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Institute for Policy Studies

Not to be confused with the UK-based Policy Studies Institute
Institute for Policy Studies
Abbreviation IPS
Motto Ideas into Action for Peace, Justice, and the Environment.
Formation 1963
Type Policy think tank
Headquarters Washington, DC, United States
John Cavanagh[1]
$2–$2.5 million[2][3]

The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) is a think tank based in Washington, D.C.. It has been directed by John Cavanagh since 1998. The organization focuses on U.S. foreign policy, domestic policy, human rights, international economics, and national security.

The IPS is one of the five major, independent think tanks in Washington.[2] Many sources have described the think tank as [4][5][6][7][8]

Members of the IPS played key roles in the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s, in the women's and environmental movements of the 1970s, and in the peace, anti-apartheid, and anti-intervention movements of the 1980s.[9]


  • History 1
    • 1960s 1.1
    • 1970s 1.2
    • 1980s 1.3
    • 1990s 1.4
  • Criticism 2
  • Administration 3
    • Fellows 3.1
    • Senior Scholars 3.2
    • Funding 3.3
  • References 4
  • External links 5



The institute was founded in 1963[10] by two former governmental workers, Richard Barnet (aide to John J. McCloy).[2][11]

As soon as IPS opened its doors in 1963, it plunged into the anti-Vietnam War movement.[11] In 1965, Raskin and Associate Fellow Gar Alperovitz’s Atomic Diplomacy and Barnet's Intervention and Revolution. IPS was the object of repeated FBI and Internal Revenue Service probes.[2] The Nixon Administration placed Barnet and Raskin on their now infamous Enemies List.[14]

In 1964, several leading African-American activists joined the staff and turned IPS into a base of support for the Ivanhoe Donaldson initiated an assembly of African-American government officials. Port Huron SDS co-writer and Civil rights veteran, IPS Fellow Robb Burlage launched the critical health care justice movement as IPS published his book on New York City "medical empires"; founding the Health Policy Advisory Center and its widely read and quoted Bulletin, published for 25 years [archives:].

The IPS was also at the forefront of the feminist movement. Fellow Rita Mae Brown wrote and published her path-breaking lesbian coming-of-age novel Rubyfruit Jungle while on the staff in the 1970s.


In 1976, the Institute's destiny became irrevocably linked with the international human rights movement when agents of Chilean dictator Ronni Karpen Moffitt, a 25-year-old IPS development associate, was also killed.

The Institute for Policy Studies hosts an annual human rights award in the names of Letelier and Moffitt to honor these fallen colleagues while celebrating new heroes of the human rights movement from the United States and elsewhere in the Americas. The award recipients receive the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award.

The Transnational Institute, an international progressive think tank based in Amsterdam, was originally established as the IPS's international program, although it became independent in 1973.[16]

In its attention to the role of multinational corporations, it was also an early critic of what has come to be called globalization. Richard Barnet's 1974 examination of the power of multinational corporations, Global Reach was one of the first books on the subject.


In the 1980s, IPS became heavily involved in supporting the movement against U.S. intervention in Central America. IPS Director Robert Borosage and other staff helped draft Changing Course: Blueprint for Peace in Central America and the Caribbean, which was used by hundreds of schools, labor unions, churches, and citizen organizations as a challenge to U.S. policy in the region.

In 1985, Fellow Roger Wilkins helped found the Free South Africa Movement,[17] which organized a year-long series of demonstrations that led to the imposition of U.S. sanctions.

In 1986, after six years of the Reagan administration, Sidney Blumenthal claimed that "Ironically, as IPS has declined in Washington influence, its stature has grown in conservative demonology. In the Reagan era, the institute has loomed as a right-wing obsession and received most of its publicity by serving as a target."[18]


In the early 1990s, IPS began monitoring the environmental impacts of U.S. trade, investment, and drug policies.

Since 1994, IPS has also published an annual report on the disparity between CEO and worker pay that has garnered widespread coverage in the mainstream media and helped put the issue of economic inequality at the center of the political debate.[19]



         "The single cord that binds IPS's multitude of projects and activities is that the changes in US policies sought by IPS are favorable ultimately to the interests of world communism. Ostensibly, we are told that world communism is 'dead', and that all we must do to prevent its resurgence is to increase our foreign aid to that dismal country. Contradicting that widely held belief is the opening of an IPS/TNI office in Moscow, and former TNI head, Katrina vanden Heuvel, now editor of the leftist American journal The Nation, spends much of her time in Moscow; one would presume her intended purpose is to strengthen the IPS-Soviet Union global partnership committed to expanding world communism. Yes, the Soviet Union and IPS themes remain unchanged: dismantling of NATO; termination of other defense agreements with US allies; "nonintervention" against communist insurgencies, whether direct as in Afghanistan or through local surrogates and agents as in Indochina, Angola, South Africa, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, or Mexico; government control of major US industries as well as housing, health, transportation, and education; and, a "planned economy" with comprehensive "income redistribution." Karl Marx and V.I. Lenin would recognize it all".[23]

In 1974, the Institute created an "Organizing Committee for the Fifth Estate" as part of its "Center for National Security Studies" which published the magazine CounterSpy. CounterSpy has in turn been the subject of scrutiny by various sources, which claim that the magazine's "driving force"[24] was Philip Agee (an ex-CIA and alleged Cuban/KGB agent[25][26][27]) and whose publications of the names and addresses of several employees of the Central Intelligence Agency contributed to the murder of the then CIA Station Chief in Greece, Richard S. Welch.[22][28]

In his book The KGB and Soviet Disinformation: An Insider's View Ladislav Bittman, a former Státní bezpečnost[29] agent who worked in misinformation operations, claimed that the IPS was part of the Soviet intelligence network.[30][31] Bittman argued that IPS was one of the several liberal think tanks that acted as pro-Soviet propaganda agencies.[32]



Senior Scholars


Start-up funding was secured from the Sears heir, Philip Stern, and banker, James Warburg. Most of the money came from a foundation of Samuel Rubin.[2]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ "A Call to Resist Illegitimate Authority".
  14. ^ Barnet and Raskin are listed on the more comprehensive Master list of Nixon political opponents; History of IPS, IPS website
  15. ^ Letelier case
  16. ^ IPS 30th Anniversary Report
  17. ^ FSAM Chronology
  18. ^ Sidney Blumenthal, Washington Post, 30 July 1986, Left-Wing Thinkers
  19. ^ Executive Compensation studies Archived September 27, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ Klehr, Harvey (1988) Far Left of Center: The American Radical Left Today p. 177
  21. ^
  22. ^ a b
  23. ^ Charleston Voice- (editorial repository for unflinching Americanism) Excerpt from discussion of the Institute for Policy Studies [IPS] found at the following ULR The Home page for Author of webpage at Charleston Voice is found at
  24. ^ Binnenlandse Veiligheidsdienst, Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) (confidential Dutch intelligence report, 1982), p. 7, 8.
  25. ^ Andrew p. 230, referencing p. 191-192 Andrew states: "The KGB files noted by Mitrokhin describe Agee as an agent of the Cuban DGI and give details of his collaboration with the KGB, but do not formally list him as a KGB or DGI agent. vol. 6, ch. 14, parts 1,2,3; vol. 6, app. 1, part 22."
  26. ^ Andrew, p. 231
  27. ^ "Once Again, Ex-Agent Philip Agee Eludes CIA's Grasp", Los Angeles Times, October 14, 1997
  28. ^
  29. ^ The Czechoslovak communist secret police.
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^

[1960 History: Burlage] See Chowkwanyun, Merlin, "Public Health Then and Now: The New Left and Public Health--The Health Policy Advisory Center, Community Organizing, and the Big Business of Health, 1967-1975"; American Journal of Public Health, February 2011, Vol. 101, No. 2; particularly page 240 reference to Burlage, Institute for Policy Studies, and Health Policy Advisory Center.

External links

  • Institute for Policy Studies website
  • The Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards
  • Folder Inventory to the Marcus Raskin Papers, Special Collections Research Center, Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library, The George Washington University
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