When it was established in 2006, the International Endowment for Democracy (IED) identified itself as “a new foundation of progressive American scholars, lawyers and activists dedicated to promoting real democracy in the country that needs it most, the USA.” The foundation’s principal objective was to serve as an opposing force to the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which IED dubbed the “National Endowment for Hypocrisy Democracy.” Specifically, IED objected to NED’s pro-free market, anti-socialist orientation. By IED’s reckoning, capitalism was a system capable of benefiting only a small minority of people while subjecting most to “a worsening economic plight as well as a fall in the quality of life and in personal security.”
IED was originally funded by a handful of left-wing professors, lawyers, journalists, and authors located chiefly in Canada, India, and Europe. Thereafter, its funding continued to derive almost entirely from non-governmental organizations and individuals outside the United States.
IED used some of the money it raised to finance the activities of U.S.-based “groups and institutions working to defend democracy in America.” Its funding priorities included: “progressive workers’ groups”; “progressive media”; “progressive education”; and “investigations into the undemocratic practices of our so-called ‘democracy’ … while the current Government is hypocritically engaged in promoting ‘democratic nation building’ in other lands.”
Viewing the American political system as corrupt to its core, IED did not directly fund any political party.
IED’s Statement of Purpose complained that in America, “too many people have been denied the vote either by law or through discrimination,” and “politics was always dominated by the rich who also controlled the main means by which people acquire their political information and ideas.”
In IED’s calculus, George W. Bush was “a usurper” who had “stole[n] … two presidential elections” and subsequently presided over an “illegitimate government” that exhibited “arrogant disregard for democratic values and procedures” in both its domestic and foreign dealings.
According to IED, “the tragic events of 9/11 were used [by the Bush Administration] as a pretext to make an unprecedented assault on American civil liberties in the so-called ‘Patriot Act’ and to carry out an economic program that favors corporations and the rich as never before.” The U.S. government, the Endowment added, “has become the major danger to world peace, having started two unnecessary wars (at least one of which was based on lies) and threatened several others.” Moreover, IED derided America for “bullying and bribing weaker nations to adopt free market economies” while remaining blind to its own “rapidly growing gap between … rich and poor,” and to the “erosion of decent paying, full-time jobs and social benefits” in the U.S.
Additionally, IED impugned “the American government’s unwillingness to even admit [the reality of] global warming, let alone act upon it (other than to make it worse), has raised the stakes to the point where the very future of our species is in jeopardy.”
IED’s board members, executive committee members, and honorary chairpersons included such notables as:
IED’s legal counsel was William Schaap, a radical attorney who served as co-editor of the periodical Covert Action Quarterly and the book Bio-Terror: Manufacturing Wars the American Way.
By 2009, IED was essentially defunct.