The Alliance for Global Justice (AFGJ, sometimes styled AfGJ) is an organizing group that serves as a fiscal sponsor to numerous left-wing initiatives, among them Refuse Fascism, United Students Against Sweatshops, and Stop Mass Incarceration. The group arose from the Nicaragua Network, an organization which supported the Communist-aligned Sandinista regime in Nicaragua. The group describes itself as “anti-capitalist,” opposed to the principles of liberal democracy and individual rights, and favoring a “multi-polar” world order with powerful rivals to American international primacy.
The organization provides “fiscal sponsorship” to groups advocating numerous foreign and domestic far-left and extreme-left causes, including eliminating the State of Israel, supporting convicted violent leftist extremists, and advancing various labor union efforts. Fiscal sponsorship is a legal practice by which a parent 501(c)(3) organization can handle tax-deductible contributions on behalf of a project in alignment with its mission.
AFGJ has been criticized for close alignment with authoritarian or semi-authoritarian left-wing regimes in Latin America, including the Venezuelan Bolivarian socialist regime of Nicolas Maduro, the Nicaraguan leftist Sandinista regime of Daniel Ortega, and the Cuban communist regime of Raul Castro. Persons associated with AFGJ have even affirmed the propaganda of the gulag state of North Korea.
Alliance for Global Justice was incorporated in 1998 by members of the pro-Sandinista Nicaragua Network. The Sandinistas (formally the Sandinista National Liberation Front, in Spanish Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional) are a far-left paramilitary group turned political party with ties to the Communist regime of the Castro brothers in Cuba. The party has controlled the government of Nicaragua since 2006 and has been criticized for increasing authoritarianism.
In 1998, ostensibly to reduce confusion regarding the group’s non-Nicaragua-related left-wing organizing work, Nicaragua Network staffers incorporated the Alliance for Global Justice. AFGJ would ultimately subsume the Nicaragua Network as a project of the Alliance.
In the early 2000s, AFGJ would be involved in anti-International Monetary Fund and anti-World Bank demonstrations. The group also claims credit for helping form the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) Coalition, which has ties to the extremist Workers World Party.
Alignment with Left-Wing Authoritarians
Alliance for Global Justice and people associated with the organization have advocated for socialist and Communist authoritarian regimes since its founding. The group is an advocate for the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (known by the acronym ALBA), a Venezuelan- and Cuban-led trading bloc of leftist-led countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Alliance for Global Justice has advocated on behalf of more open relations between the United States and the Communist-controlled Cuban government and endorsed Cuban regime propaganda. James Jordan, an AFGJ staff member, took tours of Cuba in 2015 as part of an AFGJ delegation. He then published a pro-Castro regime article on AFGJ’s website, praising the Cuban system he had observed.
Jordan noted the absence of visible opposition to the regime’s policing, claiming that “there is no need” for such a movement. Human Rights Watch, a left-leaning international observer of human rights issues, reported that the Cuban regime had engaged in thousands of arbitrary detentions, hundreds of arrests of dissidents, and continuous interference with the right of internal travel in 2016.
Jordan likewise praised freedom of expression in Cuba, asserting:
My general impression was that the Cuban people I spoke with, whether dissidents, critical supporters or 100% gung-ho fans of the socialist government seemed significantly less paranoid and worried about surveillance and government repression than my fellow Leftist activists living here in the United States, especially since passage of the Patriot Act and its spawn.
The Cuban government controls all media in the country, and independent journalists frequently face summary detention or imprisonment.
Alliance for Global Justice is a staunch advocate of the Venezuelan socialist regime of Nicolas Maduro, which unilaterally and extra-constitutionally abolished its opposition-controlled legislature in favor of a rubber-stamp “Constitutional Assembly.” AFGJ has operated a “Venezuela Solidarity Campaign” to rally support for the Maduro regime. AFGJ produces webinars promoting the Maduro regime: Titles include “Why We Must Defend Venezuela and the Bolivarian Revolution,” “A Report Back from the International Solidarity Meeting ‘Todos Somos Venezuela’ in Caracas,” and “Building the Commune: Radical Democracy in Venezuela.”
In May 2017, AFGJ co-sponsored demonstrations at the Organization of American States building in Washington, D.C. demanding the U.S. not interfere with Maduro’s government.
Since its creation, AFGJ has closely aligned with the Nicaraguan leftist insurgent group-turned-semi-authoritarian ruling party Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, known as the Sandinistas. A pro-Sandinista group, the Nicaragua Network, was the original parent organization of AFGJ. Despite the Sandinista regime becoming increasingly authoritarian, AFGJ continues to defend the Sandinista regime.
As of 2017, AFGJ runs a campaign to oppose the bipartisan Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act, which would condition U.S. loans to the Nicaraguan government on free elections and other democratic participation rights. As part of the advocacy campaign, an AFGJ spokesperson appeared on the Russian government propaganda organ Sputnik News to oppose the bill.
People and organizations associated with AFGJ have been accused of parroting propaganda of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Communist gulag state better known as North Korea. Refuse Fascism, a fiscally sponsored project of AFGJ, called for demonstrations on July 15, 2017 with a message that appeared to defend the North Korean regime’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons program:
The development of these [nuclear weapons] capabilities by the North Korean regime is changing the “balance of power” in this whole region—potentially constraining the ability of the U.S. imperialists to dominate and wield influence in this region. This is deemed unacceptable by the powers that be on “both sides of the aisle”—from the Trump/Pence regime to the Democrats and Obama, to the military and the national security establishment. The interests of these rulers are sharply and profoundly opposed to those of the great majority of people here and around the world.
Marxist activist Stansfield Smith contributed an article to the Alliance for Global Justice website in 2013 which claimed to be the responses of his North Korean tour guides to Smith’s questions about various policy matters during Smith’s tour of the gulag state. Reputable human rights organizations have found that “Nearly all forms of private communication are monitored by a huge network of informants,” yet Smith presented his guides’ claims—which echoed North Korean government propaganda, for obvious reasons—as the authentic views of DPRK citizens.
As of 2016, Alliance for Global Justice was a fiscal sponsor of nine pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli groups. At least one, the “One Democratic State Group,” openly calls for the abolition of Israel as a national home for the Jewish people. Other organizations AFGJ has supported have facilitated violent demonstrations.
Defense of Left-Wing Extremists
Alliance for Global Justice is a staunch defender of left-wing extremists, including convicted felons. AFGJ publishes a list of purported “Prisoners of Empire” it asserts are political prisoners. The list includes several violent extremists: Native American radical Leonard Peltier, convicted of murdering two FBI agents; Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther convicted of murdering a Philadelphia police officer; members of the Marxist-Leninist terrorist organization Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC); members of the Black Liberation Army; David Gilbert, a member of the terrorist Weather Underground; three men convicted of a politically motivated spree murder in the U.S. Virgin Islands; and members of the terrorist United Freedom Front. The list also honors convicted Cuban spy Ana Montes, convicted terrorist conspirator Patrice Lumumba Ford, and two Minnesota women convicted of material support for the Islamist terror organization Al-Shabbab.
In addition to honoring left-wing and Islamist extremists as so-called political prisoners, AFGJ provides fiscal sponsorship to the legal defense funds of numerous left-wing extremists. The organization lists “Family and Friends of Dr. Mutulu Shakur” (a black nationalist extremist convicted of conspiracy to rob an armored car) and the “Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition” as fiscally sponsored projects. Other reports have indicated that alleged National Security Agency leaker Reality Winner’s legal defense fund is also sponsored by AFGJ.
Tax records from the Pamela Anderson Foundation, the personal philanthropic vehicle of actress Pamela Anderson, show that AFGJ has supported Peltier’s legal defense. The Foundation contributed $5,000 to AFGJ for the “International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee.”
Fiscally Sponsored Projects
According to its website, Alliance for Global Justice is fiscal sponsor of 107 projects. Fiscal sponsorship is a practice by which a sponsored organization without 501(c)(3) status raises funds through an existing 501(c)(3) organization, allowing donors to take an income tax deduction for those contributions. By Internal Revenue Service rules, the purpose and mission of sponsored projects and the sponsoring organization must be aligned.
AFGJ takes a 7% or 8% commission on all contributions under a fiscal sponsorship agreement, depending on the form of the contribution.
For more information, see Refuse Fascism (nonprofit)
Refuse Fascism is a project fiscally sponsored by Alliance for Global Justice that seeks the overthrow of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, asserting that the Trump administration functions as a “fascist regime.” The group has been associated with organizing demonstrations against President Trump’s inauguration as part of the “Disrupt J20” movement, orchestrating demonstrations against right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopolous which devolved into rioting, and planning marches and occupations to last until President Trump and Vice President Pence leave office. The group has endorsed extremist positions, including appearing to defend North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.
United Students Against Sweatshops
For more information, see United Students Against Sweatshops (other group)
United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) is a labor-union-backed organizing effort focused on college campuses that attacks major clothing brands involved in university licensing agreements that manufacture clothing overseas. It was founded in the late 1990s. The group has also attacked Teach for America, a teacher training group that has been opposed by teachers unions.
USAS has received dedicated funding from numerous major labor unions, including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), the United Steelworkers (USWA), Unite Here, and the AFL-CIO.
Despite ties to left-wing extremists, hostile foreign powers, and domestic violent extremists, Alliance for Global Justice has received substantial funding from organizations often claiming to be the mainstream of the center-left. The Open Society Foundations, Tides Foundation, Arca Foundation, Surdna Foundation, Public Welfare Foundation, and the Brightwater Fund have all made contributions to AFGJ. AFGJ has also received substantial contributions through donor-advised funds, which allow donors to anonymize contributions which might otherwise be disclosed using an intermediary foundation.
In addition to more general left-of-center organizations, AFGJ has taken money from foundations associated with the extreme left. The Foundation for Deep Ecology, an extremist environmentalist funder, has provided $30,000 to AFGJ. The group has also received funding from the left-wing Ben and Jerry’s Foundation, the anti-Israeli Firedoll Foundation, and the left-wing Hill-Snowdon Foundation.
Labor unions are also substantial contributors to AFGJ and its sponsored projects. In 2016, the SEIU reported a contribution to AFGJ, while numerous other unions have funded AFGJ projects United Students Against Sweatshops and US Labor Against the War.