What every progressive should know about this much
praised organization beloved of liberals, moderates, and
some conservatives as well.
Just what is the National Endowment for Democracy? It is often quoted in the MSM and its supporters are presented as experts on “democracy” and how it should be promoted around the world. Wikipedia describes it thusly: “ The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a non-governmental organization in the United States that was founded in 1983 for promoting democracy in other countries by promoting democratic institutions such as political groups, trade unions, free markets and business groups. NED is funded primarily by an annual allocation from the U.S. Congress.The NED was created by The Democracy Program as a bipartisan, private, non-profit corporation, and in turn acts as a grant-making foundation.”
Note that it is “a non-governmental organization” AND it is funded primarily” by the U.S. government (Congress). This is a case of having your cake and eating it too. Also note that, according to Wikipedia, the NED has, since, 2004 “granted US$8,758,300 to Uyghur groups including the World Uyghur Congress, the Uyghur Human Rights Project, the Campaign for Uyghurs and The Uyghur Transitional Justice Database Project. It has also supported Chinese dissidents. For example, between 2005 and 2012 it gave small grants to the China Free Press NGO and in 2019 it gave about $643,000 to civil society programs in Hong Kong”.
Several years ago a director of the NED published a book about how this group operates. I noted the book at the time and have updated a few remarks on it as it is still relevant in pointing out just how the MSM and the U.S. government work together to actually undermine democracy.
Larry Diamond’s THE SPIRIT OF DEMOCRACY
noted by Thomas Riggins
This work by one of the directors of the NED [National Endowment for Democracy] has the subtitle “The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World.” A better subtitle would have been “The Struggle to Help the CIA Overthrow Governments Averse to American Domination.”
Here is Diamond’s take on “Venezuela’s Pseudodemocracy.” Even though Hugo Chavez had been elected by, and his policies supported by, free elections by the people (and his big defeat in a referendum was accepted as a rejection of proposed policy changes by his government), Venezuela is called a “pseudodemocracy”. Diamond prefers his own NED supported “scholars” and their reports in his house organ, “The Journal of Democracy” and allied views (including spokespeople for the opposition) to the judgments of the Carter Center and the Organization of American States on the fairness of elections.
This book appears to be nothing but 448 pages of imperialist propaganda by Diamond (a fellow of the Hoover Institute at Stanford and advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad (the puppet government set up by the U.S. in Iraq) —democracy through the barrel of a gun. This book follows the NED line. What is the NED? It is a CIA front organization funded by the US government. One of its founders, Allen Weinstein (Ronald Reagan was another) said of it: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA” (Wikipedia).
The “democrats” overseas that the NED supports have one thing in common: they support U.S. corporations and their investments in their countries. NED has not supported
any groups or individuals who are opposed to US corporations unrestricted investment rights. NED gives grants and other financial support (mostly US government money) to those struggling to build “free” societies. A prime example is the $250,000 they gave to CANF [Cuban American National Foundation] an anti-Castro terrorist group funded by the US government and allied with the Republican Party.
What is really galling is the page of Gandhi quotes that appears before the table of contents, one of which reads, “The spirit of democracy cannot be imposed from without. It has to come from within.” This quote is offered up from someone who worked in Iraq for the Bush regime. This should be enough to give you an idea about what the NED is all about.
Larry Diamond, The Spirit of Democracy, New York, Times Books: Henry Holt and Company, 2008, pp. 448, index, $28.00, ISBN 13:976-0-8050-7869-5
Thomas Riggins is a retired philosophy teacher (NYU, The New School of Social Research, among others) who received a PhD from the CUNY Graduate Center (1983). He has been active in the civil rights and peace movements since the 1960s when he was chairman of the Young People's Socialist League at Florida State University and also worked for CORE in voter registration in north Florida (Leon County). He has written for many online publications such as People's World and Political Affairs where he was an associate editor. He also served on the board of the Bertrand Russell Society and was president of the Corliss Lamont chapter in New York City of the American Humanist Association.