This will be a public discussion about the Non-Profit Industrial Complex. The offered readings (pick one… or maybe four) may help generate an earnest conversation about the pitfalls of participation in what others have aptly called the Non-Profit Industrial Complex (NPIC). We hope that in having a critical dialogue with people inside, outside, or on the margins of the NPIC, we can generate collaborative alternatives to the competitive, exploitative and eviscerating features of “philanthropic beneficence.” Other ways are possible…we can only actualize alternatives together.
“We might, for a fleeting moment, conceptualize the emergence of the NPIC as an institutionalization and industrialization of a banal, liberal political dialogue that constantly disciplines us into conceding the urgent challenges of a political radicalism that fundamentally challenges the existence of the US as a white settler society. The NPIC is not wholly unlike the institutional apparatus of neocolonialism, in which former and potential anticolonial revolutionaries are “professionalized” and granted opportunities within a labyrinthine state proctored bureaucracy that ultimately reproduces the essential coherence of the neocolonial relation of power itself. The NPIC’s well-funded litany of”social justice” agendas, platforms, mission statements, and campaigns offers a veritable smorgasbord of political guarantees that feeds on our cynicism and encourages a misled political faith that stridently bypasses the fundamental relations of dominance that structure our everyday existence in the United States: perhaps it is time that we formulate critical strategies that fully comprehend the NPIC as the institutionalization of a relation of dominance and attempt to disrupt and transform the fundamental structures and principles of a white supremacist US civil society, as well as the US racist state.” (Dylan Rodriguez – “The Political Logic of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex” in The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex)
Radicalism and the NPIC
Smith – “Intro” in The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the NPIC
Rodriguez – “The political logic of the NPIC” ibid
Gilmore – “In the shadow of the shadow state” ibid
King & Osayande – “The filth on Philanthropy” ibid
Guilloud & Cordery – “Fundrasing is not a dirty word” ibid
Parmett – Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith Review
Detroit Light Rail
Rip Ranson – Speech about Detroit Light Rail
Art, “Failed” Artists and the NPIC
Sholette – Dark Matter Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture
Sholette – Mysteries of the creative class or, i have seen the enemy and they is us
New York Times – Shinola
Keep Ypsi Black – Shinola as Neocolonialism
Inside and Out: Cooptation and Resistance
McKnight – Services are Bad for People
Seaman – Competition in the Arts The Lost Industrial Organization Agenda
Tweet – Whither the Non-Profit Sector?
Mananzala & Spade – The NPIC and Trans Resistance
Boyd & Sandell – Unpaid & Critically Engaged Feminist Interns in the NPIC
“Antistate state actors welcomed non-profits under the rhetoric of efficiency (read: meager budgets) and accountability (read: contracts could be pulled if anybody stepped out of line). As a result of these and other pressures, non-profits providing direct services have become highly professionalized by their relationship with the state. They have had to conform to public rules governing public money, and have found that being fiduciary agents in some ways trumps their principal desire to comfort and assist those abandoned to their care. They do not want to lose the contracts to provide services because they truly care about clients who otherwise would have nowhere to go; thus they have been sucked into the world of non-profit providers, which, like all worlds, has its own jargon, limits (determined by bid and budget cycles, and legislative trends), and both formal as well as informal hierarchies. And, generally, the issues they are paid to address have been narrowed to program-specific categories and remedies which make staff who often have a great understanding of the scale and scope of both individual clients’ and the needs of society at large-become in their everyday practice technocrats through imposed specialization. The shadow state, then, is real but without significant political clout, forbidden by law to advocate for systemic change, and bound by public rules and non-profit charters to stick to its mission or get out of business and suffer legal consequences if it strays along the way.” (Ruth Wilson Gilmore: “In the Shadow of the Shadow State” in The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex)
This is still anyone’s game…watch us play pretend to proselytize how they pop paupers with pittance pence from their prodigious purses. Don’t bite the hands that may or may not feed you, don’t shoot yourself in the foot…20Gs to anyone who goes full GG Allen. We know the acronym NPIC in its longhand form, the non-profit industrial complex. We’ve long been aware of the pitfalls of ad infinitum capital gain games granted by “professional” writing. Petition billion dollar endowments for a slice of their tax exempt piechart investment profits so that we can eek out an existence in the spheres of “social justice” or “art” or “scholarship.” They kick down some monies then run to tell the press they own to spread the good word. We model their archetype and create properly aligned media so we can show the fine people on the streaming side of the digital divide what good work their freshly mowed grassroots 501(c)(3)s do for the community…the community that’s struggling with poisons, prisons, underfunded schools and job opportunities. Yet our grant pay rolls into our pockets but doesn’t roll out to pay taxes on the spaces we’ve settled. We watch as cultural chic blurs the images of other peoples’ struggles and then we regram and cram those images for consumption and gratis money to get the new iphone, or put gas in our car…or new tires on our bike. That is, we make money or careers off of others’ misfortunes and our gains are predicated on the fact that others have failed and will fail and we’re not far from them. But we’re the good team, not like Gilbert or Wayne, and the saviourism sold in pure hustling harder Detroit tastes sour to us, so we fetishistically disavow micrologics and our structural role in the reproduction of social forces over 4 dollar coffee. We’re thinking that our good intentions will save us. We mean well when we teach others about land grabbing from the bank but we’re delusional about our detournement and the fucks that billionaire developers give. We misunderstand our entitlements as rights to the city we can’t see, cause all we see is vacancy, not history, so we distort solidarity, to line it up with the gentry. We don’t decolonize, we use the data sets of unethical misinforgs and digital cartographers who stroll around wondering: why don’t we own this house that a homeless family is squatting in? Buy it up, kick’em out, then move suburbanite young white kids in. Digital worms colluding with authorities, to whom they sell the unpaid blext your vote labor they’ve primitively accumulated from us? Then the next recovering area of Detroit gets projected, invested and revitalized for the disappeared children to resettle in their historic homes. Farmers harvesting foreclosure lists fancy political actions and talk about the injustice of the future city commons, because they want to double down on the greening of the 500 dollar lots and grow their intentional community. Contradictions never deter us, we just twist and reverse to reassure us we’re not deleterious…but we are.