The Non-Profit Industrial Complex Will Never Be 'The Movement'

PETA is often confused with "the movement," as is the annual FARM conference. However, it's hard to define what this "movement" actually is. It is not a vegan movment, it is not an animal rights movement, it is not even a "movement" in any meaningful sense of the term. Organizations like PETA, FARM, HSUS, etc. are all part of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex (NPIC). (Read more...) As rights advocate Gary Francione notes in Rain Without Thunder:

the American movement changed dramatically in the second half of the 1980s, when the animal rights movement became more centrally focused on a handful of national organizations. This change was facilitated by PETA, which began as a grassroots group but soon relinquished control to PETA "headquarters," with all policies and campaigns determined by Newkirk and Pacheco.

If you want to know exactly how PETA facilitated this NPIC appropriation of the grassroots movement, simply take a glance at the online biography of Kim Stallwood, who proudly flaunts his "Extensive not-for-profit management experience with animal advocacy organizations in the U.S.A. and U.K." Under the header: "EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PEOPLE FOR THE ETHICAL TREATMENT OF ANIMALS 1987 – 1992," one of the architects of the NPIC takeover gives a point-by-point rundown of his offenses:

• Responsible for managing the organization's growth from an annual budget of $3.5 million in 1987 to $10.5 million in 1991, including increase in full-time staff from 35 to 85 during this period
• Dramatically overhauled the managerial effectiveness and professionalism of this grassroots organization, transforming it into a nationally recognized force in animal advocacy
• Managed the overall transition, particularly in the areas of development, programs, corporate identity, finance, personnel and administration; relocated the organization twice
• Supervised the complete reorganization of financial management including automation of the accounting system, financial reports and 20 departmental budgets
• Instituted management structure, including procedures for written monthly reports, weekly planning meetings and biannual retreats
• Directed the implementation of a corporate identity program for the organization's publications (e.g., magazines, lifestyle and issue guides, gala programs, etc.) and products (private-label household cleaning products, t-shirts, etc.)
• Responsible for directing the organization's social events, membership development and high donor programs (e.g., direct mail, one-on-one solicitation, grant applications, celebrity cultivation, Anniversary Membership Party and Humanitarian Awards Galas)
• Increased membership by 75% from 200,000 in 1987 to 350,000 in 1991
• Redesigned and relaunched existing merchandise mail-order program with a 32-page catalog featuring Paul and Linda McCartney on the front cover
• Annual gross income in the merchandise program increased from $225,000 to $1.35 million with net income increasing correspondingly

This list could easily serve as the basis of a case study on the problems with the NPIC. Notice how every point emphasizes a solid corporate-based strategy that comes at the expense of real movement building and community organizing.

Check out INCITE!'s webpage Beyond The Non-Profit Industrial Complex for information and resources on the NPIC.