K is for Koch Industries

Capitalism profits from confusion and misinformation.

If we’re distracted and mistrustful, it’s hard for us to organise and collaborate with each other.

The Koch family is a prime example.

Koch Industries makes money from:

– Coal, oil and gas

– Chemicals

– Mining

– Fertilisers

– Wood and paper

– Cattle rearing

In other words, industries that are destroying the planet in pursuit of profit and ruining lands and lives in the process.

That’s bad enough.

But to distract us from the damage those industries are doing, the Koch family gives funds to a load of “think tanks”.

These think tanks pretend to have some sort of authority to put out arguments that are designed to confuse us and make us think that there isn’t, for example, a consensus on the causes and dangers of climate change.

When in fact we know full well it’s Koch Industries and hundreds of other companies like theirs who are ruining our planet – and trying to dodge the blame.

They also give eyewatering amounts of money to pretend “grassroots groups”.

Some of which is channelled through funding bodies, laughably called “charitable”.

And to push for a world in which the rich and the white stay on top, they have funded lobby groups, political parties and political candidates.

This isn’t a secret cabal of people tucked away in a room – this is no hidden conspiracy. This is blatant and visible manipulation for the purposes of profit.

The lies and hate they churn out are all too available in the media and online.

And they try to claim credibility by funding scientific institutions like the Smithsonian Museum.

As our lives increasingly slip out of control, it’s tempting to see Koch Industries as proof of a conspiracy at the highest level of power.

It’s almost reassuring to think that someone somewhere is pulling the levers.

But Koch Industries is just one example from a system driven by the need to maximise profit.

Put another way: it’d be great to bring down Koch Industries, but there’s another set of bastards waiting to take their place.

“And yet, if there is a hidden truth at the centre of the world, it is that the world is something that we make.

And that we could just as easily make it differently.”

The first World Social Forum took place in Porto Alegre, Brazil,in 2001. The organisers expected to have 3000 people participating, to parallel the numbers attending global capital’s jamboree, the World Economic Forum.

Instead, 20,000 people turned up, sharing ideas about ways to change the world.

All over the world, people have been meeting and organising and learning.

You make plans. We make history...


Thanks to DeSmog blog and Mother Jones for the research on Koch Industries’ investment.

And thanks to the much-missed David Graeber for the ‘hidden truth’ quote.