Blurb

“Michael Barker’s historically grounded critique of those most pernicious of political forces, the philanthropic foundations, is superb and unsurpassed. Everyone who is serious about a rebuilt Left that can win should read this book. As Barker shows masterfully the foundations exist to confuse, deflect, and channel away the wrath of the people. By muddying the intellectual waters foundations have been as damaging as police spies and company thugs. They operate by the logic Machiavelli explained, ‘you may hold the fortresses, yet they will not save you if the people hate you…’ Thus the foundations defend capitalism by placating, ameliorating, confusing, and fomenting division.”

—Christian Parenti, author of Lockdown America:  Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis

“In Under the Mask of Philanthropy, Michael Barker has produced one of the most comprehensive and important books on the politics of capitalist philanthropy. This is a must read for anyone engaged in social movements, academia, and/or the foundation world.”

—Daniel Faber, author of Capitalizing on Environmental Justice: The Polluter-Industrial Complex in the Age of Globalization

“One of the most impressive and thought-provoking books I’ve read in a long time. Under the Mask of Philanthropy addresses an important but often neglected topic — how the ruling class coopts working class struggles for justice and equality in ways that perpetuate the concentration of power and privilege. Barker’s magisterial command of historical and contemporary sources, coupled with his brilliant analysis, have resulted in a truly fascinating book in which even the most informed readers will find much to learn. At a time when so many are yearning for social change, this book is urgently recommended.”

—Gregory Elich, author of Strange Liberators: Militarism, Mayhem, and the Pursuit of Profit

Under the Mask of Philanthropy is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how power functions in the modern world. Michael Barker is an activist-scholar who practises what he preaches. In this ground-breaking book, he illustrates the way in which the rich and powerful — and crucially, the system itself — systematically co-opt progressive movements and set the parameters of discourse. In essence, anything that seriously begins to threaten global capitalism is either marginalised or else co-opted and ‘decaffeinated’ by philanthropy. One surely would expect no less. Many people in what used to be known as, ‘The Third World’ have known this for many decades. But Barker presents meticulously researched evidence to prove it. This book will not be required reading for the often well-intentioned, yet sadly deluded, recipients of funding from the liberal foundations it critiques, but on their, and our, road to Hell, it damn well should be. A Chaucer for the political pilgrim.”

—Suhayl Saadi, author of Psychoraag

“This highly readable and fascinating book recounts in painstaking detail how elite charity has been used for more than a century as both material and ideological means of maintaining the hegemony of capitalism. Happily, though, he reminds us that philanthropy is also a mark of popular resistance: the rich make a show of giving away some of their enormous wealth precisely to prevent us from deciding to seize all of it. As the capitalist system stumbles from crisis to crisis and its political legitimacy visibly wanes, Under the Mask of Philanthropy is a timely demolition of one of its most important remaining sources of credibility: the idea that Gates, Buffett, Soros and the rest of the rich can be counted upon to help find sensible, technocratic solutions to the problems they have created themselves. In reality, Barker argues persuasively, real change requires that grassroots activists and radical intellectuals should steadfastly refuse to be co-opted by even the most apparently liberal foundations.”

—Harry Browne, author of The Frontman: Bono (In the Name of Power)

“The dominant view of charity is that it is an expression of human compassion, if not a solution for poverty. Socialists tend to view the practice with a more skeptical eye: when undertaken by rich people, it is at best a salve to a guilty conscience and at worst a means of replacing justice with noblesse oblige. In the 20th century and beyond, charitable institutions have become powerful tools of social control in their own right. Whether funding the eugenics movement, promoting research to undermine radical labor unions, or working with the CIA to control and brutalize foreign populations, philanthropy has taken on a role that is anything but benevolent. In his vital new work Under the Mask of Philanthropy, Michael Barker charts these machinations in detail. A clear pattern emerges of philanthropic foundations attempting to undermine, co-opt and destroy movements for positive social and political change. A must-read book.”

—Scott Noble, filmmaker, Psywar: The Real Battlefield is the Mind

“Barker provides a sweeping, well-documented, excellent read. Anyone who wants to understand why progressive social movements have been so ineffective and often crushed, failing to win the fundamental radical reforms needed, will learn from it. In short, Barker’s research and writing is essential to effective, radical economic and environmental change in the 21st century.”

—John Stauber, author of Toxic Sludge Is Good for You! Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry

 “Michael Barker’s book is an historical treatment of and significant contribution to the understanding of the increasingly central role of ideology and state legitimation in a world dominated by the US empire. The ongoing brutal accumulation of wealth and dispossession of billions of people, by a transnational class of American and allied plutocrats, is masked by false representations of ‘philanthropy’ that disguise the super-exploitation of workers for the status, power, and prestige of the billionaire class.”

—Gerald Sussman, author of Branding Democracy: U.S. Regime Change in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe

Under the Mask of Philanthropy is a far reaching and precise class critique of liberal cultural imperialist and capitalist rule. Barker’s historical analysis synthesizes the best of the contemporary literature and proceeds to applying rigorous class analysis to the existing world. A book which is must reading for students, and workers.”

—James Petras, author of Social Movements and State Power: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador

Under the Mask of Philanthropy is a searing critique of the policies, practices, and ideologies of philanthropic foundations. Barker’s masterful work will serve as a model for radical scholarship in this field.”

—Peter Seybold, contributor to Philanthropy and Cultural Imperialism: The Foundations at Home and Abroad

“At a time when philanthropy is being upheld as a panacea for inequality, Barker’s erudite and compelling book offers a vital corrective to the belief that voluntary gifts from the mega-rich can resolve the very global inequities which their business practices often perpetuate.”

—Linsey McGoey, author of No Such Thing As a Free Gift: The Gates Foundation and the Price of Philanthropy

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