We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, May 26, 2017

A revolutionary model - part 2a

by Ron Horn.

Most of the time I see that the ruling capitalist class has overwhelming control over every sector of our society, but recently I see one sector in which they are vulnerable--news media. Because the US-led Empire is increasingly fighting a losing battle in their goal of world hegemony, their media corporations are increasingly issuing fake news, and the US and allied governments are increasingly using subterfuge, secrecy, and false-flag operations to impose their will on the world. The growing gap between reality of what is happening in the world and the awareness of most Americans about this reality is becoming rather wide. There is considerable evidence that many no longer believe the talking heads featured in the TV broadcasts of media corporations, but these megaphones of disinformation are drowning out the tiny voices trying to be heard in more independent sources that exist online.

You say that we already have alternative sources of news and analysis and they are growing? For over nearly the eight years of my website's existence I have been promoting these websites, but now I no longer think that is sufficient to overcome the stranglehold that the capitalist class has over every sector of our society in the limited time we have. Alternative websites, which challenge the lies (see this, this, and this for the latest) of our masters, are all begging for support from us (see this, this, this, and this at 23:25m) and other worthy projects (see this). 

Although there are more and more independent voices going online to tell us what is really happening in our dangerous world, they all with few exceptions are trying to do this with very limited budgets and unpaid volunteers. Given the dangerous times we live in, I think that it is urgent that we promote collaboration, cooperation, and a sharing of resources in order to establish a much more powerful and more effective American independent news service. By remaining in the present state that scattered independent voices are now in, we are no match for the powerful megaphones of media corporations. The words of a famous American are so appropriate for our time: "We must hang together, or we will all hang separately."

We presently see major Western dissident figures and independent journalists having to go on RT, TeleSur, and PressTV to express their analysis and views of what is happening in the world. This is not at all ideal. All of these sources of information are funded by foreign countries which most Americans shy away from. There are also two additional important reasons we Americans must support our own news service to provide independent news, news analysis, and views.

Trump has contributed one positive thing to the plethora of disinformation that we are faced with: he has brought to the attention of Americans that they have been issued "fake news" by these media corporations (even though he has no compunctions about issuing fake reports of his own). By doing so, he has exposed the issue of fake news, and an awareness of this has entered the consciousness of ordinary people across the USA and much of the world. 

Finally, and most importantly, I will argue for a radically different type of organization to sustain this collective effort which I believe has excellent prospects for bringing down the rule of capitalists. 

People on the left may be familiar with references to a "bottom-up" concept of organization, but are hazy as to what it actually means. This is simply because it is so new and so different to what we have been exposed to up to now. What we are most familiar with, and have come to believe as the only possibility, is a top-down organization. This is because since the dawn of civilization we have been controlled by ruling  classes. With the growth of populations has come increasing complexity of societal organization and has resulted in top-down organizational methods of control that are ideal to serve the interests of tiny ruling classes over the vast majority.

It is easy to see how a top-down organizational structure is so well designed to serve the profit interests of a relatively few management personnel who are hired to serve the profit interests of shareholders over a vast majority of workers. 

Tellingly omitted under each of the orange categories are thousands of ordinary wage workers--they simply don't matter. The blue boxes are considered staff functions that serve the CEO, and the orange boxes are considered line functions which serve to control workers and what work they do. All the boxes are filled with well rewarded upper-middle class people who have had many years of exposure to ruling class ideology and have demonstrated loyalty to the capitalist ruling class who own these corporations. 
Likewise, it is easy, logically speaking, to see that a reverse authority structure, or a bottom-up organizational structure, is designed to serve to the vast majority over a few who are assigned tasks that require regulatory and coordinating functions over societies as a whole. (In the latter imaginary schematic there would be no capitalist shareholders of economic enterprises.) If we truly want to see an information service serve the interests of the vast majority, shouldn't we likewise use an organizational structure that is suited for that purpose? Therefore I think the new news service must appropriate this concept into their organization. With an independent news service organized in such a manner, I firmly believe that it can also serve as a revolutionary catalyst. And, with a concentration of resources in one major independent, grassroots-organized news service, most people who are turned off to the coverage provided by mainstream media might eagerly look to this alternative source.

I can't provide all the details of how to bring this about, but can suggest some ways that this could be accomplished. The important thing is that people associated with this project see that this organized form is not only desirable, but mandatory to accomplish the objectives of bringing accurate news reports to serve the vast majority of people. If this new media can be effective as a source of coverage, the word will spread like wildfire to the rest of the population. If it's true that corporate media has been manipulating coverage, this new media could lead to vast, even revolutionary, changes in the organization of society. We might conceivably be on the threshold of a new human-centered era, with the old era of civilization controlled by ruling classes lasting only 10,000 years--about 2% of human existence.

(Next in part 2b: more details about this independent information service as a revolutionary catalyst.)