As we continue to look at how the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is embracing renewable energy, we turn now to Scott Wallace and Ellen Dorsey of the Wallace Global Fund. The fund recently awarded the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe the inaugural Henry A. Wallace Award and a $1 million investment in renewable energy projects led by the tribe. The award is named after Scott Wallace’s grandfather Henry A. Wallace, who served as vice president under Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1941 to 1945. In 1944, Wallace published an iconic article in The New York Times titled “The Danger of American Fascism.” He wrote, "American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact."
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. As we continue to look at how the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is embracing renewable energy, we turn to Scott Wallace and Ellen Dorsey of the Wallace Global Fund. The fund recently honored the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe with the inaugural Henry Wallace Award and a million-dollar investment in renewable energy projects, solar and wind, led by the tribe.
The award is named after Scott Wallace’s grandfather, Henry Wallace, who served as vice president under Franklin Delano Roosevelt from 1941 to 1945. Scott Wallace recently wrote an op-ed piece in The New York Times recalling his grandfather’s piece back over 70 years ago. In 1944, Henry Wallace published an iconic op-ed in The New York Times headlined "The Danger of American Fascism." Henry Wallace wrote, quote, "American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact," unquote.
I began by asking Scott Wallace about his grandfather’s comments in 1944.
SCOTT WALLACE: He described a breed of self-interested megalomaniac who—the notion of corporatism is what he described as a breed of fascism, which is the marriage of corporate power and government. And they pretend to be interested in democracy and the common people, but they are really only interested in preserving their own wealth and privilege.
And as you mentioned at the beginning, a defining characteristic of them that differentiates them from fascists that were then abroad in Germany and Italy was that they don’t need violence. They don’t kill people. They find that lying to the people is so much easier. So they use propaganda. They use the newspapers to spread lies and self-serving, what he called, snide suspicions without foundation in fact—as you mentioned, you know, birtherism, hugest inaugural crowd ever, 5 million people voted illegally, Obama wiretapped me. That is how they preserve their own power and ask for more.
And they also—he defined it as using their position to obtain more money through the merger of corporate and government power. And Obama is—I mean, sorry, Trump is that merger of corporate and government power. He uses it not only to pervert government policy toward personal ends, but he is now getting in trouble with the Emoluments Clause and receiving money from foreign governments, that the Founding Fathers said was an impeachable offense.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you feel that we’re moving toward fascism in this country? What do you think your grandfather would say?
SCOTT WALLACE: I think he would say, in retrospect, that we’re not talking about fascism in the way that is alarmist these days, that it’s not Hitler or Mussolini. Mussolini preferred the definition of corporatism, which is the merger of corporate and governmental power. Using that definition of fascism, yes, that is what my grandfather predicted. And I think the only thing that would shock him right now is that his prediction has come true.
AMY GOODMAN: When he ran for president in 1948, one of the barriers he broke is he traveled with African Americans through the South. Can you talk about the significance of this?
SCOTT WALLACE: Well, there’s a wonderful story that was videotaped of Pete Seeger and Studs Terkel, who were with him on this tour, describing what animates this award that we gave yesterday to Standing Rock: courage. I mean, he refused to speak in front of a segregated audience in the Deep South. And Pete Seeger describes this scenario of the police coming to him and saying, "Mr. Wallace, you may not live through this week. There are threats against you." And my grandfather said, "That’s not important. It’s important that I continue this tour."
And that standing up for what is right in the face of grave personal risk, that’s what we saw in Standing Rock. That’s what—when we were thinking about how to honor my grandfather, how to incentivize that kind of courageous behavior and activism against overwhelming corporate and governmental power, that’s why, oh, my god, Standing Rock is it.
AMY GOODMAN: And so, explain what you’ve done, because this is unusual in philanthropy today in the United States.
SCOTT WALLACE: Well, we created this award, the Henry A. Wallace Award, to honor that type of courageous activism against the merger of corporate and state power. We put a cash award with it. And this year, we decided, because they are also in search of a solution, a clean energy solution, which is very viable, wind and solar projects—we decided to not only give them a grant, an unrestricted prize for their activism and their resistance, but to invest with our assets, the 95 percent of our money that we don’t give away every year but we invest to grow. We decided to put some of that into clean solar and wind projects, specifically run by and for the Standing Rock Tribe, to make an example that this is not only good for the planet, but it’s a way to make a decent return, too, which we find just shockingly ironic today as President Trump has withdrawn from the hugest global agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions, again, based on snide suspicions without foundation in fact, that, oh, my god, climate change is a Chinese hoax and fabrication. So, it all came together very nicely. And we want to also make the point that, no, renewable energy is the future, and you can make a nice return on it.
AMY GOODMAN: And so, this grant is both an outright grant of what? Like $250,000. But then, explain the rest of it.
SCOTT WALLACE: Well, we made a commitment of up to a million-dollar investment in the solar and wind projects that Standing Rock is developing with experienced project developers in the wind and solar space and that will empower the community, the tribe, and can provide a model for the rest of the country and the rest of the world.