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The Problem with Philanthropy | Public Books
"In her richly told historical analysis, Kohl-Arenas interrogates the longstanding tension between philanthropic funders and their grantees: “Can the surplus of capitalist exploitation be used to aid those on whose backs this surplus is generated?” Considering the Central Valley as a test case, one would have to assume the answer is no. Farmworkers continue to face substandard housing, food insecurity, dangerous working conditions, underemployment and overwork, lack of health care, endemic racism, and the threat of deportation. While the lack of “outcomes” from philanthropic investments suggest a simple systems failure, Kohl-Arenas’s close examination of the negotiation of power over decades offers a deeper lesson, providing key insights into the nonprofit sector’s role in American society and beyond.

The “myth” Kohl-Arenas identifies is the belief that individuals and communities can change their material circumstances in the absence of any change to the systems and policies that govern those circumstances. In the US, our national narrative places the lion’s share of responsibility on individuals: responsibility for poverty on the poor, for mental illness on the mentally ill and their families, for incarceration on the incarcerated. As a wealthy, developed nation, we are a bewildering outlier in our refusal to take more communal responsibility for our brethren. When people do organize to care for one another, and in doing so discover that life struggles are linked to structural problems in need of policy solutions, they are often demoralized to find that funders shy away from any work that would promote policy change.

Historically, such structural change has proven hard to come by. In 1962, Cesar Chavez, fresh from a Community Service Organization training (funded by the Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation), moved to the Central Valley and began to organize farmworkers. When he joined Dolores Huerta in founding the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) later that year, they chose to support themselves only through member dues to avoid the unwanted political influence that external funds might carry. But by 1965 they were applying for such funding. Chavez and Huerta had realized that many other organizations were receiving large sums of money, and that they could not promote their vision for the NFWA without outside funding of their own. Their initial instinct to resist outside funding, however, proved justified: the philanthropies redirected work toward self-help projects that required communities to focus inward and away from the labor organizing that sought to address longstanding power imbalances.

By funding many organizations, philanthropies also created competition among indigenous leaders who had been working collaboratively to empower their communities; this caused conflict and distrust, driving Cesar Chavez out of his role as community leader and into the refuge of a nonprofit. Four decades later, philanthropists are funding a “win-win” model of community development, in which workers themselves bear the responsibility for the survival of the agricultural industry while the company abdicates all responsibility for the workers’ well-being. The philanthropist’s role has thus moved, over the course of four decades, from that of labor organizer to that of arbitration board trying to negotiate productivity increases for the good of all.

The subtitle of Kohl-Arenas’s work, How Philanthropy Fails to Alleviate Poverty, may undersell the point; much of the evidence presented in the narrative suggests that philanthropic intervention actually perpetuates poverty. This is primarily achieved by distracting social movement leaders from the task of systemic change. Leaders’ connection to funders takes the form of endless paperwork: grant applications, reports, logic models, data collection, and evaluation.

And then there is the deeper, more fundamentally problematic influence of the philanthropic relationship on social movement organizations. In the constant renegotiation of tactics and goals—away from structural change and toward individual and community change—there can develop, on both sides, a cognitive dissonance. The stated goals of the partnership can never be achieved through the agreed-upon work, leaving grant makers frustrated and grantees burnt out. Funders abandon one failed initiative for the next, churning organization after organization in their wake of largesse and disdain. This system makes liars of us all.

Considering alternative pathways, Kohl-Arenas singles out the Occupy movement and Black Lives Matter as historical standouts of effective organizing for social change in the past two decades. Emerging from two different traditions of social change—one with anarchist roots, the other originated by queer black feminists—these movements have no centralized leadership, no significant ongoing funding sources that require reporting, and no single spokesperson or list of demands. They both would likely subscribe to the Ella Baker motto, “Strong people don’t need strong leaders.” Her book prompts the question: can activists and philanthropists ever successfully collaborate?

This question has been complicated by recent hiring trends in philanthropy. Today, philanthropies are not the cloistered, family-run institutions they once were. No longer restricted to the grantee side of the equation, activists, people of color, and people from affected communities are being hired as program officers responsible for giving out the money that once funded their own innovative work. Beginning with innovators like the Soros Foundations, bolstered by some of the newer health conversion foundations, and epitomized by the 2013 hire of prominent philanthropy recipient Darren Walker to head the Ford Foundation, philanthropy is experiencing its own revolution.

This trend muddies the waters. Who will be setting the agenda for the next generation? Will it be traditional philanthropists, with this ever-growing cadre of program officers and board members? Or economically disenfranchised communities? Written out, the question sounds rather preposterous: a David-and-Goliath battle for the ages, in which Goliath is played by a sea of people looking, with each passing day, more and more like David.

I feel a generational kinship with Erica Kohl-Arenas. She beautifully articulates the promise of equality that seemed woven into the social contract for those of us born to parents of the ’60s, raised as we were to believe that social change was attainable in our lifetime. By the time we emerged as young adults, that childhood dream had faded, replaced by the stark realities of rising economic inequality, exploding incarceration rates, and persistent structural racism and sexism.

The Self-Help Myth raises the gaze of poverty research to focus on the lived experience of the nonprofit sector. Her account is refreshingly accessible, in part because it is embedded in local examples rather than abstract theories. Intellectually honest, Kohl-Arenas doesn’t claim to have answers or provide a roadmap for the future—instead she offers readers a critical resource for thinking through the intractable problem of wealth."
philanthropicindustrialcomplex  philanthropy  charitableindustrialcomplex  charity  systemsthinking  systemicchange  change  poverty  ericakohl-arenas  occupywallstreet  ows  blacklivesmatter  socialchange 
15 days ago by robertogreco
Wrapping Up | Occupy Wall Street Library
This link recently saved by uniproject on February 12, 2014
ows  libraries  pop-up 
6 weeks ago by uninyc
[52] The Activist Collective You Need To Know About! - YouTube
"In the first part of this latest Redacted Tonight VIP, Lee Camp talks with author Alnoor, the Executive Director of The Rules. The Rules is a worldwide network of activists, artists, writers, farmers, peasants, students, workers, designers, hackers, spiritualists and dreamers. Inequality is no accident to this group, and they, through a variety of means and with a variety of people attempt to fix it are using unique organizing tactics in these day of increased political awareness. Lee Camp hilariously reports on the latest analysis by Chris Hedges in the second half of Redacted Tonight VIP. The system has revealed its flaws, but the elite are no longer trying to save it but just obsessed with saving themselves. How can we be cutting the fat when the current administration is loading up on expensive useless projects? This and more on Redacted Tonight VIP."
therules  leecamp  alnoorladha  activism  economics  latecapitalism  postcapitalism  capitalism  worldbank  neoliberalism  elitism  growth  environment  standingrock  socialjustice  resistance  ows  occupywallstreet  onepartyplanet  corporations  corporatism 
9 weeks ago by robertogreco
Video calls for Signal out of beta - @whispersystems
We recently released encrypted video calling as an opt-in beta. We've spent the past month collecting feedback and addressing the issues that the Signal community found in order to get it production ready. Today's Signal release for Android and iOS enables support for end-to-end encrypted video calls by default, which also greatly enhances the quality of Signal voice calls as well. - OTF-supported Open Whisper Systems. Download the latest Signal update for iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/signal-private-messenger/id874139669 and Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.thoughtcrime.securesms
otf  ows  openwhispersystems  signal  encryption  privacy  video 
10 weeks ago by dmcdev
Open Whisper Systems >> Blog >> Video calls for Signal now in public beta
[Yesterday]'s Signal release for Android and iOS includes beta support for video calls. This represents an entirely new calling infrastructure for Signal, and should increase voice call quality as well. - Open Whisper Systems
otf  signal  openwhispersystems  ows 
february 2017 by dmcdev
Encryption App ‘Signal’ Fights Censorship With a Clever Workaround
[Previously OTF-supported] <strong>Open Whisper Systems</strong>, which created and maintains Signal, announced that it’s added a feature to its Android app that will allow it to sidestep censorship in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, where it was blocked just days ago. Android users can simply update the app to gain unfettered access to the encryption tool, according to Open Whisper Systems founder Moxie Marlinspike, and an iOS version of the update is coming soon. - Andy Greenberg, Wired
otf  signal  ows  openwhispersystems  encryption  privacy  security  egypt  uae  messaging 
december 2016 by dmcdev
Safety number updates - @whispersystems
Safety numbers allow Signal users to verify the privacy of their communication with a contact, either by comparing a number or by scanning a single QR code. We recently introduced this new design as an update to Signal's previous UX, which we felt was no longer adequate for what people had come to expect from Signal. Let's look at the safety numbers design in more detail, then go over what's new in this release. - Open Whisper Systems
otf  ows  openwhispersystems  signal  encryption  privacy  security  messaging  from twitter_favs
november 2016 by dmcdev
WhatsApp Adds​ ​2-Step Verification Passcode — Enable this Security Feature
WhatsApp has now introduced Two-Step Verification (2SV) password feature for its Beta version for Android, which will help you lock down the WhatsApp set-up mechanism. - Swati Khandelwal, The Hacker News
otf  whatsapp  2fa  privacy  security  encryption  ows  openwhispersystems  awareness 
november 2016 by dmcdev
Follow teenager Xiuhtezcatl Martinez: Indigenous Founder of Earth Guardians.
OWS  GoGreen  NoDAPL  from twitter_favs
november 2016 by afunk
Signal’s protocol gets glowing reviews in first security audit - @HowellONeill
"Signal is widely considered the gold standard of secure encrypted messaging apps but, until today, it hasn’t been subject to a fine-toothed audit. But the technology passed a major test Tuesday after an international team of security researchers gave the messaging platform’s security glowing reviews in its first ever formal security audit." - Patrick O'Neill, CyberScoop. The OTF-funded and Open Whisper Systems-built Signal protocol has been adopted by WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Google Allo, among others.
otf  signal  ows  encryption  privacy  messaging  security  audit 
november 2016 by dmcdev
A Formal Security Analysis of the Signal Messaging Protocol #research
Through the International Association for Cryptologic Research, researchers "...conduct the first security analysis of Signal’s Key Agreement and Double Ratchet as a multi-stage key exchange protocol," finding "...no major flaws in the design." The OTF-funded and Open Whisper Systems-built Signal protocol has been adopted by WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Google Allo, among others. See the paper in pdf form at the link above, or a write-up on its findings from The Register here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/11/08/trust_it_results_of_signals_first_formal_crypto_analysis_are_in/
otf  signal  ows  encryption  research  privacy  security  messaging 
november 2016 by dmcdev
My Second Thoughts About Universal Basic Income
Why I'm now afraid that it could do more harm than good.
economy  ows  opinion 
october 2016 by sfriedenberg

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