The Sneers and Smears of the Institute for Policy Studies
by EDWARD CLINE
February 14, 2012
IPS is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the U.S. and globally. We work with social movements to promote true democracy and challenge concentrated wealth, corporate influence, and military power.
Actually, the oldest progressive organization is the Democratic Party, if we are to judge an organization by the policies it pursues, advocates, and advances. The Democratic Party, too, is a community of public servants and allies who link peace, social justice, and the environment. It, too, works with social movements to promote true democracy (populist mob rule) and challenges concentrated wealth (not any owned by members of the community, of course), corporate influence (not their crony capitalist friends and junket-generous lobbyists), and military power, for the Party’s ideal military policy would abolish all the services and rely on the National Guard to keep the populace honest and in line.
IPS, however, as a 501(c)3 organization that relies on public donations, can only inform and advise politicians and the public and has no legislative powers. It can’t force citizens to obey its whims and wishes or to conform to its agenda. That’s what its principals believe Congress is for.
IPS studies policies, and doesn’t like them or their authors or their supporters. It so dislikes the policies its minions study, that only the width and breadth of its scholars’ desks and all the junk on them prevent them from just penning placards with Magic Markers and stencils to make protest signs, instead of laboring over long, tongue-in-cheek anti-American screeds. IPS so dislikes the authors of these policies that it would just rather produce National Enquirer-level exposés on these individuals.
After all, to IPS, anyone who argues for self-defense, individualism and the rule of law, private property, and using nature to enhance man’s existence, is tainted by bourgeoisie ideology and is a reactionary varmint undeserving of an iota of politeness or courtesy. IPS profiles of such persons are frankly and admittedly unflattering, stereotyping caricatures, not disinterested proxy resumes or curricula vitae. IPS has never tried to disguise its invective and malice for any person, group or idea it deems an obstruction to the progress of Progressivism.
Reflecting the fresh and blossoming alliance between the Left and Islam, “Islamophobia” is the new sin IPS scholars and interns can excoriate, and anyone found guilty of expressing a fear of Islam, its depredations, and its jihad gets the same a priori derogatory treatment as have individuals such as John Bolton and David Horowitz (characterized in his profile as an “ex-lefty”—the traitor!).
IPS, in short, is a kind of “academic” auxiliary of Saul Alinsky-style community organizers and activists, a resource to turn to should a community organizer or activist be unable to coin an original slogan or who otherwise lacks the gray matter to effectively demonize his targeted, isolated, and polarized prey. Should a politician seek precooked mantras and party lines and buzz phrases with which to assault the House and Senate from the floor, and the public from the approving pulpits of The New York Times and Washington Post, IPS’s numerous papers and books are a rich trove of treasured bromides.
IPS enthusiastically endorsed Occupy Wall Street. Here it names two luminaries, the witch doctor and his cultural son and heir, a thug, as champions of OWS:
Occupy Wall Street is also garnering more attention from both local and global media, thanks to the growing outrage and support from well-known figures including MIT professor Noam Chomsky and rapper Immortal Technique.
Doubtless not a few of OWS’s behind-the-scenes planners and managers have intimate connections with IPS. The only “how-to” manuals that can instruct “revolutionaries” on methods to incite violence, “occupy” anything, disrupt commerce, trash public parks, and cry for vengeance (i.e., “social justice”) are to be found in IPS’s backlist of publications. IPS waxed poetic as OWS settled into its appropriated venues like Turks occupying Cypress, or Muslim hordes occupying European cities, and presumed to instruct us in the Howard Zinn kind of American history:
But we do know that three of the four top presidential candidates in 1912¬the “Bull Moose” Theodore Roosevelt, the Socialist Eugene Debs and the Democrat Woodrow Wilson -anchored their campaigns in the struggle against wealth’s maldistribution.
Our democracy faced “ruin,” Roosevelt warned, “if our national life brings us nothing better than swollen fortunes for the few.” The 1912 incumbent, Republican William Howard Taft, blasted Teddy for “appealing to class hatred.” Taft ended up appealing to virtually no one. Wilson, Roosevelt and Debs together captured 75 percent of the final vote.
American politics a century ago revolved around wealth’s deeply dangerous concentration. Wealth meant to nations, activists preached, what manure meant to farms. Spread evenly, manure enriches the land. With manure concentrated in heaps, the land sours.
The young men and women these activists inspired would two decades later usher in a “New Deal” for America. Unions would “level up” average incomes. Steeply progressive taxes would “level down” incomes at America’s top. By the 1950s our plutocracy had melted away. The fortunes of our remaining rich no longer towered high enough to dominate us.
That more equal America now seems ancient history. Fifty years ago America’s top 400 incomes averaged only $14.6 million each, in today’s dollars. In 2008 our top 400 averaged $270.5 million. The 1961 ultrarich paid, after loopholes, 42.4 percent of their incomes in federal tax. The 2008 ultras paid just 18.1 percent.
From its beginning in 1963 by peaceniks and malcontents Marcus Raskin and Richard Barnet, two Congressional aides who left their government jobs to found it (they weren’t happy with JFK’s approach to disarmament), IPS has been Left with a capital L. Its first crusade was against the Vietnam War. It has remained Left for half a century. Over the decades it has latched onto and endorsed every collectivist and social “progress,” from disarmament to the civil rights movement to feminism.
It has been investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, by the FBI for its communist connections and serving as a front for the Soviets, and by the IRS for alleged violations of its non-profit status. Barnet and Raskin were on President Richard Nixon’s “enemies list,” and earned the enmity of President Ronald Reagan. In sync with the times, it published environmental impact and globalization studies. It has become vociferous in its opposition to corporate CEO pay, since 1994 publishing an annual report on the differences between what corporations pay their executives and what they or the corporations pay in federal income taxes.
Family Security Matters, whose IPS “profile” is particularly egregious and full of inaccuracies, cited IPS in January 2009 in connection with its role as advisor and stage prompter for Congress.
Leon Panetta…[former chief of the CIA and now Secretary of Defense]… previously strongly sympathized with the "Institute for Policy Studies" (IPS), a Washington based leftist think tank known for its bitter opposition to the intelligence community, notably the CIA. As a member of Congress Panetta supported the IPS's "Coalition for a New Foreign and Military Policy Line" in 1983. He was also one of the congressmen who biennially commissioned IPS to produce an "alternative" budget that dramatically cut defense spending.
He did so together with, among others, fellow democrat John Conyers, known for his close links to the World Peace Council (WPC), an organization financed and led by the former International Department of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (ID-CPSU). And there is even more shocking information: the Soviet Russian secret service KGB appeared to be highly interested in the activities of IPS. This controversial think tank was targeted by a number of KGB agents…
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a huge file on the Institute for Policy Studies and its founders. Some of the FBI documents are quite revealing.
IPS sanctimoniously boasts that it takes “No government funding”:
Since it is difficult to "speak truth to power" if one takes funds from that "power," IPS does not accept any government money.
So, where does the money come from? Who were its original “angels,” and who supports IPS now? Aaron Klein, writing for WND in June of 2011, penned a hard-hitting exposé about Panetta and his IPS connections. In it he states:
“The IPS is currently funded by philanthropist George Soros’ Open Society Institute.”
Wes Vernon, in his November 2010 Renew America article on the IPS, provides more details of IPS’s current funding:
A recent dossier on the IPS lists its financial backers as the Ford Foundation, the Ploughshares Fund, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Arca Foundation, the Ben and Jerry's Foundation, the Compton Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America, the Energy Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Foundation for Deep Ecology, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Tides Foundation, Open Society Institute, and others.
Some of the older foundations listed here are troubling enough. Of special interest is the money poured into IPS by the ubiquitous George Soros, who controls the Tides foundation and the Open Society Institute. That Soros, a man with a messianic complex and disdain for American values, is using his (tax-exempt) largesse to fuel the IPS's long-standing anti-Americanism is beyond troubling.
David Horowitz, a former left-winger turned neoconservative columnist and blogger (most notably on FrontPage), traced the original funding of IPS to veterans of the Old Left in his introduction to S. Steven Powell’s book, Covert Cadre. Vernon quotes from Horowitz’s introduction:
“…[S]ince the Communist Party was in a state of political decline, it was only natural that old-left stalwarts, faithful to the fifth column vision, would turn to the Institute for Policy Studies as a political base."
Thus, continued Horowitz, IPS "owed its continuing existence to the old-left diehards. And to three in particular, Peter and Cora Weiss, and to her father Samuel Rubin, a Communist Party member of the Stalin epoch, whose fortune provided IPS with its chief source of financial support.”
Discover the Networks: A Guide to the Political Left also concurs on IPS’s original sugar-daddy:
In 1963 the Samuel Rubin Foundation created the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), which lays claim to the title of "the nation's oldest multi-issue progressive think tank." Samuel Rubin's daughter Cora Weiss, was a director of the Rubin Foundation from its inception, and was instrumental in the funding decision to create IPS. Today she is the Foundation's President. Her husband, Peter Weiss, was the first IPS board chairman and is currently the Rubin Foundation's Treasurer.
Samuel Rubin (1901-1978) apparently was a prototype George Soros, a Russian immigrant who in his youth joined the Communist Party, but in the meantime created the Fabergé cosmetics empire, which he sold in 1963 for $25 million to start his Foundation and to underwrite IPS and other leftist outfits and charities. One wonders about the mental health of men who succeed fabulously in a free country, then turn on the very system that made their success possible. Soros hales from the same disturbed pod that Rubin inhabited. Their malevolent premises compel them to advocate that all men be leashed, tamed, and controlled, in exchange for the spare messy pottage or gruel of a welfare state and command economy.
Having established IPS’s Communist and Left credentials, we turn now to its mala fides. To be fair, the lurid “exposés” one can find in supermarket tabloids are less vicious than those produced by IPS. At the top of each profile is this advisory: “IPS Right Web neither represents nor endorses any of the individuals or groups profiled on this site.” After reading just a handful of the entries, this ubiquitous disclaimer becomes redundant once the malice and near-libel are detected in each profile. Only a blinkered twit would believe that these profiles are fair, just, and objective.
In most of these profiles, the targeted, isolated and polarized individual is accused of making a “career” of opposing Islam, collectivism, disarmament, and other IPS-approved movements and issues. On the other hand, it is quite all right for IPS alumni to make careers of advancing collectivism and totalitarianism. However, this is a charge of mere hypocrisy, surely not the worst indictment that can be found against IPS.
About Ayaan Hirsi Ali, it reports:
Hirsi Ali, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who has a made a career denouncing Islam, argues that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood may be more dangerous than Al Qaeda precisely because it has given up armed struggle….
About that “traitor,” David Horowitz, it reveals:
Horowitz, an ex-lefty known for making vitriolic attacks on his former comrades, has turned the demonization of Muslims into a lucrative enterprise….
About Steve Emerson, whose Investigative Project on Terrorism reports on Islam’s violent character, it writes:
Despite his history of making questionable claims, self-proclaimed terrorism “expert” Steve Emerson has made a lucrative career warning about terrorist threats and condemning Islamists….
About Brigitte Gabriel, whose Act for America site also reports on Islam’s inroads in the U.S., IPS pouts:
Brigitte Gabriel has made a post-9/11 career out of roundly denouncing Islam, decrying "political correctness," and promoting the concept of an existential clash of cultures. She founded….
It is not noted in any of these profiles that the individuals must hire their own security and keep their places of residence and work a secret, lest they be murdered by foreign or home-grown jihadists. There are more such profiles of anti-jihadists and also of advocates of free enterprise and “militarism” (i.e., American self-defense) and of outspoken exponents of liberty, all of the same character-assassinating quality.
There are other Left/Liberal “think tanks” one could dwell on, all of them performing the same ideological chore of falsehoods and misinformation. Don’t get me started on the Brookings Institution and the Center for American Progress.
IPS is not the Frankfurt School, which at least was imbued with a sense of “scholarly” Marxism, and which had to flee to the U.S. to escape Nazi persecution. IPS is its slovenly, not too fastidious cousin, perfectly at home in the statist régime it has helped to foster and make a reality.
Edward Cline is the author of the Sparrowhawk novels set in England and Virginia in the pre-Revolutionary period, of several detective and suspense novels, and three collections of his commentaries and columns, all available on Amazon Books. His essays, book reviews, and other articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Journal of Information Ethics and other publications. He is a frequent contributor to Rule of Reason, Family Security Matters, Capitalism Magazine and other Web publications.