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, June 9, 2017

A Revolutionary Model: Problems and Possibilities - Part 3 of 3

by Ron Horn.

It is clear to many informed people across our planet that we are now in the midst of a global war on information on a scale that people have never experienced before. On one side of this war are the powerful corporate megaphones of the rich ruling classes spewing out fake reports and propaganda that is designed to primarily manipulate people in support of their interests. On the other side are the numerous tiny voices of poorly funded individual bloggers trying to do the best they can with limited resources to counter the misinformation of corporate media.

As a result most people are completely confused about what is going on in nation and the world. Corporate media has only served to mystify and obscure the reality of events so that many people no longer trust their own judgement. Given the occurrence of terrorist events (real or contrived), some people are increasingly afraid and relying on authorities in the ruling class for guidance. This, of course, only drags people deeper into mental bondage. The end result is what we see today, and well described in a recent article by Vanessa Beely as "gaslighting".
Gaslighting as an abuser’s modus operandi, involves, specifically, the withholding of factual information and its replacement with false or fictional information designed to confuse and disorientate. This subtle and Machiavellian process eventually undermines the mental stability of its victims reducing them to such a depth of insecurity and identity crisis that they become entirely dependent upon their abuser for their sense of reality and even identity.

Gaslighting involves a step by step psychological process to manipulate and destabilize its victim.  It is built up over time and consists of repetitive information feeds that enter the victim’s subconscious over a period of time, until it is fully registered on the subconscious “hard disk” and cannot be overridden by the conscious floppy disk.  Put more simply, it is brainwashing.
The effects of this brainwashing are evident everywhere. Not only are there many people looking to "authoritative" sources of the ruling class for guidance, many others are listening to partially informed voices or sometimes even fake leaders who lead them into futile activities or shepherd them back into the Democratic party (for example, listen to this). Then there are countless numbers of people so confused by the myriad of views that they have withdrawn into protective mental enclaves of passivity or self-righteous cynicism. 

In order for the project to be successful, the journalists and news analysts in this proposed media organization must be attuned to the class nature which underlies most major events and issues. Of course, not everything can be reduced to a class analysis, but the cultivation of a class perspective or awareness can unravel many of the mysterious events that occur today. That is precisely why the ruling class encourages activists to pursue social identity issues instead of a class issues which might expose their illegitimate, if not criminal, activities. A class-informed consciousness has the potential to equip the people with a confidence that they have the ability to understand issues and the courage to act as protagonists to alter events to serve their needs. I call this consciousness "social power". Contrast this concept with the perverted kind of power that the ruling capitalist class are addicted to: power over people, power to dominate, manipulate, and control people for their class interests--more wealth and power. 

The capitalist ruling class know that their wealth and power depend upon control of information, and they will do everything they can to undermine such an organization. That is why they have so vigorously engaged in this information war. An independent media organization would threaten the core propaganda functions of their corporate media, and they would launch every weapon in their vast arsenal to defeat it. We must be prepared to endure the difficulties that lie ahead which may discourage all but the strongest of people who wish for a better future. So, what are these weapons?

Activists with experience know the many methods that the ruling capitalist class have used in the past to protect them from us and to keep us in mental bondage. There is also considerable information online that is available. Because our mission is based on the very legitimate reason to provide an independent source of information about world events, they will undoubtedly try to paint the new media organization using the old, tired smear of serving Russian interests. But if the project continues to grow, they will use many other methods they have so often used in the past: infiltration of the organization with their agents, divide and conquer by attempting to sow chaos and divisions among the staff of the new media organization, using their vast arsenal of surveillance methods (fixed surveillance cameras, cameras on drones, interception of our electronic communications, etc) to spy on the organization, blacklisting people from participating in the economy, and even assassinating journalists and other key functionaries. But we also must be aware that the more vigorously ruling class agents try to undermine or attack the project, the more likely that new followers and supporters among the general population will be drawn to our new media service.

Still, we must be prepared to prevent these weapons from destroying the project. Committees must be formed that are comprised of experienced and skilled people to study these issues and recommend corrective actions. People who have had experience with infiltrators in activist political organizations must be recruited. The same goes for people with advanced computer skills so that important communications of the project can be encrypted, website administrators with advanced skills, security people who can protect our leaders and journalists, and outstanding news analysts. Most important of all, the project must attract people with solid journalistic and investigative skills and dedicated to a reasonably objective reporting of news, uncovering evidence, and promoting an understanding of events and issues. And last but not least, we the people must support journalists and analysts with our participation, energy, and money, because without us they will surely fail. 

So, why should anyone engage in such a dangerous effort and risk losing what they have and putting their futures in jeopardy?

First of all, I think we owe it to the brave people who have already sacrificed so much to bring us the truth, and supported efforts to have the wonders of the internet serve us instead of merely the tiny capitalist ruling class. I am thinking of people like Julian Assange, Chelsea (Bradley) Manning, Edward Snowden, and Aaron Swartz. I am also thinking of journalists like Eva Bartlett, Vanessa Beely, and Abby Martin who have traveled to dangerous areas to bring us the real news about what was happening there. I think we have a moral responsibility to carry on their efforts at exposing the truth about our world. But we also must do a better job of protecting them.

If successful, this new media organization could serve to make events understandable to all, and with this understanding the people would gain confidence to engage in activities that really challenge the powerful voices coming from the media of the rich ruling class. Armed with this new knowledge, more and more people might stop collaborating with their ruling class bosses and start engaging in activities designed to serve society as a whole. And then, who knows where that might lead them?

One hopeful scenario is the rise of a radically new society out of the ashes of the old war-torn, divided societies composed of a few extremely rich and powerful people who control vast numbers of poor people. This proposal is an attempt to strengthen the side of the people, to make it a much fairer war, and to increase the chances for the people to win so that they can create societies that are for their benefit instead of tiny ruling classes. These new societies would be led by vast numbers of people energized by "social power" and who are fully aware of their collective power to create their own future. Such a future must necessarily include a new social-economic system that fosters the growth of all humans, protects the health of our home-planet, and ultimately might enable humans to survive as a species.

(See previous parts of this proposal: Part 1, Part 2a, Part 2b)