NGOs or the Class Struggle

les années sans lumiere
Originally uploaded by izarbeltza.
So, if this doesn't give you an idea of the random stuff that I spend my time thinking about I don't know what will.

I came across an interesting perspective regarding the role of NGOs as a sort of on the ground spokesperson for neo-liberalism. I'm not sure what I think about it yet, but I've been spending some time pondering it.

A lot of people have been arguing for a long time about the reasons that the US has never had a Marxist movement. My personal opinion is that it is because of one of the greatest of America's achievements: the democritization of land ownership. According to good 'ole Senator McCarthy, "No man who owns a home can be a communist." I think that's a fairly correct statement. Probably one of the only smart things the man ever said.

To opposite side of that theory though, is that lack of ability to own land (as the greatest measure of capital) is the driving factor behind Marxist ideals and the reason that Marxist and Maoist organizations still exist (and probably should) in the developing world.

The quote I came across is from an activist from Mumbai named P.K. Das regarding NGOs:

Their constant effort is to subvert, dis-inform and de-idealize people so as keep them away from class struggles. They adopt and propagate the practice of begging favours on sympathetic and humane grounds rather than making the oppressed conscious of their rights. As a matter of fact these agencies and organizations systematically intervene to oppose the agitational path people take to win their demands. Their effort is constantly to divert people's attention from the larger political evils of imperialism to merely local issues and so confuse people in differentiating enemies from friends."

So basically, NGOs play the role for the neo-liberal order that the church played for the land-holding class of feudalist society. My thoughts are that even if they are playing this role now, it doesn't mean it's the role that they have to play. The church eventually played a role in class struggle in Latin America (Liberation Theology) for example.



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