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Thursday, February 29, 2024

March 8th Institute (and companions) as a typical GONGO organisation

By: Dr Štefan Šumah

When non-governmental organisations are established for the purpose of turning into the paramilitary of one of the political options and dictating legislation from the outside or determining what is in the public interest (mainly the left pole), the meaning of their existence is completely lost or changed. Therefore, I would like to point out the problem of the operation of the so-called GONGOs (Government-sponsored non-governmental organisations) in the modern political system, which involves the spread of the practice of using non-governmental organisations and “non-state actors” as tools of political struggle by internal elites or foreign political influence, which is built into the arsenal of the masses as a tool for consciousness manipulation such as “psyop”[1], soft power, colour revolutions and more.

Due to their specificity, GONGO organisations have a binary functionality, divided into official, declared, explicit functions and unofficial, latent functions. Their position in the political system is not only related to an overt or latent engagement with a loyal attitude towards the ruling regime, but they also act as an instrument of state policy to build civil society institutions. Thus, GONGO can be both an instrument of political reaction and a collective actor of social change. As an actual example of the use of GONGO, the events of the Arab Spring in the countries of the Middle East.

A similar example of how non-governmental organisations actually work is their operation in Slovenia. Almost every non-governmental organisation applies for public tenders, they request additional funds from the state, from local communities… and all of them would like to have employed professionals, but not professionals for a guaranteed salary, but well-paid professionals, preferably with academic titles. This makes them dependent on the state and in a way effectively a GONGO. But forget about volunteers… except in really renowned associations with tradition, such as, for example, volunteer firefighters or mountaineers and maybe some cultural or sports associations, just miserable numbers that, on a declarative level (to meet the tender conditions), enable them to draw on state money.

However, where there is state money, often the meaning of non-governmental organisations as truly non-governmental organisations is lost, they are all watered down, and they increasingly become extensions of the state and parties (not necessarily the ruling ones) who promise them survival and huge sums of money. Partial interests of interest groups or associations prevail over broader interests. The money that pours into these non-governmental organisations no longer serves its purpose, but often only a handful of individuals employed in these organisations or at their top, and some of them even finance their expensive hobbies with this money.

And the March 8th Institute and its related “non-governmental organisations” are becoming nothing more than an extension of the currently ruling elite. Their position in the political system is connected to an obvious or latent engagement (political cycling, protests against the previous government…) and a loyal attitude (e.g. the attitude towards Janković in the case of the pharmacist, their support for clean water, and at the same time keeping silent about the construction of sewerage through the water protection areas, winking at Gen-I money laundering in the Balkans…) to the ruling regime, but at the same time they also act as an instrument of state policy for building civil society institutions (they announce taking over the struggle for pensioners in Rupar, protesting against themselves…).

In short, their modus operandi clearly marks them as the so-called GONGO organisations, which are actually a shame for non-governmental organisations and as such are unworthy of the title. However – everything for money. And if they had at least a little credibility at the beginning of their activity, they completely lost it with the sale and became sold souls who work on orders and above all for payment.ž

[1] Psyop –Psychological Operations (PSYOP)


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