The anti-trade greens . . . and how they got that way

Published June 1, 2000

“What are they doing here?”

“What the heck do they want?

“Where did they all come from?”

“How did they get so well-financed and organized?”

These and similar questions filled the mid-April air in Washington, DC as a multitude of alleged environmental groups—many of which had ransacked Seattle last fall—took their rolling road riot to the nation’s capital to protest world trade.

The answers to the first three questions are fairly straightforward . . . but the answer to the fourth will undoubtedly surprise many.

What the rioters were doing in the capital was protesting the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank for polluting the planet and enslaving the Third World. For good measure, the anti-trade environmentalists and their more peaceful United Auto Workers supporters—many parts of the city were literally awash in blue UAW jackets—were protesting the notion of normalizing trade relations with China.

As for what they wanted, their themes were much like their appearance in their similarity to the Viet Nam War protestors of the late 1960s and early 1970s: anti-American and anti-capitalism. As one of the rioters’ handbooks said, “Corporations are trying to homogenize us into mindless, brain-numbed consumers.”

The rioters told Fox News, “We want a revolution our parents (presumably the now-aging war protestors) would be proud of.” They were proud to have forced authorities to “militarize a huge area of the city,” referring to the massive and entirely successful effort by police to protect the city.

David Horowitz, head of the conservative Center for the Study of Popular Culture, who was also an anti-war demonstrator during the Viet Nam years, characterized the current demonstrators for Fox News, saying, “These people are communists who have obviously been sleep-walking through the twentieth century.” He went on to point out the tremendous improvements in living conditions experienced by countries with free and open trade policies.

Horowitz’s connection of communist motives to environmental extremists seems to have been confirmed by James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal, who observed that among the “green” demonstrators, “hammers and sickles haven’t been this abundant since the Soviet Union fell. Every commie organization imaginable [was] represented here, from the venerable Communist Party USA to the Progressive Labor Party to Bolshevik Tendency, publisher of a newsletter called 1917.”

As for their origins, the DC protestors came from all over the U.S.; a handful were imported from outside the country. Most represented an alphabet soup of environmental organizations, front groups for organizations that want to keep their activism hidden, and labor unions. To swell their numbers, students, many of whom had no clear understanding of the issues, were recruited from area high schools and rapidly trained for a few days of rioting in the streets.

A tangled, well-financed web

The financing and organizing—massive efforts both—were done through many of the nation’s largest grantmakers: some obscure, some with household names, even industrial leaders. An exhaustive report assembled by Truth About Trade, an agriculture industry group, identifies these bankrolling foundations and governmental organizations.

“By far the largest are the [Ted] Turner Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Pew Charitable Trust, the United Nations, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, each of which has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into the ‘environmental’ movement and, in the case of many of the foundations, projects aimed at establishing a one-world government. They are joined in supporting the hundreds of environmental, anti-trade, and one-world government organizations by the Ford and W.K. Kellogg Foundations as well the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Packard, Mott and Bullitt Foundations plus hundreds of others.

[Editors note: Anti-trade and one-world government might seem to be contradictory positions. They’re not. The proponents of one-world government are opposed to free trade among nations, not to trade within the one government they seek to control.]

Truth About Trade points to the high degree of overlap between officials of various organizations. Dennis Hayes, president of the grantmaking Bullitt Foundation, serves on the boards of directors of the World Resources Institute, which receives funding from Bullitt, and the Humane Society. Andrew Kimbrell works for the Center for Food Safety, International Center for Technology Assessment, Turning Point Project, and International Forum on Globalization. Anuradha Mittal, in addition to working with the International Forum on Globalization, is also with Food First, Turning Point Project, and Institute for Food and Development Policy.

The list continues, until—as the accompanying graphic shows—almost every organization involved with trade, environmental extremism, and one-world government is linked to every other such organization.

Raising a ruckus

When it comes to orchestrating events, such as the riots in Seattle and Washington, much of the heavy lifting is done by the Ruckus Society, whose principal funders are media mogul Ted Turner and his wife, Jane Fonda.

The group specializes in training activists in civil disobedience. As The Independent of London reported on November 27 last year: “Welcome to the training camp of the combat corps of the Ruckus Society, the American-based spearhead of the coalition of fringe movements who are planning quite unprecedented mayhem at next week’s summit [of the WTO] in Seattle. . . . U.S. TV mogul Ted Turner donates money. And John Sellers, the 32-year-old head of Ruckus, is about to spend it causing as much disruption as possible.”

In a statement that makes clear the communist origins of the anti-trade environmentalist movement, Sellers defends the rioters’ destruction of property as a means of “peaceful” protest. Last December, he was quoted in Time magazine as saying, “I distinguish between property damage and violence. I think violence is done to living things.”

For more information

about Truth about Trade, visit its Web site at

Among the documents available there is a 342-page report available in Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat’s PDF format. The report discusses the Turner Foundation’s funding of the Seattle WTO protestors and gives a detailed run-down on environmental groups who actively oppose trade and their funding.