Early this morning I was driving near my home in the San Francisco East Bay. I remember getting in the car and noticing the beautiful blue skies as I started driving, but then when I looked in the rear-view mirror, I noticed that there was what appeared to be a very dark cloud coming my way. I soon realized it was a very thick fog moving pretty fast. As I drove off, at one point I got on a very long street where I was going to drive about 3.5 miles straight...
And then it started to happen; as I drove, to my left the sky was bright and sunny, and to my right the fog was approaching fast. Then I started to see thin fog floating across the street in front of me, at first, and then it started getting thicker, until it engulfed me completely and everything turned darker... The blue sky was gone. I was driving in very heavy fog by the time I got to the end of the street.
For some reason, as this was happening, I thought about the movie The Hunger Games - Catching Fire, which I watched on Sunday. In particular, I thought about the character Cesar Flickerman, played by Stanley Tucci. I'll explain the fog thing down below, but before I do, when it comes to the Caesar Flickerman's character, I had an aha! moment. You see, I've written many times about what I think about the U.S. media in general, and the news media in particular. I see it as basically a grotesque mind-numbing propaganda machine in the service of the ruling elite.
And so, getting back to the movie, it arguably being a metaphor for the type of predatory brutal system we're living under, you start to see the parallels. You see, one central theme of the movie is how the tiny ruling elite uses the media (TV most of all) to spread their narratives to the oppressed and subjugated masses. It uses it to distract, to manipulate, to appease, to lie, and to spread false narratives and propaganda all meant to control us, just like the grotesque U.S. corporate media is used by our debased and immoral ruling elite. And you observe the fake and exaggerated mannerisms or affectations; the carefully-designed messaging; the weirdly bizarre face-lifts of many of the news anchors, and the increasingly provocative attire.
And while all that comes to mind, as I watch Caesar Flickerman, I say to myself, "Oh shit! That's it! The hideous and grotesque U.S. corporate media conglomerate is that character, Caesar Flickerman!" So there you have it...
And so as I drive the 3.5 miles in the road, and as the fog comes in from the side of the street and engulfs everything around me, I think of that fog and the darkness it brings with it, as the fog of lies, false narratives and propaganda we're exposed to 24/7. We are immersed in it, just like fish are immerse in the water. The fog of lies and the darkness it causes is all around us.
But of course, the problem is not only the propaganda we're being exposed to, but the lengths to which the fascist corporate oligarchy and their puppets in government go to in order to infiltrate the fast-growing social justice movement against oppression by the corporate state.
The other day I wrote about how the U.S. government is colluding with its corporate paymasters to infiltrate activists groups. And then today, I read another account about a globally renowned "activist" with connections to many activist movements around the world was basically a paid hack, a corporate spy for the self-proclaim "Shadow CIA," or Stratfor. A revelation brought to light by the very important work of Jeremy Hammond, who is now serving an outrageous ten-year sentence in the U.S. as a political prisoner/dissident.
These revelations come in the aftermath of thousands of new emails released by Wikileaks’ “Global Intelligence Files.” The emails reveal Popovic worked closely with Stratfor, an Austin, Texas-based private firm that gathers intelligence on geopolitical events and activists forclients ranging from the American Petroleum Institute and Archer Daniels Midland to Dow Chemical, Duke Energy, Northrop Grumman, Intel and Coca-Cola.The emphasis is mine
Stratfor said Popovic’s main use for the firm was his vast array of grassroots activist contacts around the world.
“A little reminder that the main utility in this contact is his ability to connect us to the troublemakers around the world that he is in touch with. His own ability to discern situation on the ground may be limited, he mainly has initial contact with an asset and then lets them do their own thing,” reads a May 2010 email written by former Stratfor Eurasia Analyst Marko Papic. “He does himself have information that may be useful from time to time. But, the idea is to gather a network of contacts through CANVAS, contacts that we can then contact independently.”
Are you starting to get the picture? You see, you have to realize that these treasonous fucks, these corporate hacks, these infiltrators are everywhere (Hello There!). And so when you combine the effects of the massive, nonstop corporate propaganda we are being exposed to 24/7, with the infiltration of social justice and environmental protections activist groups who engage in deception, psychological operations, manipulation, and disruption, it is no wonder that in the face of increased oppression and blatant criminality by the ruling elite, we haven't been able to establish the type of resistance movement capable of challenging the brutality and corporatist hegemony of the ruling class.
Now, don't get me wrong, despite of the crackdown on the Occupy Wall Street movement by the American Police State, the resistance movement is once again taking shape, growing, and getting more organized across the country as many different activist groups form coalitions. That is a good thing.
But at the same time that resurgence, that building of coalitions, provides these cockroaches, these filthy and treasonous corporate spies and infiltrators plenty of opportunity to burrow themselves into the movement and fuck with people's head, engage in disruption tactics, PsyOps, surveillance... And as long as they are able to do so undetected they will be able to continue derailing or disrupting the movement.
What is the solution to this problem? Well, I'm going to be doing some more studying and research on this subject and will share some insights and ideas in subsequent writings, but in the meantime, it seems to me that there are certain concepts associated with communitarian anarchism could be very helpful to the movement.
Before I delve into that, let me put forward this scenario... First, each activist would need to be fully aware of the fact that more than likely there are infiltrators in their own groups. Second, there should be an attempt to formulate a set of principles focused on coming up with discreet strategies and tactics to be used against the corporate state with the ultimate goal of bringing it down.
I'm thinking something like an open source approach where the actions necessary to take on the corporate state are clearly defined and shared widely and publicly. And then in the spirit of communitarian anarchism activists form groups in voluntary association in order to carry out the different actions against the Criminal Kleptocracy.
Let me give you an example of a tactic... Okay, let's say we want to target one of the most consequential offenders in the form of the U.S. media. Let's pick the top 5 news media headquarters or large offices in the San Francisco Bay Area. And let's say that we need to recruit 300 people willing to coordinate "shifts" during the week, from Monday through Friday.
The task? To have a least 5 people picketing, protesting in front of the offices of these propagandists from Monday through Friday, maybe starting at 10:00am until about 8:00pm.
And let's say that each of the 300 volunteers can afford to do a two hour "shift" each week. So you see... Using an open source analysis and strategy approach, you define the tactic very specifically. Put the information out there to the public, and recruit volunteers.
The beauty of this approach is that the rats, the infiltrators can't really do anything to disrupt the tactic. There is no central office (of an activist group) to infiltrate, or to steal data from, to collect names and addresses of the groups personnel, or to talk shit trying to confuse or disrupt operations. Volunteers following the communitarian anarchist (non-hierarchical) model just show up to their shift and do their thing.
And this could be replicated with a thousand other tactics... One more thing; as this approach takes hold, a certain ethos of not disclosing participants' real names, contact information, etc., could be followed in order to make the rats' work of spying on activists much more harder.
Now, let me get back to theory... I read an excellent article at Truthout: Dialectical Communitarian Anarchism as the Negation of Domination: A Review of "The Impossible Community"
One of the first things I like about the article is that it addresses the issue of "enlightenment" as an important pre-condition for the self-directed anarchist:
Much of Clark's introductory commentary focuses on the problem of individual and collective human enlightenment: The question is how to induce what Paulo Freire termed "conscientization" (conscientização), a catalyst for a societal awakening that would take into account normally overlooked social and ecological problems toward the end of engaging with and ultimately resolving them. How might a shattering intervention break the mass of humanity from much of its observed complacency and complicity with the capitalist everyday, which, "if we are to speak honestly, must be called a culture of extinction, a culture of extermination, and ecocidal culture"?To my thinking, in order for people to be able to take advantage anarchism as applied to the social justice movement, it is important to have a pretty clear understanding of "reality," of the machinations of the system.
Finally, we've heard about "disaster capitalism," and also about the "shock doctrine," which basically refers to how the ruling elite takes advantage of disaster (which many times it is caused by their actions) in order to subjugate and exploit the population by stripping us of our human and constitutional rights; by instituting "induced poverty" policies (chained-cpi, austerity, shutting down of public schools, etc).
Well, there is also a "disaster anarchism," which does the opposite...
Against the twin "disaster capitalism" and "disaster fascism" seen before, during and after Katrina, Clark nonetheless gives space to the "disaster anarchism" that flourished in the hurricane's aftermath, as in the founding of the Common Ground collective and the radical volunteer work engaged in by thousands of anti-authoritarian youths in the months that followed. In these efforts, Clark sees the embodiment of Reclus' view of mutual aid, "the principal agent of human progress." Indeed, as he writes dialectically, despite the great "suffering and tragedy" inflicted by the storm, the weeks after the hurricane "have undoubtedly been one of the most gratifying periods in [his] life," for they demonstrated very clearly to him "a sense of the goodness of people, ... their ability to show love and compassion for one another, and ... their capacity to create spontaneous community." Clark speaks to the critical opening provided by the Katrina disaster, given the very clear "break with conventional reality" this event signified: like John Holloway, author of Crack Capitalism, Clark identifies Katrina very clearly as a "system crack" that provided for the possibility of different future realities. Clark cites the commonly shared view of many post-Katrina volunteers who held that the catastrophe provided an unprecedented possibility to experience "the beauty, the wonder, and the sacredness of the place, and of the people of the place." The catastrophist shock-value of such experiences forms a critical basis for the mass expression of a transformative disaster anarchism, Clark argues. In breaking radically with the prevailing state of affairs, disaster anarchism provides for the chance of "a qualitatively different way of life," one based in "love, compassion, solidarity, mutual aid, and voluntary cooperation."
The emphasis is mine
So in closing, what I'm attempting to do here is to see if anarchism provides some answers to the challenge of structured progressive organizations propensity for being infiltrated by corporate spies and informants... Again, I will be doing more work on this, reaching out to experts in the field, and sharing my findings in future writings.
I look forward to feedback and additional ideas (especially from ZhenRen, Words in Action, and Jim P, and others).
UPDATE: TUE DEC 03, 2013 AT 11:00 AM PST
Definition: Bringing down the corporate state
The corporate state is the condition in which we find ourselves in today in the United States and much of the Western world. It is defined by a condition in which very rich and powerful individuals and the organizations they control, which I have termed "corporatist cartels," have captured our government institutions through a system of both, legalized bribery, and outright corruption.
With our government institutions fully captured, the corporate state has then turned increasingly oppressive, fascistic, and predatory, against the citizenry, and against the environment...
It is increasingly functioning as a Criminal Oligarchy, or Kleptocracy.
To me, "bringing down the corporate state" means to put sufficient pressure on it via a highly organized peaceful resistance movement until it is forced to relent, which means that the cabal of super-rich individuals and their front groups would have to let go of their choke-hold on our democracy.
At that point democracy, respect for the Constitutions, human rights, and the rule of law would have been re-established.
I argue that all this could be done peacefully, and I would never advocate for anybody to engage in any act of violence.
Sockpuppets & Trolls Watch: Their aim is to disrupt, to annoy, to introduce "noise" in order to prevent meaningful discussions of issues. Their tactics include ad hominem attacks where instead of addressing issues, they attack the character of people. They also engage in logical fallacies. A good source of information about the tactics used by sockpuppets, trolls and hacks is "The 15 Rules of Web Disruption." Once you familiarize yourself with those tactics, it is pretty easy to spot the potential troll. Once spotted, the best thing is to ignore them.
We live in the world that your propaganda made, but when you think you are strong, you are weak. Your lies tell us the truth we will use against you. Your secrecy shows us where we will strike. Your weapons reveal your fear for all to see. From Cairo to Quito a new order is forming. The power of people armed with the truth.
-- Julian Assange / Calle 13 multi-viral
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