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Big Bucks- Foundation Cash Funds Antiwar Movement (english)
06 Apr 2003
Modified: 02:01:58 PM

The American antiwar movement is decked out with all the elements of the counterculture, but it is getting some very establishment funding.

In a few months, foundations and donors have kicked in millions of dollars to help antiwar groups stage demonstrations, take out expensive newspaper and TV ads, maintain Web sites, hire and pay staff, and lease office space in high-rent New York, Washington and San Francisco locales.
Most work under the umbrella of sympathetic "fiscal sponsors," groups with tax-exempt status that have also lent out staff and office space. For instance, Code Pink Women for Peace, a feminist movement known for its pink clothing and awarding of "pink slips," or pink lingerie, to legislators they deem pro-war, operates under the aegis of Global Exchange, a San Francisco organization with a $4.2 million budget.

Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin, a director for Global Exchange, says they are paying a bargain $400 a month for a cubicle office at 15th and H streets in the District. More space for Code Pink is on loan from two organizations down the hall, the National Organization for Women and the Institute for Policy Studies.

Code Pink has raised $70,000 to $80,000 in its four-month existence, mostly through its site and sales of Code Pink buttons and T-shirts, "which we can't keep in stock," she adds.

The Institute for Policy Studies, a left-wing think tank, has released a drumbeat of antiwar essays in recent months. The institute has a $2.2 million budget for 2003 provided by the Turner, Ford, MacArthur and Charles Stewart Mott foundations, among others.

The brunt of the peace funding, says institute director John Cavannagh, is being done by smaller foundations able to quickly shift funds from other programs.

"Individual peace groups have all gone out and raised funds," he says. "It's a lot of money, but I don't know how much. There's a pooling of resources between peace groups I've not seen before, which explains the large numbers of demonstrations and peace marches created."

For instance, the institute's 2002 foreign policy budget of $400,000, which includes antiwar activism, received $50,000 from the HKH Foundation, $50,000 from the Arca Foundation, $20,000 from the Samuel Rubin Foundation, $15,000 from the Solidago Foundation and $50,000 from the MacArthur Foundation.

Gordon Clark, the sole staff member and national coordinator of the Iraq Pledge of Resistance Network in Silver Spring, has run his organization during the past six months on $32,000 in grants from donors and institutions.

"I think this war has a greater air of illegitimacy around it than other wars," he said, "so there have been greatly increased contributions."

Not all antiwar groups are forthcoming about their finances. One of the leading organizers of antiwar demonstrations, International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) refused to divulge its funding sources.

But, an Internet activism group founded during the summer by Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, boasts of its fund-raising prowess. says it is bringing in substantial amounts of money thanks to high-profile newspaper ads. These started in November, when 150 members of its related nonprofit corporation, Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities Inc., ran a $40,000 antiwar ad in the New York Times.

That brought in $80,000, partly because "we had the foresight to include a coupon," executive director Gary Ferdman says. That revenue helped pay for a $170,000 ad in the Jan. 13 Wall Street Journal national edition and later a $40,000 ad in the Journal's New York metro edition. Thanks to the Turner Foundation and the San Francisco-based Plowshares Fund, says, its $1.5 million operating budget helps pay for five full-time staff and six consultants.

"People have been so concerned about the war and outraged enough to express their dissent," through contributions, Mr. Ferdman says. "Our problem is the more successful we are, the more expensive this becomes." webmaster Andrew Greenblatt, who has free office space at the National Council of Churches headquarters in uptown Manhattan, says the site brings in several thousand dollars a month.

"It is not rocket science," he says. "You ask for money, and people give it to you."

Because U.S. tax laws allow at least a year's grace period before a nonprofit must file a 990 tax form revealing who its donors are, most antiwar groups will not have to reveal their funding sources until 2004.

The San Francisco-based Tides Foundation has given $1.5 million to antiwar efforts since September 11, 2001, including a salary for former U.S. Rep. Tom Andrews of Maine, who directs the 38-member Win Without War coalition.

Win Without War, which announced its formation at a press conference Dec. 11, has drummed up $1 million in support, founder David Cortright says. Mr. Cortright is also president of the Fourth Freedom Foundation in Goshen, Ind., which has provided substantial antiwar support., a Web site that raised $3.5 million for liberal political candidates in the 2002 election, has also raised $1.3 million for large newspaper ads against the war, says Eli Pariser, its international campaigns director. Its legendary fund raising from its 2 million members includes $400,000 raised in 48 hours to fund a Jan. 16 antiwar TV spot that accused President Bush of risking nuclear war. The ad, styled after the notorious Democrat "Daisy" commercial of 1964, shows a girl plucki

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what's your point? (english)
06 Apr 2003
This is inaccurate propaganda. It's a right wing diatribe broadcast to all IMCs.
Sweet! (english)
06 Apr 2003
Sign me up. Where can I get this cash? Ha, ha...

BTW... shall we talk about all the pro-war rallies organized by corporate sponsors, right-wing syndicated radio programs, etc?
Channels of Influence (english)
06 Apr 2003
Channels of Influence
by Paul Krugman

Who has been organizing those pro-war rallies? The answer, it turns out, is that they are being promoted by key players in the radio industry with close links to the Bush administration.

By and large, recent pro-war rallies haven't drawn nearly as many people as antiwar rallies, but they have certainly been vehement. One of the most striking took place after Natalie Maines, lead singer for the Dixie Chicks, criticized President Bush: a crowd gathered in Louisiana to watch a 33,000-pound tractor smash a collection of Dixie Chicks CD's, tapes and other paraphernalia. To those familiar with 20th-century European history it seemed eerily reminiscent of. . . . But as Sinclair Lewis said, it can't happen here.

Who has been organizing those pro-war rallies? The answer, it turns out, is that they are being promoted by key players in the radio industry with close links to the Bush administration.

The CD-smashing rally was organized by KRMD, part of Cumulus Media, a radio chain that has banned the Dixie Chicks from its playlists. Most of the pro-war demonstrations around the country have, however, been organized by stations owned by Clear Channel Communications, a behemoth based in San Antonio that controls more than 1,200 stations and increasingly dominates the airwaves.

The company claims that the demonstrations, which go under the name Rally for America, reflect the initiative of individual stations. But this is unlikely: according to Eric Boehlert, who has written revelatory articles about Clear Channel in Salon, the company is notorious and widely hated for its iron-fisted centralized control.

Until now, complaints about Clear Channel have focused on its business practices. Critics say it uses its power to squeeze recording companies and artists and contributes to the growing blandness of broadcast music. But now the company appears to be using its clout to help one side in a political dispute that deeply divides the nation.

Why would a media company insert itself into politics this way? It could, of course, simply be a matter of personal conviction on the part of management. But there are also good reasons for Clear Channel which became a giant only in the last few years, after the Telecommunications Act of 1996 removed many restrictions on media ownership to curry favor with the ruling party. On one side, Clear Channel is feeling some heat: it is being sued over allegations that it threatens to curtail the airplay of artists who don't tour with its concert division, and there are even some politicians who want to roll back the deregulation that made the company's growth possible. On the other side, the Federal Communications Commission is considering further deregulation that would allow Clear Channel to expand even further, particularly into television.

Or perhaps the quid pro quo is more narrowly focused. Experienced Bushologists let out a collective "Aha!" when Clear Channel was revealed to be behind the pro-war rallies, because the company's top management has a history with George W. Bush. The vice chairman of Clear Channel is Tom Hicks, whose name may be familiar to readers of this column. When Mr. Bush was governor of Texas, Mr. Hicks was chairman of the University of Texas Investment Management Company, called Utimco, and Clear Channel's chairman, Lowry Mays, was on its board. Under Mr. Hicks, Utimco placed much of the university's endowment under the management of companies with strong Republican Party or Bush family ties. In 1998 Mr. Hicks purchased the Texas Rangers in a deal that made Mr. Bush a multimillionaire.

There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear, but a good guess is that we're now seeing the next stage in the evolution of a new American oligarchy. As Jonathan Chait has written in The New Republic, in the Bush administration "government and business have melded into one big `us.' " On almost every aspect of domestic policy, business interests rule: "Scores of midlevel appointees . . . now oversee industries for which they once worked." We should have realized that this is a two-way street: if politicians are busy doing favors for businesses that support them, why shouldn't we expect businesses to reciprocate by doing favors for those politicians by, for example, organizing "grass roots" rallies on their behalf?

What makes it all possible, of course, is the absence of effective watchdogs. In the Clinton years the merest hint of impropriety quickly blew up into a huge scandal; these days, the scandalmongers are more likely to go after journalists who raise questions. Anyway, don't you know there's a war on?

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company
Bigger Bucks (english)
06 Apr 2003
in a world run my multibillionaires, 6 and 7 digit budgets are not "Big Bucks"