called the book a "landmark study... which uses ingenious detective work to unmask the shocking fraud and propaganda of establishment feminism and the servility of American media and academe to Machiavellian feminist manipulation", adding that, "Sommers has done a great service for women and for feminism, whose fundamental principles she has clarified and strengthened."[11] Melanie Kirkpatrick, writing in The Wall Street Journal, gave the book high marks, saying that "Sommers simply lines up her facts and shoots one bullseye after another."[12]

John M. Ellis, a scholar of German literature, praised Sommers for challenging the "intellectual deterioration" that feminism has caused within humanities departments in the United States. He writes that Sommers' book, along with others by authors with similar views, was met with "bitter hostility" from campus feminists, and that when Rebecca Sinkler, the editor of the New York Times Book Review, gave the book to her friend and former teacher Auerbach to review, the result was a "predictable trashing." According to Ellis, "the malice and dishonesty of Auerbach's review was so obvious...that it provoked not just a storm of protest but a response almost without precedent." According to Ellis, a series of newspapers, including the New York Daily News and The Washington Post, commented on what they saw as unethical behavior by Sinkler and Auerbach.[13]

Feminist columnist Katha Pollitt, however, thought Auerbach's review was too polite, that it failed to give Sommers' book "the pasting it deserved".[7]

Gay rights activist John Lauritsen, writing in A Freethinker's Primer of Male Love, agrees with Sommers that women are the main victims of "gender feminists".[14]

Sommers' claims regarding the legal permissiveness of wife beating have been criticized as inaccurate. In arguing that British law since the 1700s and American law since before the Revolution prohibits wife beating, Sommers quotes English legal historian William Blackstone as saying that the "husband was prohibited from using any violence to his wife..."[15] Critiquing the first edition of the book, Hirshman and Flanders separately argue that Sommers left out the other half of Blackstone's sentence that says in Latin "other than that which lawfully and reasonably belongs to the husband for the due government and correction of his wife". Flanders said that Blackstone's "complete text says the exact opposite of Sommers' partial quotation".[9] Sommers wrote a rebuttal column a week after Hirshman's Los Angeles Times piece stating that Blackstone's quotation had been misinterpreted, and had only been citing an outdated law since superseded.[16]

In the first edition of Who Stole Feminism?, Sommers wrote about how a figure of 40% increase of domestic violence incidents had been reportedly associated with the annual Super Bowl game. Sommers found that the figure was not based on any study. Sociologist Rhonda Hammer of University of California, Los Angeles, writes that Sommers, despite her debunking of the 40% figure, went too far in claiming that "no study shows that Super Bowl Sunday is in any way different from other days in the amount of domestic violence". Hammer said that Sommers ignored a variety of studies that showed increased domestic violence during the Super Bowl.[17] Writing on the same Super Bowl issue, criminologist Samuel Walker Kiewit was impressed by Sommers' debunking of the 40% statistic but he said she ignored the underlying seriousness of the domestic violence problem.[18]

Later reviews and analysis

Writing a decade after the publication of Sommers' book, Professor Anne-Marie Kinahan of Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada places the book in the context of a wider antifeminist backlash was framed by Sommers and two contemporary publications: The New Victorians by René Denfeld and The Morning After by Katie Roiphe. Kinahan views these three books as signalling a collective "fear of the perceived radicalism of feminism on university campuses", which is blamed by the three authors on the rise of queer theory and the growing power of lesbians and blacks in academia. Kinahan says that Sommers constructs in her book "a second type of feminism" called gender feminism which is supposedly a threat to traditional value systems; this demonstrates to Kinahan that Sommers is promoting a white, heterosexual and middle class value system, and that her book is advocating the continuation of "traditional hierarchies of morality, religion, and the nuclear family", as well as the stasis of traditional hierarchy in universities. Kinahan accuses Sommers of failing to consider the importance of the development of critical thinking in university students. Kinahan points out the contradiction in Sommers book which asserts that students are resistant to radical feminism, yet feminist indoctrination of students poses a great danger.[19]

Political scientist Ronnee Schreiber of San Diego State University expressed how the conservative and antifeminist Independent Women's Forum continues to use the book to portray feminists as scheming falsifiers of statistical data.[20]

Professors Dale Bauer and Katherine Rhoades writing about campus antifeminism in 2014 explained how Sommers book was mistaken in its assumptions about the way students approach challenging ideas presented to them in university. Sommers devoted a chapter to a negative depiction of a "feminist classroom" where the values of the teacher overwhelmed the students. Sommers advocated a classroom objectively free of values. Bauer and Rhoades contradict Sommers, describing how university students "always bring their own assumptions and values to class" and that they expect an active and lively exchange of ideas with the teacher and the other students. Bauer and Rhoades thought that the book's "most serious conceptual flaw" was the failure by Sommers to account for why women in society "have not always been treated fairly". Bauer and Rhoades said that they agreed with the assessment that Sommers wrote her book primarily to sell many copies, but that it would be a mistake to underestimate the threat that her book represented in its attempt to redefine feminism.[21]

References

1. Ehrenreich, Barbara (August 1, 1994). "A Feminist on the Outs".Time 144: 61.
2. Sommers, Christina Hoff (1995). Who Stole Feminism? How Women Have Betrayed Women. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 11, 12, 16, 18. ISBN 0-684-80156-6.
3. Sommers, Christina Hoff (1995). Who Stole Feminism? How Women Have Betrayed Women. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 33, 202, 229, 232, 273. ISBN 0-684-80156-6.
4. Sommers, Christina Hoff (1995). Who Stole Feminism? How Women Have Betrayed Women. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 27, 133, 214, 278. ISBN 0-684-80156-6.
5. "Who Stole Feminism? How Women Have Betrayed Women, by Christina Hoff Sommers". Kirkus Reviews (David LeBreton). April 15, 1994. Review posted online May 20, 2010.
6. Auerbach, Nina (June 12, 1994). "Sisterhood Is Fractious". New York Times Book Review.
7. Pollitt, Katha (March 28, 2002). "Adventures in Book Reviewing". The Nation. Print version published April 15, 2002.
8. English, Deirdre (July 17, 1994). "Their Own Worst Enemies".The Washington Post Book World 24 (29). pp. 1, 11.
9. Hirshman, Linda (July 31, 1994). "Scholars in the Service of Politics: Those who would deny men's abuse of women twist statistics and skip the research". Los Angeles Times. RetrievedNovember 30, 2014.
10. Flanders, Laura (September 1, 1994). "The 'Stolen Feminism' Hoax: Anti-Feminist Attack Based on Error-Filled Anecdotes".Extra! (New York City: Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting).
11. Paglia 1995. p. xvi.
12. Melanie Kirkpatrick (1994-07-01). Wall Street Journal. Missing or empty |title= (help)
13. Ellis 1997. pp. 86-87, 218, 254-255.
14. John Lauritsen (1998). A Freethinker's Primer of Male Love. Pagan Press. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-943742-11-3.
15. Sommers, Who Stole Feminism, 1994, pp. 204–205.
16. Sommers, Christina (August 13, 1994). "Hirshman's Statistics". Los Angeles Times.
17. Hammer 2002. pp. 100–1.
18. Kiewit, Samuel Walker (1998). The Rights Revolution : Rights and Community in Modern America: Rights and Community in Modern America. Oxford University Press. p. 24.ISBN 9780195344714.
19. Kinahan, Anne-Marie (2004). "Women Who Run from the Wolves: Feminist Critique As Post-Feminism". In Althea Prince, Susan Silva-Wayne, Christian Vernon. Feminisms and Womanisms: A Women's Studies Reader. Canadian Scholars' Press. pp. 120–9. ISBN 9780889614116.
20. Schreiber, Ronnee (2012). Righting Feminism: Conservative Women and American Politics, with a New Epilogue. Oxford University Press. pp. 67–8. ISBN 9780199917020.
21. Bauer, Dale; Rhoades, Katherine (2014). "The Meanings and Metaphors of Student Resistance". In Veve Clark, Shirley Nelson Garner, Margaret Higonnet, Ketu Katrak. Anti-feminism in the Academy. Routledge. pp. 95–114. ISBN 9781317959076.

Bibliography

• Ellis, John M. (1997). Literature Lost: Social Agendas and the Corruption of the Humanities. New York: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-06920-0.
• Hammer, Rhonda (2002). Antifeminism and Family Terrorism: A Critical Feminist Perspective. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.ISBN 978-0-7425-1049-4.
• Lauritsen, John (1998). A Freethinker's Primer of Male Love. Provincetown: Pagan Press. ISBN 0-943742-11-0.
• Paglia, Camille (1995). Vamps and Tramps: New Essays. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-024828-5.
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