On occasion, the most striking evidence of power and influence is the invisibility of its source. Since the early twentieth century, a number of foundations have been set up in the United States by the wealthy — the Ford, Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Bill Gates foundations are prominent examples. A new study by American political scientist Joan Roelofs (Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism, State University of New York Press, 2003) provides an outline of the US foundations' activities, and an analysis of their role.
This process is attempted not only at the national level but at the international level as well. Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former US National Security Adviser and still a preeminent figure in the US national security establishment, has himself claimed the following:
"Cultural domination has been an underappreciated facet of American global power.... As the imitation of American ways gradually pervades the world, it creates a more congenial setting for the exercise of the indirect and seemingly consensual American hegemony. And as in the case of the domestic American system, that hegemony involves a complex structure of interlocking institutions and procedures, designed to generate consensus and obscure asymmetries in power and influence." (emphases added) ...
I thought it was weird back in the 1970s that the National Security Advisors were usually foreign-born, but, then again, I'd rather have Zbiggy and Dr. K. on my side than on the other side.
'Identity politics': Ideologies are promoted that counter the concept of unity among the toiling and oppressed. In the late 1960s the US ruling classes were disturbed by signs of unity among anti-establishment organisations of various oppressed sections (for example, the Black Berets, a militant Chicano group in New Mexico, began meeting with Black Panthers, the Young Lords and the American Indian Movement and expressing solidarity with Cuba). Thus began the foundation-supported emergence of the distinct 'identity politics' of each socially oppressed section.
Okay, but, seriously, who really believes the over-grown juvenile delinquents of the Black Berets, Black Panthers, Young Lords, and American Indian Movement could have organized their way out of a paper bag? Look at Angela Davis's prison boyfriend's Black Guerilla Family, now best known for the philoprogenitive Tavon White.
Beginning with early 1970s Ford began to fund women's studies too, a major area for it today.
... Beyond the splintering effect, foundation initiatives helped transform radical movements into professional-led scholarly or bureaucratic organizations. ...
Affirmative action was originally conceived of largely as a Danegeld to be paid to the smarter blacks to keep the dumber blacks from burning down their slums again. Did it work? Maybe ...
In 1969, McGeorge Bundy, then president of Ford Foundation, was asked by a congressional hearing on foundations why Ford supported 'radical' organizations. He replied:
"There is a very important proposition here that for institutions and organizations which are young and which are not fully shaped as to their direction it can make a great deal of difference as to the degree and way in which they develop if and when they have a responsible and constructive proposal they can find support for it. If they cannot find such support, those within the organization who may be tempted to move in paths of disruption, discord and even violence, may be confirmed in their view that American society doesn't care about their needs. On the other hand, if they do have a good project constructively put forward, and they run it responsibly and they get help for it and it works, then those who feel that kind of activity makes sense may be encouraged."
A more realistic perspective would be that in the late 1960s, both the Establishment center-left, as represented by the Ford Foundation, and the radical left (e.g., David Horowitz helping out the Black Panthers), saw their projects founder on the low human capital of the lumpenprole minority organizations they became fixated upon in their boredom and/or distaste for advancing the interests of the white working class. Tom Wolfe's Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers documents the comic results of Establishment do-gooderism in the San Francisco black slums.