A Hard Look At the Non-Profit Behind Glenn Greenwald’s New Publication

Unfortunately this will go behind a paywall in about 15 hours, read it while you can (It now seems to be permanently accessible):

Mark Ames and Yasha Levine Yasha Levine write:

The world knows very little about the political motivations of Pierre Omidyar, the eBay billionaire who is founding (and funding) a quarter-billion-dollar journalism venture with Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill. What we do know is this: Pierre Omidyar is a very special kind of technology billionaire.

We know this because America’s sharpest journalism critics have told us.

In a piece headlined “The Extraordinary Promise of the New Greenwald-Omidyar Venture”, The Columbia Journalism Review gushed over the announcement of Omidyar’s project. And just in case their point wasn’t clear, they added the amazing subhead, “Adversarial muckrakers + civic-minded billionaire = a whole new world.

The authors then launch into an examination of what the Omidyar Network has funded, which includes:

-SKS Microfinance, the microlending company that terrorized its debtors into committing suicide in India
-DonorsChoose, a fundraising site for public schools that was aligned with the makers of the anti-teacher union propaganda film Waiting for Superman
-Hernando de Soto, the “Hayek of Latin America” who was once drug czar for Alberto Fujimori, the former president of Peru now in prison for crimes against humanity.

Not mentioned is Change.org, the fake non-profit accused of exploiting people’s anger under the guise of being a non-profit.

They conclude:

And the reason that matters, of course, is because Pierre Omidyar’s dystopian vision is merging with Glenn Greenwald’s and Laura Poitras’ monopoly on the crown jewels of the National Security Agency — the world’s secrets, our secrets — and using the value of those secrets as the capital for what’s being billed as an entirely new, idealistic media project, an idealism that the CJR and others promise will not shy away from taking on power.

The question, however, is what defines power to a neoliberal mind? We’re going to take a wild guess here and say: The State.

So brace yourself, you’re about to get something you’ve never seen before: billionaire-backed journalism taking on the power of the state. How radical is that?

Full Story: NSFW: The Extraordinary Pierre Omidyar (Don’t worry, this site actually is safe for work)

It reminds me of this bit from Mark Fisher:

The autonomist critique of authoritarianism and Stalinist bureaucracy is something that we shouldn’t forget. Any credible leftist politics now has to take the problem of anti-authoritarianism very seriously. At the same time, however, we have to recognise that the situation is very different from the context in which autonomist ideas first emerged in the 1960s and 1970s. Then, the Communist Party and the trade unions were very powerful; Stalinism was still an oppressive presence.

None of these things are true today. Whatever the merits of autonomist anti-statism, it has to be acknowledged that anti-statism is now hegemonic. There’s a congruence between the language of neo-anarchism and David Cameron’s Big Society, which is not to say that the discourses are identical. But one problem with anti-statism — particularly when coupled with localism, as it often is — is that it makes any defence of institutions like the NHS very difficult. The drive of the original autonomists was to escape existing institutions, whereas I think our aim today should be to produce new institutions.

1 Comment

  1. Second article you cited great value-add to the NSFWCorp article.

    Though I think the term authoritarian is best applied to authoritarian followers on both the right AND left, all blindly following different neoliberal paths sold to different demographics.

    There is no single English-language word for “against any form of government that does not directly and immediately profit our movement’s donors.

    Also note that the .001% financing Libertarianism are also the people whose major sources of income are government contracts or money the government has helped them extract from the rest of us.

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