U.S. Conservatives Take Aim at NGOs

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Thu Jul 10 20:41:59 MDT 2003

>>The NGO political stance is often contradictory anyhow: critical of
imperialist policies on the one hand, and implementing or mitigating those
policies in a more "enlightened" way on the other. A lot of NGO's
in New Left social movements founded in the 1960s and 1970s<<

Dead right. In Indonesia under Suharto, it offered the left a way of doing
legal work, but it was and is also a way the activists were co-opted. After
all, they are responsible to the funding sources, not to the movement, and
they develop careers. There are those who refuse the funding for this
reason (but it's a high price to pay when you're dirt poor) -- and some on
the left who claim that NGO research is just intelligence for the
imperialists. The latter claim strikes me as unduly paranoid; essentially
it's a nationalist response which conflates western foreigners per se with
imperialism. The relationship is more diffuse -- but it's there all right.

It's also common for rank and file unionists to complain of NGO
interference in union affairs. But then again, the NGOs provided a starting
point and an institutional framework for getting the unions off the ground.
There is one case I know fairly well and I tend to think the NGO guy got a
bum rap.

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