The council in 2004 included 3M, war profiteering Bechtel, Boeing, Cargill, Citigroup, General Electric, IBM, the notorious Monsanto, and currently also includes banking houses Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Chevron, Exxon, BP, Glaxo Smith Kline, Merck, Northrop Grumman, Monsanto’s GMO doppelganger Syngenta, as well as Phillip Morris.
Photo: Deposed autocrat, Thaksin Shinawatra before the CFR on the even of the 2006 military coup that would oust him from power. Since 2006 he has had the full, unflinching support of Washington, Wall Street and their immense propaganda machine in his bid to seize back power.
Thaksin would remain in office from 2001 until September of 2006. On the eve of the military coup that ousted him from power, Thaksin was literally standing before the Fortune 500-funded Council on Foreign Relations giving a progress report in New York City.
Since the 2006 coup that toppled his regime, Thaksin has been represented by US corporate-financier elites via their lobbying firms including, Kenneth Adelman of the Edelman PR firm (Freedom House, International Crisis Group, PNAC), James Baker of Baker Botts (CFR), Robert Blackwill of Barbour Griffith & Rogers (CFR), Kobre & Kim, and currently Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Peroff (Chatham House).
To say that Thaksin Shinawatra and his “red shirts” have foreign backing would be a profound understatement.
Thaksin’s proxy political party maintains the “red shirt” mobs which in turn are supported by several NGOs including the National Endowment for Democracy funded “Prachatai,” an “independent media organization” that coordinates the “red shirt” propaganda efforts. Prachatai was recently nominated for the Deutsche Welle Blog Awards by the “Neo-Con” infested Freedom House, upon which former Thaksin lobbyist Kenneth Adelman sits as a member on the board of directors.
Western corporate-financier interests know what’s going on already and they are moving against it while the majority of humanity still sleeps in ignorance and apathy. Thailand is but one nation of many, in China’s “String of Pearls” that is targeted for destabilization and US State Department sponsored “liberation.”
The key to stopping these foreign interests dead in their tracks is seizing back from them the mechanisms of civilization – and we have done that already in terms of the alternative media. Such success is necessary in all aspects of our life, and as the King in Thailand suggests, it can start with something as simple as growing your own garden.
Today and Into the Future
Of course in Thailand, agricultural self-sufficiency is coupled with technology to enhance efficiency and improve the quality of life. Even in the city, small independent businesses are adopting the latest technology to improve their production, increase their profits, and even out-compete larger corporations. Computer controlled machining equipment can be found in small workshops crammed into old shop-houses, automatic embroidering machines allow a single woman to fulfill orders for name tags on new school uniforms – rather than both businesses sending off orders to factories owned by a handful of wealthy investors. A multitude of examples can be seen walking around any city block in Thailand’s capital of Bangkok.
Image: MIT’s Dr. Neil Gershenfeld inside his “Fab Lab,” arguably the birthplace of the personal fabrication revolution.
Bringing this sort of technology to rural people, even enabling people to create their own technology rather than just employ it, is not just science fiction but is a reality of today. MIT Professor Dr. Neil Gershenfeld has developed the “fabrication laboratory” or “Fab Lab.” The Fab Lab is a microfactory that can “make almost anything.” His Fab Lab has since been replicated all over the world in what he calls the personal fabrication revolution. It aims at turning a world of dependent consumers into independent designers and producers.
Video: Dr. Neil Gershenfeld presents his Fab Lab at TED.
Dr. Gershenfeld in his own words articulates the problem of finding support amongst institutions and governments, stating that individuals are very enthusiastic about this revolution “but it breaks their organizational boundaries. In fact it is illegal for them, in many cases, to equip ordinary people to create rather than consume technology.”
This indeed not only encapsulates Dr. Gershenfeld’s dilemma, but describes to a “t” the mentality of oligarchs and the fears they harbor about empowering the people, a fear reflected in the “organizational boundaries” of their corporations and governmental institutions. This is a feature of oligarchy described as early as 300 B.C. in ancient Greece in “The Athenian Constitution.” In it, a character referred to as “the Old Oligarch” describes his contempt for the social mobility the technology of the Athenian navy affords the lower echelons of Athenian society.
Dr. Gershenfeld goes on to encapsulate the true potential of his Fab Labs by stating, “the other 5 billion people on the planet aren’t just technical “sinks,” they are “sources.” The real opportunity is to harness the inventive power of the world to locally design and produce solutions to local problems.” Dr. Gershenfeld concludes by conceding he thought such a possibility was 20 years off, but “it’s where we are today,” noting the success his Fab Labs are already having around the world.
Image: The interior of a “Fab Lab” in Amsterdam, featuring a array of personal manufacturing technology.
Dr. Gershenfeld’s message resonates with the current culture of Thailand and the ambitions of the “self-sufficiency economy.” In many ways, Thailand’s patchwork of micro-businesses, already successfully by-passing capital intensive centralized production, vindicates the work and optimism of Dr. Gershenfeld. It also, however, resonates strongly with the self-reliant traditions that had made America great. The technical possibility for this to change the world is already a reality, but Dr. Gershenfeld himself concedes that the biggest obstacle is overcoming social engineering – in other words – creating a paradigm shift in the minds of the population to meet the technical paradigm shift that has already taken place.
Self-sufficiency and the harnessing of technology in the hands of the people are the greatest fears of the corporate-financier oligarchy – fears that oligarchs throughout the centuries have harbored. Simply boycotting multinational corporations and replacing them with local solutions is something everyone can afford to do starting today. And by simply looking into Dr. Neil Gershenfeld’s “Fab Lab,” similar ideas such as “hackerspaces,” raising awareness of the personal fabrication revolution, and even in the smallest way participating can help overcome the obstacle of social-engineering and spur a profound paradigm shift. We have begun to seize back the media, now it is time to seize back the other levers of power. Now is the time to recognize true freedom as being self-sufficient as a nation, as a community, and as a household, and start living it everyday.