21st Century Statecraft: Meet The Private-Public Partnership Supporting #ArabSpring & #OccupyWallSt

#GlobalRevolution Brought To You By Big Government, Big Business & Big Labor

Nearly a year ago, when the Tunisian uprising sparked the beginning of what would later be dubbed the Arab Spring, many in the Western World were transfixed by the seemingly spontaneous popular uprisings. However, what many have viewed as the impromptu uprisings of the oppressed appear to be more the result of a quietly-conducted campaign called 21st Century Statecraft that was birthed and nurtured by the U.S. State Department, some of America’s most well-known corporations, the U.S. labor movement and the global Left.

Now, as the American Autumn unfolds, combined with the #OccupyTogether movement taking root in cities around the world, it appears that the engineers behind Arab Spring are deploying their 21st Century Statecraft model in the United States.

What is 21st Century Statecraft?

In short, 21st Century Statecraft is an initiative of the U.S. State Department to change the world through social media. Simply put, it is regime change through internet activism. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (referred to as “the godmother of 21st-century statecraft“) describes it on the State Department’s website:

“To meet these 21st century challenges, we need to use the tools, the new 21stcentury statecraft. …we find ourselves living at a moment in human history when we have the potential to engage in these new and innovative forms of diplomacy and to also use them to help individuals be empowered for their own development.” – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

The earliest indications are that America’s involvement in Arab Spring nearly three years ago, shortly after the election of Barack Obama when, according to the Telegraph, an Egyptian activist visited the U.S. for a conference called the Alliance of Youth Movements Summit in December 2008 and a plan was allegedly made to overthrow the government of Egypt.

The American Embassy in Cairo helped a young dissident attend a US-sponsored summit for activists in New York, while working to keep his identity secret from Egyptian state police. On his return to Cairo in December 2008, the activist told US diplomats that an alliance of opposition groups had drawn up a plan to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak and install a democratic government in 2011.

That first conference morphed into a standing organization called the Alliance of Youth Movements (its website Movements.org), a non-for-profit group that is designed to train and connect activists. On the Movements.org website, AYM describes its mission as:

Through the use of new technologies, grassroots activists have more potential than ever to make social change. Movements.org is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping these activists to build their capacity and make a greater impact on the world.

How do we do this?

We Identify digital activists and developments in digital activism through our website, blog, social media presence, and outreach trips;

We Connect digital activists to each other, to technology experts, and to more traditional members of civil society.

We Support activists by ensuring that the matches we make deliver necessary resources, training and mentorship; by facilitating face-to-face meetings among members of our networkand by providing a platform for these connections to ignite and evolve over time.

21st century activism produces unlikely leaders. Movements.org represents a new model of peer-to-peer training wherein these leader lends their experience in digital organizing, especially short term protests and campaigns, not just to each other but also to those whose expertise lies in long term capacity building.

Movements.org and its Corporate Sponsors. When Movements.org was first exposed in January, the list of its corporate sponsors included some of the world’s most well known old and new media companies–as well as the U.S. State Department and Columbia Law School

Note: While Twitter is not listed as a sponsor of AYM, its co-founder, Jack Dorsey, has attended at least one AYM summit. Additionally, since January, the State Department and Columbia Law School logos have been removed from the AYM website.

While AYM is not credited with planning the #OccupyWallSt and its related protests, the corporate-sponsored group is fully supportive of the protests, even going so far as to publish a Occupy Everywhere’ Movements.org How To Guides for Activists and Organizers #OWS #OccupyWallStreet.

In response to the widespread protests and demonstrations happening across the USA we’ve compiled a series of guides that will help organizers to sustain their movement nationally and locally and make the most of online and digital tools. Please share widely and get in touch with us if you have a resource to add or contribute!

The How-To Guide is, quite literally, a how-to guide for activists to learn to use several of the AYM sponsors’ products to build, grow and maintain a #occupyeverywhere movement (or revolution, as the case may be).

From the AYM website:

GETTING STARTED

MESSAGING AND BUILDING AWARENESS

STAYING ORGANIZED

KEEPING YOUR MOVEMENT STRONG OVERTIME

CITIZEN JOURNALISM

An example of one such sponsor’s product being put to use is the #OccupyTogether Meetup group. The AYM has even developed an “I’m getting arrested” app for android that “allows you to alert your lawyer, family, etc in one click.”

Movements.org’s blog is filled with pro-protest posts extolling the protesters, urging action, announcements of events, as well as introductions to new tools for activists.

In one section (How to Spark and Build a Social Movement), AYM encourages its viewers to “check out this list of 198 tactics for non-violent action from the Albert Einstein Institution.” The list of tactics covers a myriad of tactics from mock funerals, to protests, strikes, boycotts, “social disobedience,” as well as “haunting” and taunting officials.

Some lingering questions. There are numerous questions that surround AYM and its corporate sponsorships. One question is whether it is suitable for private corporations to help foster mass protests and revolutions.

It is one thing for the CIA or U.S. State Department to (covertly or overtly) foster regime change, help coordinate mass demonstrations and protests. However, unlike war matériel manufactured and sold to the government, or companies that are contracted by the government for specific tasks, products or services, in the case of AYM, companies are the actual sponsors of a group established to identify, connect and train activists in the use of the sponsors’ products to assist in the toppling of governments. AYM and its corporate sponsors are more than mere government contractors, they are actually helping the facilitation of the protests and regime change. Is that a line that should be crossed?

Moreover, since there have been well over a thousand deaths and countless injuries as a result of Arab Spring, do these corporations have a legal liability to the victims and their families? Do these victims or their families have grounds for a class-action suit against the corporate sponsors of Arab Spring?

It is one thing for companies to manufacture products that are misused in acts that may lead to injury or death. However, if companies sponsor a group that trains persons how to use their products in activities that increase the likelihood injury or death, do those companies have greater liability?

What about the businesses that have lost business due to protests, or have been looted or destroyed? Does AYM’s corporate sponsors have liability to those businesses?

Since the entry of corporations into openly sponsoring global uprisings is somewhat uncharted territory, if suits are filed, there are some interesting questions that might only be answered by the courts.

Related:

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“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

Cross-posted at LaborUnionReport.com

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