The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is setting out to counter the subversive influence of Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam, and other nongovernmental organizations that are pursuing global agendas that undermine the power of both the U.S. government and U.S. corporations. To that end, AEI recently sponsored a day-long conference, “Nongovernmental Organizations: The Growing Power of the Unelected Few.”According to AEI:NGOs have created their own rules and regulations and demanded that governments and corporations abide by those rules. … Politicians and corporate leaders are often forced to respond to the NGO media machine, and the resources of taxpayers and shareholders are used in support of ends they did not sanction.George Washington University political scientist Jarol Manheim told conference participants NGOs are pursuing “a new and pervasive form of conflict” against corporations that he terms a “Biz-war,” which also happens to be the title of his forthcoming book. Manheim is particularly upset at NGOs that sponsor shareholder resolutions that ask corporations to respect human rights and the environment. “Big shareholders are getting embarrassed to be associated with some companies,” said Manheim.By opposing the sale of genetically modified corn to Africa and the use of DDT to fight malaria, NGOs are advancing an “eco-imperialism” that demonstrates a “callous disregard for human life,” said Roger Bate of Africa Fighting Malaria. “NGOs definitely provide benefits in the short run, the in the long run, their influence is almost always malign.”To further combat NGOs and their “global governance agenda” AEI, has launched www.ngowatch.org.
Joel Bleifuss, a former director of the Peace Studies Program at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is the editor & publisher of In These Times, where he has worked since October 1986.