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

Saturday, November 11, 2017

US Slow-Motion Shutdown of RT and Sputnik?

Click here to access article by Stephen Lendman from his website.
Hostile US demands on popular English-language Russian media, combined with social media censorship of alternative views called “fake news,” threatens press freedom in America.

It’s tyranny by any standard, the way all police states operate, controlling news, information and analysis, suppressing alternative truth-telling, notably on vital issues.

America is on a dangerous slippery slope in this direction, the future of independent reporting and commentaries at stake, along with other fundamental freedoms – gravely threatened if speech, media and academic freedoms are lost.
I think that this blatant move toward censorship of media that don't serve the interests of the US ruling capitalist class is a desperate move to contain the spread of alternative media which has arisen in the digital age to serve the interests of ordinary people. Thus this tendency is not only directed against media organizations which do not serve the US capitalist class, but our masters have decided to embark on a very slippery slope to contain and manage all dissent. This is reflected in their current use of media corporations to propagate pure propaganda and to eliminate any significant sources of information that does not serve their interests. Hence their recent campaign of "fake news" designed to undermine people's credibility in alternative media, and their campaign against RT.

The importance of managing news and information grew along with the concentration of wealth and power in the late 19th century that was designated as a Gilded Age in the US. Our masters, as well as capitalists in other leading countries, began to see the importance of managing news and information in order to not only contain dissent but to promote their self-serving policies of accumulating more power and wealth. The latter policies were reflected in their promotion of devastating imperial wars between colonial powers in the 20th century, to crush any militant labor organizing, to promote austerity policies among the general population, and control governments, always advertised as "democratic", to ensure that they serve capitalists. 

During this time we witnessed the rise of a new intellectual discipline that took the euphemism of "public relations" to advance the study of the management of information in order to promote capitalist policies ranging from consumption of toothpaste to the cause of war. Thus, even though profitable opportunities lie in industrial and financial investments, they made sure that any significant media were under capitalist control by investing in newspapers, radio stations, and later TV stations to supplement and reinforce the indoctrination ordinary people received in public education that they already controlled. 

However, the digital age has made to the transmission of information and analysis so much cheaper that many ordinary people, in combination or by themselves, now have websites which offer countervailing views. This poses a direct threat to their class rule. Thus, in spite of propaganda about a "free press", which is supposedly guaranteed by the Constitution, the capitalist ruling class have embarked on this phony campaign of censorship by launching this attack on RT and "fake news" in general (see this and this). Where this will end is the stuff of nightmares. 

What we really need to save ourselves is a strategy to organize around a movement that makes freedom of news, analysis, and information as their core issue, even to the extent of pooling resources in the form of an organization that provides such services (see my potentially revolutionary proposal--Part 1, Part 2a, Part 2b, Part 3).