The Non-Profit Industrial Complex Eats Reform and Spits Out DREAMS
- "Every day it becomes clearer that the Democratic machine is no more
friendly to immigrants and their demands than the Republican party,
sense reform" has been killed by enforcement first which has become
essentially enforcement only..."
The Non-Profit Industrial Complex Eats Reform and Spits Out DREAMs
By Maegan la Mamita Mala
June 16 2010
The Non-Profit Industrial Complex is like the Prison Industrial Complex in
that despite the name, it is a capitalist model based in struggling for
money. While private prisons fight amongst themselves for contracts with the
Federal government and cut corners that usually equal abuses against those
housed behind concrete and barbed wire, non-profits fight amongst themselves
for money given out by corporate tax shelters and cut corners by watering
down what should be revolution for reform and the end result is abuse
against those whom orgs claim to represent and help in their mission
statements. And just like private prisons would rather have rival gangs
attack each other and distract from the bigger picture, non-profit
organizations, whether on purpose or by default, also engage in divide and
conquer politics that serve to dilute struggles rather than strengthen them.
Need an example? Just look at the latest beef between some orgs in the
Comprehensive Immigration Reform movement and the DREAM Act students.
Over the past few weeks the student led DREAM Act movement has stepped up
their game, tired of being told to wait around for comprehensive immigration
reform. They have risked deportation, blocked traffic and starved themselves
on the doorsteps of politicians who have the power to help push legislation
they feel will change their lives. Here's a video clip from a vigil held
outside of Senator Schumer's office during the fast. [Go to source to see
Many of the DREAM Activists have been at odds with the mainstream
immigration reform movement over strategy and accusations of being used have
been leveled against The Reform Immigration FOR America Campaign, America's
Voice, and the Center for Community Change.
For example, instead of Senator Schumer meeting with the students engaged in
a hunger strike outside his Midtown Manhattan Office, he met with
representatives from the aforementioned organizations. Schumer said that the
leadership of the orgs told him that they did not want him to move ahead
with the DREAM Act as a stand alone bill. The organizations deny this, kind
of, with statements saying that they support the DREAM Act, none of those
statements saying outright, however, that they support it as a stand alone
Why the wishy-washy, flip-floppy language that these organizations have been
quick to attack when coming from the mouths of Republicans?
I, and others, point the finger at the non-profit industrial complex. All of
the aforementioned organizations depend on Comprehensive Immigration Reform,
a movement they claim credit for building, to survive. Hell, the concept of
immigration reform is built into their names, but what that means has
shifted depending on how far the Democrats have wanted to push the issue.
Every day it becomes clearer that the Democratic machine is no more friendly
to immigrants and their demands than the Republican party, as under the
Obama administration there has been an increase in deportations and
detentions. "Common sense reform" has been killed by enforcement first which
has become essentially enforcement only and none of the organizations have
had the guts to admit that for now, Comprehensive Immigration Reform, in the
form we were all expected to accept it, a bill, is dead. Admitting as much
could very well mean that the reason for their organizations and budgets
(which, full disclosure have paid for advertising here even), is also dead.
One of the things I have always been clear about has been that reform isn't
the same thing as change and that a law in and of itself will never be
enough to challenge the racist and xenophobic treatment of immigrants in the
United States. And I mean both a non-existent CIR bill and the DREAM Act.
None will cure the hundreds of years old illnesses of imperialism and
colonialism. Non-profits can't do that either. Community strategies and true
coalition work will and I have witnessed beautiful examples of that recently
with the actions of the DREAM Act students and their families.
Tomorrow I will travel to the Allied Media Conference in Detroit where for
three years now, I have met with other non-corporate media makers,
activists, and many of my sisters in the struggle for what will now be three
years. That space is imperfect as well and my getting there is always
imperfect but we work our way through imperfect models and find our heart
home, our heart communities and create small models of survival and growth
that don't come from non-profit grants.
PS: I really recommend the anthology by INCITE on the Non-Profit industrial
complex and challenge myself and others to build models of leadership and
cambio that reflect our heart familias.
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