The term ‘NGO’ is a misnomer

By Yves Engler

They’re called NGOs — non-governmental organizations — but the description is misleading at best, or an outright lie generated by intelligence agencies at worst.

In fact, almost all development NGOs receive most of their funding from government and in return follow government policies and priorities. While this was always true, it has become easier to see with Harper’s Conservative government, which lacks the cleverness and subtlety of the Liberals who at least funded some “oppositional” activity to allow NGOs a veneer of independence.

The example of the NGO called Alternatives illustrates these points well. This group, which has ties to the progressive community in Canada and Quebec, has done some useful work in Palestine and Latin America. But, at the end of 2009, the Canadian International Development Agency failed to renew about $2.4 million in funding the Montreal-based organization. After political pressure was brought to bear, Ottawa partly reversed course, giving Alternatives $800,000 over three years.

Alternatives’ campaign to force the Conservatives to renew at least some of its funding and CIDA’s response tell us a great deal about the ever more overt ties between international development NGOs and western military occupation. After the cuts were reported, the head of Alternatives, Michel Lambert, tried to win favour with Conservative decision makers by explicitly tying the group’s projects to Canadian military interventions. In an article in French for Le Journal Des Alternatives [1] in which he claimed Alternatives was “positive[ly] evaluated and audited” by CIDA, Lambert asked: “How come countries like Afghanistan or Haiti that are at the heart of Canadian [military] interventions [and where Alternatives operated] are no longer essential for the Canadian government?”

After CIDA renewed $800,000 in funding, Lambert claimed victory. But, the CIDA money was only for projects in Afghanistan, Iraq and Haiti — three countries under military occupation. (The agreement prohibited Alternatives from using the money to “engage” the public and it excluded programs in Palestine and Central America.) When western troops invaded, Alternatives was not active in any of these three countries, which raises the questions: Is Alternatives prepared to follow Canadian aid anywhere, even if it is designed to strengthen military occupation? What alternatives do even “leftwing” NGOs such as Alternatives have when they are dependent on government funding?

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Afghan Maoists: “Do not take part in the puppet regime’s presidential and local council elections!”

A World to Win News Service. Following are excerpts from a July leaflet by the Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan.

Dear people of our country!

As you know the second round of the puppet regime’s presidential election and local council elections will be held in late August.  The reactionary-imperialist show has already started. We call on all of you: Do not take part in the puppet regime’s presidential and the local council’s elections!

We issue this call because:

First of all: Many people believe that participation in this election will be even less than last time, and that only a very small minority of the population will vote. Our people have the right to react to the upcoming elections with indifference. They experienced the results of previous elections: more murdering bombardments, the deepening and spreading of the regime’s corruption, homelessness, unemployment, poverty and hunger among the toilers… Continue reading “Afghan Maoists: “Do not take part in the puppet regime’s presidential and local council elections!””

Afghanistan: The occupiers’ new strategy – intensify the occupation

A World to Win News Service .
The occupiers of Afghanistan, led by the U.S., have announced that they will present their new strategy soon. While they may not reveal all the elements of their strategy, some aspects are apparent in what they are already doing.

For some time now the U.S. has exerted increasing pressure to compel its allies to send more troops, especially into the war zones. This pressure as well as the failure of the U.S. and Nato forces to gain the control of the country gave rise to opposition to the previous American strategy from European countries and in particular the British, who warned that simply increasing the number of invaders on the ground cannot stop the situation from deteriorating. The alternative they presented involves negotiating with the Taleban and other Islamic opposition forces, and strengthening the puppet government and its army. Making use of tribal leaders and their militias has been another important element of discussion among the occupiers for a long time.

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Afghanistan and the occupiers’ dilemma: more troops or a different approach?

Afghan Maoists: On the military situation of the Taleban & other Islamic anti-gov’t forces