Feb. 10, 2021

Bookclub No. 1: The Revolution Will Not be Funded Pt. 2 Book Notes

The Revolution Will Not Be Funded Discussion Outline Pt. 2:Non-Profits and Global Organizing


The Filth on Philanthropy: Progressive Philanthropy's Agenda to Misdirect Social Justice Movements

    • Foundations Undermining Radical Social Change
      • ‘Progressive’ Philanthropy disrupting POC mvts working for redistribution of wealth and power. (often anti-capitalist - doesn’t place into found.’s agenda)
        • -focuses on compelling the philanthropic community to be more generous in their grant making to social justice causes 
        • -also focused on increasing private foundations’ annual payout rate from 5% to 6% without admin costs in their payouts 
        • -Seems good on the surface and looks like a leftist attempt to advance social movements by supporting movements with more resources 
      • Foundations (Rockfeller and Filer) - lobbied congress in the 60’s for their interests w/in the NP sector
      • Special emphasis (and eyes) were placed on “non-est’ groups. 
      • “The results have been little more than a fewcosmetic adjustmentsto make capitalist foundations appear progressive and the Left complicit in supporting systems of oppression exploitations, and domination”
        • White leadership undermines the work of oppressed communities of color -> their focus is on protecting wealth and white supremacy. 
        • Foundation’s $ comes from exploitation of mostly POC’s work. 
        • “When the white Left accepts donations of white capital on behalf of oppressed people of color, they act as brokers btw the capital and the oppressed people of color who were exploited to create”
          • Unnecessary middle man. 
          • Even liberal white people are scared to transfer power.
          • What other areas is this happening in NP’s?
            • I’m thinking -> curriculum, classroom teaching, programming, resource distribution, etc. 
          • “White-led organizations have been able to materially benefit as they garner and maintain control of social justice movements that disproportionately impact and affect the lived reality of people of color.”
    • Maintaining Racial Hierarchies w/in Social Justice Mvt through Philanthropy Reform
      • White-led social non-profits claim they want to ‘help’ oppressed communities
        • Rarely follow through wealth/power wise. 
      • Additionally - “very few people of color [... have access] to wealthy whites.” - capital is continually circulated among white plp. 
        • -“...speaks to the primacy of maintaining relationships with wealthy white people as a method to secure philanthropic contributions.” Pg. 82
      • Ex. Women with Money 
        • -support group in Philadelphia for wealthy women (example of wealth related counseling) exists to show white people how and what to do with their money 
        • Conflict of interest./No accountability to the community. 
        • White led NP’s are merely a way for wealthy white people to make them feel less guilty…. Or play into their white savior complex. 
      • Social Justice community suffers from cronyism 
        • -foundation often give awards to organizations on a whim 
      • NPIC - favors ‘bourgeois credentials’ (i.e. financially privileged, college educated, etc). 
        • Leaves people with lived experiences out of the hierarchy of power ESPECIALLY leadership. 
      • Emphasis is also placed on creating new org. And not linked up or enhanced to an older org. 
        • I think in new music or in music orgs. Looking to do socially driven work they have this problem. They often don’t take the lead (or even talk) with established social orgs in the area. 
        • Ex: Shiny new object syndrome, many new music orgs are started without considering what already exists in the community, new orgs are started but aren’t sustainable 
    • How Progressive Philanthropy Uses People of Color to Maintain the Status Quo
      • Recruitment of POC -> trains people to fit within their existing hierarchies 
      • “Grassroots Fundraising” is often a half measure. Still places emp. On a few wealthy donors and not the tearing down of the systems. 
      • “Models based on cultivating relationship with the wealthy do not make sense for people-of-color orgs and mvt b/c we do not have the same access to private wealth, and attempts to encourage us to create alliances with the same capitalists who exploit us are in clear opposition to our struggles for global reparations, which when waged successfully, will foster the just redistribution of wealth and resources.”
      • Reform -> Spending foundations out of existence (doesn’t take the wealth away from the family). -> doesn’t actually help the situation. 
        • “The white Left is conspicuously absent in developing an analysis and organizing around the issue of reparations.”
    • Some Problems of People of Color Organizing w/in the NPIC
      • Black radical mvts and other POC mvt are co-opted by white liberals.
        Always “derailing and subjugating their progressive agendas for real social change” (reform v. radical structural change)
      • POC mvts shouldn’t have to request for money. They should be receiving rep. 
      • In the book, they bring up the CIA and the covert bs they were doing to silence radical, anti-est. Mvts. In the book “Who paid the piper?” it is outlined that the CIA also recruited artists (specifically classical musicians - i.e. Lenny Bernstein) and withheld gov’t fund/opportunities if they didn’t push the capitalist/reformist agenda. Classical Music in America is literally directly linked to normalizing neo-liberal ideology through culture.


  • “Philanthropy is not progressive and never has been.”


Between Radical Theory and Community Praxis: Reflections on Organizing and the NPIC

Reflections on Organizing and the Nonprofit Industrial Complex

Goals of Essay: 

  • -Account how Sisters in Portland Impacting Real Issues Together (SPIRIT) and Center for Third World Organizing (CTWO) split 
  • -recall issues with vision and misalignment and how to work through those issues together
  • critique of the non-profit model of business and organizing 

General Thoughts: 

  • -Created their own curriculum “colonialism curriculum” as at attempt to revisit the political nature of their work as it related to larger movements an a larger legacy of struggle 
    • Would be interested in learning about how this curriculum could be augmented for other organizations 
  • worked to set boundaries around their work, about their fundraising, and about what they hoped to accomplish as an organization 
  • there is a difference between a social justice non-profit and a small non-profit with a business pursuit 
    • they are not the same 

Native Organizing Before the NPIC

  • Not going to do a super detailed outline for this essay. 
  • Big takeaways: 
    • You don’t need NP status, foundations, etc to do the ‘thing’-> if you’re focused on community building and real relationships the resources will come (not always easily, but communal resource sharing/mutual aid/etc)
    • Don’t focus on a singular issue - we’re stronger together and should be focused on supporting other mvts. 
    • Means of organizing includes: donations, in-kind donations, volunteers, mutual aid 
    • General lack of seeing that social movements require sacrifice 
    • Activism should NOT be relegated to events. 
    • And yup, COINTELPRO comes up once again…. 
    • “Activism is tough; it is not for people interested in building a career” -pg. 106
      • This seems to be a recurring thought throughout these essays and not sure if this is widely agreed upon or not 

Fundraising in Not a Dirty Word

  • Interesting essay to read after the 1st one - especially since it talks about grassroots fundraising. I think it goes to show there are multiple ways to achieve change. 
  • Grassroots fundraising is framed as a solution in the interim 


  • Grassroots Income: all income generated from individuals, fee-for-service, and non-foundation sources 
  • Community Based Economies: resources flow from and return to that same community 
  • Organizing: building relationships and institutions to sustain community power, and if follows that fundraising is organizing 
    • Want to discuss organizing and what is not organizing generally. Lots of activities are called ‘organizing’ when they really are just doing a project / making a thing 


  • Grassroots fundraising can increase and strengthen out accountability to the communities most affected by injustice 
  • Foundations are generally fickle and create completion and scarcity between organizations both locally and regionally  
    • Happens ALOT with music orgs. 


Takeaways: We can make change if we focus on grassroots organizing and sustainability over foundation relationships which are really limited 


“We were never meant to survive”: Fighting Violence Against Women and the Fourth World War

-Subcomandante Marcos declared, “the fourth world war has begun” 

  • Fourth world war: doles out violence and intimidation in dollars, in market bombs 
  • is where loving, organization, and violence of the market is deployed in always increasing disbursements to all corners of the world and to all aspects of life 
  • Non-profitization of our social movements is wielded as a weapon in the fourth world war-pg. 114

Sinking the movement moments: moments speak to how funding steered our labors towards reproducing instead of eliminating violence against women 

  1. .1995: Support Network for Battered Women refused to publish article 
  2. 1997: La Casa de las Madres hiring bias 
  3. 1998: Realization that some bylaws state that by accepting funding agencies forfeit their right to take a stance on political matters especially around elections 
  4. 2005: San Francisco Women Agains Rape lost city and foundation funding because of support of Palestine 
  • Anti violence organizations reproduce racist violence against women 
  • “Embedded within this organizational strategy is an assumption of universal whiteness” -pg. 115
    • This is in fact THE CANNON 
    • thinking about how often this happens in music organizations

“The existence of ‘special’ and ‘non-white’ programs emerges from te logic of a liberalist project of multiculturalism -pg. 115 

  • Culturally specific programs actually displaces race from the boarder analysis
  • allows organizations to further avoid organizational accountability 
    • Each of these things happens in arts orgs, DEI fellowships, scholarships are created by the organizations themselves and if they aren’t successful then the organization isn’t held accountable because they created the program in the first place so no one can say anything 
    • How do we create initiatives that support marginalized communities but are not this? Especially in all-white music organizations 

-Angela Davis “violence is a powerful ideological conductor, whose meaning constantly mutates” 

  • “Funding whether government or foundation money, emerges from the deepest ravages of capitalist inequality” -pg. 126


Social Service or Social Change?

  • Intro:
    • Social Service Work: “Addresses the needs of individuals reeling from the personal and devastating impact of institutional systems of exploitations and violence.
    • Social Change Work “Challenges the root causes of the exploitation and violence.”
      • Don’t nes. Go together. 
      • Many Social Service orgs. Try to maintain the status quo. 
  • Economic Pyramid
  1. Ruling Class: top 1%, maintains the power and money to influence the decisions that affect our lives 
    1. This includes the way cultural arts are distributed and what is deemed ‘high art’ and ‘worthy’ of funding. 
  2. Professional Managerial: 19%, people who work for the ruling class 
    1. “This class [..] also carries out the direct management of the largest public, private, and non-profit enterprises in the country.”
    2. They often act as the barrier/gatekeepers to networks, connections, etc. 
    3. Often highly educated, ‘middle-class’ -> enjoy benefits/privilege to their proximity to the ruling class. (i.e. networking, resources, information, SOME wealth, etc).
    4. ‘The Buffer Zone’
    5. I would venture to assume this class is largely white and homogenous (white liberals/centrists). 
  3. Middle and Working Class / Unemployed / Welfare / Homeless: 80%, produces additional security
    1. Laborers - teachers, factory workers, farmers, hospitals, service industry, and small businesses. 
    2. ‘’Gradations” within this class -> with various levels of privilege. 
    3. Where do many classical musicians/creators/administrators fall? Where does our audience fall? Where do the people receiving our ‘community engagement’ fall?
  4. “The role of the NPIC is to keep our attention away from those in power and to manage and control our efforts to survive in the bottom of the pyramid.” -> Basically, the ruling class wants to keep it’s wealth and privilege and the professional class wants to maintain its proximity to the ruling class. 
    1. How does classical music/new music NP’s perpetuate this? 
    • The Buffer Zone -> professional class
      • Three jobs
        • Taking care of people at the bottom of the pyramid. 
        • Keeping hope alive -> making people in the bottom 80% believe they could have these opportunities. 
        • Maintain the system by controlling those who want to make changes. 
    • Co-Opting Social Change
      • Same convo as earlier. Foundations and white liberal leadership deradicalize mvt’s led by brown and black individuals, anti-est. Plp, etc -> through $, professionalization, etc. 
    • Role of NP’s
      • Fills in the gap for gvt programs. 
      • Non-profit legal status was created by the ruling class to establish foundations to hold onto family wealth 
    • Co-opting community leadership
      • Training community leaders to fit the mold of NP’s
      • Professionalization


  • Accountability


  • Who are we currently held accountable to? 
  • We should be held most accountable to those who working for justice outside of the NPIC 
  • Also to those on the front lines of movements for social justice 
  • bottom-up accountability guided by those on the front lines is what we should be striving for 
  • What to do? 
    • Realize if you are working for a NP or are part of the professional class you have a choice. 
      • You HAVE TO SUBVERT the system. Yes it’s risky, yes, it can be illegal. 
      • Who are you accountable too?
        • Accountability should be directed down, to the middle/work class. NOT up. 
      • Who Supervises your work?
      • List of questions on p. 147
      • The work should be: engage in conscious raising, organizing, organizational critique, and mobilization for change 

Pursuing a Radical Anti Violence Agenda Inside/Outside a Non-Profit Structure

  • Goals of Essay: Provide a ‘model’ for how radical anti violence organizations can survive within the non-profit structure 
  • Re-centering > inclusion
  • Seattle Rape Relief was orginally a NP led by white liberal women. 
    • The NP was disbanded and reformed as CARA (Communities Against Rape and Abuse) - Community Org, specifically for people with disabilities, Black people, and young people. 
    • Multiculturalism doesn’t work (generally wanted by white, liberal women) - half measure. Still centers whiteness, is racists, ageist, etc (example of striving for inclusion NOT recentering)
  • Recentering the Work
    • Leadership in the hands of radical feminist of color and disablity politic
    • “Centered the experiences of the communities we organized and let those experiences reframe the work we chose to do, and how we do it.”
      • Pg. 153 - want to read “Wll too often, inclusivity…..” 
    • Did have to create a ‘dual identity’ when asking for public funding. To make their work less ‘political’ and more palatable to politicians. 
    • Useful omissions 
    • Fought against professionalization - and brought women that they served into the fold as organizers. (not placing emphasis on social work experts, etc). 
    • Didn’t objectify the survivors as ‘clients’
    • “CARA intentionally rejected the idea that there is a fundamental difference between ourselves and the survivors we work with.”
    • “When survivors access CARA for support, we see them less as clients and more as potential comrades in a struggle for social justice”
    • “We prioritize leadership development among the people we organize, which results in many of those individuals eventually being hired…” pg. 160 


The NGOization of the Palestine Liberation Movement

  • Great overall history of the palestine liberation movement  
    • Should be required reading for everyone - YESSSSSSS 
  • Firstly, love the term ‘cultural worker’ - that’s all, that’s the tweet. 
  • Secondly, this essay makes me hate American imperialism so much more. 
  • This interview is an example of the lack of centering of voices of the people impacted by displacement, war, oppression, etc. And centering the West’s interests.
  • Look at who holds the purse strings. Often those who do - don’t want to ‘rock the boat’ and protect capitalist interest NOT people. 
  • The successful mvts are the ones that center people from the very beginning and create hardlines of what they will and won’t accept. 
  • Three home demolitions and one pending order-poem by Noura Erekat 
    • What many musicians think they’re doing in their themed commissions / concerts 
  • NGO’s are supposed to be intermediaries but really only stand on behalf of the governmental entities 




  • RECENTER, RECENTER, RECENTER - For NP’s/Community Organizations to truly serve the community they MUST recenter the narrative/power/wealth/leadership to Black people, Brown people, disabled people, etc.


    1. This includes leadership, money, and power. 
    2. We will have to fight professionalization. 
  1. Universal Whiteness and Capitalism- We create everything serving universal whiteness. This is the canon, classical music concert experience, outreach concerts, ESPECIALLY white leadership, etc. We assume our experience is the only and/or best experience. Additionally, the ruling class/wealthy, financially support this whiteness/white supremacy - and often provide the framework. 
    1. Reparations - this should be a huge talking point. 
  2. Social Justice NP’s and NP’s with a Business Pursuit -Cont. from bullet point 2. Most music institutions are not social justice NP’s BUT they like to pretend they are. 
  3. Professional Class/Professionalization- People in classical music often like to put on the ‘woe is me’ persona (b/c of funding…) - when in actuality the bulk of us are in a VERY privileged position. We have to recognize this privilege if we’re actually going to move forward. 
  4. Reparations- Realizing this is something that everyone should be working towards, and is white plp’s job to dismantle the systems withholding wealth from marginalized communities/individuals. (i.e. foundations, donors, BOD, etc)