Among my interests in social justice and anti-corruption activism, I'm coming to the realization that perhaps the most important battle we must engage in is the one on counter-propaganda.
I'm starting to see that nothing of substance can happen, when it comes to the citizenry being able to effect change on the increasingly corrupt system of government we have, until we find a way to effectively counteract the extremely harmful effects the U.S. corporate media conglomerate has on the populace.
Last Saturday (April 20th) I attended The Conference to Restore The Republic, organized y RootStrikers, and had various conversations about this topic with some of the people I talked to. I was pleasantly surprised to connect with a couple of people who also viewed the effects of corporate propaganda on the populace as one of the most important challenges we face when it comes to social justice activism.
Here's the problem: The moneyed elite has a stronghold on our political system due to influence peddling corruption resulting from their ability to buy off politicians (campaign contributions, special favors, lucrative revolving door). They use that control to push policies that are detrimental to the general public. For more on this, please read this report (in PDF format): "Democracy and the Policy Preferences of Wealthy Americans." And because their control over the entire mainstream media landscape (because of massive corporate media conglomeration), they are able to use it as a propaganda tool:
Without an awareness of the grave consequences involved with an increasingly concentrated media environment the public (i.e. non-elites) will continue to be systematically brainwashed by the propagandist arm of the government that is the mass media and will unknowingly acquiesce to the interests of the dominant elites.Think about it. In your own life, what are the most important things? I would guess that being healthy, having a loving family, and a normal social life, along with living in a decent society would rank at the top of your priorities. If so, then issues like constitutional rights, wage and salary considerations, access to health care and education, and environmental issues (i.e., pollution, climate change), would be front and center in your list of priorities.
And yet, the ruling elite is tirelessly working to undermine each and every one of those priorities shared by the citizenry at large.
Some may ask? Why would the ruling elite want to do that? Don't they need a vibrant middle class to keep them afloat? Then answer is no. The ruling class has gone global, stashing their wealth away: "Massive Leak of Offshore Account Documents Reveals How the Global Rich Hide Their Money"
Thousands of individuals are implicated in abusing more than 120,000 offshore companies in 170 countries to evade taxes and shield shady business from view.So in essence, all the talk about balance budgets, and government spending, and national debt, and austerity is basically subterfuge meant to disguised the real aim of these policies: To equalize rights, wages, and benefits with those of developing countries in order to extract the maximum amount of wealth from the population, and from the environment. Yes, it is that crass, that basic; it's about money, about the bottom line.
All the suffering (death, mayhem, despair) these policies cause, are viewed (if they are considered at all) as collateral damage, just part of the process of wealth accumulation in an increasingly global economic system.
So in the face of this reality, people seem to be eerily passive in their acquiescence to the imposition of what is essentially tyranny.
And again, I argue that that passivity, that apathy, that sense of hopelessness about being able to do anything substantive to turn things around, is the direct result of the propaganda we are being exposed to 24/7.
What's the solution? The first thing that needs to happen is for people to start getting together, face to face, to talk about these things, to share notes, to validate their shared understanding about what's going on, to come up with strategies to counteract the effects of the propaganda, and to eventually be able to unite and deploy a counter-propaganda campaign.
Sometimes it is hard to get this concept across, but remember the Occupy Wall Street movement? The message was straightforward: the one percent is screwing the 99 percent, and we're not going to take it any more. It can't get more simple (and accurate) than that.
And once the 99 percent movement started with hundreds of encampments across the country, everybody was pretty much on the same page when it came to the problem (of the 1 percent oppression on the populace). The challenge the Occupy Movement had was that it was unable to coalesce into a cohesive and highly strategic peaceful resistance movement, with staying power.
And again, we all know why that happened: A brutal crackdown by an increasingly militaristic police force, and an equally brutal propaganda campaign via the corporate-owned U.S. media conglomerate.
This movement needs to be reborn. We need to get back on track and rise up in peaceful opposition to the brutal oppression by the ruling class.
I encourage people to start meetings face to face, in multiple cities nationwide, and retake the Occupy banner, but this time we need to coalesce into a cohesive movement capable of acting in concert nationwide.
If we are to be able to turn things around and reclaim the Republic we've lost to the wealthy ruling elite, we have no choice but to organize and to take coordinated action against the plutocracy.