RAND (not RAN) Study of Future Environmental Networks

posted by scott parkin

A friend of mine found this RAND Corp. study from 2005 and recently passed it along.

It’s a very wild scenario. The government and their think tanks are spending their time thinking about evolving organizing models and the future of our movements.

The most interesting parts have been pulled from the 139 page PDF .

Perhaps most striking is that their near-worst case scenario called a “transnational web,” sounded like the global justice movements best case scenario.

They write:”In this hypothetical future, the period from 2020 to 2025 witnesses a dramatic growth in the threat to the United States presented by radical transnational “peace and social justice” groups. Using the goal of creating a just “global civil society” as their rallying cry, large militant transnational actors appear, promoting radical agendas for the environment, nuclear disarmament, and Third World land reform.”

They paint a fictitious 2025 scenario of what the Transnational Web could look like in action. In their fictitious scenario they describe a climate network with groups in 80 countries; “World Environmental League (WEL), is spearheading a crusade to compel the UN General Assembly to approve a radical treaty for fossil fuel emissions reduction that would cripple many American and Western manufacturing industries.” WEL engages in violent actions against the US and corporations and requires a military response.

It’s interesting that they understand the power of decentralized leaderless network organizing more than many social movement folks, who continue to organize in weaker top down organizations, nonprofits, parties and unions.

In the study they recommend a military “Netwar Army” response. Like the RAND book Networks and Netwars, they actually lay the ground work for a military response to international grassroots networks organizing for positive social change and challenging the power of governments and corporations, whether or not nonviolent and un-armed.

Essentially they view grassroots democratic networks and activism as a threat requiring a military response to maintain the deeply anti-democratic power of nation states and corporations.